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Features - Kevin Rowland In Paris
simon skinner

FRIDAY 5TH November 1999 at Divan Du Monde, Pigalle 00.40 hours

"I'll always say forever, my love" and that's the thing about Kevin Rowland - the whole Dexys myth, you either fucking love the guy or you fucking…

'nuff of that there's been way too much negativity surrounding Kevin for way too long. The balance needs redressing. I know Ashley Heath has been singing his praises in Select but the guy in Q was hinting that our Kev was close to mental illness! All 'cause he chooses to wear a dress! Uh Kurt Cobain, what's his face from Lemonheads anyone? Are your memories that fucking short? And like - how new is cross-dressing? Personal insults are one thing but to attack a man's mental well-being… what kind of a whack dope trip is that? Get a life you fucking journo prickhead. Don't you know true genius when it's standing in front of you? (Don't answer)


'Don't Stand Me Down' - let the music come - what about the new album? Again it's weird when you first listen to it - you don't quite get it - you kind of think it's profound - some of it shambolic but it's a grower - you keep playing it - going back to it - even 'The Greatest Love Of All' which is such a cornfest but Kevin does his spoken word bits on the verse and hits the notes on the choruses with the rise to "can't take my personal dignity" rendered especially meaningful. He makes you listen to the words. "the children are our future…" He really means this and if you don't believe me just go and see him play.

I did it. In Paris. At Divan Du Monde off Pigalle in the - made famous by Henry Miller - avenues de Clichy. Sex shops I know but you get that sleazy glamour entering the club. It was pretty packed and I got a couple of pressions for myself and my American friend who'd accompanied me. She remembered 'Come On Eileen' but had no idea of the consequent career path that followed. Up and down like a yo-yo and now what a "covers" album... what was to come?


Kevin came out with that look on his face, a rare confidence - it exudes from natural performers and Kevin is that. He greeted the cheers and a few boos with good humour and said he was glad to be here. He wore a long brown fur coat but underneath regular gear, no dresses tonight. He got down on his knees in emotion in the first song! He followed that with the single 'Concrete and Clay' and then was joined on stage by two backing singers / dancers who helped out on a bizarre muzak-like Springsteen's 'Thunder Road' (my American friend perked up then as a big Boss fan and was flattered that Kevin had chosen that one.) Some of the initial booing quietened down and Kevin won the crowd over on sheer sincerity. You really have to see him to believe someone cares that much! But I guess the question on everyone's lips was what was 'The Greatest Love Of All' like? Well to be honest he murdered it but by then Kevin had transferred his magic possibility onto us. When he said, "I love you" over and over it wasn't banal but inspiring. We were transfixed!

I walked out into the Parisian night and couldn't get a cab from Pigalle to Odeon to save my life. I didn't mind the hour and a half walk though - the music was in me - let it come! Let it come down!

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow"

simon skinner

My Beauty by Kevin Rowland out now on Creation Records

No websites listed as they're all shit


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