Few early-80s pop stars can be said to have carried off the vile fashion of the period with any success, let alone the self-confessed ‘fat bloke from Reading’ we know as comedian Ricky Gervais, alias David Brent from TV series The Office.
Still, he had a good go as is evidenced by pictures of his band, Seona Dancing – which ranks up there with Mark Brzezicki and Einstürzende Neubauten when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll names of uncertain pronunciation . . .
Gervais – having spent several years at University College London as a student union entertainment manager and managing the nascent Suede for a while – formed the band, a synth-pop duo, with a Marilyn-look-alike named Bill Macrae.
After wowing the crowds in the union bar at UCL, the duo vanished for a while into the obscurity of Brussels clubland and emerged with sixteen new songs and a demo tape which landed them a contract with London Records in 1982.
Perhaps the second-class honours degree in philosophy he achieved at UCL assisted Gervais with his lyric writing – a juicy sample, taken from Seona Dancing’s first single, More To Lose, is;
A thousand tortured lives have fallen
Wounded, dying, cut down by the questions we’ve sharpened
Just to save our losing days
We’d thought with nothing more to lose
We’d tear our hearts with jagged truths
David Brent would have been proud.
More To Lose stalled at number 117 on the UK singles charts but its successor, Bitter Heart, did better, reaching number 70 – not too bad considering the number of cheek-boned New Romantics bothering the public at the time.
That single has gone down in certain New Wave collectors’ circles as something of an era milestone. If you can track down a copy of either 7″ today you’ll be lucky.
Apparently American New-Wavers took them to heart more than we cynical Brits, and UK import versions crop up over there more often than they do in the UK. But if you do get your hands on either item, don’t give up your day job.
Neither are worth more than £20 or so, even to the most hardcore fan of The Office.