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Get home, get pissed, blackout in the kitchen!
Monday 25th January
Can’t remember much but I did prep for my radio show!
Blackout in the front room!
Sunday 24th January
Same as Saturday!
Saturday, 23rd January
Drink ‘n’ smoke.
And yes I did take Milly Mental out!!
Friday, 22nd January
This day consists of a breakfast of two bottles of wine and a lot of paying respect to Bob Marley.
When I take Milly for her constitutional I see Olde Neil from the 23rd floor, whose wife was murdered many years ago, talking to one of the estate cleaners about the re-housing stitch up.
Now this is a good one. Mary his absolutely beautiful and charming wife - I believe they moved in at the beginning of time - hated lifts. I would meet her waiting in the foyer, for Gawd knows how long, until somebody she trusted would travel to the 23rd floor with her because she was so terrified of getting stuck in the lift.
Year after year passed with them asking the council to be moved and year after year the council didn’t do sweet fuck all, and then one day as she was walking home, a mere few hundred yards to go, she was mugged. That didn’t kill her outright but I believe that, combined with the fear and desperation of not being listened to as a human being, did.
Her husband never moved out and with the pressure of thoughts and memories that the flat held for him I can only salute his love and bravery for staying here. But now that last connection with the love of his life is going to be taken away from him. Southwark Scum Council change your motto to ‘United To Destroy!'
Get a call from Mr G informing me that if I want to print my ‘KRUSHER’ t-shirt the printing costs will only allow it to be done in black and white. It’s like telling Steven Spielberg that ‘Schindler’s List’ can only be filmed as long as he doesn’t mention the Nazi’s!!! I agree!
Make a very good connection with Roadrunner Records and get a connection to download Rob Zombie’s ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2’, a mere twelve years after its predecessor! It’s a fooookin’ masterpiece!!! Thank you Mike!
After another two bottles of vino and pulling my plonker until blind, I head out to Mr G’s for an evening dinner and to work out plans for total world domination!
We listen to my new ‘Rock Animal’ show for River Gibbs FM and decide that I’ve made a good effort to improve my standards of broadcasting. Muuuuuuhahahahahahahahahahah!
Mr G’s shepherd’s pie was worthy of fucking before eating, but I didn’t!
Wine, herbal medication and the rest and I walk home pissed as a nappy and stoned as a cherry orchard! Fuck THEM ALL!
Thursday, 21st January
I awake at eight from some damnably crazy dream involving Skid Row, a packet of digestives and a very pissed off audience.
I don’t seem to be showing or feeling any signs of a hangover apart from some dehydration in the gob area.
Before I even attempt to get out of bed I know that today’s going to be a day of extreme highs and diabolical lows!
I get up and dress suitably for either.
In the park Milly Mental spends an inordinate amount of time checking out one of her favourite pissing trees. This bitch is so hard she cocks her leg when the mood takes her. She eventually makes her mark and then legs it across into the other side of the park crossing a road which thankfully, as it’s a dead end, is fairly quiet on the traffic front. But she still has that independent streak that worries me. I’ve seen her cross roads when she didn’t belong to me and was out on one of her adventures, and I always used to have my heart in my mouth as she raced against the oncoming traffic, crazy bitch!
Once I’ve retrieved her and have her on the leash I head to Joe’s and purchase my paper and for the first time this year I buy a bottle of 39p Euro Shopper Sparkling Glucose Drink, the poor mans Lucozade. Actually I buy two to help with my dehydration.
Once indoors, feed Milly and myself and whilst munching away on me bacon butty, Postman Sprat shoves something through the letterbox which Milly grabs and delivers to me. On opening I discover a Beholder ‘The Awakening’ CD that their larger than life vocalist Simon Hall has been kind enough to send to me.
I first saw the band at last year's Hard Rock Hell III and they were truly one of the top five bands that knew how to work an audience that I saw over the three day festival. Before that performance I knew nothing of them and it was only a chance meeting in the merchandising shop shortly before they were leaving that I got a chance to tell them how good I thought they were and to swap contact info. Check them out here.
The first thing that I have to raise my hat to regarding ‘The Awakening’ is the cover artwork by Paul Gregory (www.studio54.co.uk) an artist whose work has adorned ten Saxon covers, five for Molly Hatchet as well as Dio, Blind Guardian, Uriah Heep and more. Sir it’s a beauty, you are one of the truly great Heavy Metal artists, and I salute you.
After releasing the CD from that interminable plastic wrapping that’s so fooookin’ hard to get off, I slip it onto the deathdeck, roll a bomber, pour a big glass of red wine and sit back and for the next 65 minutes and 45 seconds, prick up me lugholes and listen.
I’m not sat for long as opening track ‘Snake Eyes’ has me out of my seat throwing shapes like there’s 240 volts shooting up me arse. It’s a brutal start and things pretty much remain that way with songs entitled ‘The Heretic’, ‘March Of The Damned’, ‘Born Into Pain’ and the brilliant new metal anthem ‘KMA’ with it’s glorious chorus that includes the lines;
‘I raise a glass to the metal mass,
And if you aint in – you can KISS MY ARSE!’
Metal poetry at its finest!
The final track ‘Enemies Of Reason’ is the slowest and the most melodic and is the perfect way to finish a great album. I raise my glass and toast Beholder!!
Later today I’m going to see my old friend Willie Dowling and his band Jackdaw4 playing at the 100 Club.
I’ve known Willie a long, long time. In the heydays he had his own band The Grip as well as stints working with The Quireboys and the Wildhearts. He has also written for film and TV including ‘Caught In The Act’, ‘The Armstrong and Miller Show’, and The Bill’ to name a few. He’s also the genius behind every single jingle that I’ve had over the years for the various radio shows that I’ve presented.
I go down to the studio and listen to some of Jackdaw4 songs on the internet. Pure pop/rock mini masterpieces and I'm looking forward to the show.
I play a few hands of poker, eat, have a bath, smoke and drink.
I was trying to not really drink that much today, as I didn’t want to be steaming into tonight's future of Terror Tower meeting wearing my Billy Bones pirate hat, with a small axe between my teeth and smoking braziers in my beard, but as I’m on the second bottle of red wine I guess there’s every chance I will! Haaaaaaaargh!!!!!
The meeting is at 7.00 in the Bede Centre, a community building next to Terror Tower. It’s a good turn out, but maybe only half of the people that it will concern. We are each given a piece of paper that we must use to voice any specific comments or recommendations we may have regarding tonight’s stitch up and return it to the concierge, who will probably screw them up and chuck them in the litter bin, by February 5th.
The meeting is chaired by local resident Arthur, who had a long standing association with the Tenant's Association, when we had one, and is seemingly a good, very down to earth geezer. Rotherhithe Liberal Democrat The Worshipful Mayor of Southwark Jeff Hook is ‘in the house’ wearing his fancy jacket and bows, project manager Florence Arsechicken, some council representative who’s name and role in the council I miss when it’s announced, but who unfortunately has a rather large nose so therefore I shall call him Big Nose, another person that again I’m not sure what he’s actually representing who I’ll call Thingy and some bird at the end of the table who has pen and paper but seems to take very little, if any notes on the evenings proceedings. Oh and there’s somebody to speak to lease holders, the poor bastards who bought their flats. Shame I didn’t buy mine when we were working on Maggie's Farm!!!!!
Within minutes of the meeting starting it becomes apparent that they’ve already made their minds up to sell the block for privatisation and that will be the proposal they recommend to the Executive Council who will make their FINAL decision on Feb 9th. Sadly there is not one person present from the executive committee that will seal our fates but there are a lot of very pissed off tenants and leaseholders.
We get told that the cost of refurbishing the block would be £15,000,000 which works out at just under £106,000 per flat. This is to redo the wiring, remove asbestos, possibly redo the heating system and put in new kitchens and bathrooms. How the fuck do you spend £106,000 on doing that! I ask them who they got their quotes from, but can’t be given a specific answer although I can give them one - Robin Bastardos & Sons.
They also mention something about the current Labour Government standard of decent houses that our refurbishment requirements are based on aren’t good enough for them, and with Liberal Democrat councillors holding eight seats on the Southwark Council Executive and Conservative councillors holding two they have their own standards that bring the cost up and the tenant down and out!
Although many people point out that they’ve had the asbestos in their flats safely removed without having to move out, they are told that the general refurbishment of the building will disturb the asbestos and release it into the air like little fairies of death and whatever happens we would have to be re-housed whilst it’s done.
I don’t know why I don’t mention the story of when, many, many years ago, the water pipe from my bath had basically rotted away and was flooding the lounge of the poor person living below me every time I let my feeeelthy bath water out.
The bloke the council sent round to repair it worked out that the damaged pipe was in my airing cupboard where my water heater was also housed and preventing him access to the worn pipe, so brain of Britain takes a small sledgehammer and knocks a hole through the toilet wall, before I can tell him that it contains asbestos, so he can squeeze his pinhead and shoulders through and repair the pipe. Thanks to his irresponsible actions I’m already probably on a limited amount of time, and the council didn’t seem to worry about the consequences of that foooook’ up!
They are also offering us £4,700 as some sort of compensation for the inconvenience of moving, but have not long ago forked out £7,000 a flat on the Heygate estate in Elephant and Castle. They also have the nerve to try and fob us off by telling us that the residents from Heygate who have been re-housed are very happy that they have. Of course they foooookin’ are! The Heygate Estate, Southwark Council’s own attempt at a concentration camp, had one of the worst reputations for crime, poverty and dilapidation EVER!!!
I ask them, apart from losing the greatest view of London anywhere and probably losing contact with many friends, and the probability of only being offered a single bedroom flat as I live alone, which will mean me having to fork out to put my treasures into storage, and losing my garage so my car insurance will go up, what else do I have to look forward too?
All in all thanks to Southwark Council's (their motto is ‘United to Serve’) incompetence and lack of respect for their tenant's needs, I’m fooookin’ fooooked!
THEY MUST ALL SUFFER PILES THE SIZE OF SMALL WHALES!!!!!
We need legal help. But I think we have well and truly been stuffed up like the proverbial kipper.
When the meeting ends, I leg it down to the bus stop and catch the number 1 into town and pop into The Intrepid Fox and down a very quick Absinthe and make my way to the 100 Club as it burns inside me.
As I step through the entrance to one of the world's legendary clubs, I’m greeted by Willie’s girlfriend Monika, who asks me if I’d do a quick piece to camera for a video they’re shooting about the band. I wait for former Kerrang! journalist Phil Wilding to finish his piece and then step up to the camera and get asked what I think of the band and I honestly tell them I can’t possibly say as I’ve only recently heard of them, never mind the music they make, but I sing Willie’s praises, tell the story of the jingles and when asked what’s the most important thing about live music, I rise to my full height, pull my shoulders back, raise one eyebrow, look directly into the camera and say “Live music”. Thank you, good night and I’m off to watch the gig.
Downstairs there’s a very good turn out including some faces that I’ve not seen in years. Mr G is in the house along with Tank’s Cliff and journalist Mr Dave Ling.
I’d emailed Mr G earlier in the day telling him that I was going tonight but that I didn’t think it would be quite his cup of tea, and how fooooookin’ right I was as I see him and Cliff shiftily heading to the exit around the third song in.
The gig is very good and stops me thinking about the night of a thousand evictions, and songs like ‘Anyway’, so beautifully Beatles it deserves to sit proudly on any of their early albums, ‘King Of Misery’, ‘Bipolar Diversions’ and ‘Sooma’ with it’s brilliant chorus of;
‘And the sun shines out of my arse, it’s incredible,
all this vision in one individual,
I’m giving it away it’s a kind of synergy,
take what you will cos it won’t mean a thing to me’
Brings a smile to an old broken man's face and a twitching in his one good leg.
After the gig and several pints of wifebeater I stumble into the dressing room and find Willie in a state of undress but there’s nothing better than rubbing oily, sweaty chests with rock stars. However because of my state of mind I tell Willie that I’d probably not be good company and let's get together next time that he’s in the country.
On my way home I stop in at the Intrepid and have no idea what I drank. Get bus home, take Milly out, smoke and miraculously retire uninjured!
Wednesday, 20th January
Wake up at 7.30 and I’m not foooookin’ happy. In fact I’m a long, long way from happy, in a town named Misery.
I know that this will be the day I break from my abstinence of hooch and sweet mary jane... again!
I drag myself out of bed and go through the usual routine of preparing for the day of eternal doom that lies ahead.
I head out doors with Milly in the hope that the cold wind will soothe my furrowed brow. It does, but only until Mental decides to do one of her morning disappearing acts into the bushes seeking prey for her breakfast that she will never catch. Eventually she reappears but still insists on doing a few circuits of her greyhound impression, even though she has legs the size of peanuts, around the grass in front of me before she finally returns and lets me harness her and head to Joe’s.
Back indoors I breakfast, read the paper and wonder why, then I head on down to the studio and write yesterday’s diary, then go into a catatonic meditation about Terror Tower.
I remember how I got the flat. I’d been reliably informed by a good friend in the know that the GLC (Greater London Council) had placed adverts in the local newspapers announcing that they had 100 flats that were not suitable for the old or people with young children. They were going to hand them out on a first come, first served basis. The papers however weren’t going to be on sale until the morning after the day I was told. This was one of those opportunities not to be missed.
When I got to the address of the office that was dealing with the matter at four the next morning I was astonished to find that there were already a good sixty people already there, I took my place in the queue and waited until the office opened at nine.
As I was one of the first 100 I ended up getting a two bedroom flat on the 15th floor of a tower block in Rotherhithe. I was given the rent book and keys there and then and told to go forth and multiply. I did!
I moved in February 1977, the rent was £11.22 per week and it was paradise. My parents and my girlfriend’s parents helped me furnish it and provided the accoutrements necessary for high rise living. This was it my first ever flat on my own. No more sharing a kitchen, toilet and bathroom, I was now truly independent. I felt on top of the world and had a view to prove it!
I decide to get all the photographs that I’ve taken over the years of living here out of the drawer they’re kept in and start to look through them trying to find pictures that I took of views from my living room and bedroom windows back in 1977. As I search for them looking through packet after packet of photos, so many memories flood through my mind, wooing a thousand women, fucking a thousand whores, living with many girlfriends, breaking up with many girlfriends, experimenting with every drug under the sun, drinking an ocean of alcohol, all my dogs, designing anything of worth, partying till dawn and then some more, entertaining many a rock star, broadcasting pirate Radio London from, hanging from the window ledge in protest at one of my girlfriend's incessant naggings and where for the next 33 years I would make my home. I pull myself out from my deep meditative trance, let out a big sigh and realise that shortly it will be no more.
Oh the memories, the memories, and now the horror, the horror. I am now truly at the seventh level of melancholia. I take some pictures of the same views now, so that I can put them with my diary.
This was the view from the front window, 1977.
This is the view now.
This was the view from the studio window, 1977.
This is the view now.
I’m down and I harness Milly, head to Joe’s and buy a bottle of his cheapest red wine and prepare to do battle with my demons.
On my return I decide to cook a chilli bolognaise in an attempt to stop me just necking the wine. As I cook I sip from the bottle, occasionally throwing a slug into the casserole dish I’m cooking in and when the ingredients have been chopped, mixed cooked and thoroughly stirred I leave it to simmer and make my way to the studio to play poker in an attempt to stop the thoughts of moving house that are forever bouncing around inside my brain. I take the bottle with me.
By 5 o’clock the bottle is empty. I head to Joe’s for another, purchase it and on my way home bump into a herb preacher. I ask him if he has any wares to sell. He has and I get a bag on tick, promising to pay him tomorrow.
Back in the flat, I take the cork out of the wine, roll a fat one and prepare to return to Stonedsville. I’d been away, but now I was back!
I of course get the munchies and eat my freshly cooked chilli bolognaise. Smoking dope doesn’t lead to taking harder drugs - it always leads to the kitchen. Haaaaaarggghhh!!!
By 8 o’clock I’m as stoned as a blueberry and intoxicated with alcoholic liquor to the point of impairment of physical and mental faculties and I’m still not happy.
I watch ‘Meet The Fockers’ followed by ‘Pulp Fiction’ and spend a few hours forgetting my woes. At 12.30 I take Milly for her last of the day’s visits to the outside world.
