Originally Published: December 16, 1978

Alice sucks a big one

Author: Dave McCullough

Alice was staying in The Hilton. Room 152 to be precise. The man at reception said that Mr.Cooper was expecting me. Excellent! I was flattered by the tought. "Hi! You must be Eric! Come right in. My name's Kenny! I'm Alice's tour manager!" Tha man was fat and terminally blow-dried, a sort of male Lucille Ball. Alice was being interview by some girl from Ritz. "And how does it feel to be a sex symbol, Alice?" "Well, Lucinda..." And it went on and on and on.

Bernie Taupin was present and correct as well, looking very chic in his cute little bare feet and puffing tenderly at a chic cigar. At last my turn and Alice suggests a change of scenario, so we make for the adjoining bed-room. "Hi! I'm Kenny. I'm Alice's tour manager!..." This person 'sits in' on the conversation while assorted overfed Americans breeze in and out during my, ahem, 'alotted time'. So what's the scam Alice? Why ya here?

"We're just here to do interviews and things, y'know". I see. "I mean, I don't mind doing them." Bernie swoops mechanically in with a chic nod of affirmation. "It's just that everybody always asks me the same questions."

Rising to the bait, I told him he was an irrelevant, over-the-hill, bland Americano-style twerp.

"Uh huh? I dunno...Bernie?"

Bernie opens his eyes for what I think must have been the first time that day and stares glassily at me: "Mmm. I think you're talking a load of crap really. You're stupid."

Kenny, the tour manager, smooths things over by giving the three of us a concise history of rock and roll and Alice's part in its inception, development and future. I'm tired. Alice slips in his twopenn'orth:

"As you probably know I spent three months in New York loony-bin recently and when I came out I just wanted to write and I had only one person in mind that I wanted to write with and that was Bernie".

Rilly? That's nice. Bernie don't like me. I think he'd like to set me on fire with his chic cigar. They go on to boast about how distasteful they think the new album is and how Alice STILL frightens little girls at airports and how Alice is one of the few "real punk rockers" in the world.

"I mean I would have loved it if the Sex Pistols single had cracked the American charts, but..."

Bernie kicks the ball into the net: "Alice was doing that sort of thing years ago...and all these punk bands will be cleaning the streets this time next week."

How much did you get for The Muppets appearence?

"That was so enjoyable!" He won't tell me. He treats his erstwhile alcoholism with so much levity and scorn that I can't get anywhere near what he really feels or thinks.

Are you going to see any of the young English bands while you're in town?

Alice: "We haven't really had the time, but we're thinking of going to Eric Clapton tonight".

It's difficult not to laugh. He tells me he loves Scottish accents and that I talk just like Davey Johnstone who's in his band and is a really nice guy. Alice, do you not realise you don't sell records over here anymore?

"Uh. That's not true. I remember the last time we played here..."

When was that?

"Oh, it must have been 1975..."

Enough. He tells me he rilly enjoyed "that". We shake hands. I leave. But I forget my scarf. I go back. I hear Bernie talking. "What a shit-head. What a load of crap". I hear Alice. "He's okay. He's got balls...

Dave McCullough (who's Irish not Scottish anyway, but does have a disturbing habit of replying to anything you say with a loud - and often drunken - 'excellent')