Last night I found this among some old papers and stuff. It’s a signed photo of the pop group Hussey:
: HUMAN ZOO
Homosexualists have provided pin-up fodder to
teenage girls since pop music began. The trick
is to claim in interviews, “you haven’t met
the right girl yet” whilst letting your manager
give you one up the shitter after every
appearance on CD-UK.
Maybe that’s all about to change. Meet Gay
Marvin. He’s er.. called Marvin, he’s gay and
he’s the fag hags’ favourite. He even includes
handy tips on resurgence of the 50s gay slang,
Will the pop buying kids take him to their
hearts as a particularly glamorous Ken doll?
Or will pop managers carry on advising that
gay men stay in the closet?
Anyhows, vada his site if you like chicken.
(in a basket)
Sadly, the Hussey website no longer exists, however, thanks to the wonder of the Wayback Machine, we can travel back in time and look at Marvin’s page. His official bandname really is “Gay Marvin” (you’ll note that’s how he signed the photo at the top of this blog post too). The gallery contains images which are quite striking:
It was things like this, plus the general design of the website which meant that people soon started forwarding the page to their friends and posting about it on message boards. It briefly became viral, and Hussey mention the sudden explosion in traffic on the front page of the website:
We want to say a HUGE thank you to all you gorgeous HUSSEY fans out there. 300,000 of you have hit the site in the last six days and your email responses have been amazing.
It was through this process that I first heard of the band. A friend saw the link on a message board and then reposted it. In those days, before God gave us Twitter or Facebook, we had a thing called Livejournal. You youngsters wouldn’t have heard of it, of course, you’re all too busy using Google Buzz or whatever to worry about such things. Anyway, I then reposted it on my LiveJournal, and for a few days we all talked about Hussey until everyone else moved on, leaving me, on my own, still talking about Hussey (just look at me now, how things have changed).
On the Hussey Happenings page, there was a story announcing a showcase at the offices of TBWA on the 25th May 2004.
TBWA are one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world, so it seems hard to believe that they would be associated with this weird band made briefly famous by a bunch of nerds on message boards and mailing lists, but somehow, they’d managed it:
Not content with being creative director-chairman of Omnicom Group’s TBWA, London, Trevor Beattie has turned pop svengali.
Mr. Beattie is creative director of Hussey, an unashamedly trashy teen pop group that wears little clothing and lots of makeup. The newest member, Gay Marvin, introduces himself as “bijou-small but perfectly formed.” His four female bandmates are variously described as “smoldering,” “kittenish,” “ultramodern” and “bombshell.”
Mr. Beattie has already procured a tie-up between Hussey and one of TBWA’s international clients, French Connection, better known in the U.K. as FCUK.
I’m sure you can guess where this story is heading. On the 25th of May 2004, I went to the offices of TBWA to try to sneak in to the showcase. The website had warned that tickets were “like gold dust” and that there would be press and TV crews covering the event.
I deleted my LiveJournal years ago, but before I deleted it, I downloaded the whole thing as a massive PDF. The following is from my LiveJournal, written the day after the showcase:
Last night, HUSSEY performed a showcase at Trevor Beattie’s TBWA offices for “top muzo guys” to “check out Britain’s hottest new pop group”. Unfortunately, as the website had warned, the tickets were “SOOO exclusive” that I wasn’t able to get hold of one. Instead, I decided to hang out “wiv the fans” outside and “get some gr8 pics” instead.
Except, there weren’t any other fans.
I waited outside for a bit, and then went to the pub across the road for a quick pint. After my pint, I went back outside to see if anything was happening or if anyone else had turned up. Nothing else was happening and no-one else turned up, so I went and had another pint. Then I had another look, still nothing. I repeated this process a couple more times, and after a while, a cheery PR woman saw me and came out to say hello. Her name was Rachel, I think, and she was very friendly.
Within seconds of talking to me, she assumed I must be a Marvin fan. (Actually, Kate is my favourite, but I didn’t bother correcting her). She went back inside and a few minutes later, another PR person came out. “So you’re the Marvin fan, are you?” he asked, before giving me a goodie bag containing a photo of the band, an FCUK T-shirt, some Toni&Guy shampoo and some other stuff.
Hussey performed as I stood outside, alone, in the cold. They sounded really good as it happens, and I felt slightly guilty for laughing about them all this time. A few minutes later, someone from TBWA came out and suggested I should try to blag my way in, but I didn’t think it would work, as the security guard had already been watching me carefully. Actually, there were two security guards. One was enormously fat, and spent most of the evening supping a pint of bitter. He seemed OK. The other guy didn’t look so friendly though.
Then a guy called Adrian from a website called Vidzone came out and chatted to me for a while about Hussey. He went inside and the guy from TBWA came out again, this time he looked at me suspiciously. “You’re not paparazzi, are you?” he asked. I think he hoped I was. “Are you from a website? Why are you really here?” Apparently, someone from Trevor Beattie’s management had claimed I was from some website or other. The result of this bizarre rumour was that I was allowed in for Hussey’s second performance and to the small party afterwards.
I got introduced to the band. “This is the Marvin fan”. Marvin looked a little embarrassed, but kindly got me a drink. People kept coming up to me and saying “I know you – where are you from? We’ve met, I’m sure.” I have no idea what this was all about. It was a very strange evening.
And that was how I got a signed photo of Hussey.
END OF PART ONE