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NICK ROBSON

HISTORY

 

Born on 14/1/61 in East Ham, London. Son of a policeman and a bookkeeper. One brother, Garry Robson. Moved at age 5 to Ashford in Middlesex. Became friends with Gary Numan, at this time Gary Webb, although my brother was more in Gary’s age group, which at that age is deemed an important factor, so I was the baby of the gang, I guess. Although at the time, I adopted Gary’s parents, Beryl and Tony, as my surrogate parents! They couldn’t get rid of me; I was like the orphan child that showed up each morning. To this day, Beryl remains one of my favourite people in the world. We all went to St. Anne’s Primary School in Stanwell, which has since been demolished, then Gary went on to Ashford Grammar School, my brother Garry to Feltham Comprehensive and I went to Hampton Grammar School where I was sent home at the age of 11 for dying my hair silver. My brother Garry, incidentally, was responsible for drawing the face that appears on all Numan merchandise. One day at Gary’s house, I remember falling in love with a Rickenbacker semi-acoustic guitar that Gary had on loan from his uncle, Jess Lidyard.

I then became besotted with a Gibson Les Paul Gold, bought some while after for Gary by his father, Tony. I vowed that one day I would own a Gibson Les Paul myself – strangely didn’t fulfil this ambition until three years ago, when my wife bought me one for Christmas. Still can't play very well, though. At this time, in around 1973, it was clear that Gary was going to succeed in music – he started changing the colour of his hair, using makeup and dressing pretty weirdly and the rest of us did pretty much the same. The one shop that we used to visit frequently in London, was Shelley’s, for shoes, and Kensington Market, where you could buy very different clothes that just weren’t available anywhere else. We worshipped firstly Marc Bolan & T.Rex and subsequently David Bowie, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground and Roxy Music. Once we went to see a band called Mott The Hoople perform at Hammersmith Odeon, but they were blown off stage by the support act. They were called Queen and were soon to become very famous. I vaguely remember the first time that Gary performed in a band to an audience. I think it was in Stanwell Village Hall, I think the band was called Meanstreet, and I seem to remember that they had a bass player who was the double of David Bowie. If my memory serves me well, his name was Henry Sabbini. To us then, the gig was very exciting, with a brilliant version of White Light, White Heat and Waiting For The Man. It didn’t last long though, and Gary broke away to form Tubeway Army. At this point in time, my brother was becoming pretty accomplished as a sound engineer, and he and I found ourselves as occasional roadies for the band when they were performing at venues such as Dingwalls, Ronnie Scott’s and The Marquee, with Garry doing the mix on the desk. Soon, Gary was recording his first album having put out Bombers and That’s Too Bad as singles. I remember attending some of these sessions, and hearing Jo The Waiter, a song that still remains one of my favourites of Gary’s. It was at this time that Gary and I started going to London clubs like The Blitz, Billy’s and Hell. It was just the best time to be part of the underground music thing that was going on between 1976 and 1980. For me, it was also time to start work, having left Brooklands College in Weybridge, where I studied languages. I found myself training to be a film editor, something that I knew nothing about – it just seemed like a good idea at the time. It turned out that it was a good idea. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was the dawn of the video age and I was in at the beginning of it. I remember walking down D’Arblay Street one day, in 1979 I think, and saw a poster for a weird looking act that was performing the following night at the 100 Club. I went along and was completely blown away by the performance. The guy was called Prince, and two years later, I was editing his video for Little Red Corvette. At about this time, Gary had recorded Replicas. It was one of those albums that you just knew was going to be massive. I remember watching Gary use a Mini Moog at the studio where he was recording the album, and just being gobsmacked by the sound that came out. The same experience was to occur when I first heard a Polymoog and Arp Odyssey. Replicas still sits in my top favourite albums of all time. Gary, Garry and I were all due to go on holiday to Greece at this point, when Gary had been invited to appear on The Old Grey Whistle Test, and he obviously had to cancel his holiday with us. It was the best thing that ever happened, because only a few weeks later, he had his first number one with Are Friends Electric? The rest is history. Realising that I had better start earning some money myself, I threw myself headlong into my