Vague 3

March 1980 The Ramones – The Clash – The Boys – The Raincoats – Program
The Softies – Decentralisation – Perry cartoons – The Tours
The Kitchens – The Mental – Toyah – Vice Squad

Issue 3 was the first one printed at Skittles in Gillingham, Dorset, by the station. Our hippy printers Rob and Sue (formerly of Butler’s Wharf in London where the Pistols played) produced the rest of the Vague fanzines and the first annuals. Issues were mostly typed, pasted up and stapled in Mere, in my bedroom, Jane’s and the Ship. In this issue, as well as the Ramones, the Clash, the Boys and the Raincoats, there was an interview with Big Mick of the Softies, the Stiff tour manager who played with the Damned, in the Ship with George Hart of Heap and Grandma Moses, who failed to teach me to play bass; we went on the road with Program to Bournemouth, Winchester, Bristol Trinity, Weymouth, New Milton with the Catholic Girls, Bath, Salisbury, etc; Andy Conio proposed decentralisation, the album of the month was ‘The Raincoats’, Perry’s single reviews featured the Kitchens, the Mental, Toyah and the Boys, Simon Loveridge went to London with the Tours and I slagged off Vice Squad.

The Ramones: Rock’n’Roll High School Report

February 6 1980 The Ramones and the Boys at Bournemouth Stateside on the ‘End of the Century’ tour: Happiness is smashing your cranium against the Village pillars to the Ramones and the Boys by Tom and Iggy. As the Vague pop sub-cult conflict between post-punk and traditional punk rock continued, putting the case for the latter, Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid of the Boys introduced the Ramones in Vague 3, backstage at the Stateside (formerly the Village Bowl): “I don’t like weird stuff. I think it’s easy for a band to be experimental. The hardest thing to do is write a short pop song. I can really relate to the Ramones. Their whole operation is military, they take it very seriously, they’re like an army. Joey moves forward 2 paces, Dee Dee back 2 and so on. But they are great, I’m looking forward to going to the States.”

At this point ‘Gabba Gabba Hey’ banners go flying past the Stateside dressing room and Kid Reid and Matt Dangerfield are surprised to hear Joey do a different into: “Hi, we’re the Ramones, 1, 2, 3, 4…” We wind up the Boys interview to the strains of ‘Rock’n’Roll High School’ and ‘Let’s Go’. The corridors backstage give it a weird distant quality but as we walk back out into the Bowl again it – that is the Ramones – comes hurtling back at us again, even at the back. In front of the stage there is already a mass of seething bodies. The Ramones slow things down a bit with the new single ‘Baby I Love You’. Then they go crashing into their old favourites; “1, 2, 3, 4…” ‘Chinese Rocks’, “1, 2, 3, 4…” ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’, and so on. The Ramones have loads of different cultures here tonight – bikers, punks, skins, trendies, etc. Joey finishes a number and stands clutching the mike. Somebody shouts, “Is he dead?” Joey replies, “1, 2, 3, 4…” ‘Judy is a Punk’. No, he ain’t.

After the latest offensive in the war on mainstream pop music was successfully concluded, following a few encores, the Ramones don’t return and the sweating crowd disperse. We see our roadie friend again and he leads us backstage. As we enter the dressing room Joey is standing in front of a mirror meticulously combing his greasy locks. This is where he remains throughout the interview. The newest member Marky is more sociable, he sits us down and gets us some beer – we have to use Iggy’s teeth to open it though. Marky Ramone told us that US fanzines were not like Vague: “They are very different – they are on a very local scale. They don’t circulate around the whole country only in their areas. The best one I have seen is Chatterbox from New York City… We like playing here but I think I would sooner play in the States where there is no tension.”

Marky, in response to Iggy’s question “How would you describe yourself musically?”: “I guess I’m just a old time rock’n’roller. At one time, 3 years ago, there was a lot of pressure on you, people expecting you to be a punk because of the music you play. I hate being classified.” Marky on the audience: “We thought they were great, we got them going really well. I think the punks in the UK are very hip and cool. They dress better than in the States or anywhere, also they are into a lot of different good music… The mods make me feel old but I think it’s good that kids are hip enough to get into the mod scene no matter what you think of it. But I don’t think mods have any choice, it’s very narrow-minded.” Marky, regarding pop cults in the US: “They are just normal teenagers. There are punks but not many of course, there is quite a big heavy metal scene but that’s it… I really like playing but I also want to make money because I’ve got a wife and kids to support. I’m a working man… I really like playing in small places as long as they appreciate our music… My influences are the New York Dolls, T Rex, the Stooges, Black Sabbath and Slade.”

