Vague 8

Vague #7
 
December 1980 Adam and the Ants Frontier tour – Bauhaus – Echo and the Bunnymen
The Specials – The Mo-Dettes – The Skids – Futurama 2 – David Bowie
Program – The Revillos – Scottish Fanzines
 

Vague 8 contained the Ants ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’ tour report, interviews with Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Specials and the Skids, David Bowie and Program retrospectives, reviews of the Mo-dettes and the Revillos, a spurious ad for a CND march in Salisbury featuring Killing Joke propagated by Derek’s record shop, Scottish fanzines by Johnny Waller, ‘The Vagrant’ poem by Southampton Sarah, and a report on the second Futurama post-punk festival at Leeds, in which I slagged off U2: For me Wasted Youth stole the show. Whether it was their Velvets influenced sound or what, I thought they were great. I don’t think Wasted Youth are old fashioned, nobody’s got divine inspiration, except for maybe the Notsensibles. I much prefer this new psychedelia (especially under another name) to the grossly overrated U2… Why, oh why, did it have to be them and not any other of the aforementioned that survived?

Adam and the Ants: Kings of the Wild Frontier tour report – see Vague 7 Antzine compilation The Adam Ant cover graphic illustration of Vague 8 was by Bari Goddard, Adam’s cousin and the singer of Blaue Reiter from Wales who were in Vague 10.

Bauhaus: The Vague Interview with the Vampire in the Village

October 16 Bauhaus and Vampirnacht at Bournemouth Stateside (Village). Bauhaus darkly enter the Stateside (Sorry – I’m really sorry about that). Incidentally it is the Stateside this time and not the old Village Bowl. The powers that be didn’t think Bauhaus would adequately fill the whole place and for once they were right. To make things worse they’ve only got about an hour before the doors open. After a rather chaotic sound-check I’m in a slightly better frame of mind… As the Spandau Ballet clone support Vampirnacht scurry about on stage, we approach Pete Murphy. He seems like an alright guy and is very helpful. None of the dismissive arty pretence that I’d been led to expect. For a change I did know a bit about them but still start talking about Adam and the Ants appearing on Top of the Pops…

He says he has never seen the Ants, but: “I think that’s OK. Exposure is a good thing. If more people can hear the stuff then that’s fine. It’s very attractive, isn’t it, to compromise?… He sneaks into our gigs and sneaks out again… He’s very forceful and self opinionated… You should be able to take aggressiveness. Like last night we played Bristol, there was an incident that was an aggressive act from myself, which caused a commotion. There was like a scuffle and it spoilt the gig. That’s something that I criticise myself for. I’m prepared to accept that I’m wrong… We didn’t want to have support bands. We managed to get this character from New York called Zev… His act consists of bashing about and lots of percussive backdrops like bean cans on strings. He’s really manic. We wanted him on the whole tour but we can only get him on the last 4 dates. We were also going to get somebody illustrating double-glazing…

“It’s 11 dates, it’s a tour to us – it’s supposed to be the ‘In the Flat Field’ album tour but the album’s been held back – should be out on the 26th… There’s one song on it, ‘Double Dare’, which we lifted off the Peel session and there was hassle from the Musicians Union and we had to plead for it for a month. They gave it to us eventually… We’re really pleased with it… ‘Bela Lugosi’ was on Small Wonder and there’s a deal going through that, we might get it and re-release it on our own label 4AD.” Pete attempts to get the rest of the band over and at this point the tape recorder packs up. For the record the rest of Bauhaus are: Danny Ash – guitar/vocals, David Jay – bass and Kevin Haskins – drums. Pete on the name: “The German art connection is just a matter of interest. The name Bauhaus adequately describes our imagery both visually and musically.” On their dark sinister image: “We don’t deliberately try and create anything contrived like that. It’s just an image we’ve been labelled with.”