I lay my head on my pillow, curl into a foetal position and think of death.
Tuesday, 19th January
I can’t believe it when I awake at 2 in the morning. It’s the foooookin’ curse and worry of having to be re-housed once again playing on my mind and affecting my mercilessly needed sleeping patterns. Damn you to Hell Southwark Council!!! You’ll pay for this!!!
I play the DS for 40 minutes and get nowhere still trying to kill that fooookin’ wailing Siren in Misty Bloom Cave. Eventually start to feel tired and put the DS away and manage to drift back in the land of dreams.
It’s another epic dream, and again involving my long lost Herefordshire Art School friend Dave Poole who buys a lottery ticket and wins a chance to take part in a ride from Hell. That’s part helter skelter, part endurance course which if he succeeds in getting to the end of will win a million spondoolies.
I join him to watch his attempt, and when we get to the top of the ride I nick the ticket out of his hand and jump onto the helter skelter thingy that begins the ride, followed by Dave who’s screaming waves of abuse at me. When we get to the bottom we have to face some sort of robotic obstruction. Dave goes left off it and I go right and we both make it past but leave via different exits.
I triumphantly give the ticket to the lady outside and she bollocks me severely for stealing it and tells me I have to go to the other exit and return it to Dave. By now a gang of our friends have joined us and as Dave’s ticket is reluctantly returned and verified and his hell ride confirmed as successful, he tells me that he’s going to share his winnings with all of us apart from two people in the group that he doesn’t like.
Believing all my money problems are over I leap with happy, happy, joy, joy, into the air, kicking my heels and awake having half fallen out of my bed. My joy turns to despair when I realise that I’m still financially in the shite and I’m going to be thrown out of my flat. Doh! Doh! And triple doh!!!!
I’m immediately consumed with the desire to go and get a bottle of Vodka from Joe’s and drink the bastard for breakfast, but after my morning ablutions and a few good lungs of fresh air whilst walking Milly Moo in the park I put the evil thought to the back of my head and only purchase my morning paper.
After feeding Milly, myself and reading the paper I watch former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon the Loon giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War, and what a sorry fooookin tale of bad budget decisions and downright stupid decisions it is. One of the most disturbing things that comes to light is that PM Blair Witch’s reason to delay orders for more body armour was because he wanted to “avoid the visibility of preparations for war”. What a twatchicken! I can’t wait to hear his evidence in the not too distant future.
The rest of the day is spent very lazily and the only other thing of any importance or interest to report is that in the evening I won $500,000 of play money in a poker shootout that also enters me into a chance to win five days in Las Vegas. And on a completely different poker site I won a place in this Saturday's final to play for $2,000 REAL money. Woooohoooo!!!
Monday, 18th January
The alarm on my mobile goes of at 7 and the refrains of Bob Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35’ awake me. I force myself out of bed with the songs chorus of ‘Everybody must get stoned’ ringing around my head and make it into the bathroom. Once cleansed and refreshed I harness the beast and head on down to the Blue to withdraw some cash so I can feed my Oyster card and get to Norbiton and back.
When I get back to the flat and I’m noshing on a bacon roll I have a look at what I’ve planned for the radio show and decide that it’s just not good enough and go about redoing the whole thing, which takes me until just before 10, when I chuck everything into my shoulder bag and head off out.
I have to call at Olde John’s on the way to the bus stop as he wants me to get some money out of his Post Office account. When I get there he gives me his card, pin number and asks if I could also get him some Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, then I leg it to the bus stop, get the number 1 to Waterloo where I’m just in time to catch the 10.42 to Norbiton.
Arrive at the studio just gone 11 but Paul’s not there. I call him and he says he’s on his way. Once he’s arrived it’s straight into the studio and I start to record the show. Fifteen minutes in and I’m not happy, so I start again, but after a few minutes I’m still not happy and start a third attempt, which goes well.
At 2 o’clock I’m heading back to Norbiton station and after getting Olde John’s money and drugs and delivering them to him, I’m back indoors around 3.15, but have to immediately return outside to exercise Milly Mental.
Once back indoors I have a few games of poker and try to catch up on the diary, but that foookin’ re-housing bollocks is playing tricks with my mind and I give up. To be honest the worry of having to move out of Terror Tower is making me want to drink alcohol as I know that it will calm my furrowed brow. I fight the urge to go down to Joe’s and purchase a bottle of Vodka, and settle for the vodka free Bloody Mary instead.
After trying to find something of worth to watch on TV I give up, take Milly out again and go to bed and read another few chapters of ‘The Boils’.
Sunday, 17th January
God damn it! I awake at 7.30, not because I need to piss, not because I’ve had disturbing dreams, not because the dog’s farting in my face, but because I just fooooookin’ do!
And once awake I’m buzzing like a Jessica Rabbit vibrator, but as it’s not worth arising until at least 8 as Joe doesn’t open up until then, I try to spend time playing that damnable Nintendo DS game Rune Factory where I’m trying to kill the Boss Enemy, a Siren located in Misty Bloom Cave, so I can get the pass to enter the Kasimir Ruins. Die Siren, die!!!
Just gone 8 and after countless attempts to kill the fooookinvincible Siren I turn the DS off and get up thoroughly pissed off that I can’t master a bloody child’s game.
Today is more or less already planned out. After Milly’s hunting expedition and getting ‘The News Of The Screws from Joe’s I will breakfast on the sacred bacon roll, watch the news and then read the paper, however during the BBC weather forecast they mention the possibility of snow falling again on Wednesday, which is the day that I’m supposed to be recording my ‘Rock Animal’ radio show. After last week's travel horrors in snowy conditions I decide to call River Gibbs FM boss Paul and see if I can reschedule, we agree that I’ll come in tomorrow morning and nail the beast down, and as I’ve already got the whole show worked out, I think no more about it.
Then I will sit twiddling my thumbs until 2pm when The Masters snooker final begins and I’ll watch Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan and ‘The Jester from Leicester’ Mark Selby diligently battle it out until 4.45 when the first session ends. I will then partake in transcendentally meditating upon the meaning of life, whilst waiting for Lolly to call and inform me that Brookeus Magnificus has finished the second performance of her dance spectacular in Basildon and like the caring, dutiful parent that I am, I will drive to Pitsea, pick them up, return them to their flat in Bow and hastily fuck off back to Terror Tower to watch the snooker. Which I do.
Now at the end of the first session, ‘The Rocket’ was leading 5 games to 3, and when the second session began it didn’t take long before ‘The Jester’ was 9-6 down, and as it was the first to reach 10, I was planning on getting an early night. Sadly it wasn’t to be as Selby found his form and won four frames in a row and beat the world ranking No 1 to take the £150,000 prize money and the game’s biggest scalp.
Watching this quite unexpected defeat in the audience were Rolling Stone and philanderer extraordinaire Ronnie Wood, fellow Goldsmith’s artist Damien Hurst and Anthony Genn, the singer from The Hours, whose song ‘Rumble In The Jungle’ was ‘The Rockets’ walk on music.
At just gone midnight I was in the pit attempting to sleep, but sadly the woes of my imminent re-housing farce were darting menacingly around my skull and it took a good hour before I eventually nodded off.
Saturday, 16th January
Awake during the pissing hour and go for one. On my return to the pit I look out of the bedroom window and I’m absolutely positive that it’s snowed again. I cartwheel back into bed and gladly don’t take forever to return to dreamland.
And oh, what mad, mad dreams that involve me wearing some crazy looking science fiction headwear that makes me appear very similar to Frankenstein’s monster. I’m wearing it to help in my battle fighting large transforming aliens in a barn.
After a victorious battle I go to sleep outside the barn (dreaming of being asleep and having dreams within dreams is just downright weird beyond weird) only to be woken by intruders who turn out to be government officials who’ve come to fight the aliens, I tell them they’re too late and that I can’t stay as I’m late for a meeting.
I jump into a car driven by Ma Krusher and we head off to wherever it is I’m supposed to be, apparently somewhere that we have to get to via an incredibly long and high swaying suspension bridge which provides a view of a town, which from a distance seems to have the most amazing architecture involving futuristic skyscrapers and monumentally large sculptures of what look like Viking warriors.
When we get into the town itself we pass a magnificent church on a roundabout which seems to be a cross between Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral in Barcelona and the Gothic majesty of St Pancras station but from the signs and displays it has hanging from it’s décor it would appear that it has been converted into The Clarion Theatre. Ma Krusher screeches on the brakes and starts to reverse into it at a rate of speed and recklessness that makes me wake up with a start.
I arise, dress and look out of the bedroom window and see that it hasn’t snowed.
Go through the usual early morning routine and get Milly Mental into the park where she decides to attack a flock of Canadian geese that are minding their own business, quietly pecking at the grass on the football pitches. She thunders in like a greyhound out of a trap and they turn away from her, start waddling their arses, run and take off heading to the duck pond, squawking and hollering like disgruntled Canadian geese do.
Get to Joe’s and buy my paper, some Cheerios and milk and return to Terror Tower.
After breakfast and a quick browse through The Scum, I head down to the studio, finish yesterday’s diary and get it off to Mr G.
Then it’s bath time, another one of those long soaks in masses of bubbles, where I play my DS whilst turning into a tinned prune and wonder how the hell children are supposed to master this bastard game I’m playing when even I, a fully grown, intelligent... cough, adult can’t.
Once out and dressed it’s off to Pitsea to hook up with Lolly and her family at her Uncle Ed’s and Aunty Debby’s house prior to the evening’s performance.
It’s a full house with aunts, uncles, sons and daughters all gathered. Lolly’s uncle Dave makes me a nice cup of tea and I nick Lolly’s place on the already full couch.
The ladies are sat around the dining table chin wagging, putting on their war paint and sinking vodka and cokes. Lolly’s Uncle Ed is watching some TV show about house designs, Noel, Lolly’s brother is determined to see how many bottles of Carlsberg Export he can drink in forty five minutes, Dave is having to entertain Milly and young Lisa, Lolly’s Aunt, Debby’s and Uncle Ed’s daughter and I watch thoroughly entertained by the whole shenanigans! Haaaaargh!!
Once Lolly’s other brother Richard has turned up after playing football, had a shower and got himself ready we head off en-masse to The Towngate Theatre, Basildon to watch the 20th Anniversary Musical Spectacular presented by the Kerry Jane Academy of Dance.
We take our seats in the dress circle, but not before Noel’s managed to sink a quick pint at the bar and the show starts just gone 6.30. There’s a short interval after Act 1 which lasts two hours and then Act 2 lasts until just before 10.45. It’s what you call a fooooookin’ EPIC!!!!! And as they overran their allotted time slot the Michael Jackson Medley has to be cut short.
But it fair brings a tear to me good eye to see number one daughter Brookeus Magnificus performing in excerpts from ‘Hairspray’, Lion King’ dressed as a zebra, ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Cats’ and the finale of Michael Jackson’s (the only man who thought Boyz II Men was a home delivery service) ‘Thriller’. I am indeed very, very proud of her.
The only thing about Brooke that worries me these days is her changing taste in music as she gets older. Nowadays it’s all that R&B (when I was a youngster and before the term was hijacked, R&B was a whole different ballgame) bollocks, but I remember that when she was six you could put on any Pantera album and she’d sing along, knowing all the lyrics, and because of her age leaving out any vulgarities that spewed from Philip H. Anselmo’s mouth.
After the show we collect Brooke from the stage door and I take her, Lolly and Debby back to the house, where I pick up Milly and head on back to London in the most miserable weather conditions. It’s pissing down but thankfully the road is fairly clear of traffic and I’m back in Terror Tower shortly after midnight.
I’m tired, but I can’t get to sleep so I play a few hands of poker and end up winning just over $100,000. Sadly, completely useless as far as the real world is concerned.
Have another go at sleeping and this time I’m successful.
Friday, 15th January
Come out of my alcohol induced coma at ten in the morning and my mouth is as dry as Barbara Cartland’s pink velvet sausage wallet and feels like a skunk has spent the night in it and died!
If alcohol is supposed to kill millions of brain cells, how come it never killed the ones that make me want to drink!
I believe it was olde Billy Shakespeare who wrote ‘O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! That we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!’ Too foookin’ right Billy boy!
As I lie there reflecting on all the alcohol that I drank last night, I feel ashamed, but remember how American humorist Jack Handey used to handle this feeling.
“I think about the employees in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I hadn't drank that alcohol, they might be out of a job, their dreams shattered, and I say to myself, it is better that I drank that alcohol and let their dreams come true than being selfish and worrying about my liver”.
Now I don’t feel so bad, that is until I try to move and the sound of the duvet rubbing against my skin hits me like the ‘black wind’ summoned by Manowar at their gigs!!! And when Milly jumps off the bed and lands on the carpet, it sounds like heavy metal thunder exploding in my brain!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!! IT’S GOING TO BE A BAD DAY!!!!!
I manage to dress, do my ablutions and when I enter the kitchen I find the remains of sweet and sour king prawn balls and boiled rice on the table. Obviously I visited the local Chinese takeaway after getting off the bus last night.
Now in times gone by, part of the recovery system of a stinking, foul hangover would be to eat anything available that doesn’t need cooking and wash it down with any leftover alcohol but in this instance I just eat the cold king prawn balls and then get Milly Mental into the park, where I let her off the lead and find a nice bench to sit on and digest breakfast whilst she goes about her hunting expedition.
I sit taking in deep breaths of fresh air, hoping that the oxygen will help clear my throbbing, fuzzy head. It doesn’t. I watch joggers jogging, young mums pushing their baby trolleys and old people walking their dogs and envy their seemingly good health and spirit. Milly returns and I drag myself upwards and onwards and we head to Joe’s.
Buy a paper, a packet of Nurofen Extra - because they target pain fast - and meet up with Olde John, Milly’s former owner who is in the shop getting some basic supplies. It’s good to see him getting out of his flat, even if it isn’t very far. He asks me if I could do him a favour and pop down to Icelands in the Blue to get mincemeat, cans of mixed vegetables and a couple of packets of Dairylea cheese triangles. I tell him about last night's overindulgence and ask him to give me a couple of hours to pull myself together and let the Nurofen start to take effect and then I’ll make my way to the Blue.
Get back to the flat, feed Milly, take a couple of Nurofen, lie myself gently down on the sofa and instantly return to sleep mode.
Wake at 1.30, the Nurofen seem to have done fooook all and I force myself and my still throbbing head off the sofa and down to the Blue to get Olde John’s shopping requirements. Manage to crawl into the Co-op as well and purchase some provisions for myself. Head back to Olde John’s very slowly - as every step is still making me nauseous - and drop his supplies off.
He’s also received a copy of the council letter that was shoved through my letter box last night and we have a brief discussion about the fascists plans to get us out of Terror Tower. Although Olde John doesn’t live in the block, he’s disgusted by what’s happening and is worried about what will happen to his block which is right next to mine.
Once back indoors I try to watch the snooker, but fall asleep. When I awake it’s dark.
I call my girlfriend Lolly, to let her know that I’ve fallen off the wagon. She says she expected nothing less. I also to tell her that I will definitely come and see number one daughter Brookeus Magnificus perform in her dance schools 20th anniversary musical spectacular at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon on Saturday night.
I then force myself down into the studio and write Thursday’s diary and make a start on today's, but after an hour or so the noise of my fingers hitting the keys on the keyboard are too much to bear and I have to give up for the day.
I take Milly out for her final ablutions, get back indoors and retire to bed, disgusted with myself.
I’m now officially back on the wagon.
Thursday, 14th January
Wake at eight and realise that I’ve now gone fifteen days without a drink, almost half way through my month of abstinence. Feel guilty about having had a smoke yesterday, but have already made my mind up that there will be no more smoking for the rest of the month, and going by last night's reaction quite possibly for even longer. We’ll see.
Sadly I have no dreams worth reporting.
I remember that I have a 12.30 appointment with my dental hygienist Mayra Crean, or as I like to call her Mayteethra Clean, which will involve the best part of thirty minutes torture as she drills, probes, pulls, scrapes and polishes my teeth, all of which I’ll have to pay £35 for.
During my morning ablutions I make sure that I give them a good clean, and rinse with some demonic antiseptic mouthwash ready for Ms Crean’s services. Once done, I harness up Milly and head off to the park.
