It was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right – 24th-27th February 2018

It’s becoming obvious that I’m not going to be able to keep up with regularly posting updates here as time seems to slip on by.  I’ll do my best to keep note of things and get to them when I can but not sure how I’m going to be able to keep them concurrent with events from 1994, of which there is still a mass of writing for that year in my diary.

If I just limit myself to a paragraph per note I’ve made this post is going to get quite long.  I’ll try and be more concise.

So, our final morning in Dorset sees me going through some boxes of things my mother kept over the years.  I’m interested in the photos more than documents such as birth and death certificates and old school reports.  In particular are a couple of school photos I’m guessing from when I was 12 and 13.  You can just see my hair starting to get more punked up, for which I got so much shit at school at the time, from teachers and older kids who nicknamed me Sid.  I never got on with that nickname as I was more into Johnny Rotten but it was difficult to tell kids that as they were kicking and punching me for their random pleasure.  The thing with these two photos is you can still see the light in my eyes, just starting to dull in the later one.  These years were the start of what later would be diagnosed as mild depression.  The transition from middle to high school was particularly traumatic as I had a whole new bunch of older kids to pick on me though I soon found some allies.


Before we know it we’re up the motorway again, back to other old haunts in Southampton.  We’re staying with Amy’s cousin Ting, who has been in England so long she has the thickest English accent I’ve heard for a while – so much so that I barely recognise her on the phone sometimes.

Amy heads off with Ting to do some shopping as they are cooking together at a friend’s house that evening, whilst I head over to see my old pal, Chrissy.

Chrissy was the wife of Steve, whom, if you’ve been following so far, was the inspiration for writing the 1994 diary after his untimely death the previous year.  I caught up with her briefly in Sydney a few years before as she was attending someone’s wedding there, just a suburb or two away from where I was living at the time.  It was good to catch up again and talk shit like we did in the ‘good old’ days.

The afternoon is made more pleasant by the arrival of Steve and Chrissy’s daughter Rebecca, who was less than a year old the last time I saw her.  I am shocked at the resemblance to Steve and can’t stop looking at her face.  It’s like he’s right there again.

I also make quick friends with their dog who despite being somewhat shy took to me for some good pats, strokes and ear rubbing.  But soon enough it’s time to leave.

I head back to drop the car at Ting’s and get out the maps app so as to walk to the pub where I will meet more old timers and down a couple of pints.  The air is very cold but the exercise warms me and I look into people’s houses as I pass and wonder what their lives are holding for them today.

I stop off for some hot chips as I’ve not eaten much today and it would be preferable to line my stomach with something traditionally British and stodgy to soak up any alcohol intake.

There are some bands playing tonight, including some old friends but I’m not so interested in the music as I am in talking.  Rich introduces me to his partner Geraldine and later Rob and his partner Emily turn up.  A couple of other hopeful attendees find themselves busy elsewhere so they’ll just have to come and visit me in Thailand one day.

A jovial atmosphere and pleasant conversations quickly end this all to brief meet up but it’s much along the lines of that last night in Sydney, with certain friends you can just pick up on conversations with even years of interruption between.

The following morning we’re off to London.  Amy wants to go shopping.  I’m not particularly thrilled at that idea but I’ve set myself a task to track down a book I’m looking for.  We’re also booked for a dinner in the evening at the Shard near London Bridge.

I’ve always enjoyed London as a place to visit but never, when living in England, felt the urge to live there.  So, even rush hour tube trips have some sense of adventure to them.  I’m constantly reminded of the Clash as we pass by certain stations and wonder at the motivations they had as they went from small house suburban London city to mega hotel New York city.  Man, they wrote some tunes.

One thing I immediately notice is how much more multicultural London is than Sydney.  Although not so used to hearing the English accent anymore it seems that in many places we visit and pass by that people aren’t speaking English at all.  It’s a little unsettling and really cool at the same time.

This point is highlighted even more as we head for a pub lunch and I’m annoyed at myself for not understanding the bartender’s accent.  I forget to apologise for my difficulty as her’s is a Lubjiana accent, so I ask her more about her country.  She’s busy though but I think she wasn’t offended at my ignorance in the end.

