Inspired by the fact that Dan Treacy was in a band along with putting on gigs, I thought it would be a good idea if I did the same. This would also be a way of ensuring Go! Service could support some of my favourite bands. Between us, Danny and I came up with the name The Buzz Club.
Davey Henderson from The Fire Engines had a new band called Win, who had just released a 12″, ‘Unamerican Broadcasting’, on the freshly set up Swamplands label. Swamplands was run by ex Postcard Records supremo, Alan Horne and was funded by London Records.
6 October – PC Keith Blakelock is fatally stabbed during the Broadwater Farm Riot in Tottenham, London, which began after the death of Cynthia Jarrett yesterday. Two of his colleagues are treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, as are three journalists
I saw Win were playing at Kingston Poly on 10th October, not far from where we lived and I decided they would be the perfect starting point. Danny and I went along to the gig, I had made contact with their female manager before hand and got backstage after the show to meet them. I think the band enjoyed these two fresh faced youngsters trying to look like we knew what we were doing and asked us a few questions about the proposed gig, including ‘will there be a rider?’. Neither Danny or myself knew what a rider was. I mumbled ‘yes’ and I think we probably both blushed a little, the band definitely had fun asking a few more questions, possibly with some made up phrases and I blushed some more and mumbled my way through them.
I never did book Win, I think the whole experience put me off! Instead, I asked Dan Treacy for the contact details for That Petrol Emotion, who we had supported at his club, The Room at the Top a few months previously.
We went along to The Agincourt, a 500 capacity venue on the London Road in Camberley, where Dave Harffey who drank at The Hero, had organised one of his ‘Get Downs‘ in September (Northern soul and ’70s funk – fantastic events). We chatted to the manager and booked a couple of dates with him. The first Buzz Club was to be 17th November. I made fliers, using Letraset and got them photocopied at a place across the village green where I lived.
Dan also had a new band on his label, from Wolverhampton, called The Mighty Lemon Drops who had a cracking debut single, ‘Like An Angel’, about to be released on Dreamworld. Figuring I’d be pretty busy with this first Buzz Club, I didn’t add Go! Service to the bill.
I wanted the posters to look like the ‘proper’ ones you could see on closed down buildings in the area. I looked closely at one of these and saw it said Publicity and Display on there, so I found their number and got some large, florescent green posters made. Next job was getting them up. Danny and I drove round in his mini, with a bucket full of wallpaper paste and the brush from my Mum’s kitchen and would stop whenever we saw posters already up, I’d leap out of the car and get fly posting! Avoiding any gigs that hadn’t yet taken place and delightedly covering up any that had. We were soon very proud of our work.
We started to get the word round and had images of a packed venue and money in our pockets.
October was a busy month – we both also started work at Our Price Records. I was working in the Woking branch. My wonderful Dad dropped me at Brookwood station each morning and off I went on the train (my first morning I went from Farnborough and stepped onto the fast train only due to stop at Waterloo before I realised and leapt off, just in time).
Working at Our Price was brilliant. A whole new crowd of people and so many records to play! The first cds I sold, I didn’t actually put any in the empty cases, after a few hours the customers all came back and I corrected my mistakes.
11th October we went to see our label mates, 1000 Violins at the Half Moon in Herne Hill, my old school pal Guy Van Steene was there and took these photos.
23rd October Everything But The Girl – Guildford Civic Hall.
I’d been so excited when this gig was announced, I sent off straight away for tickets and got numbers 1 and 2! Danny and I went with the Go! Service drummer, Kev and his girlfriend Dee. Kev drove in his mini (everyone had minis), the lights broke on the way home and we crept along in complete darkness on winding roads, very happy to get back to street lamps and then home.
24 October – Members of Parliament react to the recent wave of rioting, by saying that unemployment is an unacceptable excuse for the riots.
The next night, we drove to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, where the G.L.C. were hosting a ‘Week of Wonders’, to see Microdisney with 1,000 Violins supporting. Dreamworld Records was really starting to get noticed now, The Mighty Lemon Drops single in particular, was getting some fantastic press and radio plays. They played there a couple of days later with The June Brides.
R.E.M. were on ‘The Tube’ on 25th October, ‘Fables of the Reconstruction’ had just been released, one of my first purchases at staff discount from Our Price!
We then went to the Hammersmith Palais to see R.E.M. on 28th. The Faith Brothers supported, which was cool as I had this 12″.
Lots of great records were getting released which was all the more exciting as I was now working in a record shop.
30 October – Unemployment is reported to have risen in nearly 70% of the Conservative held seats since October 1984.
On 2nd November, our gig supporting The Housemartins at The Room at the Top happened. I had been really looking forward to this as I loved their demo and had actually suggested to Dan Treacy that he should book them and let us support. Their debut single, ‘Flag Day’ had just been released on Go Discs and was starting to get some great reviews.
