Jon 'Fat' Beast has died. I first met him when he gave The Price a gig at one of the Timebox nights that he was running at The Bull And Gate in Kentish Town - he liked our band and even offered to release a single by us on Timebox Records. We saw him at many gigs over the next few years, maybe the most memorable of which was when we supported Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine at The Guildhall in Gloucester back in 1991. They recorded the promo film for 'Bloodsport For All' that night - he's not in that but he's certainly in this clip of 'Surfin' USM' recorded the same year. All together now - 'you fat bastid, you fat bastid...'
In the meantime, that was the birthday that was... actually on the day itself (Thursday in case you were wondering) I did, well, nothing much. I spent much of my time listening to The Who (always a good move don't you think?) and playing guitar, and didn't leave the house until I went to the local Indian takeaway where I bought myself a vegetable Biriani. Decadent Days eh?!? By the time the evening's gig came around I was half asleep, bored and desperate for something to do - they say that the most tiring thing in the world is doing nothing don't they? Well they - whoever 'they' are - just might be right on that one... the evening's show with Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks at The Sunningdale Lounge went well, even if it was a somewhat unlikely setting for your humble narrator to spend his birthday evening at. Still at was back to more familiar territory the next night, when The Upper Cut played The Dolphin in Uxbridge. A raucous performance began a little after 9.30pm with 'Substitute' and finished well after midnight with 'Stay With Me' (we had an interval, we didn't play all the way through!) and since we've played there on or around July 24th for the last couple of years I'll be doing my best to book the band in there again next year. Afterwards drinks were drunk and I got home sometime around 3 o'clock in the morning amid some confusion. A splendid evening - and did myself and Huggy really plot some 30th-years-since-our-first-show Price gigs next year? Yes, I believe that we did...
Given the previous evening's antics it was something of a miracle that I made it to Balcony Shirts just as Dave was opening the front door at 9am. Vast application of coffee and fried eggs sandwiches followed, and all things considered I made it through a fairly busy day reasonably unscathed. From there it was off to The Swan in Iver, where Big Al and the band played an outdoor show as part of the annual family fun day. We were on at half past six - as our set progressed it felt as though rain could be a possibility, which as we were playing in the garden with no roof above us could have been something of a dangerous situation for us to be in. Thankfully the weather stayed good and our show went ahead with no problems, after which we saw a few songs by local duo 2Tone before heading off to Go Sing in West Drayton for far too much Chinese food. Excellent!
And last night I saw Television at The Shepherds Bush Empire. To describe their debut album 'Marquee Moon' as 'a classic' barely does it justice - it is quite simply one of the best albums of all time. But more about them in a minute - support came from Louise Distras, who seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment. Her set was well received by the assembled multitude, and her last song 'The Hand You Hold' had more than a few people singing along, a sure sign that she's getting through. And Television were absolutely terrific, with Tom Verlaine as unconventional as ever (I don't remember the last time that I saw a frontman ask for less light on stage!) and the band sounding great from start to finish. 'Marquee Moon' was featured in it's entirety and sounded as timelessly brilliant as ever as did their first single 'Little Johnny Jewel', while the final encore of 'Psychotic Reaction' reminded us all of where all this stuff came from in the first place. A fine evening - and not a bad birthday present to myself don't you think?!