Listen: You Are My Sister (Edit) / Antony & The Johnsons
Vicki Wickham had shopped me an Antony & The Johnsons package while still at Columbia. This must have been ’04. To be honest, I don’t even recall what my first thoughts and reactions were. Well except for one, the voice was other worldly. Without skimming any of clippings or info, I wasn’t even sure if Antony was a guy. Anthony is one name, Antony is another and not quite so established. I was curious.
But Vicki had included a video clip as well, which immediately sealed Antony Hegarty’s future potential at the label. No way. Wouldn’t do this fellow such an injustice as bringing him to an intentionally mainstream environment, even if I’d had the power, which I didn’t. Columbia just wasn’t set up for left field art. Not that I had the insight or talent to help him with his work either.
As it turned out, Rough Trade became a perfect label partner. Well done Geoff Travis.
Quite unexpectedly, ‘You Are My Sister’ was one of the first records I heard on an early ’05 trip to London. Yes, Radio 1 played this midday and it caught me quite off guard. At that very moment, I was unaware of the single’s release. Only in England would you get the mainstream national pop station playing such music, regardless of the obvious controversial possibilities associated with the artist’s lifestyle. Actually, I think they celebrate themselves ever so slightly for such defiant bravery.
As on record, Boy George duetted with them for their Jonathan Ross Show appearance. Where else could such a TV moment push the single higher up the chart? Well, maybe in France it could too.