Diary from Just Seventeen, 12th July 1984


The week beginning June 18th was a special one for this man. After a gap of more than a year he was back in the charts with Those First Impressions by The Associates. Wendy Varley caught up with him at the end of a hectic five days and found out exactly how he'd filled his time.

I got up at about 11 o'clock. When I'm in Dundee I stay with my mum 'cause she's such a laugh and she mollycoddles me, which I absolutely adore. My little brother and I talked about Lloyd Cole & The Commotions who we'd seen the night before at Fat Sam's, a club in Dundee. My brother went and bought their single, so we gave that two or three spins.
I was meant to come down to London and do a radio show - Collector's Choice - but I had a cold and couldn't make it. So mommy (heh heh!) made me some honey and lemon and I sat sipping that all afternoon and watched TV.
Roberto, the bass player with The Associates and Ian, the guitarist, came up to see how I was. I felt a bit stuffy, so we had a walk up in the hills to exercise the dogs - three whippets. The fresh air made me hungry, so when I got home I had what's called a ''pudding supper" out of the chip shop. It's oatmeal in a kind of batter. It's delicious.
Me and my sisters (Elizabeth's 22 and Helen's 18) looked through some old clothes books, then I conked out and went to bed.

That's when the charts came out. I didn't get up till 12 o'clock. Ian and Roberto came round and said, "You're number 44 and you've to do Top of the Pops on Thursday." I was excited about that and had to think what to wear. There's a shop in Arbroath that sells 50's clothing, so Elizabeth and I jumped in the car and went there. But I didn't find anything, so we had dinner - fish and things - by the sea.
I came back into Dundee and found a nice 60's jacket. Then I saw a girlfriend I used to go out with who'd come up to the house to visit. We had a giggle about the times a crowd of us went to futurist clubs in Dundee.
That evening my uncles and myself went up to Uncle Rory's house and had this amazing Scrabble match; I came third. They were going ''What are the girls like down in London?" and "If I were in your shoes I'd have a different girl every day. I hope you're carrying on oor tradition." I says, "Yeah Uncle Rory," and he says, "Remember to look after yoursel', and you know what I mean aboot that." And my aunty was on the couch giving him dirty looks!

I had to come down to London. Vanessa, my niece, woke me up going "Bil-ly, Bil-ly," 'cause she'd heard my song on the radio. She's only two-and-a-half, but she's already going to be a singer. Then she jumped in beside me, but I had to put her out again 'cause I didn't have any pants on. She's a wee fly' thing.
I ran my bath, but my brother dived into the bathroom and used my water, going, "You're not getting in, you're not getting in! You've got to catch a plane!"
Elizabeth took me to Dundee airport. The flight took two hours and when I got to Heathrow I was starving. I got met by John from the record company and we went to the Brasserie in the Old Brompton Road. I had a big steak 'cause my grannies are always going: "Eat your meat when you go down there son. Pack it into ye." And right enough, it gives me a good energy boost.
When I'm in London I stay in Clapham with my aunts and uncles, I was telling them about John in the bathroom and how I was going to twist his ears off.
I went to see my friend Alan the artist. He's done The Associates' sleeves. I was saying that we'd got the band rehearsed for some dates, and he sketched a few designs for the stage and talked about new single sleeves.
I was quite late and I passed in to see a girl I know. And then... I can't really say what happened then. We had a cup of coffee, then I went home.

Dring dring. Nine o'clock. I had son Special K and got my little case together and my toothbrush and shaving foam. At Top of the Pop I, met Roberto, Ian, Steve, who's written some songs on album, and Christine his girlfriend. We sat in the dressing room. I still had a cold, so I had some Venos, then we had a run through upstairs. I met Gary Glitter, who's an all-time hero. I thought it was amazing that I was doing the same Top of the Pops as Gary Glitter. We had a good laugh in his dressing room. I'm going to do a cover version of one of his songs. I went to speak to Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, and in between times had something to eat in the canteen.
I was feeling a wee bit wobbly and jellyfish with the Venos before I went on, so I was trying to contain it.
After the show - this is the pop star's life coming out here - me and Christine gave Gary a bottle of champagne. He corked it open and we had a good old bevvy. I was talking Simon Bates; he's quite a nice chap. Then we heard that Steve Strange was having a party, so we piled in a cab and went along.
It was very crowded. I met Janice Long. She was great, actually. I think she likes to enjoy herself and I like to be around people who are fun-loving. I met lots of people, but I'm not going to name drop.
Howard - The Associates' pianist and me did a Billie Holliday song called God Bless The Child. I was a bit tipsy, I must admit. Ian and Roberto were going to their hotel, so I went with them. I was meant to go back to Clapham, but I was so tired that I just got in bed. They were all yapping and eating Kentucky Fried Rabbit or something.

They said, "Wakey wakey Billy, wakey wakey! You'd better get back to Clapham." I'd had three hours sleep. I'd still got the cold and was feeling really dreadful. I got a taxi to Clapham and went to bed again.
At half past ten I got a phone call from my press officer to come to the record company and do this. I kept thinking "Just another five minutes. Afterwards I've got a meeting with the photographer who did The Associates single sleeve. Then I've to see some people from the record company. I manage myself, because I know what I want.
Tonight I'll be going home, and then going to the whippet racing on Sunday then probably Fat Sam 's Sunday night and the whole thing will start again.