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24 September 2014
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Where Are They now?
Ever wondered what happened to Owen Paul?

In 1986 Owen Paul sprang from nowhere (well Glasgow, actually) to take his second single 'My Favourite Waste Of Time' to No.3 in the charts. Sporting a mullet that should have seen Paul arrested for crimes against hair, Owen charmed the nation with his guitar-laden jangle-pop, only to disappear within a year, declaring that he was gonna do it his way. Since then he's jumped back on the bandwagon, and was recently filmed getting severe grief from his own neighbours from hell (well Beverley Hills, actually).

TOTP2 has scoured the pop world's nooks and crannies, even looking down the back of celebrity's grubbiest sofas to ascertain the whereabouts of the man with two first names - here's what we discovered.

It could have all been very different for Owen Paul McGee. The young Scotsman was all geared up to play football, apprenticed to Celtic, when he caught a whiff of Sid Vicious and thought "I want some of that!"

"I was fifteen and it was around the time of the punk boom," says Owen. "I was still on the books at celtic, but everybody was forming bands, and I got roped in. I couldn't play an instrument but I could make a good noise and to everybody's surprise, including my own. Immediately I heard punk I knew I had to stop playing football."

Considering the fact that Owen's brother Brian went on to form Simple Minds, the move from football to music made sense. Paul moved to London to be involved with a number of lesser known punk and new romantic bands, before getting his big break on BBC2's Oxford Roadshow. At which point Owen must have thought that this was the start of something big. He was half right.

Although his first single 'Please To Meet You' flopped, it was his follow up that proved to be pivotal moment in what turned out to be a short-lived career, beset with niggles. One such niggle was an embarrassing TV appearance featuring Owen plus backing band standing around having a cosy chat when they should have been miming. He may as well have been smoking a fag while trying to keep a football up in the air - it would have been more impressive.

'My Favourite Waste Of Time' shot to No.3, but it became obvious that something wasn't quite right for Owen. "I was on Top Of The Pops", recalls Owen, "and flying around the place and for a lot of people it would have been a dream come true." OK, so there's a "But" lurking here somewhere, right? "But it was going in a direction I didn’t want. It felt to me as if it was killing what I had to offer."

No sooner had his debut album seen the light of shop shelves, Owen's fights with label Sony grew more intense, and by the close of 1986, Owen Paul had publicly turned his back on music. Paul explains: "Everybody thought I was insane, but to me it was obvious. I couldn’t express myself in that environment . If I had been attracted by fame it would have been different. But I wasn’t. If I couln’t make the music I wanted and be happy within myself, I wasn’t going to do it."

Owen's behaviour may well be enough to turn Gareth Gates' hair white, but just as suprising is what Paul opted for next. Owen partnered up with old friend Charles B. Lewis, and between them they embarked on all manner of business ventures, including the development of Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and Warner Village.

It doesn't end there either. Through his ventures, Owen found the time and money to begin his vision of making music his way. However, the forces of darkness have already pitted themselves against Owen. An episode of the storming hit series The Osbournes features a long distance food fight between Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and their neighbour, whose loud music prompted the rockers to pelt his house with abuse, wood and oddly enough, meat. That neighbour was Owen Paul, which begs the question, "Was that his music?" Hmm...

Dark forebodings aside, Owen is on the verge of showing people his new musical vision. "I always said, I would never make a record again, unless I had the freedom to make the record I wanted." And the time is almost nigh, we can only hope, we can only hope it's still his favourite waste of time, it clearly wasn't the Osbournes'.

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