They come from Northampton and have been together for about 2 years. Bauhaus is Pete Murphy’s first band but the others have been in groups before. Their discography is as follows: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ on Small Wonder, ‘Dark Entries’, ‘Terror Couple Kill Colonel’, the new single ‘Telegram Sam’, their excellent version of the Marc Bolan classic, and the ‘In the Flat Field’ album on 4AD. They made it really big in London about 6 months ago along with the Psychedelic Furs and became the hippest band around. They supported Magazine on some of their tour and blew them off stage. 2 months ago they did a handful of dates and that brings us up to date on the second date of the ‘In the Flat Field’ tour. Pete on ‘Terror Couple Kill Colonel’: “It’s not about newspaper headlines on the whole but about one in particular. ‘Terror Couple Kill Colonel’ is an actual headline. The meaning behind the song is how the papers make a 4 or 5 syllable catchphrase out of a major event like that.”

Then there’s only time for the inevitable Bowie image association question, to which Pete replies: “We’re obviously influenced by Bowie, and Bolan, but I don’t associate us with any of his images.” I thought they were more ‘Low’/‘Heroes’ at this point than ‘Ziggy Stardust’. By then the doors have opened and the Stateside is beginning to fill… We set about ligging which is a hard job in Bournemouth. The best we can do is Paul and Kitch from Program, the Silent Guests (formerly Stalag 44, one of Animals and Men and one of Moskow), and a couple of Intestines. Putting the gig in the Stateside disco could have been a masterstroke. To a certain extent it revived the club feeling of the old Village days. But although I had a good time there was something missing – atmosphere… Vampirnacht (called Vanhireknockers, etc in the original review) do a short but boring set and then there’s a really long wait for Bauhaus. They like to come on as near to midnight as possible…

Finally, “We’re Bauhaus! You won’t have seen anything like us… or me… and won’t ever again!” On stage Bauhaus are completely different people, I know everybody is but them more than most. Pete Murphy is Iggy Pop reincarnate and the rest don’t look too friendly… Nobody knows what to make of them. The Bournemouth punks don’t know whether to stand around posing or dance, so they all stand around confused and ruin what could have been a great gig… They just don’t have a clue when it’s not given to them on a plate, eg. UK Subs = punk rock = pogo… After the second number someone gives Pete Murphy some verbals. “My, what grammar… thank you very much.” Bauhaus are not easy listening… they are not a commercial band and they are not a rock’n’roll group… The only number that strikes me as sinister is ‘Monkey’ which reaches demonic proportions. ‘Terror Couple’ is excellent with its jerky Pop Group funk even… By the time they do ‘Dark Entries’ the band’s patience is running out. At last a flicker of recognition sets off sporadic bursts of dancing… Bauhaus don’t return for an encore, which is a shame because it would have been ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’…

Echo and the Bunnymen

September 29 Echo and the Bunnymen and The Sound at Bournemouth Stateside: Before the Bunnymen gig, me and Chris had a natter with Ian McCullough… He gestures to the rest of the band and says, “They’re all messing around but you can just talk to me if you like?”… In the big dressing room we start talking about fanzines, interviews and David Bowie… Ian: “We did a Liverpool one last week, that was a good laugh. It had a bad title, The Death of Romance or some crap like that… I quite like doing ’em. I enjoy it. It’s just a lot of the time I’m knackered. It’s not fanzines in particular, it’s just any interview… Some interviews are great, like that Bowie one in NME, that was brilliant and the photos were brilliant as well, prepared really well. Those kind of interviews are great, but those like you get in NME, where you get half a page on a band are pointless really. I like the Angus MacKinnon way, the way he did Bowie. He didn’t really do that much, just the bit at the beginning and at the end. Anyway, I don’t resent it, it’s enjoyable…

“Basic history? You must have read it? Uh, I had connections with the early Teardrop Explodes. It was not called Teardrop then. I don’t like to think of that as having anything to do with my history, but I ’spose it was in a way. I was kicked out of whatever it was (the Crucial Three) by Julian the dictator. It was the biggest mistake they made. It was the right move in a way because I didn’t like what they were playing and I didn’t fit in… Mumbler – I was supposed to be singing but I didn’t get round to it. It was just Iggy Pop impersonations at that stage, but it only got as far as somebody’s front room. The vocals weren’t really Iggy Pop. It was just subdued deep singing, it wasn’t even singing, it was embarrassing… If Teardrop had been given the chance to develop they could have been really good by now…

