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On The Groovy Train With The Farm
by Bernie Bostik
If my sister hadn't jibbed her psychobilly boyfriend and not started going steady with some street-wise Herbert in a herring bone, I would be sat here now telling you about some King Kurt concert that they took me to. But as luck would have it, she seen sense and her and new squeeze took me to my first ever concert. I was 15 years old and my musical tastes were some what influenced by my older sister. She was into the Housemartins at the time and I took great pleasure in pinching her Flag Day & Sheep 12-inches to play on my record player in my bedroom. It was an old record player which used to belong to my dad and it usually resided in the front room. After it became too dated for my mothers tastes it took up residency in my room. It only worked if you stuck a two bob to the stylus but it still jumped infrequently. Imagine my delight when they both returned from the pub one night with news that the Housemartins were playing a gig at Warrington's very own Parr Hall and they invited me along. My first ever gig, tell a lie it was my second, but I'm not going to tell you about the Tom Robinson Band fiasco, well all right then. There was some music festival happening at the Royal Court in Liverpool, a week long extravaganza of bands playing with the Housemartins being one of these bands and my sister decided to buy tickets for her and some friends. One of the friends dropped out so I went along for the ride, worse luck! Printed on the ticket's wasn't the name of the band who was playing but just the name of the musical event, so my sister didn't realise she had bought tickets for the wrong night until we were inside the RC and Tom came out to play in his school uniform.
Right back to my first proper gig then, the Housemartins at the Parr Hall, I couldn't wait for the night. I was jumping around like a crack addict out on a burgle for drug loot, who fortunately discovers the house he is burgling is a crack-den with it's occupancy on holiday, when Toe me sisters fella turned up one night with the tickets. The day of the concert was a hot one and I remember it being a warm evening when we parked the car in the Time square car park and headed over to the Parr Hall. We were just crossing over Bridge Street when out of no where we bump into a gang of about 15 scouse lads and when I say lads, I mean lads. These were a rough arse gang of hoodlums who were fronting Toe about the best place to go for a 'bevy'. With Toe originally being from Kirkdale he took up a good rapport with the lads as he regaled them with the best places to go for a drink in this one horse town. They walked off and we carried on our journey to the concert hall. I was young and impressionable at the time and these were the type of lads that I yearned to be like and hang around with (believe it or not I got my wish 15 years later!). I asked Toe what these lads were doing in Warrington and he told me they were probably here to see the Housemartins support group The Farm. He then filled me in with tales of The End (he later lent me his copies), Mr Hooton and all about the match going lads who followed the Farm. I was hooked straight away, this was my type of band and I couldn't wait to see what they looked & sounded like. We entered and my sister & Toe headed for the seated area upstairs , were as I wanted to stay downstairs to see what was happening. Thinking back now I remember very little from the concert. Things that I do recall ; Peter coming on wearing a rather nice tweed jacket, in-between one song he said something bad about Thatcher which got a cheer, seeing Mark & Alan Grimes (two Penketh heads) right at the front of the stage and it kicking off behind me with some of the lads from earlier. I met back up with Toe and Sis after the concert and we paid Smelly's a visit on the way home for some chips and gravy.
