Sunday 18 August 2019

Music: Take Sophie Ellis-Bextor home to Vicar Street

Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Meghan Markle once said Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Murder On The Dancefloor was her favourite song. Upon hearing of the Duchess of Sussex's comment, the creator of the aforementioned 2001 neo-disco smash recalled another fan.

"One of my favourite unexpected times was when I was at a Queen exhibition launch in Camden. Dave Grohl was there with loads of blokes fangirling and following him - my husband was one of them!

"Dave came over, put his arm around me and said 'you have no idea how much we play your music in our house'. Which I think is the moment my husband was the proudest he's ever been of me. Murder On The Dancefloor is his favourite track - that's the one he plays in his kitchen. There's an image for you."

Another image to conjure with in your head is of Cher hearing Sophie's 2001 reworking of her 1979 track Take Me Home and allegedly finding it too overtly sexual.

Playing Vicar Street on June 13 with a full orchestra and her band, Sophie will give value for money with Take Me Home, Get Over You, Murder on the Dancefloor and Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) and more on the night.

The singer with the double-barrelled name had the English chattering classes engaged en masse at the start of this year when she gave birth to her fifth child, Mickey. The Guardian pondered philosophically that "a large brood seems to be the latest middle-class status symbol".

Sophie is a former pupil of exclusive private school Godolphin and Latymer in Hammersmith.

She can remember being given Kate Beckinsale's old books upon arrival at the school.

Another memory, at age four, was when her parents (Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis 1983-1987, and TV producer Robin Bextor) divorced. "The aftermath went on for a few years. They both remarried... I was the only child," Sophie told me in 2002.

The singer, who (to quote Vogue) looks "like an early Lucien Freud or Francis Bacon", has a unique take on life - possibly inherited from her parents who had Sophie young. "I'd often go to restaurants and dinner parties with them and their friends and be the only child there. I'd draw on napkins and say 'I'm bored!' and be told 'you have to suggest topics to talk about, Sophie'."

Now 40, if Sophie has a concert to perform in London, she says she doesn't leave the house until 9.30pm and "will put the kids to bed first. But I feel like a weird superhero as I change into my costume, set my hair in curlers and apply my false eyelashes. I do my own hair and make-up, as it's how I mentally prepare".

Whatever about superhero rigouts, Sophie has her own Aeroflot air-hostess uniform. "They sent it to me after I tweeted about it. Then I was invited to perform in it at Aeroflot's 90th birthday at the Kremlin.

"The last time I flew Aeroflot, pickled fish was served - not everyone's ideal breakfast, but fine by me. I like being fed in the sky, off little trays. It feels like being a baby, in a high-chair, with lots of plastic. So I don't hurt myself or the other bubbas".

Sophie plays Dublin's Vicar Street on June 13

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