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Column: Janey Lee Grace on being perfect

PUBLISHED: 14:07 24 July 2010 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013

Janey 9 copy

Janey 9 copy

Janey reminisces on her days as a backing singer for 80s pop icons Wham! as she finds herself afforded an unusual label...

I READ with great interest the piece with the lovely Shirlie Kemp because Shirlie and I go back a long way. I toured the world as a backing singer with Wham! and even though it was a scary 25 years ago the memories are still strong. Just a week or so ago I cleared out some stuff from my basement and came across some Wham! memoribilia I'd held onto - I must have had an inkling about Ebay. Amongst the usual tour programmes and photos of us all looking worse for wear there was a promotional T-shirt that had been produced by a local concert promoter in Hong Kong when we played there. It featured caricatures of George Michael and Andrew Ridgely but their faces were depicted as smiling dogs!



T-shirts aside, clothes were always a bit of a moot point when it came to touring with Wham!, and on this note I wonder if Shirlie ever realised just how miffed I was that she looked fantastic and got to wear all the best kit. Shirlie and Pepsi would dance their routines at the front of the stage with the boys, wearing the most gorgeous designer frocks or tailored suits while myself and the other backing singer Janet were 'doo-wopping' away at the back with the backing band and we had to wear what they did - now trust me baggy airtex tops and sporty shorts didn't seem the most flattering look for girls when all around us was 80's big hair and flashy costume jewellery. I remember looking across at Shirlie and thinking she looked - well - perfect.





Talking of that particular look, I was asked recently to open and speak at an Eco fair at Marlborough Science College in St Albans. I decided to take my children as there were lots of stalls and events and of course within four minutes of arriving my two-year-old had managed to splurge her organic chocolate ice cream all around the underarm section of my silk top. Once all the bits of cornet had been removed it just looked as though I was a rather scruffy sweaty type who hadn't bothered to change my clothes.



I noticed a few people walking past the stall where my books were laid out, staring at me and then studying their programme. No-one said anything but they walked away with a quizzical look on their faces. Eventually someone showed me the event programme. They had billed me, not with my usual accolade of Imperfectly Natural woman - as in, doesn't get everything right but does the bits she can - but as 'Unnaturally perfect'. No wonder people looked quizzical!



On an entirely different note I had the absolute pleasure of going to Champneys in Tring last month. Now I haven't been to a health resort since they were called 'health farms' but this was wonderful. My memories were of rather austere buildings with lots of matronly types asking overweight people in white dressing gowns to step on the scales. Lunch was lean protein and a lettuce leaf and the treatments were less than therapeutic.



20 years on there's no comparison. Champneys has an amazing array of fabulous treatments on offer, I had a wonderful scalp massage with essential oils (trust me I had 80's big hair after that) and they offer great classes - I managed yoga and a Hula Hoop fitness session - and the food is sensational. They realise now that some people go to lose some weight, but many go to just relax and rejuvenate. I was so impressed I offered to do some talks there so I'm booked for a few evening events. Let's just hope I can manage to turn up for those without ice-cream all over my shirt...




T-shirts aside, clothes were always a bit of a moot point when it came to touring with Wham!, and on this note I wonder if Shirlie ever realised just how miffed I was that she looked fantastic and got to wear all the best kit. Shirlie and Pepsi would dance their routines at the front of the stage with the boys, wearing the most gorgeous designer frocks or tailored suits while myself and the other backing singer Janet were 'doo-wopping' away at the back with the backing band and we had to wear what they did - now trust me baggy airtex tops and sporty shorts didn't seem the most flattering look for girls when all around us was 80's big hair and flashy costume jewellery. I remember looking across at Shirlie and thinking she looked - well - perfect.







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