Not everything went smoothly at Facelift - here are the editor's recollections of mishaps.
Blind date with the Ozrics... Level 42 clean up ... the tape machine proves too Twiddly ... Holdsworth plays too slowly ... our man lets rip at Mark and Lard ... the Shamen in gnomic denial ... Transpennine Inferno ...
· the interview with Gong-near-neighbours Ozric Tentacles: a surreal and smoky interview in the dressing room competing with Blind Date blasting out in the background - the band could not comprehend me wishing to stay 'straight' for the interview.
· watching Jakko perform with Level 42 on a freebie ticket at Manchester's Apollo. At one point Mark King dedicated a track to the cleaners at the Ramada Renaissance hotel, where the band were staying, and the entire row next to me stood up and cheered. I left, feeling somewhat intimidated (not to say unclean), about 10 minutes later.
· mechanical failure 1: a lack of understanding of how to use the 'record' button during my first Wizards of Twiddly interview. Mechanical failure 2: myself and Steve Hillage trying to mend a dictophone which had packed up after half an hour's interview. Mechanical failure 3: same tape machine, same problem - Bill Bruford.
· in the audience with the Wizards of Twiddly watching Allan Holdsworth at the Band on the Wall - with one of the Wizards heckling, perhaps uncharitably, 'More Notes!'. The Wizards were also present when me-old-mate Martin Wakeling was positively haranguing Mark Radcliffe just before he went on air about the lack of recognition Kevin Ayers gets (possibly the wrong target, since Radcliffe was just to broadcast a live session by the man!)
· circa '89, and back in the very early days of Facelift, myself and friend Joe were totally blown away by a gig at the university by a Scottish four-piece guitar/keyboard/whitenoise psychedelic band, all shaven headed and wearing polo necks, and answering to the name of the Shamen. Joe and other friend Gav, themselves publishers of alternative magazine Recoil, ingratiated themselves with the band, and for a few years our pad at Curzon Avenue became the Shamen residence whenever they played in Manchester. The years of no 1 records, Mr C and all-out dance music lay ahead of them - the only personnel link between the two eras was mainman Colin Angus. I remember swanning around during Shamen visits in a 'Camembert Electrique' T-shirt to absolute indifference (there are photos to prove it) whilst housemates were despatched to Moss Side to procure the band's psychedelics for the evening. To be fair, Colin did express a liking for Henry Cow. 10 years on and not only has Steve Hillage appeared on Shamen albums, but the Shamen themselves contributed a wondrous 'Master Builder' to the Gong 'YouRemixes' album. How times change...
· and, to top it all, the Caravan of Dreams gig in Rotherham in about 1993. Four of us (the editor, Nick Loebner, one chef who shall remain nameless, and 'Long' Dave) had driven over from Manchester to see the Richard Sinclair/Ward/Biddulph trio. Half way through an entertaining gig, the chef remembered leaving a pan of soup bubbling away in the kitchen back home. Several frantic phone calls (the result of which was a 3-mile cycle ride for some poor sod to the vicinity of the potentially combusting house) proved inconclusive. The gig finished, a rather worried foursome, crammed into a tiny FIAT Panda, bumped and bounced across the Pennines with all 6 foot plus of 'Long' Dave, bent double, squeezed into the backseat with the editor.
What would be the state of the soup, the kitchen and the house after 6 hours of cooking?
On the outskirts of Manchester the front of the vehicle was filled with acrid fumes - yes, the car had caught fire! When the car combusted 'Long Dave' was insistent that he damped the flames with a stream of his urine. (Lest it be forgotten, this was the man whose pursuit of alcoholic excellence led him to conceive the idea of taking up teacher training with the ultimate goal of generating enough money to start up his own brewery!) Luckily, he was dissuaded and, at the editor's suggestion, the flames were smothered with a heavy combat jacket.
Several hours later we limped home in an RAC towtruck - the house was rather smoky, but OK (even the pan was salvaged). The car on the other hand, was a write off...
issue 20 - the issue that never happened!- the editor's lowlights