work. There was no money in the business at the time, so while learning my trade, I worked through the nights in a petrol filling station. By day, I worked as an editor, striking lucky one day, when I met two guys who were about to make their first promo for a relatively unknown band. The two guys were Andy Morahan and Matt Forrest, the latter to become a lifelong friend. Oddly enough, The Quick, the band for which we had made this promo featured a musician called George MacFarlane, a guy I was to meet ten years later, through my brother, and write some songs together. I started to build a good reputation as an editor. I was very lucky, working with many variously talented artists. I did a whole video album for The Pet Shop Boys called Television, videos for Grace Jones, five or six promos for The Human League, and about a dozen or so for George Michael, to name but a few. At the last count, I had cut about 200 videos. At the same time, my own desire to write had not diminished, and after a bet with Gary (that I couldn’t write a song if I tried!), I decided to put a band together. The drummer was Terry Lee Miall, to depart soon after to join Adam & The Ants. Keyboards was Alex Godson, who later joined Patsy Kensit’s band, Eighth Wonder (I think!) and Andy Hale, who later became Sade’s keyboard player. Terry Lee was replaced on drums by Simon Kunz. I was vocals and the songs were generally written by Andy and myself. Gary liked what we were doing and I signed to Scratch Records, having done just one performance at The Whisky A Go Go in Soho. We put out one single, Stars, and recorded a follow up song, Boys, which was never released. It’s a long time ago now, but I think the main reason was that the record company went bust. Or maybe, they just didn’t like what I was doing. I can’t remember. Anyway, I had decided then, that I wasn’t terribly fond of the record industry and that I would concentrate on my own career as an editor. I bought into my company in 1985, having squirreled away all the petrol station money I had earned, and developed my career. Throughout this period, I had lost regular contact with Gary, as he became increasingly busy with his own career, at one time living in the States for a year. In about 1992, Gary and I discussed the idea of making a promo for a new song of his called Machine & Soul. Gary was at a pretty low ebb in his career, and so financially it was a difficult one. However, we made the video and it was fantastic working together on a project for the first time in over ten years. We went on to make The Radial Pair film and I subsequently filmed a live show at Hammersmith which we later put together as the Dream Corrosion tour video. At the same time, we began to record together again, and produced amongst others, What She Wants. It was a very enjoyable time, being able to exchange ideas and use our professions for each other’s mutual benefit. Time went on, I had met Jayne, the woman I was to marry, and we had a daughter together, Lucy. Together with my stepdaughter, Harriet, they are my love, my life, my soul and they give me my whole reason for being. Gary has always been a good friend, underlined by the fact, that when Lucy was born, he was the first person to arrive at the hospital to see her. That meant a lot to me. I haven't actually seen Gary since he and Gemma got married. We still exchange Christmas cards, of course, but to be honest, you build friendships in life that will never diminish through time, because of the base on which they are built. If I saw Gary tomorrow, it would be as if no time had passed, and we'd just pick up from our last conversation.

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WHAT SHE WANTS

What She Wants A little bit of history on the track - I hadn't written anything since I left Scratch Records back in 1982, and while talking one day with Gary, I said I had a couple of new ideas for songs, and he suggested we try them out. I've known Gary since I was 5 years old, and at this point in time, I was making the Radial Pair programme, the Machine & Soul video and the Dream Corrosion tour video with him. It was one of those fantastic periods when our relative professions became entwined, and we had a fantastic time working together. So to cut a long story short, we recorded this track, What She Wants, in one single day and then it took me another six to nine months to put a film together for it. Everyone who worked on it gave their time for free, so I am forever indebted to those people for their time and effort. 

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LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM

Living The American Dream?

“When I first started to investigate the possibility of living in the United States, I was unable to find an available, all-encompassing and published guide that illustrated the many lega4 cultural and financial hurdles facing British citizens who harboured a secret desire to live in America.

