Into Music: The Greatest Band You’ve Never Heard – Chapter 9

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EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD

The true story of the greatest band you’ve never heard
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Chapter 9 – No Sleep ‘Til Strathaven

On the fair ‘Shaws Road, where we lay our scene, from the ancient grudges to a new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. The hot water in the Bold Yin’s flat was still knackered. Taps aff, as they say…

“So that’s it?” said Billy

Pretty much.

Mondo tapped out a beat on the tattered arm of the Bold Yin’s sofa. “I like it.”, he said in approval. Gordon though wasn’t convinced. “Sounds like Wipe. As in ‘I wouldn’t WIPE my arse with it”

“It came to me in a dream. It was very vivid.” I said, fighting my corner. Gordon remained less than impressed.

“If I’d have known you were going to go all hippy dippy on me…”

“How about The Shirley Temple of Doom?” laughed Billy

“Or Tina Turner Overdrive?”, said Gordon

“What about Curious George and the Dick Clark 5?”

Due to the age gap, I probably gave them too much respect. Once I got to know them though, I realised that they were as fucked up and as idiotic as I was. But in the absence of an adequate alternative, I had to stand my ground.

“So do you have any other ideas? C’mon, let me hear them then, smart arses.”

Billy and Gordon shifted in their seats. Mondo paradiddled on, oblivious.

“Well, fucking White it is.”

Devon arrived with some much needed sustenance in the shape of a family pack of Wagon Wheels.

“So, have you decided on a name yet?”

“Yep”, said Gordon. “ We’re hereby known as Dicky Retardo and the Lucille Balls.”

Oh yes, thanks Gordon. I’d almost forgotten about my Crispy Creme’d cock.

There I was, minding my own business, strides at ankles, with an elderly man cradling my beloved George Jnr.

“What I’m going to do,” said the Doctor, “is apply some gentle pressure to the area.”

What do you mean by ‘gentle pressure’, Doc? It didn’t take long to find out.

“You may feel a little localised pain but it’s really nothing to worry about.”

“Aaaaaaaaarrgghhhh!”

As physical discomfort goes, not much trumps the sensation of a calloused handed old quack squeezing your jed like he was making orange juice. After that unexpected assault on my damaged disco stick, a swift anaesthetised bris proved a piece of babka. Could’ve been worse though. I could be poor Brido. Just when his swelling was starting to go down, he made the ill-advised decision to partake in a sneaky sidey down the park.

Picture, if you will, a standard football field. The side in blue is defending a free kick and our hero bravely takes his place in the middle of the wall. Let’s play ‘spot the ball’. Does it end up in area A – the top right hand corner, Area B – skied for a shy or Area C – Mitre size five, straight in the sacks? Answers on a postcard to the Victoria Infirmary, third floor, disfigured testes department.

In a doctor’s surgery not far from my own, Brido too could be found, on his back, trousers down.

“So Doc, how bad is it?”, he asked.

The frolic with the bollock over, the doctor removed his gloves and said, “Actually, it’s fine.”

Brido’s heart sang, “Really?”

“No. Your gonad looks like an aubergine. It needs to go.”

Fortunately, in the summer of 1985, our exploding nether regions were not the thing on most folks lips. That July, the world united to combat the horrendous famine that had befallen the starving populace of East Africa. As concerned citizens of the planet, our newly formed unit was determined to do our bit by driving twenty miles out of Glasgow, to a quaint little town in Lanarkshire on a Friday night, to share the gift of rock.

We left base camp, just before the weekend rush and rather than drive the conventional way, we took the more scenic route, via the picturesque village of East Kilbride, taking in the wonder of its architectural masterpiece, Centre One.

“Nice wee low key gig, away from Glasgow, to start you boys off.”, said Devon, rubbing his hands.

“Low key?” said Gordon. “I thought you said it was a Live Aid link up?”

“It is…technically.”

“So, it’s still on TV then?”, asked Mondo.

“Live Aid? Of course it is.  It’s on all day tomorrow.”, replied Devon

“No, our gig. Tonight”

“Our gig is the show which gets the ball rolling. Strathaven then Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia. I’ve been assured that there will be local TV coverage.”

“The Strathaven Broadcasting Corporation?”, said Gordon sarkily.