We pop into Waterstone’s bookshop and finally I find the book I’m looking for, ‘Churchill’s Secret War’ and take this final chance to pick a couple of books about The Fall.  I wasn’t going to buy these originally as I figured I could find them digitally but they were there, I was shopping, this was possibly the last day I’ll ever be in England and so they ended up in my luggage.  Amy felt the same and bought a couple of massive cooking books which definitely means a rejig of our bags later tonight.

We’re starting to flag now and consider changing our plans for dinner tonight.  It’s another beautiful sunny cold day, particularly bitter when the wind rushes through small side streets.  We decide to head to the Shard early and see if we can just go up and take some pictures.  We end up on the 34th floor at the small bar there and decide to splash out on a bottle of champagne and 6 oysters.  These kinds of expenses usually bother me but I decided to relax again and enjoy this indulgence despite the fact the cost could probably build us a swimming pool in Thailand.


We reflect on our lives as we stare out across this old city and talk about how people think we are lucky to be able to do this and that.  But we have worked hard, had a plan and always pointed our way towards it.  I guess those comments are somewhat driven by the social media construct where friends generally only see you having fun, what appears to be, all the time.  We know we have made the right choices along the way, the choices that have got us where we are now.

The following morning we are greeted with snow.  What a nice surprise.  The Mexicans we meet at the breakfast table in our guest house are equally thrilled and we watch them as they step out to take funny photos.  We do the same a little later as we stuff our suddenly heavier re-jigged bags into the car and head to the drop off point.  Unfortunately, our phone direction finder leads round in frustrating circles and we decided just to figure it out following the signposts instead.

Amy decides on one last shop at the airport, so I get in the mood and pick up another book about the rules of being English, something I mentioned to Amy when she smiled happily to the guy in the take away the previous night. I told her it was not usual for someone to smile at other people in England and the guy probably thought she fancied him.  This is overplaying it a bit and is also the exact thing that attracted me to Amy in the first place.  That was in Sydney though, where smiling is an everyday occurrence.  I’m sure the English can often go a whole week without a smile.

The English confound me more on the plane to Bangkok.  It’s another A380 but this time jammed with ‘bigger’ English people looking for thrills in the ‘land of smiles’.  Despite leaving at midday, it’s an overnight flight as we fight against earth’s rotation and the English are up and at the crew galley all night long refilling on free booze.  I did this once when the experience of flying was still new to me.  Free booze must not be missed but I found it impossible to get drunk and to drink enough to be able to sleep.  I would just end up with a frustrating headache at the end of the flight, so I never drink on planes now.

And then occurs the most English thing I can imagine.  There are two meatheads sitting directly in front of Amy and I and they were constantly bouncing in their chairs at every toss, turn and minor readjustment.  I glance the Sun in the lap of the one who is coughing consistently and roll my eyes.  Midway through the flight, Amy needs to get out to go to the toilet so I get up and step into the aisle.  Being half awake I was a little clumsy getting up and knocked the chair in front of me where the now angry boofhead looks around and proclaims, ‘Was that on purpose?  I think it was, wasn’t it?’

I’m perplexed.  My only reply is ‘Sorry?’ and I look behind me to consider if he’s actually talking to someone else because his words just don’t make any sense to me.  Amy is bewildered too but trots off to the toilet as I stand and wait.  The two meatheads decide that they’ll settle themselves down with more whiskey and the event passes.  I still can’t imagine what leads to the guy’s question, if I knocked his chair on purpose, what was the reason?  We’d had no previous interaction at all.  It just seemed a typically antagonistic English response, a show of never back down, one-upmanship.

Those two guys ended up rushing off the plane to get to their destination of my more booze, sun and you can guess what else.


Our day has only taken 12 hours and we transfer at Bangkok for our flight home, finally my last flight for this period.  There has been so much travel and rush over this month that it has been almost impossible to sit and relax and reflect.  Probably for the best.  Even mum’s funeral seems like something surreal and dreamlike that perhaps didn’t even happen.

This final flight is curiously filled with French and various Middle Easterners and I watch on as people struggle to find their seats.  It’s a little strange really – it’s not that hard, is it?  The numbers ascend and the letters go across.  It seems to take an age for some people though.  I wonder if their brains are wired differently, something that will soon be confirmed as I adjust to life in Thailand.

Back in Chiang Rai, we rush to sleep, eat, advise our builders, eat and sleep again.  Another day disappeared into the mosquito-ridden night.