The only snow that remains is that of the snowmen that the kids have made. Milly does one of her disappearing acts into the bushes and I have to wait until she’s got whatever it is out of her system and she finally re-emerges from the undergrowth and we can carry onto Joe’s for my paper.
Have a lazy morning reading the paper and watching the news, both of which are pretty heavy going as they’re obviously dominated by the earthquake in Haiti and the horrors that people are now having to further endure. I should be catching up on my diary, but for the first time this month I feel a lack of motivation, I wonder if it’s anything to do with me smoking a bit of the olde Kate Bush yesterday.
Take Milly for another run at lunchtime and return to watch the opening quarter-final match of The Masters between Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ O’Sullivan and Peter ‘The Tortoise’ Ebdon. By the time Ronnie has raced into a 4-0 lead and it looks like it’s going to be a whitewash of a match I decide to make a start on the diary and head on down to the studio.
When I return upstairs some time later, it would appear that Ebdon has fought back as the score’s now 4-3, I take a seat to watch the frame that’s just started and Ronnie rattles in a break of 106 to seal victory and a place in the semi-finals.
I must admit that I have great admiration for Ronnie O’Sullivan, and truly believe that he’s a genius and the best player that the game has at this point in time, I mean any man who can play as good as he can with either his left or right hand has got a gift of extraordinary proportions. One day I intend to do a work of art featuring the great man.
At 5.30 the phone rings and it’s Tom from Magna Saga who’s popping round with finished copies of the band’s ‘The Fox’ E.P. which I’m really looking forward to seeing as it’s the first cover that I’ve done since Pain Control’s ‘Subvert’ CD back in 2005. I harness Milly and head on down to meet Tom as he makes his way to Terror Tower from Bermondsey tube station.
Once back indoors he gives me a handful of CD’s and I must admit that I’m well pleased with the final item, but what really blows me away are the five tracks that make up the actual E.P. Each and every one is a foooookin’ corker.
We also listen to the 1994 self titled Kyuss album, and I tell Tom about Roadsaw playing the whole thing at Orange Goblin’s ‘Very Heavy Christmas Party’ at the Scala last December, and doing an incredibly impressive job.
As we sit listening to Kyuss a letter from Southwark Council is put through my letter box announcing that;
...‘at the Council’s Executive Meeting on 9th February 2010, it is proposed to recommend that councillors agree to the re-housing of tenants and acquisition of leasehold properties in Maydew House’.
There will be a meeting on the 21st of January where three options will be discussed, they are;
Re-house residents and carry-out a refurbishment of the block to Southwark’s decent homes standard and other works as required, specifically strategic safety works.
Re-house tenants and market for sale Maydew House, so that it can be refurbished by a potential commercial developer for 100% private homes: bringing in a substantial receipt to the authority.
Demolish Maydew House and redevelop the site. This is not being considered due to the cost of demolition and number of homes that could be built on the site.
It then continues;
Surveys have shown all options will require residents to move out. For option one this would be for at least one year.
And then in bold lettering:
The proposed recommendation to the Council’s Executive is that the block should be decanted and marketed for sale.
The fucking bastards have already made their minds up before we even have a say in the matter and are planning on lining their pockets. The whole thing brings me down big time. Fortunately I’ve been invited to a private view of comic book artist Arthur Ranson at Orbital Comics and also to Cliff Evans from Tank’s birthday shinding afterwards. I ask Tom if he’d like to join me and he agrees to come.
We head off to the bus stop for the number 1 bus and pop into The Intrepid Fox for a quick pint for Tom and a mineral water for myself, before heading on down Charing Cross Road to Orbital. I must admit that whilst we are in the Intrepid that I have my first serious desire to drink alcohol, which I honestly believe is because of that shitty letter from the council. However I fight the temptation to have an Absinthe and lager chaser and make it out of the pub still clean.
The exhibition of Arthur Ranson’s work is stunning and Tom takes particular delight in a double page spread from 2000 AD’s Judge Anderson strip, which I too must admit is top class. In fact it would make a really great album sleeve, and I suggest to Tom that he has a word with Arthur Ranson, who is in attendance, to see how much he’d want for it.
However before we have a chance to do it, I break and tell Tom that I really want to have one of the free Stella’s that are on offer. I decide to let a toss of a coin decide, heads I drink, tails I don’t. Tom takes a penny out of his coat pocket, spins it and fooook me its heads. Stella baby here I come. Before we leave Tom buys a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an update of the classic Regency romance, but now with ultraviolent Zombie mayhem, which he intends to swap with his mum’s copy. Haaaaaargh!!!!
Three bottles later, we head off to the Carlisle pub in Soho to meet up with Mr G and Cliff. On our arrival I inform Mr G that I too have fallen off the wagon and he gets me a pint of Stella to celebrate. I wish Cliff a happy birthday and introduce him to Tom. Tony Newton, the bass plyer from Voodoo Six is also there as well as former Tygers Of Pan Tang vocalist Jess Cox. All in all a damn fine gathering.
Three pints later and when conversation has turned to starting a facebook campaign to get me into Celebrity Big Brother, I decide that it’s time for me to make my way home, whilst I still can. I say my goodbyes and head towards the bus stop, but as I have to pass the Intrepid Fox, I decide to pop in for that Absinthe and lager chaser that I’d lusted after earlier in the evening. One turns into three and somehow I manage to get the bus home without causing myself an injury, something that over the years I’ve been very prone too. Head injuries are usually my injury of choice.
This picture is of my bath water after incurring a head injury after the GLR twentieth anniversary reunion party, where I’m sure some bastard Mickey finned me with a date drug that made the use off my legs more or less non existent and within a hundred yards of trying to make my way to Baker Street tube station at the end of the night, I found myself lying on my back, with a small pool of blood forming on the pavement at the back of my head.
I lay there, unable to move for a good fifteen minutes as the general public walked past me offering no help whatsoever. Thankfully three people from the reunion eventually came past and helped me to my feet and wanted to take me to hospital, which I refused, saying if they could get me in a cab I’d be OK, and they did.
When I got home I once again fell onto the back of my head as I tried to put the key into the door on my landing, again spending some time unable to move. All in all a pretty horrendous night!
However NO injuries tonight, and after taking Milly out and staggering around the streets I returned home where in an alcoholic haze I passed out peacefully into the pit.
Wednesday, 13th January
Wake at 6.30 - no dreams worth reporting. Get up to take a piss and although it’s still dark outside I look through the window and see that it’s snowed and by the look of it it seems to be quite a significant downfall. I think to myself that there was no indication of snow in last night’s weather forecast, well apart from in Devon and Cornwall. I return to bed and play ‘Rune Factory’ on my DS, get bored after about fifteen minutes and I get up, do my ablutions and take Milly Mental out.
The snow is impressive, a good one to two inches. Milly is on full alert as there’s a fox wailing somewhere close, I suddenly see it casually strolling through the car park across the road. Thankfully there’s a small wall that stops Milly seeing it. If she had she would have gone foooookin’ mental.
I remember last year when I took her out in the early hours of the morning and there was a fox walking past which she saw. She didn’t bark like any normal dog would do, oh no, she started screaming like a banshee. The cheeky fox sussed that she was on a lead and decided to further torment her by sitting between two cars. Milly’s screams of annoyance went up several decibels and I hastily lead her in the opposite direction before somebody called the police telling them that someone was murdering a dog.
As it’s only just gone seven Joe’s isn’t open so I head back without a paper and prepare breakfast for the two of us. I watch the news whilst chomping on my bacon roll and see that an earthquake has hit the West’s poorest nation Haiti, flattening its capital Port-au-Prince. It looks bad.
After I finish my bacon roll I make headway preparing my radio show that I’ll be recording later in the day. I wonder if I’ll have problems getting to Norbiton, but decide I’ll only find out once I actually try to get there, which I do just before 11. I have no problem getting a number 1 bus to Waterloo, but once I’ve got my return train ticket I have to wait the best part of an hour before a train going my way finally leaves.
When I get to the Peel, Paul, River Gibbs FM boss, is waiting for me, ready to do the technical side of the recording. Sadly however he’s got a problem with the Cool Edit Pro program that he uses to record the show and after about thirty minutes it becomes obvious that we won’t be recording the show today.
I feel so sorry for Paul as he’s shitting himself worrying that Mr G will give him one almighty bollocking, but I tell him to relax as its nobody's fault. It’s just something that nobody could have foreseen happening, a bit of a pain in the arse, but these things happen.
We finally decide that we’ll leave recording the show until next Wednesday and I head on back to Norbiton station, and again have to wait forever for a train that’s not been cancelled. When I finally get back to Waterloo I catch a 188 bus to Canada Water and pop into Tesco’s for a few ingredients for the Chilli con Carne that I will be preparing for myself and Mr G who is coming over this evening to be wined and dined before we head out to the West End to meet up with Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest and Road Trip Ibiza boss John Davis, his partner Neil and old friend and Clive Aid organiser Sam Hill.
When I get back to Terror Tower I take Milly Mental out for a run, get my paper from Joe’s and head back to the flat where I make myself a tea and browse through ‘The Scum’. Then it’s time to put my chef’s hat on and prepare tonight’s meal. Part of the cooking process requires a few slugs of red wine which I chuck in, but have no intention of drinking. I’ll leave that to bad boy Mr G as he’s now back on the moonshine.
Mr G arrives whilst I’m still cooking, so he heads on down to the studio to check on Metal Talk, then returns upstairs and starts rolling a big, fat joint. My steel resolve breaks and I help him smoke the beast, and rather nice it is too.
After we’ve eaten we still have a few hours to kill before heading out, so we watch both episodes of the Dr Who Christmas special. During part one Mr G rolls another fat one and again I help him smoke it, but this time the effect isn’t so pleasant. In fact I feel very close to a whitey and just about manage to stop myself throwing up. Dr Who hurtling through space in some crazy spaceship didn’t help matters.
After taking Milly out for a quick squat and a piss we head off to the bus stop and catch the number 1 bus, and what a magnificent bus it is too, especially as its final stop is just outside the Intrepid Fox public house which is were we are meeting up with John and the boys.
We get there just gone 10 and Sonia from SLW Promotions is propping up the bar drinking her non alcoholic Coca Cola. Mr G orders a large Jack and Coke for himself and a sparkling mineral water for me and as we sit shouting at each other above the gloriously loud rock that’s pumping out of the speaker above our heads, the barman rings the bell and asks for last orders.
I look at my watch and I’m astonished to see that its only just gone quarter past ten. What the foooks going on? Mr G gets another round in and when the barman rings the final bell at 10.30 we’re still waiting for John and the gang to turn up. Mr G calls them to see where they are. Thankfully they’re only round the corner and as we leave they turn up.
A decision is made to head of to Garlic and shots, where we head into the basement for drinks, I actually can’t be arsed having one as there’s only so much water you can drink. As the music is magnificently loud and we want to talk business, we head upstairs to the beer garden at the back. We’re joined by the guys from Four Wheel Drive and Jamie tells me he’s reading Ozzy’s new biography, so I tell him and the band a few tales from the US Ozzfests that I did in 1999 and 2000.
Eventually John and Neil have to leave as they’ve got a 6.30 start in the morning, and not long after they’ve gone it’s closing time at Garlic’s and Four Wheel Drive head off into the night, whilst myself, Mr G, Sam and Sonia head over to the 12 Bar, which is the only place we can think of that’s worthy of our presence. The Crobar is a no go as both me and Mr G are barred, because we’re too rock ‘n’ roll for the fooookin’ shite hole!
I hang around talking till about quarter past one and then decide to head on out and catch the half past one N1 bus back home, which I do.
Take Milly out and then I head for the pit as I’m feeling quite tired.
All in all a very busy day.
Tuesday, 12th January
Wake at nine after a night of some mad, mad dreams, which sadly I remember little of apart from being on a tour bus with some crazy driver who was trying to drive the damned thing up an absolutely insane incline that made me feel as though the bus would topple back over on itself. Also one that involved some delivery driver dressed in some outlandish, blue uniform with a peaked cap who was delivering vinyl albums and when I started talking to him he turned into Dick Van Dyke and starts singing ‘Chim Chim Cheree’ from Mary Poppins. Mad, I tell you, totally MAD!!!!
When I’m out with Milly Mental, I notice that the snow and ice are really on their way out, and it seems that London is transcending back to a more normal state of being. I get my paper from Joe’s, head on back to Terror Tower and its breakfasts all round.
Ronnie Wood’s back on the front page of ‘The Scum’, apparently shagging some new Russian babe, aged 26. You know, if you want to be a member of The Rolling Stones, it’s compulsory that you attend the birth of at least one of your girlfriends! Haaaaaaaaarrrgh!!!!
The paper and the BBC news both have stories on Chris Evans taking over Terry Wogan’s Radio Poo slot. When I worked for the BBC at Greater London Radio, way back at the end of the ’80s, Chris was my first producer, and what a top man he was then. He used to watch over me for the first ten minutes of the show and then tell me if there were any problems I could find him in the pub opposite the building we were broadcasting from. Thanks to my very high standard of professionalism... cough, there were never any problems. They would come some time later when he was no longer my producer!
Anyway in October, 2008, I was invited to the twentieth anniversary of the station, even though the station stopped functioning as GLR quite some years ago, and lo and behold Mr Evans is in attendance, with his chauffeur driven Bentley on standby outside the pub. I got about a measly two minutes of disinterested conversation out of him and sadly, he was definitely not the guy that I had so much time for twenty years ago.
The only other story of interest is on the ‘bizarre’ entertainment pages, and is about the NEW Jimi Hendrix album, ‘Valleys Of Neptune, which has 12 tracks of unreleased music, most of which was recorded over four months in 1969. The title track is being released as a single on February 2nd and the album is out March 8th. Can’t fooooookin’ wait to hear it.
After reading the paper I decide to call Mr G and see why he was AWOL yesterday and as I expected, because he is young and doesn’t have the self control of an elder like myself, he fell off the wagon. And from what he tells me he didn’t just fall off it, he took a chainsaw to the bloody thing as well. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour, for which I’m glad to say he’s suffering from, but I have to give him credit, twelve days without a drop of moonshine or a ciggy is pretty good going. I arrange to meet him later in the afternoon with some herbal medication to help put him back on his feet.
Then it’s down to the studio, write yesterday's diary and play a few hands of poker.
Before going to Mr G’s I decide to take Milly for a walk down to the River Rats Gentleman’s Club, where Streaky, Bob and Tony are sinking cans of brain damage. After a brief catch up I carry on to Mr G’s and find him looking in fairly good condition, considering his 48 hour bender. I give him the bubonic chronic and he immediately sets about rolling a fat one. I decline to join him and after a short time I make my way back to Terror Tower via the olde docks and I’m amazed to see that the water is still frozen solid. I also see that the life buoys have been thrown onto the ice, probably the inquisitive little minds of the local yoof seeing if they could break through it. Bless their little cancerous socks.
Once indoors, not much to report really apart from doing some preparation for my radio show that I’ll be recording tomorrow, once that’s done shortly before midnight it’s off to bed... Monday, 11th January
Wake up at just gone two in the morning. I was having some really weird dream in which I was passing a housing complex and I could see through one of the windows that there was an old lady lying on a couch who looked like she was in serious distress. By the time that I’d got into the house the old lady had become a cat that was lying on it’s back on the couch and appeared to be dead, but when I touched it it leapt into life, the shock of which woke me up.
I go for a piss, return to the pit and try to get back to sleep. By three o’clock I can tell that its not going to happen, so I get up, make myself a nice cup of tea and write yesterday's diary. When I finish I decide to check out what I’d written about Saturday, and decide that I want to make some serious changes, and write an alternative ending, which I go about doing.
Once finished it’s almost five, and I make myself another cup of tea to help wash down the bowl of Cheerios, banana and grapes that I have as an early breakfast.
I watch the news as I eat and Milly appears from the pit and gives me a look that says, “What the fuck are you doing up at this time in the morning?” I wonder myself, but as I’m damned sure that I won’t be going back to sleep I head on back down to the studio and start checking a few things on Google that I’d been meaning to do the last couple of days.
I then remember that Mr G has sent me a word document from Neil Daniels, the guy who put the book ‘All Pens Blazing’ together. It came out last year and is a collection of memories, anecdotes and opinions of some of the finest rock journalists alive today.
