The website's great - Like many it was Judy Teen - first heard as record of the week on Radio Luxembourg I think. A strange and unique sound that hooked me in. Then back to Sebastian, then The Pychomodo album then back again to Human Menagerie and gigs at the Liverpool Stadium.
Cockney Rebel and Mott the Hoople were my mid-teenage bands (until punk came along) and I've continued to enjoy their output ever since. Loads of gigs and memories but it was those first albums that really did it for me. Could go on but here's something I wrote - well I say wrote but if it's good enough for Steve to be inspired by Virginia Woolf in Riding the Waves...
I wrote it for something on the twentieth anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing...
Just a bit different and sort of sums up what Cockney Rebel meant to this fourteen-year-old back then.
Twenty Years Ago: Lockerbie
But before then 34 years ago...
I’m sat in my bedroom dreaming of Loretta, Lorraine and Louise.
And Doreen who is a hunk of a man,and she can wipe every boy from the land.
And that is what London is about when you’re 14. Victorian vases and girls that are trying to stick their cosmic philosopher’s words into rhymes.
And it all smells of incense and patchouli oil and there are violins and glam make-up and wicker chairs and wicker men and Britt Ekland. Hopefully Britt Ekland...
And it’s desert wellies and cut-off Wranglers and it’s swimming in Orrell reservoirs. But it could be Hyde Park and girls that could sweep, skip, jump and leap into a room full of clowns.
And the sun shines and in my mind I watch Loretta taste the wine and kick the actor from behind.
And I am now home sprawled across the sofa and Marlene enters my mind and as her make up starts to fade away I spy Ramona by the door calling me the perfect whore.
And I never lost control.
And for a while it was a very strange show.
And it got stranger as five years later I am in Hyde Park and there is no Loretta, Lorraine and Louise.
And there is no hideaway. No lady from a background of pearls. Just me spaced out in this human menagerie – fooling with bravado.
And on that great song and that great album there was a bass player called Paul Avron Jeffreys. They were/they are my favourite group of all time. Cockney Rebel. The first two albums are exquisite, better than anything they later did. But that's always the case with bands isn't it? Well maybe.
Steve Harley disbanded the first Cockney Rebel, wrote his side of the story in a little ditty called Make me Smile. Life went on... Paul played in a number of groups with varying success
In 1988 Paul Jeffreys married Rachel Jones and he was begining his honeymoon on the flight Pan AM 103 when it exploded in mid-air above Lockerbie. 259 people on the plane and 11 people on the ground died that day.
Loretta, Lorraine and Louise (not forgeting Ruthy or Muriel) also did it for me.
But I also had a thing about European Maids (hard to ignore) and some bloke who keeps his money under his mattress
and his conscience in his pocket.
Best years of ours Lives and Timeless Flight, to me were also awe inspiring albums, especially the later, which even today remains my favourite chill out album.
If I could put the words together you'd understand.
I long for 'deathtrip' to be played at my funeral. Not that I'm dying but can you think of a more majestic song to go out to.
Personally I've always wanted Tumbling Down at my funeral. And I want everyone to join in at the end...
Think it would be the perfect summation of my life!
Saw Cockney Rebel for the first time at the Brook in Southampton in May last year, definitely the best concert I've ever been too (not that I've been to a huge number...but I have seen the Rolling Stones and Porcupine Tree, both of which would take some beating). The Lighthouse was definitely the highlight of the show, for both me and a friend who I made come with me. Am only 25 and most of my friends are into rubbish like Snow Patrol so is always difficult...
It would be a toss up between Deathtrip and Tumbling Down to be honest. Given my wife's distain at the idea of Deathtrip played at my funeral, Tumbling Down has the better chance. Although given the choice I'd have them both played (in fact I could fill an hour or two with Cockney Rebel tracks!)
I live in the Midlands, but have a friend who lives in Hamble-Le-Rice. The fact that Cockney Rebel were playing in Southampton was the perfect excuse to get down and see him. So I too was at the Brook. It was an excellent venue and very good concert - Bit unfortunate that it was on the same night as the Man U v Chelsea champions league cup final, but worth missing the match for.
So many great memories over the last eight years. When I was a kid I used to listen to my dads SH&CR cds, and whilst on a school trip to the Swan theatre in High Wycombe I saw a poster advertising a Harley concert for the following week. When I got home I told my dad and the next week we were there. Words can't describe it. It was my first concert and I'd never seen anything like it, ever since then I've been hooked. It was the first time my dad had been to see them since 1990, so it was as much an experience for him as it was for me.
We've been going to see Steve and the band now a few times every year ever since that first night at the Swan, and it really does get better every time. Best memories include the IOW festival in 2004, where we met Karen, Debs, Ray and many others for the first time, standing there on that hot day, running to the stage when we heard the intro to 'Here comes the sun'. Catching Steve's plectrum at the end of the gig in Weston-super-mare in 2004, and getting my copy of 'Anytime' signed. Cornbury festival the following year, we met Barry and Robbie who signed our 'Make me smile' single. Great memories.
Last year was no exception, the Bilston Robin in July was the best yet. Such a great performance, hearing 'How Good it feels' for the first time live, and 'The Lighthouse' which astonished everyone. Steve's singing with Barry's violin on that track is something I'll never forget, aswell as handing Steve a pint of Guinness and him downing it in one. I'm 18 now and have already seen so many great SH&CR concerts, and look forward to many more, it's been far too long since Weyfest!
Please login/register to post on the forum.
The Rise and Fall of the First-ever Dutch....
10 years 10 months ago #96
I'm afraid it's rather a long one so I hope it'll fit in... anyway, this is the full story of the RIse and Fall of the First-ever Dutch Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel Fan Club.
