October – December

2nd October – Just over two weeks after Neil Kinnock was damned by a poll as a “liability” to the Labour Party, the leader and his MPs are celebrating after they overtake the Conservatives by two points in the opinion polls.

11th October John Major outlines his vision of a “classless” Britain at a Conservative Party conference at Blackpool where his predecessor Margeret Thatcher voices her support for him.

A tour was set up featuring three cool bands – Chapterhouse / Five Thirty and The Bellower.

Chapterhouse at number 1 and local (to Aldershot) band, Mega City Four also featured in this Chart Show run down.

Chapterhouse were clearly the largest band and therefore the headliners. The tour was promoted as being all three bands though, which was great. I worked with Dedicated Records, Chapterhouse’s label, and we produced a live 7″ single, featuring all three bands and given away on the tour (if you cut out the coupon from the ‘N.M.E.’ on 12th October). The tracks had been recorded live at the Yamaha Band Explosion nights at The Marquee in September and were mastered at The Exchange in Camden.

‘Special Tour Single October 1991’. Limited edition of 3,000 copies.

It was fairly extensive, the London show was the Town and Country Club in Kentish Town (later to become The Forum). Mick Griffiths from Asgard booked the tour.

1,000 Violins from Sheffield were label mates of my bands Go! Service and Bluetrain when we were on Dan Treacy’s Dreamworld Records in 1986 / 7. Colin Gregory from that band now had this band – The Dylans.

They were signed to Beggar’s Banquet and released the single ‘Godlike’ in October 1991.

We had about 100 in and broke even. It was great to see Colin again.

27th October – ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ the power ballad performed by Canadian singer Bryan Adams, loses its position at #1 on the singles charts after a record sixteen consecutive weeks, displaced by U2’s ‘The Fly’.

29th October – Hopes that the recession is drawing to a close are boosted by CBI findings, which show that manufacturers are now more optimistic than at any time in the past three years.

November – Computer retailer PC World opens its first branch in Croydon, Surrey.

Some more wonderful albums were released.

‘Weld’ by Neil Young. I want a Les Paul now!!

And ‘Bandwagonesque’ by Teenage Fanclub. I still want a Rickenbacker!!

18th November Terry Waite a British hostage held in Lebanon, is freed after four-and-a-half years in captivity.

23rd November Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of rock band Queen, announces that he is suffering from AIDS, following lengthy media speculation about his health.

24th NovemberFreddie Mercury dies at his home in London, just 24 hours after going public with the news that he was suffering from AIDS.

At Ultimate, we signed The Werefrogs. A little celebration party at the office, they had some unreleased tracks, so we started discussing when and what to put out, along with details of recording new music.

The person responsible for the wonderful, trippy Levitation artwork was called Cally, he worked at Island Records. Cally gave me a lift home from Camden one day and was playing this gorgeous piece of music in his car. I went a bit over board in my ‘WHAT is this…?’ and he kindly sent me a promo of the album a few days later.

Cally turned up in my life years later when I was doing Green Man – he now looks after the Nick Drake estate among other things.

1st December – Thousands of British shops, including retail giants Asda and Tesco, defy trading laws, and open their doors on a Sunday in a bid to boost trade that has been badly hit by the ongoing recession.

While writing and researching bits and pieces from 1991 it strikes me that the indie charts that year was a bit of a wonderful mess. Grunge (was it called that yet?) had been brewing for a while and was about to explode. Nirvana‘s debut album ‘Bleach’ had been released on Sub Pop in 1989. British bands were trying their own versions – bands like Milk who we had booked to play the Buzz Club in March. There was also Swervedriver and Silverfish and loads more. Head over to The Falcon any night of the week and find even more. The next generation of, and far less successful, Madchester bands, Northside et al had arrived. ‘Rave’ was represented with The Shamen and the early shoots of the crusty bands were also in the mix – The Levellers and the Ozric Tenticals who started that scene off. Shoegazing was getting a full head of steam with Ride, Chapterhouse and Curve. There were also English indie bands like 1,000 Yard Stare and this lot, who we booked to play one of the last Buzz Clubs of 1991 30th November Midway Still. They totally make me think of listening to Gary Crowley on a Sunday lunchtime. Kind of very English but with a bit of Dinosaur Jnr and Buffalo Tom thrown in for good measure!

The last Buzz Club of a very busy year and another band who fit in with the Midway Still / Gary Crowley / indie feel, from Ipswich was Bleach.

The real heroes and ground breaking acts of 1991 were undoubtedly Primal Scream and Nirvana.

I was lucky enough to get on the guest list for Nirvana at The National in Kilburn on 12th December. Andy was interested in signing the support band, Shonen Knife and they had given us tickets. I was over-joyed!

Mind blowing.

There were loads of record company Christmas parties. Sometimes two a night. Phoning round and deciding which ones to blag into. The A&M one was particularly memorable. Bryan Adams was there and the newly signed Dodgy thought that was an excellent opportunity to follow him round all night letting him know that everything they did, they did it for him. He didn’t seem too annoyed, although the M.D. was looking nervous.

We had an Ultimate Records party at a rehearsal studio in Kings Cross. I d.j.ed and it was an awesome night.

27 December – The last MORI poll of 1991 shows that Labour are six points ahead of the Conservatives with 44% of the vote.

New Year’s Eve was of course, at the Gardening Club in Covent Garden.

January – March 1992