Dean O'Loughlin
(Phony / ex-Big Brother)

Despite its huge popularity Big Brother played its part in the shift from high quality drama to low budget cheap reality TV, so it was with some suspicion that we approach Dean McLoughlin from the famed TV show. Since leaving the Big Brother house, Dean has shied away from the celebrity parties and tabloid frenzy to concentrate on his first love - music!!!!

In his first Manchester gig since the show in attendance were the likes of Mani (Primal Scream), Guy Garvey (Elbow) and up and coming Manchester based band Haven. Rather than go for the easy route of Travis-lite or Diet Coldplay we found it as a surprise to find Dean ploughing Bowie's back catalogue for inspiration and winning over a crowd full of cynics.

Q: We've always been quite cynical about the whole Big Brother show. What we really want to know is what type of person wants to be put in a room with 10 strangers and filmed 24 hours a day?
A: I think you've just got to be a huge show-off, which I think I probably am. I watched the first one and though I should be on that, I don't know why but I just knew I should be on it. When I sent off the form and video off it was kind of half hearted...I mean the chance of you getting picked are pretty slim...but once they want you its all a bit of a rollercoaster.

Q: When I check out the Big Brother website I found out they do a whole series of psychological and physical tests. Was it really that intense?
A: Its quite good because they asks you lots of questions you don't ask yourself and you have to start thinking about them and you have to get answers for them. It was a real self discovery thing and you start asking questions about yourself that you've never even thought of.

Q: What were the best and worst moments of the whole experience?
A: The best part was, predictably I suppose in lots of ways, getting out. Walking out the door was brilliant, just knowing I was going to see my girlfriend again. The worst part in lots of ways was going in...thinking have you done the right think and also it was quite overwhelming. It leaves you a bit shell shocked really.

I always get on with people so it actually wasn't that daunting getting on with 9 strangers...I knew I would get on with them!!! Living with them however 50 days into it was quite draining although we were all bonded by this weird thing that you're all in there together and you'd all been this quite stressful selection process. People did irritate me in there but if I was in a house for 10 weeks with 10 of my mates they'd irritate me. Its not about your personality or the type of person you are...its about the situation you're in.

Bubble and Brian made me laugh and in there laughter was just the most important thing.

Q: Apparently you were supposed to be the intelligent one. Would you say the TV edit portrayed everyone fairly?
A: I think they had 10 very two-dimensional characters. Serious ones, loud ones, quite ones. They basically flattened everyone out into two dimensions and played it like a bit of a soap opera. But they're making telly aren't they and they're not interested in doing a This Is Your Life!!!

If I was supposed to be the intelligent one it doesn't say much for the rest of them does it. I was the oldest one in there so I was always going to be the most sensible...the dad tag....and I didn't really want that kind of role but there was nothing I could do about it.

Q: I watched the odd five minutes here and there. It seemed strange that people wanted to watch people going "isn't it really strange that were on TV having breakfast". Was it really that bizarre?
A: We were in there thinking why the fuck is anyone watching this!!! But people were watching it. We really did think people wouldn't be watching it because it seemed so fucking dull. It was just a little look into normal life and I don't know why people were so fascinated by it. I watched the first series and it really was a case of just watching nothing happen...there were more interesting people in the corner of your local pub!!!

Q: The third series returns this year. Do you think it's interesting enough to keep people watching?
A: It depends how they play the show really but I think there's probably one more in it. It seems like they're going for a shag and if they pick the right people they will shag on TV. But if you pick your average english reserved person...even if you're showing off on TV its still really reserved. You watch the foreign Big Brothers and they're beating each other up and everything.

Q: The thing that kept you going through the show was playing guitar. You must have had to fight to take that in with you?
A: People had said I took my guitar in there to try and get a deal. I took that guitar in for me and most of the time I played it I went off on my own and played it. The fact that they showed that on TV is nothing to do with me...I couldn't do anything about it. For a lot of people music is their life and its the first thing they hear in the morning and the last thing at night. If I hadn't had that guitar there is no way I would have survived as long as I did.

Q: Moving to the present day with Phony. How long have you been together now?
A: We put a band together 18 months ago to play a bar in New York. It wasn't really a band, I just had some songs and got three mates to put the songs together. We called it Phony because it wasn't really a band at the time...but when we came back to Birmingham they're band had split up and it kind of came real.

Its 20 years I've been playing music now so it really wasn't a case of getting a deal after Big Brother. In any case i'd been signed to One Little Indian records a few years back anyway. What we really wanted to do was get back to playing some real gigs and avoid turning into a cheesy covers bands.

There are a few offers on the all I can is watch this space!!!

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