While Joey continued combing his hair, Dee Dee Ramone responded to another dumb fanzine interview question from Tom: “I don’t think we influenced the British punk scene that much, but when we came over here the first time the Pistols were just getting started and we pulled in big audiences then. We did not realise we had so much impact over here though. We made it in England before the States. In the States everyone is either into Kiss or stuff like that, about the nearest thing to punk is Tom Petty. Kids are just getting into the Pistols and the Clash. It is very hard for a band like that to make it in the States. I don’t like the Knack or Blondie or any of that stuff. In their early days Blondie were quite good. I like the New York Dolls, Heartbreakers and Iggy but it is a completely different scene in the States.”

Dee Dee, in response to “Are you into any of the new bands over here? Do you like PIL?” from Tom: “Some of it. I liked their first album a lot, and although I’m not particularly into the new stuff I think it’s great that people can move in such different directions.” Marky on future Ramones plans: “We’re finishing off the tour, then going to Europe for a few dates, then back to the States. We’re still promoting the ‘End of the Century’ LP and have no studio work lined up.” Marky on the Rock’n’Roll High School film: “I did not enjoy doing it, because we had to make out that we were average teenagers and college kids and we are not like that at all.” Dee Dee: “I don’t really care what people think, we just get up there and play, dressed as we like, and if some people don’t like it that’s too bad.” I met Dee Dee Ramone again in the 90s in Ignition T-shirt shop on Portobello Road, looking virtually unrecognisable not in regulation Ramones leather jacket.

The Boys: To Hell With

At about 7.30 we are getting desperate – no money and we can’t get in backstage. The only alternative is to chance our arms and legs with the charming looking gents on the door. We’re in luck and they direct us to a Straight Music promoter. He’s impressed with Vague 2 (believe it or not) and gets us passes. Me and Iggy rush gleefully to the bar and set upon the Bournemouth punters with the latest issue of our smash hit mag. After a few bevies we go into see the Boys and simultaneously fix up an interview. The Boys lack stage presence but their music soon makes up for that and the audience gets going after the first few numbers. To be honest with you we nipped back to the bar. On our return the Bowl is filling up as the Boys do a number for me ‘TCP’, for people with spots, basic punk thrash but good, their excellent new single ‘Terminal Love’, which is the most progressive thing they’ve done so far, the almost heavy metal last single ‘Kamikaze’ and the Damned’s ‘Sick On You’, which I’ve heard done by about 4 or 5 bands. They were promoting their ‘To Hell with the Boys’ LP.

When the Boys finish their set me and Iggy move backstage and a bouncer asks us if we want autographs. We get into the dressing room and introduce ourselves. Most of the Boys rush off to the bar but luckily Kid Reid doesn’t. The Boys are: Duncan Kid Reid – vocals/bass, Honest John Plain – guitar/vocals, Matt Dangerfield – guitar/vocals, Jack Black – drums and Casino Steel – keyboards/vocals. Kid Reid tells us: “If you must classify us as anything it would be as a rock band. We started up about 4 years ago now, but we split up for a period of about 18 months and have just come back together last year. We got bored and disillusioned by the whole thing, John had a baby, Jack became a professional gambler, the rest of us got drunk a lot. Then we got bored with doing nothing and we all met up in London one day and decided to get back together again… The Ramones rang us up actually, and they were really amazed when we accepted because they thought we were really big. They chose us because they wanted someone with good keyboards. Cas plays with the Ramones on ‘Baby I Love You’.

Matt Dangerfield on the audience: “We thought it was very quiet and it was difficult to get them going. It’s a lot better playing here now than when we supported the Jam about 3 years ago. I remember when we played then you couldn’t see anything of the audience for those blinding lights. It’s still a bit like that.” Kid Reid on supporting the Ramones: “It’s really great, we’re enjoying ourselves and getting tighter all the time. The Ramones are really nice. They take their music very serious. They’re a good band to support actually.” Kid, replying to predictable musical influences question: “Well, this lot – the Ramones – for a start, and bands like the Beatles and the Stones. I like all that stuff even though it’s not hip.” Kid on punk: “I never expected it to last forever and I think anybody who did was very naïve. The best groups remained, the bad ones fell by the wayside. In the end it’s all down to the rock’n’roll treadmill. That’s what we got bored with 2 years ago.”