I decide to take a look at it, and try and make a start on answering the many questions.
When I get up to the one asking when I stopped working for Kerrang! I tell of how on the morning of the 21st of May 1992, almost as soon as I’d finished designing issue 394, Managing Editor, Geoff Barton invited me to join him at the office's local pub ‘The Old Coffee House’.
As it had only just gone eleven in the morning I thought it was a splendid idea and off we went. On our arrival he bought me a pint, and no sooner had I sat down and taken my first sip, he told me that my job position at Kerrang! was being advertised that week in various publications and that I shouldn’t bother applying for it.
To add insult to injury he informed that as I had no contract with them, something that I’d never thought necessary, they were under no obligation to give me any redundancy pay, but as a gesture of goodwill they were going to give me three months pay.
So, after nine years and 359 issues I went back to the office, packed my bag and headed off to the Astoria, where I was on MC and DJ duties for what I believe was the first ever European KISS convention being held there that afternoon. By the end of the day I was shattered, titanically pissed and had been offered the job of Art Director on Metal Hammer at almost twice the wages I was earning at Kerrapp!
Out of interest I thought I’d dig out that final issue and see what it looked like. On browsing through it several interesting things caught my eye.
Firstly, the cover, which incorporated a picture of Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi, to go with the feature inside about their new album ‘Dehumanizer’ and the return of Ronnie James Dio. Remarkably the first ever Kerrang! cover, (issue 35) I designed in February 1983 featured a picture of Tony Iommi accompanying a feature on Black Sabbath after Dio’s departure. Spooky.
The second thing - one of the letters on the ‘Kommunication’ pages, under the heading ‘IT’S A COVER UP!’, which to be totally honest I’d never read before as the letters pages were designed by sub editor Clare ‘Mrs Slowcome’ Dowse, was positively freaky, and I reproduce it here for you to read;
YOU COULDA slapped me down with one of Inger’s feathers! Last week I walked into me local noiseagent and teetered straight past me weekly fave Kerrang!
What’s happened, guys?
Kerrang! used to look different from all the rest – lately it looks like a regurgitation of Just Seventeen! I nearly missed it, between Bodybuilders Biceply and Draindiggers Daily. Gone are all the trademark spidery Krusher headlines – in their place boxes of boring Letraset. Aargh!
I hope it is not a coincidence that the infamous diddly ring appeared at the same time.
Could this be a bad taste jinx, Mr Krusher? Please rectify the situation, before I revert to scissors, sticky-back plastic and old copies to make recent issues more bearable.
Anonymous Inter-Kerrang! Sweaty Shirt Fan.
As I say I’d never read this letter before, in fact I don’t think that I’ve ever actually looked inside this issue as it held so many bad memories for me. But now I read that letter, I’m almost positively sure that it was actually written by members of the staff.
You see Kerrang! had had a new editor for a short while, some woman called Robyn Doreian, who had been imported from Australia, and because she’d studied design somewhere, probably Woolloomooloo School of Art, instead of getting on with what she’d been employed to do, she stuck her unwelcome design ideas into the equation as well, and quite a few people at Kerrang! had noticed and didn’t like what they saw. So as I say I’m almost positive that this was a staff protest. By the way I have no idea what the ‘infamous diddly ring’ was.
The third thing that actually brought a smile to me olde face was a piece in ‘VIEW FROM THE BAR, the HM gossip kolumn with more street than a gutter lined with copies of The Frothing Whippet’, again I reproduce it for your delectation;
YOU GOTTA admire grunge-rockers Ruptured Dog’s bravery/stupidity by throwin’ caution to the hurricane an’ lettin’ that deliriously dribblin’ old fool Krusher join ’em on stage at their reshent Marquee massacre for a howlin’ mad shit-faced rendition of the Stooges classic ‘Now I Wanna Be Your Dog’.
Of course, Poison Idea howlin’ mad mountain Sir Jerry Of A was s’posed to be bucklin’ the boards too, but the official explanation for his absence thus far is that he was elseware ‘washing his socks’?!
As for Krusher, we-e-ell, a member of Ruptured Dog’s ‘personnel’ had painstakingly written out the lyrics of the song for Krush on a piece o’ board bigger than Jerry A’s arse, right? Only Krusher takes ‘is glasses off so ’e can ’ave a bit of an ’eadbang, dunnee? Forgettin’ that this leaves him so blind not only can he not see the lyrics – he can’t even see the boggin’ great board they’re written on!
Still, if you wanna describe what Krusher’s performance consisted of as improvisation… then the man is truly a master of the art!
HARGH! HARGH! HAAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!
Well, you’ve gotta laugh haven’t you? Trouble is I cannot for the life of me remember this happening!
Anyway it cheered me up and I continued on through the day feeling great amounts of happy, happy, joy, joy even if those miserable bastards at Kerrang! had ruined my life. The real villains of this dastardly act of removing me from the mag were in fact general manager, Dave ‘Kiss Of Death’ Henderson and EMAP Ubermeister/Managing Director Herr Tom ‘Adolph’ Maloney, quite possibly the two greatest arsechickens to ever walk this planet.
The rest of the day consisted of the usual outings with Milly, eating, watching even more truly shite British television and starting to think that Mr G had fallen off the wagon as he wasn’t returning any of my many calls. The day ended with me falling asleep on the sofa around 7.30 in the evening. Obviously rising at three in the morning had taken its toll.
Sunday, 10th January
Wake at 7.30 and it’s still dark outside, but as I know that I won’t be able to get back to sleep I haul myself out of the pit and prepare for a lazy Sunday. No dreams of importance to report.
I know that Mr G wants me to accompany him this evening to The Coach and Horses in Isleworth to watch the magnificent Four Wheel Drive but I can’t see it happening, especially as I’m off the sauce. I mean it’s obligatory to stand, pint in hand whilst watching a rock band. Isn’t it?
I take my time getting ready to go out with Milly, as the park gates don’t open until 8.
When I do get out, although it’s fooookin’ cold, I notice that the snow and ice is slowly starting to melt and I’m sure it won’t be too long until it turns into that horrible grey/brown slush.
The park is deserted, and as I make my way around it I think I can hear church bells pealing somewhere in the distance. I tell you, if I lived next to a church that was ringing its bells at 8.15 on a Sunday morning, I’d be well pissed off.
Get ‘The News of the Screws’ from Joe’s and by the front page story alone, I can tell it’s going to be a boring read. I wasn’t wrong.
After breakfast I get a call from Mr G informing me that Simon from Beholder is in the Metal Talk forum, and I scurry on down to the studio to take a butchers, say hello and put my two pennies worth in.
It must be said that Beholder were a revelation at last year's Hard Rock Hell III, and I’m determined to get them on my radio show later this year, the plan being for them to do a gig upstairs in The Peel, which we will record and then broadcast to the nation, along with an in depth interview with the band.
After my lunch time excursion outside with Milly, I decide it’s time for a lazy Sunday soak in the bath, doing foook all apart from shrivelling up like a tinned prune and trying to get my big toe stuck inside the cold tap. Defooooookinlightful.
Cleansed, I take on my diary duties. and then its feet up on the couch and watch the usual Sunday shite on the goggle box. I fall asleep and upon waking decide it’s time to cook. Today’s menu consists of a pork chop, with a medley of fried onion, crispy bacon, petits pois, potato mash, of course, covered with lashings of gravy, and all washed down with an alcohol free Bloody Mary.
Call it a day at 9.30, retire to the pit, read another couple of chapters from The Boils, which are cracking, as it’s now revealing all the sordid details of Charlie boy and Diana’s marriage breakdown. My opinion of Chas is greatly diminished when I read how he tells Di about the death of her beloved body guard Barry Mannakee, who had been assigned to protect her in 1985 but was transferred into the Diplomatic Unit after Charles found her in tears in her bedroom, pouring her heart out to the detective about Charle’s late night calls to Camilla Parker Bowles and his unexplained absences. Charlie was appalled by her lack of discretion.
Eight months after Mannakee was transferred from the Royal Protection Unit, a car smashed into his motorbike and he was killed. Apparently Charles was given the news immediately but he left it for twenty-four hours before telling Diana, and when he did they were on their way to the airport to fly to France for the Cannes Film Festival, moments before she was to get out of the car in front of photographers he turned to her.
“Oh by the way, I got word from the Protection unit yesterday that poor Barry Mannakee was killed. Some sort of motorcycle accident. Terrible shame, isn’t it?”
Poor Diana bursts into tears as the limo pulls up next to the royal flight. Charles pushes her out, saying.
“Let’s go, darling, your press awaits you.”
What an odious, uncaring, selfish, sarcastic twat of the Royal order!
Night, night world.
Saturday, 9th January
I awake during the ‘pissing hour’, not because I need to urinate, but because I’ve been dreaming that I was sharing judging honours with His Royal Magus, Jimmy Page, where we were putting our great knowledge of all things piggy wiggy to their full potential during the pig show at the Ledbury Young Farmers annual fair.
It’s a sign from His Empiric Lord of Darkness, Mr. Page, punishing me for forgetting that yesterday he celebrated his 6,666th birthday. I know I’m doomed to spend the day being visited by demons and spirits that the Master will have summoned as suitable chastisement for my sin! In fact that’s probably why I fell on my arsebone yesterday. Oh Great Crowned Prince Of Hades, forgive me, I know not what I’ve done!! I’m doomed I tell you, DOOOOOOOOMED!!!!!
Eventually get back to sleep and have no further disturbing visions, until I awake and find Milly’s arse pointing at my delicately chiselled, Olympian features. I leap from the pit as if hot pokers had been shoved up my elephant and castle and prepare for a day of listening and watching Led Zeppelin in order to make up for yesterdays misdemeanour.
Outside it’s a bitterly cold morning and a biting wind penetrates from the East. I make a hasty circuit of the park, and head to Joe’s. Even Milly seems determined to get back indoors quickly and doesn’t do one of her disappearing into the undergrowth acts.
Back indoors I put on Led Zeppelin 1, feed the beast and myself, and leaf through the Scum. Nothing of interest to report.
As well as forgetting the Master’s birthday yesterday, I also forgot to tell you that I had a call from Olde John, Milly’s former owner, a Glaswegian with an accent so strong that I often have to get him to write down what he’s saying to me so I can understand. He wants me to drop in on him as he’s a favour to ask.
I pop down to his block of flats, which is next to mine, and find the poor old bugger is not in a good way. He’s well into his 70's and has been a hardened drinker most of his life and sadly I think it’s starting to catch up with him. In fact that’s how I came to own Milly.
I used to see him going to and from the Ancient Foresters public house that he used to frequent and usually on his return, when he was a bit wobbly on his olde legs, I could see that he was struggling with Milly. Even though she’s small she’s pretty strong and I used to tell him that if he ever needed someone to take her out, I was more than willing to do it.
One day as I was returning from a shopping mission at the Blue and passing the pub, Olde John came out offered to buy me a drink, over which he asked me if I could pop by his flat later that day, which I did. It turned out that he was finding it a struggle to keep up with Milly’s demands for exercise and with a tear in his eye, asked if I would take on responsibility of her.
I didn’t have to be asked twice, as I’d been dog-less for almost a year after the passing of Smudger, son of Bullseye on the 18th of December, 2007, and I knew that a dog - or rather in this case, a bitch - was just what the doctor would have ordered, and I her took her on the spot, although it was obviously a heart breaking decision for Olde John. And that’s how the hooligan became part of my being!
Anyway, back to the reason that John had asked me to visit him. It turns out that he was more or less housebound by various illnesses and conditions although his neighbour Pat, a lady who herself was pretty old, was getting him food and necessaries from Joe’s, and he wanted to know if I could pop down to Surrey Quays the next day to pick up his prescription of the necessary drugs that he needed.
I told him that of course I would and after breakfast that’s exactly what I did, and delivered them to him. When he offered to give me money to get myself a drink I told him I was on the wagon for January. He muttered something in his strong Glaswegian accent that I couldn’t understand, but guessed was something like, “For fucks sake pull yourself together, you great hairy Sassenach!” I laughed, and told him that I had to go, and that’s exactly what I did.
Once again indoors I continued listening to the collected works of Zeppelin whilst flagellating myself, trying to remember the few times, that apart from when he was performing on stage, I’d been in the presence of the Great One.
The first I can recall was at the premiere of ‘How The West Was Won’ at the Empire, Leicester Square, on the 15th of May, 2003, where all three remaining members of Zeppelin were in attendance. During the playback of the soon to be released DVD, my weak bladder let me down once more and I had to make a visit to the toilets. In the area at the back of the cinema, where they sell popcorn and drinks, I was amazed to see Jimmy Page playing with his young son, who was dressed in a mini version of the famous dragon suit that Jimmy had worn on the stage at Madison Square Garden in 1973 when they filmed ‘The Song Remains The Same’.
I was too in awe to say anything and it was probably best that I didn’t because I was so desperate to get to the toilet that I’d probably have pissed myself, which somehow I don’t think would have been very cool. He was still playing with his son when I returned, but I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to say hello.
The next time was October, 20th, 2004, when I went to see Whitesnake at Hammersmith Odeon. As I’d written the notes for the tour programme, I had all the necessary passes to ensure a good night. I don’t really remember that much of the show, apart from being dazzled by the whiteness of Coverdale’s teeth. On one of my visits to the bar, two incredibly beautiful young women came up to me and asked if I remembered them. I looked them up and down, my kidney-buster starting to rise in my pants, when I realised that they were the daughters of an old girlfriend's sister, I immediately stopped fantasizing, talked to them like a gentleman should and invited them up to the VIP bar after the show.
I tell you, the faces in that bar were a fooookin’ picture when I walked in with the two ladies draped on either arm. There were quite a few people that I knew, and I could tell they were all thinking, ‘How the fuck did the old fucker pull that one off?’ I got the ladies a drink and then told them to enjoy themselves. As they mingled, one of my very old and dear friends, Simon Sessler came up to me and asked me if I’d ever met Jimmy Page. I of course replied that I hadn’t. Simon grabbed my arm, dragged me across the room and introduceed me to him, then fucked off leaving me to make conversation, which actually was made a lot easier when Mr Page asked me if I’d like to join him on the sofa that had become available to sit on.
In the few minutes that I got to talk to him and knowing that he was a Magus, I told him the story about the ‘Diary Of A Madman’ sleeve that I’d designed for Ozzy, and how the scribbles that I’d done on the inner sleeve had been attributed to the hand of Satan himself. Sadly as I was getting to the end of the story, photographer Ross Halfin, comes barging over and tries to drag Jimmy away from me, but he tells Ross to hang on and lets me finish the story, which I did, and which he chuckled at. I felt very honoured.
Now, let’s talk about Ross Halfin, or Gross Halfwit as everybody who used to work on Kerrang! called him. There is no doubting that he’s a top class rock photographer, but he’s also one of the rudest, most obnoxious and arrogant people to ever draw breath, and on this occasion at Hammersmith Odeon he really had got up my nose - as had a rather large amount of cocaine - and sadly I let myself down by taking him to one side and giving him a few regrettable opinions, one of which, was that he was nothing but a barrow boy who’d had a lucky break with a camera. Silly stuff, and, as I say regrettable.
However some days later when I was drinking in the Crobar, before they enforced my life ban, several mates came up to me saying how pissed off they were with what Ross had written in his diary, which I now reproduce for you;
I have the misfortune of having to save Jimmy from Steve Joule, a third-rate designer and drunk who’s bitter about everything (he looks like Catweazle, a scarecrow and down-and-out who stank). ‘It’s alright for you, you aren’t any good, you’re just fucking lucky and you know it’, the sad bastard says as he waves his fist in my face, trying to intimidate me. I don’t know what it is, but I seem to attract these emotional cripples… ‘No, I work very hard Steve, now fuck off!’ He hangs round with the dregs of the music industry, so people buy him drinks.
Now was that necessary I asked myself, especially as this was the man I worked with on several Iron Maiden programmes and their live masterpiece ‘Live After Death’. Does that mean that they too are third-rate? Somehow I think not.
His more recent dig at me was in his diary last September when he wrote;
I can say with authority that Krusher was a drunk and a zero as a human being. He’s still sad and bitter and full of bile – I had the misfortune of seeing him at Download this year.
