1984: January – March

January – March

January – General Motors ends production of the Vauxhall Chevette after nine years.

7th January The Service The King’s Head Fulham.

We would meet at my house at about 4pm, load up the mini bus with our gear and drive to Fulham.

The tube station, Fulham Broadway, was about 100 yards from the pub and, if Chelsea were at home, was packed with football fans heading home. Danny would pull up outside The Kings Head, we would jump out, unload all the gear on to the pavement and he would drive off to find somewhere to park. Licensing laws at the time, meant the pub wasn’t actually open yet. They would let us in, we would get the gear in, set up and once Danny had rejoined us, sound check.

There was a small set of traffic lights in front of the stage, on the ceiling. These were to stop bands playing too loudly. When on green, all was fine. If they went amber you had ten seconds to basically stop playing, because if they went red the power cut! We used to play, staring at the lights the whole set, ready to stop mid song, wait for the them to go back to green and carry on. Occasionally the power would cut and we would have to wait for one minute before it would come back on. I got so used to looking up at the ceiling when we played, I would do it at home when we were rehearsing, even though there were no lights!

13 January – Six people die when Britain is battered by hurricane-force winds.

15th January The Service The King’s Head Fulham

A guy came to the front of the stage after our first set and chatted to Rudy. It occurred to me he was our height, even though we were on the stage. He said ‘that was really good’. He was Scottish and looked familiar. I noticed a fish ear ring dangling from his ear and realised it was actually Fish from Marillion.

20th January The Service St. John The Baptist Woking

Rudy’s school, he had organised us a gig there.

Around this time, Danny and I went to have a meeting with Steve Royal, about the Greyhound compilation. His offices were on Carnaby Street. We headed up there, with a cheque for £250, money we were borrowing from my parents. We were asked to sit and wait in a room where a receptionist was taking phone calls. After one call she said, ‘I hate it when he phones up. That was Adam Ant, we run his fan club’. It was all a bit odd, but we handed the money over, were given a date for the gig and went home.

21st January The Service The King’s Head Fulham

Someone kept shouting for any Bob Dylan songs. Rudy knew the first few lines of ‘The Times They Are A Changin” and played those. Literally just the first couple of lines. The bloke looked satisfied and shuffled off.

25 January – The government prohibits GCHQ staff from belonging to any trade union.

25th January The Truth / The Playn Jayn / The Famous Five The Savoy London.

We were huge fans of The TruthDennis Greaves had previously been in 9 Below Zero and The Truth were his new, mod band. Rudy, Danny and myself were all fans of The Jam and Rudy was definitely a parka wearing, scooter driving, Rickenbacker playing mod. (I saw The Jam seven times from 1980 until they split in 1982) . We were into Motown and ’60s bands like The Who and The Kinks. When we saw that The Kinks were playing Guildford Civic Hall in 1982 we went. The Truth supported them and we loved them. We would then travel to see them all over London, including as often as we could when they had a Sunday night residency at The Marquee. One time when it was just myself, Tracy and Rudy a skinhead asked for a light as we emerged from Oxford Street tube station. Rudy leant forward to oblige, and the geezer head butted him, completely out of the blue. He then started saying, ‘sorry mate, sorry’ holding his hands up by way of an apology as he walked off, smoking his freshly lit cigarette. Rudy, who was wearing his stripy mod blazer was in a bit of shock. As were we. (I was also wearing my mod blazer, from Miss Selfridge. Mine had badges, The Jam and The Truth on the lapels.) We kind of looked at each other, checked Rudy was ok and carried on to the gig.

Staying as late as we could, we would head back to Waterloo as fast as possible to make the last train home, getting a hot chocolate and a sausage roll from the station cafe if we had time.

The Truth

The Playn Jayn supported them at The Savoy. I bought their live album ‘Friday 13th’ afterwards.

26th January Loose Talk Angie’s. A local-ish bar, in Wokingham. A lovely small barn, slightly out of the way and a little tricky to find. Danny and I went, armed with a demo and met the owner – Angie. I really liked it there, even though the type of music she put on, wasn’t ours. She let us in for free and invited us to stay for the band that night. Howard Jones had apparently played there the year before!I loved the idea of Angie owning her own bar and putting bands on. 

28th January The Service The King’s Head Fulham

We would rehearse on Sunday lunch times at my house, often have a mid week gig and also head up to London for our Saturday nights. We were getting really good and were excited about our new songs. We recorded ‘Find Another Way’ for the Greyhound compilation album on 2nd February in a 16 track studio in Surbiton. (This is also included on ‘Some Greater Love‘). I remember how chuffed we were with this recording and put it on straight on as soon as we got in the mini bus to drive home. Again, I used to take my tape player with me when we drove anywhere, as there was no cassette player in the mini bus.

1 February Japanese car maker Nissan signs an agreement with the British government to build a car factory in Britain. This landmark deal means that foreign cars will be built in Britain for the first time, with the factory set to open during 1986.

