ANYONE remember that fantastic band that rode the crest of the New Wave back in the 70s? The Struts they were called. No? Well, shame on you.
The Struts, you see, contained a brilliant songwriter-guitarist called... oh, alright, it was me. Anyway, though I sold my guitar long ago for the price of a couple of tinnies and some rolling tobacco for some reason my punk days continue to pogo back into my life at the oddest times. Like today, for instance.
There I was, sat at my desk minding my own business, when there on my e-mail appeared a message from an old school pal Derek. "Have you seen this? I seem to remember being there," he inquired, sending me the link to a website called www.joesmusicgarage.com/thestruts.cfm. There, lo and behold, was a little biography of the band, which lasted about six months, played four gigs and practised every Thursday upstairs in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall.
One day we recorded a couple of tracks on an old reel-to-reel tape recorder and it is these you can now hear and, worse, actually purchase on the web! Now I don't know how long these "CDs" have been for sale, containing two songs of mine called The Jester and Waiting in the Dole Queue, but I believe I must be owed quite a few loyalties by now. So, Geoff Fulton, former Struts bassist and now unashamed entrepeneur, I expect a cheque to be winging its way through the post before long. But I won't hold my breath.
It did help me to recall some great days, though. Playing a gig at Sodbury rugby club which a Yate band - The Numbers - tried to hijack, then driving back to Winterbourne in singer Adi Hulbert's car when he suddenly became paralysed on one side and I had to operate the gears. Christ, wouldn't fancy doing that now. There was also a talent contest in which we lost out to a band who continually played Wild Thing by the Troggs, and a gig at Filton High School which was a real blast.
Like all bands, however, we split up because of musical differences. Geoff, Kev the drummer and Adi the singer all fancied themselves as heavy metal maestros. I said they were making a mistake as they were only good enough to perform in punk bands. So they split and formed a heavy group that lasted about one gig.
Meanwhile my amplifier caught fire during practice due to a can of beer falling off the top of it and getting the wires and valves all wet and while it went to the repair shop I went to journalism college, hoping one day to be able to afford to retrieve it. I didn't, but my brother sneaked it out ahead of me. He went on to play in a number of bands and make quite a music career for himself with such wonderfully named outfits like the Beatnik Filmstars and the Forest Giants (his current mob). I sit here writing and thinking: It could have all been so different. Strummer and I, we would have had the meanest of bands.
I'VE been full of Man Cold this week. Now, this is a terrible disease which prevents you thinking, sleeping, talking and... nah, I was going to say drinking, but that would be a lie. Went out with our new recruit Wathan on Wednesday. He's replacing Rosey, though Rosey seems to turn up regular as clockwork. He thinks he still works here, I reckon. Either that or he's got the hots for one of the blond in the magazine production department.
Rosey's doing great actually. Had a few shifts on the Star already and even got his byline in the paper for a re-write job on David Beckham's comeback.
He was down again on Friday, though, covering the Wales v Czech Republic match at the Millennium Stadium which doubled up as Ryan Giggs' farewell to international football. To celebrate the return of the Prodigal we went to that little known establishment called The Yard. Glad to say Wren joined me, finally braving the chance to meet up with the likes of Rosey, Coggsy and, dare I say it, the Prince of Darkness.
The Prince, by the way, is not like the rest of us. He went out a got completely bladdered at a Celtic Manor golf dinner on Tuesday and felt the only way to cure his terrible, shambling demeanor was to head for the pub again the next day. Now, most of us call this Hair of the Dog... in the Prince's case it has become Hair of the Labradoodle.
Withers is acting very strangely ever since he purchased a new pair of running shoes. On two occasions this week he has feigned ignorance when we have been off to the Yard. The first time he claimed he thought it was a "top management discussion" and wasn't invited. On the second occasion he ignored all Rosey's texts then insisted he "didn't know" people were going to the pub. Didn't know? For God's sake it's a Friday, we ALWAYS go to the pub (well, ditto Boozeday Tuesday, Wednesday club, Thirsty Thursday).
The truth is something different, and really quite alarming. Apparently Withers is dragging his Size 11 Sideshow Bob feet around the local park at a rapid trot, covering seven miles a day (or 14 footsteps in his crazy, big-footed world) all in an effort to lose some weight before his holiday to Corsica in two week's time.
You wouldn't normally see Withers like this a. because he never takes holidays and b. Because he has never really been that fussy about his figure. Just so happens, though, that said holiday involves meeting up with friend Kirsty and around nine of her female acquaintances. Wonder if they are ready for our marathon man just yet?
Can't believe Coggsy and Wren know each other. Not only did they used to work for the same newspaper, but Wren used to live next door to an ex-girlfriend of Coggsy's dad. Would you Adam and Eve it? Went for a quick smoke the other day and they were rabbiting away like good old mates.
Later in the evening we bumped into Tucker - Wren knows him, too - and we watched Beckham's return for England in the City Arms, getting quietly sozzled in the process. Smashy and Tucks were quite keen for us to stay on, but having seen Tucks this morning I'm rather glad we made our excuses and left when we did.
Not done a lot of cooking but thought I would mention one of the new veggies I did with the Sunday roast the other day. Went out and bought some lovely new potatoes, then roasted them together with the Sunday lunch. They were yum.
What you do: Wash the potatoes, cut them into two then boil them for about 6-8 minutes. Heat an even mixture of butter and cooking oil in a frying pan, then fry the potatoes until they start to crisp up. Then put them in the oven with the roast, and sprinkle over some Thyme. Gorgeous.