She started to stand, but the young man, putting down the drinks, blocked her escape. She sat back down heavily, and put her head in her hands.
” You are Candy Lush.” It was not a question.
She looked up into his eyes. She saw there was no escaping it. She nodded ever so slightly.
” I was… a very long time ago.”
“My sister had your poster on her wall, I remember it. Great name by the way, Candy Lush and the Sugar Rush. It’s does exactly what it says on the tin.”
“Not my idea, the management came up with it. I hated it!”
“I bet you did. I bet you hated the schoolgirl look too.”
“I had no control. I was what they made me. Just a puppet. The band… I didn’t even know them. Just a random group of session musicians… Dragged up and painted by numbers.”
Candy Lush and The Sugar Rush. A rave from the grave, daring in the mid-90’s, with the real schoolgirl lead singer and a group of lads dragged up in long frocks and bouffant wigs, a mixture of altered images, with a hint of Queen, and just a little froth of The Archies and Sweet. The A and R man’s wet dream. An Antidote to the Spice Girls. Whilst they were forever spouting the vacuous phrase, Girl Power! Candy Lush was pouting provocatively, with her spiky hair and spiky attitude, and singing songs about sugar. Old and trite covers of Sugar, Sugar, and a punked up version of Sugar me by Lynsey de Paul. It was a different time, the management now used as an old tired excuse… But there is no excusing the deliberate sexualisation of a young fourteen year old girl from the sticks.
The “Band” had three top ten hits, a number one album, The Sugar Rush… The vacant premise that all the songs contained the word sugar in them.
Marketing people, remember the words of Bill Hicks,
“Kill Yourselves! There is no rationalisation for what you do, You are satan’s little helper’s Kill yourself!”
It was a horrible idea, a sickly saccharine, sexually obscene and abusive idea, dreamt up by a deeply disturbed Manager, who had took Charlotte under his wing, when he had happened upon her in a school production of “Annie”. His presence in the audience had been an accident, his niece was in the chorus, and his brother had thought he might find her good enough for pop stardom. His niece had no talent, but the lead… Charlotte had played Annie. He talked to her parents and sold them on the idea, that there little Charlotte could become Britain’s answer to Britney Spears. In a cartoon version of this consultation… pound signs would be rolling in the parent’s eyes… They were hooked. Charlotte however, hated the idea. She liked singing alright, but she didn’t want to be Britney Spears, she wanted to be Siouxsie Sioux. And she didn’t want to be a perverts wet dream. She wanted to be in a band, playing real rock music… She wanted to kick ass not kiss it.
Thus, came the sugar rush element. Paddy, the Manager, would-be Svengali, had invited Charlotte and her parents down to London and had presented the band as a fait au compli. They had not been dragged up at the time, They had looked like any young rock band. They had acted leery and knowing, but in truth, they were being manipulated by the management as much as Charlotte.
They had been sold on the idea of the band, by Paddy saying, “Guys it will be amazing, you’ll see,
just like Blondie…”
“I fucking hate Blondie.” Steve the would-be lead guitarist had said. He had been pulled to one side, and sent packing. A new more malleable guitarist had been swept in. Meet Mike, he plays like a dream.
So the dream began. They rehearsed. In the beginning, there was no question of covering sugar songs. It was all very run of the mill. The band liked Charlotte’s voice, but were concerned that she was too young to be fronting a rock band. Charlotte wore gothic black clothes all the time. The band were in the generic look of the time. Jeans and band t-shirts… The usual suspects… Nirvana, Blur, Oasis, Ramones. They tried covering old punk classics, “Up bondage up yours” “Stone Heroes” “Christine”, all great songs but not exactly suitable fare for a fourteen year old girl to be singing.
Paddy watched the band rehearse and thought they were great and that Charlotte was brillant… But!
The inevitable but… They needed an angle. He would have to think.