This post was brought to you by Kate Diamond, who has an amazing surname.
Britain’s favourite Bee Gees covers quintet is embarking on an epic UK tour. Lisa, stuck in her pool in Dubai, can procrastinate no longer and must put some of her pretty dresses into her suitcase and join the others for rehearsals. She reckons it’s like the first day at a new school, when everyone else already knows the routines and the names of the backing dancers. I don’t think she’s ever been to proper school.
H decides he can no longer ignore the elephant in the room that’s huffing & puffing its way through rehearsals. “Claire’s had a bit of a shock to her system. She needs to get fit, definitely”. Or have an asthma attack, either way. “Claire wants to stand there and sing. She’s a vocalist,” he whinges. “She can’t do that. She’s in Steps. Steps have steps.” STEPS HAVE STEPS! Do you see what he did there? Wordplay genius at work.
The RoboSteps tour is embracing new technology that wasn’t available ten years ago. They’re going to have this big screen on stage behind them. It’s really big. “It’s never been done before!” excitable Lee yells. H agrees they’re setting the bar high. It’s basically the most exciting screen-related news since McDonalds got those revolving wall menus that automatically flip from breakfast to burgers at 10.30am. But a high tech tour means publicity, and publicity means unhappy Steps. Claire, more caricature by the second, big-foots off a breakfast TV interview shouting “Can I have a bacon sandwich now? I’m staaaarving”.
Before they can get back to work (prancing), they have to fit in a glossy magazine shoot. Faye, while remaining the super nice, mild mannered Step, is OMG so over these photo stories. Undeterred by her silent moaning, the artistic director sets up the entirely realistic scenario where all the Steps have been on a wild night out and are now travelling home together, squished onto two seats of an otherwise empty bus. They all get made up to look dishevelled, and Faye has to mime eating a kebab. “Why didn’t they give the kebab to Claire?” thinks everyone. But the director has Claire smear lipstick all over her gob in a way which suggests she’s already eaten a kebab. And large chips. And her lipstick.
H moans a lot about photoshoots being the most tedious, unglamorous job on the planet. Lee Step sits just behind him, drinking a bottle of beer, at work. It’s fair to say, no one has ever grafted harder for a day’s living. After the shoot, an obnoxious lady with a Dictaphone appears to ask ridiculous questions like “Lisa, a lot of rich people live in Dubai. Would you say you’re really rich?”, and tries to find out which of Ant & Dec they used to snog while frequenting the SMTV studios. Later, H continues to demonstrate how hard Step life is, whinging that they have to sing live this time around, actually learn the words and stuff. Back in the day, they just mimed. If anything, technology has taken a step backwards. This is 2012. Why on earth would anyone sing live when they could mime? Why on earth would bands actually travel the country doing a tour, when they could just send holograms?
As a warm up for the tour, the band is performing to its most loyal following at G-A-Y. Hardcore fans have been waiting 10 years for this moment. They didn’t spend that entire time in the queue, presumably. Some of them are wearing Steps costumes. The gig is sold out. 400 people are turned away, and have to walk of shame across London dressed as the Deeper Shade of Blue video. Steps come onstage to furious crowd chanting, but sound problems mean they can’t hear themselves sing. It sounds bad. “My heart just can’t hold baaaaaaaaaaack,” shrieks Claire. The vocalist.
Fresh from their G-A-Y not entire failure, S-T-E-P-S treat themselves to a day at Newberry races. Theakston voiceover explains that, much like him, they’re part of pop history. “The group always generate excitement when they’re out and about,” he assures us, as other pissed up members of the hospitality area stumble over, shoving Faye out of the way to find out what the camera crew are there for.
To ride out the massive gambling comedown, the Steps decide to do some more sitting around a table having serious discussions. They can’t decide if they want to carry on or not after the tour, so they all just have a bit of a cry instead, and eat some cheese. Lee categorically states that if any band was ever going to reform, they couldn’t do it in a better way than this. At home, Blur kick themselves for only thinking of reforming at stupid old Glastonbury & Hyde Park, with their stupid normal sized screens.