Billy joined in. “Aye, Phil Collins’s on the train from Glasgow Central especially for this.”

The scrotal looking front man’s name caught the attention of our daydreaming drummer. “Excellent! I love Phil Collins!”, said Mondo, rattling ‘In the Air Tonight’s drum roll off the roof of the van.

“Wonder if there will be any African birds here tonight?”, he asked. Mondo did love the ladies. In fact, he could be considered a bit of a proto playa.  He added, “I shagged an African bird last week. Superb.”  Mondo starts to make noises with his mouth. “She was clicking like a rev counter.  At first, I thought it was her hip.”

Billy was sceptical. “Have you shagged any birds from around here?”

Mondo cast a cursory glance out of the window. ” Aye. Last month.”, he said, not too convincingly. He turned to me. “ These country girls are mental. Farm girls will want to milk you!! You’re gonna love it, man!”

“I can’t.”, I replied.  “Not allowed to even think about it. Doctors orders. And anyway, if I burst my stitches, my cock will look like Frankenstein’s neck.”

The van responded less than sympathetically. “ Yeuch.”, being the consensus.

Gordon acted as spokesman. “Do you fucking mind? I didn’t get into rock and roll to talk about your tattered tadge.” Good point, well made Sir.  We all were in agreement though, that Strathaven should be a blast. Still, I’m bricking it.

Billy sensed my apprehension. “Fear is natural. Embrace it, youngster. Channel the fear. But if you’re sick anywhere near me, you make your own way home, got it?”

“Hawl Devon?” asked Mondo, “How much are we getting paid for tonight?”

 

Soon, we’d pulled into the car park of a small country pub.

Surely this isn’t it?

Devon got out and headed to the bar.  After a few minutes, he returned, smelling suspiciously of the booze and directed Billy to a schoolhouse over a field. Engine back on.

The battle bus drove on for another couple of hundred metres until we ran out of road.

“Everybody out!”, commanded Billy.

We unloaded our gear and with guitars, amps and tom toms tucked under our arms, we advanced the width of a very marshy football field to the schoolhouse. Mondo cleverly removed his shoes and socks, rolled up his jeans, Wham! style, and sauntered through the muck. The rest of us weren’t so smart.

I hope those hungry wee bastards appreciate the sacrifice we’re making here today, I thought. I nearly lost a cowboy boot. Not quite the ‘sucked off in bog’ headlines I had in mind when I joined this band.

Inside the schoolhouse, and dripping gunk everywhere, we were greeted by gig co-ordinator, Jenny.

She looked at us, then down at her clipboard. “I’m guessing that you must be White?” Lighty Caked in Brown might have been more appropriate, given our appearance.

Mondo took the lead. “ One and the same, sweetheart.”

“Great. You’re on at the Town Hall at 9pm.”, she said.

Gordon looked puzzled. “Wait a minute. Is this not the Town Hall?”

Jenny laughed. “Good heavens, no. That’s across the road. Can I ask you something?”.

“Fire away, doll”, said Mondo.

“Why did you cut across the field instead of driving around to the front?”

We growled at the sheepish Devon in unison.

Just then, Billy arrived and surveyed his destroyed slip ons.

“I need some fresh espadrilles.” he said.

Mondo’s ears pricked up. “Oh, get me some too. I’m fucking starving.”

 

Over at the Town Hall, the show had already started. Some earnest but dull prog rockers and a shite funk band with a seriously stoned horn section had made the audience a little restless. Thankfully, a band of punky, energetic locals were in the process of saving the day.

This is more like it, I thought, still looking in vain for the camera crew. Gordon agreed with my critique. “These guys aren’t half bad.”

In the future, the singer became an internationally renowned, bona fide rock star. Who’d have thunk it? Might have to up my game tonight.

The local punks ended their set to wild applause.  The singer jumped off the stage and headed straight to a girl in the audience, kissing her passionately.

Ah, that’s nice.

Only, it wasn’t. A loud South Lanarkshire voice boomed across the hall.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

“I do hope the singer isn’t getting aff with that big guy’s sister?” said Billy

“Or his bird?” said Mondo.

Ten Points, Armando. Now, three bonus questions on the violent capacity of the Larkhall Dynamo’s rugby team.