Ah well, everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
The rest of the day is spent worshipping Zeppelin, until I decide to retire to the pit at 8.30 to read another few chapters of ‘The Boils’, and beg forgiveness once more from His Royal Magus and hope that I’m not cursed with dreams of judging pig shows once again.
Friday, 8th January
Good nights sleep, apart from two visits to christen the toilet bowl. But I had the most monumentally, epic Motorhead dream that involved sound checks, road crew, large lines of ‘white line fever’, merchandising, competition winners, a stage the size of a football ground, and all of these elements revolved around one thing - the introduction of the band's latest recruit, guitarist Jimmy Fox!
Standing guard each side of the stage, were two gigantic, metal Motorhead ‘Warpigs’, each bellowing flames above the audiences heads as their eyes glowed red. A huge stage curtain hid the wall of Marshalls and Mikkey’s drum kit that was the size of a Panzer VIII Maus tank, and words in the Motorhead typeface, that could easily be read from the back of the enormous stadium proclaimed ‘TONIGHT, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, MOTORHEAD PROUDLY PRESENT JIMMY FOX’.
Backstage Lemmy was singing his praises, the road crew were blissfully praising his guitar prowess and groupies were swooning into sexual ecstasies at the mere mention of his name. The whole stadium was at fever pitch in anticipation of his unveiling. Suddenly, apart from the Warpigs glowing eyes, the stadium is plunged into total darkness...
The rumble of Lemmy’s bass, almost making me puke in excitement, started to make the whole place vibrate, Mikkey’s double bass drum kicked in and people did start throwing up from the volume and it’s sheer power hitting their internal organs. Lasers, spotlights, fireworks and every goddamn trick in the book was thrown at us. Then the stage curtain dropped and there he was - Jimmy Fox, the first one armed guitarist!!!!
Where the fuck does this shit come from? A one armed guitarist? NURSE!!!!!
Drag myself out of bed scratching my head in wonderment at the images that have been bouncing around inside it and go through the routine of preparing myself for the sub zero conditions outside.
Once out it’s the usual routine. Milly goes hunting and I try and walk speedily to keep myself warm, and we end up at Joe’s purchasing ‘The Scum’.
Back indoors it’s breakfast all round. Tripe shite for Milly, bacon rolls for me. Then I take my time reading the newspaper, whilst earwigging the news on the telly.
I take great delight in seeing that Jonathan Woss is no longer going to be paid his exorbitant wages from my TV license fee. I always used to have time for the man years ago, especially as he was a comic fan, something that I’ve been since I was first capable of reading and my grandparents used to buy me the British kiddies comic Playhour every week.
In the early ‘60’s I progressed onto Marvel comics, and Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spiderman and The X-Men. Unbelievably I had issue 1 of everyone of those comics, but sorrowfully, only for a week, as I used to part exchange them at a stall in Kidderminster market for the latest ones that he had... but I digress.
Jonathan Woss over time started to grate on my nerves and the final straw came when I contacted him, and sent him some pictures via email to see if he would be interested in purchasing the original artwork for page one, issue one of ‘Watchmen’, the greatest graphic novel ever printed, (sadly released as a film last year), that I’d purchased in 1987.
only was it the original artwork, but it was signed by both the artist Dave Gibbons, and the writer Alan Moore, and also came with the original colourist page. I got an email back saying that he only really bought original artwork splashes or covers, but seeing as this was the first page of the greatest graphic novel ever produced, he was willing to make an exception and asked me how much I wanted for it. I told him £50,000 and he replied saying that the price was too high for him and “although it’s a great page to have, I don’t really want it that badly”.
£6,000,000 a year, but the price was too high. What a foooookin’ tight arsechicken!!!!
Click image for large version
Click image for large version
Two other stories in the paper caught my attention - one was some pervert who had to have his blue-veined custard chucker cut free by seven firemen after getting it jammed in a steel pipe. The fire crew were called in after doctors at Southampton General Hospital tried in vain to free him. He was given an anaesthetic as a metal grinder was used to carry out the tricky thirty minute operation. The man, in his 40s, was left bruised and swollen! Haaaargh!!!!
On a more disturbing level, Courtney Love has confirmed her band HOLE will be playing their first live UK date in more than a decade. Rock stars be warned - being with this woman could result in death!!
After reading the paper I head on down the Blue, and take my first fall of the year when I skid on a sheet of ice and land on my arsebone. Two police officers walking on the other side of the pavement see me tumble and walk on. I fart in their general direction.
The rest of the day is a pretty lazy one. Speak with my better half Lolly, enquiring if she’s taking daughter number one, Brookeus Magnificus to dance class tomorrow as the weather forecast doesn’t bode well. She informs me that she intends to. I tell her to pack snow shoes and food rations for the child.
Dinner is the same as yesterday's, but with a bit of crispy fried bacon thrown in to the mash, and that’s about all that’s worth reporting.
Till tomorrow droogies, I bid you farewell.
Thursday, 7th January
Have to rise from my pit twice during the night, but on my return I get back to sleep fairly fast both times.
Amazingly no dreams that are worth reporting... well there was one, but I’m filing that under the obscene secrets act, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean Squire? More tea vicar?
Once in the park, Milly seems to be possessed by the spirit of Cerebus, and is running round, sniffing, snorting, pissing, rolling about in the snow and generally behaving like the bloody hooligan she is. We avoid the duck pond and head to Joe’s for my newspaper, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco, as today I have the desire to quaff large amounts of vodka free Bloody Mary’s, having got the taste for them last Sunday at Mr.G’s.
I’ve actually been trying to get tomato juice for the last few days, but could find none in either, the Co-Op, Iceland’s or trusty Joe’s. I eventually hunted some down yesterday in one of the many 24 hour shops operating in the Blue and buy several of the overpriced cartons, only to find on my return home that I’ve virtually run out of Worcestershire sauce and have no Tabasco, hence this morning's purchase at Joe’s. Although he had no Tabasco I substituted it with Encona which is West Indian, hot chilli sauce, which I got three times more of for half the price and it’s just as pokey.
Decide to have my first Bloody Mary of the day whilst preparing breakfast which consists of Butcher’s Chicken & Tripe for the hound and bacon rolls for myself, washed down with lashings of tea. Listen to the BBC news as I peruse the paper then it’s down to the studio to lay this demon, 2009 design round up to rest once and for all.
Get a good part of it done, and decide to take a break and go down to the local council rent office. I take Milly with me for protection from the fangs of bureaucracy.
The reason for my trip is a sad one, and something that has been tugging at my mind for almost two months now. It was in November of last year that I heard a rumour that Southwark Council were planning on moving all the residents out of the tower block that I’ve lived in for the last thirty years, and then selling it to private developers.
The apparent reason for this is because of two recent fires in blocks of flats in the borough, one of which sadly claimed six lives, and the council decided that to bring our block up to the standard of fire safety required would be too costly, so much easier to move us out and make a nice fat profit flogging it, mercenary bastards that they are.
Although this hasn’t been put in stone yet, when I see surveyors and people in suits with clipboards scouring around the block, it doesn’t really put my mind at rest, so I decide to go and get a registration form to put myself on the Southwark housing list, before the rush.
When I get to the offices I’m informed that they’ve run out of application forms. Seems I might have been a late starter on this one, and they won’t have anymore forms until next week. I’ll lay good money down now that when I return this time next week they’ll still have no forms. Apart from actually having to move out of a building that I genuinely love, the thought of having to move ALL my treasures - and there are foooookin’ many - that I’ve gathered over the years, actually fills me with dread, as it will be a goddamn massive task, made no easier by living on the 15th floor.
Disgruntled, but not broken, I head to the park and walk down to the river to see whose in residence at The River Rat’s Gentleman’s Club, and I’m surprised that even in these conditions, Streaky, Bob and Pat are sinking cans with hearty smiles on their faces, whilst the sun shines brightly through the freezing cold air.
I should point out that the exclusively private Club is open air. They ask how my abstinence from the booze is going and I tell them that it’s going magnificently; they all raise questioning eyebrows and toast my achievement of nine days alcohol free. After about twenty minutes, I tell them that I have to return to Terror Tower, to carry on with my tasks for the day, once again they raise their cans and bid me farewell.
Back home, I carry on with the design round up, and ram me head first through a stained glass window and I actually get the fooooker’ done!!
I get it off to Mr.G, along with an interview that I did late last year for German rock magazine ROCKS, about designing Ozzy Osbournes ‘Diary Of A Madman’ album sleeve.
For some strange reason I then decide to have a quick look at some of the Ozzfest pictures that I took on the US tour in 2000, and come across a shot of myself, Zakk Wylde, and Dimebag, that was taken in Pantera’s dressing room after their performance on the 30th of September, at the Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, Arizona. The reason that I look so fucked is because I was!!!
The night before we were staying at The Wigwam Resort, an unbelievably, beautiful hotel complex just outside Phoenix and I’d spent it in the company of ‘The Fuck Shop Girls’, and they didn’t disappoint. In fact that was the only time on the tour that I missed the tour bus, ended up having to get a cab to the venue and literally walked on stage, to address my audience, at 10 o’clock in the morning carrying my suitcase! Haaaaaaaargh!!!! Happy daze!!!!
By the way, the Harley that the ladies... cough, are draped over belonged to Sully from Godsmack, and was parked outside his chalet. It seemed like too good a photo opportunity to miss.
After reliving some very fond memories I decide it’s time to eat and make myself bangers, mash and petits pois. Not just any bangers mind, oh no, these are pork and leek bangers with fried onion and mushroom mash, covered with plenty of gravy, mmmmmmmmmm.
After I’d washed it down with another alcohol free Bloody Mary, I took Milly for the last piss run of the day, watched some absolutely, totally shite TV and then called it a day.
Wednesday, 6th January
Solid night’s kip! But some dam bustingly, outrageous dreams. One included me having a small part in Coronation Street, but when it came to doing a rehearsal before filming, the script was in a typeface that I couldn’t read, so Ken Barlow, who for some reason was wearing a wig that wouldn’t look out of place in Spinal Tap, let me share his.
The rehearsal goes so well that they offer me a regular spot on the show, but part of my contract is that I have to move to Spain! What the fuck! Where does this shit come from? I haven’t watched Corrie in years.
Another dream had me entering some music quiz with Ozzy as my partner. Foooked before we even start! Haaaargh!!!
The actual quiz was in some massive auditorium and we had a series of coloured buttons for answering the questions, just before it kicks off a McFly video is shown, and bugger me sideways with a packet of Hobnobs, it’s totally amazing! Only the power of dreams can produce these images of wonderment!!!!
Anyway, Milly awakes me just gone 7.30, and is hinting that if I don’t want her to shit on my face, I better get my shit together and get her out fast!!! I do, and lo and behold she lays a beauty before we even get to the park. I hastily retrieve it into my ‘Scoop The Poop’ bag and we carry on to the great hunting grounds of Southwark.
Oh, almost forgot, it’s snowed! But nowhere near what I was expecting, and already, even before the sun has risen properly, it’s starting to turn to slush, however the duck pond, apart from one small area, has totally frozen over and I make a mental note to take some bread down for the duckies next time I take Milly out.
Get my paper from Joe’s and head on back to the warmth of Terror Tower.
Feed the beast, make myself a tea, and have a bowl of Cheerios, with fresh banana, and grapes. How fooooookin’ healthy is that?
This is my seventh day of cleanliness - almost a quarter of the way there, and I’ve had no inclinations for either a shot of hooch, or a big, fat spliff. All’s well on that front.
After breakfast, I head on down to the studio and take a picture of the park from my window and check my emails. Both Rex and Pepper have replied, and I’m pleased to say that Rex tells me that the Holiday season has been good, and Pepper has the brilliant news that he is now the proud father of a little girl called Flannery Rose. Bloody marvellous and congratulations to the Keenan’s. Raise your glasses in a toast to Flannery Rose Keenan!
I’d also like to raise a glass - sadly non-alcoholic for me - to a very, very dear friend of mine, Brenda ‘Strumpet’ Thomason, who sadly passed away seven years ago today. When I was broadcasting on TotalRock, Strumpet, without fail, would always send me the first email of the show, and over a period of time we became very good friends, so much so, that when I used to DJ The Krazy House in Liverpool, Strumpet would kindly let me sleep on her sofa for the night, as well as fill me full of Jack Daniels.
It was also through Strumpet that I became friends with her son Dan and his good lady Andrea, who my thoughts are with today.
It would make me proud if you would kindly join me in raising a glass to the wonderful, magnificent and never to be forgotten Strumpet.
LONG LIVE STRUMPET!!
After my toasts, I decide to have a cup of tea and browse through the newspaper, and I’m chuffed to read a piece on their entertainments pages that to mark the 40th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death - or murder, as I firmly believe - that all his albums will be re-mastered.
But what really gets me totally wetting my pants is that there might be a new album of unreleased studio material. As far as I’m concerned Jimi is THE god of six strings. No one has come close and I doubt that anyone ever will. It wasn’t just the way he played his guitar, it was how he became part of the instrument. Genius, pure fooookin’, unadulderated genius!!!
I also forgot to mention in yesterday's diary a series of interesting... cough, pictures, that were again, in ‘The Scum’s’ entertainment pages, of Ozzy and family holidaying in Hawaii. Tres amusent!
After my cuppa, it’s back to the freezing studio and I try to plough on with my design round up, but for some reason I get bogged down in trying to remember, and then to find everything that I’ve designed since leaving Metal Hammer in early 1993, and I soon find myself surrounded by magazines, portfolios, shoeboxes, old album mailers full of artwork and contents from many drawers and envelopes, and realise that this is going to be a mammoth task. I make myself see sense, and decide that the easiest thing to do would be to just concentrate on the designs that I did last year, which was the idea in the first place, and then work backwards from there, so hopefully the 2009 round up will be with you very soon.
Mid afternoon I chop up some old apples and some not too mouldy bread and head off to the park to feed the ducks and squirrels. As usual, Milly goes ballistic whilst I’m feeding the ducks, swans and totally insane moorhens, but fortunately there’s a fence that stops her doing anything more than gob off.
However, once I’ve fed them and walk on about a hundred yards, I turn round to see Milly squeezing under part of the fence that’s big enough for her to get through, and then leg it across the frozen ice towards the poor birds. I envisage the ice breaking, and me having to suffer hyperthermia when I have to jump in to get her out. Fortunately the ice doesn’t break and once she’s shouted a few obscenities in the bird’s direction she turns and heads back. What a little fooookin’ hooligan she is! I manage to take a picture of her tracks across the pond, which I reproduce for your delectation here, the extended X is Milly’s trails to and from the poor, disturbed water fowl.
Back indoors I treat myself to yet another cup of tea, and a cheese, ham, salami Milano, onion and bacon roll.
Then once more it’s into the bowels of the ice cavern to carry on with the design round up, but once again I get distracted by a pile of Metal Hammers that I’d designed back in 1992/93, and find a live review of the infamous Pantera gig at the Marquee, which brings back many happy memories.
Lose myself for about an hour or so going through the magazines and remembering the madness of working for Metal Hammer, and believe me IT WAS madness. I thought that the way we worked at Kerrang! had been pretty hardcore, but when I started at Metal Hammer in 1992, it was taken to a whole new level. I lasted just under twelve months before I picked up my denim jacket one day, told them I could take no more, and headed out of those offices and straight into self imposed rehab. It was that or die, that’s how heavy it was!! Happy daze!! Haaaaaaaargh!!!!
Decide to shoot a few games of poker and I’m stunned to see that I’ve got $66,667. If I didn’t know that the sign of the beast was 616 I’d have gone “Ooooooo spooky!”
Win some, lose some, get bored and go and watch the news, get bored and play my Nintendo DS, get bored, take the dog out, return, watch TV, get bored, return to the studio and play another few games of poker, during which I get a message from a long lost cousin that I haven’t seen or heard from in over twenty years, and one of her first questions to me is, what am I up to?
I tell her the easiest way to explain that would be for her to check out my website and I give her the web address. I ask her what she’s up to and jokingly say “Please don’t tell me you work for the police.” The answer comes back that she does! AAAAAAAGH!!!!!
I try to get a message to her to NOT check out my website, but she’s gone off line! I’m doomed!
Nerves shattered I call it a day and retire to the pit.
