Time is waiting in the wings, he speaks of senseless things. That’s what David Bowie sang on his ace song ‘Time’ from his Aladdin Sane album back in 1973. My comment on time isn’t quite as wordy as David’s. I just wanted to say that time goes ruddy quickly. It now seems like years since I went to Disneyland whereas it’s only been a just over a couple of weeks. Perhaps I should write a song about it too? In my life I have written about six songs. That is enough for an album I reckon. Some albums go on for too long these days. ‘Station To Station’ by David Bowie has six tracks and that is seen as a classic.
Here are all the songs I have written and roughly what year I composed them (I can’t be exact here as artists like myself are too busy being creative to bother with details). I have decided to tell you all about them so you can understand the workings of a creative genius such as myself over many years.
Frightful Night (1986) – This one is all about ghosts and vampires. Around this time, aged ten, I read ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker. It terrified me and I would never properly get over it. I used to hang garlic from my window before bedtime (fact) to ward off the vampires. I shared a bedroom with my brother Jon (aged only four at this time) and he thought I was mental. He also didn’t like it when I refused to open the windows in summer, even when it was really hot. I didn’t want any bats flying in. This song is therefore all about being scared of the dark. It’s still a classic. I used to play it to my sister Sarah on my battered acoustic guitar and I bet she can still sing it now. The story had a happy ending as aged twenty I went to watch ‘Interview With A Vampire’ at the cinema and I didn’t have nightmares.
The Clown Of London Town (1986) – I wrote ‘Frightful Night’ in the morning and this in the afternoon. It was a very creative day for me during a half term I think. I must have had two bowls of cereal that morning (which I sometimes liked to do). I had learned two chords on the guitar (the only chords I would ever learn as I got bored of carrying my guitar to practice) so I was inspired. This is a ballad about a clown that gets chucked out the circus and he ends up begging on the streets. He is dead sad as nobody finds him funny and he misses the circus life. I was inspired by a report about the homeless on the 6 o’clock news (I used to hate watching the news but my Dad probably had it on) I think it was the first time I realized some people didn’t have anywhere to live. I was shocked and thought I better document my thoughts on the matter. I’ve no idea where the clown came into it. Perhaps I’d recently been to the circus? I reckon this would go to number one if released now and sung by Bono. It’s a lot better than ‘Another Day In Paradise’ by Phil Collins, which ripped this song off a lot!
We Are Sea Men (1989) – This one was written in music class in either the 2nd or 3rd year seniors. We were set a task of creating a short piece of music on the keyboard that evoked the ocean during a storm. It was one keyboard between two and I was sharing with Richard Watson. He agreed with me that we should do something different than the norm. I thought rather than press a few random chords to sound all ominous (as all the squares were doing) we should create a jaunty sea shanty and just sing the ace words “We are sea men, we are sea men, and we sail all day long, we are sea men, we are men, and we like to sing this song”. Simple but brilliant we thought! (as an aside I had no idea at the time that semen was also the fluid of man, I was still an innocent).
Unluckily for us Mr. Lovell was a cultural philistine and he failed to see our genius. He said it was a rubbish song and gave us an E-. This was the lowest mark in the class, even Smelly Faye who was tone deaf got a C. I always hated that fat shit Mr. Lovell (sorry to swear but he was a fat shit). Richard Watson and I weren’t deterred though as we recorded a version around my house the next weekend. He bought his keyboard round to mine and combined with the sounds of my Yamaha pss-130 (which I had got for Christmas) it was almost Pet Shop Boys esque. It would have sounded dead good as a duet with Neil Tennant. And I would have no problem with Chris Lowe replacing Richard Watson. I liked Richard but he had a Commodore 64, which was no way as good as the Spectrum 128 (with built in tape recorder).
Eskimo Invasion (1997) – This was written for my failed university band ‘Mohair’. We never played a gig or indeed rehearsed. Instead we talked about being in a band a lot and acted like a band (which is probably the most important thing). I was going through my urban social poetry phase at the time, and this shows in the gritty lyrics. It was all about an Eskimo called Billy who left home to come and live in the UK. He thought people would love his crazy Eskimo ways and the fact he had a hooded coat with fur trim. Instead he was a victim of racial abuse and people on the streets told him to go home as he smelt of fish. In a crazy turn of events saying the word ‘eskimo’ actually become racist and instead the word to use was ‘Inuit’. I was inadvertently attacking the people I was trying to celebrate. That was one of lifes’ cruel ironies. Should I ever record the song I will change the name of it to ‘Inuit Invasion’. It doesn’t scan as well but the fight against racists is not an easy one comrades. I should note that bands like ‘The Prodigy’ and ‘Chemical Brothers’ were hip with the kids when I wrote this. I took inspiration and the chorus has lots of sampled ‘Woo wooos’ in a dance like fashion.
Three years later I recorded a demo version with my friend Stephen Roberts. It was a rock version and it was flippin’ brilliant. I even played it down the phone to my mum I was so excited. More news about this project below!
Nicotine Lothario, Alcohol Scenario (1997/2000) - Stephen Roberts and I, along with Ian Clark had decided to combine our yet unformed bands. The idea was that we all had bands in our head and to combine them to create a supergroup. The names of all of them had to be in the title. We were therefore called " ‘Teflon Mohair' featuring 'The Alex McKeller Project' with 'Love Journey Medley’ "; I had kept the ‘Mohair’ bit to keep my old fans happy but had to add ‘Teflon’ as some other band called ‘Mohair’ appeared on the scene. They never made it which I was happy about. I did phone up their manager to say it was my band name but he told me to sod off.
We had two rehearsals around my house on Friday nights. One of the other demos to emerge was this poptastic number. This song was all about me as an twenty year old man about town. It told the story of how I liked to look at girls and try and look cool. The song wasn’t that deep but amidst all the dark I had written I needed some light. I had started working on this for the failed ‘Mohair’ project but Stephen helped with a tune, and put some chords to it and everything. This was definite second single material. Sadly the band soon split as were too before our time.
Do Re Me, So Far So Good (2004) Funnily enough this was the only song I ever released (under the name ‘Teflon Mohair’) and it was a cover version. I can still include it here though as I have made the song my own (as Simon Cowell likes people to do). ‘Station To Station’ also had a cover version too (‘Wild Is The Wind’ fact fans).
This was for a Carter USM tribute album put together by some chap in America. He had heard about the legend of ‘Teflon Mohair’ and begged for me to contribute to the album. Jim Bob, from Carter USM themselves, produced my version and everyone agreed that it was better than the original that got in the UK top twenty. Copies of this album are now sold out but if you ask me I will email an MP3. Jim Bob got a bit cross that I was so good on this cover that he asked me to sing backing vocals on his album ‘Angelstrike’ for the song Tongue Tied. I was brilliant but when the final version was released you could barely hear me as he had buried me so far down in the mix it was untrue. It was him saying “don’t get too cocky” probably. I had the last laugh though because on the day of recording I had pizza and chips around his house which meant that I got a free dinner.
That concludes a description of all my songs. Perhaps one day all of them (apart from the last one) will be realized and fulfill their true potential. Are they still too far ahead of their time? I can’t answer that dear reader. An artist can only paint, it is not up to him to take off the lid from the paint, or indeed to clean the brushes.
I just realized that I haven’t talked about our L.A. adventures. Tomorrow or the next day my musings will include Emma’s parents last week here, moving into our new flat and the Emster’s birthday.
Only twelve of you voted in the poll last time. That is rubbish. This poll has more relevance as it could change the face of music. Please therefore cast your vote. I will abide by your decision.
Until life in Los Angeles resumes,
Saturday 21st April 2018
2 days ago