(Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap, The Catenary Wires)
answers the MUSIC WORKS Questionnaire
None for music, except a Grade 5 in singing from high school. But I have better qualifications for my day job: an undergraduate degree and postgraduate masters and doctorate, all in economics. Music was the main reason I ended up getting so many qualifications, though. Staying a student for as long as possible seemed like the best way of keeping doing music!
2. CREATIVE LIFE HIGHLIGHTS?
Sometimes you are at your most creative when you just follow your instinct, not your brain. In that vein, I am proud of the early Talulah Gosh stuff, because we had no idea what we were doing and we somehow made something really special. But I’m also really proud of a more cerebral project we’ve just done, in collaboration with a poet called Nancy Gaffield, which combines poetry and music about the landscape around where we live. The band is called The Drift and this is a video for the final section of it: https://youtu.be/BpzLpNU1TAU
3. WHAT AMBITIONS DO YOU STILL HAVE TO FULFIL?
I always wanted to appear on Top Of The Pops. I realise this is now impossible, but I’m sticking with it as an ambition. Apart from that, Rob and I have always had an ambition to run our own record label, and we are finally just starting one, called Skep Wax. The first bands on it are The Drift and another of new band of ours called Swansea Sound (with Hue Williams from the Pooh Sticks). We have no idea how to run a label really, but we figure it is going to be fun learning.
4. SONGS YOU WISH YOU HAD WRITTEN?
‘You Don’t Know’ by Ellie Greenwich. It is just the perfect song.
5. DESERT ISLAND DISCS?
I can’t remember how many you get. But I’d certainly include these.
‘The Book Of Love’ by Magnetic Fields
‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ by The Velvet Underground and Nico.
‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ by Soft Cell
’One Fine Day’ by The Chiffons
‘Come On Let’s Go’ by Broadcast
‘Falling And Laughing’ by Orange Juice
6. FAVOURITE ARTISTS/BANDS OF ALL TIME?
Apart from the above:
7. WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO NOW?
Penelope Isles – Until The Tide Creeps In
Red Red Eyes – Horology
Jetstream Pony – If Not Now, When?
8. THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Richard Osman – The Thursday Murder Club. (Actually I’ve only just started it, but…)
Making music, hanging out with our kids, grooming our dog (I started in lockdown, because the dog couldn’t go to her usual groomer, and now I’ve become a bit obsessed).
10. VINYL, CASSETTE, CD, MP3, WEB STREAMING?
I’m old fashioned so I still love physical product the best, but digital is obviously much easier. That said, streaming is problematic. The first Swansea Sound single was out on cassingle and MP3 only, which appealed to us. With that band we are avoiding streaming sites completely for the time being – they are great for listeners, but they pay bands so little. They are a good way of getting remunerated for back catalogue songs – and we do well on there with Talulah Gosh and Heavenly. But they are rubbish for creating excitement about, or generating income from, new music. Unless your are Ed Sheeran or Drake. Bandcamp is tons better suited to new stuff. As are real record shops of course!
11. MUSIC IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET (RELEASE, PROMOTION, GIG…) ??
The best thing about music in the age of the internet is the ability to record really easily. With Swansea Sound, we only decided to start the band in March as something to occupy us in lockdown. Hue sang his vocals into his phone in Swansea, Ian Button played the drums with his fingers on his computer keyboard in London, and we did the rest and put it all together in Kent. We’ve almost recorded a whole album now, and haven’t seen Hue in person once!
12. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL MOTTO?
I don’t have one. But I do have an imaginary old lady who is myself in the future. I imagine myself having to justify my life choices to her. It will be interesting to finally meet her in a few more decades…
A Bout De Heavenly: The Singles
Heavenly’s classic singles on a brand new compilation album!
A potted history of Heavenly…
Heavenly debuted with the 7″ single ‘I Fell in Love Last Night’, followed by another 7″, ‘Our Love Is Heavenly’, both released in 1990 on Sarah Records. Heavenly vs. Satan, the group’s debut album, came out in 1991. At this stage in their career, Heavenly’s songs were still mainly concerned with an innocent view of love, whether or not requited, and the instrumentation remained very much the same jangly guitar style used by Talulah Gosh.
Before releasing the critically acclaimed Le Jardin de Heavenly, Cathy Rogers (keyboard, back-up vocals) joined the band. Her harmony vocals and keyboards became an integral part of the group’s sound.
Before their next long-player, Heavenly released two non-album 7″ singles, ‘P.U.N.K. Girl’ and ‘Atta Girl’. These signalled a growing complexity in Amelia’s songwriting, particularly ‘Atta Girl’, in which Amelia and Cathy sung in rapid-fire trade-off vocals. A broadening (and darkening) of lyrical subject matter was shown in the B-side, ‘Hearts and Crosses’, which told the story of a date rape, with an upbeat keyboard riff providing an ironic counterpoint.
The band’s third LP was The Decline and Fall of Heavenly (1994). Here the group were at their most commercial and at their most attuned with the growing Britpop movement. The arrangements expanded even more to include strings and a large amount of percussion, and the dual-vocal trick was used on several tracks. Lyrically, the old romantic view of love was largely banished, but the tunes remained as upbeat and joyful as ever. In 1995, the band contributed the song ‘Snail Trail’ to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Bothered produced by the Red Hot Organization.
The group’s last album was Operation Heavenly (1996). Arriving in the middle of the Britpop boom, the album contained such fine singles as ‘Space Manatee’ and ‘Trophy Girlfriend’. Despite the closing of Sarah Records and release on Wiiija, the album was still recognisably the Heavenly sound. Shortly before the release of Operation Heavenly, Mathew Fletcher, the band’s drummer and Amelia’s brother, committed suicide. The remaining members announced that the band name Heavenly was to be retired.
Amelia Fletcher BIO
Amelia Fletcher is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist and economist. She has been the frontwoman of an evolving series of pop groups from the 1980s to the present. Her bands included Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, Tender Trap, and, since 2014, The Catenary Wires. She also sang backing vocals for The Wedding Present early in their career and on the Hefner album We Love the City. She toured with, and was guest vocalist for The Pooh Sticks on their albums Orgasm, Million Seller and The Great White Wonder, and in 1988 released a single under her own name, “Can You Keep a Secret?” She has also appeared as a guest vocalist for The 6ths on the song “Looking For Love (In the Hall Of Mirrors)”, on both Bugbear recordings, a single by The Hit Parade, and “Why Do You Have to Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me?” single by The Brilliant Corners. Since 2002 she has been keyboardist for Sportique.
Amelia Fletcher read Economics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. In 1993, she completed a D.Phil. in economics at Nuffield College, Oxford titled ‘Theories of Self-Regulation’. In 2001, she was appointed Chief Economist at the Office of Fair Trading and in 2008 took on the additional role of Senior Director of Mergers. She left in April 2013, to become Professor of Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia. She also sat on the board of the Financial Conduct Authority (2013-2020) and Payment Systems Regulator (2014-2020). She was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Competition and Markets Authority on 1 October 2016.
In the 2014 New Years Honours list Amelia Fletcher was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to competition and consumer economics and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to the economy.
Amelia has two children with her partner Rob Pursey, also a member of Heavenly, Talulah Gosh, Marine Research, Tender Trap and The Catenary Wires.