October – December
The Ruby Tuesdays‘ ‘That Doesn’t Go There’ e.p. release was now only a couple of weeks away. I had booked them two nice support slots at The Rock Garden and The Buzz Club. Danny and I checked out a pub a short walk from our flat to see if we could add one more at relatively short notice. We saw a band called The Mutant Frogs play The Rosemary Branch in Islington and were able to get The Ruby Tuesdays a gig there for 19th October.
Sally Agarwal and the band had been discussing artwork ideas over the summer and the finished 12″s had now been delivered. They looked magnificent! Sally had designed the sleeve. The band had been keen to include a piece by an artist from Stoke called Arthur Berry, so we had inserts printed with his painting ‘Lily’ on.
John Andrews started to send the 12″ round to the press to get reviewed.
11th October The England national football team qualifies for next summer’s FIFA World Cup in Italy when drawing 0–0 with Poland in Warsaw.
Their new, slightly poppier album, ‘Laughter’ had been released, containing this brilliant song.
Support was from Stoke Newington’s, The Family Cat who were starting to get loads of attention for their ‘Tom Verlaine’ single, which was produced by Rick Buckler and had been Single of the Week in the ‘N.M.E.’.
16th October – The Social and Liberal Democrats, formed last year from the merger of the Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party, are renamed the Liberal Democrats.
Our campaign for The Ruby Tuesdays had now started. Between myself and the band, we had lined up five gigs for the week of release and John was starting to get some great press. Reviews in ‘Music Week‘, ‘The Manchester Evening News‘ and ‘The Guardian‘. I had also got their Rock Garden gig a mention, with photo, in ‘Time Out‘.
October 16th Ruby Tuesdays ‘That Doesn’t Go There’ ep released. The band supported The Rodney Allen Experience in Newcastle (I didn’t go).
The band travelled down from Newcastle to London and stayed with Danny and I in our flat on the New North Road, N1. They all slept on the floor of the living room. It was hectic and excellent. The first morning was the day of their Rock Garden gig. Charlie, the keyboard player and all round very funny man, looked in his bag with an ‘oh no!’. His Mum ran a dry cleaners in Stoke and he had put his flares in to get a clean for the tour. Two items of clothing had got mixed up though ‘I’ve got Mrs McCaffery’s funeral dress!’. The thought of poor Mrs McCaffery with a pair of denim flares for a funeral was as awful as it was funny.
18th October The Ruby Tuesdays / Caretaker Race – Rock Garden
They played a cool set, supporting Andy Strickland’s new band, The Caretaker Race. Andy had previously been in The Loft with Pete Astor. I found this nice recording of their set recently.
19th October The Ruby Tuesdays The Rosemary Branch, Islington.
I went to work, leaving the band sleeping the next morning. They somehow managed to get themselves locked out during the day, Charlie in his socks! They were delighted when I got home, having taken shelter in a few of the local establishments while I was out. They played a slightly shambolic set at The Rosemary Branch that evening, a few bemused locals plus me, Danny, Sally and John, watching.
The next day, the band took themselves off to Bristol to play The Thelka, a former cargo ship, moored in the Mud Dock area. They got back to the flat at around 1am, the gig had gone very well.
19th October Labour now has a 10-point lead over the Conservatives in the last MORI poll, with 48% of the vote.
21st October The Buzz Club – Primal Scream / The Ruby Tuesdays.
Primal Scream‘s second Buzz Club appearance. In the two years since their last Buzz Club performance, Primal Scream had left Alan McGee‘s Warner’s label, Elevation and re signed to Alan McGree’s Creation Records! They had also all moved to Brighton.
There were about 200 in again, similar to the first time they played. It was a great night.
As I came downstairs from Jem Barnes‘s office, having sorted the money all out, the singer from the other support band, Something Pretty Beautiful, came up to me and asked if they could come to the party?
Word had got round that my Mum and Dad were away for the night (they were) and that there was to be a party. I’m not sure how this rumour started, but everyone thought they were coming, including Primal Scream, so I thought, ‘why not?’.
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. Their friends 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!
I had brought back a couple of crates of White Lightning cider from the West End Centre, which was a fairly potent brew. It also helped get the party started.
The Ruby Tuesdays decided to bring 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.
