Looking through this month’s review section, one of the albums we’ve written about caught my eye and took me back to somewhat lively events in February, 1979. Roxy Music are due to play the first date of their reunion tour somewhere in Europe. Melody Maker want me to cover it, wherever it is.
I get a tip the tour will open in Stockholm, where Roxy have been rehearsing in great secret. I call their legendary “media consultant”, the permanently harassed Simon Puxley. He denies the tour will open in Stockholm. The first date, he tells me, will actually be in . . . er . . . Berlin. I don’t believe him and that weekend fly out to Sweden, where I find them in the bar of the Grand, a handsome old hotel overlooking the harbour. Puxley whitens at my appearance before gaining his composure and sternly telling me that under no circumstances will he give me a ticket for that night’s concert. I tell him I already have one and leave him ashen-faced. It’s a great show, as I tell Bryan Ferry later. We’re having dinner at somewhere plush and I’m sitting opposite Ferry, next to Antony Price, who designs Ferry’s tour togs. I tell him I loved Bryan’s new suit. “He does look lovely in sharkskin,” Antony swoons.
Not long after this, we all fetch up in some cavernous nightclub, the disco booming quite deafeningly. Ferry and I are having a drink when a striking blonde, wearing something in a startling electric blue that looks like it’s been sprayed on and hasn’t yet dried, bounds over to our table. Ferry introduces us, but the music’s so loud I don’t catch her name. She now appears to be trying to get Ferry to dance, an invitation he politely declines and slips away to another table. She turns her attention to me now and with a yank of my arm that nearly pulls my shoulder out of its socket hauls me onto the dance floor, where around us many couples are cavorting beneath the strobes, something suddenly intoxicating in their carnal gyrations. At which point, of course, I should have realised I was drunk and left it at that. But no, I recklessly decide to give it a go, although I am no hoofer and have no relevant past experience of dance-related escapades with women who look like they’ve taken a bath in body dye and come out of the house naked and still wet. Whatever, the next thing I know we’re in the midst of a bopping throng and my companion is giving it her veritable all, every part of her body in some kind of fantastic motion. Rather less nimbly, I hop from foot to foot, like someone trying to shake a ferret from his trousers. The music’s louder than ever and I’m quite overwhelmed by my partner’s increasingly astonishing whirls, pirouettes and general dance floor gymnastics. She’s a blur of exciting motion, abandoned gesticulation and much energetic arse-wiggling. She grinds her groin against me with an exaggerated pneumatic pumping action that makes me blush to recall and then disappears into the crowd, everything shaking.
I quickly scarper back to the table where I’d been drinking with Ferry, but he’s already at the door, the rest of Roxy piling into waiting limos. In the back of one of the cars, Ferry notices my by-now quite dishevelled state and asks where I’d got to. I tell him I’ve been dancing, information that causes him to raise a cultured eyebrow. “With who?” he asks. The voluptuous blonde he’d introduced me to whose name I didn’t catch, I tell him, the one who looked like her out of Abba, Agnetha, the blonde one. He knows who I mean and sighs, a little theatrically. “Allan,” he says finally, “that was Agnetha out of Abba.” We drive back to the hotel in silence, Ferry’s eyebrow raised all the way. The record by the way that reminded me of this is Agnetha’s first album since 2004 and it’s reviewed in this month’s Reviews pages. Enjoy the issue.
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