October – December 1986

Old Dean Estate, Camberley 1986, just near Danny’s Grandparents’ house.

My band Bluetrain had recorded our new e.p. for Dreamworld Records and now we waited for Dan Treacy to give us a release date. We rehearsed and organised a few gigs. Dan suggested a couple of sleeve designs. I was also busy with my day job at Our Price and had two more Buzz Clubs to run before the end of the year.

7 October – The first edition of The Independent national morning newspaper is published in London

The Housemartins were one of my favourite bands, I’d seen them grow from playing to about 50 people in a North London pub to appearing on Top Of The Pops in less than a year. They released their debut album, ‘Hull 4 London 0’, preceded by this single.

The second half of 1986 was pretty quiet for me actually. Looking at the gigs I wrote down, I didn’t go to many at all. Funny, C86 was such an important moment for indie music, you would think I was out all the time. Clearly not….things were lying low and waiting for a very hectic 1987.

This great single was released. Julian Cope and band had been influenced by The Mighty Lemon Drops with their black leathers.  In his 1999 book ‘Repossessed’ Julian writes the following, referring to his 1986 re-invention: ‘The leathers were on already & the blueprint was right in front of me. A young Midlands group called The Mighty Lemon Drops had released a classic single called “Like An Angel’. 

Andy White‘s debut album had just come out, he played ‘Religious Persuasion‘ on a roof in Belfast for BBC’s ‘Whistle Test‘, ‘Melody Maker‘ ran the headline, ‘Yer Man’s Brilliant’, and I knew he would be great for our next Buzz Club.

I used to make 4 fliers for each gig – put them on an A4 piece of paper and get them photocopied. It’s rare for me to have more than one design in my archives, but I do for this gig.

Support came from our friends New Tennessee Waltz and local band The Bridge

Thanks to Philip ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson for these photos and live recordings.

Andy signed a postcard for Hutch ‘Rave on Hutch’

23rd October The Smiths The Kilburn National Ballroom

Little did I know this would be the last time I would see The Smiths live. Utterly brilliant.

27 October ‘Big Bang Day’ – The London Stock Exchange is computerised, and opens to foreign companies.

27 October The Australian TV soap Neighbours is launched on BBC One, more than a year after debuting in its native country.

Bluetrain played a gig with labelmates 1,000 Violins at Bay 63 in London.

Some great bands – I loved this venue, it later changed name to Subterania.
Farnborough Market 1986

6 November Alex Ferguson is appointed manager of Manchester United football club following the dismissal of Ron Atkinson after more than five years in charge.

We had a local band night at The Buzz Club

On November 23rd we saw 1,000 Violins again, this time at The Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, with a local Buzz Club band, managed by Tim Paton, called The Jeremiahs in support. Tim took loads of great photos for me over the years.

The Jeremiahs were from Reading.

The next night, Danny and I went back to London. This time to see Martin Stephenson and the Daintees who were recording a gig for Radio 1The Daintees were signed to Newcastle’s Kitchenware Records and had just released the magnificent ‘Boat To Bolivia’ album. My main memory is of Martin Stephenson saying ‘hello’ and waving to someone in the audience, we both thought he was talking to Danny and sat there frozen until the fella immediately behind us replied ‘hello Martin’ to a huge sigh of relief from the two of us!

Martin Stephenson

We decided to take The Buzz Club up to The Clarendon in Hammersmith as a few A&R men had said they’d like to see Bluetrain. As we gather from this review, they didn’t turn up!

Breaks my heart a little bit to read it actually, ‘So that big time, small-brained music business no marks can forget to turn up. Jo is a very special person and she has it within herself to be a big time rock ‘n’ roll star.’ *Sigh*.

Funnily enough, the ‘fanzine ed’ referred to in the review actually did become a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll star – Iain Baker, of Jesus Jones.

My friend from the same Our Price shop as me, Julie was on the door and was quite surprised when Martin Gore from Depeche Mode turned up and said he was on the guest list plus 8. I don’t know who was more confused, Julie or Martin. It turned out the Mute Records Christmas party was upstairs in the far larger venue and he had made a mistake. Maybe the A&R men were all up there too?

Working in Our Price, I had got a 7″ by Yeah Jazz – clear vinyl with confetti sprinkled through it. I really liked it and so contacted them and asked them if they’d like to headline this gig. I hired the basement of The Clarendon in Hammersmith, put a small advert in the N.M.E. and that was it – The Buzz Club went to London!

3 December – 4 million people apply for shares in British Gas in anticipation of flotation next week.

17 December – The world’s first heart, lung and liver transplant is carried out at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

New Year’s Eve was once again celebrated at my parents’ house, Elm Cottage in Frimley Green.

Bluetrain guitarist Rudy, ready to bring in the New Year in style.
My Mum with a dinosaur. Walking on to the village green at midnight, where my Dad traditionally welcomed in the New Year by playing the bagpipes. (The dinosaur wasn’t part of the tradition and just made this one appearance)


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