You see, you feel, you know – 5th September 1994

Change. All change involves a challenge. I remember when I lived with my mother I was content there, I was also fussy and finicky. A cup of coffee was only nice out of my special mug. I had particular knives and forks that I had to use, no others would do. Those two tiny things were barriers I had made to stop myself from leaving. Wrapped up in a golden blanket of security, I would dread the thought of having to use a different knife.

Then I left, scared of watching all that security get old and withered. I learnt how to use a washing machine and how to cook and I learnt that I didn’t have all the time in the world and started using my spare time to good effect instead of wasting it. I slowly discovered who I was and became content again.

Broni gets herself home from work early, now she’s finishing up things she’s on a self-admitted skive but remember back when I was telling you how hard she worked, now at last the slow down.

So with time on our hands (yes, time, that funny thing that you can never have enough of and when we feel so short of it all of a sudden we are presented with some) we take off on a whim down to Poole Quay and the aquarium which is full of fish on the ground floor, swimming around in their swimming round circles, round and round. Only the piranha seem to stay in some territorial still, and Broni sits and watches the silver dollar fish, light reflecting prism-like into her eyeballs, hypnotic, entranced.

Upstairs, crocodiles lounge like dead things in their 12 inches of water, not a blink nor a twitch, then Broni walks into a room where a man sits waiting to take your picture with a 20 foot python, 6 inches across. But Broni doesn’t see the snake until it’s rubbing her hand and she makes a quick exit! The rest of the snakes we watch through glass, most being lazy and restful. But beautiful, the nest of vipers all piled on top of each other like it was cold and were seeking warmth.

Snakes and spiders, then upstairs to a model railway which fascinates the child in me watching a little replicas stopping starting whistling shunting chuffing. A great place to go and visit despite the steep entrance fee, maybe Poole Aquarium is a bit of an odd description too.

By this time we are exhausted again and return home to comfy chairs and brief dreams for a half hour. Next on the agenda is a meal we’ve planned, so I goes with my sweet to pick up my mum and we drive with a remarkable sunset behind us up to Ringwood where we joined Kerry, Ron, Cath and Simon, drinks already underway. I wanted to come back to this restaurant, the India Cottage, as it is the first place I was introduced to Indian cuisine by my boss at the time, now some six or thereabouts years ago. We were served by two young beautiful people, both English but dark skinned. Him in bright white shirt and black trousers, the nervous and anxious to please gentleman, and her also, dressed in a tie-dye one-piece dress, dark and pretty as her skin. With seven of us all giggling away we took some time in there and the best thing was the slow service which gave us all plenty of time to digest one course before stuffing another and I, probably for the first time ever, managed to eat everything I ordered. So the atmosphere was nice and relaxed right through to the last Tia Maria.

So arrived the weekend, Broni off to get her haircut then us both over to Rosemary’s for lunch where we sit and play with Jade, kid cute, running around or having us to run around after her. I feel really good around kids, I enjoy the freedom they express and their ignorance of worry, real life giver.

Our joy takes us home for a brief encounter on the bed where we frenzy practice babymaking before diversion to Wimborne for pizza and then Southampton for our last gig there before we leave, now just three weeks away. Oh yes.

Atmosphere at The Joiners is, as ever, relaxed and exciting, but tonight tinged with some sadness for us as we say our farewells to some of the regulars, brightened up though by new people eager to get involved.

So at the end of the night, midnight we bring back Rob and Rich to Chrissy’s place, Chrissy out on the tiles but Sharon there to let us in. Rich soon leaves as the rest of us prepare to have a few drinks, Rich still on his straight edge kick and good luck to him if it makes him feel better about himself, which I’ve noticed it has.

We make an effort to wait up for Chrissy but all fall asleep dead drunk after playing every single kids game in the cupboard.

It’s light and Chrissy stumbles in, 7 am, she goes to bed and we get up and not only do we get up, so do Amanda, Luke, Sam and Rebecca, our company for the morning, four beautiful active screaming monster children. Rebecca amazes us as she is now walking herself about and saying ‘yeah’ whenever it takes her fancy. Snotty nosed Sam, quietly watching and wandering from here to here. Luke demanding to play Nintendo and demanding to play with me, and Amanda being unusually quiet and restrained today, possibly because mum is not there to antagonise, Chrissy now sound asleep oblivious to rowdy rabble.