The singer’s band was game but they were no match for a half dozen angry egg chasers.

“Back in a minute.”, said my violent guitarist, the scent of blood never too far from his nostrils.

“Watch your hands, Tall One. Use your head.” voiced Billy, who immediately regretted his ambiguous turn of phrase.

There he goes, big fucking Clark Kent. No, it’s alright Gordon…you’ve got this. I’ll wait here, look after the gear.

Just then, Jenny the gig co-ordinator appeared to inform us…

“You’re on next, guys. Good luck!”

Oh God!!! Panic! Where’s the nearest toilet?

A lightning fast forty minutes later and White had officially debuted. It was a bummer that Bob Geldof couldn’t make it on time. Seemingly he was stuck in Blantyre waiting for a taxi – it was a Friday evening, after all – but the Strathaven faithful, including the punky band from earlier AND their freshly patched up singer, all seemed to dig it.

As I jumped off stage, arms stretched into the crowd, taking the applause of my newly won fans, Devon collared the rest of the guys.

“I don’t want to alarm anyone but I’ve just been passed some info that the Glassford Bum Cuddlers first team are right now on their way to have a chat with our guitarist. Something about putting their pal in hospital. The van is out back, we need to go. Like ten minutes ago.”, said Devon. “Where’s the youngster?”

With the fans, of course. I’m all about the people. And I’ve never tired of my public telling me how great I was. Do you like the hair? Yeah, I did it myself…

I was just about to elicit a much needed pint when Devon rudely dragged me away.

My people….my people….

While Devon and Mondo were launching our gear into the back of the Transit, Gordon was for a different course of action. “I’m staying.”, he said, defiant as ever.  “Fuck them.”

Billy slung an arm around Gordon’s shoulders.

“At this point in proceedings, I’d say that discretion is the better part of valour, Tall One. There will be other fights.”, said Billy. “ And besides, if we go now, we can make the Nico’s lock in.”

Ah booze! Billy has just found Gordon’s achilles heel. Well, one of them anyway.

“I’d like it noted that I’m going under protest.”, said Gordon, convinced.

“Good lad.”, said Billy, passing him a guitar case.

However, Mondo wasn’t skipping town without making his mark.

“So, Jenny, I’m down this way quite a bit. Is there any chance of getting your number?”

“Sure”, she said with a smile. “It’s Strathaven 808080, that’s ate nothing, ate nothing, ate nothing.”

“Great, I’ll call you!” He turned to us with that cheesy grin which said, ‘Another Home Run!’.

We pulled away from the Town Hall, just as the Glassford boys, a pair of police vans and BBC film crew arrived to report on the melee.

“Told you there would be TV coverage.”, said Devon, vindicated.

“You know what guys? I’m sure that was Howard Jones in the back of that taxi”, said Billy.  Awww….

 

Back at Nico’s and I’m deep in conference with Donny.

“So, I’ll pick him up from the hospital at midday and drop him at yours?”, he said.

“Cool. So, how’s the search for a new singer going?”

Hmmm…

Donny’s face said it all.

“I see.”

“How’s your raggedy rod?”, said the Skull, attempting a low blow.

“Watch it!!!”, I replied.

“By the way, there are two fucking sexy bitches right behind you. And they’re looking right at me. Don’t turn around!”

Obviously I’m going to turn around.

Remarkably, the Skull was spot on. Behind me stood two rather attractive young ladies. The taller one was very forward and spoke with an accent.

“She’s Lara and I’m Anka”, she said, confidently, “and you are?”

“I’m George.”

“Anka?” said Donny, with a chuckle.

Oh no.

“Rhymes with…”

Don’t do it Donny!

“Oil tanka?”

That was close.

“And you are?”

“Call me Skull.”

“Skull?  As in..Skull?”

“Eh, yes…”

Anka looked straight through him. “Interesting…”

Donny enticed Lara away with another of his lady killer lines…

“Fancy buying me a Furstenberg?”

…Leaving Anka and I to strike up a conversation. Once I’d gotten past her slightly brusque exterior, talking with her felt so natural. There was an undeniable spark, an instant connection. What’s not to like?  She was tall, beautiful, a bit exotic and she had great taste in music.

