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2007 - Guardian Article, Part 3: Suddenly They All Wanted to Dance with Me


dcdeb
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... continuation...

 

Lucian Grainge does not see Mika's songs as little paintings. He sees them as cash cows. "Yes, it hit me straightaway that it was full of singles. Mika writes hit songs." He says there are likely to be five singles released from the album.

 

Mika's songs are horribly infectious - like a bad flu. "I keep singing Lollipop," I tell him, "and I really don't like it." He takes it in good spirit.

 

I step into my gorilla suit in the changing room with the rest of the band while Mika gets dressed in another room. They were put together by the management company, but now there is a real camaraderie; they're all extremely able and the drummer, Cherisse Osei, who used to play with the Faders, looks a star already.

 

It's boiling inside my outfit. I run around, up and down stairs, across the bar, down the aisles, grunting and panting for 20 minutes. On stage with Lollipop Girl for the encore, it feels a bit Teletubbies. And yet there is something sinister-lite going on at the same time. The song Lollipop, dedicated to his sister, is about sucking too hard on lollipops - a warning against sexual promiscuity.

 

It's far more packed than at the London Circus Top. The crowd are eager and vocal. Then - disaster. "This is the last night of my UK tour," Mika says. Silence, then a few boos. For a moment, I think there's going to be a riot. I can almost feel the heatwave of Mika's blush. "Oops, I want to thank you before I make a total twat of myself," he blusters. "I know there's Ireland and the UK. I'm not an idiot."

 

Amazingly, he manages to win back most of the crowd. Towards the end, when they are screaming for Grace Kelly, he says, "I can tell we're not in the UK now."

 

As we walk off, I tell Mika that my experience of vicarious fame as Chew-Chew has been exhilarating, and ask if he's on a high.

 

"No, I'm upset with myself." He makes a joke of it to the band.

 

"Hello Dublin, Scotland. OK, let's put it behind us." But he's not yet managed to.

 

 

In his dressing room, there are sandwiches, hummus and guacamole. Hummus and guacamole - who said rock'n'roll was dead? He gives me a look.

 

While Mika gets changed, I join the rest of the band for drinks laid on by the venue, in a back room that could be an extension of the Boogie Nights set- all over-employed sofas and soft lighting.

 

Guitarist Martin Waugh says that what he likes about Mika is that he makes the band feel as if they are equal partners, even though they are obviously not. "He makes everyone feel really welcome. He works with you, so you lose your inhibitions about being a hired party." Waugh, who is Scottish, says there was a "Dublin, UK" moment when they played in Glasgow. "Mika asked me to wear a kilt on stage, but insisted I wore underpants. I didn't know why. Then, when we were on stage, he lifted up my kilt. The audience booed. It's sacrilege to wear underpants with a kilt."

 

Mika walks in a few minutes later. He has a quick drink, but he's knackered and hasn't eaten. He's been touring non-stop for six months. He looks pale and gaunt. Has the workload surprised him? "No, I had an inkling of what it would be like. When I was young, I'd do a three-month run of rehearsals for something and at the same time I'd be at school."

 

I'm thinking about something he'd said to me earlier, semi-tongue-in-cheek, that if he was a music critic, he'd be acerbic and funny, but he'd stand by the people he championed, "instead of being some kind of hypocritical ****in' trendy self-conscious dick". He said it with such feeling. No surprise, when you consider what he's been through in recent weeks. Guardian critic Alexis Petridis tore him apart, saying that listening to Mika was like being mugged by Bonnie Langford. He says the review doesn't bother him - he knew he was always going to divide people. Actually, he says, to be controversial when he himself is so uncontroversial is quite a feat. He calls himself the Marmite of pop.

 

The band settles down in the hotel bar, but Mika has had enough. They are going home tomorrow for a few days' break, while Mika has to get up at 5am to travel to Monte Carlo for more promotion.

