July – September
The Go! Service single, ‘It Makes Me Realise’ was now out on Dreamworld Records, and we had lined up as many gigs as we could. Dan and Janine had also been sending the 12″ to journalists and it had started to get reviewed.
‘Pop’s lost weekend, pretty but never prim’ Sounds
6th July The June Brides / Go! Service – The Room at the Top
I loved playing these gigs at The Room At The Top. We’d borrow Mum’s nursery school mini bus, Danny would drive. I’d usually have a new compilation tape for the journey, played on the cassette player I brought with me (no tape deck in the mini bus). A few friends would join myself, Danny, Rudy and Kevin and travel with us. Marie-Lou, Aidan, Guy, John O’Brian, Tracy, Christian, Vicky from Diners Club, Trish, Dee and Tommy all drove up with us at various points. We’d have a laugh on the journey up, getting more excited as we got closer to London. Danny started to include back roads and short cuts, which made us feel like we belonged. Up through Camden to Chalk Farm, just opposite The Roundhouse, The Enterprise pub. Upstairs – The Room At The Top.
We started to know the Room at the Top regulars, along with Dan and Emily there was Iain Baker (later of Jesus Jones), the guys from Watford, Matt, Roger, Andy, The Legend, Roger Holland. It wasn’t like playing a normal pub gig, where you’d be at the mercy of the locals, everyone here was into some form of independent / alternative music. It was wonderful. I’d always end up chatting to people, even as the pub was closing around me and pretty much have to be dragged out, ‘Jo!’ – the mini bus loaded and ready to go. Sometimes we’d give Dan Treacy a lift to Clapham afterwards, it wasn’t on our way, but I’d offer anyway. We’d then stop somewhere, jump out and grab a kebab, getting home ourselves at about 1am. Often Marie Lou and a few of the others would be staying the night. Either we’d unload the van then, every noise (along with our stifled giggles) amplified in the sleeping house or I’d say ‘leave it, we’ll do it tomorrow’. Then when it was just Danny and myself there to unload it the next day, I wished we’d done it the night before. We kept all the gear at Elm Cottage, including the drums, hardware and amps.
The day after playing in North London with The June Brides, Danny and I drove to Battersea Park for another festival organised by the GLC – Jobs For A Change Festival
7th July Working Week / Billy Bragg / Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark / Reckless Eric / The Three Johns / The Beat Farmers / The Frank Chickens / The Pogues / The Red Guitars / Porky The Poet.
13 July – Live Aid pop concerts in London and Philadelphia raise over £50,000,000 for famine relief in Ethiopia.
Live Aid. I watched pretty much every minute. At one point, I needed some fresh air, so took my dog Otto for a quick walk. I had tried to get tickets. I ‘phoned directory enquiries the day they came out, looking for Wembley Stadium‘s number. ‘I know that off by heart now’ she said. I tried and tried, it was always engaged. I gave up.
A local gig on 20th July – Sons of Pride / Zaz Turned Blue / Spike Team – Frimley Community Centre. (Sons of Pride were a three piece who drank at The Hero, they looked great. Giles from Zaz Turned Blue would soon come into my life when we worked together at Our Price Woking)
The gig we played with The June Brides got reviewed in ‘Sounds’.
In fact, we started to get a few nice pieces of press.
When Kevin joined the band, he brought with him a great taste in music and some new bands for us to listen to – The Pale Fountains, A Certain Ratio, War, ’70s funk. Kev suggested his mate Graham ‘Polo’ Mawdesley played congas on a few of our songs at a local gig we had coming up. It was in a nod to The Pale Fountains and we gladly agreed. Graham came to a couple of rehearsals at the house. He was a real live wire, brilliant to be around and the first person I ever heard talk about The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
We had three gigs in a row coming up – Thursday 25th, supporting mod band, The Gents at the 100 Club on Oxford Street
26th July – my first promotion – I hired Frimley Green Football Club bar, a p.a. and we played live with friends d.j.ing (disco!), charged £1.50 a ticket.
and on Saturday 27th, we supported The Stingrays back at The Room at the Top in London.
The Smiths ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Any More’ was released.
Tracy had gone to Saint Tropez for the summer – earning money spraying people with Hawaiian Tropic on the beach. My sister Trina was home from Athens and suggested she and I head to the South of France and give Tracy surprise – her treat. Naturally I said ‘yes please!’ to this exciting offer. Trina is ten years older than me and was working in Athens, having previously lived in Cairo working as headmistress of the Shell School for three years. I loved it when she was home.
