24 Aug 2011
A pub in Manchester seems the natural place to meet Guy Garvey, the big, bearded, soft-spoken, avuncular singer in Elbow. “I’m still be a little bit hungover from yesterday,” he admits, having attended a family christening. And Garvey has a big family, with one younger brother and five older sisters, for whom he is still “our Guy”, the much loved first boy, whom they played records to and encouraged in his rock dreams.
Searching for change for the cigarette machine, he rummages in his jacket, spilling a huge selection of coins on to the bar. “Drunk pockets,” he smiles, a phenomenon he explains of “finding it easier to make monetary calculations in notes while inebriated”. Carrying his pint of Guinness out into bright sunshine, other customers nod in friendly recognition, and he smiles back.
During the course of our encounter, a stream of people come up to tell him how much Elbow mean to them. It seems he is “our Guy” for more than just his siblings.
Garvey is an extremely likeable fellow. Since Elbow’s ascent to the major league with their fourth album, 2008 Mercury-prize-winning Seldom Seen Kid, British audiences have clutched him to their collective bosom.
“The groundswell of goodwill was astonishing to us: we felt like the loved uncle,” admits the 37 year-old. Elbow have been together with the same line-up since 1990, a slow-burning career that saw them releasing three albums on three labels, sales never quite matching the critical acclaim . “I think people understand that we really appreciate what’s happened. We don’t think we were born to do it; we don’t think it was owed to us.”
Garvey has become a kind of everyman figure in British pop. “I might declare myself The People’s Guy Garvey,” he jokes.
13 Jul 2011
Strange stories have been circulating this week that The Beatles will reform for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.
You might have thought this difficult to achieve without necromancy but questioned on US TV, Paul McCartney dropped hints that he “might be involved” and, pressed on the Beatles question, added “I hear they’re planning this sort of music.” There have been further suggestions that his last surviving band mate, 70-year-old Ringo Starr will perform with 68-year-old McCartney, although I think we can dismiss as internet fantasy the rumour that John Lennon and George Harrison might be represented by their musical offspring, Sean and Dhani (although, come to think of it, maybe they could retire the old folks altogether, get James McCartney and Zak Starkey in, and run it as a family enterprise, Beatles & Sons).
If ever there was a band defined by its original members it is the Fab Four.
Somehow the Terrific Two just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
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