While completing a music meme on facebook courtesy of Master Chris Hambly, I was caught in a meander down memory lane and I realised that I’ve had many opportunities to live a pretty amazing life.
The meme was one of those ‘list x tracks from your mp3 player’ and because the shuffle function threw up a lot of tracks I don’t listen to very often; mostly from the heavier rock and metal genres, I had quite a few OMG moments; these were the soundtrack of my time in Manchester pre-illness.
I mostly lived in Jillys rock world from the first weekend I ventured out after moving there. The door staff became friends and looked out for me both in the club and out of it (Mo came along on my CBT test and I attended his wedding reception, at one point or another they all picked me and my broken down shitty TZR 125 up from some place or another and I’d house sit every year for the Isle of man contingent when they made the TT pilgrimage)
I started out studying drama at the Abraham moss college where I had my finest theatrical hour as Rosie in ‘My Mother Said I never Should‘, a 4 person 3 hour play directed by a wonderful woman whose name sadly escapes me now.
I was forever being asked to record this that and the other for random people (mostly ‘producers’ using the offer as a pick up line) because the theatre rooms were located at the other side of the recording studios – one time I actually had someone follow us into the theatre demanding to know who had been singing outside the room and while I started apologising they demanded my number for a forthcoming project – much to the amusement of my fellow loveys.
So I guess it’s no shock that I ended up in music (I actually hated the theatre, the people were 90% self-centred/ insecure bitches, 7% couldn’t care less techies and 3% talented actors – loved the acting; hated the people)
From some great collaborations including a local radio promo piece recorded with a talented guitarist called Dave for the MANCAT college I attended (then had to leave when ‘New deal’ came out and my course didn’t meet the criteria for financial aid) to my shining moments of event management..
Perhaps the best work I ever did and I possibly missed my calling there; I first organised a music night for my then boyfriends band, I’d pre-sold a ton of tickets when the head liners pulled out the day before..
After a brief panic I managed to pull some strings (ie begged people I knew) and got the then flavour of the year band ‘Kill II This’ in their place – I was lucky they were willing to do it as a warm up for the already advertised solo gig 2 days later. It was a very successful night and despite spending a fortune on the rider managed to not only break even but make a small profit – which for a first promo event with next to no advertising was apparently unheard of according to Shawn and Russell (the events and bar managers at Manchester Uni S.U)
My second event was even more satisfying – 4 days with 27 bands at the band on the wall; Not sure how I got roped into this..
I was a 1st year popular music student at Salford Uni (another course I was forced to leave for financial reasons) and I was approached by one of the 3rd years for help organising the music performance exams, I had to sort out running lists and stage manage the whole thing – from getting the instruments and equipment to the venue to getting the people on and off stage on time.
It was a roaring success – so much so that I was asked to do the same again at the local pub a few weeks later by 2 of the bands when they were putting on an event.. I kinda miss all that, not just performing but organising things, it was a buzz.
I had a lot of contacts back then because I was part of the student scene both AS a student but also as a bouncer, bar staff and ‘casual crew’ so my work was also my social life and it was a blast.
I was asked to join several bands (even had a 3 fist review for one of my student bands in Kerrang! I still have it, torn out and kept in a photo album; the reviewer LOVED me *grin*) and as I mentioned on facebook; Mark of ‘Kill II This’ fame once asked me to join that very band as a bass player when someone told him I was learning to play bass – sadly I declined but part of me has always wondered what might have been had I accepted..
I passed up several music opportunities; to go on tours as a backstage gofer, to record dance tracks for export (I was an idiot back then and didn’t want to ‘sell out’) and to work abroad as part of a duo.
All this was on top of my day jobs which were generally of the shop assistant/ customer service variety. Until I got a job at the Hard Rock Casino then my life went nuts because those people party HARD. Casino folk are either working, sleeping or partying and they do each of those at weird hours because they do not live the life normal folk know.
It was during that time I got ‘in’ with the car crowd – the guys who do the illegal drag racing up and down dual carriageways and ‘chip’ their cars and always know someone who can get you a part.. I had many a trip to wales at 4am with the lads, night driving is a pleasure! ..So I guess it’s doubly weird that I STILL don’t have a license.
I also had an abortive attempt at a writing collaboration with a guy in Canada – his backers paid for me to fly over there for a weekend after about 3 months of online talks and we spent a night holed up in a room at the holiday inn discussing his (dreadful) screenplay, he’d previously made a film about the treatment of slaves and had sent me a video of it, he wanted to give religion the same treatment.. but upon my return a story (maybe true, maybe not) about his wife becoming terminally ill killed that project and communication dwindled – maybe I should have been less honest with my criticism?
I’ve met so many famous people in the touring music industry that the names have all rolled into a jumble in my mind, a few stand out but generally not for good reasons and I doubt very many of them would remember me any better – I was just the ‘little girl doing back door security’ (as Pantera guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell dubbed me) but I’m still gutted that Bruce Dickinson wouldn’t let me have his flight jacket because that was a cool jacket and most definitely would have been in my size..
I do remember how nice Cass of Skunk Anansie was the night I got talked into giving up seeing the show to work it by my panicked boss – was not best pleased as the tickets had been a birthday present; I’m not a fangrrl and I have zero interest in meeting the artists of work I admire, I just like to watch and listen from a distance (though my one exception to that would be Sandra Bullock; I think she’d be fun to hang out with) He made a point of sitting and chatting to me at the back door and got the side of stage lad to swap with me at one point so I could see at least some of the show.
..Nice guy, great performer; so glad they’re going to be touring again because THIS time I’m getting a ticket and going to see ’em – if it kills me!