[.6 e r of the pack
Love it or loathe it, EDWYN COLLINS's ditty ‘A Girl Like You’ had the nation, nay the globe humming along to it. So just how does Scotland’s international pop star follow it up?
Words: Fiona Shepherd Photograph: Rankin
DON‘T ASK HOW an interview with Edwyn Collins. newly-ordained International Pop Star, strayed into post-punk nostalgia anecdotal territory. but it did.
‘At the second gig Orange Juice did in England. organised by Marc Riley — now Lard. the Radio 1 DJ - the support group was called the Model Team lnternational.’ says Collins. "They said they only got the name because someone‘s sister was a hairdresser and she got free T—shirts that said Model Team International. and could we think of a better name? And James Kirk. the original Orange Juice guitarist. said “call yourselves James”. and that’s what they became. That was at the stage when Tim Booth was just an epileptic dancer in an Ian Curtis style.‘
These days. there’s less call for Orange Juice memories from their former singer. He’s so busy in the aftermath of the release of his current album I'm Not Following You that there‘s also less time for Collins to devote to the Orange Juice re-issue programme which follows the compilation The Estewned Orange Juice (‘the greatest hit album with some other tracks.’ quips Collins). The reason for this can be summed up quite simply. ‘A Girl Like You' happened.
Just another single from l995’s Gorgeous George album. it became one of those classic maverick hits, hanging around the charts for eons. before mushrooming ‘throughout the world like an evil virus’. as Collins puts it. Suddenly he found himself on ten different
'You'd do Greek TV and they'd have a chorus line of girls with peroxide hair flashing their tits. I said to the director, “are you at all influenced by Benny Hill?" 'Edwyn Collins
18 THE “ST lO~23 Oct 1997
labels internationally. with a worldwide touring and promotional schedule he was ill prepared for.
‘lt became a worse albatross round my neck than “Rip It Up“ [the aforementioned Orange Juice ‘greatest hit‘] ever was — that was only a hit in the UK.‘ he says. ‘I was in 'I‘aiwan during the Chinese nuclear missile testing. and it became Number One in the Philippines at a time when no one there had even heard of Oasis. You feel like some kind of ambassador for proto-independent Scottish music. At last something had reached fruition and taken it all round the world.
"The statistics were mind-boggling. It was even in the (‘antoncse charts. They‘ve got their own (‘antonese pop stars who alternate the hits in their Top 40 and then you might get somebody like Michael or his sister Janet filling the gaps.‘
Back in Britain. it was clear Collins had garnered some kind of twisted iconic status when he got to sing his second big hit on Shooting Stars — in the proverbial club style — but this was nothing compared to television appearances in other territories.
‘Different cultures obviously interpreted it in different ways,’ he says. ‘It was a culture shock to get to the Philippines and you had a dance troupe called the Universal Dancers.