The next three times I seen the Farm they all happened around the same time (early 90's) but I am unsure what order they came in. So I will save the best till last and I will first tell you about a time I went to see them in the Kilburn National Ballroom. There was a big firm of us out for this one as there always would be when anyone or anything worth going to see was happening in London. I loved those days down in London when a good crew of Penketh/scousers was out on the scorch. It could be to a club or a concert or It could just even be a boring Tuesday afternoon in the local boozer when luck would have it, everyone's day off collided. We all done shift work in various Hotel establishments and it sometimes so happened that 15 to 20 of us would be off on the same day. This one wasn't a concert so to speak, it had other bands playing but I'm fucked if I can remember who. It was being shown on the Telly with some presenters holding interviews and things around the venue - it was something similar to a 'Later with Jules Holland'. The Farm done about 3 songs and some of us went down the front for a bit of a mosh then we retired to the bar area to get wasted. We all stood off drinking and smoking and we were getting some attention from a couple of Indie chicks who were stood off close by. Their attention grew stronger when Terry W thrown in a 'Eh Bernie when's your Peter and the rest of the band coming for a drink' within ear shot of the chicks. The chicks questioned us and the bullshit just flowed. I was pretending to be Peters brother and the rest were all backing the story up as the smell of bull got worse. One of the Indie chicks was a half Malaysian - half Italian stunner and the other was a pig. They were two posh 17 years old students and when the fit one went off to phone her mother for her lift home I went with her. I got a bit of a snog outside but when we returned the knob on the door wouldn't let us back in, the old 'Don't you know who I am, I'm a member of the band' done the trick and the chick was even more impressed. When we got back in I was confronted by my worse nightmare, the lads from the Farm were out having a drink in the crowd. Peter was stood on a table as I remember with a pair of Puma on with a gaggle of girls roundabout him. My chick kept pestering me to go and introduce her to Peter and the rest of the band but I kept telling her they were too busy enjoying themselves to get interrupted. In the end just for show I bounced over to Peter and let on, then went back to my bird and told her he say's hello. Not long after they both fucked off to meet her mum for their lift home but before they got off I gave them the phone number of the hotel I worked at and told her to ask for Bernie on the concierge desk. I seen her a couple of times after that, one time I recall being with her in my bedroom of the flat I occupied at the time. She was lay back on the Liverpool bedspread while I chewed on her nipple and shoved a finger up her pussy, she was still a virgin and wouldn't let me goose her. During our heavy petting session she bizarrely asked me "do you think I am loose" me with a finger up her snatch replied "No your quite tight really". She then explained she meant loose as in a slut or a slag. Well that ruined the ambience and she left shortly after.
Kentish Town was the next gig, but I was to attend alone. I went straight from work and phoned a few of the lads up to see if they fancied it. They had just pocketed some temple ball off the local dealer and they didn't feel like moving off the couch. I only just got the concert as the Farm came on stage, then a few minutes later we were thrown into complete darkness as the leccy went off. The gig got cancelled and I decamped to the pub next door and who should turn up but the Farm with Pete Wylie in toe. I was straight on the phone to the lads back at the flat telling them to come down but they still refused. I eventually ended up on the Farm's mini bus after a bit of a scrum, going back to their hotel which was in Kensington somewhere, I think. There was a few other fans on the bus who I remember being from the Derby/Nottingham area, the band knew them and they were all chatting away, then Ste Grimes asked me "who are you mate?" I told him I just jumped on when the bus door opened. We got to the hotel and the Farm and friends done one somewhere (to hide from me the loner weirdo I presume) and all I remember is going left into the bar and ordering bloody Mary's on the Farm's tab for a few hours and getting absolutely hammered. I then left with a rather nice leather jacket someone had left over the back of some chair, then I quickly jumped into a taxi home.
The next Farm gig had been planned well in advance. Me and Alan Grimes were going to see the Farm and the La's in Brussels Belgium but with a detour to Amsterdam before hand.
Alan Grimes was and still is a cool dude, he was a few years older than me and my first recollections of Alan and the rest of his gang was when they hung around the Red Lion pub in their box leathers. We admired from a far and tried to dress and act like these lads and them in turn looked up and dressed like the even older lot of lads who were big enough to drink in the Red Lion. When the 'even' older lot all started to get on their bikes to look for work, each generation followed when they become of age. Well i ended up living with Alan down in London and I really enjoyed his company and we became good friends who's interest's were very similar - sex drugs and rock and roll. If I can just interject here with a story about Al. The pub we drank in London had become a bit of a celebrity haunt, they used it as a pre-club drinking den before going off to their own private parties in the Cobden Club and Woodies nightclub in Westbourne Park. At the time you would always see Margie Clarke and Jamie Reid having a drink and her Frank was with her on occasions. We got on with them great and they even come back the flat for a party a few times. The lads reckoned Frankie 'the Fudge' had taken quite a shine to Al and Frankie used to play along calling him 'Doll Face' and other such camp names. One night they even stayed over all three of them and they got their heads down in one of the bedrooms, well Margie and Jamie got off early leaving Frankie alone in one of the beds. Gazza comes in one morning after a night shift at Claridges and is in uproar at finding "a fucking faggot" in his bed. Anyway that valentines Al received a card to his hotel with a verse init that read 'roses are red - violets are blue - i fancy you rotten - doll face I love you'. It took him a day or two to realise it was a wind up. Right where were we, me and Al made our way to Amsterdam and tucked into some local delicacies for a few days before heading down to Brussels. On reaching the city we find the main square and went on the ale.
