where the writers are
SOUND MAN (part 8)

Meanwhile, back in Brum it was time for gig number 50 – March 26 1979, The Barrel Organ.

The Barrel Organ sat like a brick wart on the arse of Digbeth. We’d played there a dozen or so times, including losing a weekly residency after four gigs when too many people showed up and someone smashed up the toilets. It was a long narrow room that only held about 150 people. We were expecting at least 300.

“Could it be any fucking colder?” I blew on my hands and reached into the back of the van for my guitar case.

“Shut up and get this gear in big nose.” Dik said, dragging his drum stand case toward the stage door.

Inside, sound man Miki was having a pint with my brother Roy. Roy was a stalwart of the band, selling tee-shirts, badges, and records at gigs, lugging gear, pretending to our Dad that he was out driving their cab on nights but secretly talking us to gigs for free, and generally being wonderful and indispensable.

Occasionally we gave Miki, and the rest of our unpaid crew, the night off and lugged the gear ourselves. Dead socialist of us, I’m sure!

“Down a bit.” Mulligan said.

I was stretching up to gaffer tape the right hand side of our backdrop to the back wall, a great sheet of silk with “Fàshiön music” in huge black lettering. Posters, backdrops, light bulbs, ceilings a specialty, anything high up fell to the band’s resident giant.

Oh the sheer glamour of it all, I reflected, as Mulligan changed his mind for the fourth time about whether the left hand end of the backdrop should go up or down a bit.