buy off the bar | birmingham | 1988
do you like buy off the bar?
well you should.
i have friends who think they were a bit of a joke.
perhaps they weren't cool enough.
buy off the bar were from holland and seemed obsessed with the length of their favourite songs.
so much so that instead of saying one of their songs was 1:30 the timing would say "the same as buzzcocks orgasm addict".
that kind of thing.
i thought that was a great idea.
in 88 they did a short tour of the UK with the mctells and my band was asked to support them at the birmingham gig.
it was at sinatras - as i've mentioned previously i loved that venue.
we were really excited.
it was to be the only time we ever played birmingham.
i've never been one for being late.
i like punctuality.
in fact i like punctuality so much that i'm often an hour early for everything.
as a result i spend a lot of my life sitting around waiting for stuff and getting a bit frustrated.
we arrived for the gig about 2 hours before the soundman got there.
so we wandered around birmingham for a bit.
eventually buy off the bar turned up in a mini bus with the mctells.
the only buy off the bar record i had at this point was the then just released "parboiled" mini album.
i introduced myself to the band and, during our chat told them how much i liked the new record.
"oh. thanks. we have all the other records in the van if you want them. i'll sort them out for you after the show", said a BotB chap whose name escapes me now.
as i've mentioned i like punctuality.
and i've said above that buy off the bar and the mctells turned up together.
that's not entirely true.
one third of the mctells - mark to be precise - wasn't there.
he was driving up from london seperately.
he was about an hour late and i wasn't very happy.
until i saw him pull up outside the venue.
i was so blown away i instantly forgot being mad about his timekeeping.
it was a hot and sunny summer evening and mark pulled up outside the club looking like a 50's filmstar (he always dressed well) in suit and raybans.
his girlfriend sat next to him dressed to match.
he was driving a triumph herald coupé. a light blue one.
that day he officially became the coolest man i'd ever seen.
well - about 20 people came.
not bad for midweek i suppose and anyway i didn't care.
we went on first to mild applause from the punters, but encouragement from the other bands.
mctells played a blinder - they were so good live - fire engines meet june brides at 100 miles an hour.
then buy off the bar took the stage.
they were fantastic. trumpets blared, drums rattled and guitars went SplAaAAAaAAnnnGGGG!
after they'd finished we were chatting and the BotB chap (whose name still escapes me) called me over.
"i have those records for you".
"ooh! thanks very much!", i said.
i looked at them and smiled, thanked him again and began to walk away.
he grabbed me, "that'll be £5 for the album and £2 for the single."
i was so embarrassed i paid him.