As we were enjoying a couple of flagons of Juliper we see Keith and Roy indulging in a stroll around the square so we bounce over and say hello.
By early evening time me and Al are flagging and we are in desperate need of some class a's,b's or c's anything that would pick us up really, we weren't that bothered. We got our wares from a chemist, we told her we were shattered and needed waking up, she gave us some tablets called dodo's and after necking about 15 each they done the trick. We got to the venue early and bumped into Peter and a friend outside we let on then go in and enjoy the alcoholic beverages on sale in the bar upstairs.
We then spent the whole of the Farm & La's concert sat at the back with the scouse swag sellers enjoying untold J's of sticky green. The rest is quite sketchy but I remember us being involved in some sort of food fight between the La's and Farm's dressing rooms, we then shared a quick spliff with John Power before the La's fucked off due to other commitments. We decamped with the Farm and pose of people to a late night bar around the corner, much merriment is had and the next thing me and Al are back on the Farms tour bus. There's a seating area which we occupied with the rest of the band smoking spliffs while Peter the lightweight went to bed. By this stage my brain was like a Brussel sprout and I have to do one. I think I just got up and staggered off with out saying a word, I found a nice door way and got my head down. When I awoke in the morning lying in a pool of sick, it took me a few minutes to shake the head and recall what happened the night before. The night before began to play out on the video recorder in my brain until I came to the ending, me on the Farm's tour bus. I hunted around the corner hoping to still see the bus parked off and Al alseep inside. What I did find was an empty street and no Al. I didn't start to worry at first, I thought he would be waiting at the left luggage at Brussel Nord. I was wrong! We had one grip between us, we had left it at the left luggage and he had the ticket. I asked the porter behind the counter if an English fella had come for a bag but he couldn't tell me, so I decided to sit off and wait for him. If he hadn't been yet there was a good chance I would bump into him when he did and if he had already collected the grip then surely he would hang around here hoping to bump into me. After all the grip did have our pazzy's in and he wouldn't be so stupid as to do one with my pazzy. Five hours later, I am still waiting for Al but there is no sign so I thought he might of done one to Ostend where we planned to get the ferry home and was waiting for me there. I catch the rattler to the ferry terminal but there is still no sign. At this stage I am starting to panic and a quick phone home to the flat gets me panicking even more. Benny Shire (one horrible cunt who I shared a bedroom and had many a run in with) answers and tells me Al has just phoned and he is about to jump on the Calais to London train. I screamed at Benny "DOES HE FUCKING KNOW HE'S GOT ME PAZZY WITH HIM". He then told me that Al had got pulled by the customs at Calais and they thought he was some passport smuggler, when they discovered my book in his bag. He explained about the genuine mistake and they took the passport off him and let him go. I put the phone down and went to hunt for the Belgian cuzzies hoping they could help me. They phoned their counterparts over in Calais and they came to the conclusion, that they would send it back on the next ferry with the ships captain. A few hour pass and finally I am handed an envelope from the Belgians but inside there was no passport, just a hand written letter explaining the thing had been impounded and I was to go to my issuing office to pick it back up. The letter also had a an official stamp to travel home on...thank god. I finally get back to the flat in the early hours of the morning and I was not best pleased with Al the dozy twat. Everybody else found it funny as fuck and it didn't end for me there. When I went back up north to the issuing office in Liverpool to collect my wanton pazzy , I got called in for questioning by some jobsworth cunt , who questioned me as though I was criminal and made me splash out again for a new one.
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