Saturday, 8 March 2008


Considering that I live in south London, and he lives in north London, I see an awful lot of Bobby Gillespie. I'm not even trying, yet somehow the whey-faced stringbean seems to follow me wherever I go – Soho, Spitalfields, Marks & Spencers at Marylebone Station. Yesterday I went out for lunch with my friend Elizabeth, and no sooner had we crossed the invisible border between dirty, desperate Camden and the white walls and lifestyle delicatessans of Primrose Hill than there he was, pedalling towards us on his strangely old-fashioned and upright bicycle.

We took a seat by the window in the Engineer pub. (You may recognise the name from the Spotted pages of heat magazine. We only spotted Jade Goody, which almost moved me to ask for a refund.) Bobby took a seat in the window of the deli opposite, giving us a grandstand view of his lupine countenance which was so pale as to look almost… spectral. And as we ate our cheeseburger (me), and polenta and peppers (Betty), we remarked on the fact that though Bobby is slightly, I don't know, ravaged, he's pretty much looked that way since the 80s and actually doesn't seem to age at all.

Then it became clear. Bobby Gillespie is a ghost. And he is haunting me.

But why do you torment me, Bobby, up and down the streets of your town (to paraphrase the Go Betweens), silently apparating on your two wheels, ting-tinging your bell in lieu of some rattling chains. Which you have probably used to fix your bike because it looks pretty old. Why, Bobby, why? Is it because, with my pallid, Dickensian workhouse complexion, you think I too have had my spirit severed from its fleshly and extremely stylish moorings? Is it because I was the only person regularly attending indie discos in the early 90s who did not own a copy of Screamadelica? Or is it because I have on several occasions scored laughs by saying you dance like Mowgli in the Disney version of The Jungle Book?

Either way, I am now forced to reinterpret Movin' On Up as being about your ascent to the afterlife, and not about whatever I thought it was about before. Which was probably drugs. 

It's late now, and I'm fully expecting to wake in the small hours to find Bobby Gillespie standing at the foot of my bed, ready to introduce me to the ghosts of Britpop past, present and future. I'll let you know if I find out what Sonya Aurora-Maden is up to now…


Stuart said...

Pulling up at the NME Big Gig in a nice Addison Lee, who should I see outside in a smart suit, on his mobile, beckoning vaguely (drunkenly?) at my cab driver?
Bobby Gillespie.
Who's that coming out of Sable D'or in Crouch End, with a middle-class wife and some middle-class bread?
Bobby Gillespie.
Who's that standing by the Primal Scream albums in HMV?
Bobby Gillespie.

Now to type xazqz...

Miss Jones said...

Hmmm, so there is something that he wants from us Joneses...

But what?