After a while of preparation we all set off for the park, Amanda demanding piggybanks of me and Luke off Rob, Broni pushes Rebecca and Sharon looking after Sam. One child each, they will never beat us!

So how is it later on I get Sam on my shoulders, Amanda on one hand and Luke on the other and I’m sure if Rebecca could get out of her locked in pushchair she’d be demanding my affection too. But I know the kids see that I have lots of love to give them and I love ’em to bits. Sam called me dad, Luke kicked me till I wouldn’t play with him no more, Sharon then talking to him quietly and Luke coming back looking all forlorn and saying sorry under his breath, little beauty horror tike.

Amanda asked me if I remember when Steve and I took her tree climbing and I surely do, I remember it so well because it was then I realised I too, could look after kids, not be scared of that kind of future. It was something Steve showed me just by doing it and not by mentioning it. The only thing he ever said about kids was that he thought I would enjoy it, and as it made him so happy. Here I was, now free of all those old inhibitions about coolness and, ‘geez I wonder if anybody can see me?’ type thoughts that always entered my head when I was around children. My only regret is that Steve isn’t here to see that in me, because even though I realised it back then, I was still in a kind of awe of him because he was looking after Rebecca and Amanda so well.

When people die, you keep a little piece of them with you and it’s something I kept of Steve (amongst other things) and I find that particularly poignant as Chrissy said to Broni the night before that ‘Shaun is a good bloke, a lot like Steve in many ways.’ That kind of compliment makes me feel good inside, I really love all these people around me. Amanda surprised me by remembering that, maybe not sure how much a seven-year-old might remember about a year before, which is great.

I talk to her about the snakes we saw and carry her down to see the cygnets and the ducklings, then onto the swings and climbing houses where we try to wear the kids out but us with only a couple of hours sleep start flagging it instead.

Get back to Chrissy’s and cook some food, Chrissy now up and pale, looking barely alive as Amanda scoffs at her, her not liking her mum getting drunk because it makes her ‘smelly’. We force Chrissy to eat but she’s had it and at 2 o’clock or so heads back to dreamland. We leave around then too, dropping off Rob on the way, Sharon already gone with the kids to a party.

Broni sleeps in the car and I sleep on the sofa when we get back but only for an hour or so. The rest of the day slips us by slowly and gently as we slow down and let the love in ourselves roll around some and spread through our veins to our fingers and toes. We fall asleep with smiles on our faces and play with our friends in our subconscious.

It’s getting so hot people are dripping with sweat – 2nd August 1994

Sheila turned up first (Broni’s cousin) after a six hour train trip down from Newcastle Under Lyme. Then Lisa and Mykala (how do you spell that name!?), Simon (pictured), Rich, Barry, Garry and Mark , followed by Mick and Ray, all the Southampton gang and Murray and Jasper.

Tony took on the record decks but Barry offered us a couple of hours of 3 string guitar entertainment outside. The dance floor rocked, alcohol drunk, and people dropped, then more came (and more) and people we didn’t know took over and mingled and mixed and left again til about 3am some neighbour asked to be quiet outside so we took everyone in ‘cepting the record fair boys who elected to sleep under the stars.

And at about 4am me and Broni headed for bed, where most already were, to be showered with confetti by John and Rob! And the next thing I know, an almighty thunderstorm, in and around my dreams and then I wake up real zombie-like, wishing those left farewell as they slowly sauntered off home to nurse their hangovers and headaches.

I took John, Kerry (another Kerry), Shiela and Broni down to Bournemouth to see the guys at the record fair. Barry was crashed out in the back of his van and Garry and I couldn’t get a word out of him (he did groan some). Everyone looked fucked but said they enjoyed themselves. They’d just woken up as the rain began this morning too.

Then off to the Russell Cotes museum for an hour of zombied interest. Lots of beautiful Japanese things in there but as you can imagine, we saw everything through blurred eyes and double vision.

Back home (sort of), I helped John move his stuff to my mum’s, where he’s staying for 7 days before his trip to Europe, while Broni and Shiela slept back at Kerry’s. Thankfully the rest of the day passed by without too much incident and sleep crept over us around 10pm.

