Six o'clock the doorbell rang.
Our roadie, driver, manager and security man had arrived. Rad's pock-marked face was permanently reddened by the ultra-violet treatment meted out by the NHS to cure his acne. Rad was short for Radish. He preferred the former. He was a valuable asset for a band who had everything but talent. He was a brickie, had access to a van and was very handy if the natives got restless.
'Yeah, where we going tonight?'
'You phoned Chris?'
'Yeah – washing his fucking hair – big girl. Why can't you get him to cut it? You can't tell which is the front or back of his head until he opens his mouth'.
'How's the van'
'Perfect, just had a new epicyclic torque condenser unit fitted'
'Does old man Flannery know you've got it'.
'Yes – but he thinks I'm towing my nan's caravan to Scarborough'.
'Have we played there before?'
'What was it like?
Rad removed from his pocket a scruffy notebook; his 'Road Managers guide to the pubs and clubs of South Yorkshire'. In it, he had recorded details of every venue that we had every played.
'Its a working mens club ffs. A hundred drunken miners all called Daz or Gaz. More importantly, their equally drunken wives who they only allow out twice a week, once to play bingo on Tuesday, and once to the club on Saturday to enjoy the delights of 'Deirdre and Her Performing Poodles' and listen to you lot. And if the wives don't have good time, then Gaz/Daz doesn't get a shag when he gets home.'
'Stroppy Chairman, miserable as an empty fridge and so tight he can sharpen a pencil up his arsehole, an MC who's about as funny as a septic bowel, blonde barmaid with a face like a hospital poultice, no toilets backstage, décor largely based on lino and formica, two half hour sets, sausage and chips in a basket, high teddy boy count, no swearing on stage.'
'Did you have a fight with anyone?'
'No – just a row with the Social Secretary after I'd nailed Steve's drum kit to the recently refurbished stage. You remember? - he kept 'travelling' , and his bass drum and high hat fell off the front of the stage. Sounded like Concorde hitting a pan factory.'
'So, who are we tonight? Jesus and the Seven Dwarves?'
'Stevie and the Hormones?'
'No' 'You're Hybrid tonight. This is a working men's club'
'Fuck off. Last time we got introduced as the Gay Breed, the MC thought Hybrid was summat rude'
'Well just blow him a kiss if he does. And don't introduce the set with 'Good Morning Allerton Bywater' again.'
Two hours later backstage. Chris is not happy.
'What are we starting with?'
'Fuck - I still haven't learned the words'
'Love me baby, love me when I'm down
Love me baby, love me when I'm down
Love me pretty women always be around
Throw your arms around me like a circle round the sun
Throw your arms around me like a circle round the sun.
Love me pretty woman, like we've just begun.'
'Those lyrics are shit – how can you expect me to sing that shit?'
'Look Bob Dylan probably wrote shit lyrics when he was 18'
Rad enters the dressing room.
The disembodied voice from the front of the stage announced 'Ladies and Gentlemen, all the way from Morley, the Gay Breed'
Rad flicked a switch on the deck. The familiar sound of the Thunderbirds march blared out through the PA. Showtime!
'Good evening everybody. We're Stevie and the Hormones and you're not. It's great to be back in Allerton Bywater. This first song's called Junior's Wailing. Don't bother listening to the lyrics 'cos they're shit.'
1 – 2 - 3 – 4.
'Love me baby.........................
- - - - - - - - - - -