They've taken a little time and now the Beautiful South's Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott are back. Marion McMullen reports:
Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas turned up to put in a hilarious turn in the video for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott’s new single DIY.
The track from their new album What Have We Become is the first time the duo have been on record together since the multi-million selling days of The Beautiful South.
Johnny offered to direct the music video for DIY and even turned flasher for one shot.
Paul had to be covered in silver paint to become a living statue for a day. “I had silver paint in my ears and everywhere,” he admits, “I looked like those mime artists and buskers. It was quite an experience, but I had to keep still and keep my mouth shut for the day – and that was very, very difficult for me.”
Paul and Johnny are friends and Paul has written music for him in the past so the funnyman got in touch and offered to direct the music video as a favour.
The result is a funny taster of the new album, which is out on Monday, before the duo head to Birmingham Institute on May 30.
Paul says: “Working with Jacqui again was like going into your garage and discovering a beautiful, covered up Rolls Royce that hadn’t been started in years. Jacqui is one of the best singers I’ve worked with and is also part of my past. It was only a matter of time before I asked her. I always wrote songs with Jacqui in mind.
“Even before I met her I pictured a voice that could carry the songs into people’s hearts in a particular way. When I first heard her sing I almost laughed because it was so right for the songs.”
What Have We Become is a wonderful contemporary record, full of lyrical wit and humour, while retaining a strong social conscience that touches on the changing social landscape of Britain with tracks like One Man’s England and When I Get Back To Blighty. The Snowman and Some Dancing To Do deal with issues of loss.
Paul says working with Jacqui again just feels right and says: “Her voice is fantastic and she picks harmonies out so easily.”
It was Jacqui’s voice that impressed Paul when he first met her. “I was outside a nightclub and my friend spotted him and said there’s Paul Heaton over there,” remembers Jacqui with a grin. “I just said ‘Alright.’ I was 19, I wanted to go home and didn’t have much money, but she insisted on talking to him and prompted me to sing in for him – which I did. I think there was a bit of alcohol involved.
“He heard my voice and said he liked it and it was nice but I thought ‘he’s not going to remember me,’ but about a year and a half later they came and found me. It blew my mind.
“I was actually working in a mini-mart putting spuds up on the shelf when I was asked to audition.”
Both Paul and Jacqui are now looking forward to performing the new songs live in Birmingham while Paul insists his interest in music is as strong as ever.
“I’m not going to stop now,” he laughs, “I speak too much and I’m too opinionated. Everything inspires me.
“The people I see in the street or passing by. I make up stories about them and write them down. I never have writer’s block.”
* Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott will perform at Birmingham’s Institute on May 30. The gig is sold out. For returns tel: 0844 844 0444.
Source - Birmingham Mail