The Forrest Gump of Rock.
The character creation of Graham Fellows, Brian is a fortysomething rock musicologist and part-time lecturer in media studies at a college of further education in the Newcastle Under Lyme area, although originally he hails from Selly Oak in Birmingham. In a nutshell, he is a man obsessed by the outrageous plagiarism from now well-established rock stars he has suffered from over the years, convinced that he unwittingly kickstarted the careers of many of rock's greatest heroes.
Initially appearing as the 'special guest' on John Shuttleworth's "2000 and John" tour, he presented his own version of the history of rock in the form of a lecture, complete with slides. The version that's 'true', that can't be found on any printed form yet nonetheless proves his initial and significant involvement in many of rock's greatest songs. He explains how, throughout his life, he has helped Phil Collins, Culture Club, Rod Stewart and countless others reach the upper echelons of super-stardom and receieved no credit for it whatsoever. Even Morrissey ripped off his vocal style from a song he wrote when poorly, his weakness at the time forcing his voice to trail off in a Morrissey-esque fashion.
"My girlfriend was sick at the time, but I was feeling very ill too, and I wasn't getting any attention, so I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I wrote this before I'd even heard of The Smiths. I think Morrissey must have been outside my window, listening in. It's only half an hour on the train from Manchester to Newcastle Under Lyme - he could have been passing my window and heard me singing this. The jury's still out, but listen..."
He'll then go on to sing 'My Turn To Be Poorly
' in a perfect Mozza
drawl, also echoing the self-pitying lyrical style that worked well for The Smiths
. He invented prog rock
when the fumes of the Airfix
glue he used as a child caused him to see Lucy
from the Narnia
books coming out of his wardrobe. He wrote 'You've Got The Wrong Wardrobe, Lucy
' and the rest, as they say, was history. Or, at least, it should
Whereas John Shuttleworth is perhaps calmly over-optimistic, Brian is deadly serious in his bitterness and with good reason, given all the information he provides to back-up his claim for a place in the Rock Hall of Fame. And where John does gentle comedy that makes you feel warm inside, Brian is laugh out loud hilarious. Almost as if the humour of a character is directly proportionate to the amount of failure they've achieved. But, as what is said in the John Shuttleworth node, that's the British for you.
"Don't you believe me? You bloody should do after all the documentation I've provided. Because I've been dumped upon from a very great height. I've been to hell and back. And I'm sure I'll be going to hell again one of these days, and next time I think I'll take some of those buggers with me... Because it should have been me. It should have. As Yvonne Fair said in '76; It should have been me. I beg your pardon, '75. It reached number six. Eleven weeks stay in the chart. Enjoyed silver status; went silver for Yvonne..."
Brian made a further (albeit short) appearance on the 2001 John Shuttleworth tour, One Foot In The Gravy
, as well as appearing as the support act with Belle and Sebastian
in 2000. His lecture concerning his undoubtable part in rock'n'roll history has been broadcast as a six-part Radio 4
series that began in September, 2001.