On Futurama: “That was brilliant that night. For me it was the best we’ve ever done. I don’t know, maybe it’s funny saying that because perhaps you didn’t like it that much and you might think I’m being bigheaded. But apparently John Peel thought we were the best band he’d seen for years… We didn’t have a sound-check or anything, we just went on and it was great. Under those conditions the PA blokes could just say we don’t give a damn because it was so horrible but they didn’t… If a band can look good and all that. That’s the test of a good band, if they can make people feel good under such horrible conditions. We’ll probably be headlining next year if we’re still around then. I looked on us as being the top of the bill last time, I didn’t see any opposition really…” On the Banshees: “We blew them off, they haven’t got the material. They’ve got a few good songs but the rest are horrible… Budgie’s one of the best drummers going along with our own Pete de Freitas. Hate to say that though because he’s starting to realise it.” The other Bunnymen are Les Pattinson – bass and Will Sergeant – guitar. Echo was their drum machine.

Ian’s thoughts on the late 70s/early 80s Merseybeat revival: “It’s not as good as it’s made out to be. When I’m in Liverpool I think what’s all this crap about a scene that the press are trying to create. But we were in Brighton last night and maybe there is something in Liverpool. The advantage Liverpool has got is as a city it’s got character. Like Pete is living in Liverpool now and he hates it, but only because he’s living in a horrible flat. It’s the buildings and the atmosphere. There’s a great sense of humour there. A lot of comedians have come from Liverpool; Ted Ray, Arthur Askey…” Tom: “Boxhead.” Ian: “Yeah, right. That’s what it’s like. You can’t get a straight answer out of them. You ask Boxhead something, or Bernie Cohn. Do you know him? Boxhead’s sort of one below, like there’s another breed of people above him that are more intelligent…” On Pete Burns: “All that crowd in Liverpool are the ones that bring the place down. I don’t know any of them. They’re just like real morons and they hang around places in their black suits…”

In an NME review of a Teardrop Explodes gig in Liverpool, Paul du Noyer wrote of Julian Cope performing a song about the Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled with a cloth over his head: ‘The rendition ends. “Wow. That was emotional, man,” drawls a loud, sarcastic voice in the crowd. Cloth off, Cope is down on the dance floor in an instant wrestling his adversary to the death. “Scrap!” pant the excited onlookers. “I’m warning yer, Julian, I’ll tell me mam!” warns the tormentor (a gap-toothed rockabilly named Box Head), his head lodged somewhere between the singer’s hip and elbow. The Teardrop Explodes are home and back among friends…’

Ian McCullough on the north-south divide: “Last night was the first night, Brighton, 3 encores and the place was packed. But apparently this hasn’t been advertised tonight. It’s college people putting it on but it’s an open thing isn’t it? We wouldn’t do it otherwise. I mean we don’t like students. Are you students? (laughs) I don’t know what it is around here but we came from Brighton along the coast road and it’s all old people waiting to die… The thing about Liverpool, you can go down to the pier head and you can get lost just looking over to Birkenhead at night. It can be a magical world if you just let yourself go… Yeah, there is the unemployment, the houses falling to bits… The fact that it’s a port and got a lot of history and the football teams, I think have put Liverpool on the map. There’s a lot of working class feel to it. A lot of people think it’s horrible and they dream of places like London. But London’s too posh and nice, everybody comes together in Liverpool…

“We’d hate to be just an insular Liverpool band, I don’t think anybody likes that. There’s loads of little Liverpool bands that have got it in for us because we get the press. No, not because we get the press, we’ve got the press because we’re good… The tour isn’t really a promo tour for the LP (‘Crocodiles’), it’s more of a re-promo tour. It helps because people who know the album are with you. A lot of people get that contact thing. They go somewhere and everybody else is enjoying it and that helps them to enjoy it as well… No, don’t mention U2, they’re just a bad group… Paul Morley in NME, he’s got this thing about me being a teen idol… I do like reading his stuff. Whether you like him or not, he’s there. He is one of the names. He’s there. Well, he likes us and that can only be a good thing for us I ’spose. They all seem to like us apart from Garry Bushell… I don’t really like going to see bands now, I don’t like standing up…”

