Quirky early 80s New Wave act Haysi Fantayzee consisted of co-lead singers Jeremy Healy and Kate Garner—who looked like Dickensian “Huckleberry Finn” white rasta versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy—and Garner’s boyfriend, producer/manager Paul Caplin, who had previously been in a New Romantic group called Animal Magnet, but detested performing and preferred to be thought of as the group’s behind the scenes “mastermind.”
They were known as a very London fashion/dance act and could roughly fit into a grouping of UK acts including Culture Club, Bananarama, Duck Rock-era Malcolm McClaren, Fun Boy Three and Bow Wow Wow, post post-punk pop performers at the dawn of the video age when the visual presentation was becoming as important as the music. Although Haysi Fantayzee will forever be thought of as a fluffy, lightweight “totally 80s” act, their music was actually quite innovative, and wholly original for the pop charts of the era, incorporating country, dance beats, cartoony sound effects, dub reggae and cheeky/childish double entendre sing-song lyrics about anal sex and “chizoola” (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds dirty). I loved them then, and I still think their records sound great.
I can vividly recall one day, just after Christmas of 1983, being in the Fiorucci store in London, on King’s Road—I was the only one browsing in what was a small store—and in walked Kate Garner and Marilyn, the “gender bender” “friend of Boy George” (for that is how he’s always described). Two things: One, they were just laughing hysterically and throwing things on the counter—piles of expensive stuff—without even bothering to try them on (obviously someone else was going to be picking up their tab) and 2.) OMFG was she HOT. If you’ve ever been suddenly confronted by an impossibly gorgeous creature at close range, unexpectedly, and your guts just FREEZE, well, this is what happened to my 18-year-old stomach that day when I made improbable, fleeting eye contact with the delicious Kate Garner. “Good times come to me now…”
Haysi Fantayzee only lasted a couple of years before they split up, leaving behind one album, Battle Hymns for Children Singing, four singles, b-sides and 12” mixes. Jeremy Healy went on to be a well-known producer, DJ and club promoter; Garner—who still looks great—became a top celebrity photographer and Paul Caplin is now the owner of Caplin Systems, a successful financial trading software company.
“John Wayne Is Big Leggy,” a paean to America’s wild west, racism and Greek sex:
“Sister Friction” (includes a cameo appearance of the legendary “Desmond Hip City” reggae record store in Brixton)