Bognor was fine. One hour, as per contract, generally the hit singles, plus some more esoteric yet stirring stuff, too - just what the crowd expected and wanted really. Everyone’s a winner. There were around 3,000 people in the vast hall and we touched a good percentage, though not all, I think.
Some were there to bop to “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”, re-enacted by four old pros (no idea if any of the originals were in the line-up) who each held a radio mic and sang and moved to a backing track on a machine. I didn’t stay to watch, but that’s the story. My old mate Rick Driscoll popped down a day early to see us. His modern take on Kenny were on Sunday’s bill. That’s Kenny made up of Rick on vocals and guitar and a bass player, working to backing tracks on a laptop, as described by Rick himself. But we Headlined, on between 8 and 9pm, and I was home just after midnight.
Swear I spotted Mike J late in proceedings, in a snazzy black satin shirt and huge, golden medallion. What a sight! And a couple of photos of me and Marc Bolan were brought back to my dressing-room – one from Mike, I understand, and the other, framed, from Dave (?) – sorry, my man wasn’t entirely sure or clear. But thanks, guys. I do actually have the originals of those photos, since you were probably wondering. But they were an Agency shoot, at a party, so will be out there in Cyberland, I guess. Thanks for the gifts, though.
Obviously, these Holiday Camp acts don’t work in the same way we do. Obviously, they are not moving in the same areas of the music world as us, except for last Saturday! But I had nothing to lose, or nothing I cared about. The biggest acts on the planet (trust me on this) play for the craic or for the money. Bank raids, they are known as. The richest people in the world can invite the biggest names to their private functions in Dubai, Qatar or Tokyo, or weddings in New York or Sydney – the contract will demand everything, and more. The 25-strong team will probably be flown in a private charter airliner, and treated to a few days holiday, just to play one show of one hour and home next day. And the fee…well! I’m not sharing what I know with you, but it will be great enough, mouth-wateringly so, that even multi-millionaires can’t say no! And that’s a fee! Why wouldn’t they, and why shouldn’t they, and how is any of my business?
I won’t be joining the 70s revival circuit, have no fear, but where I play, and who I play to is my choice, and mine alone. Nobody dictates to me, not my agent, not my consultants, not my dad, not my fans, not anybody. We discuss, among professionals, and we make a decision. We took 500 flyers for Birmingham and over the weekend almost 50 tickets were sold – maybe that had some impact. Ran an ad in the Birmingham Mail on Friday – first pennies spent on advertising the show. How good it feels, knowing it’s close to sold-out solely through ticket-sales to fans who come into the website and via word-of-mouth. I’ve said before, it will be very cool if we can hold back until the early summer, and run National ads with Sold-Out across them. But, truth is, it might need that extra boost to move the few hundred left in the Grand Tier. We monitor sales on a daily basis (well, someone does) and we will make that decision when the time comes. We know of 12 people coming from the United States (including Cheri and Ana); four from Canada; two separate individuals from Australia (including Judy), and many dozens from across Europe. How many have booked at Jury’s to party on with the hard-core, we don’t know, apparently. I hope most have. They will be among friends.
Received a swathe of birthday cards from around the world. Several dozen have arrived. I thank all who sent. Got several Valentine cards, too. How strange is that? But how flattering! Girls, really…..you made an old man very happy.
Festival offers have started to arrive on my agent’s desk (or more likely on his email In-Box).