After Ian raves about the Fall, we finish our chat and let him set about the Bunnymen’s extensive sound-check. As I’m sure you all want to know, then we went to the Anchor bar. On our return there is a sizable queue outside. This is explained by the fact that the gig was a student union bash. The local punks take advantage of this with more than usual begging. Hello, Pete the skin… After no great ceremony Echo and the Bunnymen come on to their army camouflage netted stage. No introductions and just a smattering of applause… Through the billowing dry ice their music seems to reach out and hold me there until the last encore… My only reservation is a really long haired hippy next to me is enjoying them more than me. And what with the dry ice and everything, perhaps John Peel is right, it is like the 60s. That is where the Bunnymen’s roots lie but their heads are definitely in the future… Coming out of the Stateside vaults is particularly weird tonight with clouds of dry ice drifting up with you, it’s really far out man… This is the End.

The Specials: Don’t Wanna Work on Maggie’s Farm Part 3

October 5 The Specials at Poole Arts Centre interviewed by Brendan and Jane… In walks Horace Gentleman, who is as you know the bass guitarist… Before answering any questions, he cadges my copy of the June/July Vague, flicks through it and notices a picture of Neville Staples, he then asks if the review was good… Horace tells us: “We had just finished the album and Jerry was cleaning it up and getting the production right, while the rest of the group were resting, but as soon as Jerry had finished the album we had our first gig of the tour in St Austell, so Jerry was a bit tired and suffering from over-work and was generally disillusioned, but everything was cleared up and here we are…” Horace Gentleman on the NF: “Wankers! We don’t want any of their factions at our gigs. Anyway, most of the people who support the NF that come to see us don’t really understand what it all stands for. They are all just a bit thick…

“Did anyone see 25 Years of Rock?… Wasn’t it Americanised?… Going to America was great for me but everything was very false. All the audience wanted to see was this hip new band from England. The record company businessmen were being friendly, which we knew was a big con and two-faced… The Japanese have a good command of English. The people there have copied American ideas and are into the same bands, so we found it very similar to America…” After a general Two-tone update… We said goodbye to Horace Gentleman, a man aptly named, and then we made our way back to the pub… I heard from the bar “You’re going home in a fucking ambulance!” The Specials were on… I stayed in the crowd for the first 3 numbers, ‘Concrete Jungle’, ‘Rat Race’ and ‘Little Rich Girl’, by then I was knackered… They came back on after much demand from the crowd to play ‘You’re Wondering Now’, which was left to a lone skinhead to finish off with the assistance of a microphone borrowed from Terry Hall…

The Mo-dettes

August 23 The Mo-dettes at the Electric Ballroom reviewed by Andrea from Bath previously of Channel 4 fanzine: Arriving late at the renowned skin haven I missed Reluctant Stereotypes and showed up just as the Swinging Cats were in full swing. From what I could assess they are essentially a bright, straight dance band, reminiscent of 60s music veering to the inevitable Two-tone sound. Very trendy because they get all their reproduced mod clothes from the King’s Road. A good band, if only you could imagine you haven’t heard this kind of music many a time. After this, and into the long wait, the disco played records by groovy bands – Bauhaus, Pink Military, Joy Division and the Slits – though hardly appropriate. The audience were cheery this Saturday and I enjoyed socialising, noting how much the Electric Ballroom really did look like a large bingo hall.

Loud cheers aroused my senses as the Mo-dettes appeared, and whether or not they changed their name to insist on not being a ‘mod’ band, they undoubtedly attract that kind of following. The Mo-dettes played and sang top form style this evening receiving an enthusiastic response. They did numbers from their album including ‘Bedtime Stories’, ‘White Mice’ was excellent and they had the audience bouncing to immediate recognition for their version of ‘Paint It Black’. Coming to the end they did ‘Twist and Shout’ as the encore, where the skins, grasping the chance to be on stage, danced (scrumpy in hand) with the friendly ladies. ‘Paint It Black’ was repeated and then they left the crowd contented. The Mo-dettes have developed a more experienced sound since I saw them a year ago. They have 30% more potential than the other bands in the Two-tone music bracket, which will help them go far, but not that far…

