39 Steps To Stardom
As Smith Sails To Success
At Stockbroker’s Schooner In Southwick
Experienced déjà vu as I drove from our Hambrook site to Southwick, near Brighton. This time round it’s enter Attila The Stockbroker – exit Richard Strange and enter PK - exit H. One find day I’ll tell the story of how TV introduced Richard Strange to H and I at the Barn, Southwick gig last March.
Arrived at Attila’s big old terraced house on time. I entered as a mild mannered Development & Learning Manager, complete with The Suit. Ten minutes later exit punk Tj. Attila and I looked like a pair of bookends both resplendent in total black, with hoods and matching Clash shirts.
Walked down to the gig with Attila and his stepson Patrick. Met TV, Steve The Fish, PK and their buddy (who was drinking draught Bud - the real stuff not that awful American beer that tastes like chewed up spit) downstairs in the gig room at The Schooner. It was great to meet my forum mate PK for the first time. We had a good old natter about music. Then we all helped set out the tables and chairs for this small and cosy gig – well after all we are the TUTS (TV UK Tour Supporters.) Had a quick pint of Abbot and TV did is usual Atlantic Tunnel sound check. TV was on great form, so all systems were go!
Patrick and I set off along the coast towards Brighton in the drizzle. We walked along, hood up > through the wind, through the rain, to the chip shop down the lane. Patrick asked about my job and his future career prospects. Patrick was mature for his age and we had a friendly, open and interesting chat. We talked about various bands how I originally had met TV. “Are you TV’s number one fan then?” I laughed and replied “There is way too much competition for that title!” Would you want to go up against the likes of Klaus of the Forum, Steve of the Fish, Craig of the Drums, Dave of the Channel, Fred of the statistics? To name but five! I could easily add another two-dozen likely candidates – just check out the names on excellent new TV Smith Forum for starters! And then on top of them there are all the non posters like my best mate Smit.
We eventually arrived at the fish and chips shop somewhat dripping. On entering I saw a rather unfortunate sign reading: “NO EATING INSIDE THE SHOP!” Customer service is alive and well and living on the Southwick coastline! I explained my order to the girl on the counter. “Can we have one portion of pie and chips and one portion of fish and chips to eat now please, and one portion of fish and chips to pay for now and take away after we have eaten our food outside under the buss shelter.” She didn’t get the hint about the buss shelter. When all the food was cooked the other girl started to prepare the order. As the two had failed to communicate she started doing the order wrong. I decided to start again.
“Can we have one portion of pie and chips and one portion of fish and chips to eat now please, and one portion of fish and chips to pay for now and take away after we have eaten our food...” “YOUR NOT EATING IN HERE!” she shouted, before I could finish my sentence. “Yes I know about your policy we are going to eat outside, out of the rain, under the buss shelter!” I patiently replied. Once the food was paid for and devoured I went back in for Attila’s fish and chips and said “Thank you for letting us use your buss shelter”. My sarcasm went straight over their open mouthed heads!
We attempted a run back, but, the fish and chips had turned me into a fat blowter, so we jogged at first before slowing down to stroll.
Back at The Schooner the punters were beginning to arrive. The ale flowed. I sat down with PK, Steve The Fish and Bud at the front, little expecting what we were about to witness.
Attila introduced the star of the first gig Attila had arranged at his new venue. On came the man. His thin black frame standing out in front of the brilliant white sails of a large model yacht attached to the wall behind the stage. The small room was packed to capacity with 40 keen explorers, braving the shite weather.
TV kicked off with Klaus’s signature tune For Every Hit There’s A Miss. Fantastic! Next up the underrated and beautiful March Of The Giants followed by the newer Driver And Passenger. “This is the support so I’m going to play obscure songs, if you like them then be like football fans and threw money – but gently. Just one thing though – I won’t be throwing it back!” Joked TV, referring to a recent incident where a footballer had tossed the money thrown at him back into the crowd. “Big Fish Steve has requested old songs…” TV launched into the fantastic and extremely underrated The Servant. “I can jump a mountain now, stick my head through the clouds, I’m alive, now I’ve found some purpose” sang the man. “Cast Of Thousands” roared Attila from the other side of the room. Before he obliged TV said “Gary Bushell buried me for this song about the papers and then went on to The Sun!!! And now he’s even got sacked from The Sun!” Everyone cheered their approval at justice done.
“Great British Mistake,” shouted Steve The Fish – TV obliged. “Quickstep” yelled Steve. “That’s impossible on acoustic guitar – you just want me to fuck it up Steve.” TV indulged Steve, but he was right it was impossible to play because as TV went on to explain “I didn’t fuck it up – my string snapped”. “My String Will Snap hollered The Stockbroker, right on queue. Just as this Cheap classic reached its final note I shouted out “As Soon As I Found It I Lost It.” Just then a mobile phone went off. Everyone dived in their pockets red faces galore – all dreading the wrath of Smith. “I don’t bleeding believe it” I chuntered upon realising that the guy who is constantly asking people to turn their mobiles off whilst they are in training courses, had left his mobile on. “THE WORLD JUST GOT SMALLER AGAIN” laughed TV. “It’s alright it’s Richard Strange wondering why he wasn’t asked tonight, I’ll cut him off” I joked, trying desperately to sound like I was in control. Of course TV still played the mobile phone song, but made up for this by following up with the heavenly As Soon As I Found It I Lost It.