 

As he heads for bed, he tells me he was surprised how long it took him to find success, and now he's surprised by the speed at which it finally happened. "When we did Glasgow a few months ago, we had 20 people in the audience. Then we went back and we were playing to 2,000 people. It's been amazing, absolutely amazing." He laughs. "People sing back the songs!"

 

Does he feel more secure about his identity today? "I feel like I belong absolutely nowhere, and that's a good thing." I can see the British, Lebanese and French influences, but I'm not so sure about the American, I tell him. As usual, he tells me I'm wrong. "The American side is very strong," he says. "There's something I really enjoy about working in New York, especially the business side. There's an honest vulgarity. If you want something out of a deal, you just say it. I have the privilege of being able to say, 'OK, for my business side stuff I'm going to tap into the New Yorker, and for everything else I'm going to preserve the Britishness.' " Kerching! ·

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Oh, dcdeb, thank you soo much for finding and posting this wonderful article. At this moment I have just skimmed over the text but I will for sure get back to it. It is so warm and compleasant, really good after all that crappy bollocks I have read in the last few days... Thank you.

"He lost (and found) himself in music."

 

I love that simple sentence. To me, there is all in it.

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It's just that LT was out last Monday not next. Can't believe a word journalists say. :naughty:

 

I know... you're so right! And I'm a *journalist*! :naughty:

 

dcdeb

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:blush-anim-cl::roftl:

 

Didn't mean to embarrass you -- just meant that as a writer, I agree with

you! It's infuriating when professional writers don't take the time to

check their facts or spellings of names, etc. Makes us all look bad. :wink2:

 

Still and all... I thought this article was very well-done. Showed yet another side to Mika -- as a business person -- and seemed very balanced by

interviewing others who have dealt with him.

 

And I must say, I would love to have the chance to dress up as a character and dance around on the stage for one of Mika's shows! Ooooh, pick me, pick me, next time, Mika! Though I might not be tall enough for that monkey costume -- I'm only 5'1" -- but I'd be happy with anything! :naughty:

 

dcdeb

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Thanks for that dcdeb - I really enjoyed the whole article. He has alot of critics - but more of us who enjoy his music!!

 

Glad so many of you have made the time to read through it -- I was surprised at how long it ran on! But like you all have said, definitely worth it! :)

 

dcdeb

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  • 1 year later...

Love it although it dates back to 2 years ago!

One of the best articles/reviews/interviews ever!

 

"He lost (and found) himself in music."

 

I love that simple sentence. To me, there is all in it.

Same to me :wub2:
Tanks a lot for posting it!!! It took me quite a while to read it all, but it was definatelly worth it!!! :thumb_yello:
Agree!!

 

The sentences I like most here:

 

Lucian Grainge does not see Mika's songs as little paintings. He sees them as cash cows. "Yes, it hit me straightaway that it was full of singles. Mika writes hit songs." He says there are likely to be five singles released from the album.

 

Mika's songs are horribly infectious - like a bad flu.:naughty: "I keep singing Lollipop," I tell him, "and I really don't like it." He takes it in good spirit.

 

Guitarist Martin Waugh says that what he likes about Mika is that he makes the band feel as if they are equal partners, even though they are obviously not. "He makes everyone feel really welcome. He works with you, so you lose your inhibitions about being a hired party." Waugh, who is Scottish, says there was a "Dublin, UK" moment when they played in Glasgow. "Mika asked me to wear a kilt on stage, but insisted I wore underpants. I didn't know why. Then, when we were on stage, he lifted up my kilt. The audience booed. It's sacrilege to wear underpants with a kilt." :roftl:

 

Mika walks in a few minutes later. He has a quick drink, but he's knackered and hasn't eaten. He's been touring non-stop for six months. He looks pale and gaunt. Has the workload surprised him? "No, I had an inkling of what it would be like. When I was young, I'd do a three-month run of rehearsals for something and at the same time I'd be at school."

 

He says the review doesn't bother him - he knew he was always going to divide people. Actually, he says, to be controversial when he himself is so uncontroversial is quite a feat. He calls himself the Marmite of pop.