We caught the ferry to France, a train to Paris and then a couple of coach journeys to Saint Tropez. It was as fabulous as it was exhausting. On one of the coach changes quite far south, we had time for some breakfast in a little cafe over looking a small bustling harbour. The morning sun was beautiful, I’d never seen anything like it. It was a great feeling, sitting there, nearing the end of our journey. Trina was surprised I’d never heard of a croque monsieur, and bought me my first one.
We arrived at last and caught another bus straight to the beach where we found Tracy. We sneaked up behind her and I tapped her on the shoulder. She couldn’t believe it when she turned round and saw us standing there! Tracy was incredibly brown, she’d already been there for over a month, walking up and down the beach all day with plenty of Hawaiian Tropic. We were pale, tired and still had our bags. Trina went back into town and booked herself into a small hotel, I went to the campsite with Tracy. We met up in Saint Tropez later and went out for the night, walking through the busy, warm streets. Stopping off for drinks here and there. There was a rockabilly band busking with a small crowd round them, cheering and clapping, we stopped for a while and watched. Everyone was suntanned and checking each other out. I realised I had drunk too much and had a horrible taxi journey back to the campsite. Realising I was seeing double, I opened the window and gulped in the air, just making it back safely. I felt awful the next morning as the warm, early morning sun started to shine in through the sticky canvas wall, very close to my pounding head, which was half in, half out of the tent. We met Trina on the beach a couple of hours later, where the sea and happiness soon brought me round. We stayed a few more brilliant days.
22 August – 55 people are killed in the Manchester air disaster at Manchester International Airport when a British Airtours Boeing 737 burst into flames after the pilot aborts the take-off.
‘Well, Well, Well’ The Woodentops was released.
Danny and I heard that Our Price Records were employing people, so we both applied.
1 September – A joint French-American expedition locates the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
2 September – England win 1985 Ashes
2 September Lloyd Cole and the Commotions / The Jazzeteers – Hammersmith Palais
Through my primary school friend Guy, I met John and Matt. The three of them had started a fanzine called ‘Obsession’ and had interviewed us when we were still called The Service, the previous year. They had been sent a demo by a band which they really liked and played me. I agreed with them and John made me a copy, which I played all the time. The Housemartins were from Hull and I loved them. I phoned Dan Treacy and suggested he book them for The Room at The Top and if he did, could we support please? He was successful and the gig was booked for 2 November.
Here’s a taste of the demo, still sounds great.
‘Primitive Painters’ by Felt was released. Sends shivers down my spine when Liz Fraser‘s vocals come in.
Danny and I both had interviews for Our Price Records on the same day. We travelled up to Farringdon, a part of London I’d never been to before. The interviews took place downstairs in the small Farringdon branch, I saw that the shop had ‘There Are Eight Million Stories‘, the newly released debut album by The June Brides and held it up to Danny with a smile as we went downstairs.
A week or so later we were both offered jobs. Danny was to work in the Camberley branch and I was going to Woking. All very exciting. We had to attend training days at the same venue back in Farringdon, this time we went separately. Gary Nesbit who owned Our Price appeared and spoke about his philosophy – small shops and knowledgeable, friendly staff. We were told you must never point out into the shop when asked where a certain release was, but to walk the customer there. Old ladies were to feel as welcome as teenagers. I liked all this, it suited my personality.
Scotland national football team manager Jock Stein, 62, collapses and dies from a heart attack at the end of his team’s 1–1 draw with Wales at Ninian Park, Cardiff, which secured Scotland’s place in the World Cup qualification play-off.
‘Just Like Honey’ by The Jesus and Mary Chain was released. My favourite single of theirs.
27 September The TV Personalities / 1,000 Violins / The Riverside Club
I really like this place. A great arts venue. I later saw Alan Rickman‘s ‘Hamlet’ here along with a few other cool gigs, I played there once.
The wonderful ‘Halcyon Days’ single by Sheffield’s 1,000 Violins had just been released and was getting them, and Dreamworld some attention.
28 September A riot in Brixton erupts after an accidental shooting of a woman by police. One person dies in the riot, fifty are injured and more than 200 are arrested.