Three drunken looking blokes entered the room and crept on the floor towards the front. I noticed one looked like a white Rastafarian Christ!
“Beautiful Bomb” yelled Attila – “I don’t see Mr Channel 5” replied TV “This is about a man who builds his own bomb and is so pleased with it, that he falls in love with it,” says TV as he hit the first note of the 80’s class track. After he finishes the song he re-sings one of the lines with new words “I have a peace plan, you be Afghanistan and I’ll be an American.” This was a line I’d hinted at in a posting on Klaus’s TV Forum – great minds…
TV hit back with another Giant; I Can’t Pay I Won’t Pay, followed logically by £1,000,000, a slightly faster version of Swimming In The Flood (requested by yours truly) and Televisions Over. The white Rastafarian Christ stood up at the front. “Sit down and shut up Smelly,” howled Attila. A new legend was born.
“You ain’t heard this one right,” says TV bursting into I Surrender. Check out the Punk In London Bored Teenagers DVD for TV singing this at his lively Adverts best.
After The Lion And The Lamb, TV explained about the TV Smith fans favourite Top 100 songs chart I ran on his Internet site in 2001. “The number one song was Expensive Being Poor,” “And the car is off the road but I never had a car. And I pay more for my food ‘cause the supermarket’s too far” sang TV. Break time. “You can tell me when to re-start,” said TV, as he left the stage to thunderous applause.
Quick pint. Overheard a couple of blokes at the bar talking about Sparks and John Foxx’s Ultravox! Ah great days!
TV is back with a bang with Gilmore’s Eyes and One Chord Wonders. TV’s going for it that much that he slapped nut on’t mike. Next a true classic, that all fingers crossed, will appear on the next album; The Future Used To Be Better.
Oh well – looks like I’ll be walking home; here’s The Day We Caught the Big Fish. A Big sigh emits from Steve. “Not all my songs are that depressing” as TV began his newest song Not A Bad Day. “I set out with an unusual name.” “I can see the light on the horizon and I might just head on home.”
The next shout was from Smelly “Alcohol” he blurted. TV looked confused and said, “I thought it was a request I was wondering what album it was off!”
“Lies” shouted Attila. TV was up for it. “This has the same chord as Thin Green Line, it’s an anti vivisection song about the lack of focus on developing a cure for cancer, because scientists are too busy developing domestic products for commercial gain.”
“No Time To Be 51” bellowed Smelly. “How old are you Smelly,” asked TV. “47” replied Smelly, “Bastard your even older than me!” “I’ve 6 years to go yet!” said TV carrying on the crack.
TV then played two underrated classics My Place (with a forgotten 3rd verse) and Free World. “I need to look at mini cab tickets – it’ll cost a fortune by cab to get to London.” He like I knew that PK The Hobgoblin would never let him down. Immortal Rich time!
Next it was a more sombre note with Atlantic Tunnel, “Imagine being an American tourist knowing you are going to be bombed.” As TV stomped his way through his 2001 best live song his sequencer fell off the stage. “That’s the first time ever that the entire band has fallen off the stage,” laughed TV. TV picked up the band and hit the sequencer switch straight into a Tomahawk Cruise. “This was covered by Ralph Steadman,” said TV. He followed up this near hit with the B-side See Europe.
“Bombsite Bomb” shouted Steve The Fish. TV forgets the line I have suggested for the Know Your Product Adverts Attitude T shirt. “I’m not going to sell my soul and do what everybody says.” Adverts time with my signature tune; New Church and Bored Teenagers. Smelly took to the stage and stood right next to TV and exposed his hunky chest. I took some photos of the stage invasion camera a ready for Smelly’s stage dive, unfortunately even he wasn’t that drunk.
“Number 2” I shouted. TV looked at me aghast, “What’s that?” “If you don’t know what number 2 is you’ve got a problem,” I answered. “It’s Only One Flavour!” TV burst into the second most popular in his Top 100.
TV said, “This is about a Generation brought up on the Spice Girls” as he began the Generation Y ballad. “Here’s one on a similar theme it’s called Safety In Numbers.”
I knew we were near the end of the set when TV said, “this is a song about a train driver carrying a load of nuclear waste and he’s having a very bad day.” TV announced his departure. “MMOOOOOORRRRREEEEE” roared the crowd in reply.
TV returned to finish off this double length set with another rare treat; I Will Walk You Home, dedicated to the new explorer PK, the person who was saving him from a very long walk home.
I checked the song and comments sheet I had been writing. 39 songs that beat Lincoln by 6 songs I thought to myself. I remembered that TV had done 38 songs on his last German tour. “Hey TV you’ve just done 39 songs – is that a record.” “Wow” replied TV “It is – I’m a record breaker!”
TV, Attila, Steve the Fish, PK, Bud and I hung around as we helped TV to load all his gear (well his guitar and sequencer actually) into PK’s car. Attila and I said our goodbyes and headed back to his house.
On the way back we talked about what a great gig it had been and how Attila must have the same taste as me in TV songs, judging by the ones he shouted out for. Once inside I bought a copy of his Barnstormer CD that featured a cover of the stunning Richard Strange song; And I Won’t Run Away. Attila and I chatted about Dickie Strange (as Attila calls him) and the Doctors Of Madness and how Attila found the Caberet Futura scene not be his cup of tea – in fact he couldn’t even get a pint of ale to drink.
Hit the sofa at 12:30. Thought to myself; ‘Not A Bad Day!’