8 March 1976 was a day to remember. Steve and Cockney Rebel performed at Carré, a sumptuous, slighly gaudy, turn-of the-century theatre in the heart of Amsterdam. My cousin and I had managed to obtain tickets for the first row centre and were totally swept away by the dazzling show.
Some weeks later a brilliant idea cropped up: why not start a fan club. No doubt this would provide excellent opportunities for us to get in touch with Steve and the band – and this was really our only goal. My cousin was convinced that once she and Steve would meet each other, Steve would instantly fall for her and dump his then-girlfriend Yvonne. As for my own innocent heart….there would never be anyone else but Stuart Elliott. My friend J. decided to jump on the bandwagon, and in a mood of expectation and bliss – this decision was going to change our lives forever! – the posts were divided: J. was to be the secretary, P., my cousin, would use her artistic abilities by by designing the fan club magazine’s cover and layout, and I was bombarded chairman.
Firstly we felt the record company should give its official approval, so we wrote a most formal letter to EMI Holland. The reply was slightly less formal: a note saying ‘This is to inform you that you can just go ahead with your fan club’ accompanied by a meagre quantity of press material – badly copied, virtually useless.
Advertisements were placed in various Dutch music magazines, and to our surprise people started to respond! We quickly decided that our magazine ‘Rebel Kwebbel’ (Rebel Chatterbox, neither of us can take the credit for that most original name) would be in A5 format, with b/w photos and lots of information. The latter proved rather a pain in the neck, since EMI were not very helpful, so this meant a weekly trip to the local bookshop, picking up copies of New Musical Express, Melody Maker, etc. Sometimes we were lucky by finding a tiny article on the objects of our desire. Imagination was the key word in those days – a five-line article was enhanced by simply adding suppositions, self-invented gossip and the like. As you can imagine our cash-flow position was rather dramatic, particularly in the beginning, and we proved quite creative when it came to saving money. Stamps of incoming post were reused, and to avoid the cost of double-sided copying we had one A4 copied so many times, and the other sides of the pages were individually typed. Yes ladies and gentlemen: there were no computers in those days. All we had was a typewriter, not even a golf ball type, so try for a minute to imagine the agonies we went through. We could not press the keys too hard since there was a risk of punching right through a Rebel’s nose or some other organ copied on the other side. Don’t ask if the typewriter was equipped with a correction key…just don’t ask.
Gradually we had some more money at our disposal, so it was time to indulge the fans by sending them Cockney Rebel logo iron-on stickers. We placed an order for them and waited and waited. After about two months (some fan club members were really beginning to get worried that we were just a bunch of frauds) the stickers arrived and we quickly did a test on a cotton T-shirt. The result was not particularly promising. Fortunately it wasn’t until months later that we found out that frequent washing caused the logo to fall apart – literally. It would have been quite unsuitable to wear any of those shirts, since some extraordinary ‘ventilation’ system was beginning to develop...holes everywhere.
In the spring of 1977 the three of us went on a trip to London. We had phoned EMI London in time who confirmed they would arrange for us to meet Steve & the band. The only thing we needed to do was phone EMI the minute we got to London. But, from the moment we stepped on board the ship, things were beginning to go wrong. We had planned to stay on the upper decks spending the night there but were offered a cabin for GBP 1 only – some bargain it was! The cabin was situated right next to the engine room, so quite noisy, and there was a storm raging that night so P and I got very very sick. Arriving at the youth hostel in London was another shock. On top of that, we phoned EMI and were told that Steve was out in the country rehearsing and that we would NOT be granted a meeting. I will spare you the details of what followed the next few days - I’d rather erase it from my memory altogether since it’s all so embarrassing. I should mention one thing, however: we met with Roz Osborne, the UK fan club owner in those days. Over a cup of tea she shattered my world by casually mentioning that Stuart was a married man.
Back to business it was… at its peak our fan club had some 30 members, so copying was becoming a rather costly exercise. On one occasion my mother said that it would probably be okay for us to do some copying at her work – she worked as an administrative assistant in the continental headquarters of Wimpy (the then famous hamburger restaurants). So one afternoon after school J. and I (who, by the way, spent lots more time on the fan club than my
cousin, who lived quite a distance apart) were busy copying our wonderful little magazine, when a man with slightly Indian/Pakistani features stuck his head around the door, looking slighly puzzled. “Ahhmm… there’s no one here,” we said in a casual tone and continued copying. This man, who we had taken for a cleaner, later proved to be one of the hotshots in the UK Wimpy organization. Yuck. Our copying session was even the topic of a London board meeting…. “Who the hell were those girls and what were they doing – they’re not employed by us, are they !!” Needless to say we were never granted access to that office again – at least not for “business”.
News on Steve and CR was getting more scarce, so we were forced to let go of the full magazine idea and change it into a newsletter.
One afternoon I accidentally found out that Steve and Yvonne were in Holland for the day. They would fly back to London that night so, quickly grabbing make-up cases, hair brushes, and the club’s funds, the three of us rushed to Schiphol Airport. In those days it was still possible to check with the airline if Mr Nice and Miss Paay were on the passenger list. In moods varying from hysterical to worried (‘What am I to do when he’s standing in front of me?’ my cousin asked in total despair) we waited. And waited. A thick fog was enveloping the airport and flights were being cancelled. At 10.30 pm we decided to call it a day and return to our upset homes (we had only phoned in gasping ‘We’re off to Schiphol to meet Steve’).
By 1978 our real lives – boyfriends, exams, the works – were outshining our fanclub days…
gradually fading into the distance.