“OK BOYS, START UP THE CAR…….”
In the early 80’s I used to drink in a pub called the ‘The Duke of York’ in Eccles. They served wonderful beers like ‘Ram Tam’ and ‘Timothy Tailors Golden Best’. I met Mike, an old school friend of my brother Dave, in there one night and we all piled back to his place for more beer and some music. Mike was a few years older than us and had done it all. He was a bit of a hippie, had lived on Kibbutz where a job killing Turkeys had made him Veggie (long before the advent of bird flu) and travelled in the USA. He was now living with Clare in Walkden doing a bit of painting and decorating.
The nights at his place would start off with records Clare liked (Early Bowie, Fischer Z, B52s and the like) and then as the evening progressed, Mike subtly changed the tone with something like Hawkwinds ‘Space Ritual’ and then start on the Frank Zappa. Now this always caused upset as Clare HATED Zappa and as these evenings became more frequent – we grew to LOVE Zappa, the humour, the amazing guitar solos…..’Joe’s Garage pt1′ is still one of my favourite albums.
One night whilst indulging in aural delights, we got talking about The Glastonbury Festival. He showed me an old programme of when he’d been there and looking at the number of bands who played there made my head spin – “we’ve got to go!”
And so in 1985 we did. 6 of us piled into Bom’s new van and off we went. In those days you just drove onto the site and parked pretty much where you liked and set up camp next to your car. That year was a muddy one…..Very muddy! On the Friday we thought “it can’t get worse than this” and then it rained overnight and was like slippery sludge everywhere and we thought “it can’t get worse than this” and then the sun came out on the Sunday and it was like walking through treacle….
In those days I tried to see as many bands as I could and missed out on most of what else was going on – which is alot!. That year I got to see The Bunnymen, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Steel Pulse, Green on Red, The Colourfield, James, New Model Army, 3rd World, Boomtown Rats, Style Council, Midnight Oil…..etc…etc…..
After seeing the Pogues on the main stage I went to meet Mike at the 2nd stage where I caught the end of a set by Jonathan Richman – He was fantastic!
And so was born a new obsession for Mikes after hours bashes – ‘Rockin and Romance’ by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers became the must have LP in our circle and we never tired of dancing around to ‘The Beach’, ‘UFO Man’, ‘Chewing Gum Wrapper’……I could sing them all for you now. The soundtrack to my early 20s. Others have come and gone (Zimbabwe guitar maestro Diblo D’bala, The soundtrack to ‘Santa Sangre’, Austrian Yodelling, Marty Robbins, The Cramps, the background music from Camberwick Green) but none spread joy like Jojo did.
In Sept 85 Digger moved to London and Mike gave him a farewell party (and a jesters hat….don’t ask). This photo was taken of us singing to Rockin and Romance and Mike sent it to Jojo.
This started off some correspondance between Mike and Jojo
So that when he came to Manchester to play – he knew who we were. He came out and danced with us before the gig “Hey I know you guys”. With Frank Sidebottom in support – you couldn’t go wrong! Jojo was promoting his ‘Having a party with…’ LP and didn’t play guitar all night – just played sax. By the end of the gig our hands were raw with clapping, our feet sore with stamping and our voices gone with singing – A magical evening
We even went down to London the next day to catch them at The Town & Country Club in Kentish Town. They were being filmed for some BBC prog or other. Once again we waited to get to the very front (Jojo sang off mike so often it was the only way to hear it all). Their version of Affection was just sublime. Think he almost had as good a time as we did. He often toured on his own after that and could be a bit melancholy which was a real shame ‘cos when he’s on form – there’s no where better to be………..GO JOJO!!!!
Bob the Chiropodist