27th October The Sugarcubes Brixton Academy
Another Sugarcubes gig Danny was able to get us on the guest list for. I found these photos online at uneviedeconcerts.com
3rd November Treebound Story The Powerhouse, as written about previously, a band from Sheffield I was into and put on at The Rock Garden earlier in the year, featuring Richard Hawley on guitar.
8th November Galaxie 500 / Straighjacket Fits Powerhaus
The wonderful Galaxie 500. Their classic album ‘On Fire’ had just been released. I’m very happy I saw this band live.
This is the gorgeous ‘Tugboat’ from the album ‘Today’ which came out the year before.
Support came from New Zealand’s Straightjacket Fits who were on the Flying Nun label.
10th November – Margaret Thatcher visits Berlin the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germans are allowed to travel between West and East Berlin for the first time since the wall was built in 1961, and between West and East Germany for the first time since the partition of the country after the war.
In late summer, Club promoter, Frank Perkins, had come 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 pretty much 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.
I had booked Andy Weatherall to d.j. on one of my mid-week indie nights and Primal Scream all came along. 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 Andy Weatherall, 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 though – 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’
The ‘Madchester Rave On e.p.’ by the Happy Mondays was released in November. It made the top 20 and gave the Happy Mondays their first Top of the Pops appearance. The e.p. was closely followed by the remix e.p. including this, remixed by Paul Oakenfold and Andy Weatherall.
10th November at The Rock Garden, The Funk Ambassadors (featuring members of the James Brown band) and then back down to Aldershot for Bradford’s second gig.
11th November Bradford Buzz Club
They had played in March the same year and as singer, Ian H. says ‘…eternally grateful for the Buzz club inviting us back later in the year to play again. By that time though [November] ,the monster known as Madchester had truly spawned to gigantic proportions and less heads were seen bobbing in the crowd…’
13th November ‘Fools Gold’ by The Stone Roses was released.
13th November The Farm / Pop Guns Dingwalls. Danny and I had interviewed The Farm’s lead singer, Peter Hooton for a fanzine we thought we were going to do (but which never materialised) when their debut single ‘Hearts and Minds‘ had been released. We met him in a pub in the West End and drank and chatted with him for ages. He went to a call box and tried to persuade John Peel to join us, sadly, that didn’t happen but we had a top night. The Farm hadn’t yet reinvented themselves to be part of the baggy movement, they were always really good live though.
18th November The Stone Roses Alexandra Palace.
Oh my God. This gig! Like a larger, more insane version of the Dingwalls one in May. Dancing, singing, getting pushed around, pushing. So many people. Oddly I remember at one stage I looked up and I was dancing with a bloke from the t.v. show ‘Bread’! Lost all my mates, found all my mates. Euphoric.
When the gig was over, we bumped into John Andrews. John worked at Concert and Tour Advertsing and had a spare back stage pass. We got us all back stage (not the dressing room a sort of after show in a large bar with a few hundred people). One of us would stick a pass on and stick a second pass on a jumper, not worn but tucked under your arm. We’d go to the main auditorium, give a friend the jumper and both go back stage, then they would go back out and repeat the process until we were all in. Myself, Danny, Gary, Paul and Dave.
Paul still has the pass, he must have been last to use it!
I recognised Steve who was tour managing / managing them when they played The Buzz Club – incredibly just eight months before. ‘Alright mate, bit different from Aldershot’ I said. He clicked who I was and said ‘Are you coming on to the party?’….’err, no, but I’d like to?’
He told us to head over to the Holloway Road Studios and gave us the address. We were to meet him there. It was the same venue as the Boys Own party Danny and I had gone to with Kevin earlier in the year, so we knew where we were going.
We ran outside, somehow organised a taxi and headed over to the Holloway Road. We hopped out of the cab and Steve was already there ushering people in. He gave us all some records to hold, said to say we were with the d.j. and in we went.
The inner (ish) sanctum. Holy Moses. I think around 100 people. The music was great, Cressa was one of the d.j.s. Mick Jones from The Clash was there with Matt Dillon. We danced. Gary had got hold of two empty coke cans and was clacking them together in time to the music all night. It was actually pretty cool and I remember missing it when he stopped.
Mani and a crowd came in, I don’t think any one else from the band did. Andy Winters, my future boss was there. He introduced me to an agent called Paul Buck I knew him on the phone as I had booked a couple of his bands before, but had never met him. He was The Mighty Lemon Drops agent.
