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Blog: A Peculiar Evening
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What's that? Oh, go on then - around about 1985, when issue 11 of Watchmen had just come out, Alan Moore came to our local comic shop, House On The Borderland, to do a SIGNING. Me and my friend Pradeep turned up EARLY, fresh from school, and so had him to ourselves - we asked about the fact that the shape of the smear on the cover of issue 11, as we'd noticed it was the same as the blood stain on issue 1, and he patiently talked us through all the other times that, and the whole smiley face thing, appears throughout the comic. I then asked him if he'd be doing Captain Britain again, and he said no. I was only 15, if only I'd known he'd soon be stopping doing signings forever I might have actually taken some things with me for him to write on - as it was, when I sold most of my comics, I forgot to mention that issue 11 was signed... it would probably have made more money that way, but HEY! I don't think it's NICE to trade autographs, and it WAS a Pleasant Surprise for the nice bloke who came and bought them off me.
ANYWAY, just after 7.30pm I left the pub and came back to work, where I did some Actual Work (i know, i am THAT dedicated... also trying to get everything finished off pre-TOUR), whilst listening to Raw Talent, the radio show, ONLINE. At 8.45pm the phone rang, and a couple of minutes later i was ON AIR, Broadcasting to YORKSHIRE! It seemed to me to be all over in 30 seconds, but i think it was about ten minutes long, and I THINK it all went OK - I certainly talked enough, and managed NOT to be crude, lewd or vulgar, but if anybody heard it and knows any different, please let me know!
That done, I FLY from the office and headed to Mornington Crescent. I - HA! - got there using the Gardener's Manouvre in five steps, in Queen's Rules (NB Mornington Crescent joke, please IGNORE). I got to The Victoria, where things were in FULL SWING, and after about ten minutes i was on stage, and VERY NERVOUS INDEED. This was largely because I'd already been in the pub, and so was CONVINCED i was going to forget all the words to EVERYTHING. ALSO it was a pub largely full of people I didn't know and didn't know ME, and it's been a little while since I've played a gig like that, so i had to carefully consider what to play...
It started off Not Too Well with "The Lesson Of The Smiths" - having had no time to soundcheck, the guitar was WAY WAY too loud, and the PA system appeared to be the pub's own built-in one, and sounded HORRID. After that I made ADJUSTMENTS and did "Hey hey 16K", which also didn't sound too good, and was a bit of a mistake anyway, as it's not one to WIN OVER doubters, and by now there appeared to be a few of these... I always FIX on people like this, and get paranoid, and so all i could see were people with their backs to me, people talking to their friends, and the usual couple of people (in London anyway) who are being COOL and obviously DISTAINING what i do.
Someone said "Why do you need the PA? It's not helping!" and BY GOLLY they were RIGHT! I THRUST ASIDE the microphone, UNPLUGGED the guitar, and straight away everything felt better. "That feels better", I said, truthfully, and LAUNCHED into "Billy Jones Is Dead". It felt GOOD. It felt REALLY GOOD, i actually LOVE doing songs completely openly like that, and it went down WELL. Remembering my years of training i realised this was no time to SHILLY SHALLY with "new material" or "obscure tracks", this was a job for the UBER SET!
POW! "The Peterborough All Saints Wide Game Team (Group B)"! ZAMMO! An extended introduction to "Easily Impressed"! KERBLAM! "Easily Impressed"! It was all DEAD GOOD, i was REALLY enjoying it, people had TURNED ROUND, and HA! even the couple of Cool People turned out to be DELUSIONS of my PARANOIA. SUDDENLY i had one song left, so of course it was "Boom Shake The Room" - I TOOK NO PRISONERS!
MAN! I really REALLY enjoyed myself, especially after the shaky start, and felt suitably WARMED UP ready for the tour. After me it was Mr Jeff Greene out of the Butterflies Of Love, who finished his set by attempting to cover "Work's All Right". Bless. He only knew the first two lines, so it was doomed from the outset, but i was CHARMED none the less, ESPECIALLY by his Dick Van Dyke accent.
I'm READY now. Let's ROCK!
posted 17/9/2004 by MJ Hibbett
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