Friday, 1 October 2010
Tim nice but.....not really a rock star....
'Let us pray' said Tim Robbins, pulling on his guitar.
Last week Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band performed what I believe was their one and only London gig, at the Union Chapel in Islington, and I went. He was looking very well for a man in his early 50s: dressed in black jeans and black frock coat, the sort usually favoured by the gambler in wild west movies, a couple of stone lighter than when I used to see him and his sons mooching around the West Village when I lived in New York (trailing after someone going in the same direction as you doesn't constitute stalking ..... surely?) Now, I should declare I am a bit of a fan, but most of my fandom is based on fancying him (tall, full head of hair......) and, well, even I have to admit this twist in his career is a vanity project of enormous proportions. And of course being someone who worships at the alter of Susan Sarandon, him being shacked up with her did lend him a certain cache. He has now said his remark about this being his midlife crisis album, made to Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs, was just a joke. But, to be honest, although he can definitely hold a tune and play a guitar ....... and has obviously spent a lot of time in his bedroom writing songs ........... there is a reason why Tim Robbins is an actor.
Don't get me wrong he's not awful, sort of Warren Zevon meets Johnny Cash by way of Joni Mitchell, except not as good. He sang a mixture of covers and his own compositions but the lyrics were a tad cheesy. I'm nothing if not a sucker for a cover version and he did them very well which only served to highlight the differences, like they were the proper songs. It didn't help when his were prefaced with things like: 'this is about Nelson Mandela, who I had the good fortune to meet......' The biggest part of the evening, quite literally, was his crouch. Honestly, framed by the curve of his guitar, I couldn't take my eyes off it. Nor could my companion. Or the posse of ladies inappropriately dressed for this time of year, sat in the front row. Actually, I expected the whole congregation to be made up just of women of all ages but it was about 50/50 male and female, albeit almost all middle aged and many were obviously husband and wife combos. Personally, I believe only the French can pull off the cross-over thing. Act, sing? Sing, act? Mais oui, they're all at it. Somehow they can get away with it, possibly because French rock & pop is so ludicrous it doesn't really matter. But the rest? Forget it. Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Madonna, Sting ..... need I go on?
Still, Mr Robbins received a standing ovation from the devotees, who then clamoured to buy the CD on sale at the back of the church. The male midlife crisis may be a bit of a cliche but cliches come from truisms and I don't think it's a coincidence that at 52, and newly single, Tim has decided to fulfill his dreams of rock stardom. Apparently, wielding a guitar and reaching for the mic is now as popular as sports cars, motorbikes, leather trousers and shagging the secretary when men hit that certain age. And why not unleash your inner Bono? It's certainly a lot safer than hurtling down the Dorking Bypass on your Suzuki. However, not everyone needs to immortalise themselves on the front of a T-shirt...
Top tip: Winter's back and so is Nigella ...... stay home and watch food porn, Thursdays, BBC2, 8pm