But as I became more and more aware of the significant proportion of British migrants independently seeking a new life in the USA, and also of the increasing numbers of employees of Anglo-American businesses despatched there to work I soon realised that a book of this type might prove immensely useful to that group of émigrés and may even provide pleasant fodder for a few others.”

 http://www.livingtheamericandream.co.uk/index.html

Nick Robson - September 2007

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QUESTIONS

1. Do you still keep in touch with Gary?

NICK: I haven't actually seen Gary since he and Gemma got married. We still exchange Christmas cards, of course, but to be honest, you build friendships in life that will never diminish through time, because of the base on which they are built. For instance, if I saw Gary tomorrow, it would be as if no time had passed, and we'd just pick up from our last conversation. He has always been a good mate, underlined by the fact, that when my daughter was born, he was the first person to arrive at the hospital to see her. That meant a lot to me.

2. Do you have the lyrics to your songs?

NICK: Yes, I have lyrics to all my songs - somewhere!

3. And what do you think of Gary's Pure album

NICK: I love Pure. Had to buy it from HMV - can't believe the swine didn't send me a free copy!

4. What is Gary like as a person in an out of work situation

NICK: I suppose many people have made incorrect assumptions and generalisations about Gary, without ever truly knowing the man. I really only know him as a friend, that being someone who would do most anything for you, at the drop of a hat. However, we did have a few contretemps actually working together, but that is pretty much always to be expected if you are involved in a creative process. You don't get the result if you don't fight a little bit!


5. What are your plans in life and music etc,

NICK: My plans in life are much like anyone else's. Live long, enjoy every day, take care of my wife and daughters and maybe write a little bit more music along the way.

6. Dose it bother you when people show interested in you because of the
Numan link

NICK: No, it doesn't bother me. I'm flattered that anyone took an interest in the first place! I only ever started writing because Gary made a bet with me once, that I couldn't write a song. So I went away, wrote four, he liked what I'd done, and we re-recorded them with Gary producing. Having attended many studio sessions with Gary, it taught me a lot about the science of recording. He is a prolific talent, never properly hailed as such, and it was fantastic to share part of the experience in the 70's, 80's and the 90's.

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LYRICS

RAIN

Hoping and praying
The night will get no longer
I know what to do 
To make me feel much stronger
I'm awake inside my bed
As I start to wonder
What the night will bring
My god, this sounds like thunder

Here comes the rain again
Here comes the rain
Here comes that pain again
Here comes the rain

Watching and waiting
For signs it's getting better
My nose tastes the rose
I think she's getting wetter
I wish I had the time
While this beauty slumbers
High up in the sky
The clouds begin to rumble

Here comes the rain again
Here comes the rain
Here comes that pain again
Here comes the rain

Thinking about the time
That we spend together
She's got something warm
I must enjoy her weather
I know it's 4 o'clock
But I think she's waking
Just in time I guess
I feel like celebrating

Here comes the rain again
Here comes the rain
Here comes that pain again
Here comes the rain

Here comes the rain again
Here comes the rain
Here comes that pain again
Here comes the rain
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STAY

Time's forgiven, most things
But the ones that you love
Seem to bear the pain
You can't be all things
To all men
Just be something special
To the one that you're with

Stay with me
Lay with me
My gentle lover
Won't you just stay with me?
Stay with me now
Pray with me now
My lover

Signs are showing, these days
There's no time any more
Just to say the right things
Take a moment
To explain
Just one kiss says much more
Than these words that we say

Stay with me
Lay with me
My gentle lover
Won't you just stay with me?
Stay with me now
Pray with me now
My lover
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THE AFFAIR

I know something's on your mind
I believe something happened yesterday
Don't you think that I'm so blind
When the cat's away
That's no excuse for the mice to play

I guess I could show you
How much this would mean
Let's forget emotions
Maybe try this again

I need you love tonight
There's a place I know
Where we can go and be lovers tonight

Don't you ever think of me
When you're making love in somebody else's room tonight?
I'd just like to make you see
Did you ever think about
Breaking up someone else's life?

