September 29, 2020

The Nik Kershaw Minifig is a Forty Second Play by Tenzing Scott Brown.

The Nik Kershaw Minifig has been written as an alternative to The Public Execution Of Pop Stars. As in, incase The Public Execution of Pop Stars is shite.

The Nik Kershaw Minifig has only one character – a Lego minifig of former pop star – Nik Kershaw. He addresses the audience directly.

Tenzing Scott Brown invited Prince to write a forward to this Forty Second Play. What follows is the forward:

“Hi, my name is Prince. I used to be a famous pop star in the 1980s. What made me famous was that I was a genius. It’s what got me noticed. But then I started doing stuff that made me look mad. I started to stop using my name and used a squiggle instead. And making records to annoy my record company. Records that were indulgent.

And although I was a genius, people stopped buying my records. So I changed my name back to Prince and did a world tour where I was a caricature of how I used to look during my purple patch in 1984. But this world tour was in 2007. It was as if The Beatles had reformed in 1987 and they went out touring as middle-aged men but wearing their collarless Pierre Cardin suits they wore in 1964. It was pathetic. But it is what the fans wanted. They loved me for it. So I took too many painkillers and died. I am afraid I do not know who Nik Kershaw or Minifigs are.”

That was the foreword by Prince.

This is the Forty Second Play called The Nik Kershaw Minifig:

“Hi my name is Nik Kershaw.

I used to be a famous pop star in the 1980s.

What made me famous was that I could write good pop songs and I was cute.

But then people stopped buying my records even though I could still write good pop songs and I was still cute.

It is now thirty something years later.

And I still make records.

But all my fans want to hear is my old hits from the 1980s.

So I have decided to become a Lego minifig of myself.

And using a stop motion app I have on my phone, remake all my old videos from the 1980s using Lego.

I think it is what all pop stars from the 80s should do.

Fans will love it.

And it keeps you busy.

And you never grow old.

If Prince were alive today, it is what he should be doing.

It is either that or the allotment.

I’ve got my own YouTube channel and everything.”


Post Script:

1984 meets 2020 at the New River Café is the title of the Post Script to the Forty Second Play The Nik Kershaw Minifig by Tenzing Scott Brown.

But this Post Script is written by one of Tenzing Scott Brown’s other selves – Bill Drummond

1984 meets 2020 at the New River Café

In 1984 I re-read the novel 1984 to compare and contrast.

In 1984 I was working as an A&R consultant for Warner Brothers / WEA / Warner Music. I was observing how the machinery worked.

One of the two great rivals of Warner Brothers / WEA / Warner Music was and probably still is Columbia / CBS / Sony Music. They had Michael Jackson, Warner Brothers / WEA / Warner Music only had Prince – something had to be done.

In June 1984 Purple Rain by Prince was to be released. For most of the previous twelve months Thriller by Michael Jackson had been at number one on the American album charts. By then Michael Jackson was already being talked about as the King of Pop. To my ears this sounded wrong – it did not alliterate. Elvis had been the King of Rock – that alliterated. The Prince of Pop would have alliterated but he was Michael Jackson and not Prince – so that would not work.

I was party to meetings where the marketing of the album Purple Rain was discussed. It was decided that Prince was to be marketed as a “genius”. The implication being that Prince was up there with Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, whereas Michael Jackson was only up there with Elvis and The Beatles.

In the 2020 world, informed by Black Lives Matter, how does the above paragraph read?

In the lower leagues of pop, Warner Brothers / WEA / Warner Music’s other great rival Decca / MCA / Universal were having hits with a boy called Nik Kershaw. Something had to be done, so Warner Brothers / WEA / Warner Music signed a boy called Howard Jones and started having hits with him.

Whereas I was having troubles with my own personal demons – these included the question – what to do with Echo & The Bunnymen? So I decided that their fourth album Ocean Rain should be marketed as “the greatest album ever made”. It wasn’t – that accolade belonged to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by a rival Liverpool group.

Since Yesterday by Strawberry Switchblade was recorded and released in 1984. But that is another story belonging to the Post Script of another Forty Second Play.

On the 26th of August 1997 – when in Helsinki packaging and posting records featuring Kristina Bruuk, records released on the Kalevala label – I went to watch Michael Jackson play at the Olympiastadion. With me was one of my sons. He turned to me and told me, this was the best thing he had ever seen in his life. I did not tell him I thought it was over rehearsed, meaningless and empty. That it was not wild and uncontrollable like I want pop music to be.

One year later to the day…

On the 26th of August 1998, I went to watch Prince play at the Wembley Arena. I don’t know who I went with or why, or what they might have said to me. But I thought it was over rehearsed, meaningless and empty. That it was not wild and uncontrollable like what I want pop music to be.

Maybe it was too late in my life to know what I wanted pop music to be. Maybe like Billy Fury I should stick to the rural.

In 2020, during the lockdown months, I re-watched The Lego Movies 1 & 2 and The Lego Batman Movie. This was with my youngest son who was seven years old.

These films were made using a computer animated, stop motion technique.

These films are brilliant in so many ways.

My youngest son now has a stop motion app on his device.

He makes short stop motion films with his Lego minifigs. It’s easy – even I could do it.

As yet, he does not know who Michael Jackson or Prince were.

You do know what a Lego minifig is?

You do know what a stop motion film is?

As lockdown was being lifted one of my other sons alerted me to the fact that KLF fans were making Lego minifigs of The KLF and celebrating them via social media.

This is what they wanted.

They didn’t want Forty Second Plays.

You do know what The KLF is?

The mother of my youngest son and life partner for the past fifteen years was clearing out a cupboard. She found a scrapbook she made when she was around 10 years old. It was full of interviews with, and photographs of Nik Kershaw. Nik Kershaw was her favourite pop star at the time.

She then told me that in 1986 she took down, from her bedroom wall, a Smash Hits poster of Nik Kershaw. She was going to throw it away because now she was a teenager her tastes in pop stars had changed. But on the back of the poster she found there was a poster of Robert Smith from The Cure. She decided that Robert Smith from The Cure appealed more to her teenage taste in pop stars.

You do know what Smash Hits was?

She then told me she would rather watch a stop motion film made using Lego minifigs of Nik Kershaw’s video for The Riddle than listen to whatever his latest album might be – or watch a play written by him – even if it only lasted for 40 seconds.

On re-reading the emails from Nick Duerden I noted he referenced Nik Kershaw in passing. I also noted he did not mention Billy Fury in his farming days.

Instead of making stop motion films with Lego minifigs of all the old videos from my previous lives I write Forty Second Plays that might never be performed but only imagined. 

I wonder if a stop motion film could be made – using an app on my hand held device and my youngest son’s Lego minifigs – of the novel 1984 by George Orwell?