Long ago in the mists of the nineties, I formed a band with David Crimes. We were called Pluto for a while, and then the media revolution hit Manchester. It was all mobile phones and paninis. People would actually strut up and down Canal Street with head-mikes and clipboards. Being important. We became The Devious Corporation, teaming up with singer Neil Roberts. For five years we toured the city, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Boy George and George Michael. Rumour has it we almost signed to Sony for an obscene figure, but pulled out at the last minute due to a crisis of conscience. The other rumour is we were crap.
Our best known track was a cover of a bluesy old soul number by Yazoo, called Midnight. Alison Moyet wrote the tune, and Neil Roberts sings on our version. Judge for yourself…
The real reason we never got signed to a major!
Inevitably, scandal stained our reputation. Unfortunately, during our Pluto incarnation, we plastered indelible stickers over every available surface in town, and fell foul of Stella Blanchflower, who ran a gown shop in Sale. She had this to say:
Stella Blanchflower Goes To War
I don’t like to name drop, but it took us a while to work out that Ms Blanchflower was a wind-up. A nom de fume. It was none other than Tony Warren, MBE, creator of Coronation Street.
Still averse to name-dropping, but Sir Ian McKellen requested we donate our song Free to The Albert Kennedy Trust to use as their anthem which was an honour. We were produced by Ritchie Birkett who polished Pet Shop Boys, Mary J Blige and K-Klass (remember Rhythm is a Mystery? If I say saxophone solo and piano-in-a-tumbledryer you will.) Boy George threw our 12″ single over his shoulder when we asked him to feature it in his DJ set. Again, an honour. And I bumped into George Michael during our live transmission for BBC Music Live. He wasn’t actually in attendance – I literally bumped into him as he rushed to Mash & Air next door for a baguette.