Tuesday, 5th January
Great bollocking, flying testi-turnips, once again I have to rise from my stinking pit in the middle of the night and haul my sorry, hairy arse up the stairs to urinate, and once again on my return it seems to take forever to get back to my state of hibernation.
When I finally return there I have some amazing, full colour dreams that include being on stage singing backing vocals for Samson, (RIP Paul). As I didn’t know the lyrics I go to the edge of the ridiculously high stage and ask a friend from my days at Hereford College of Art what they were? As he answers me he falls off the edge and I run down to see if he’s OK. He seems to be fine, if somewhat winded, but his head has shrunk to the size of tennis ball!
Then I try and find my car and pass a derelict church with broken windows, through which I can see that although it’s in ruins it’s fully furnished, so I climb through one of the windows to investigate and discover that everything, including the furniture and pictures are all made of polystyrene. What does it all mean?
Wake at just gone 7.30 as some peabrain is hammering away at something in one of the flats below mine, and as they don’t seem to be stopping I decide to get up and take Milly out.
The park isn’t as inviting as the last two mornings, especially as the sun hasn’t fully risen, so I hastily make my way to Joe’s to get my paper.
Back indoors I turn on the TV and watch the news, and see that the country has once more ground to a shivering halt because of the snow and freezing weather, and what’s worse is that they say by this evening it will have reached us in London. I decide to make another trip to the Blue to stock up on more supplies in case I get snowed in.
Mission accomplished I return to Terror Tower, unpack the supplies and make myself a cup of tea, (I can’t believe that I just wrote that, never mind the fact that I actually did make a cup of tea), and sit down to read the newspaper. Nothing of interest really catches my eye, so I decide to make myself a bacon butty and another cup of tea, then I head to the studio and attempt to get started on my round up of the designs that I’d done in 2009.
Instead I check my emails and get distracted from the task and eventually end up playing a few rounds of poker, and great flaming Beelzebub's pants I actually win. Of course it’s not real money, so I have no sense of achievement.
Milly tells me that it’s hunting time, so I harness her up and off to the hunting grounds we trot, where once again she tries mighty hard to catch a squirrel, but fails miserably, and as she desperately tries to climb the tree that they’ve taken refuge in, I can see them prched on a branch, chuckling, giving her the finger, whilst chewing on their nuts! Haaaaaaaargh!!!
Once back indoors I decide to get in touch with Pepper, Rex and Philip from ‘Down’ and send them emails wishing them a happy New Year, and also congratulations to Pepper and his good lady on the birth of their new baby, which to be honest I don’t know if he/she has arrived or not. But I know the baby was due around Christmas. Then I actually do manage to make a start on the design round up, but hunger strikes once more and I go for round two of yesterday's Bolognese with fried pasta, and fooooookin’ superb it is too.
Watch the news for the weather forecast; it would seem that snow is due to hit London at 9pm tonight, so I take Milly out for another piss run.
On returning to the warmth of the flat I check out what’s on TV and find that it’s all absolute utter foookin’ shite.
Head for the DVD’s and pick a handful of classic horror films and settle down for a night of monsters and ghouls. After watching ‘A Bucket Of Blood’, ‘House On Haunted Hill’ and ‘The Ghoul’ I look out of the window to see if it’s snowing. It isn’t, and then I retire to the pit, which is like a fooookin’ freezer as my heating isn’t working. So I don my long johns, mittens and bed socks and quickly dive under the duvet and call it a night.
Monday 4th January
A curse of a thousand arsechickens - I had to get up in the night to piss on the toilet seat and floor. I looked at my watch and it was just gone 3 o’clock. Funnily enough in the past this was around the time that I would normally have to get up to desecrate the bathroom. I believe it’s known as the witching hour!
Apparently this has its roots in the belief that Jesus died on the cross at 3pm in the afternoon, so in response, Lucifer uses the 3am as the opposite time for his use, but as I’m an atheist that theory doesn’t stand and to me it will always be known as the pissing hour! Haaaaaaargh!!!!
Go back to bed, and take a while to return to the land of nod and when I do, I dream that I was in the original Kerrang! office at Covent Garden, and Ozzy and Sharon are sat at one of the desks talking to each other. Sharon asked me what I thought the next Xmas No 1 would be and I confidently answered that it would be Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Chile’. Ozzy looks at Sharon and says. “See that’s what I said”.
“Yes but you two are mad!” Sharon replies.
Myself and Ozzy look at each other and shout together. “We’re not mad, we’re fucking craaaaaaaaazy!!!!” And then start doing frog leaps around the office.
I awake to see Milly flying off the bed as my legs are going crazy under the duvet.
Get up and wipe the sweat from my brow, dress, hit the bathroom, clean my teeth, myself, the toilet seat and floor, and then head out on what is another incredibly beautiful, cold, frosty, winter’s morning. Buy ‘The Scum’, some milk and return to Terror Tower where I feed the beast and myself. As I read the paper, I listen to the BBC news on the telly - both are depressing.
After I finish the paper I decide to head down to the Blue - that’s the name given to the area where all the shops are in Bermondsey and where one goes to meditate about our patron Saint, Jade Goody.
Get some money and make my way quickly round the Co-Op to stock up on necessary supplies, and I’m amazed that I only spend just over a tenner. Result!!!
On the way back home, I have a chat with a few of the locals and hope that that’s it as far as being asked how my Christmas and New Year went.
Once indoors I put away my purchases and decide to clean the fridge both on the inside and outside, but don’t actually manage to do it.
Harness the hound and head off down to ‘The River Rat’s Gentleman’s Club’ to take in the soothing view of Tower Bridge, the Thames and its magnificent backdrop.
‘Streaky’ Dave, Bob and Tony are there imbibing cans of strong cider and Carlsberg Special. I inform them of my abstinence from booze and dope, and I’m pleasantly surprised that they don’t take the piss out of me.
We shoot the breeze for about 20 minutes and then I head off, but not before Streaky asks me if I’ve got any smoke. Sadly his short term memory is fucked.
Back at Terror Tower I give Milly the bones from last night's meal and she heads off somewhere in the flat to pick them clean and then bury them.
Try to do a bit of writing as I’m supposed to be doing a round up of my design work in 2009 for the website. it doesn’t go particularly well as for some unexplainable reason I start going through my pictures, all 3,000 plus, that I took when I was on the US Ozzfest in ’99 and 2000. One day I will publish the best of those pictures along with the diaries that I kept.
As the writing is not going well, or just not going, I figure that I might as well go and do some cooking with the morning's supplies and end up rustling up a big pot of Bolognese, without the red wine, and surprisingly it tastes good.
Evening is spent eating and watching shite TV, and after Milly’s final piss outing I retire to bed for another couple of chapters of ‘The Boils’, which are cracking. One covers Charlie boys loss of virginity and his shag crazy years, the other is about Princess Margaret and her photographer husband Lord Snowden.
Hilarious bit is where the Queen meets an Oscar-winning cinematographer, and she asks him what he does in films. He says he’s a director of photography.
“Oh, how terribly interesting,” Her Majesty replies. “Actually, I’ve a brother-in-law who’s a photographer.”
“How terribly coincidental,” says the cinematographer. “I’ve a brother-in-law who’s a queen.” Lizzy moves on without saying another word. Haaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!! Love it!!!!
Sunday, 3rd January
Wake at 8 after a pretty good night's sleep, in fact the first night's sleep in a long time where I haven’t had to get up and go and piss over the toilet seat in the middle of the night. Dreamt I went to see some band playing in the foyer of the Astoria and the sax player was the musical and theatrical equivalent of a young Richie Blackmore, hurling, throwing and generally treating his instrument with utter disdain whilst managing to produce the most incredible sounds that I’ve ever heard a saxophone make.
The thing with dreams though is that when you try and make sense of them, you realise that what you remember is just a tiny, brief moment of some gargantuan series of images, situations, conversations and a lot more besides. Truly weird shit! Also I read somewhere that after giving up alcohol and especially dope that you have far more vivid dreams, which personally I think is a load of old arsechickens bollocks, as I’ve had vivid, if not epic ones that are in super panoramic, sensurround after massive amounts of booze and bubonic chronic!!!
Dress, abuse the bathroom, harness the hound and wrap up for a walk in the beautiful fresh, freezing morning. Get to Joe’s for a copy of the News of the Screws and a tin of dog food, as once again Milly had failed in her bids to bring down anything alive in the park for her breakfast.
Once back in the warmth of Terror Tower I feed the beast and read the paper and am somewhat impressed by a story about Prince Charles apparently so convinced that Blair was wrong to take Britain to war in Iraq that he broke Royal tradition and mounted a staunch campaign against the invasion. As much as I have absolutely no time or respect for The Boils, I must admit that I do have a slight admiration for dear old Charlie. You know when he was three years old he had to meet his parents at Victoria Station, where they were returning from a three month tour, and all the poor, little fucker got from his mother was a pat on the back. Heartless bitch! Tower Of London here I come! Haaaaaaaaaargh!!!!
After reading the paper I do a little more tidying of the general chaos that makes up the flat and then a bit of Facebooking, catching up with relatives in far off distant places and seeing how their Christmases and New Year celebrations had gone.
Then I take a long, long soak in a hot bath, whilst playing some Nintendo DS game that I bought as a Christmas present for number one daughter, actually only daughter, Brookeus Magnificus, which for various reasons I’ve not actually managed to hand over to her yet.
Smelling like Chelsea flower show on a summer’s day, I grab a leg of lamb, harness the beast and head off to visit Mr. G to eat and discuss our plans for world domination. Muuuuuuuuuuuuhahahahahahaha!!!
When I arrive we both realise that there will be no drinking or drug abuse before dinner, which is a first in itself, but we manage admirably with Bloody Mary’s without the vodka and Mr. G cooks a truly momentous, delicious meal for six, even though it’s only the two of us eating. Milly sits salivating like a Pavlov dog as we eat.
After the meal we crack on with the master plans and shortly after 8 o’clock all’s done and I make a move to walk back to Terror Tower, Mr. G joins me for part of the cold, but very refreshing journey.
Once home I check out what’s on the goggle box and see that BBC4 is showing the film ‘La Vie En Rose’ about the life of Edith Piaf, from her childhood to her descent into morphine addiction. I decide to give it a try and foooooookin’ loved it. What a woman! Pisses over many of the so called rock stars that currently parade their wares.
Off to bed, another chapter of ‘The Boils’ and lights out.
Saturday, 2nd January
Awake at 8.30, after a half decent night's sleep. Only disturbing dream involved me chopping out monster lines of cocaine backstage somewhere and Ronnie Wood coming in and declining the offer of one!!! Haaaaaargh!!! However, that reminded me of when I met him many years ago, after a Dirty Strangers gig, where I just happened to be chopping out monster lines of cocaine in the dressing room and amazingly he really did decline the offer of one. But the balance was re-addressed some years later, when at another Dirty Strangers gig, Alan the vocalist introduced me to Keef Richards and his first line after saying hello was “D’ya fancy a toot?” What a splendid night that was! The highlight, apart from snorting a big one with Keef, was sitting and talking about cricket with his Dad for a good part of the night.
Anyway, once dressed and ablutions done, it was down to the park on a squirrel hunt with Milly and also to feed the ducks. Didn’t quite go to plan as the bully boy seagulls muscled in on the act and more or less had everything that I was trying to throw to the poor ducks, and of course Milly was trying to kill them all, bless her.
At the corner shop I was double godsmacked to see the headline ‘I feared Ronnie would kill me’ on the front of THE Scum newspaper, an exclusive by Ronnie Wood’s ex-lover on how he viciously attacked her. Spooky how I’d dreamt about him and there he was on the front page!
Back in the warmth and discomfort of Terror Tower, I fed the hound, got me Cheerios down and read the ordeal, by the Stones legend’s ex. Pretty damned sad it was too, and made me feel better for knocking the old booze on the head, even if it’s only for a month.
Today’s task was to clear the kitchen of empty Stella cans and bottles, which included 12 whiskey, 8 red wine, 48 Euro Shopper glucose drink, the poor man’s Lucozade, and too many cans to count, then it was onto picking up the months of old newspapers that made up the carpet in the front room. The soundtrack to this was Jimmy and The Destroyers four track ‘Surfcore E.P.’. Job done, I then took the whole lot down to the re-cycling bins at the bottom of the block.
Rest of day was spent making a few late Happy New Year phone calls, watching crap afternoon television, playing poker and taking the dog out.
In the evening I watched the very impressive made for TV film ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ a story about the Americanization, an assimilation effort by the United States to transform Native American culture to European-American and how the great Sioux chief Sitting Bull refused to submit to U.S. Government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, dignity and sacred land, the gold-laden Black Hills of the Dakotas and how the hope is obliterated after the assassination of Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of Indian men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890. Bunch of murdering, stealing bastards!!!!
Three days without drink, who’d have thought it was possible?
Friday 1st January 2010
Before it had even arrived I knew New Year's Day could not be any worse than New Years Eve, having contracted some Satanic projectile vomiting and shitting bug that had absolutely floored me, any plans for New Year celebrations were cancelled and at 8 o’clock at night I was tucked up in bed with a plastic bucket on one side and a bedpan on the other.
The celebration fireworks woke me at five minutes to midnight and I managed to stay awake until I could hear the shouts of “Happy New Year” spewing from the floors above and below me in Terror Tower. I vomited, wished Milly, my Heavy Metal Hunting Hound, a 'Happy New Year' and slipped back into my disturbed dreams that involved Tony Blair roasting a pig and Rob Zombie shooting some horror, blood bath that actually involved me really killing people!
When I awoke again at 8.30 in the morning, despite the dreams, I was certainly feeling a lot more human than I had 12 hours earlier.
As I readied myself for an early morning stroll with Milly around the park, I wondered if the previous day's illness had been some sort of spiritual cleansing of all the olde shite that had built up inside me during the last decade. In many ways it also fell into plan with the ridiculous contract that I’d made with my manager Mr.G that January 2010 would be a month of NO alcohol or drugs. I must have been off my head when I agreed to that one! However, I had and I’d already done 24 hours without either or food.
In the park I met only one other human, a park attendant who was cleaning the litter bins out, I wished him a Happy New Year and scuttled on, whilst Milly galloped around me trying to kill anything that could fly or climb trees. Eventually I made it to Joe’s, my trusted corner shop, which actually isn’t on a corner, got myself a paper, some milk and a can of dog food and shuffled home where I managed to get a bowl of Cheerios down without throwing them up. It felt like it was going to be a good day. After reading the paper I decided to make a start on tidying my bedroom, or the pit, as I like to call it, which was just a collection of piles of dirty clothes, empty bottles, books and magazines that had been accumulating on the floor over the last few months. After an hour or so it resembled something more acceptable than the disgusting chaos it had been, I rewarded my efforts with a glass of milk.
Then it was time to reply to all the New Year messages that had been left on my mobile, even though I knew that most of the people I was texting wouldn’t be up and if they were they’d be in no fit state to read them.
Next was a mission to find a photo of me and former Slade vocalist/guitarist Noddy Holder that had been taken way, way back in 1987, when we were both mere teenagers… cough, it was for a Facebook campaign to try and get Noddy Holder back into Slade and on the stage at this years Download. Mission accomplished I sat and admired what a handsome pair we made, in fact we could almost be mistaken for brothers… cough!
At lunch time it was time to head on down to the River Rat’s Gentlemans Club by the Olde River Thames and wish my comrades a Happy New Year. Only Bob was there and as I wasn’t drinking I didn’t stay long, long enough however for Milly to start a fight with two of those horrible, small, fluffy, hairy dogs that Sharon Osbourne so loves and lets shit everywhere.
Back home and I’m a little fatigued by my exploits and decide to rest by playing a bit of Poker on Facebook. Within minutes I’ve been bought a virtual beer by one of my fellow competitors and I have to laugh. Haaaaaaaaargh!!!!
By 8 in the evening I’ve had enough and retire to the pit and read ‘The Royals’ by Kitty Kelley, a book that has been banned in this country since 1997, which is a wonderful, tasteless, magnificent, trashy romp through all the sleazy, impossible-seeming rumours, gaffes, diplomatic catastrophes and sharp insults about the House of Windsor. No doubt the royals themselves find it abhorrent, but I find it foookin’ hilariously funny. Then it’s time to enter the terrifying world of Krusher’s Dreamland!!!