“The Doors, Zeppelin and a couple of Scandinavian bands, you’ve probably not heard of. That’s what I’m into”, she said.

And men. One man in particular. Green lights all the way. There’s no way this could go wrong.

By three in the morning, the bar staff had called time on the lock in. As we gathered on the pavement outside the pub, Anka and I were drawn even closer than we’d been at the bar.

“I would invite you to mine but …”

I did want to tell her the truth but to paraphrase FR David, the words ‘My old boy looks as if I’ve been wanking with a cheese grater and anything resembling an erection would arguably give me a stroke and you nightmares’ didn’t come easy.

She put a finger over my lips.

“It’s been a special night. We can save it for tomorrow?”

“Can’t tomorrow.” I said. Live Aid was on and I wasn’t missing a second of that for a bird, even one as hot as Anka. “How about Sunday?”

“It’s a date.”, she said.   “Here’s my address. I want to see more of you, Mr George.”

We shared a kiss before she joined her friend Lara in a waiting cab. The rest of the band had bailed a while back so Donny and I were the last good men standing.”

“How did you get on with Lara?”, I asked.

“Good.  I think…”, he replied, a little confused.

“Care to elaborate?”

“She’s a bit fucking weird, mate”

Coming from the Skull, that was praise indeed.

“I mean, how the fuck do I know if I’m misogynistic if the stupid bun won’t tell me what it means?”

“Stupid bun.”

“But she did ask me to take her to the toilet and take her up the tailpipe so, it wasn’t all bad”

“Hey hey! 1-0 to the Skull!”, I said, high fiving my pulling partner.

“Any hole’s a goal, Geo.”

And that was a pretty good end to the day. White’s first gig, avoided getting my cunt kicked in, lock in at Nico’s, pulled a tasty foreign sort. Now, head home and wash my damaged bell end, check dictionary for definition of ‘misogynistic’, get Brido tomorrow and spend the day watching Adam Ant and the Boomtown Rats kick the arses of old farts like Queen at Live Aid. Donny has chosen to boycott the gig because the Stranglers and Bauhaus weren’t invited.

From what I can recall, the concerts seemed to go pretty well.

 

Cut to Sunday morning and I am rudely awakened by the sound of my door taking a Clubber Lang style pounding.

“Who the fuck is that at this time of the morning?”

I turned off the TV set, blinking away in the corner and check my watch. It’s two in the afternoon. I open the door and in storms Devon..

“Why aren’t you answering your fucking phone?”

“Devon, I don’t have a phone.”

“Oh. Well…you need to get one.”

“To what do I owe the pleasure?”, I asked.

“What are you up to next Friday?” he shot back.

A poetry reading at the CCA followed by a Merchant Ivory double bill at the GFT. What the fuck do you think I’m doing? Nico’s, booze and with any luck, my Nat King.

“How do you…”

Yes?

“Fancy supporting…”

Continue…

“Hipsway at The Mayfair next Friday night?”

My jaw fell open, as wide as the Clyde.

“For real?”, I muttered, stunned.

“Well?”, said Devon, beaming like a demon.

From under the pile of clothes on my sofa, a voice shouts out, making both Devon and I jump with fright.

“Guestlist!”, groaned Brido.

“As long as you promise not to embarrass me…”, demanded Devon, once his heart rate slowed.

Brido silently punched the air before returning to his state of sleep.

Me? I started dancing around the room. I grabbed Devon and wrestled him in sheer delight.

“Knock it off!”, he said. “Get this one right though and it’s one step closer to…”

“The Barrowland?”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Consider The Mayfair a little incentive. So, rehearsal tonight 7pm.”

“I’m there mate!”, I said, giddy as a schoolgirl.

Brido stirred again.  “Haven’t you got a date with some foreign chick?”

“Oh shit…you’re right! I’d better move.”

Ain’t life good? I was young, had a cool penthouse, was ridiculously handsome, the gigs kept coming AND I had a date with a foreign chick. A hot one to boot. Don’t tell anybody but she may be ‘The One’. No, seriously. Trying not to get ahead of myself here but I could see me accepting an Oscar or a Golden Globe for my acting debut in a bold eighties reimagining of James Bond role – Goldeneyeliner – and as I climbed those steps to thunderous applause, the culmination of my acceptance speech, which would contain the wit of Dorothy Parker and the modesty of Gandhi, I’d tearfully dedicate to her and our three children, La Toya, Indiana and Axel F. I honestly think she could be the Lady Di to my Prince Chuck.

