My Pop Life #1 : Imaginary – Paul Steel

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Imaginary    –    Paul Steel

….and suddenly it came to me : I’m the only fool who’s imaginary…

Paul’s dad Martin gave me April and I after one of the Brighton Beach Boys shows in St George’s Church, Brighton during the festival.  We’d just played Pet Sounds & Sgt Pepper with the Psychedelic Love Orchestra.   Must’ve been early 2007 maybe ?  I think he said “Give that a listen”. So I did.  It blew me away.  This was the classic teenager in a bedroom creates a masterpiece moment.   Wrote, arranged, played everything.  Influences from Kate Bush & The Beach Boys to Underworld and Queen, it tells the story of a bullied boy who creates a girlfriend called April.

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The cover art, a chunky Mr Men-style cardboard package, is a perfect match for the album and was designed by Keith Davey of the Hove parish.  (His wedding is noted in My Pop Life #106).  Since this ground-breaking mini-LP was made I have met Paul many times, been to gigs with him and his father, roped him into deputising on bass and guitar for The Brighton Beach Boys, and played saxophone on his 3rd LP, out some time in 2016.  It will be a follow-up to this lovely piece of work.  Imaginary is the last song on the 29-minute pop suite.  Every track was animated about 2 years later.  Seek it out pop fans for it will enrich your very days.  Paul was soon to be signed to Parlaphone where he made his 2nd LP the amazing Moon Rock, but got dropped just before its release.  He’s since worked with a huge variety of artists including Mika, Stars & Sons, Luke Sital Singh, The Xcerts, Elton John, Circe du Soleil and many many others, but possibly more pertinent is the news that April & ii is currently in the works…

I played the short LP in my garden in Brighton to Rory Cameron (from the band), and Stevie Kalinich, visiting from LA one afternoon.   Stevie is a poet and lyricist, a force of nature and a beautiful man (see My Pop Life #169).   He loved the music, and soon afterwards met Paul and his dad Martin.  They have collaborated on two amazing pieces of work since then – one of which is Ocean which I’m posting below.

This is my musical kaleidoscopic quilt.  I’m talking about my life, through music.  It’s not linear.  It’s not an autobiography.  It’s my soundtrack. It’s my pop life.

Paul Steel & Stevie Kalinich :  Ocean