Till tomorrow droogies!
Mr G's January 2010 Diary
These dates are clickable and take you to the relevant diary day...
It's a big day today as I'm getting Krusher's newly designed site ready for launch and by the time you read this it will be up and running, barring technical mishap.
I'm loving this design as the site is much more organised now and far easier to update and I think it will be easier for readers to browse around as well. I'm sure we'll get plenty of feedback and I'm looking forward to all of it.
Business has been a bit slow this week but as usual, I am on with a lot of things and I think I will be announcing Krusher's first big design job of the year in a couple of weeks time. It's a big one as well and I can't wait to get it finalised.
One big thing that happened this week was the announcement of the first set of bands who will be playing this year's Download Festival and it's AC/DC, Motorhead, Megadeth, Deftones, Them Crooked Vultures. Stone Temple Pilots and Wolfmother. That's a pretty good lineup and there's lots more to come from the Download organisers.
Download really is the spiritual home of Heavy Metal and I absolutely love that particular weekend. The first time I was there was in 1988 when Iron Maiden, Kiss, Dave Lee Roth, Guns 'n' Roses, Megadeth and Helloween played. Just the six bands in one day. Now it's something like 120 bands in three days and although some of my compatriots in the business who are the same generation as myself hanker after the 'good old days' and are not particularly enamoured with the current set up, I prefer it by a long way.
It's the same with new music as well. Some people listen to the same stuff they have listened to for years and years and hardly ever experience any of the new acts that are out there. That's a shame that because I think that Metal is currently in it's healthiest state for many years with more great new bands out there than ever. Maybe too many to keep up with in actual fact.
I had a bit of spare time to kill on Saturday night so I did some searches on the net for some bands I hadn't heard before and I came across Folkearth, Waylander, Eluvettie and the absolutely brilliant SuidAkrA. I'm really glad I did this because I discovered some absolutely amazing sounds and you can have a listen to them all by clicking here.
SuidAkrA do something that I have been looking for for years now - Bagpipes in Metal tracks. And it was Burn's Night on Sunday as well!
Now you woudn't think that bagpipes would work in a Metal track but believe me, they do, as you will see from the track 'Forth-Clyde' on the link above.
One great 'new' band that Krusher and me discovered at Hard Rock Hell in December was the mighty Beholder and when Krusher came round on Friday night he had a copy of the album with him, so we slapped it on and they are as good on CD as they are live. The opening track is an absolute blistering slab of molten metal and this is definitely a band who deserve to hit the big time.
The band will be featuring on Krusher's Rock Animal radio show in the not too distant future and we'll give you plenty of notice about this. It will be part of a series that we are planning for 2010 and we'll be publishing details on this site when we have finalised them.
As for the show itself, the first one went out at the weekend and we had a listen in my apartment on Friday night and I have to say that it was absolutely brilliant. I was so very, very impressed and very happy as well. Click here and take a listen for yourself.
Paul from River Gibbs sends me the files on a Friday so I can publish them when it has been broadcast and when we played them back on Friday, I could tell that even Krusher himself was amazed by how good this particular show had turned out.
I've just come off the phone with him and he's been there today to do the latest one and he said he did it in one take which is brilliant and he was even more enthusiastic about this week's so I can't wait to hear it.
Getting Krusher back on the radio was one of my aims when I became manager and I could have held out for a bigger station but we believe in River Gibbs and while there was a certain 'big fish in small pond' philosophy, we think this is going to be a huge station in time and when that happens, it will have been good to have been in at the start.
I got another edition of The Anti News out this week although it was slightly late. You can read it by clicking here. It was delayed due to, ahem, 'social reasons' which I won't go into here. It was fun though.
Whilst on the subject of football, I forgot to mention that I went to my first match of the year a couple of Saturdays ago. It was Millwall v Southampton at The New Den, which is the closest ground to home in London. A mate of mine from my local, Jimmy, who owns a travel agents, is an ardent Southampton fan and I had promised him I would go with him to a game so what better than the one which is twenty minutes walk from home.
It wasn't a classic encounter by any means and both goals of the 1-1 draw came in the final two minutes. Brian Griffin, who I have previously mentioned in this column, came with us and was not particularly impressed with Millwall's stadium as he spends his time in far more up market places. So a few days after the match he emailed me this photo with the caption, 'look where I've been today'.
The title of the email was 'White Knuckle Ride' because on the way to Millwall I told Brian the story of my 2008 FA Cup Final experience when I got a ticket for, ahem, 'services rendered'.
I've been working with former football referee Jeff Winter for some time now. I created his official website and Waking Lion still maintain it to this day. Jeff retired after he reffed the 2004 FA Cup Final and is now very prominent on the after dinner and speaking circuit.
One day we were at Sedgefield races and he was going on about this gig he had in the roughest part of Sunderland on the Thursday of that week and how he wasn't looking forward to it as it was in a pretty notorious club. He mentioned this several times during the day.
They don't like people from Middlesbrough in Sunderland (Jeff is from Boro as well) and Boro happened to be playing Sunderland the following Saturday.
On the Wednesday morning I got a phone call and it was Jeff.
"I was just thinking Steve. You've never heard me speak, have you..." and I knew what was coming next.
"Maybe you should come to that gig in Sunderland with me on Thursday night?"
"OK, I'll come" said I, "but only if you pick me up, drop me off and make sure I get free beer all night."
He snapped my hand off.
When we got there, it didn't take me long to realise that he'd told everyone I was his bodyguard. We never got any trouble though (luckily) and the next day he rang me back to say thanks for coming and I've got you an FA Cup Final ticket. Result!
Well I was in the very highest part of Wembley and it was definitely a White Knuckle Ride. I don't like heights at the best of times and this was just a bit too high for me and I was hanging on for dear life throughout the match and was very unsteady on my feet when we got out of the stadium.
All in all a good experience though and one I would recommend. I don't think I'll be doing any more bodyguarding duties again soon though. But you never know...
Thursday 21st January 2010
I'm listening to Asomvel's album 'Kamikaze' at the moment whilst wearing an Asomvel t-shirt and I'm really liking this music. A package arrived yesterday from guitarist Lenny with two shirts and two CD's, one each for me and Krusher. The album is really good. It's quite Motorhead-esque, which I expected, and has a slight punk metal feel to it due to the very raw vocals, which work brilliantly.
It's full of rolling riffs and heavy soloing and the title track Kamikaze is killer. Great production and very strong songs. Nice job Lenny!
I've been absolutely bogged down in sports publishing the last few days and have not had as much time to focus on music as I would have liked but I should be able to buy myself several hours to catch up on it all over the next few days.
It's going brilliantly well on the sports front though. The sites achieved their best visitor figures for a while last weekend and again on Monday and Tuesday and yesterday I focussed heavily on the Liverpool v Spurs game and racked up over five thousand readers in one day on ComeOnSpurs.com. A massive result, unlike the match unfortunately.
For those who were unaware, Spurs are my second team. It became blatantly obvious almost exactly one year ago that Middlesbrough were going down and this was admitted in private conversations I had with club officials. So as we needed to keep a foothold in the Premier League, we founded ComeOnSpurs.com to sit alongside ComeOnBoro.com. It was a great move as it's already the second most visited Spurs site on the web in only it's sixth month of existence.
As mentioned in my last entry, The Anti News returned on Tuesday and I was very pleased with the result. I enjoyed writing it and I really hope that I can keep it going for at least the rest of this season. You can read this week's issue by clicking here. There's a Heavy Metal reference in the opening line that only three people outside of the band I am referring to will get. All will become evident later this year when one of the greatest Heavy Metal releases of all time comes out. You'll be hearing about it.
I have a grand plan for our Heavy Metal sites and it involves duplicating the methods we used on the sports sites and we've been working hard on that so far this year in between running the sports sites and when time allowed. I can't say too much at this stage but it's starting to come together nicely now and I will be launching at least one new feature this week and the biggest one of the lot by the end of this month, hopefully. When it launches, MetalTalk.net will become one of the biggest sites in Metaldom and business for Krusher will increase tenfold. More on that very soon...
We've been trying to contact several people this year to secure festival bookings and there's still a lot of people who I am waiting to hear back from and they will all be chased up very soon. However, one person did come back to us this week and he's a major, major contact and will provide our biggest booking of the year. We're meeting in a couple of weeks and I should have some big news after that meeting.
I took a train to Middlesbrough on Sunday and returned on late Tuesday night. It was a good visit and as mentioned earlier, I'm pleased with how the office is running up there. Dave is working away on a partial redesign of Krusher's site and I'm liking what I am seeing very much. It should hopefully be ready for launch this weekend.
Krusher always says that he is well happy with the site as it is and when we launched it a year ago, I was too. But there was only a moderate amount of articles and info on it then and over the past twelve months we have added to it considerably. That means that it has become less organised and more difficult to update so this partial redesign is more about re-organising the site and I'm really looking forward to taking it live.
I haven't seen Krusher for over a week now but he's coming round for dinner tomorrow night. I haven't decided what to cook yet but I will do that when I pay a late night visit to Tesco this evening. I have to cut this slightly short today as I'm due in town to meet Roy Jenkins from Noise Merchandise shortly. I'll have some news from that meeting next time I write.
After I meet Roy I am meeting Cliff for a few drinks and then I'll be heading to Tesco to stock up the fridge. I love late night drunken shopping.
I haven't has chance to go to the gym since last week. There's just too much work to do at the moment but I am hoping to resume tomorrow with a mega weights session and then I'll do cardio on Saturday and Sunday. It's going to be a ridiculously early start tomorrow as Friday and Saturday are busy publishing days with hopefully some time to chase up those in the music business I am waiting to hear back from.
If you are one of them and you happen to be reading this, click off the page and WRITE BACK TO ME OR CALL ME NOW!!
Friday 15th January 2010
Well Monday-ish turned into Thursday-ish as it's been an incredibly busy week in the London office with the never ending job list growing ever bigger, the phone constantly ringing off it's hook and plenty of people coming round. I'd complain even more if it was quiet though...
Saturday night's dilemna over where to go (see my last diary entry) was solved by the weather as just as I was about to make a decision on what to do with the evening, London became became engulfed in one almighty blizzard of biblical proportions that put paid to most people's night and definitely dimmed my enthusiasm for venturing outside.
So I carried on working here and attempted to get my football column started for the year but I delayed it for a week as I wasn't perfectly happy with it. It will be published on Tuesday 18th now and every Monday for the rest of the season.
The column is called The Anti News and it's a light hearted look at current sports news. The Anti News has had four different authors since it started in 2004 and I call it the Dr Who column as it remains constant but the face changes every now and then. It's mine for the foreseeable future and if I can manage to keep it in my schedule comfortably I will consider doing it permanently. We'll have to see how it goes for the rest of this season and going into the World Cup.
The weather eased off on Saturday evening and I started to wish that I had braved it and gone out but there was always Sunday night. Four Wheel Drive were playing at The Coach and Horses in Isleworth and I left at 6.00pm and got there close to 8.30pm. It was worth it to see the band again as they always put on a great show and they treated this monthly residency as though they were playing Donington Park.
A very strange thing happened on the way out to the gig. I stepped outside of the office and there was a packet of cigarettes on the pavement. I kicked it and there were some in, all in good condition, so I put the packet in my pocket. Why I did that I do not know as I was ten days into my no-smoking regime. Knowing they were there started to play on my mind and it wasn't long before I had lit one. Which led me on to fancying a drink, a wish that I duly satisfied and that was me spectacularly off the wagon.
I managed ten days all in all, miles and miles behind Krusher who is still going strong. A great effort Krush - big respect to you!
Monday was not a good day as the effects of a hangover the size of Africa descended on me and without going into too much detail, it was not my most productive day.
But Tuesday I was back with a vengeance, sending an awful lot of business emails out, getting a few hours in on the Sports Publishing, updating all the music sites and making calls to try and finalise the rest of this year's gigs for Krusher and finalise other bits of business we have near to completion.
The gig list on Krusher's site is nowhere near complete. I have quite a few others in the bag but I don't want to publish them until I have sewn up the final remaining details. It's the same for logo and album sleeve design jobs - we have plenty of pending jobs and I'm hoping that it won't be too long before we get the go ahead on at least a couple of them.
After a really satisfying and productive day in the office, I went to the local and it was nice to get out of the office. I had a couple of drinks with Brian Griffin who I mentioned in my New Year's Eve diary. Brian is the official 2012 Olympic Games photographer and the former partner of legendary designer Barney Bubbles and he's damn good company as well.
Brian loves pork pies and his cravings were pretty bad on Tuesday night and he talked about them so much that I wanted one by the time I left the pub. I settled for sausages instead for a late night snack, although sadly not Freddie Surplus' sausages.
Wednesday was another productive day with yet more of the same office work to be done and Krusher away to the River Gibbs studios to record his first Rock Animal radio show of the year. It didn't happen unfortunately as some of the equipment didn't function properly. I've been given a full explanation but I can't remember all the technicalities. Krusher will explain more in his next diary entry. It was nobody's fault that things went wrong and I just feel sorry for Paul who has put his heart and soul into making this radio station work. We'll try again next week.
Then it was onto a late night rendezvous in the West End with John Davis, the owner of Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest and the Ibiza Road Trip festivals, and Sam Hill who works very closely with John on the festivals and is also the founder of Clive Aid.
John is the man who founded Club 18-30 holidays and is really making waves with the festivals at the moment. We had a very good evening and finalised the full details of Krusher's appearances at all of John's festivals in 2010. Krusher is now established as a regular feature at all HRH and Hammerfests and that is a major coup for us. And we're really looking forward to working very closely with John and Sam.
Here's a clip of Krusher introducing Girlschool at Hard Rock Hell in December.
Meeting the guys so late meant that it was also very late when we got back to our manor and Thursday didn't start off in the best possible way but it was worth it to get the festival bookings in the bag.
I worked in the office all day Thursday and then headed into town again as it was Cliff Evan's birthday and some drinking was happening. Jess Cox was also in London and came along for the socials as well as Sonia from SLW Promotions, my good friend Carla and Tony from the Iron Maiden crew, a top man who's heading up a Maiden project for Steve Harris at the moment, the details of which I will not go into as I am not sure if it has been made public yet.
Krusher showed up with Tom from Magna Saga and lo and behold, was that a pint I saw him drinking? I'm saying nothing about this unconfirmed incident as I am sure it will be appearing in Krusher's next diary.
I was given a copy of the new Magna Saga EP which Krusher did the sleeve for and it looks magnificent. I will be playing it as soon as I have finished writing this and I'll let you know what it's like. If it's as good as the band's live performance, it will be great!
I was telling Jess Cox about the band and I find it difficult to describe the band's style so I asked Tom how he would describe his music?
"Fucking brilliant" said Tom.
"Good answer" said Jess.
And that was that.
Cliff got a little wobbly as the night wore on and so I had to finish his Harley Davidson's (Jaegermeister, vodka and Jack Daniel's cocktail) - well you do that kind of thing for friend's, don't you - and we ended up in Peter Parker's Rock 'n' Roll Club, a joint on Denmark Street that specialises in 1950's music. They didn't have metal in the fifties.
I've spoken to Cliff today (Friday) and he's got a killer hangover, which is hardly surprising. Not good, but nothing a hair of the dog won't put right.
I wasn't so hot myself this morning and Friday is our biggest sports publishing day so I'll be having another big day in the office. I do need to go out to the shops though as my phone is in a pretty bad way. I got some new Duracell's and put them in the wrong way round. The phone exploded and it's just never been the same since. Bloody cheap Japanese rubbish. I'll be buying British in future.
Saturday 9th January 2010
Well I didn't get weathered in and I did make it back to London from Middlesbrough without a hitch but it was looking touch and go on Thursday night/Friday nmorning. The snow hit very hard on Thursday night and we ended up with around six inches in total with the new stuff adding to the frozen leftovers from last week.
It's grim up north but we made sure the office was warm and cosy and my hotel room was certainly that way as well. And Carl from Pizza Perfecto next door to Waking Lion HQ not only makes damn fine cuisine but he brings it round to us as well. What a gent!
When in Middlesbrough I always stay at The Longlands Hotel which is just over the road from Waking Lion HQ. One of the main attractions is that the guy who makes and delivers the sausages for breakfast is called Freddie Surplus and he wanders around town in a bloodstained butcher's coat.