The Mo-dettes formed in west London out of the Vincent Units/Tesco Bombers group who squatted with the Raincoats on Monmouth Road (off Westbourne Grove); originally as the Tesco Bomberettes at the Chippenham pub in Maida Hill (of 101’ers fame). The Swiss singer Ramona and guitarist Kate (Korus, formerly of both the Slits and the Raincoats) took over Joe Strummer’s old ice-cream factory squat in Paddington; and Kate and the drummer June worked on The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle. The Mo-dettes distanced themselves from the rad-fem cause by supporting their male counterparts Madness; in the case of the bassist ‘Mad Jane’ Crockford, to the extent of marrying the drummer Dan ‘Woody’ Woodgate (the local Nutty Boy who worked at Whiteley’s) – after previously going out with Mick Jones, Neal Brown of the Vincent Units, and famously biting Shane MacGowan’s ear at the Clash ICA gig. They also supported the Clash. As described above by Andrea, the Mo-dettes’ ‘flap (fast, loud and pretty)’ versions of ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Paint It Black’ even acquired them a skinhead following.

The Skids

September The Skids at Holland Park Comprehensive School and Poole Arts Centre. The Vague Richard Jobson interview by the Shaftesbury contingent, John Sendell, Nigel Collis and Dave Marsh: They first ask about the Skids’ lunchtime gigs. Richard: “The first one failed but we got one done yesterday at Holland Park Comprehensive School which went really well… It was really good, though it seemed all the kids were into the Specials. They enjoyed it, so did we. We didn’t play a full set, just the singles and things. Of course we did the same thing on the last tour but didn’t get any publicity.” On new romantic fashion: “I dress the way I want, I don’t tell people to copy me, people dress how they like at our gigs, a few people dress like us but they are usually 6 months out of date.” On Spandau Ballet: “They’re just another Roxy Music who seem to adopt this elitist attitude purely for Blitz kids.”

On the music press: “They’re really negative, a hack from Record Mirror wanted to conduct a really heavy interview with us, so we just talked amongst ourselves then the cunt went back and wrote a review making out he had us really tied up.” On fanzines and post-punk: “I used to do one 3 years ago called Kingdom Come but we just used to write about how good the Skids were… I do really like industrial music, the Skids can play like that but we only use it for our B-sides. It does not give anything to an audience, it just takes it away from them. Futurama was just a festival for the new hippies, on the other hand I love the Banshees, I think their new album is by far the best yet, of course I’m really friendly with Siouxsie and Steve… Adam’s fashion – I am really into the 30s, Dirk Bogarde and all that leather is really great… You can put I like Wire although they sound like Syd Barrett…

“I am really interested in the 30s, because they relate to today’s situation… unemployment, impending war. Although I don’t think a nuclear war will happen. I’m into the German 30s, as is Adam Ant, especially Berlin and its social life and politics… I certainly don’t go seig heiling it around. I’m just interested in the underlying strength of the period. The cover of ‘Days in Europa’ has an Olympian on it, this represents the presence of strength rather than Nazism… Basically I’m lazy, I like reading books, I like art… oh shit… Anyway, we’re not that arty, we’re more like the Undertones. Feargal Sharkey’s stuff is tongue in cheek, we’re certainly no more clever… We’re a dance band with a tribal sound and disco rhythms…” Richard Jobson’s wide and varied pop media career, since the days of ‘Albert Tatlock’, ‘Sweet Suburbia’, ‘Into The Valley’, etc, included squatting in Notting Dale with Mariella Frostrup. In the 90s his brother Frank, the subject of his film 16 Years of Alcohol (played by Kevin McKidd), appeared at Vague gigs.