Monday morning woke us happy and giggling and wow, I feel like I’ve never been so much in love with my beautiful girlfriend, best friend, Broni. Her beautiful soft skin turns me on and our bodies compliment each other as they fit together (I don’t just mean sexually) in embrace. Snug fit baby!

More later – this wrist is on it’s way out I’m sure! The chiropractic helped but I just can’t help abusing my body in one form or another!

Tell yer ma, tell yer pa, our love’s gonna grow – 1st August 1994

Well here I am, many days later – time has been against us once again. Now I’m at work, all stirred up caffeine wise and about to briefly run down some of the stuff that’s been going on this week.

I must mention the Danish hitchhiker I picked up. A real relaxed cool dude who told me of his travels hitching across Europe, Russia, Siberia, China and into Tibet. And going to places where they’d never seen white people before, camping under the stars and spending days in countries with nothing to do except watch the world go by in all its beauty (can you imagine me doing that!!). I asked him what started him off travelling and he said it was an English sunset. Time and travel had turned him into a beautiful person, not craving after the greed of modern life. A balance I would find difficult to cope with what with my possessions which I love so much, although I know they are meaningless in my heart and in my soul. Much respect to that dude anyway and he showed me it back. We understood each other and knew we were both good people.

At the end of the last piece I wrote we went to Southampton and we saw us some bands. One from Belgium called Byetail, their drummer later purchasing some of my beloved records. When they played they impressed me enough to donate the Mission of Burma album to him too. He was pleased! (He was a cool guy too). And back home, intending to pack some more but knowing it wasn’t going to happen.

And then, Monday out for a meal at Rosemary’s. She is a fellow speech therapist friend of Broni’s. One of the few who is okay and works hard and is friendly. Some of the stories I hear about the others are incredible. Real typical social climbing stuff and putting themselves into positions where they don’t have to work so hard and when they do do some work they make sure they get the really well-paid jobs. It seems whatever your profession there’s always some of that bullshit going on. Well, we had a great meal and lots of wine which meant we had to stay over the night (night four of being drunk!).

Tuesday, Broni went out with Danny, Joe and Stella (over from Amsterdam) while I did some packing up and crashed out fairly early, all the late nights are catching up (but I think Broni got in at about 2!).

And Wednesday more packing before racing up to Newport via Southampton to see the excellent Wholesome Crack, okay Swine Flu and the fucking awesome Drive Like Jehu, whose music just took me away and made my body jibber and twitch that my head nearly fell off. Unbelievable!

Back to Simon’s and to sleep about 4.30, me and Broni in the hallway, Rob, Rich and two Irish guys in the front room. Of course with Simon’s kids we were up at 8.30. Young Elliot first shy but then running around shouting and screaming. A real cutie! We hung around Newport so long, a planned game of golf went out the window. Eventually driving back zombiefied and home where I slept for an hour or two as Broni continued packing stuff up. I woke up for a couple more hours to eat some food but couldn’t keep my eyes open so once again went where the Sandman walks.

Friday, we moved a ton of stuff down to Kerry’s – I think that took all day, I can’t remember. And then went up to Wimborne to show Kerry another nice Tandoori, suitably stuffed and we went back and crashed out – a small day in descriptive terms but a huge one in reality. Our old house now empty of all possessions.

It’s Saturday, up at 5:30 to take Kerry up to Heathrow to catch a plane for Helsinki to Tokyo. Had fun watching people from a hundred different countries go by, hustling and bustling! And back to make preparations in our old house for the party later that night. We hired out a big disco and set it all up and decorated the house with balloons and streamers and spray string. And waited for the masses to come and slowly but surely they did.

Later dudes!

Searching for pictures to use on this post led me to this page:
which, would you believe, is written by one of the Irish dudes that stayed with us all at Simon’s house!

The thunder cracks against the night, the dark explodes with a yellow light – 4th July 1994

From bad to worse. Julie turned up Thursday night/Friday morning, broken fingers and avoiding explanations. Drunk again Friday night and claiming poverty re the phone bill. And the list goes on but enough.

On Friday I took my baby and John-boy and Sarah up to Southampton to see the mighty John Otway (one-hit-wonder and star). On the way we got caught in the most magnificent thunderstorm. I had to slow down to about 30 miles an hour on the motorway due to poor visibility, the dark skies lit by sudden surging flashes as bolts came down around us. Such a beautiful feeling of refreshment in the air as we passed through.

