Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Brilliant Corners Part 2

Bob sported a Mohican, drove a motorbike , did stunts and thought he was Steve McQueen ( This is actually why our label became McQueen after SS20. Also we had got tired of the Russian chic thing by then) Bob played the drums and scared a lot of people because he was from Southmead. A district in Bristol known for its psychopaths gangs and violence. He didn’t scare me and Chris because we were from Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston and those were tough places too. Ah but I race ahead! Prior to meeting Bob, me and Chris had been rehearsing with Dan (Pacini) who was a few years below us at school. Dan played trumpet, so we were playing with Dan then met Bob. Bob wanted to drum in a punk band and I told him that’s what we were. We sounded more like a garage band that sometimes strayed into arty dance pop territory, particularly when Dan was playing. This was not a lot as Dan went to university at the time we decided to put our own discs out, which was around 83. At this time I had enrolled at Filton Tech to get some A levels so I could go to Art College, where i could spend all my days writing songs and maybe paint something from time to time.
At Filton Tech I immediately made good use of use of their facilities to screen print the sleeves to ‘She’s Got Fever’ . In the back of the Melody Maker we saw an advert for a company that mastered and pressed records for a hundred quid. The place was in Folkstone. I have no idea where we got the money to do this.
Me and Chris took a box of ten records to an alternative record store in Bristol called Revolver Records ( Revolver later became a huge business for independent releases. Sadly the shop closed many many years ago) The two guys who ran the shop, Lloyd and Mike actually agreed to stock the record. But said we needed to get some press if it was going to sell. Now I just looked at the back sleeve of ‘She’s Got Fever’ and it says that we were distributed by the Cartel, and that was Revolver and a whole load of other indie labels. So what this means is that Mike and Lloyd agreed to put the record out on the strength of a tape of the songs? Surely not, maybe we took the record in without any sleeves and they agreed to put it out and i printed the sleeve later. Yeah that sounds about right. Sleeves, yes the perils of DIY sleeves, I did the red sleeves then I foolishly let Winstone (Forbes) who was working for a screen printer, do the second single pressing. His red ended up pink, and both he and Bob managed to glue the sleeves to the record. Mike went berserk because we gave Revolver a hundred records that got sent back. Mike was always going mad with me and Chris. I’m sure I will remember more instances the further I get into this. So at an early stage I knew the business side of things were well kept away from Winston and Bob
We got press like this; We bought the NME , Sounds and Melody Maker every week, we wrote down the address of their offices, bought a return ticket on the National Express to London and an A to Z. After going around the circle line for what seemed ages we found ourselves staring at an intercom. I think it was on Wardour Street. Above the intercom was the letters N.M.E written in ball point pen ’ You press it’ said Chris ‘ No why don’t you press it’ ‘ You’re the singer so you should press it’ ‘ What’s that got to do with it, it was your idea to come here so you press it. Yeah and that’s why you should press it, because it was my idea now you should do your bit!’ said Chris. This went on for ages until we bottle it. We decided to go to the pub and make a plan as to who would press the intercom. We got drunk instead. Sometime later I pressed the button and a bored London accent drawled ‘who is it ?’ I said ‘The brilliant corners ‘ ‘What the fucks that? ‘ said the London voice’ ‘erm were a band and we got a record to give you’ A pause then the door made a buzzing sound, we pushed it open. Who had I spoken to? Nick Kent? Charles Sharr Murray? Paul Morely? no not Paul Morley he was the Manchester guy, this was a Londoner. Maybe it was that brainy guy Ian Penman, after reading a review of his he got me looking in the dictionary to figure out what he meant by Hegemony and Niallism.
We went up some floors pushed another door open and we were inside the offices of the NME. The place smelt of vinegar and fags. Sat at a desk beyond piles of records, paper and a broken typewriter a huge un cool looking guy in a stripy shirt and thick glasses stared at us. We edged closer, I moved my hands towards his out stretched hands .His enormous hand that was bigger than my body, butchers hands, hands that had probably killed off the dreams of naive bands from the provinces, He crushed our poofy little fingers and said ‘Danny Kelly what you got?’ In silence we gave him the record. I was thinking wow Danny Kelly! Ive read reviews by this guy, mmm does not look like how I imagined him, he looks normal. He stared at us, we did not look normal, we were emaciated, quiffs, dressed all in black and totally tongue tied. ‘ We get hundreds of records every week , can’t promise it will be reviewed, gigging?’
No, no we were not gigging. ‘ Yeah doing loads of gigs’ we lied. Let us know when your in town we like to see bands before we review. He said. With that our audience with Danny Kelly seemed to end, a phone rang , he chatted and ignored us we stood around for a while. He gave us a look ‘like what the fuck are you two still doing here’. We went back to the pub and got pissed. We had given our record to Danny Kelly! Unbelievable! A few weeks later I was reading the NME ,Charles Sharr Murray was reviewing the singles. Under the heading Great Unknowns , he reviewed our single. I could write a million words that would never adequately describe the rush of blood I felt going to my head, a giddy panic, confused excitement, hell I may have even ejaculated. I wonder if Liam Gallagher felt like that the first time Oasis were reviewed? I suspect he yawned and picked his nose.