Futurama 2: Post-punk Apocalypse Now in Leeds

September 13/14 Futurama 2 Science Fiction Music Festival at Leeds Queen’s Hall: September 13 Siouxsie and the Banshees, League of Gentlemen, Echo and the Bunnymen, U2, Wasted Youth, Clock DVA, Altered Images, Modern English, Blah Blah Blah, Mirror Boys, Vena Cava, Acrobats of Desire, Y?, Music for Pleasure, Distributors, Soft Cell, Guy Jackson, Eaten Alive by Insects or Was he Pushed?, I’m So Hollow… My plans were to meet Pete at the Music Machine, where Classix Nouveaux were playing, crash in London and then get a coach to Leeds the next day. A quiet night down the Music Machine before the drudgery of Leeds – no chance; there were very nasty scenes courtesy of the Witton crew and the bouncers… Going up by coach cost £10 and when we reached Leeds there was 2 of us, loads of fanzines and not much money. Waiting outside the Queen’s Hall is no fun either, with Tottenham playing Leeds we had to watch our accents and there was bad vibes all round.

We were going to get press passes but in the end Steve from Chester got us in on his pass. It was difficult this year because they were clipping the tickets and stamping your hands – I remember seeing John Peel and Steve shouting “Everton!” causing him to hurry into the hall. After reading Danny Baker’s review of Reading and the forlorn hopelessness of it all, I found it amusing that Leeds was not very different. The same glazed drunken expressions and soiled clothing, the only difference being the hair was spiky and not long and matted… We stumbled into the dark cavernous airship hanger place and set about getting pissed like all good rock critics do. Apparently we had missed a couple of good bands, Or Was He Pushed? and Eaten Alive by Insects – that could possibly have been one band? When I eventually began to focus on the 2 Reading Festival style stages, I think it was Modern English who were boring everybody with their particular electronic buzz. I’m sorry, they might have been good… Then we ran into Abro, Withie and co, with whom we found a hole amidst the carnage to continue our post-punk piss-up…

I heard ‘Human Factor’ off the ‘Hicks from the Sticks’ album, so it must have been Music For Pleasure… I seem to remember Blah Blah Blah and I’m So Hollow being awful and Clock DVA being disappointing. I think I must have missed the much acclaimed Altered Images… It was not until Guy Jackson hit the stage that any humour was brought into the occasion. His dull jokey poems aroused a reaction at any rate when he was nearly canned off… but he continued regardless… By the end of his set he had everyone in the place on their feet applauding. No mean achievement. He wasn’t that good though, I prefer Martin Bessarman… But for me (nobody else apparently) Wasted Youth stole the show on the first night. Whether it was their Velvets influenced sound compared with all the others or what, I thought they were great… I don’t think Wasted Youth are old fashioned, nobody’s got divine inspiration, except for maybe the Notsensibles…

I much prefer this new psychedelia (especially under another name) to the grossly overrated U2. I was very disappointed with U2, expecting a new compelling pop vision. I really didn’t see what U2 had to offer. They came across to me as boring middle of the road rock’n’roll… Perhaps this was the wrong place to see them, or anybody? I’m really starting to believe this when Echo and the Bunnymen follow suit. Not quite as disappointing as U2 but they didn’t do much for me either. It all seemed to be very routine. They seemed to be playing a very safe set. Don’t take any notice of this, I’ve changed my mind – see Bournemouth review… At this point I ended up in Brannigans (the former F Club?) drinking Tetleys with a couple of bikers and a Joy Division nutter who had ‘Ian Curtis’ tattooed on his ankles. When we got back in the hall we seemed to have attracted all the oddballs in Leeds. I eventually got rid of a particularly wrecked skin by giving him a can of Carlsberg Special Brew.

We didn’t get rid of the spirit of Ian Curtis until the Banshees came on. From what I saw of the League of Gentlemen, I think they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and should go back to playing Wimbourne Village Hall with the Martian Schoolgirls… When I came through the time warp to the front of the stage it could have been ’76, except Sid and Marco had gone to be replaced by Budgie and John McGeoch, permanently now. The kids were pogoing and shouting for ‘Hong Kong Garden’. Perhaps there isn’t much hope? But Siouxsie rose to the occasion in truly indomitable style. “The next one is a new song so you won’t be able to sing along,” and, “I didn’t say you could talk.” I was expecting the worst of the Banshees, psychedelia or something awful like that but the old spirit is still there… I ended up wrapped in my grey raincoat amidst piles of cans and other debris. I managed to get about half an hour’s sleep on the floor with the lights full on and at about 9am we got chucked out. The real fun had just begun…

