Saturday, 24 October 2015

Guilty Pleasures (Part 9)


I always thought Boney M were brilliant and subversive. I know they were manufactured and all but so what? Does anyone still care about such things these days?
I've nothing at all against ABBA but at a time when the IRA were at war with the British State did they ever sing a song about Belfast? No - but Boney M did. At the height of the Cold War did ABBA ever sing "I see mushrooms, atomic mushrooms. I see rockets, missiles in the sky. We kill the world - Don't kill the world."? No - but Boney M did. At a time when Bob Marley was considered to be a 'political' singer, did ABBA ever cover any of his songs? No - but Boney M did. And was I just imagining it or did Boney M make Painter Man by The Creation their own and turn it into an anti-fascist anthem (a painter man being what Adolf Hitler was before he started his career in dictatorship)?

I remember seeing Boney M (or a version of them, at least) some years ago at Gay Pride in Amsterdam. There I was, skipping and dancing away amongst a thousand gay men, all singing along to Brown Girl In The Ring (tra la la la la - she looks like sugar in a plum - plum! plum!) and mid-song Bobby Farrell made a short speech from the stage, urging us all to love foreign gay people as much as we love ourselves because they're not as strong or as confident as us and they need our support. "Will you do that for me?" asked Bobby. He himself was originally from Aruba but was by then a resident of Amsterdam where as you might imagine, he was treated like royalty.
Did Cliff Richard ever make such a speech at one of his concerts? No - but Bobby Farrell did.

And talking of Bobby Farrell, wasn't he one of the greatest dancers ever? Wasn't he so obviously born to dance? Did he not blaze like a comet with the wind at his heels?

And so, Boney M are playing at the Exmouth Pavilion next month (or a version of them, at least). Bobby Farrell won't be there as he sadly passed away a few years ago and of course, any version of Boney M without him is like a house without books, or a body without a soul. So should I go to see them? Let's go to YouTube and just remind ourselves of them for a moment, shall we?

The problem with playing just one song by Boney M is that you immediately want to play another and there's such a choice to be made. Let's run with it...

Oh, I just can't stop...

Fuck it. I'm going to see them. They're even being supported by ABBA tribute act GimmeGimmeGimme, which just about seals it. It's like a Don Corleone offer that you can't refuse. I'll be digging out my sequinned cat suit and cape from the back of the cupboard, taking a load of amyl nitrate and I'll be dancing crazy like a fool. See you there, windowlickers.


  1. Ah, this post had me smiling, and I just love the way you write here John. Indeed you have convinced me to go and listen to Ma Baker again. That was good, wasn't it... was it? I need reminding.
    Enjoy the show!

    1. Thank you, C. I'll tell you what, it's interesting when you ask people if they ever liked Boney M as you always seem to get interesting replies and reactions. It's interesting as well, particularly if they admit to liking Boney M, to ask what song (or songs) of their's they like best. It's a kind of off-the-wall question when asked out of the blue anyway, so you tend to get off-the-wall responses.Try it out.
      And yes, Ma Baker's good too.