Kid on going to America: “I think it’s great, look, if you’ve got a band together, you’d want to expand and play the States, it’s a challenge. I’d really like to play the States. The Ramones have offered us their support spot and we’ll most definitely do it… I come from London, so does Jack, the 2 guitarists come from Leeds, Cas the keyboard player comes from Norway… We’re not deliberately trying to get away from punk but I don’t like bands like the UK Subs, there’s no direction there. They’re not doing anything new… What I’d like to do is write 3 minute pop songs, you know a classic, old standards like Chuck Berry or something. Actually, I think if ELO had shorter hair and didn’t have silly beards I’d probably even like them. I’d love to sell lots of records, that’s the only way to carry on. Make a lot of money and be successful. Playing gigs and going down really well is a big ego trip. Yes, we’re trying to be commercial, trying not to be bigheaded…” The Boys are in the same branch of the punk rock family tree as the Clash; coming out of the legendary proto-punk groups the London SS and Hollywood Brats.

The Clash: Rude Boys

February 10 The Clash and Mikey Dread at Poole Arts Centre: The Clash went into the 80s on the ‘London Calling’ ‘16 Tons’/‘Rockers Galore’ tour; featuring DJ Mikey Dread ‘at the controls’, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Prince Far-I, Prince Hammer, Pete Townshend, Joe Ely, Lew Lewis and the Zigzag editor Kris Needs’ Vice Creems supporting, Zigzag’s Robin Banks selling the Clash fanzine Armagideon Times and the Roughler poet-roadie Jock Scot as MC. As the Clash film Rude Boy, Jack Hazan and David Mingay’s docu-drama story of another roadie Ray Gange, came out to some acclaim for capturing the early Thatcherite times. For The Sound of the Westway Clash story go to Vague 45 Notting Hill History Timeline chapters 13-16

In the Vague Clash interview on the ’16 Tons’ tour at Poole, Steve Rudell (our Weymouth correspondent) asked “How’s the tour been going Joe?” Strummer replied: “Not too good so far. We got busted the other night. We were back at the hotel having a party when the Drug Squad raided and I had half a gram in my top pocket. 4 others got done including Topper. It’s the first time I’ve been busted – I’m not too pleased but I’ll only get a small fine. Then at Coventry we got a lot of gobbing. That really pisses me off and they just kept on doing it, so I jumped into the crowd to try and stop it and got this black eye.” Joe has a nice shiner. “More trouble at Sheffield – this time our van driver said we had too many in the van, so he refused to drive. We all got out of the van, took all our clothes off and stood in front of it. The driver got so embarrassed he told us to get in and drove off.”

Joe comments on Vague 2, saying Perry’s cartoon should have a full page – you got it Joe. Regarding the Clash film Rude Boy he explains: “There was a sort of premier of Rude Boy. We hired out the Empire in Leicester Square at great expense – and only 4 CBS executives turned up to watch it which made me really mad. It’s about Slob Ray. It’s a true story, Ray was a junkie who followed us about and eventually became a roadie. It’s about his life related to our music and racial problems and suchlike.” Steve: “It was a bit expensive tonight.” Joe: “Yeah, I know, we’re trying to do gigs cheaper but can’t because of hiring out PAs, paying CBS and so on.” Steve: “What did you think of the US scene?” Joe: “Not very good at all. Out of all the places we played about 2 of them had a good scene going.”

Steve: “What have you got planned for after the tour?” Joe: “I eventually want to do the first take live album, but we’re not together enough to do it at the moment. Oh yes, this record company wants to release a 101’ers LP, but I’m going to stop that at all costs. The record company really ripped off the 101’ers. From the single ‘Keys To Your Heart’ we made £100 plus £90 sales and the company pocketed the rest. The 101’ers are over, it’s in the past, that’s why I don’t want the album released.” Steve: “Finally, why don’t you do ‘White Riot’ anymore?” Joe: “We only do ‘White Riot’ if we’re in the right mood. It’s no good doing a half pace ‘White Riot’, it has to be done with everything in it.”

I gave the Poole gig, at the time of ‘London Calling’, an unfavourable review for being too rockist: The White Man in Poole Arts Centre – I’ve seen the Clash 6 times… After seeing them at their best I think it’s sad, to say the least, to see what they’ve come to now. After that momentous day the Pistols split, the Clash rapidly took over as the great white punk hope. Then from about the time of ‘White Man in Hammersmith Palais’ onwards they declined… All the old punk principles fell by the wayside – massive tours – ‘I’m So Bored With The USA’, long guitar solos, huge stage lighting and lots and lots of posing… I can hear you saying, ‘If you think a band’s doing it for the kids and not the money you’re stupid’… but they still say they’re a band of the people even when they spend most of the time in the States, have a fucking great juggernaut and are starting to bring out singles at the same rate as Blondie.

