Saturday, 30 April 2011

Adam Ant, A talking bush and a gang of tiara-ed banshees

It's been a while, I realise. You'd think that not having any gigs two weekends in a row would give me plenty of time for writing and that was certainly the plan - I have an Edinburgh show to write, three new songs to learn, two blogs to maintain and I'd even promised myself I'd have another look at the kids book I wrote a decade ago that got as far as a literary agent but my refusal to rewrite sections of it meant it got unceremoniously shelved. Sadly however I have spent most of the time "socialising" and have got absolutely bugger all done, to be honest. It's been a laugh though. There have been an endless procession of nights out celebrating something or other and I'm just going to pick a few of the high/low points for general perusal and in no particular order (They've all merged, anyway) as things will no doubt occur to me as I'm writing.

I should begin by saying that an increasing number of chavs have been screaming at me out of their car windows on one particular road in Letchworth that happens to be en route between my flat and the town centre. It's happening just as they roar off the roundabout at the bottom as I am turning right. Whether this is coincidence or some collective burberry conspiracy I'm afraid I don't know, but it is starting to freak me out a bit. Last Wednesday I travelled to London for my mate Gav's birthday party. He's a TV & Radio media type and had booked the basement bar of Soho House for his annual shindig. I set off relatively early in the now-usual bright sunshine and reached the chavabout in a relatively perky mood when suddenly "Gwaaaaaaaoooohhhhuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhaaaaaakkkkkk!" - an unearthly howl was unleashed from the back window of a relatively smart hatchback that to say the least, made me jump. The laughter of a hundred collected brain cells disappeared up the road, I steadied myself and carried on, stopping for a swift beer in La Concha before getting on the 6.29pm to Finsbury Park. Effortless journey, tube straight to Leicester Square, whole thing done in under an hour and then Adam Ant walked past me on Charing Cross Road.

I say this flippantly because it was the briefest, most casual, un-noticed-by-passers-by-but-genuinely-amazing moment of my life. The first single I ever bought was "Antmusic" in (I think) 1980. I was ten. For the last thirty one years I've wanted to meet the man to tell him what a huge impact he (and his music) have had on my life. Looking back he's been profoundly influential in many ways more subtle than others. Perhaps the most obvious one is in the lyric to "Friend Or Foe"

I want those who get to know me, to become admirers or my enemies.

I have never bothered with casual acquaintances or people who just think I'm all right, throughout my life. I've put up with people publicly (in the main) but have always been fairly outspoken and the most liable to split a room in company. It's done me few favours, really, and I could probably have had more success than I have done if I could have held my tongue. Anyway, on this occasion I couldn't hold it either, although not in my more accustomed style. I seemed to be the only person who had noticed him on that particular section of Charing Cross Road, deep in conversation (as he was) with what appeared to be a personal Assistant of some sort. He was fully bedecked in his latest look

I walked past this bloke on Charing Cross Road and he looked like this
And was obviously going to or from an official engagement. Our eyes never met and as I walked past him, close enough to almost brush his shoulder, I heard myself say "oh that will be Adam Ant then", out loud, to nobody in particular.

"oh that will be Adam Ant, then"

Thirty one years I'd waited to speak to him and that was the best I could come up with. He didn't look up, I don't think he heard and by the time I looked round he had disappeared, presumably down the steps of the tube, possibly into Leicester Square itself. I realise lots of other people I know have probably met him. I also realise that he might not be as great as I have always built him up to be, but this was my moment and I couldn't have blown it any better. I got to Soho House, signed Gav's guest book, got a glass of red wine (for £7.50!) and spent the next few hours telling anyone I was introduced to that I had just walked past Adam Ant. It was actually a really good party and I was quite entertained by how few people appeared to know Gav himself. There were a few of his mates there but a lot of the rest were work colleagues from Channel 5 or Capital Radio etc. who were only passing or vague friends. One guy suggested we should all have had a "speed dating" hour so we all had to talk to each other for a minute each to begin with. It would have been both a good idea AND a good laugh. I settled for just walking up to women who were pretty who were chatting to men I had already been introduced to. There was no shortage of either. I was delighted by the company of publicists, producers, DJs, continuity announcers, a girl who wanted to give up her job with Tesco to go and work for the RSPCA and one lovely young woman who (when I mentioned I ran a burlesque show which was how I had met Gav) told me that she was having burlesque lessons herself and did I think her boobs were too big? I've had far worse opening encounters with the opposite sex, far worse.

I left there in time to get back to Kings Cross and buy a double whopper with fries and a diet coke for a full £1.11 cheaper than the wine had cost me by the glass in Soho House, caught the fabulous 11.15pm home (first stop, Letchworth!) and was in bed by midnight.


