How NOT to write about music – 101. Melody Maker


Inspired by Allan Jones’ tremendous collection of rock’n’roll war stories Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – I have no idea how he recalls such detail: my life is like black marker pen has been scrawled across it – I have decided to reprise one of my own. This is taken from The Electrical Storm, a copy of which can still be had by sending £12.99 to me ( via PayPal.


University of London Union, London 1990

The trouble starts earlier, when Carol’s intern turns up holding his draft card.

“I’m not having that!” she commands. “Everybody down the pub – NOW!”

So off we dutifully trot – it’s 11.30 so I’ve just got in – to our new drinking haunt, having been banned temporarily from our regular. Strong American beers are ordered, and tequila. Much bluster is had on our part, railing against the injustice of an American system that can allow poor honest hard-drinking student interns to be called up for military duty. I wave my walking stick at the imaginary foe: “You cannot take our Daniel! We will not allow it!” In the middle of this hubbub, Daniel grabs a lighter and – with a minimum of ceremony – sets light to his draft card.

An awed silence falls on our assembly.

A few hours pass. Someone suggests we should go to a gig. My friend Don’s new band is playing at ULU near Goodge St. At the venue, he’s nowhere to be seen but the main band is playing – old friends from my Creation years. I clamber on stage and ask the singer where Don is. He looks at me oddly – and points in the direction of the dressing rooms. “Thanks,” I say. “Nice show.”

I discover Don and his band-mates drinking the last third of a bottle of whiskey. I grab it, affronted that it took so much effort to find them. “Oh, sorry,” I say, as I finish it. “Was that your only bottle?”

“Not to worry,” Don replies. “I have another one here.”

I drink it.

Later, outside, a new Melody Maker writer is excitedly telling her friends that Everett True is at the show – she’s never met him, but she’s looking forward to it. “And, um, here he is now…” she says as her group leave the venue, pointing to an inebriate crawling on his hands and knees in the gutter. A friend – half my size – rescues me and gets me on and off three buses back to his place.

I wake in a room I am unable to recognise and realise I’ve lost my battered copy of Anna Karenina, and I howl.