We met Mick and Lisa, with friend Michaela and lovely puppy dog Floyd. And then laughed our socks off for an hour as Otway and pal did a manic performance of huge proportions! We grinned so much our faces hurt.

After getting back home again we stayed up and watched some comedy on TV before going to bed but my rest, and subsequently Broni’s was disturbed by my fits of uncontrollable coughing which seems to be the last remnants of my cold.

Saturday was big meal day as my sweet and I went for breakfast in Boscombe and stuffed ourselves silly before paying for our flight to Australia (no turning back now) and the sun was out for us just to let us know what it was going to be like.

Later we went Indian and, stuffed again, went down to the river near Wimborne and played on the bridge over the murky water, the light of day now gone. Home again, bed again and another night I coughed us awake.

Despite all that we got up (dragged up in my case) in cheerful mood, Broni off for a swim while John and I crash banged our way to the beach on our bikes, racing through the woods and paths of Branksome Chine. It being so nice there we thought we’d come back later with Broni and Sarah. The sun was baking, high in the hazy sky. So, racing back up paths and woods I turned and twisted and fell on a tree stump and cut my knee open just like I used to daily when I was about 5 or 6, giving me plenty of practice at scab picking. I wonder how my knees may hold out in later life.

So, Sarah came over in her open-top jeep and we took balls, food and water down to the beach, me and John hanging on in the back as people looked on in wonder. And at the beach Broni took it easy, coming down with tonsillitis and tiredness (and did I mention the mouth ulcers, big as Moon craters). John and I ran into the water and played ball, I surprised myself by actually enjoying being in the water and was reluctant to leave later. Sarah waded in a bit but understandably wasn’t too keen on getting soaked all over (as we were). Me and John played for ages, throwing, heading, skimming, passing all manner of balls from then I felt like Superman, spurred on by John’s manic activity.

Back in the jeep and home, Broni fell asleep as I watched football (Sweden beat Saudi Arabia 3-1, a good game too). Then, after some munch, John and I went to play football tennis at his friend Lauren’s. Despite the cloudy mist, we sweated buckets in the evening’s still. Then back for more football (Romania brilliantly beating Argentina 3-2) as Broni fell back to sleep, then me following until some early hour, us both awake again with my worst fit of coughing so far.

Today Broni’s off work at my request (she was not well enough, despite her protests and I think she’s welcome of it too really) Well, during today I got a bit better as rain started to tipple down but now the sun’s back out and the oppressive atmosphere is claustrophobic on my chest. I’m looking forward to getting back down the beach again sometime despite it knackering me out today.

Due to circumstances, it looks like I’ll be doing some more driving at work which is cool with me – I gets chance to write this! Found out Kerry smashed her face surfing on the weekend, poor girl, losing part of her front tooth and tonight we go to celebrate the last day of her diet in which she lost three stone and looks much better (in herself) for it. Of course, I’ll be there coughing up my guts, Broni with sore throat and ulcers and Kerry, a-bruised – sounds like a good reason to party to me! This, after we watched Ireland play Holland to stay in the World Cup.

Don’t wait or hesitate, take care, beware, Wrong! – 27th June 1994

Hate That Smile in Holland

You want gossip! Here’s what’s on my mind right now. Write it down, clear it out, forget about it – here’s the rub.

Spoke to Rich from Eastleigh a couple of days ago and had a cool chat, Rich being more forward than usual and telling me what he’d been up to. Anyways he mentioned Fatty had been in touch to try and speak to Rob. Rob not being there, Rich had a quick chat with Fatty saying he should get in touch with me, ur that maybe I should get in touch with him. According to Rich, Fatty didn’t say anything to that and when Rich mentioned about going up to some of the gigs in Southampton, Fatty replied ‘maybe after September’. Rich was rather taken aback by this apparently and we can only assume that he’s waiting from me to leave this country before taking up again with our mutual friends.

When Rich told me this I just said ‘Oh well, no good to harbour hatred’ and shrugged it off, but afterwards it really got me down. It’s not nice knowing someone out there hates you to the extent of wanting to see you go away completely. It’s upsetting and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m very sensitive to these things (as you may have worked out by now anyway). It also makes me angry because I have not done anything wrong and my hater (Fatty) can’t even come and talk to me about it.

