hoff

I mean no disrespect to the Hoff when I say this, but I really wish I’d not seen him last week.
BBC 6music had declared Monday Beck day and the plan was to catch him live in the 6music hub. Unfortunately by the time I arrived Mr Hansen had already left the building, and so wandering down to HMV I found myself watching the bizarre spectacle of a David Hasslehoff instore signing. Fresh from flirting, dancing, and sleaping his way through an interview with Jenni Falconer on GMTV, “The Hoff” certainly knew how to work the crowd.

“Jump In My Car” (YouTube) played on a loop and as a result echoed around my increasingly infuriated head for the rest of the day but I cant deny that it was entertaining to see Hasslehoff in person… it didn’t quite make up for not seeing Beck though .

BDB

On Thursday I did however manage to make it on time to see a superb 6music session from an old favourite of mine, Badly Drawn Boy. The hub (essentially the 6music staff tea room) is not really designed for crowds so with Damon, four band members and presenter Gideon Coe set up, those lucky enough to get along squeezed in where they could (Gallery of pics).

Badly Drawn Boy has a reputation as an eccentric performer but he seemed on fine form playing three tracks, and talking though what’s been a bit of a nightmare 18 months. His career had been relatively trouble free until recently, a Mercury Award, 4 album’s in 4 years, and he even managed the feat of making a Hugh Grant soundtrack album seem cool.
His debut for EMI however turned into what he called “an inexplicable disaster“. 20 songs were recorded with producer Stephen Street, but unhappy with the result Damon scrapped the entire album. Listening to him talking about it, it genuinely seemed like a horrific experience that left him questioning if he could ever do a record again… he felt that “the game was up“.

Drastic times call for drastic measures so Damon went back to basics locking himself away in the studio with just his drummer and bassist… the aim to record a song a day.

I said lets go in the studio, and write a song a day. Starting in September each night I went home with a new song on my ipod, and by December there were about 80 of them. It became a thrill for me and a bit of an addiction even… just to have a brand new song every day not finished but pretty good version or idea for a song.

After hand picking his favourites, he went into the studio in January with Nick Franglen from Lemon Jelly and set to work on what became the new album “Born In The UK“.

Badly Drawn Boy – “Born In The UK (Live on BBC 6music)” (MP3)

BDB

The limited edition Secret 7″ “Born In The UK” came wrapped in a special Fish n chip style newspaper wrapping including chip fork, its too nice to actually open so I’d only heard a “hooky” downloaded version before, on which the vocals sound like they were recorded in the studio toilet. I was pleasantly surprised when the song, live and free from its terrible production revealed itself as a something that may just become a Badly Drawn Boy favourite.

The lyrics are however a bit random at times (“Virginia Wade was winning our hearts/ she made us want to live,” he sings, clearly confusing “live” with “buy a tennis racket“). People not as old as Damon (and me) may also need a glossary to make sense of the UK circa 1971-87 featured in the song… Virginia Wade… ahhh I see tennis player, Jilted John, see also John Shuttleworth.
The video is also worth a watch, if the BBC ever started making personal “Rock n Roll years” for its licence fee payers, they wouldn’t need to do mine as the video neatly does the trick in 3 minutes.

Badly Drawn Boy – “The Journey from A to B (Live on BBC 6music)” (MP3)

Badly Drawn Boy – “All Possibilities (Live on BBC 6music)” (MP3)

Although problems with the levels of a keyboard that already sounded like it’d been borrowed from Frank Sidebottom, and a mid song laughing fit from BDB slightly marred the performance, the sheer class of “All Possibilities” shone through. Damon also broke into lyrics from the Sister Sledge classic “Thinking of you” which seemed to fit perfectly.

Towards the end of the session Damon neatly summed up where he is with his career right now:

“I’ve made enough money to live on for the rest of my life, I’ve got 2 kids and I couldn’t care less what the NME thinks anymore.
I’m just going to continue making records, I could afford to do it on my own steam if I wanted to… but I’ve got a BIG BIG fat record deal from EMI so I’ve got to try and keep it going!”

You can vote for your favourite fish and chip shop here. Badly Drawn Boy will stand on the fryer of the winning shop and sing his heart out. Bristol was in the lead last time I looked.

Badly Drawn BoyMyspace / Website

Buy: Order “Born In The UK” from Amazon for 9 quid.

MP3:
Badly Drawn Boy – “Something to talk about (Four Tet remix)” (MP3)
Badly Drawn Boy – “It Came From The Ground (Andy Votel mix)” (MP3)

Watch:
Badly Drawn Boy – “Born In The UK” (YouTube)
Badly Drawn Boy – “Nothings Gonna Change Your Mind” (YouTube)

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