Kid Reid of the Boys said, “If you’ve got a band together, you’d want to expand and play the States.” Well, sure, but it’s the way the Clash are going about it – posing with Chuck Berry and wearing cowboy hats… The Clash aren’t a punk band anymore… Granted the Clash put on a good show, they can play well and they’ve been going since the start… ‘Give ’em enough dope and watch ’em turn into the Rolling Stones’… You have to like them. I don’t expect the Clash to do identikit versions of ‘White Riot’, ‘London’s Burning’, etc. You’ve got to change and they have changed. They did re-workings of old standards in pretentious hip reggae/rockabilly form… also the way they present their set, it all revolves around posing; Paul Simonon jumps into the air and arrogantly glances at the audience and then Mick Jones tries to out-pose him… After my post-punk loss of faith in the Clash, I came back round to them listening to ‘London Calling’ and ‘Sandinista’ in Berlin in the mid-80s.

The Raincoats: Homage To

Summing up the Raincoats’ anti-rock rock appeal and the Rough Trade label, Mike Dyer wrote in Vague 3: Punk’s not dead – the Raincoats live, their grass roots music is subversive activity, revolt against the bigness and sophistication of the music industry…

The Raincoats are an all girl band from London who have released two singles and one album on the Rough Trade record label. Their drummer was once with the Slits and another member comes from the feminist band Jam Today who I thought were good when I saw them in 1977. I like the Raincoats and I like Rough Trade. I approve of what they do – creativity at grass roots level. Small companies like Rough Trade encourage lively experiment and originality – things which cannot be formulated into mere style. Style is packaging – superficial. What is important is for there to be something authentic underneath the style – enforcing it. The Raincoats’ music is more than style – it expresses more than itself. The Raincoats are happening now.

Pop music goes in styles and trends which last one year or two gradually losing their initial excitement, virtually degenerating into style – a certain way of dressing and singing. I like bands that oppose this trend, keeping alive the spontaneity and originality which I think was the essence of punk. Today when I think that many of the established punk groups are getting more into being rock stars, it’s good that there’s the Raincoats. Punk’s not dead – the Raincoats live, their spontaneous exciting grass roots music is subversive activity, revolt against the bigness and sophistication of the music industry. The Raincoats are not glossy or sophisticated, there’s a roughness and crudity in their sound that’s alive in contrast to the technical perfection of more successful music.

The Raincoats often sound out of tune, play wrong notes, and scrape and grate their guitar strings. Like Rough Trade they are an antidote to the over big and too influential companies which manipulate consumer taste into conformist trends – stirring rather than encouraging authentic grass roots popular creativity. Abba mean nothing to me, their photo smiles mean nothing to them, but the Raincoats playing is not merely an exercise, they mean it man and therefore I like it, it is exciting. Homage to the Raincoats: Trying not to walk to extremes, round Salisbury reading its decorations: one way street, no parking day or night, as the nervous consumers stop to pick up money off the road they are on, it is late autumn and there are 3 apples left, I twist my wrist in the tangled future, and I like the Raincoats.

‘The Raincoats’ Rough Trade Records Vague 3 album of the month reviewed by Perry

The Raincoats’ debut album has been out for some time but I only recently managed to get hold of a copy. The only record they have released previously is there excellent ‘Fairytale in a Supermarket’ single. The Raincoats were formed with the ex-Slits drummer Palmolive and where as the Slits album is more reggae influenced, the Raincoats is slightly folkie – controversial isn’t it? The album includes a version of the Slits’ ‘Adventures Close to Home’, different from the version on the B-side of the ‘Fairytale’ single, and a great version of the Kinks’ ‘Lola’. The other tracks are ‘No Side to Fall’, ‘Off Duty Trips’ (a song about the army), ‘Black and White’, ‘The Void’ (later covered by Courtney Love’s Hole), ‘Life on the Line’, ‘You’re a Million’, ‘In Love’ (also on the B-side of the ‘Fairytale’ single) and ‘No Looking’. All the tracks are good and the album is very pleasant and relaxing to listen to – and not in a boring sort of way. The line-up of the band is: Gina Birch – guitar, Ana da Silva – bass, Vicky Aspinall – violin and Palmolive – drums. The vocals are shared. My only criticism of the album is that it only lasts about 30 minutes, and considering the price of albums these days, it’s bad value for money, even if it is a good album.

