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24 September 2014
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TOTP Online

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Where Are They now?

Do you think the music industry has changed much since you started out?
Pete: I really haven't paid too much attention to be honest. All I know is that this time around, more people are willing to talk to me. I mean, I'd never been invited on Blue Peter or any kids show before. This time I've had the opportunity to talk and explain things to people and they realise there's actually a brain in my head. I also think the fact that I've survived and kept doing what I've done independently has earned me a certain amount of respect. From my perspective it's easier to function inside the music industry. At least now, I can talk to people as an adult, whereas in the '80s I was spoken to like I was a silly little child. And, I guess I was.

Are you still in touch with Pete Waterman at all?
Pete: Yeah, he sends me the odd email from time to time and we were going to work with him again at the beginning of the year, but he was too busy doing pizza commercials to fit us in. I have very, very fond memories of the days working with him. It was stressful at times, after our first success, which was also his first legitimate No.1 record, the world just exploded around him. Of course, he didn't know how long all that was going to last, so he just grabbed every project possible around him and it became very difficult to squeeze us in. We had to go eventually, he was concentrating on Kylie, Jason and Sonia and there was just no time to fit us in. It was a shame, as we were a band that had gone to him, we wrote our own music and had our own image. But it was easier for him to write songs for other people, get them in for fifteen minutes and send them home, you know.

Tell us more about the Blue Peter performance as well. How did that come about?
Pete: They were doing a programme about the hits of Stock, Aitken and Waterman, so I did an interview for that and then they realised I could string two words together and that I was, you know, civilised, so they asked me to come and perform on the show. Everybody has always wanted a Blue Peter badge and I got two!

What was your first Top Of The Pops performance like?
Pete: Oh, it was a shock! I didn't think we were ever going to get on. Our record had been going up the chart, down the chart, out of the chart and back in again, but it just hit one position and we were asked on. I think someone must have broken a leg or something. Anyway, it just exploded from there. It's one of those institutions as a child that you dream of getting on to. I was very, very nervous, but we soon got used to it. We were on several times with that record and that definitely pushed us into the big lead. The very first time I appeared, I was wearing a Vivienne Westwood, acid yellow man's leotard. It was disgusting and it looked like I had a bag of onions down my crotch, but that's Vivienne Westwood for you!

What is it that drives your image and who inspires you?
Pete: It's a natural self-expression. I think too many people are repressed about their image or they just don't get the chance to have that form of self-expression. If I couldn't look the way I do, I'd be an incredibly unhappy person or an alcoholic or drug addict. I decorate my homes all the time, as soon as I get bored with things I change it and that's what I do to myself. What you see on the outside is what is on the inside, my body is merely a vehicle for is the real me. If you own a car, you change that every few years, and that's just what I'm doing with my appearance. There's isn't anyone that influences my image changes, but I do really like Vivienne Westwood designs. She's a true designer and every event that's happened in my life I've been wearing Vivienne's clothes. As early as 1976, I got the sack from my first jon as a hairdresser because I was wearing Vivienne Westwood's clothes. I couldn't get another job because I was always wearing her designs at job interviews. That kinda forced me to open a shop of my own, making copies of her designs. And then when the punk movement came along I used to go to a club called Erick's, and the manager loved the way I looked so much that he said he'd not let me in again unless I formed a band. So, it's just snowballed from there really.

If you had the opportunity to style someone else, who would you pick and what would you do to them?
Pete: Hmm, give me a minute. Oh, I don't know really, it would be almost rude to do that wouldn't it? Then, again that's how stylists function in this industry, although it's beyond my comprehension how people can bring in people to dress them that don't even know who they really are. There's nobody I could pinpoint and say that I could re-style them, it's not my job to criticise!

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