I hopped the Subway to the West End, to Anka’s house. An old but well preserved sandstone tenement flat on Clarence Drive, no less. I told you that the girl had taste.

Anka opened the door. She was wearing a short, silken robe and little else.

“I’ve been expecting you, Mr George.”

See that?  She totally gets the Bond thing. This girl is sooo cool.

I gave her my besht Sean.

“Ah Pusshy, I musht be dreaming!”

She laughed. “I’m sorry? I love your accent but don’t always understand your Scottish humour.”

No problem sweetheart.  ‘We have all the time in the world…’

We hadn’t even reached the end of her tastefully minimalist hallway before she and I were locked in a very passionate embrace.

Here we go, I thought. This is what I’m talking about. And hello? A cheeky wee semi too? Easy now, Georgie boy.  Don’t want to destroy Frankencock!

When we came up for air, Anka spoke.

“I feel very comfortable with you.”

“Same here.”, I said.

“I’d like to take this further.” said Anka with a wicked smile.

Rockets… prepare for blast off.

“What would you like to do?”, I asked, ever the considerate gent.

“I don’t know if you’re ready for me.”

Excuse me? Of course I’m fucking ready. You’re on the guest list for the Hipsway gig, love.  That’s commitment. Listen, my heart is pounding and so are my jeans. The slightest touch will probably result in a flood that Charlton Heston would struggle to stem.

“I feel so comfortable with you.”, she repeated.

Yeah…you’ve already said that. How about getting that robe off?

“I’m ready for us to be joined.”

Yes!

Anka led me by the hand into a darkened room. She lit some candles and little by little, the room illuminated, revealing her intentions.

The Goat’s head…

Maybe she’s a hunter, I thought.

An upside down cross…

She’s got that the wrong way round….

What the …? Have I stepped in something?

My eyes were drawn down to a pentagram, freshly daubed on the wooden floor.

Holy Mary Mother of God!

I looked up and Anka was holding what I suspected was the knife which separated that poor fucking goat’s napper from its shoulders.

“Are you ready to join me?”, she whispered.

Woah!!!!

“Don’t you want to be part of me?”

I made a lunge for the light switch.

“I do…I do. It’s just…”

“Well, what’s the problem?”

Think fast, shitebag.

“I’ve just had an operation and …the doctor told me that I can’t…share blood?”

Anka thought about it for a second.

“No problem. The ceremony can wait.  We still fuck now, yes?”

“Ehhhh…I’ve got a rehearsal …”, I said, looking at the space on my wrist where my watch normally was, “right now actually.

“This is good. The wait will make the magic even more powerful.” said Anka.

“Absolutely.” I said, with a smile.

Absolutely not, you fucking mentalist.

I gave Anka a rather chaste peck on the cheek as she showed me the door.

“Come later, I will devour your seed.”

“I’ll call you when I’m finished.”, I said.

Right after calling Max Von Sydow and the Legion of Mary.  I am a sinner and I’m going to hell.

At the rehearsal room, I relayed my traumatic experience to the my bandmates in the hope that they may offer me sensitive counsel and provide me with succor, which they would have done had they not been rolling about the floor like the fucking Smash Mash aliens.

Only Mondo seemed interested in my welfare.

“That’s mad, George”, he said. “And I feel your pain but you need to get back over there and give her a serious length. Did I ever tell you that I fucked a Satanist once.  True story. Teased her until she shouted for Jesus.”

Devon arrived.

“Business boys. Business. A bit of news. Radio Clyde want to do an interview after the Hipsway show. There is definitely a buzz…”

How can I think about Radio at a time like this?

“And you got your first newspaper review!”, he added.  “Myra Blackman no less.”

We gathered around to read a miniscule article about the Strathaven gig.

“Her picture is bigger than the bloody review.”, said Billy.

Gordon wasn’t happy either. “She says 70’s rock like it’s a bad thing.”

“And I quote, ‘The singer resembles a young Jim Morrison’! Yes!!!” I shouted, walking away from the pack, arms aloft in triumph.

