“I have an announcement to make: it would seem I’m not a ‘real’ man”
Ladies and gentlemen – but let’s face it, mostly ladies – I have an announcement to make. I know this will be hard for you – it certainly is for me – but I feel it’s something that needs to be said. The web of lies has been stretched to breaking point.
What I am about out to reveal has been creeping up on me slowly over the years, but in the past few weeks it has become impossible ossible to deny. The truth is I am just t not a “real” man.
I had assumed d that because I drank and swore re and was good fun at parties that at this meant I was an alpha male. But as it turns out, it just st means I’m an incredibly y rude and charming alcoholic. coholic.
The truth first t began to dawn on me while I was watching my son n play soccer and I realised he wasn’t so much playing soccer as s performing a series of interpretive retive dance moves occasionally lly interrupted by a ball. It was more like rhythmic gymnastics astics but without the rhythm. thm. And, if I am to be completely mpletely honest, the gymnastics. nastics.
You know that t when your firstborn son n is too soft for a football code e whose primary objective e is to dive to the ground screaming reaming in pain that you really haven’t made a man of him. Yet despite all my years of training in musical theatre I couldn’t figure out where I’d gone wrong. The second big wake-up call came a few days later when I started the long and torturous process of buying a car. It wasn’t a shock to me that I am not particularly good with cars – if I was I wouldn’t have to be buying a new n one – but I was shocked to learn I wasn’t wa even good enough to kill them. them “Surely you understand th this?” my mechanic implored as h he asked for the paperwork to take t to the wreckers. “You. Did. No Not. Put. Oil. In. The. Motor.” Shortly after I asked h him what a motor was, my m mechanic insisted on accompanyin accompanying me to all future visits in my qu quest for a new automobile. Ther Thereupon he would have animat animated conversations with v various sellers in a language that to me might asw as well have been Urdu, and in some cases probably was. “It’s the cran crankshaft!” he’d tell one. ““It’s the timing bel belt!” to another. “C’mo “C’mon, mate, what about the diff?” I always thou thought the diff was som something that sho should be split, but apparently in the automotive world that is not a good result.
It was obvious that I was not the man for a man’s job. Despite always priding myself on my workingclass background, the truth is my background is neither classy nor working. Really, I was just raised by a single mum on a pension. I didn’t even know how to lift a toilet seat until I was 15 years old, let alone a bonnet.
In retrospect all this should have been radiantly clear: I never played proper football, I never learnt how to fix a car and I still use phrases like “radiantly clear”.
But even if I couldn’t fix my car, I thought I could at least fix my mistakes and make my son a better man than me. I tried to get him to kick a ball and fight fair and drink water…
Well, turns out I’m not the man for that job either.
Still, he does have some pretty wicked dance moves. And I know he didn’t get them from his mother. Joe co-hosts Studio 10, 8.30am weekdays, on Network Ten and is Editor-at-large for News.com.au.
It’s been 46 years since your debut album. How does it feel to listen to the Bryan Ferry of 1972? It brings a tear to my eye, of course. Poor lad didn’t know what he was letting himself in for. Working in music for over 40 years, I absolutely do not regret one minute of it. I used to kind of resent touring because it was keeping me out of the studio. Now that I’m not making so many albums, the compromise is [that] I get to tour all around the world. Do you get nostalgic for the styles you rocked in that era? Fashion has been very much a secondary thing for me; behind it was always the notion that you made an effort to go on stage. You didn’t just drag yourself out of bed and get up and perform. I always thought you owed it to your audience to make an effort, in the same way Duke Ellington made an effort or Count Basie, or even the wilder ones like Charlie Parker. They looked their best and gave it their best. For the first year of Roxy Music, we were quite flamboyantly dressed and it was part of the adventure of that time; people walking down the street looked much more bizarre than today. We began toning down the act because we didn’t want to be known for our haircuts – we wanted to be known for our music. Who do you think wore the white suit better then – you or John Travolta? Oh well, it’s no contest [laughs]. He’s probably the better dancer, you know. When he danced with Uma Thurman [in Pulp Fiction], that was very good. Your other signature was putting models such as Kari-ann Muller, Amanda Lear, Jerry Hall and Kate Moss on your album covers. Would you do that again? I’m not sure. If there was an idea that presented itself, that I thought was interesting... I don’t know. I know I wanted the albums to look and hark back to a more glamorous time. They also turned into a series because they became identifiable: “Oh, that looks like a Roxy album.” Better than a bunch of guys looking uncomfortable standing in a back street, which most of the covers at that time were. How much nicer to have a fabulous looking woman. Are any contemporary bands reminiscent of the sound and style of Roxy Music? There’s an Australian band I thought were a bit Roxyish [and] who I really like called Tame Impala. They were on Jools Holland’s show [UK TV series Later… With Jools Holland] one time when I was on. They sounded great to me. You seem to be on a never-ending world tour with a Roxy Music-heavy set list… It’s kind of a retrospective show through the different periods of my work, with Roxy Music and solo. I wanted to do mainly songs I had written rather than covers. And most of the best songs I’ve written were with Roxy. So it’s a huge part of my oeuvre, a big part of my life. What’s changed for you most when it comes to performing? I’m not quite as fearful as I was. I’ve had enough shows now to know it usually goes great. Touring is less of an adventure than it was because I know how to do it now. Sometimes you miss the ramshackleness of the early days – but generally I prefer it now. Bryan Ferry tours Australia in February and March 2019. Tickets are on sale from tomorrow at frontiertouring.com/bryanferry and adayonthegreen.com.au.