I guess I could show you
How much this would mean
Let's forget emotions
Maybe try this again

I need you love tonight
There's a place I know
Where we can go and be lovers tonight
I want your love tonight
If the scars don't show
Then nobody knows, let's make heaven tonight

Well you can take it from me
You'd better take it for red
That there's no fun making someone else's bed
It may last days and it may last years
I can tell you something
This will end in tears
Well I've told you once and I've told you twice
But you're too damned stupid to take my advice
You break a heart, that's the master plan
Just to taste satisfaction on the back of your hand
You're still dreaming of love but you're all alone
Now the lights are switched on but there's nobody home
You look pretty good but your eyes ain't so blue
I've got a new way of saying that I love you
"I love you"
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THE BURNING BED

(dialogue from film intro.-Farrah sets scene)

And so the story goes
He left her heart in pieces
And now the apple grows 
In her heart 
It's so full of reason
For the man for all seasons

Like any other girl
Full of hope and emotion
It took one luckless night
She's in love
She lives for the moment
She can't see the burning bed

It's time for you to justify
This feeling that you have inside
Your mind
It's time for you to
Slip away

(dialogue from film-Courtroom sequence)

And as the bruises fade
This girl she starts to forgive
And only time can tell
When she won't take 
Any more pain
Another day for the burning bed

It's time for you to justify
This feeling that you have inside
Your mind
It's time for you to
Slip away

(dialogue from film-Farrah beating)

He got so drunk one time
He falls asleep for the evening
She's got the kids this time
And her hands taste like the gasoline
Lying in wait for the burning bed

It's time for you to justify
This feeling that you have inside
Your mind
It's time for you to
Slip away
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WHAT SHE WANTS

Shiny shoes, a singles bar
Credit cards and a Mercedes car
Painted nails, a painted face
Any enny bag and a friend called mace

But she knows what she wants
She'll treat you like a brother
She's born to be a lover
And she knows how to tease you
She talks to herself
She makes love to herself

Green eyes like a film star
Wearing dresses that go too far
She's got perfect skin of a certain colour
She's got long blonde hair, just like her mother

But she knows what she wants
She'll treat you like a brother
She's born to be a lover
And she knows how to tease you
She talks to herself
She makes love to herself

Christy, Cindy, Evangelista
Iman, Campbell and all those sisters
In the kitchen, in the hall, on the bathroom floor
She's every mans dream you've been looking for

She likes Otis Redding, she likes T.Rex
She loves hugs and kisses but she never has sex
She loves boys but she's best with girls
Lipstick, she's dangerous, she's kisses and curls

But she knows what she wants
She'll treat you like a brother
She's born to be a lover
And she knows how to tease you
She talks to herself
She makes love to herself
And she knows what she wants
She'll treat you like a brother
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ANOTHER CAR CRASHES

Cry like we're babies, and cry all the time
Say all the right things
And never say maybe
Another scene changes, only broken down actors
Trying hard to remember
Lines floating in memories

Another car crashes
Is there life after death?
Another car crashes
Let's never say die
Another car crashes
Never say die

Talk like we're crazies on reincarnation
Let's kneel in a doorway
And wait for last year
Focus one picture, then focus them all
Watch them merge into each other
We're making the all-time film

Another car crashes
Is there life after death?
Another car crashes
Let's never say die
Another car crashes
Never say die

I read "A Brave New World" and my thoughts have turned ugly
It's not the same as when we began
So quiet tonight
I just can't hear a thing
Except my own heartbeat
Which goes on and on and on

Another car crashes
Is there life after death?
Another car crashes
Let's never say die
Another car crashes
Never say die
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BID FAREWELL

Saw an advert in the paper saying
"Nuclear Fallout Shelters - For Sale"
"Seal your families from the attacks
Maybe you can live again"

A million miles away, a voice is laughing
Another city of people is dead
You imagine, in a moment comes silence
Listen, echoes just drift away

Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell

Maybe I'll walk around replying
To myself that "I don't know why"
I, the victim of invisible armies
The survivor of a genocide

I saw you running across the tarmac crying
"I don't want to die like this"
Didn't catch me running towards you
Fell down at my feet, too late

Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell

Sitting here, I'm reduced to thinking
About years long gone by
Vacant thoughts of when I was younger
I never dreamed it would end like this
But I remember an advert saying
"Nuclear Fallout Shelters - For Sale"
It's only now that I realise
Exactly what that advert meant

Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell, Bid Farewell 
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BOYS

Silly girl
Getting serious now
She takes her money's worth
That's so unnatural now
She pulls me up
But I don't feel like dancing
I'm so tired
No, I don't feel like dancing

Boys, boys'll be boys
They stay out late at night
Slyly slip away
Only after dark

My head is…
My head is turning around
But I'm so nervous too
My hands are shaking tonight
She turns me on
But I am not a yes-man
I'm no fool
Won't let you treat me like that

Boys, boys'll be boys
They stay out late at night
Slyly slip away
Only after dark

Don't feel like dancing
Don't feel like dancing 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EYE TO EYE

Only time can tell
How long we will see eye to eye
Make love in slow motion
Make love in freeze frame
We're eye to eye
Eye to eye, why do I?
Why do I?

Picture this, picture a thousand faces
Staring at you
See their eyes, they're watching
See their eyes, they see you
Eye to eye
Why do I?
Why do I?

Move these faces
And move these bodies
We are eye to eye
Move these faces
And move these bodies
Picture, eye to eye
Move these times, move these times
See the clock cries "Morning"
And we're broken
With their "eye to eye"

Eye to eye
Love is all motion
Seeing we're eye to eye 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ICE

Another celebration finds me
Waiting by these walls
Praying for someone to call me
Telephone never rings
So I'll go home and contemplate
The bedroom seems so cold to me
I'm sleeping with myself tonight
So I'll get lost in sleep and some dreams

She's as cold as ice, she's just like ice to me

You're my infatuation, lover
It's written in my heart
You hold my fascination always
But you tell me that you're bored with me
I'm sick and tired of all the lies
Black and white and nothing stays
I'm fed up with the "tender touch"
This girl is just like ice

She's as cold as ice, she's just like ice to me
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IN THE EVENT

In the event I will stop breathing
In the event I turn to dust and
It matters not about tomorrow
In the event, in the event

In the event I will recall you
In the event I will remember
My mind's gone blank from every dream
I loved you dear, I loved you dear

In the event my heart stops beating
In the event my eyes can't see you
I walk on air and turn to dreams
There is no point in going on 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MEMORIES

Mirror Minds watching me, every move
While the Hover Birds screech and fly above me
From a time long lost, and time and time
Vague recollections
Blurred recognition
As time goes by

Now we're making the grade but we're just the actors
|In the silent picture, now the final epic
It's strange the way they forget the old times
But I remember
All the lies and laughs they cried
Of time gone by

Memories, memories
Memories, killing me

Rent a machine like a jerk in the dark
Like a token snatched from a man in the park
Feel your muscles move as you start the action
You forget the motions
So they laugh in your face
As time goes by

See the rent boys walking round in their numbers
"Trick for mister? Doesn't cost plenty"
Make a deal and scream "I need to eat"
Don't cry out for help
'cause they'll rob you on two feet
As time goes by

Memories, memories
Memories, killing me
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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STARS

Stars, don't walk in streets
Stars, don't move their feet, they're stars
When stars are all alone
They wait by telephones
For stars to ring
And stars must look their best
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
I'd say you're just the same
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
Gone, gone star

Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, there they go

They can't be forgotten
Stars, can leave some lasting scars
They are so exciting
Stars, are so derisive
Like you and me
Mere men, we want to be
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
So please, you've got to hear
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
Gone, gone star

Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, there they go

Boys in American suits
Drink soft drinks - whiskey?
Dream about living with a blonde girl
Talk about men, then you talk about gods
Talk about men, then you talk about gods

Stars don't need an ID
Stars, meet up by proxy in Cars
Stars don't need to eat
Stars don't need to sleep
So stars, they aim to please
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
They change their lives for you
"And we take dreams to bed tonight"
Gone, gone star

Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, here they come, here they come
Stars, there they go

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