A Moment in Time
It is, I think, 1996. We’re riding high on the coattails of Britpop. No less than Creation Records have said our latest cassette(!!!) is “interesting.” We’re about to headline Friday night at the Duchess of York during the BBC Sound City festival in Leeds. Steve Lamacq mentions our name in his roundup of acts to catch. For context, Embrace are third on the bill on the Wednesday. The possibility of commercial success seems almost tangible. As for me? I’m in a rich vein of songwriting form – penning a series of tracks easily good enough to grace a Menswear B-side.
Full of spunk and youthful vitality, we do any number of ridiculous local promotional activities. We are interviewed for a school radio show in Pudsey. We play an anti fascist rally in York with (of all people) Credit to the Nation. And, sometime around then, we appear on…. LIVE TELEVISION. Yes, you heard me right: LIVE TELEVISION.
The channel in question is Yorkshire Community Television. A cable-only network, broadcast from an old mill building somewhere in Bradford. We are told that almost 2000 people “have access to” the channel – which pretty much means that 2000 people are going to see us play live on telly, right?
No. In fact, average viewership is unknown, but the lad who meets us there reckons that a few hundred people might be watching. Still. This is exciting shit. Wide eyed and bushy tailed, we set up and get to perform 3 songs (Better Things, Monkey Monkey and Man on a String) live in front of whoever is unfortunate to witness it. The sound is awful. Consistently told off for being too loud during our sound check, our amps are turned lower and lower by a loudly exasperated floor manager. By the time we play only two things are audible: the drums and my voice.
My voice! Ye Gods! What a horrific barking noise it made when recorded “dry” straight into a deck without reverb or compression or anything at all. And, being young dumb and full of cum, I’m throwing everything at my performance in terms of movement – hurling my guitar around with gay abandon. The result: a shocking vocal performance. What am I doing with my vowels? Nobody knows!
One of the presenters is a young Bradford lass called Anita Rani who is, as we speak, a presenter on Country File. Meanwhile, I am writing to you from my sofa with cold feet and total income from music running at around £8 a year. A divergence of the fates!
Anyway, discovering that my dad (of all people) had digitised the footage, I present a snippet here for your amusement.