We walked home to New North Road at around 5 or 6 am. Very, very happy.
Back at The Rock Garden on Monday, I was full of it. ‘How was the gig on Saturday?’ ‘Well…….’
As I was leaving to go home from work, I saw Reni, looking at the Rock Garden menu, outside the restaurant. Oh my God! I remember pausing and knowing I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t say something. So, I went up to him and said ‘I was there on Saturday, it was unbelievable’ he turned round and we spoke. I asked him if he was looking for something to eat – ‘I work here and can organise some food’. ‘That would be great, yes please’. In we walk. Me and Reni. I asked Patrick, the maitre de if we could get a table and had a discrete word not to charge him.
So there we were, he ate while we chatted. All my mates from the Rock Garden positioned themselves behind him but where I could see them and made faces to try and make me laugh.
We knew a few people in common, most particularly a girl who was in the year a head of me at school who was his girlfriend (and now wife).
When we were outside saying good bye, he asked me ‘how do I look, I’ve got to go and film some live t.v. now?’ I said he looked good, and off he went to film for ‘The Late Show’. Yes, that one. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Danny so rang him from a ‘phone box and then couldn’t get home quick enough to keep talking about it.
We tuned in to watch ‘The Late Show’……
25th November the Happy Mondays / Northside MC Buzz B Town & Country Club
A week later and it was over to the Town and Country Club for a very sold out Happy Mondays show. Loads of people were outside trying to get it. Danny had sorted us out guest list as he looked after the production for Factory Records at Mayking Records. Another incredible night.
30th November The Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays appear on the same episode of Top of the Pops.
2nd December Snapdragons The Buzz Club
I’d booked The Snap Dragons from Charlie Myatt a couple of months previously for The Rock Garden. He offered me a double headliner, with The Wood Children for The Buzz Club, so I booked them. My main memory from this night is sweeping loads of mince pie crumbs and squashed, whole pies from the floor, both in the bar and the hall. I had thought it would be a fab idea to bill it as a ‘Christmas Party’ with free party hats and mince pies. Lesson learnt.
3rd December Margaret Thatcher, along with American president George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, declare the end of the Cold War after 40 years.
Towards the end of 1989 I celebrated my 24th birthday. I had another party back at my parents’ house in Surrey. I got a couple of mates who were into the Boys Own scene to d.j.(one of them was Steve from Blowjobs the hairdresser, as mentioned in March). The party was packed. The music was great. Danny and I were trying to dress like The Roses and The Mondays. There was a jeans shop by the Green in Islington that sold denim flares – or parallels – and I got a pair. I was chuffed to bits as they were hard to find down south still. Danny wore a cool pair of baggy track suit trousers, high top trainers and a burnt orange Ben Sherman shirt, (which he found in my brother Sam’s room and borrowed). We did a d.j. slot. I love playing records, dancing and seeing everyone else dance, one of the finest things in life.
We played this….
Steve played this, the first time I heard it.
11th December Felt / Shack / Blow Up – Dingwalls
What a brilliant line up. Danny had done the production on ‘Me And A Monkey on the Moon‘, the new Felt album. It was released on Mike Alway‘s El Records (through Cherry Red) which meant we were on the guest list. This is probably my favourite Felt album. Martin Duffy, Pete Astor, Rosie Mcdowell, B.J. Cole and Primal Scream‘s Robert Young all feature on it along with Lawrence.
Shack, was Michael Head from The Pale Fountain‘s new band, they had released their debut album, ‘Zilch’ the year before. First band on, Blow Up had played The Buzz Club in 1988 and had released records on Creation and Cherry Red.
21st December The Ruby Tuesdays Manchester Broadwalk
Up to Manchester for a great gig by The Ruby Tuesdays, everyone in festive mood – no mince pies needed.
28th December Something Pretty Beautiful / Vinegar Blossom The Rock Garden
Something Pretty Beautiful had supported Primal Scream at The Buzz Club in October. Vinegar Blossom were our friends from Fleet, in Hampshire, Gary, Paul and Dave.
New Years Eve Danny, Paul (from Vinegar Blossom) and I, went to Brighton. We had tickets for the Escape Club. It was freezing walking from my brother’s flat where we were staying, along the windy sea front to the club. Hot, sweaty and fabulous inside though. I think Boy George d.j.ed.