Yesterday it was a privilege to spend an afternoon in Guildford retracing the earliest days of the band's history. The occasion was a return to the Star in the town's Quarry Street for an unveiling of a musical heritage plaque courtesy of PRS for Music (Performing Right Society). The pub was the location in December 1974 of the band's first gig, but the venue's 70 year history as a music pub is currently under threat as a result of a noise abatement order served on by the owner's of a nearby office block now due to be converted into private apartments. I'm not going into the rights and wrongs of this situation.... although clearly it is wrong, but it is hoped that this unveiling and the patronage of The Stranglers, may help in the fight to avoid closure of yet another small independent music venue.
Such was the occasion that Jet braved the inclement weather to make the journey down from Wales.
The event certainly attracted the much hoped for media attention for TV camera's and furry boom mikes were out in abundance. Coverage appeared on local TV news programmes, London Live as well as nationally. What was funny was the fact that several people in attendance were officially sick according to their respective work places and they clearly balked at the sight of an ITN outside broadcast van parked just up from the pub. For some there followed a cat and mouse game of avoiding the TV cameras. No such luck.... or rather need for Gunta and I.
Adrian and Gunta on London Live
For the occasion the beer flowed freely and we were even fed! Happy days. Bur it was necessary to brave the cold once again to witness the act of unveiling. Short speeches were given by the Mayor and a representative from PRS before Jet did the deed and drew back the curtains to reveal the plaque.
Prior to performing the band were interviewed by a number of TV stations where they took their opportunity highlight the crisis facing the UK's small independent venues.
Finally, it was time to visit the scene of the crime where Baz and JJ took to the stage to perform a handful of songs.
Baz at The Star Inn
31st January 2019.
Baz and JJ at The Star Inn
31st January 2019.