The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: Christmas with the Cocteau Twins
With Elizabeth Fraser set to come out of retirement this week at Antony Hegarty's Meltdown Festival, RBP goes back to her musical roots as one half/third of '80s proto-shoegaze luminaries the Cocteau Twins. Chris Roberts dined with her and fellow Twin/partner Robin Guthrie in a Sounds piece that ran on January 4, 1986——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
So I spent a Friday afternoon eating and giggling with The Cocteau Twins.
They're not there. I pour disdain on the mannequins in Harvey Nichols' window, then stand in a dry place.
A young man rushes out of the jeweller's opposite and leaps into a waiting taxi. He is George Michael. I stare at him and then realise he is staring back at me. I look away, as one does. The cab roars away through the drizzle.
"Oh," I think. "This is going to be a funny day."
Then Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser amble and scurry up.
Robin and I agree not to go into the posh place. Liz keeps hiding behind Robin laughing with short catches of breath. We walk to Kings Road. It takes about seven minutes. Robin, kindly, talks. I concentrate on not positioning myself between the two of them.
Now and again Robin says out of the corner of his mouth, "Aw, come on, Liz."
Then I brazenly take control of the situation.
"Do you think interviews are a bit silly?"
"What I find really funny is the way they always put... you can't analyse their music or describe it in words but anyway here goes: it's a radiant ethereal dooda dooda whatever..."
"Yes. That's true," says Robin.
That was me brazenly taking control of the situation.
I wonder what the alternative is. I am still wondering this when I kind of apologetically turn the tape recorder on.
We are sitting in the Chelsea Kitchen and all feeling much better for being in the warm and about to eat. Liz is acting less oddly. Robin tells me that in Simon's absence they intended to bring a cassette of Simon saying "Yes", "No", and "Four times", but they forgot it. I squeal, Oh, that would've been brilliant!! They seem cheered by my enthusiasm.
The waiter recognises them, pretends not to. They don't notice this.
On the menu we see Christmas turkey, which Robin orders. I order it too, because then I can tell all my little friends I had Christmas dinner with the Cocteau Twins.
Liz says, "Would it be alright if I had two starters?"
Once, at the BBC, they were interviewed by somebody who thought they were Frankie Goes To Hollywood. She said to Robin, "What's it like to be a fag?" Another time they saw Johnny Rotten in a New York hotel bar.
"He was with that guy who plays Scully and they were getting outrageously drunk. Liz was wetting herself, man."
Liz: "It was incredible!"
Robin: "It was disgusting. She was all giggling and everything."
Liz: "I know, I was being a twat. But it was wonderful!"
You don't think of yourselves as famous, do you?
Liz: "Definitely not. Almost no one knows who we are. Almost no one."
Robin: "Who are you more impressed with today, us or George Michael?"
Liz: "Is there turkey in that?"
Yes, it's under the gravy there.
Liz: "Did you just speak to George Michael??!"
Me? Heavens no, I didn't speak to him. It was just weird 'cos you weren't there so I thought, Oh, I'll look at the street for a bit, and the first person that came into view was him...