On Thursday night I went round to my mum's for dinner (Roast pork and about fifteen veg) and then took a stroll down to The Tavern for band night. Shortly before the chavabout a souped-up little shiny thing shot past me at breakneck speed and someone shouted out the window "BUSWANKER!". I was, to say the least, a little taken aback but not really surprised. I got a pint in and struck up a conversation with a girl whose rump I apparently slapped the other night (on invitation, I hasten to add), a girl with a cigarette burn on her collarbone and a bloke with a lighter burn on his thumb. They had both, it became clear, brought the burns upon themselves by daring people to injure them whilst under the influence. I told them about my latest drive-by abuse and they were appalled - not because I had been disrespected by my youngers but because I had not been anywhere near a bus stop. Apparently the abuse stems from a show called The Inbetweeners which I had sadly never seen. Apparently I'm just glad I wasn't carrying a briefcase. Big Howard showed up for a couple of jars

Little Howard wasn't allowed in the pub
And we talked Edinburgh, touring, the dangers of booking a gig in Wimborne the night after The Royal Wedding and why it was easier to fill a theatre if you were a pre-school TV star than one for the under-twelves. Last orders were called and I began the walk home. Five minutes into my journey a bush shouted at me. I took another couple of (slightly wobbly) strides and then it shouted at me again. I stopped and looked round at it. Then it shouted again

"Oi! Mate! Give us a fag!"

I replied that I was not about to give a bush a cigarette, even if it was a female bush. A girl then walked out of the bush and started talking to me. I told her I would have to put her on hold as I was talking to a bush. She laughed. I asked her what she was doing in a bush


said a bloke emerging from the bush doing his flies up. I explained I hadn't got any cigarettes and kept walking. I got past the chavabout without incident and then a car ploughed past me and someone screamed something unintelligible at me about fifty yards up the road. When I got in I started reading a book about hostages in Central America and it made me feel better about myself.


The Royal wedding was actually quite nice, all things considered. I'm not really pro- or anti- Royal and I wish the couple well. Any wedding brings back memories of my own so there's always a pang of sadness but anyway, I'm not here to get all maudlin and you're not here to read it. I spent most of the afternoon doing absolutely nothing other than eating well and watching TV, before finally getting out and again walking in to town to catch the 8.29pm to Hitchin as I had an appointment with The Vic. There was the inevitable scream from what looked to be a Peugeout 305 as I neared the chavabout and the journey was otherwise uneventful. It hadn't really registered that it was also a bank holiday but within seconds of reaching the pub (about a quarter to nine) there was no doubt whatsoever. EVERYONE was steaming pissed but the men (As usual) weren't of particular interest to me - oh no - it was the women - all gloriously smashed, all tottering on slingbacks, all drinking champagne and cocktails and (mostly) in tiaras that had been provided by the bar. The most entertaining were Georgie (girlfriend of my very good mate, Limburn, who was also in attendance in body if not mind) and her friend Donna. Donna said to me "I won a medal this morning for looking the most like Kate Middleton!". Georgie also had a medal round her neck. When I asked her how she'd won that she said "Three legged race". I made some remark about me not needing a partner for the three legged race and before it had registered with Georgie, Donna had bent almost ninety degrees and stared directly at my crotch before saying simply "Naaaaa... you'd need someone". Her tiara had slipped a little and her eyes were glazing over. Her drink was hanging limply from her weakening wrist and her head was at a slight angle. She took a little time to re-focus on my face and then said "I do look like a beautiful fucking princess, don't I?". I felt it best to simply nod my head and say "yes Donna, you do"

Prince William (Duke Of Cambridge) and Donna
I left The Vic about eleven, stopped briefly in The Croft (nothing happening), hiked down to The Kings Arms (plenty happening but not really of interest to me), nipped round to Chic Bar with Andy the Derby County fan, lost Andy the Derby County fan and took the long walk back to Hitchin station, caught the 1.26am train to Letchworth and successfully walked home without getting shouted at by either chavs or bushes. Punk rock tonight - anything could happen.


  1. A good read there mate, but have to say...

    It was Adam Ant man, can't believe that's all you could think of. Fucking hell!

    I've wanted to meet that guy since I first heard Ant Music, because it made an impact on me as well believe it or not. I bought it for my brother as a present, and enjoyed sitting listening to him playing it so much.

    I was still 9 at the time, but that song was amazing, and still is.

  2. Yes, sorry Erica it was a rather long read! I'm calling May "Brevity month" to go some way to make up for it. Oh and Marv - yes typical of motormouth here to clam up the one time he could really have used a few quality verbals...


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