Noticed in the Daily Mail piece, My Haven, that my kids’ ages were inverted. They understand how the Press works, and how the standard of editing has deteriorated since their dad was in that world. It’s inexplicable, really, and yet when you question it, someone will always have a plausible answer/explanation. You shrug, walk away, get over it. But it is a pity. And, to clarify, just so you understand I am not a vain egotist, I do not keep a Cockney Rebel poster from 1974 on my living room wall. It was placed there for the piece. As was the Lester Piggott bust which has pride of place, centre-stage, on my study mantelpiece normally. And I don’t keep an oil painting of myself beside the piano – same story. The Zemaitis guitar doesn’t even live at the house. But, hey, while I don’t enjoy doing these slight pieces, it seems it’s the only way I can get into the Nationals, and there are tickets to sell. Not many, but there are some. And while the accuracy of it all isn’t all it could be, they say no publicity is bad publicity. But I’m not so sure. However, onward and upward. Meeting Andrew Powell to discuss his involvement in Symnphony Hall. He tells me he has found an arrangement he composed for Mirror Freak, during the Psychomodo sessions, but which Alan Parsons and/or I rejected. Will hear it and maybe add it to the track on the night. See, who knows what surprises might lie in store?
written by Carol Cunningham , February 28, 2012
Even if the article in the Mail wasn't totally accurate, it was still good to see Steve in the news again. Makes a change from constant stream of 1direction/xfactor trivia/drivel.
written by humphries , February 29, 2012
Hello! Thanks Steve for the diary piece.....
SO when do YOU and your team take your jet to DUBAI ?.. gosh didnt know my brother had you "booked" for his wedding!! xx jo
written by humphries , February 29, 2012
p.s. I wish ..... jo
written by Ana-Leigh , March 01, 2012
Somewhat, but not completely important points/questions:
1. Okay, let the American know, what's a Holiday Camp? It seems to be taking on a certain...tone when people have been using it. I am pretty good with a large number of British terms at this point, but one I'm not familiar with.
2. "But they were an Agency shoot, at a party, so will be out there in Cyberland, I guess." If only! I haven't run into them myself. I'd love to see them. If anyone out there has seen them on the web, gimme a holler.
My two my fave rock people in a picture together? Heck yeah. (I'm currently squeeing over Marc's performance of Laser Love: http://youtu.be/uQUgcFq9w6U Why are all my style icons boys like you and Marc? Guess I'm just weird.
written by PaulineW , March 03, 2012
Great diary piece Steve - and we all know you're your own man - didn't doubt that at all, just maybe a touch of premature senility rearing it's head - haha, am joking of course!!
Glad to hear you're not joining the 70's circuit - phew!! You're bigger than that my man x
Loved the 'Mail' piece, nice to see the man at home, albeit a little constructed but hey we know that and can see the true picture - red socks were cute tho xx
Roll on November, sooooooooo excited x x
written by Sid , March 07, 2012
I was at the Butlin's Gig Steve. Had gone along on a mate's stag do, and only discovered you were appearing after booking. Having seen Cockney Rebel perform a couple of times in Liverpool in the Seventies, and loved the first 3 albums, I was really looking forward to it. I have to say you didnt dissapoint - your hour session was the highlight of what was a fantastic weekend. What was the name of that track with the extended violin solo? - dont think I've heard that before - Fan-bloody-tastic.
Just going back to the gigs I saw in the seventies. First time was at the Liverpool Stadium - I think you were supporting Wishbone Ash or someone? Then saw you again as the main act at the Liverpool Empire. Do you remember falling off the stage into the Orchestra pit at the Liverpool Empire? Fortunately you were able to walk back onto the stage a few minutes later and complete the set. Or is my mind playing tricks on me?
Anyway thanks for a great set at Butlitz (can't really call it that anymore since they rebuilt it into quite a decent place), I loved every minute of it. Unforgetable!! Especially the audiance participation on "Come up and see me", and that song with the Violin Solo. Superb!!
written by Steve , March 07, 2012
steve missed the tickets for Birmingham and dont fancy the seats up in the attic any chance of there being another day added to the Birmingham ??
written by michael bond , March 09, 2012
Steve I was bowled over by your gig in Leamington last year and I've just managed to get a ticket in the grand tier at symphony hall. I first saw you at the Odeon Birmingham in 1976, my first year at Uni, and the symphony hall gig will be so nostalgic.You and the band get better and better and you connect with your audience like no other band I've seen.Can't wait to hear Death Trip. Are you recording it?