220 Alfreton Road

23 Feb 2012
220 Alfreton Road (left hand white set back building behind tree)

Matt and I got the cheap Trent bus from Manchester to Nottingham (over the peaks via Bakewell) and walked with guitars and a mixture of excitement across town and down to 220 Alfreton Road, where John, Will and Glen lived.

I can probably remember that summer evening walk more clearly than the subsequent gig, the smell of freshly cut grass on the breeze mixed with traffic noise and optimism. The front door of 220 Alfreton road that led directly into the living room, the landlord brown sofa I slept on, and the people that kept dropping round, with biscuits, smiling, catching up laughing, and I soaked it all up amongst waves of tiredness.

I was a regular visitor to 220 Alfreton road over the next couple of years, with it's various permatations of occupants, and nearly moved in once. I spent alot of time on the doorstep waiting for someone to be in or someone to wake up and I soon learnt to always bring a pint of milk with me for tea, and that the staircase was missing it's 5th stair up.

Glen and Will were in The Headbirths and we had secretly learnt one of their old songs to surprise them with; for the support slot: 'Boy Disposal Unit'. Matt wanted to give it a Motown reworking, but I wasn't that cool at the time, and so if you listen to the bass line, I am definately playing 'You can't hurry love' by Phil Collins. (haven't heard the original version of 'Boy Disposal Unit' ? - you can find it here from The Headbirths' 1989 demo 'How to fall without actually landing')

So we rehearsed as a full band the night before and played our first gig supporting 'Sugar Rays' at The Hearty Goodfellow, that I now don't really remember much about, except Matt broke a string, and I kind of stopped, which wasn't the thing to do. It was weird to have drums to try and keep time to: although this was slightly flawed as afterwards John admitted he was actually listening to the bass for timing, and I was listening to the drums.

But we got through it, there were about 12 people in the pub, more of a jury than an audience; clapping was sparse; but when I went to the bar afterwards, a man who we didn't know said we were quite good, and we became a proper band with a drummer who did gigs and we were buzzing.

All the Songs