Okay, I’m saddened because this person can’t deal with their problem, can’t handle their emotions and can’t be honest with me about it. Remember, last time I spoke to Fatty, we left on amicable terms and he’d be in touch (also remember I don’t know his new address or phone number – Yes, I could get both if I really wanted to!) And now the turnaround – his problem is not my problem.

If I met him now I would talk to him like nothing has happened (in fact nothing has happened has it!?) and it really is a shame for him that he hasn’t been to see me in the last six months and a shame he probably won’t see me again after September. For me, however, it is not a shame. I feel like I’ve cut out a poisonous sore, an infection. Close the door on a chapter of my past, one which turned sour, especially at a critical time for me emotionally, with Steve passing away.

I am stronger. My character will carry me through this and I can only hope one day Fatty can see how foolish and stubborn he has been. Good luck old friend, remember, happiness is only just around the corner. So there it is. Now I can forget about it. Will write you some more later.

I feel great, let’s celebrate
It’s a sunny day, let’s dance and play
Never fear, love is here
– Wrong by Nomeansno

*Shutdown, Thirst!, Flaming Katie – Joiners, Southampton, Hampshire, UK – 16th April 1994

Rich Levine: This was an emotional night. Steve’s memorial gig (there was also another remembrance gig around the same time at our old school Alderman Quilley in Eastleigh) saw his old band THIRST! continue with Philip Beevers from CHICKEN-BONE CHOKED joining. If we didn’t love the SHUTDOWN guys (Neil Cox, Christian Burton) already then them coming from Worcs to play this benefit gig for pretty much nothing cemented that feeling. FLAMING KATIE (Russell Pataki) played too & it was a night of both tears but also togetherness in friendship when this very close-knit scene came out to show their love and commemorate. Prior to his passing, Steve had planned to put out a poetry zine. In the aftermath, Rob & Shaun put this out as a tribute to Steve under the name ‘40,000 Reasons For Living’ (the title came from a line in the R.E.M. song ‘Texarkana’ which was played at Steve’s funeral) & the cover of the zine used the burning house photo that was on the sleeve of fIREHOSE’s ‘Ragin’ Full On’ LP. The same photo was used as the backdrop for this gig flyer.

Forever and ever, along for the ride – 27th March 1994

Ah, the feelings of love flow like electricity when we are in union. Be it physically or spiritually or mentally. It’s great to experience these emotions. She really is a soulmate partner.

Yesterday after protein refuelling we lazily escaped our luxurious confinement and got in the old tin box work van, petrol paid, and merrily made our way up the old well trodden road. How many times had I made this journey now? Who knows? But most of the journey’s have been worthwhile. We turned on the radio and sang all songs we knew. Our mad day was beginning to catch up with my baby and by the time we got there I could tell she was a bit reticent about going to this gig tonight.

I thought we could go elsewhere as I’d never heard the band either (The Wizards of Twiddly). We phoned up Rob and arrange to go pick him up. When we got there we both immediately picked up the acoustic guitars Rob had laying around and showed him our hopeless talents!

Well, we hightailed it back down the roadways to that ever friendly pub the Joiners. The band went on fairly soon and really knocked our socks off. Their moniker really describes their music. Bizarre twists and styles had us in superlatives after their first set. We came up with comparisons like Zappa, Tar Babies, Cardiacs but they had their own style and flair. We bought everything they had for sale! After the second set we were fairly stunned stupid. Such a great band.

We made a vague attempt to get into the Crown and Sceptre but couldn’t get past the gorilla and his girlfriend on the door. This didn’t dampen our spirits though and we went back to Rob’s and played guitars, drank tea and coffee and heard the final tape for the Thirst 7″.

Along the way back home we lost an hour as the clocks went forward so we didn’t actually touchdown home till 2.45am! Needless to say Bronwyn slept on the way home, sweetly tucked onto my shoulder. She even slept as she walked from the van to the house! Bottom lip nearly on the ground but smiling when I laughed. I stayed up and chatted with John and drank coffee before slipping quietly into bed, half three-ish.

With no time and no space and no schedule and no place
And we pass right through it without a trace
And sometimes that music drifts through my car
On a spring night when anything is possible
And I close my eyes and I nod my head
And I wonder how you’ve been and I count to a hundred and ten
Because you’ll always be my hero, even if I never see you again