 

As he heads for bed, he tells me he was surprised how long it took him to find success, and now he's surprised by the speed at which it finally happened. "When we did Glasgow a few months ago, we had 20 people in the audience. Then we went back and we were playing to 2,000 people. It's been amazing, absolutely amazing." He laughs. "People sing back the songs!"

 

Does he feel more secure about his identity today? "I feel like I belong absolutely nowhere, and that's a good thing." I can see the British, Lebanese and French influences, but I'm not so sure about the American, I tell him. As usual, he tells me I'm wrong. "The American side is very strong," he says. "There's something I really enjoy about working in New York, especially the business side. There's an honest vulgarity. If you want something out of a deal, you just say it. I have the privilege of being able to say, 'OK, for my business side stuff I'm going to tap into the New Yorker, and for everything else I'm going to preserve the Britishness.' " Kerching!"

Edited by mari62
highlighting some text
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fave parts of the article:

 

 

It's far more packed than at the London Circus Top. The crowd are eager and vocal. Then - disaster. "This is the last night of my UK tour," Mika says. Silence, then a few boos. For a moment, I think there's going to be a riot. I can almost feel the heatwave of Mika's blush. "Oops, I want to thank you before I make a total twat of myself," he blusters. "I know there's Ireland and the UK. I'm not an idiot."

 

Amazingly, he manages to win back most of the crowd. Towards the end, when they are screaming for Grace Kelly, he says, "I can tell we're not in the UK now."

 

As we walk off, I tell Mika that my experience of vicarious fame as Chew-Chew has been exhilarating, and ask if he's on a high.

 

"No, I'm upset with myself." He makes a joke of it to the band.

 

"Hello Dublin, Scotland. OK, let's put it behind us." But he's not yet managed to.

 

 

In his dressing room, there are sandwiches, hummus and guacamole. Hummus and guacamole - who said rock'n'roll was dead? He gives me a look.

 

 

Guitarist Martin Waugh says that what he likes about Mika is that he makes the band feel as if they are equal partners, even though they are obviously not. "He makes everyone feel really welcome. He works with you, so you lose your inhibitions about being a hired party." Waugh, who is Scottish, says there was a "Dublin, UK" moment when they played in Glasgow. "Mika asked me to wear a kilt on stage, but insisted I wore underpants. I didn't know why. Then, when we were on stage, he lifted up my kilt. The audience booed. It's sacrilege to wear underpants with a kilt."

 

 

I'm thinking about something he'd said to me earlier, semi-tongue-in-cheek, that if he was a music critic, he'd be acerbic and funny, but he'd stand by the people he championed, "instead of being some kind of hypocritical ****in' trendy self-conscious dick". . Actually, he says, to be controversial when he himself is so uncontroversial is quite a feat. He calls himself the Marmite of pop.

 

 

"When we did Glasgow a few months ago, we had 20 people in the audience. Then we went back and we were playing to 2,000 people. It's been amazing, absolutely amazing." He laughs. "People sing back the songs!"

 

Does he feel more secure about his identity today? "I feel like I belong absolutely nowhere, and that's a good thing." I can see the British, Lebanese and French influences, but I'm not so sure about the American, I tell him. As usual, he tells me I'm wrong. "The American side is very strong," he says. "There's something I really enjoy about working in New York, especially the business side. There's an honest vulgarity. If you want something out of a deal, you just say it. I have the privilege of being able to say, 'OK, for my business side stuff I'm going to tap into the New Yorker, and for everything else I'm going to preserve the Britishness.' " Kerching! ·

 

so after reading all three parts of this interesting article i've got to say huge thanks to deb for posting and to mari for bumping the thread:flowers2:

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fave parts of the article:

 

 

 

so after reading all three parts of this interesting article i've got to say huge thanks to deb for posting and to mari for bumping the thread:flowers2:

You're very welcome Netina and thank you so much Deb!! :wub2:
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