Cloches over the Westway

Um Bongo

I was rummaging through some boxes in the loft for some horticultural fleece the other day and found a cassette by a band called Bongo Joe featuring a cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” that I acquired many moons ago in 1983. The band featured a couple of members of St Alban’s legendary punks The Tea Set (Nick Egan and Nick Haeffner), samples of Florence Nightingale and Neville Chamberlain and backing vocals from one of Bananarama, a bonkers combination to say the least (more on the St Alban’s punk scene from that time here.) I then became misty eyed while I recalled how I think I might have obtained the tape. People who dislike punk nostalgia please look away from your screens now…

Cloche city rockers

In 1978 me and a mate decided to hitch-hike to Bury St Edmunds to see local heroes The Specials supporting The Clash. I haven’t much memory about the actual gig but I do remember coming out of it with my mate and being surrounded by an angry gang of hairy bikers (not those two chefs off the telly who I’d like to think would rather give you a pork pie recipe than a good kicking.) These lot were hell-bent on inflicting some damage on us, the largest and more leather-clad one out of them all screaming at the top of his voice  “You f-ing punks are dead,” nice! My 16 years of life flashed in front of me, then out of the blue a punk came to our rescue, grabbed both of us and whisked us away. The next minute we were in The Clash’s hotel room and I remember being very excited being there and seeing Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon dancing around to some mad dub coming out of their ghetto blaster (something off Joe Gibbs – Chapter 3 possibly?) I was very shocked as well (being a very naive 16 year old at the time) to see quite a few girls sitting outside in a line outside the band’s room later. Mary Whitehouse wouldn’t have been too happy about it.

After a short while in the hotel (the party being quite a tame affair by the way) we got a lift south from the punk who introduced himself as Nick Egan and told us about his band The Tea-Set, (their grafitti used to adorn a motorway bridge on the M1 around Hemel Hempstead, ever seen it?) We also found out that The Clash got their stage gear made for them by some nice little old ladies in North London, great eh? After our lift I kept in touch and I am sure it was Nick who sent it to us.

I’m now feeling very nostalgic, spiking up what hair I have around the sides like a post-punk Roger De Courcey and contemplating doing the punk kicking dance, even though I could only manage a minute or so these days! I’ve just thought wouldn’t it be great if the remaining members of The Clash (R.I.P. Joe Strummer) are now enjoying the delights of gardening in their older age…

Anyway, have a good old xmas holiday and remember it’s not long before those potatoes have to be chitted!


2 thoughts on “Cloches over the Westway

  1. Pingback: Throw mi corn | Weeds up to me knees

  2. Pingback: Tales from the potting shed (in a hollywood style) | Weeds up to me knees

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