The move from Surrey to London (work in progress)
When we got back from America the first thing we needed to do was get jobs in London, so we could move there. Danny got his first, in January at a vinyl, cassette and cd manufacturing company, Mayking Records, based in Battersea. He handled the accounts for Factory and Creation Records plus loads of other great small labels. I was still at Our Price in Woking where we had got Christmas jobs as soon as we had returned from California in December ’88.
In February I got offered the job as the band booker for The Rock Garden in Covent Garden and we knew we could make the move. After work, I would buy a copy of the Evening Standard and hop on the train from Woking to Waterloo. Danny and I would meet in a pub and check out the flats to rent, making appointments for the ones we were hopeful of. One Sunday morning, we drove up to check out a ground floor flat on New North Road in Islington. By the time we got home to Surrey, my Mum told us the landlord had phoned and offered it to us.
We moved up in March and I started work at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden. Extremely exciting to be living and working in London.
Danny would bring home white labels and test pressings for us to listen to. We heard ‘Wrote For Luck‘ the new Happy Mondays 12″ before anyone else, he asked me ‘do you think the Happy Mondays could have a hit?’ I was, ‘no way! Could they??’
We were still doing the Buzz Club for a while after we moved to London. We would drive home a few weeks before the next one was due and put posters up. We drove around in Danny’s Mini, I held a bucket of wall paper paste, Mum’s kitchen floor brush and the posters. Danny would pull up at various poster sites and I would leap out of the car and get a few up before we moved on! We got the posters all printed at Publicity and Display in Godlaming. We saw that they did posters in London for ‘proper’ gigs and we wanted to use them right from the off.
When we’d been living there for about 3 months, our friend and Bluetrain drummer, Kevin Morey, told us there was a Boys Own party at the Holloway Road Studios, just up the road from where we lived. A mad place. Outside it was a dusty old shop front with a massive platform boot in the window. I used to look at it from the upstairs window of the 190 bus on my way to the tube station every day and wonder what it was.
We wore long sleeved tee shirts, baggy 501s, Argyll socks and Vans or Kicker boots. We danced and took it all in, walking home in the early morning and talked excitedly.
We put The Stone Roses on in Aldershot weeks before we moved to London. Sean, my Rock Garden boss asked if there were any bands in particular I’d like to book and I instantly said ‘The Stone Roses’. I couldn’t make that happen though, they were starting to ride very high and the Rock Garden wasn’t right for them.
A few months later we went to another Boys Own do, with Alice from Our Price and her boyfriend Simon. This time it was under the arches in Vauxhall. White brick arches. Bigger than the Holloway Road one, the toilets were like hired in ones, outside. This time I really noticed Andy Weatherall’s set. He played ‘Naive Melody’ by Talking Heads. We danced and got into it more.
Alice and Simon stayed the night back at ours. Simon was from Leeds and in a band called The Bridewell Taxis. We later booked them to play The Buzz Club.
Here’s a photos of the Boys Own party in East Grinstead, summer of 1989, taken by Dave Swindles and borrowed from his Facebook page. That’s Kev, bottom right, smoking. We weren’t at this one, but I read it’s where Bobby Gillespie and other members of Primal Scream, tracked Andy Weatherall down for the first time, after he gave their second album a good review in the Boys Own fanzine.
Paul Heaton asked if we could put his new band on as one of a handful of first gigs . We’d supported The Housemartins in London a few years before and sort of kept in touch. It ended up that The Beautiful South were on Top of the Pops on the Thursday and playing our gig that Saturday – the show sold out while they were on tv. That was very exciting too – the only Buzz Club to sell out in advance I think!
We had a party at my parents’ house after the Primal Scream gig. Word got round and my Mum and Dad were actually away for the night. My parents’ house in Frimley Green was pretty well known. My Dad was the village GP and my Mum ran the nursery school from our house. I am the youngest of 6 children, Elm Cottage was always mad crazy. My parents often had parties. Dad played the bagpipes and Mum sang and played the mouth organ. Guests took turns to sing or tell stories and the whiskey and Martinis ran throughout them all!
By the time the whole Primal Scream entourage arrived for the Buzz Club aftershow, I realised to my horror that all my records were now in London, no one was home and all there was to play was my Dad’s pibroch bagpipe music collection.
One of the most relieved I’ve ever been in my life was when Throb, Primal Scream’s guitarist pulled out a cassette of Sly and the Family Stone, popped it in the cassette deck, whacked the volume up and we had ourselves a party!
We had released a 12″ by Stoke’s, The Ruby Tuesdays a few months earlier, on our short lived Push Records which we ran with John Andrews and Sally Agarwal. They had supported Primal Scream that night. The Ruby Tuesdays brought all their gear into the house and played an impromptu gig in one of the rooms. Bobby Gillespie was last seen heading off at about 4am, on foot, asking which way Brighton was.
I started a Wednesday indie night at the Rock Garden and asked bands like The Divine Comedy, Treebound Story (featuring Richard Hawley), The Waltons (featuring Mark Collins who later joined The Charlatans), and my old Dreamworld Records label mates, 1,000 Violins and the Television Personalities to play. I organised a release party for Saint Etienne through Heavenly Records plus had The Orb and Andy Weatherall d.j.ing on different nights.
Club promoter, Frank Perkins, came in for a meeting with myself and Sean McDonnell, my boss, talking of starting a Boys Own type club night. Needless to say I was very enthusiastic and said to Sean we should definitely do this. A few months later, The Yellow Book Club started up on Friday nights. It was incredible. D.j.s like Terry Farley, Paul Oakenfold and Andy Weatherall all played. Danny and myself went every Friday night, took friends with us and met a whole new crowd there. The music was wonderful. It really was that moment when indie guitars and club beats started to meet.
One night Primal Scream all came along to my mid week night, with Andy Weatherall. I think his was November ’89, I got talking to Andrew Innes, one of the guitarists and we started laughing about the party at my parents’ house a few weeks earlier. He said they’d just been in the studio with A.W. and that it was sounding incredible. He told me that Andy had the track, ‘Loaded’ and was going to play it that night. I have a feeling this was the first play it got. I know it was played by A.W. at Subterrania in West London around this time, and it all kicked off to a packed Stereo M.C.s crowd. I think this was before then – there weren’t many people in the venue that night, I can’t remember who the band I had booked to play were (maybe Boys Wonder).
It sounded fantastic.
Sean Johnson who later joined forces with A.W. as A Love From Outer Space recalls;
‘I remember that gig now!!! He played the dub of Madonna express yourself and a William orbit remix of erasure’s cover of supernature as well that night. Just came back to me in a flash….. weird’