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29 October 2014
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David
Phillip Steggles (aka Haigh) from Ruby Flipper reminisces about his dancing days on Top Of The Pops...

Tell us how Ruby Flipper came about...
 Well, Flick Colby decided she'd had enough of Pan's People after eight years. She thought it was time for a change and anyone aspiring to be a dancer at the time heard about it. I was 20 and I'd been working with BBC's Young Generation under Nigel Lithgoe [aka Nasty Nigel] and I had danced on things like the Vince Hill, Shirley Bassey and Vera Lynn series. Flick wanted to form a new group and she thought the natural progression was to introduce boys. She had an excellent reputation and being American, she knew that Saturday Night Fever and Grease were around the corner and knew that disco dancing for men was going to be big.

So how did you get into the group?
 The whole dancing world heard about the auditions. It was like Popstars today, thousands upon thousands went to the auditions. Nobody knew exactly what it was for though. After three auditions, Flick managed to whittle it down to me and a friend who I danced with in Young Generation. It was a bit embarrassing when I got the job, but he's actually the choreographer of Star in Their Eyes now. In the final line up there were four girls and three boys, unlike any other group at the time. She then said that she wanted us all to have our own individual look. In Pan's People they'd all worn the same things each week and she thought that looked a bit dated. So, I got the job in March 1976 and we then rehearsed for two months, to see if we all gelled. When Flick was happy that we were all the right people, Ruby Flipper made its debut in May with The Stylistics.

Do you remember your debut?
Definitely, it was a magical time anyway. 'Dancing Queen' was number one, you had Elton and Kiki Dee's 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', Candi Staton 'Young Hearts Run Free'...tracks you can still hear on the radio everyday.

Did you ever get to meet any of your heroes?
Well, meeting Cliff Richard was pretty great. He was giving out 'I'm Nearly Famous' t-shirts at the time, with the release of his new album, and everyone in Ruby Flipper got one. That was great. You were meeting great acts every week, but at that age - 18 or 19 - it didn't really sink in. We were so busy as well, so we never had time to stop and think about all the artists we were working along-side. Of course, now I look back and think...my God, WOW!


Next

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  Erasure  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  INXS  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  Dollar  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, you’re playing me like a bitchy queen and I’m not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  Marilyn  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  Oasis  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we weren’t playing live."  


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