September 14 Gary Glitter, Athletico Spizz 80, Psychedelic Furs, Hazel O’Connor, 4 Be 2s, Young Marble Giants, Soft Boys, Durutti (spelt wrong) Column, Classix Nouveaux, Brian Brain, Not Sensibles, Tribesmen, Desperate Bicycles, Frantic Elevators, Flowers, Boots For Dancing, Vice Versa, Artery, Naked Lunch, Household Name: Wandering about Leeds looking for food we had become part of the bedraggled crowd… Most of the London crew had a better time watching Tottenham at Elland Road. It was a pretty dismal sight outside the Queen’s Hall as the not so faithful started to queue up to the strains of Gary Glitter’s sound-check from within… We were brought back to reality by the familiar sight of Boxhead, who had enjoyed himself last night. He said he spent the night under the mixing-desk with “some tart.” Then he promptly sold the remaining fanzines in about 10 minutes. So we set off for the safest pub. One good thing about Leeds is Tetleys bitter and we started to revive the spirit of the night before…

We finally got back into the hall as the reggae band Tribesmen were just coming back for a well deserved encore… Pete said the Frantic Elevators (who went on to be Simply Red) were the best band of the day so far… The Not Sensibles were introduced as the north’s answer to punk pathetique… “Brian Brain used to be one of PIL but that’s all in the past,” was the next announcement. Then 3 PIL-type blokes got up on stage and did a PIL-like set… After doing ‘Another Million Miles’ 2 or 3 times, the Gang of 4’s ‘Tourist’ and PIL’s ‘Careering’, a box of bananas was brought on stage and Brain (Martin Atkins) proceeded to pelt the audience with them. They left the stage to taped ecstatic applause and chants of “Brian! Brian! Brian!”… Then the 4 Be 2s arrived. A coach load of them took over backstage and Jock McDonald (the poor man’s Malcolm McLaren) mouthed off on stage with the 4 Be 2s roadcrew in Arsenal colours…

It wasn’t looking good for Classix Nouveaux… However they started to win the crowd over, much to our relief… ‘Guilty’ finally broke the ice, as Sam (Sal Solo) sent a beam of light off his guitar all around the auditorium. Classix are a theatrical band in the same school as Punilux (Punishment of Luxury)… Humour is there as well, the bassist Mik Sweeney, he of the big quiff fame, could hardly keep a straight face most of the time… Classix went about as far as they could under the circumstances and assured themselves a good slag off in the press… The Soft Boys and Durutti Column drifted by in a blur of shamrock 4 Be 2s T-shirts, with Jock McDonald, Jimmy Lydon and co rushing about all over place… Then Pete and Malcolm (the Classix lighting guy) dragged me away and dumped me in the van, just as the Young Marble Giants started to get interesting. I was relieved to be heading home but I had a slight feeling of remorse, not for missing the Psychedelic Furs (which was a shame) and certainly not the 4 Be 2s, Hazel O’Connor, Spizz or Glitter, but the good old squalor. Still there’s always next year…

November 4 Ronald Reagan became US President. Michael Foot became Labour leader. Vague 7 came out. November 9-December 15 Adam and the Ants Frontier tour Vague 7 programme. ‘Antmania’. ‘Super Trouper’ by Abba was number 1. The ‘Yorkshire ripper’ murdered his 13th victim. December 3 Oswald Mosley died. December 6 ‘Antmusic’ and ‘Your Cassette Pet’ by Bow-wow-wow were released. December 8 John Lennon was assassinated in New York. December 12 The IRA hunger strike ended. December 15 The Ants tour ended in Manchester. Switched to Bow-wow-wow tour. World’s End (formerly Seditionaries/Sex). Vague 8 came out. December 23 Bow-wow-wow interview in Torquay. December 27 Blaue Reiter in Sherborne. December 31 Bow-wow-wow and Spandau Ballet at Heaven cancelled. Fancy dress party at the Butt of Sherry in Mere instead.

 

Tom Vague
(Vague Publishing, 1980)
 
now out of print