I've never actually met Freddie but I'm intrigued by him as I think a blood stained sausage maker called Freddie Surplus has some sort of place in heavy metal. Maybe on the cover of a Helloween album? Or on stage with Manowar wielding the sausages of doom... or maybe not...
Anyway, Freddie does make exceedingly good sausages but I digress... it all went really well in Middlesbrough and I am 100% confident that the problems we had with the sports publishing business are no more and the re-organisation is complete and all will be good from here on in. So I can stay in London for a bit now, apart from one trip I need to make to Scotland in the next ten days or so but more on that later.
I made some good progress on the gig booking side of things this week but it's still all under wraps and I have nothing ready to publish yet other than what was posted on the site earlier this week. Expect some action before the end of the month though...
The big achievement of the week has to be the upsurge in activity on MetalTalk.net.
MetalTalk.net is Krusher's official forum, as well as the official forum for Fast Eddie, Paul Di'Anno, SLW Promotions and Andra. And from this week, Four Wheel Drive have joined as well. On most days this week there was a full page of postings and the interest has shot through the roof which is most satisfying.
David Fefolt, vocalist of Dave Ellefson's new band Angels Of Babylon, joined the forum and is answering questions from fans and this has proved to be a very popular thread indeed. Click here to check it out.
There's also news from Praying Mantis, news about the new Lemmy movie and the new Maiden album and lots more besides. I really think that MetalTalk.net is offering something that you can't get anywhere else and I think it's going to prove to be a huge part of the whole metal scene. So if you haven't joined alrady, get yourself there and open an account and start joining in the banter. Click here for MetalTalk.net. You never know who you might meet on the forum...
The downside of the week was missing UDO at The Garage in Highbury on Wednesday night. I'd been looking forward to seeing him back in England for ages but the business has to come first so I missed it and have no idea how it was. Please send any information to my London office on the back of a Jack Daniel's bottle or a packet of Benson and Hedges please and I'll put them in my stash for 1st February when the biggest bender in the history of the planet is going to take place. Nearly a third of the way through the month now and it's not really getting any easier but I'm still hanging in there...
I finally got to meet up with Cliff Evans when I got back from London on Friday evening. We had a drink in The Carlysle Arms and then moved on to The 12 Bar on Denmark Street which is always good as there is always live music on a Friday night. We heard a band kick in in the live room and decided to go check them out as they sounded good but when we got there it was not a band at all. It was one guy with a Fender copy, two small drums that he was playing with his feet and he was doing the vocals as well. A one man band, Jimi Hendrix style, and he was damn good as well.
His name was Lewis Floyd Henry and he's apparently quite well known as a busker throughout London. One thing is for sure - he's amazingly talented and you can check him out on the video below.
And that brings us nicely to the weekend. Tonight I am supposed to be going to Richaid in Isleworth. I have little idea what it is all about but I have told people I would be there so I better had be. Trouble is, new Tank singer Dougie White is fronting a scratch band in the John Bull tonight with Bill Leisegang on guitar and I would really like to be there. Also Jess Cox is apparently in town and at The Perseverance and as we have a gig there next Saturday night I would like to see him.
So what should I do? I've been debating it down the gym this afternoon but I'm no nearer to a solution. It's so different to the dilemna I faced on Wednesday evening when I walked through Middlesbrough centre and every establishment was either closed or had one old bloke with a dog on a piece of string in it.
I may try and do all three but that might be pushing it. But I do like a challenge. Krusher is not coming out and has instead opted for slippers and cocoa. Good job one of us is keeping the show on the road...
Tune in Monday-ish to find out what happens tonight...
Steve (Mr G)
Tuesday 5th January 2010
I've been looking forward to this new decade for some months now. The recession bit deep here in the UK for some of us and business suffered badly as a result and despite our successes in 2009, I felt as though we would have achieved an awful lot more if we had not been prepetually problem solving, so this is the year to make up for that I feel.
I spent the days before New Year in Middlesbrough which is where my Head Office is situated. I've been a couple of people down lately and I've had to be here to do a restructuring and reorganising job but it's nearly done now and it's gone very well indeed.
On New Year's Eve, I departed for London but not before I had cracked open a bottle of finest red from the case that Malcolm from Pieroth had delivered just before Christmas. The lads and lasses in the office deserved a drink as they are truly great and I value them very highly. So at 11.00am we downed tools and toasted the outgoing year. And then we toasted the incoming year. Then I got a taxi to the station en route to my train back to London.
I got to the station early and as there was about three foot of snow on the ground and a brass monkey wandering around looking for a welder, I hit the local boozery and had a Scotch or three to warm me up.
Now as you'll know from Sir Krushington's diary, we made a pact in mid-December to have a totally clean month so as this was due to begin on New Year's Day, I figured I better go out in style. So after the pub, I raided the catering carriage on the train and trashed all the Bell's and Jack Daniels. Lovely.
I was supposed to be going out with a few of the boys on New Year's Eve, namely Cliff from Tank, Dave from Airrace and Tino from Mantis but I fell asleep when I got back to my London apartment and woke up at around 11.15pm, far too late to be thinking about hitting the West End.
So I stumbled into the local, The Blacksmiths Arms, and had my final cigarette at fifteen minutes to the hour and ordered a round of Glenfiddich at ten to the hour. I was drinking with Brian Griffin, legendary album sleeve designer Barney Bubbles' former partner and the official 2012 Olympic Games photographer. I mention this because coincidentally/ironically Krusher got his first ever rock 'n' roll art job from Barney Bubbles.
So the Glenfiddich was downed and the cigarette was out just a minute before the bells were striking midnight and that was me clean. And I was in bed at quarter past midnight and awake at 8.30 on New Year's Day feeling incredibly fresh.
There was a ton of sports publishing to do (click here to see what I do in my other life) as it was a massive sports weekend and I wandered down to Tesco to get supplies and was shocked at how quickly my chest had cleared up after just half a day without a cigarette.
I hit the gym and did a mega-workout and just carried on working for the rest of the day and that was that. One day down, one day clean and onwards we go...
Saturday 2nd January was FA Cup third round day and I was delighted with the results my sports department achieved but not delighted with the result that my football team, Middlesbrough, achieved. Supporting Boro is an affliction. It brings no pleasure whatsoever and there are around 100,000 people from Teesside who genuinely believe that they must have done something wrong in a previous life.
I did another session at the gym and went shopping at 10.00pm as the Mighty K was coming for dinner the next night. Two days in, two days clean and I'm in Tesco at 10.00pm on a Saturday night. I was starting to wonder about this sobriety thing by now but the benefits were about to manifest themselves in a big way.
So Sunday 3rd is all about the handful of FA Cup matches that were remaining and a third big session in the gym where I watched Manchester United fall victim to the Leeds Dirties, the one team I hate more than all others. I am sure that all the abuse I have given them over the last few years will come back to slap me in the face this next few months.
And at 4.00pm Krusher arrived, leg of lamb in hand, for our very first meeting of the year. And it was good. I cooked a pretty decent Sunday dinner and we planned our course for 2010. And all the time I have this incredible energy building up inside me. The longer I go without a drink and a smoke, the better I feel and the clearer my head becomes.
And then Monday 4th January arrived and this was the day I had really been looking forward to. The first proper day back at work. The festive season was well and truly over - I am not a big fan at all - and it was on with some very serious business.
And it was a good day as well. After one full day we have Bloodstock confirmed, Hammerfest and Ibiza confirmed and I contacted every single person who we have outstanding business with from last year. I'm hoping for more festival bookings to come in this week and I'm aiming to have 2010 all booked up and sorted by the end of this month. If I can pull that one off, it will be some result but I suspect I will need to chase a few people up at the back end of this week.
And I managed to squeeze in another gym session as well. A heavy weights session this time which means I will be aching this next couple of days but hey - no pain, no gain.
Then came the acid test - my first night out of the year and could I survive it without a drink or a smoke? Well, I was due to meet Jamie and Paddy from 4 Wheel Drive and hopefully Cliff from Tank as well but Cliff is really busy with the new Tank album and needed to get the latest track completed this night so we missed each other again. I'm sure we'll catch up soon.
And I can't wait for the new Tank album. Cliff is definitely excused from social duties while the new album is being prepared. In the meantime, here's a (not great quality) clip of the band in action with new singer Doogie White of Rainbow fame. I think this was taken from an Italian festival last Summer and I'm sure you'll agree that Doogie is a great frontman for Tank.
Back to Monday night and I walked past the small rock 'n' roll bar in Manette Street which I refuse to namecheck and saw Sarah Harding sitting in there alone with a bottle of wine. I can't go in to this particular place as I am barred for reasons I won't go into here but I wasn't going to walk past without saying hello to Sarah so I leaned on the wall opposite the bar and called her on her mobile and asked if she was enjoying her wine?
"How do you know I am drinking wine?" she asked.
And then she looked out of the window and saw me, shrieked and came running outside for a chat. Of course, it was Monday night and almost time to go do Sarah and Tina's radio show but we arranged to meet later on. But not in bar we were stood outside of at the time...
So Jamie and Paddy arrived at our designated meeting place, the Intrepid Fox, and we had a great night. I must have had around fifteen tomato juices. It wasn't the drink that was the problem - that was easy to avoid, even when sitting in a pub for almost five hours. It was the smoking that was the difficult bit. But I managed and I'm still clean now, nearly five days in...
And if you haven't heard 4 Wheel Drive yet, make sure you do so now by clicking here. This is a band destined for the top and you can also catch them live this Sunday night at The Coach and Horses in Isleworth. Me and Krusher will be there.
Sarah and Tina joined us later in the evening and we reminisced about the TV set that went flying out of the window of the Total Rock chalet at Hard Rock Hell, Prestatyn in December. If anyone tried to spread any rumours that it was me who did it, well they may just be telling the truth... and I'm sure I will never hear the last of it from the Total Rock people...
I got home just before midnight and was up early this morning and on the train to Middlesbrough to see to the sports business. The rest of the music stuff will be done from here this week by email and telephone and I won't be getting out much at all. Which may be a good thing as it's damn cold up here and there's literally tons of snow all around.
I hope I don't get weathered in and can get back to London OK on Friday.
More from me later in the week. Don't forget to keep checking Krusher's live page for gig announcements as I'm working on bringing more in all the time.
Steve (Mr G)
This is one of my New Year's resolutions for 2010 - to write a regular diary for the site. It's something that Krusher and myself discussed several times during 2009 and being the 'don't talk about it - do it' type of people that we are, we decided to put it in motion for the start of 2010. So here we go...
I'm going to kick mine off with a brief snapshot of 2009 and how this crazy journey all started and then I will start on 2010 and try and give an overview of what is involved in managing a major heavy metal celebrity and the heartache, trials and tribulations you experience on a daily basis.
The destiny of 2009 was sealed very early on when I decided to re-ignite contact with Krusher who I had met at the Ruskin Arms Last Weekend in mid-December of 2008. It was a wonderfully drunken, celebratory weekend and one not to be missed, so much so that I had travelled down from Middlesbrough specially for the occasion.
I met a lot of old friends there, most of whom I had last seen on the previous year's Iron Maiden Somewhere Back In Time trips and I made plenty of new ones as well, none more significant than the one and only Krushington.
I had just taken my position near the front of the stage on the Friday night so I could see my old mate Paul's band, Elixir, and who should walk onto the stage to introduce the band but a memory from the dim and distant past. I think you know who I am talking about.
What a bonus! Here's the guy who used to do the late night Noisy Muthas and Raw Power TV shows which kept me ticking over metal-wise when I was in the forces in Northern Ireland in the late 1980's. He was also the guy who used to host the afternoon show on Planet Rock which I listened to on a daily basis when working as a web designer in Hampstead for the Bronze Records Empire.
So I decided to say hello as he walked off the stage and not wishing to intrude into the space of one so famous, I just offered a quick hello and a polite enquiry as to what he was doing these days? That was supposed to be it but we ended up slouched at the bar and it was there and then that our futures were sealed.
It turned out that the Mighty K was doing nothing of note and hadn't done since he finished with Total Rock some years previous. I suggested that he should at least have a personal website for his very impressive portfolio so he could gain more work for himself and we exchanged details and agreed to communicate as soon as I got back up north.
Unfortunately Krusher suffered some personal difficulties shortly after the Ruskin gig and Christmas and New Year further delayed our negotiations but I was due back in London for a business conference in late January of 2009 and so we got in touch again and met up at what was to become one of our locals, The Angel in Bermondsey. It's a Samuel Smith's pub so instantly won favour with me.
My only aim was to get a new website organised for Krusher so at the end of the evening when he asked me to be his manager, I was somewhat taken aback. Must have been the bottle of Jack Daniels that I supplied for our meeting...
Anyway, I didn't accept immediately. If you're going to take on a job like managing the Mighty K, you have to be sure you can do it properly. I had intended to get back into the music business for the previous two years but was never going to take on the first thing that came along. It had to be dead right and here it was - the big opportunity.
I consulted with a few contacts in the rock business, Fast Eddie Clarke especially, and the day before I got the website creation in motion, I contacted Krusher to accept the position. And off we went with the site. I was in charge of the project in general, Krusher was in charge of content and Waking Lion Chief Web Designer Dave Meehan actually carried out the work. Hats off to Dave - top job mate!
We launched the site in late February 2009 and immediatly got a response. Thanks so much to all who supported us in the early days and thanks to everyone who wrote in and sent in pics.
The next stage was to get some sort of strategy going for the relaunch of Krusher's career. I had already been working on getting some gigs and appearances in and the bookings were looking quite healthy but things didn't take off properly until I moved back to London on Tuesday 9th June 2009.
The day I arrived back, I dumped my gear in my new flat and was out within an hour and straight down to the 100 Club to see the reformed Skin where Krusher was DJing and compering. One of the first people I spoke to at the gig was Nicko McBrain and then a few minutes later I was having a conflab with Rod Smallwood and Andy Copping. Not a bad first day back really.
On my second night back, we went to the 100 Club again for the second Skin gig and went out on the town afterwards and I remember Krusher being so overjoyed that he had escaped the West End unscathed and unbarred from anywhere. But take a close look at the photos from Download and you will clearly see a bruise on the face. It happened when he fell down his stairs after my second night back in London. But I take no responsibility for this at all. I had commandeered our taxi and was on my way home by then.
And two days later we were at Download. I need make no comment on Download as most of it has been documented on this site - thanks to Opeth for the dressing room - and the rest is to come. But one thing that hasn't been documented is probably my favourite heavy metal story of all time.
We were with Down after they had played on the Saturday afternoon and Phil Anselmo said he wanted to go see Anvil but understandably didn't want to walk through the crowd. Well I knew the way to the Anvil stage round the back of the circuit so off
we went, about fifteen of us, including Phil and Pepper Keenan.
We got to the end of the row of portacabins/dressing rooms and security stepped out and stopped us going any further as Slipknot were leaving their dressing room on their way to do their main stage gig. So Phil gets annoyed and starts bouncing up and down shouting "Look at those fucking goons - dressed like cunts, all of them. You fuckers should let your music do the talking like I do..." and he's right as well. Well Slipknot threw a few dirty looks our way and when they had gone, off we went to Anvil.
So we're on the side of the stage and Phil is getting all jumpy and I just knew he was going to do this...
He runs on to the stage, the crowd go mental and he starts bellowing something in Lips Ludlow's ear while he is playing and then finds a spare microphone and proceeds to do backing vocals for the whole of the rest of the gig. This story seems to have entered rock 'n' roll folklore now and the magic moment is at 1.33 of this clip.
Download was the first of many appearances in 2009. We did Bloodstock, Hard Rock Hell, Sonisphere, Creamfields and many other great gigs at The Embassy, The Tivolli, The Night Owl, The Scala and quite a few others as well. And 2010 promises to be an even bigger year as we have at least one huge design job in the bag for a massive band as well as repeat appearances at most of the
major festivals which I am just firming up now and we are very close to a regular radio show as well.
Hopefully something will happen concerning TV in 2010 also.
So we hope to see you out on the road somewhere in the UK in 2010. Stay tuned to this site for regular gig updates, Krusher's diary, my diary and much, much more throughout what promises to be a truly great metal year.