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Craig David

JAMES the tour manager has just reminded Thalia the make-up woman that Craig the popstar has to be ready for the pre-gig press conference at 4pm.

The presence of Danish television camera crews necessitate Thalia’s presence – some of us have an image to keep up – although David doesn’t seem to need much work. He looks far healthier than any man in the latter stages of a European tour has any right to. He’s positively glowing.

Craig David is the most promising singer/songwriter this country has produced in years. He’s got an effortlessly lovely and soulful voice, he knows how to write a decent pop lyric, he’s young, good looking and suddenly he is everywhere.

“There’s all this fuss being made and I’m just thinking, I’m just this guy from Southampton who writes a few songs. It’s a bit surreal, to be honest,” he says, visibly perplexed by it all.

Sometimes it seems like Craig David is the living, breathing embodiment of multicultural Britain at its wholesome best, with his flawless coffee-coloured skin and catchy soulful ghetto-pop. At the very least, he’s a pin-up boy for a generation of teens. Unlike previous UK soul contenders such as, say, Mark Morrison or even Omar, Craig David is about as threatening as Sir Cliff Richard.

Thalia diligently pads away at David’s face, stopping when he waves his hands around. She doesn’t seem to be doing much, some white stuff goes on and then instantly disappears under her brush. A brown smear, a shade or two darker than David’s skin-tone, goes on and vanishes just as quickly. We all swap over halfway through so she can do the other side of this face.

A homegrown and wholesome British talent, David doesn’t drink – apart from an occasional glass of wine – doesn’t smoke and doesn’t take drugs. The only chink in his careful diplomacy comes when he says he “hates” smoking. He doesn’t even swear – “knackered” is about as close as he gets.

But he’s looking good on it.

Unlike the crazy kamikaze nut-job who created Wired For Sound, Craig David still lives with his mum in Hampshire – if the 19-year-old globetrotter can be said to live anywhere. And rather than talking about sharing Mistletoe & Wine with all mankind, he talks about sharing Champagne and jacuzzis with all the ladies.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, interviews

Never Gonna Let You Go by Tina Moore (RCA)

I’D BEEN down to the Ministry of Sound a couple of times previously, when it was still a booze-free zone, but in 1994 a big bunch of us from Leeds, Manchester and Burnley went down for a party in London one weekend and ended up in Elephant & Castle on Saturday night.

None of us were particularly impressed with the place – there was a long queue, it was expensive to get in, the music wasn’t great, it seemed to be full of twats and Australians – so the next time someone had a house party back up north, they printed up some invites with the name Ministry of Shite on them.

See what they did there?

Me and Earnshaw liked the name so much we used it when we started putting on all-nighters at an old mansion house in north Leeds a year or so later. The place was owned by a friend of the guy who ran Dream FM – in fact we had the studio there for a while – and I’d been to a few parties there already. Martin lived on the top floor, rented out the middle floor and kept the ground floor as a two-room party venue, complete with a pretty tidy custom-made soundsystem.

Since the mansion wasn’t strictly – or indeed, remotely – licensed, Martin was a bit nervous about money changing hands on the door, so we ripped off the Ministry of Sound portcullis logo, replaced the word ‘sound’ with ‘shite’ in punk rock blackmail lettering, and flogged the invites for a fiver, upfront. We had to hire a bouncer as well, just in case.

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Filed under hip replacement, house music