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Friday, May 03, 2019

Comic Cuts - 3 May 2019

With the company profiles job now completed, I'm taking a couple of days to decompress and have been sorting through boxes marked "Miscellaneous Paperwork" in an effort to find a stack of photocopies that will be useful for my next book pitch.

Anyway, I've stumbled across a few random bits of my past which I thought I'd share with you.

The first exhibit is a leaflet advertising Bucks Fizz's December 1981 tour, which ended at The Dome, Brighton, on the 18th. By coincidence, I was in Brighton at the time, staying with a friend who was at Brighton Poly (now the University of Brighton). My Uncle Alan was running a bar at the University of Sussex in Falmer and was going out with a girl I can only describe as a rock chick. She had been on tour as a lighting technician with bands I loved, most notably touring with AC/DC when Bon Scott was still alive.

She was signed up with a local firm who were doing the lighting for the Bucks Fizz gig and we were invited along to help roadie. A free gig is a free gig, so me and Mark strode into the Dome and went to see Bucks Fizz. That's Mark, who was into Genesis, Steve Hackett, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other Prog and Metal bands. I was heavily into Hawkwind and Rush at the time and we'd discovered a lot of bands together, Marillian being the big one for me. I still love 'em.

And there we were, bopping along to Bucks Fizz. We also had another job... for the final song, we were behind the lighting desk with instructions to "hit as many buttons as you can as often as you can." The band started singing and, gradually, the crew disappeared until the song came to a climax and we were the only two left and doing what we'd been told to do – hands, elbows and big sweeps of the arms causing the lights to go supernova, the lighting equivalent of a tidal wave hitting a beach. Meanwhile, the crew were plastering Bucks Fizz with cream pies.

Later we helped shift gear and escorted Kate Robbins to her car – she was later a voice actress on Spitting Image and was in Victoria Wood's Dinner Ladies amongst many, many other shows. She's also the mum of Emily Atack.

Next is a news item from the Yellow Advertiser from 15 November 1985, which prompted me to enter a local short story competition. Now, I didn't win, but I do remember being invited to a rather posh dinner at Chelmsford's Shire Hall with my then girlfriend, Heather. It's a shame we didn't have a camera, because it was  probably the smartest we'd ever looked.

The winner was Tina Rath, with a horror story, which was printed in the 27 December issue. It's a shame they didn't print any of the runners up. My story was a rather whimsical piece about Father Christmas, which I was convinced was going to win because it was a Christmas competition, after all. Who else was smart enough to think of that, eh? Probably all of those who came between second and fifth.

By a strange coincidence, Tina Rath went on to become a writer and actress, specialising in playing Queen Victoria and in 2015 she appeared in that roll in an episode of The One Show.

Talking of which... I finally made my appearance on The One Show on Wednesday. After a three month wait, the brief feature on Harry Bensley appeared about half hour in and, four minutes later, was finished. No mention of the book, no shot of the book, nobody in the studio discussing the incredible story of a man who set off on a walk around the world wearing an Iron Mask. Unsurprisingly, I didn't sell a single copy of the book off the back of the show.

Ah, well. There's always next time. I'm probably due to appear on TV again some time in the 2030s.

Today's random scans... my copy of Seven Days in May turned up just in time to be used this week and I thought May might be a nice theme, but I could only find a couple of covers in my scans folder. So I switched to Devil...


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