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My Exciting Life In ROCK (part 3): 3/4/88 - Deaconís School Hall, Peterborough
The 1980s were a funny old time. When I say "funny" I of course mean "shit" - any younger readers who doubt this and have been CONNED by IDIOTS and/or TORIES into thinking it was somehow "glamorous", "full of opportunity" or "fun" should try googling key phrases such as "Cold War", "Recession" or "Big Fun". Or just wait a couple of months when I'm sure they'll be discovering all but, hopefully, the latter for themselves.
In fact the only thing that was GOOD at the time was the comedy, or rather, Alternative Comedy. ANARCHIC REBELS like Ben Elton were frightening The Establishment something CHRONIC with their lack of respect for Authority and Dangerously Dangerous Humour. Yes, that's right, Ben Elton - writer of "The Thin Blue Line" and several appalling novels, COLLABORATOR with Queen and apologist for the Royal Family, HIM. If you ever wonder, as he himself seems to do, why so many people LOATHE him these days it's precisely BECAUSE he is a former HERO OF A GENERATION who SOLD OUT more spectacularly than anybody else, EVER.
The start of the SELLING OUT of the entire Alternative Comedy generation was Comic Relief. At the time it seemed like we, THE KIDS, were taking over from old fashioned bastions of respectability like Children In Need and launching our OWN Rock And Roll version of charity but, of course and as ever, it was actually The Establishment absorbing the next generation into itself. We didn't know it at the time of course, and everybody was VERY excited and EAGER to do something to join in.
As previously discussed I'd already had some experience as an Impresario and thus LEAPT into action setting up a Comedy Revue. I'd recently read a book about Monty Python and was CONVINCED that, once I got to University, I would spend all my time wearing a scarf and creating HILARIOUS revue comedy whilst drinking copious amounts of tea before going on to a glittering career in radio comedy, then television, and then NOVELS. I was right about the tea, although little else. I wasn't to know that then, and thought that Comic Relief would be the ideal chance to get some practice in.
Several of us spent the next few weeks writing and rehearsing sketches, many of which were more than loosely based on Monty Python, Saturday Night Live (the British version, especially the bits with The Dangerous Brothers. Kids: YOUTUBE it) and The Young Ones. As has been the way of such things since time began there was also a School Band, doing THE USUAL cover versions. I'm sure when Man first discovered music the very first band, They Who Bang Stones, bashed out a rudimentary version of "Layla" before going into a Medley featuring an homage to Level 42, and our School Band was no different. But the fact that THEY were playing at the end of the show led me to think that maybe, just maybe, there would be room for another band to play?
Thus it was that, after five years in The Studio (or living room, depending on how you looked at it), The Masters Of Nothing finally took to the stage. Mileage was on guitar (i.e. he had one strapped round his neck, plugged into a tiny amplifier - he had no idea how to play it, and we'd all be surprised some time afterwards to discover that guitars needed tuning), Robin was on keyboards (i.e. he had a Casio keyboard which he'd prod, nervously) and I was on vocals (SHOUTING). We stood behind the curtains nervously, and came on to HUGE APPLAUSE.
We couldn't believe it! Everyone seemed to love us, and when we did the ONLY part of the set that we'd rehearsed - introducing ourselves - the room ERUPTED! This was fantastic! We launched into our one and only song - "A Minus Work", of course - and people even SANG ALONG when we got to the chorus. Teachers in the audience, who all clearly remembered the story, were seen to be snorting with laughter as they tried to look disapproving, and when we finally finished there was the loudest applause I have EVER heard.
Stunned, I strode to the front of the stage. "DO YOU WANT ANY MORE?!" I asked.
The reply came out clear and loud. "NO!"
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