Manchester Apollo is a cavernous ex-cinema. It's filling nicely, there's a goodnatured buzz of anticipation. I spot Buzzcocks' manager Raf at the desk. There is the aftershow business yet to be arranged, I might as well grasp the nettle. Apollo security are not letting anyone near the desk but I have a go anyway and explain that I know Raf and that he knows me. I ask Raf what the plan is for joining the aftershow. He's bemused. He assumes this is all sorted out. He tells me to go to a particular door at the side of the stage after the performance. Hmmm ...
At the end of the show we gather at the appointed place. This is where things take a turn for the worse. The notoriously intolerant Apollo security are herding us out. That we were told to wait side of stage makes no difference. Our resistance is spirited but useless. We are pushed back to the lobby, where we mill about, pretending to look at merchandise. I make a few calls to the 'inner sanctum'. While we're waiting, I hear my name being called. It's @JelloPuss and she has Steve Garvey in tow.
You have to understand what a profound effect this man has had on my life. My Buzzcocks epiphany was based on borrowing an album and then playing it incessantly for about three months. On the cover of that album were four moody young men in black. One of them was Steve Garvey - mean, moody, so New Wave ... he was (is) also a superlative bassist. I wanted to be Steve Garvey. Ideally, I wanted to be Steve Garvey IN Buzzcocks, but hey ho. Anyway, he was my role model. I learned to play bass because of him and I've had a few adventures of my own because of it. Thanks to him. So when I was introduced, all the things I wanted to say flew out of my tiny head. I was the starstruck teenager waiting outside the back door of Oxford New Theatre thirty-odd years ago. I could have gone home happy then.
Apollo security get their wish and chuck us all out. So we loiter outside, about fifteen diehard Secret Publicans unaccustomed to being outside after a 'Cocks show. My 'phone rings. It's Pete Shelley*. Well, it's Pete Shelley's 'phone. Someone will be down with passes shortly.
|The legendary Steve Garvey and a fat bloke.|
There is also business to transact. We're gathering items to auction to support the running costs of secretpublic.com. Pete Shelley has something special for us - bespoke underwear hand-stencilled by Lou who makes his stagewear. If you want to win this stuff by the way, stay tuned and I'll post the link to the auction when it happens. We also have a Back to Front poster signed by all iterations of the band. This is cool, desirable stuff.
The venue win again. they want everyone out of the building. We get to chat to the people we want to chat to - in many ways this is my extended family. We meet at gigs all over the place. Oddly enough two of them - Maxine and Steve - are going to be at a Damned gig in Belfast the following night. About which more next time ;-)
A great night, made better for turning out all right. Good friends, new and old, a few beers ... you know what? I Don't Mind.
In the next instalment, I find myself financially embarrassed, go on a tweet-up and mingle with Goths.
*It's not smart or funny to drop names. Kenneth Branagh told me that.
Read parts one, two and three of this NW punk rock odyssey.
If you like my writing, please consider giving my novel a go - thanks!