“That means she thinks you’re an alkie waster who writes bad poetry.”, said Billy, bursting my bubble.

“One of you might have to fuck her to get a bigger article.”, said Devon

“I can do that…”, I offered.

“I’m game.”, added Gordon.

“I think I might have fucked her already…”, said our priapic drummer.

Gordon interjected. “C’mon let’s get back into this. Count it off Mondo…”

There’s nothing like 130db of rock and a fair to middling newspaper review to wipe the traces of one’s future satanic spouse and the mother of the unholy spawn of said union right out of one’s psyche.

Gordon looked at the empty drum riser.

“Mondo! Where the fuck has he gone?”, he said.

“He’s away upstairs to make a call…again.”, said Billy.

I forgot to point out earlier that Sound City Studios shared premises and apparently, a payphone with a massage parlour. When stressed, dear Mondo would have to make at least three urgent calls, every rehearsal.  For some reason, he always came back very relaxed but desperately short of money.

Just as we were about to call it a day, Mondo’s curly mop reappeared.

“Can I borrow a couple of pennies?  Need to make an urgent call.”

“How much do you need?”

“Eh…call it £25.”

Once he’d left, we had a serious discussion about Mondo’s priorities.

“Point of no return?”, asked Billy

“Has to be”, agreed Gordon. “And anyway, he spends more energy running nightclubs than he does rehearsing.”

“Don’t forget, we’ve got The Mayfair gig on Friday.”, I said.

“We’ll make the break after the Hipsway show”.

At one point, our Mondo had more clubs on the go than Nick Faldo.  And like Nick, most days he could be found playing a round with Fanny.

“I’ll set up auditions after the gig.”, said Devon.

 

Between Sunday and Friday, I kept my profile as low as I possibly could with a face like this. While Anka combed the city, checking pubs and clubs for traces of my presence, I wondered how long it would take to process a restraining order?

The night of the Hipsway gig arrived and I’d almost run out of hidey holes. Eschewing my normal routine, I stayed back stage, peering out from behind a stack of amps. Thankfully, my ‘elite detail’, Brido and Donny, remained close by.

“Can you see her?”, I whispered from my hidden position.

“Not sure mate”, said Donny.

“Keep looking.”, I barked. “Not being over dramatic here but my entire future as a member of this species depends on it”

“So, we’re looking for a girl who wants to either mate with or mutilate you?  Narrows it down a bit.”, said Brido

Devon arrived. “Stop fannying around. You need to get ready, you’re on in 5 minutes.”

“Oh God…where’s the toilet!!”

Fast forward another forty minutes and we’re back in our dressing room.

“Well, that was…interesting.”, said Billy, slouching into the sofa.

Gordon’s face was red with rage. He threw his towel into the corner, too angry to speak.

Mondo arrived. “That was epic!”, he said. “I’ve set up a private room at Maestros for the aftershow”

We looked at him in disbelief.

“Mondo mate,”, I said. “You do realise what you did?”

“Whadidido?”

“You played all eight songs exactly the same. The same rolls, the same fills, the same tempo. THE SAME.” growled Gordon.

Mondo’s decision to drop a half a tab right before the gig meant that he had inadvertently invented the genre of ‘baggy’ AND drumming for the 90’s. One groove under which all tunes are played. Made a cunt of the two ballads though.

“Didn’t you like it?”, he said, grinning and grinding his teeth like a shape throwing scouser.

We helped him pack away his gear and said our goodbyes outside the venue.

“I suppose that’s that then?”

“Looks like it mate”, said Billy.

“It’s for the best”, added Gordon, by now, his reactors safely down at Defcon 3.

“Fair enough guys. Got to go.  It’s been an…interesting evening.  Might have to have a massage before heading to the club.  Just to loosen me up, you know? George, let me know how you get on with Satan’s little helper. See you all later?”

“Do we still get free passes to your clubs?”, asked Devon, ever the business man.

Mondo smiled back.

“Course you do!”

And he was as good as his word. We always liked Mondo.

Back inside the club, things were about to take a turn towards the sinistre

“She’s here!”, said Donny.

Brido looked into the audience. “Which one is she?”