Rough Trade

At the start of the 80s Rolling Stone magazine sent Greil Marcus to Notting Hill to report on Rough Trade. The intellectual rock writer found, ‘It’s fab, it’s passionate, it’s wild, it’s intelligent! It’s the hot new sound of England today!’ At this point the major independent scene concerns were the Pop Group’s dead foetus/H-bomb artwork being misconstrued as anti-abortion, Rock Against Sexism (RAS) being confused with fervently sexist Rastafarianism, Thatcher and skinheads. As Rough Trade pressed and distributed the first Two-tone release, the Special AKA ‘Gangsters’ EP, the shop was subject to some ska revival skinhead aggro. Beyond the shopfront hangout of punks, skins and Rastas, Greil Marcus came upon ‘a rickety 3-storey building with a few offices, all in a mild hubbub of typing, mailing, and phone-answering’, which he noted ‘resembles nothing as much as a 60s underground press office.’

Geoff Travis, the founding father chief Rough Trader, explained his Chestertonesque Tory-anarchist response to Thatcherite enterprise culture, telling Greil Marcus: “I don’t see Rough Trade as the record business, and I hate the idea of artists. Rough Trade is a place where people are simply doing their work. It’s a place where people can get support, meet other people, get ideas, listen to each other, and make a living.” Or, as the NME’s Ian Penman put it, the shop had become ‘dragnet and dispensary… a medium between the ideology of independent music and the primarily economic concerns of a group of people in the business of selling the material from which that ideology takes.’

The current shop manager Pete Donne admits that “Rough Trade was sort of snobby, a bit intellectual, people talking about things, the whole political side of it. I think Rough Trade people have always been accused, probably quite rightly, of being a bunch of hippies.” In the Portobello market counter-culture tradition, Rough Trade represented the existential opposite of King’s Road punk style culture. Pete recalls discouraging customers from consuming pop or traditional punk product and pushing more experimental stuff: “50% of what you were selling was reggae, and in a lot of ways it was a completely split audience. You’d get white kids coming in and buying punk, and the black guys buying reggae, and you got a few people that bought both, but not really that many.”

The Rough Trade reggae department was run by the Carnival sound-system DJ and Rough trade van driver Austin the Mighty Observer and the various Rough Trade reggae Steves: Steve Montgomery, the radical anti-major co-founder, who lived in the Apocalypse Hotel on Freston Road and took dub reggae to San Francisco; Steve Jameson, who originally worked for Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label with the Fall on Blenheim Crescent, began sound-system operating during his time at the Rough Trade shop before finding late 80s indie fame with World Domination Enterprises; and the main one, ‘Little Steve’ Alexander, who co-ran reggae distribution.

Before the end of the 70s, the original Rough Trade shop at 202 Kensington Park Road had become so cluttered up with boxes of records and fanzines that larger premises had to be found. The Rough Trade label and distribution department duly moved, west across Ladbroke Grove beyond the Marc Bolan house, into an office and warehouse complex at 137 Blenheim Crescent. After the label left Kensington Park Road, the shop reopened having undergone repairs. To mark the occasion there was ‘Another Rough Trade Treat’ at the Hammersmith Clarendon post-punk venue on the Broadway, featuring the TV Personalities at the time of their ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives’ single tribute to the Pink Floyd singer.

As well as their own stuff, Rough Trade distributed the Miles Copeland labels, Step Forward, Deptford Fun City, Illegal, etc from Blenheim Crescent, the one-off labels, Small Wonder – mainly the anarcho-punk Crass, Tony Wilson’s Manchester label Factory – mainly Joy Division/New Order, Two-tone’s Special AKA and Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’. The early Rough Trader Daniel Miller emerged from his DIY tape incarnation of the Normal as the boss of the Mute label, after his JG Ballard tribute track ‘Warm Leatherette’ became a hit for Grace Jones on Island. Miller and Mute duly found TVOD electro-pop fame and fortune with Depeche Mode, Erasure, Allison Moyet, and more recently Moby and Goldfrapp on Harrow Road.

Kris Needs, the editor of Zigzag during the magazine’s punky reggae period incorporating The Small Labels Catalogue at 118 Talbot Road, gave the following snapshot of the local music scene in the early 80s: ‘The Zigzag office in Notting Hill gets it’s fair share of bands doing the rounds of record companies and papers hoping for a glimmer of encouragement. The out-of-towners are easy to spot. By the time they get to Zigzag, usually following raids on Virgin and Rough Trade up the road, mouths have dropped, coats are clamped even tighter round wind-beaten, tired limbs and they’re thinking of a pint at half 5 before bunking the train back to the sticks and boredom.’

