private-dancer.jpg“God help us if there is a war”, my father used to say looking at Top Of The Pops on television. I could no hear him of course, as I had my fingers in my ears to protect them from the Saville peddled filth, but I could lip read and did not understand. God would indeed be helping us if there was a war, as these terrible young pop musicians might get drafted, and then killed as they would be rubbish soldiers. OK, we might lose the war, but as I have mentioned previously the single redeeming factor of the Taliban was their hatred of music*.

No many a quiet hour has been whittled away thinking of the Kaiser Chiefs as a group in World War I, stuck in a trench facing impending doom (from the English of course, the Kaiser Chief’s clearly being on Bismarck’s side). But I don’t have to imagine much, as many a pop star has had pretensions of life in the services. Take Tina Turner’s brief spell in khaki after all: Private Dancer.

When I first heard about Private Dancer I thought it would be an amusing fish out of water comedy like Goldie Hawn’s Private Benjamin. Instead it was an unamusing comeback album about as welcome as an appearance by Nine Inch Nails at a Royal Variety Performance. Just when the world was full of raspy voiced big haired rock stars, the (acid) queen on BIG HAIR and RASPY VOICE came back on the scene. Trialing a post-apocalyptic look years before Mad Max 3, she also trialed a post-apocalyptic dystopian sound. Well what else would you call working with Mark Knopfler.

Private Dancer is not about a soldier who likes to don a tutu and do a bit of Swan Lake. It is about a lady who dances for money in a men’s strip joint. Which conjured up the horrific thought of Tina naked. Long before the Tina Turner movie, What’s Love Got To Do With It we were well aware of Ike Turner’s abusive contribution to their relationship. Well he wasn’t in it just to have a looker on his arm. Imagine you had gone to a Spearmint Rhino**, and banged down your fifty dollars only to get a geriatric foghorn with a polyester wig out writhing around a pole. There’s a reason she was a Private Dancer. Nobody else would want to be in the room with her.

*Of course their hatred of GIN would be a mitigating factor, so much so that after The Cooper Temple Cause were mown down in a hail of automatic fire, I would happily join up. And anyone who has ever met me would agree that you don’t want to be on the wrong end of my ire. Look what happened to James Brown.

**A name which can only ever conjure the idea of a a particularly unambitious British indie band being speared by said creature. Which is a lovely image.