Venue: The Tube
Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne England
📝 Pat Says
They made us hang around for two or three days rehearsing for this show. We were supposed to do 2 numbers, this one and Big Saturday. For an eternity we milled around in the Tyne Tees TV studio in Newcastle while the telly people piddled about with their telly nonsense. Occasionally we would be summoned at great haste (as though this was all somehow our fault) and given a quick run-through of our tunes for levels and so on. Whoever was mixing our shit was not to be seen, but his voice would boom out of the monitors and boss us around in some way or other. We took to calling this person "God." God seemed to appreciate this and our brief rehearsals all went well enough.
During rehearsals I had one of the most humiliating experiences of my "career"...well, life, really. This was February 1986 and there was a Valentine's card that I needed to send. During one of the endless lulls that we generally passed smoking bales of hashish (we seemed to have some particularly fine stuff with us on this trip, though I can no longer recall whether or not we went out of our way to get Special Dope for The Telly), I strode out into Newcastle city centre. I found myself entering an enormous edifice that I knew to be one of the largest shopping centres in Europe at the time.
I figured that a card shop would not be long in appearing but I was mistaken. I wandered deeper and deeper into this shopping mall, turning corners and getting no closer to finding a stationers of any kind. In the back of my mind I had a vague recollection of Ariadne and Theseus in the Labyrinth and I was doing my best to remember how I had come. I was deep in there, though, and deeper still before I found a place that would sell me a card, an envelope and a stamp.
Of course, on emerging from the card shop, my surroundings made no sense to me at all. By sheer luck I stumbled across some manner of back exit and made good my escape from the massive mall. Of course, I had emerged in a spot far, far away from the place where I had entered. I had no clue as to where I was and all that I could see, curving up the street, was the huge, monolithic outer wall of the shopping centre...as far as the eye could see!
I was lost and I had to admit it. I was going to have to speak to a native. I had no great confidence that I would even understand any directions that I might be given in the local dialect. It all sounded like animal innards sluicing down a dreadful drain in a cold and stinky place to me. For that matter, as I stood there bewildered in the afternoon sun with my stupid hair and clothes, I had no great confidence that the natives would do anything other than batter me relentlessly until I resembled a fairly lumpy bowl of beetroot soup.
Eventually a native hove into view. To my delight, it was a fairly ordinary-looking middle-aged lady, probably out to do her shopping. I approached her confidently for directions. And then, just before I addressed her, it hit me, the absurdity of what I was now going to have to say to her. With my mind overbrimming with mortification and self-disgust, I found myself saying to this perfectly nice Northern lady: "Excuse me, dear. Could you possibly tell me the way to the television studios?"
You can't hang around a tv studio for very long without witnessing a couple of moments that make you question your will to live. An early warning came at about four o'clock on the first afternoon. Over on the other stage stood the songwriting genius Stephen Duffy, still wearing his raincoat, with his electric guitar hanging limp and untouched around his waist. He had recently had a bit of a hit with some piece of pop fluff that he had written and you could now see the terrible, terrible regret on his face as he stood motionless among his gnarled and yet oddly faceless record-company "pro" band members as they bashed out a useless, chillingly efficient Aryan 12 bar blues around him.
A couple of days later I was milling around the arse end of the studio, killing some time, when I saw a big old white Rolls-Royce come rolling into the delivery bay. Standing back a little to stay inconspicuous, I waited to see which big old pop star would emerge from the vehicle. One by one the members of Sigue Sigue Sputnik stepped out on their ridiculous stack heels. Once they were all out of the motor, though, they didn't really seem to know what to do next. I was puzzled. Then somebody came up to them and spoke a few words. All the members of the band got back into the Roller, which then reversed back up the loading bay. Then it came back down again. And the band all got out again.
That's when I realised. They were rehearsing getting out of a car.
We were bored as arseholes for most of the time. It's just as well that we had all that quality hash because, back at our cheap but rather nice suburban hotel, we were drinking like cunts and there was a definite edge in the air. There was a lot of paranoia about our distributors at the time and one night, sat at the bar, Eider, Jonesy and I started laying into Dave Barker something proper. "Where's the fucking money?" would probably just about have summed up the gist of our fifteen minute tirade. Dave, as pissed as we were, rode it out incredibly gracefully, though, of course, at the time we just took it for bloody-minded recalcitrance. Eventually we wore ourselves out with the griping. There was a brief silence. All three musicians were somehow hoping that, now that we had done enough shouting, The Truth would be unveiled. As I say, were pissed as cunts.
Silence. Slitty-eyed anticipation. And then D. Elvis Barker turns to me and he says: "Pat...I love the USA."
This was February 1986.
Well, as I say, we hung around Newcastle for two or three days to play six minutes of live music. When we turned up "on the day" we were told that we would, in fact, only be playing one number. Paula Yates was back from the far east with news of Madonna's new movie or something, so the live bands had to be cut to allow this important cultural bombshell to be aired. (Paula Yates, it transpired, was actually a lot nicer and less up-herself than Jooles Holland.)
So, here we are. Three days to prepare to do three minutes of music on the fucking telly. Mitch Jenkins showed up with some even better quality hash and, in our tiny, windowless dressing room, we fell upon it like fiends. You could not see in that little room.
And yet...and yet...and yet...As soon as we get up there on the flapping stage we start playing as though we have an urgrent appointment somewhere else!
I particularly like Owen's desperate attempts to sing and smile at the same time (we had been discussing this a lot and he doubtless thought he was being well ironic, not realising that camera just ended up making him look like a psycho!) Jooles appeared to take the ending of the tune as some kind of personal affront. Given that we'd been doing that on and off for the past three days, you might have thought that The Great Musician might have figured out that this was just the way that the tune ended.
We were in the pub before it was dark.
What did JBC play on this show? I remember
it was good and i had it taped at the time but
my memory is shot, unfortunately.
I believe it was "Hard", but I've still got it on vid somewhere in the back of a cupboard so I'll check and get back.
Now on YourTube:
Possibly the best thing on TV that decade. Well, otherwise there was an awful lot of Thatch and that rather ruined it for this viewer.