Donny laughed.  “Hehehehe!  Like it ‘Witch’ one?!  Geddit? Nevermind.  Tall, attractive, short hair, demonic.”

“The one heading directly towards us?”, said Brido.

“Shit”, Donny had been clocked.

“Mr Skull, have you seen my George?”

Donny stalled as best he could, “He’s around here somewhere.”

“Hi, I’m Brido.You must be Anka”, he said, buying time. “Did you enjoy the show?”

Anka didn’t look impressed. “It was not what I’d expected. So, where is he?”

“He’s probably gone straight to the aftershow party.”

“Without me?  Without you?”

Brido stared at the floor, “Eh..maybe?”

“I’ll just go and meet him there…”, said Anka.

Walking out of the club with Donny and Brian following behind, she spotted me saying goodbye to Mondo.  Smiling, she threw her arms around me.

“Mr George. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Why have I got the Old Spice music playing in my head?

“Anka”, I said, “we need to talk.”

She kissed me saying, “We talk too much”

I pulled away, “Stop.  Anka, this isn’t going to work.”

She withdrew, surprised.

Think, quick!

“It’s not you, it’s me…”

Sweet Jesus, is that the best you can do?  Of course it’s her!

“You’re breaking up with me?”, she snarled in disbelief.

I nodded timidly, backing off to where Donny and Brido were stood.

You’re breaking up with me?”, her tone moving swiftly through the gears from incredulity to infuriation.

The next bit works better in the aforementioned Mr Heston’s voice…

And yea, verily the sky opened up and there were storms from the heavens themselves, hushed were the billows.

“What in the name of f..

I swear to God, she started speaking…in a very strange dialect…I’m sure I heard the word ‘Zuul’…

Brido cowered, “I do not like this.”

“Don’t look into her fucking eyes!”, shouted Donny, a man well versed in the dark ways.

The storm subsided and Anka composed herself.

“I curse you…George”, she said calmly “…until the end of your days.”

She walked away to the sound of metal crunching and stone cracking.

“Woof! That was fucking mental. Nimble little minx, eh?”, said Donny, one part scared, two parts impressed.

“Brido?”, I whimpered at my spooked friend.

“Yes?”

“Can you stay at mine tonight?”

“OK”, he replied. “But I am going nowhere near your fucking fridge.”

Just then, Gordon and Billy arrived with Devon.

“Did you see the sky there?”, asked Billy. “Very…trippy.”

“I think we’d better get to the afterparty before the locusts come down, eh?” said Gordon

“Good news or bad news, boys?”, asked Devon, changing the subject.

“Bad news”, I said. “Nothing could be worse than the seventh fucking sign”, I said.

“Unsurprisingly, the Radio Clyde interview is off.”

“Ach bollocks.”, said Gordon.

“And the good news is?” asked Billy

“Polydor Records saw something in that utter car crash of a gig and they want to see us again. In the studio. Date to be arranged.  And if that goes well, we may just have a shot at the support slot for the Christmas gig at the Barrowland.  No pressure boys, it’s only Big fucking Country!”

If our faces were words, they would extol the infinite and redemptive mysteries of the universe.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. And as long as Anka was taketh away, I could handl-eth anything. It was a challenging week. Collectively, we’ve lost a drummer, a foreskin and a testicle. Placed under a hex and chased out of town. As I lay in bed that night, next to my equally terrified best mate, the words of Edmond Dantes resonated in my head, “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you, as we know you … as a snivelling shitebag. Fair doos Eddie but I’m still here to see the sunshine – and search for a new drummer – tomorrow.

TO BE CONTINUED…

George Paterson

In case you missed the previous chapters…

Chapter 1
Socrates,Tony Bennett and Toblerone

Chapter 2
Wendy, Penelope, Felicity and the First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Scheme Scum

Chapter 3
Talking with the Taxman about Duran Duran, Monster Munch and the Nitshill Ball Lickers

Chapter 4
Bella Bella, Billy Bremner

Chapter 5
Going Down in a Blaze of Pale Custard

Chapter 6

Freddie, Edwyn and the Unbearable Lightness of a B&Q Wardrobe

Chapter 7

Penthouse and Payment

Chapter 8

The Gospel According to Robert Powell, Mad Alco and the Seven-fingered Jesus of Garnethill

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