FEATURE CLARE GROGAN
Clare Grogan: a taste tor tltm buttocks
24 The List 9- I 5 Atig I996
Catapulted into the Scottish psyche with her leading roles in Gregory ’3 Girl and as the pixie of pOp in Altered Images, Clare Grogan is resurfacing on the Fringe. She confesses her mistakes to Eddie Gibb.
y her own reckoning Clare Grogan
is still best remembered for her first
acting role as the sixth form
scductress Susan in Gt'egm'_\"s Girl.
Bill Forsyth's brilliant romantic
comedy which perfectly captured the trials of adolescence at a time when American director John Hughes (Pretty In Pink. Breakfast Club) ruled the teen-angst market. That was sixteen years ago. and as she prepares to appear in one of those featherweight comedy plays that flourish during the Fringe. the unkind question to ask Grogan is ‘Wbat went wrong?’
'Given that she is still as charming. delicate and goddamned cute as the girl who stole Gregory‘s heart from under the turned tip nose of bella blonde Dee Hepburn. it‘s a question that prompts a rapid loss of bottle from your correspondent. Instead. a swift glance at her CV supplies part of the answer. while indirectly Grogan fills in the blanks.
As Glasgow‘s ‘pixie of pop'. Grogan fronted the then fashionany twee band Altered Images. whose number two hit ‘Happy Birthday’ in l98l was virtually guaranteed air play for ever more due to its title alone. When Tony the Tiger bit 40 recently. it was that sugar-coated tune which Kellogg's used in the celebratory Frosties
_more single-mindedly ambitious person might
have capitalised on existing fame. Grogan opted to head back to Glasgow to ‘decorate my lIat’. With hindsight. this premature domestication may have cost her a stab at A-list stardom in American TV-land.
‘I made a lot of bad judgments.‘ admits Grogan. ‘I went through a phase [in the mid- 80s] when I got really attached to being at home. I was in a position fora long time when amazing things just didn't stop happening to me and it lulls you into a false sense of security. I got asked to do a sitcom in the States and at that point I couldn‘t contemplate going to Los Angeles for a year on my own. I didn’t realise I was turning down something that who knows if it’ll be offered again. btit success makes you cocky. I went home to Glasgow to do nothing for two years and go out with my friends. It was quite difficult to come back at the end of that and say “I’m ready to do that sitcom now" when it was too late.‘
Despite the occasional ‘what if’ moment. Grogan isn‘t sure if she would even take that call now. Instead she has built a solid career as a supporting actress in television series from Taggart and R(’(l Dwarf to Father Ted. Her involvement in the early-80s upbeat pop boom
also landed her a VJ role
‘I left [Altered Images] becausel on MTV's retro sister
ad. For Grogan and the wanted to have a boymend and a" the channel VHl. playing
band it "101"" “‘5‘3'“ thingslhadn’t had the chance to do
everything from the
success. which faded - Shanvri—Las to V . . when people my age were gomg out and C ‘
almost as qtuckly. sno in the faces 0" as man en '8 Blancmange. Those who
‘A lot of people thought 99 g m M , v p p consider fronting
I left because I wanted as W co" ' Altered Images as no
this amazing solo career.‘
she remembers. ‘but that was the farthest thing from my mind. I left because I wanted to have a boyfriend and all the things I hadn‘t had the chance to do when people my age were going out and snogging the faces off as many people as they could.’
Did she make tip for lost time'.’ ‘I never really did. no.’ laughs Grogan. ‘I had great intentions and I failed miserably.‘ So miserably did she fail. that some years later Grogan ended tip marrying the Altered Image guitarist Stephen Lironi who had been within easy snogging distance all along. had she but realised it. Now Lironi. an up-and-coming record producer. and the missus divide their time between Glasgow and the career necessity of a London flat. ‘I think the day we decide to have babies would be the point we found the but-an-ben beside Loch Lomond.‘ Grogan adds.
It's an entertaining irony to discover that while Susan in Gregory-iv Girl became the ultimate snog fantasy for a generation of adolescent males who related to John Gordon Sinclair’s total inability to stay cool in the presence of any female younger than his granny. Grogan felt she was missing ottt on her own share of teenage fumbling.
Finding herself at a career crossroads. when a
badge of musical credibility might be interested to know that Grogan was recently in the studio with former Nirvana producer Steve Albini supplying backing vocals.
IIer regular TV work suggests that whatever Grogan's motive for accepting a part in a show called Lat/y Alﬁe/78”! Fir/net] My Buttocks — in which a production of the Scottish play and an exercise class become hopelesst entangled — it ain‘t money. This will be her first time at the Fringe. and she appears to have accepted the part for no better reason than it might be a laugh. ‘I have never had a big desire to be taken seriously in anything. but I love to work.’ she says.
It turned into more of a work-out. in fact. with
Grogan playing an aerobics teacher. ‘I have become really body conscious.' she says. ‘It is something I have never really thought about before. bttt in this show I am in Lycra all the time.‘ If nothing else. this could be her chance to shake off that schoolgirl image ofSusan after all these years. Lat/r Mae/)et/t Fir/net! My Buttoeks, Reservoir Kittens (Fringe) Gilt/ed Balloon. Edinburgh. ()13/ 226 215/. 10—31 Aug, 3pm. £'().5()(£5.50). - There is a special outdoor screening of Gregory's Girl at lnt'er/et't/t Park. Edinburgh. Tue [3 Aug. 9/)Ill.fl'(’(’. '