I’ve never before or since been so impressed by a band’s arrival and sound check. First of all, the four of them (still with Ted, the pre Norman Cook bass player) arrived, all wearing old sheep skin jackets. Paul Heaton (or ‘PD’ as he was called then) said ‘Hello, we’re The Housemartins‘ with such a band unity, I was already taken aback. Then, when they sound checked, they started off with an acapella song, which was incredible. This was a world, generally speaking, of semi acoustic guitars, feedback and slightly tuneless singing. The place fell silent and we all watched. There were various bar staff and early arrivals already there. They had badges that said ‘The 4th best band in Hull’ which they gave out and we clicked with them straight away and chatted. We watched each other’s sets and it was a brilliant night – the venue was packed. Paul and I exchanged addresses and said we’d stay in touch.
The gig got this fantastic review in ‘Melody Maker’ and we were thrilled.
9 November – The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive in the United States for a visit to Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.
On Sunday 17th November, it was the first ever Buzz Club!
We got our mate John to do the door while Danny and I ran around. The venue provided the bouncers, who I think found it amusing to have a teenage girl organising the evening and looked after me. We didn’t have the money in our pockets we’d imagined afterwards, in fact we lost a little bit. Not too bad, there were enough people to make the atmosphere good which is always the main thing. Getting 500 people to a gig wasn’t as easy as I had thought, there were about 150, which for a Sunday, on the first of a new club night and concept, wasn’t bad.
Both bands were amazing. I made a compilation tape to play through the PA in between their sets. ‘Just Like Honey’ by The Jesus and Mary Chain was on there. Geoff Travis from Rough Trade came to the gig to check out The Lemon Drops and I was chuffed when I saw him nodding along to that song.
By the time the bands had finished and been paid, the PA which I had hired in, was packed down and driven off and Danny and I had cleared up, it was gone 1am and we were knackered. We were surprised there wasn’t a bit more money, doing a mental headcount, but that’s what John had given us, so we just accepted it. We found somewhere that sold chips and was still open, treated ourselves and headed home.
We had the second Buzz Club a couple of weeks later, still at the Agincourt on 1st December. By now, I had started to ‘phone agencies and ask them to send me their rosters. These were type written sheets that would arrive in the post a few days later, listing all the bands they represented. I had been playing the debut album by The Blow Monkeys at work and enjoying it, so booked them. I’d also seen them support Lloyd Cole, so knew they were great live.
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, 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 again 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 lots 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. It also explained why we hadn’t got as much money after That Petrol Emotion as we thought we should have.
Oh well, we live and learn. I can’t remember much about the gig, I know my band Go! Service supported this time 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.
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 mate, so do I!
5 December – It is announced that unemployment fell in November, for the third month running. It now stands at 3,165,000
And so to the third Buzz Club on 7th December (when I have an idea, I tend to throw myself into it, the first three Buzz Clubs all took place within three weeks!). We moved to the smaller and friendlier West End Centre in Aldershot where we would remain. They provided a PA and someone on the door – both factors made my life lots easier!
The June Brides were one of Danny’s and my favourite bands. We had the wonderful 7″singles, ‘In The Rain‘ and ‘Every Conversation‘ released on the equally wonderful Pink Records.
Working in the local Our Price shops meant we were able to stock the records by bands we liked and had coming to play, plus we were able to get our fliers displayed in all the other local Our Price shops. It helped the indie scene in the area that we were stocking the records and putting the bands on.
At last we made some money and were able to pay of some off the debts we had incurred over the previous weeks.
This is ‘In The Rain‘ recorded by Dave Driscoll on his hand held Walkman from that night.
I turned 20 in December, just managed to get three Buzz Clubs under my belt as a teenager. We met up with my friend Clare P. for drinks in London to celebrate.
We checked out a couple of possible future Buzz Club bookings at the Art College in Farnham on December 12th – Terry & Gerry with Skiff Skats in support. I did book both bands for 1986. The rockabilly scene was pretty big.
Back up to The Room at the Top on December 21st to support Jamie Wednesday, we played with them a few times. They later became Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine and would go on to headline Glastonbury in 1992!
My first Christmas working at Our Price. It was incredibly busy. Records, tapes and cds flew out the doors plus hundreds of record tokens. Running round the shop returning empty sleeves and cases to the shelves for customers to pick up and bring to the counter again, queues down the length of the shop. It was exhausting! Loads of deliveries which had to be sorted out and get put on display as quick as possible. A last minute dash from frantic people in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, often a little tipsy, grabbing anything they could to give the next day as a present. We had Christmas Day off and then back in on Boxing Day when all those record tokens started to get handed back in plus loads of ‘I got this as a present but I already have it / don’t like it, can I change it / get a refund please?’ Drinks after work to keep us sane. New Years Eve dancing round the Christmas tree as was the tradition, on the village green.