Ah – the east. The mysteries of old China, the lure of exotic spices, the charms of the orient. Or alternatively my old china, smelling of Old Spice and supporting the charming Leyton Orient – why if it isn’t those charming young chaps East 17. Sorry, you’re right. It isn’t those charming young chaps East 17 because there is certainly nothing charming about the borstal rejects that made up this postcode named band.

Many bands have a clearly demarked set of ranking between individual roles of the members. In the Beatles this split nicely between instruments, whereas in Queen even the songwriting was equally well spread (imagine finding four songwriters that poor). In East 17 the roles were likewise split: Tony Mortimer wrote the songs and sang most of them, Brian Harvey sung the rest and was in charge of moronic comments, whilst the other two were in charge of dancing and looking very, very ugly. There was a time in this country when East 17 were the second biggest pin-up band in the country, which is remarkable when you looked at how genuinely unattractive they were. I suppose there is a possibility that some people liked Tony Mortimer’s rough boy looks, or Brian Harvey’s puppy fat face. But the other two, who had no role at all in the band, surely they were only allowed in so they could earn enough to get reconstructive surgery. To look like proper orang-utans.

Even if Tony Mortimer was not as ugly as his band mates his ugly tunes more than made up for it. Their breakthrough hit House Of Love is only notable for being a bigger hit than House Of Love by the House Of Love. On top of the pops their gimmick was that Mortimer played his keyboard on an ironing board. Ironic now since he runs a laundry out in East Ham. The band had an amusing logo of a dog – possibly related to the dog track in their native Walthamstow. There are further canine connections of course, if you bought their first album you would certainly feel like you had been sold a pup. This album also contained Deep – a deeply funny song about sex quite clearly made by people who had never had sex. It was all about getting down deep and mucky – but the song merely promoted a deep sense of nausea.

Later songs which played with being risqué included Steam – a song which had all the sexual suggestiveness of inhaling a bowl of Friars Balsam. ‘Outside its raining but inside its wet’ the lyrics went. I suggest you shut your window then.

East 17 were truly despicable – and the band name was probably used just so they could be given directions home the morning after. The only number one ver 17 ever had was the sickly sweet ‘Stay Another Day’ – a cynical little number Mortimer penned about his brother who topped himself. Was he sharing a room while Mortimer was songwriting? Unfortunately soon after the band decided not to stay another day – about a day after Harvey admitted to regularly necking eight or ten ecstacy tablets a night. This bravado not only showed how stupid Harvey was – but also that he plainly had never taken a drug in his life. Unlike his girlfriend Daniella Westbrook who took a lot of cocaine, and from recent tabloid photos was also taken by Harvey – up the nose.