Monday, October 18, 2010
No Thanks, I'm Waiting for My Boyfriend
Al didn't have a ticket but luckily Bruv had spares so we got him in. Mufti and Sara were just down the road, and Sara lent me some propolis to squirt down my throat. I went to check in with the Punkdaddy himself; Phil was working away, pleased to see everyone as they arrived.
The first set of the afternoon was actually two songs by the Lillettes; Barb was looking incredibly glamorous and they launched into Air Conditioning (?) and Nervous Wreck. They sounded well-rehearsed- I'm sure they'd swear they weren't- but they were actually better than before and suddenly I had that weird feeling of the past catching up with the present that was to be a feature of the whole afternoon. Everybody (almost) was there: Darris from The Golinski Brothers, recovering from being very ill but still looking incredibly dapper; Johnny from Johnny and the Lubes, once a huge Joby and the Hooligans fan; Mark and Sue from The Reward System; Julie Blair, former partner of Rick, who started Attrix Records; Pete Chrisp and Lisa, Pete with his original badges decorating his t-shirt; and of course the bands. Fortuitously, Zoot was over from New York and the Piranhas were well-represented for their later set.
After the Lillettes, the Mockingbirds played a set of two songs; |(the name of the next band escapes me but I will find out and put it in).
The came the Parrots, ably assisted by Nick Greenwood on bass (brother of The Chefs' Russ Greenwood, who very sadly, died a few years ago) and featuring Rick's eldest son on vocals. They sounded absolutely brilliant and it was exceedingly weird to see how Rick's son looked and sounded so like him, and even stood with his head slightly tipped to one side the way Rick used to when he sang. It was very sad, very eerie: my hair stood on end.
Afterwards, Phil, who was buzzing by now as the atmosphere was amazing, went off to buy 30 cans of cider for Peter and the Test-Tube Babies who were playing in the evening. He asked me to wait till he came back before playing, so I headed to the bar for a pint of cold water and met a chap who told me that at Hurstpierpoint Boarding School when he was fourteeen, he'd played The Chefs track Thrush constantly and him and his pals found it very exciting! Ha ha! I do think that's funny! He was a nice bloke and he bought one of the new CDs off me.
Meanwhile, a bearded fellow came up and said 'You don't remember me. do you?'
'SMELLY!' bellowed Bruv, and verily, it was Smelly, formerly shop assistant in Attrix Records Shop in Sydney Street. He had a box of Vaultage 79s to give away and asked me to announce it from the stage when I'd finished playing.
Phil was back and it was time to get up and go for it. The audience was lovely and it felt fine; I did four Chefs songs and three 'now songs'. Phil had said to play anything, but while I have been ill over the last month I have just sat there and played my guitar, so I worked out Let's Make Up (I was thrilled when Offsprog One told me later that she thought it sounded like Link Wray), Records and Tea (which sounds like a folk song when you play it on guitar), Northbound Train ( a combination of The Chefs' bass line and the Helen and the Horns version), and 24 Hours (just the bass line). Did I miss having the rest of the band? Yes, of course.
It was fun though to have a go at the songs and nobody seemed to mind the occasional hiccups, though I am sorry, Peter, for missing out the punchline of Records and Tea!
At the end, there was Smelly with his box of records, handing them out to everyone who wanted one. He had found them in the bathroom when the shop closed down and just wanted to share them.
At the bar, Johnny Piranha was getting nervous. His son was guarding him in case he ran away and he told me that his wife had forbidden him to go to the cashpoint in case he escaped! He needn't have worried: the Piranha's set was amazing, right from the start. What good songs they had! Jilly (yes, I remember her, she was a real girlfriend), T-t-tension, I Don't Want My Body, Saxophone, Peter has listed them in his Facebook album and he took much better photos of them than mine, above.
They played a loud, exciting set. Bob was his old, wry self... 'Getting beaten up is part of growing up' and Zoot did some fantastic tootling, all the more so since he told me he'd only picked up his sax again two weeks ago. And Johnny launched into it as though no years had lapsed between this and the last gig they played. Wonderful.
A lot of us were having problems recognising each other. 'Just imagine them all with hair', someone said to me. That was not what I found difficult: it was when people had grown a beard that threw me. But some people just looked exactly the same. Heather from The Objekts, and Sue from the Reward System, hardly seem to have changed at all.
Anyway- who cares? We packed the afternoon out. I couldn't stay for the evening but it looked like that was going to be just as much fun.
Hats off to you Phil for organising a really, really good day that was at once cathartic and rejuvenating.
The Brighton punk scene was unique and quirky; everyone was involved, whether in a band or watching in the audience, and Sunday recaptured that feeling of all being part of something extraordinary and creative and unique in quite an unexpectedly emotional way
Rick would have been proud to see it, and I was definitely proud to be part of it.