From the age of 16 onwards, I spent my time either lying in bed or on the sofa, with the TV on and a guitar in my hands. For some reason, to write songs, those elements just always had to be present. And out of that would come these little ideas. Chelsea Dagger was one.
I was living in a quiet village outside Glasgow. I didn’t know anybody. I hadn’t travelled. I hadn’t really lived. So with that song, I was trying to create this alternative reality – a slightly dodgy underworld I’d never been to, filled with characters I’d never met. Burlesque dancers. Gangsters. Cradle-snatchers. The song has the atmosphere of a sinister old speakeasy.
I wrote it after meeting my girlfriend, who became my wife. At the time, she was building up to her first burlesque performance at Club Noir in Glasgow, which was the world’s biggest burlesque club night. I had no idea what “burlesque” meant. I’ll be honest: at first, it sounded to me like stripping, but I was told in no uncertain terms it was completely different. She’d chosen Chelsea Dagger as her stage name – as a play on Britney Spears – and something told me I could get a song out of that. But I don’t really see her as Miss Dagger, the burlesque dancer in the song. My wife is more wholesome.