The Softies: The Man who works the Soft Machine

December 1979 Vague interviews Big Mick Softie who reveals the secret lives of the Damned, the Stranglers and Gary Numan. Your roving reporter got this scoop completely by accident. I was trying to flog issue 1 to local hippy George Hart (of Heap and Grandma Moses) in the Ship, when his large drinking companion showed rather a lot of interest in it. He subsequently informed me that he was Mick, the big Softie. He turned out to not only be of generous build but also generous with the drinks – that’s why the interview flags off a bit at the end. Mick: “What are you drinking?” Me: “Pint of best please.” Mick: “Well, it all started with me being the Stiff tour manager. I did stuff like the Damned, Adverts, Elvis Costello and so on. On the Damned tour, Rat (Scabies), the Captain (Sensible) and myself used to mess about in the soundchecks and we eventually played support spot as the Softies.

“Then I split from Stiff and went to Holland in early ’78 and I spent most of that year over there. I formed a band over there which consisted of 2 Dutch guys, Frank Stein on bass and Joe Thumper on drums. We were a 3-piece, we played basic punk stuff. I used to have my hair dyed orange then. We brought out a single called ‘Suicide Pilot’ on Charley Records, it got to number 2 in the Dutch alternative chart and 48 in the ordinary one. We went down very well, there were lots of punk bands in Holland but we were the only ones with any originality, the rest were all rip-offs, we were the only real ones… Next I got together with a Texan called Jack ‘The Bear’ Booth who played bass. We then signed to Charley to do an album. A guy called Keith Lyon, who used to be with Bram Tchaikovsky, played drums (Mick played with Bram at one time also) and we brought out ‘Killing Time in Soho’…

“On the Hawklords tour we were a 2-piece; me and drummer George Butler, ex-Chilli-Willi, Kilburn and the High Roads, Larry Wallis, etc. On the Wreckless Eric tour a bloke called Sid came in on rhythm guitar. We stayed as a 3-piece and played in London. It was then that we got our letter of release from Charley and I tipped the boss’s desk over on him. The next thing I did after that was work with the Stranglers as personnel manager… I got on really well with them but I get bored when I’m not on the road, know what I mean, and I got offered this job as stage manager and bodyguard for the Gary Numan tour, and I took it even though it meant a drop in position. Gary was very shy but a great artist… When the tour finished I wanted to play again so I started getting some songs together. I did some work at a 8-track studio at Leamington Spa, where the Swell Maps and Screens record.” He tells me his “old lady” is manager of Manor Studios where he lives. “I took a demo-tape over to the Electronic Dream Plant and they liked it. I did a tape for Wake Up Records produced by Nick Cook who produced the ‘Metal Box’…

“So that brings the story up to date, I’m looking for musicians for the album and I came to Mere to see George.” Mick used to play with George who in fact showed him his first chords. He continues: “I’m really into PIL and I don’t think John Lydon’s a rip-off. I agree with most of the things he says. Actually John reviewed one of my singles ‘Jet Boy, Jet Girl’ and made it his record of the week. The Damned start with it. Actually it’s a Softies single we recorded in Holland with the Captain after they split. It was a week or so after the Bournemouth gig.” In response to the inevitable influences question, Mick says: “Magic mushrooms, sorry, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Nils Lofgren, Hawkwind, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pink Floyd, Taj Mahal and so on. I like rock’n’roll but I’m not really into rock… I used to be just a simple drummer in 1970 – used to play folk stuff and that. I think one of the best things I did was busking, yes, I used to do the circuit around Piccadilly Circus and you could make quite a good living out of it…” As well as George Hart and Vague, one of the original Haircut 100 line-up Paddy Hunt came from Mere.

1980 January/February Vague 2 finally came out. Program tour: Bournemouth, Winchester, Bristol Trinity, Weymouth, New Milton with the Catholic Girls, Bath Centre 69, Salisbury. My 20th birthday. Russian Afghanistan war. February 6 The Ramones and the Boys interviews at Bournemouth Stateside. February 9 Program at Charlton Musgrove village hall Vague Promotions. February 10 The Clash interview and Mikey Dread at Poole Arts Centre. Program at Poole and Salisbury Tech College. ‘Brass in Pocket’ by the Pretenders and ‘The Special AKA’ EP were number 1.