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Being in a band

SCREEN GOES ALL WOBBLY TO SHOW WE ARE ENTERING FLASHBACK MODE

I was in a band while at college. In two bands, actually, both of them equally awful.

In the first (band names changed daily, but included "The Piglets" (my personal fave) and "Sonic Deckchair") was made up of fellow students. They were all geologists and HumSocs from the year below me, and we were put in touch by one of their lecturers, who knew I'd been looking for a band to sing with and that I owned a mic. We spent our time meeting up for anarchic, hopeless "jam" sessions. Both of the drummers (yes, there were two drummers) were usually late and/or stoned to the point where rhythm escaped them. Both of the lead guitarists (neither wanted to play rhythm guitar) insisted on playing their latest fave riff over and over again, and trying to get everyone else to fit a song around it.

The bassist was permanently in debt, we called him "chequebook kid".

We played one "gig", at a friend's birthday party in some run-down student house. It was summer, so we removed the sliding doors at the back and set up the "stage" in the living room, so we could play at the audience as they enjoyed a BBQ in the back garden.

We were dreadful, even by our own terrible standards, and got booed off after about three or four songs. I got drunk and cycled home.

A year - maybe two years - later I met up with some non-college people, again through a mutual acquaintance. They were already a band, and they needed a singer. They auditioned me in a church hall, and said I was "OK" but that the lyrics I'd written were "mostly shit" (this was absolutely true, but of course at the time I was mortified).

I had hopes for this band. All of them could play pretty good, although the drummer kept dropping his sticks. The guitarist had rock-star hair. There was a sexy girl who could sing and play trumpet. The bass player worked in the box office at The Junction, Cambridge's hippest alternative music venue, and could get us slots in the rehearsal room (ie, the dressing room) there for free, at times when it suited us, and in a location (unlike church halls, or people's bedrooms) where we could make as much noise as we liked.

But things never quite gelled. We didn't rehearse enough, the handful of songs we wrote were shit and all sounded the same (but that never stopped ELO or the Wedding Present, did it?) and one day it all ended when the bass player and the guitarist had a full-blown, fists-flying, punch-up over something inconsequential. We all drifted away from that rehearsal with vague mutterings of when we'd next meet up, but we never did again.

The little book I wrote my lyrics in is still in a drawer somewhere, but I dare not look at it in case I die of embarrassment.

I like singing.

SCREEN GOES WOBBLY ONCE MORE, RETURNING US TO THE PRESENT DAY

(22nd October 2002)