I was a big fan of Lloyd Cole and The Commotions. Danny and I went to see them a few times when ‘Rattlesnakes‘ (up there as one of my all time favourite albums) came out in 1984 (and many times after that, including going on tour with Lloyd Cole, but that’s another story). Anyway, we also really liked the support band, The Blow Monkeys.
Dr Robert, the lead singer had a cool black quiff. We got as far as buying a bottle of black dye to use on Danny but thankfully, it stayed unopened and unused by the record player in my bedroom.
We had both got jobs at Our Price Records. I worked at the Woking shop and bought the 12″ of ‘Wild Flower‘ by the Blow Monkeys, not long after I started. I found out who their agent was and gave him a call.
I hired The Agincourt in Camberley for the night – a 600 capacity hall on the London Road. (Now famous locally for hosting a Friday night rock club).
The band had brought their own PA with them. It was massive. When we arrived in the afternoon, it was taking up every bit of floor space, while being put together by the sound man and roadies. Dave, the manager of The Agincourt, (who also doubled up as main doorman / bouncer) left us to it, with just one rule – ‘I’ve locked the kitchen door, I don’t want anyone in there’. When the PA was built the engineer showed me a huge fat core cable and asked where the mains were so he could wire it in direct. No plug, just this ridiculous cable. I had no idea what I was looking for (I was still in my teens), after a while it was decided that it must be on the other side of the locked kitchen door.
The bands were all starting to arrive and I had no number for Dave so I gave the all clear for them to get into the kitchen. This involved four burly roadies smashing the door down.
Luckily they were able to wire the system up and the sound checks started. I was running around trying to sort various things out and didn’t notice when Dave returned. I did hear the shouts and swearing as he found not only his kitchen door smashed in, but all of The Blow Monkeys and their girlfriends in there making cups of tea and cooking food from the fridge. I managed to calm him down with the promise I would organise a new door and pay for it to get fitted myself. ‘I’ve had The Swinging Blue Jeans here you know, even they didn’t get to use the kitchen’ he fairly spat out as he left to organise his fellow bouncers for door duty.
We lost money that night, my Dad and brother Sam were good enough to put a new door up for me the next day, one that was in the garden at home being used as a roof for an old camp (of mine). So no cost there, however I think in hindsight having a junkie on the door wasn’t the brightest move as most of the money we did take went into his pocket. I didn’t know what a junkie was, I just thought he was a bit pale and tired.
Oh well, we live and learn. I can’t remember much about the gig, I know my band Go! Service supported (what’s the point of having your own club if you can’t play?) and that The Blow Monkeys had an effect on the sale of polo necks and cardigans in the area for a couple of weeks afterwards. Thanks to Tim Paton for the photo.
A few months later The Blow Monkeys were in the charts and on tv with ‘Digging Your Scene‘. People kept saying to me ‘you put them on didn’t you? I wish I’d gone to that’. Yeah, so do I!
Update: 18th June 2020 – Karen Stratton got in touch with me via a local Facebook page – she not only has the flier for this gig, but also a ticket! Both made by me in the glory days of Letraset and photocopy shops! I’m thrilled to add them to my collection – thanks Karen!