February 4th The Service The King’s Head Fulham

One of the demos I had posted was to Dingwalls – we were offered a gig and played there on 5th February. There were a few bands, one of which was called The Friday Club. They released a single not long afterwards which we saw advertised in the ‘N.M.E.’. Danny’s brother Vince came along with a few friends, we also took Marie-Lou and a couple others up with us in the mini-bus.

February 7th Friends Again / The Woodentops The Marquee

The first time seeing both bands. I had a few glorious 7″ singles by Scottish band,  Friends Again. I hadn’t heard of the support band, The Woodentops, before, but thought they were great. Friends Again were fabulous.

February 8th The Service The Royal Hotel Guildford

February 9th The Service The Greyhound Fulham.

The gig we had been given as part of the compilation album deal. We played with a band called Caleche, who were also due to be on the album. They were a soul band and musically, we were nothing like each other, although we enjoyed each others sets and got chatting. Both bands were starting to get a bit suspicious of this whole compilation thing as none of us had heard from Steve Royal for a while. Since we’d given him the £250 actually. Same with them. Anyway, we played the gig. JC came along with his girlfriend. Rudy and I got a little bit drunk (Danny was driving). After we played, we were running down the road and Rudy attempted to give me a piggy back. This lasted a few steps before we fell, Rudy cracking his head on the pavement, he had blood dripping down his face. Apparently his poor mother nearly fainted when she went into his room the next morning and saw dried blood all over his face and pillow.

We never did hear from Steve Royal again. It had been a con. They had rented the Carnaby Street office for a couple of days and got £250 from lots of unsuspecting bands. The whole Adam Ant thing had been to make them seem believable.I don’t know if the Greyhound had been in on it or not, funny that the gigs actually took place though. They had a few bands every night for a week, all of us thinking we were going to be on the album. About a year later we saw ‘Steve’ in a photo for an advert for a hotel chain – he was an actor. We used the money we were getting paid for the King’s Head gigs to pay my Mum and Dad back.

At least we had recorded ‘Find Another Way’, which we were still delighted with. I sent a demo tape with it plus ‘Too Much To Hide’ to Dan Treacy (of the Television Personalities) at Whaam! Records. Our drummer had heard that they were signing bands. I made a little sleeve for the tapes by cutting pictures from ‘The Face’ magazine and adding the wording with Letraset and a type writer before getting them photocopied.

12 February – Austin Rover announces that the Triumph marque will be discontinued this summer after 63 years, as the Triumph Acclaim’s successor will be sold as a Rover.

February 12th The Smiths / Billy Bragg / The Redskins / The Telephone Boxes The Lyceum

What a gig. Frustratingly we couldn’t stay until the end of The Smiths set as it was a Sunday night – the last train back to Farnborough was earlier on Sundays. I think we only saw four songs actually. The Smiths debut album hadn’t come out yet (it was days away though) and I remember thinking Morrissey was singing ‘Pretty girls make grades…’ as we left (It is of course, ‘Pretty Girls Make Graves’). Ben and Tracey (Everything But The Girl) were there, we nudged each other when we saw them at the bar. It was the first time I had seen any of these acts live. We saw them all (apart from The Telephone Boxes) quite a few more times over the next couple of years though.

February 14th The Alarm / Jake Burns & The Big Wheel / The Subway Hammersmith Palais

Tracy and I went to this one. Danny was actually at university in Cardiff, some how studying for a degree during all of this! I had been a big Stiff Little Fingers fan and also really liked The Alarm. (Jake Burns‘s new band after S.L.F. had split were supporting.)

February 18th The Service The Kings Head Fulham 

February 24th The Service Heatherside Community Centre ‘Heather Rock ’84’

A local gig, in Camberley.

February 25th The Service The Kings Head Fulham

Our last gig at the King’s Head. The following week we were due to play but had something else on. I phoned them and said one of the band was ill. The landlady said don’t bother coming back!

March 2nd The Dirty Strangers Angie’s.

Took Tracy to Angie’s. Didn’t know anything about who was playing, just thought it would be good to go there again.

12 March – Miners’ strike begins and pits the National Union of Mineworkers against Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government intent on free market reform of the nationalised industries, which includes plans for the closure of most of Britain’s remaining coal pits.

March 20th Friends Again / The Synomics The Marquee

Back to see Friends Again – they had obviously just signed a deal as they all had new amps and guitars!

March 23rd The Service The West End Centre

The venue where Danny and I would be running The Buzz Club a year or so later. We played with a couple of other local bands, including Controls, who I saw a few times over the years and who my friend Tracy joined as singer in 1984.

Tracy singing with Controls at the West End Centre.

28 March – A greenfield site at Washington, near Sunderland, is confirmed as the location for the new Nissan car factory.

March 29th The Kinks / The Truth Guildford Civic Hall

The Kinks invited The Truth to support them again and also played Guildford Civic Hall together again. We went along, this time having seen The Truth loads of times in between.

Read April – June 1984 here

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