Thursday, 28 October 2010

On tour with Cockney Rebel

We are in Portugal, 1979, co-headlining a tour with the hopeless Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel . Essence Rare has almost done well in this newly post-fascist state. Steve had had a big hit with the execrable " Judy Teen" , with his ersatz take on the Thin Man's Bromley slur, the creepy petit bourgeois who wrote, with other reactionaries, an open letter to EMI demanding the Sex Pistols get chucked off the label. Which EMI did , to Mclaren's oily delight.

We're back of the bullring we're due to play in, in our half of a corrugated iron shack that masquerades as dressing rooms. One half : me, Gill, Dave & hugo. In the other , The Gimp & his hapless sidemen. A lonely jenny grumbles away to share a dribble of juice for the feeble lights. We're shooting the breeze, tuning up, when the lights go dead. Complete darkness. Steve's half of the shed is now brilliantly lit! The runt's cut our power so he can see better!
So Dave bashes his chair BANG! BANG! BANG!over and over and over against the thin metal divider on the other side of which Harley sits in blazing brightness. His head must have bounced off the wall like a tennis ball. Our light's restored & in lurches Steve's coke-addled TM , a big fat sweaty fuck of a man, white legs and gut ringfencing his touristische shorts, who screams " THIS NEVER HAPPENS ON MY TOURS! " Dave turns, gently puts down the chair and swallow dives, a perfect 10, into the long table laden with cold cuts & junkfood; the table collapses, shit's sprayed everywhere. Dave gets up, sticky with sliced salami and mayo , to stab his finger in the TM chest & say "THIS is what happens if you turn off our lights!"

Brilliant & mysterious.

It is Dave's finest hour.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Ari Up RIP

Very sad to hear about Ari's death last week. She was a one-off , a feisty and obstreperous talent in the best all-woman band of the early 90's, The Slits with their wonderful dub/punk/jazz thing. Their first album was genius. We used to share an office in West London with them and the Pop Group , as we were all "managed" by Dick O'Dell at the time, I think, even if management and Gang of Four were incompatible concepts.

We sometimes played shows with the girls , mostly, I think, 3-way bills with the Buzzcocks. Once in Manchester , before an especially drunken, lairy and tubercular audience, the gob falling on us like monsoon rain, The Slits hit the stage, and get the usual witty blokey nonsense i.e "Show us your Tits!" or "Show us your cunt!" to which Ari replies " I'll show you who's a cunt!" and dives off the stage into the phlegm soaked moshpit to punch him hard in the face, triggering an excellent brawl we all joined in on. She was brilliant, always stood up for whatever it was she stood up for. A unique talent .