Culture Club

Issue 99

Jamie Bell - An award winning, international performer and songwriter and the charismatic front man with The Baldy Holly Band.

When Jamie is not rock ‘n’ rolling all over the world, he spends a lot of his time fund raising for charity. His latest adventure is cycling Lands’ End to John O’Groats to raise money for a school in Newcastle. Here, Jamie tells us about his taste in music, art, and culture.

Who is your favourite author and why?

At school, I remember reading Buddy, by Nigel Hinton. This was about a teenage lad, on a rough council estate, struggling to come to terms with his parents’ divorce and his love hate relationship with his father, a loveable rogue, whom he idolised. As a teenager I related to this, but what really captivated and intrigued me, was the accompanying weekly drama series, that we were allowed to watch as part of our curriculum. This featured Roger Daltrey as his Teddy Boy father, who loved Buddy Holly and named his son after the legend. Inevitably, the soundtrack was all Buddy Holly and was start of a musical love affair with his great music! My mother read Catherine Cookson Novels, which I would promptly become engrossed in, the minute she was finished.

What would be your three Desert Island Discs?

Buddy Holly’s That’ll Be The Day, which was inspired by John Wayne’s famous line, in the film The Searchers. A two-minute, pocket battleship of Rhythm and Blues, slick backing vocals, and cutting Stratocaster guitar, that sounds as fresh now, as it must’ve done in 1957.

Elvis Presley’s Gospel classic – Lead Me, Guide Me. This is the King at his most vulnerable, begging the Lord for wisdom. A stunning vocal, lyric and melody, perfect for spiritual guidance and strength when the dark skies close in. I love it.

God Only Knows. Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. The harmonies, the complex, classical chord progression and the hauntingly beautiful lyric… breath-taking.

Who is your favourite film star and why?

James Dean. He only made three films, but what a style icon. Rebel without a cause especially, literally influenced a generation. He exuded moody sex appeal and that hair style. As a kid, i wore the blue jeans, red jacket, and even had that quiff. If only he’d lived longer.

What are your top three films?

Grease. is there a more feel-good film? Sometimes we will throw in a couple of songs from Grease, the floor fills every time!

La Bamba. Ritchie Valens untimely death at 17, when he had just made it big and lifted his family from poverty. So sad and moving, yet also such a triumphant story, in that his musical legacy lives on. I had the pleasure of preforming for the Valens family in the USA and remain friends to this day.

The Scent of a Woman. Al Pacino’s finest hour, playing retired Colonel Slade, blinded because of juggling with hand grenades, going on his final trip with young aide Charlie. Some of the lines and acting in that film are stupendous!

Which poem left a lasting impression on you?

In Flanders fields by John McCrae.

I was always brought up on tales of my Great Grandfathers service in the First World War and I was taught to respect the sacrifice of the fallen. This poem with its haunting imagery of death at the front, has always moved me and continues to, to this day.

What box sets have you enjoyed?

Roots, the original series, Band of Brothers, and I have to admit, my wife got me engrossed in the Thorn Birds!

Who is your favourite artist or performer?

The late, great Charles Hardin Holley, aka Buddy Holly (his original name was Holley, but the e was accidentally dropped on a recording contract, and it remained as Holly). A musical chameleon who had only 18 months to make his mark on the music world. Chart domination followed swiftly by tragedy. Yet his influence is still felt today. Every day is a Holly day!

What is your favourite venue?

The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Iowa. A musical time machine, set in the ’50s. To stand on that stage and perform, where Buddy Holly played his final show. Priceless.

Which musical instrument do you particularly enjoy?

I am a guitarist of many years’ experience (amazing what 3 chords can achieve!) I love my Gibson guitars and own a few. In particular, I have a Gibson J200 true vintage, the exact 1957 model that Elvis played, although I’d be a rich man, if it was the one he owned!

From the world of Arts and Culture who would be your ideal dinner party guests?

The Everly Brothers for some heavenly background music, Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield serving drinks ,Gordon Ramsay cooking up a storm Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Al Jolson debating the best style of music, Henry the 8th, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and Napoleon debating who had the biggest ego, and Jesus Christ, explaining to everyone where they went wrong, and to do unto others, as you would have done unto you. I think that would be one hell of a party.

To help Jamie on his fundraising journey for Sir Charles Parsons School:

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