In the late '80s/early '90s I spent much of my time pouring over chemistry text books and trying not to injure myself in the laboratories of Brunel University in Uxbridge. On a night either in 1989 or 1990 I was told that TV Smith was playing a gig down the road at The Angler's Retreat in West Drayton. I was familiar with The Adverts and their 'Crossing The Red Sea' album at that point, but realised that the chances of hearing any of that stuff was slim. Nevertheless, here was a bit of authentic British punk of a '77 vintage, so I was up for it.
TV was playing with his band Cheap on the night. It was low key but something clicked for me and I was bowled over by the sound and visual impact that the band and TV had on me (it is worth noting that TV is one for the high kick and it's fair to say that in comparison John Cooper Clarke has the pins of a rugby prop!).
This was the start of a period where Gunta and I saw Cheap as often as our resources would allow.
A typical night out with Cheap would run something like this. Enter a packed back room of a pub (looks promising), support band play an indie flavoured set to a receptive audience (this could be a good gig), support band pack up and take their gear and most of the audience with them out of the venue (large proportions of the audiences were invariably mates of the support bands and for whatever reason rarely stayed for the headline act). Cheap take to the stage to a handful of enthusiastic fans in a large empty room.... meanwhile Andy Peart continues to peddle his 'So What' fanzine with ever diminishing returns by the exit! And so it was at nearly every gig at which I saw them play, which was a real shame as they were very, very good.*
'That's me in the corner'
At The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town 1990
Here's a good example of a Cheap 'mosh pit'. Gunta and I offer our unconditional and uncoordinated support for the band at an AIDS awareness festival that took place at Fountains Mill in Uxbridge on 27th July 1990.
* They even got a 'Single of the Week' in UK music weekly 'Sounds' for the brilliant and unfortunately prophetic 'Third Term'. At the time there was some scurrilous talk of it being an inside job.... but I'm having none of it!
Flyer for 'Third Term'
Ok, so some music is in order. Here is a recording, again from Uxbridge, but one I was not at for some reason (although looking at the date, I was probably back in Sussex for Christmas). Thanks to the original uploader. I have retained this in MP3 format as per the download I have.
Uxbridge Football Club 22nd December 1990
02. The Newshound
03. My String Will Snap
04. Luxury In Exile
05. Free World
06. Silicon Valley Holiday
07. Leisure Time
09. Buried By The Machine
10. Ready For The Axe To Drop
11. New Ways Are Best
12. 3rd Term
Playing that night as well were The Price, local lads playing music in much the same vein as Tim and Cheap. Leigh Heggarty from The Price is still very busy, working with a number of other bands and musicians (including TV Smith), but most importantly right now (at least in my opinion) Ruts DC. Please take a look at Leigh's 'World of Guitars' blog and wonder at the lengths he will go to to avoid getting a normal job!
01. Between The Lines
02. Was It You
04. Getting Us Nowhere
05. Close The Curtains
06. Standing In Your Way
08. Too Many People
09. What About Love
10. Shattered Life
11. Changing Places
12. This One
13. You Say You Don't Love Me [Buzzcocks]
14. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow [Shirelles]
As a footnote, it was at a Price reunion gig at the same 'Angler's Retreat' pub in 2008/9? that I was reacquainted with some old friends from my time in the Uxbridge/Hayes area... and happily, this time around we have been better at staying in touch...... The Price, bringing people together through punk rock!
The Angler's Retreat, West Drayton late '80s