One afternoon in 1976, my friend and I were rather bored. We had been scanning a number of bookshops to see if there were any music magazines with articles and photographs of our favourite bands to oogle over. Unfortunately, there were none. In order to escape this utter boredom, a wanton idea cropped up. I dragged my friend inside a nearby telephone booth, threw in some coins and phoned my cousin.
Now I should explain that in those days my cousin was completely besotted with Steve. She found the idea of Steve living together with a Dutch girl nearly unbearable. Add a torrid jealousy towards that girl’s older sister, the infamous Patricia Paay, and a highly explosive mixture is what you get….
Here’s a transcript of the telephone conversation with my cousin:
Listen, I’m in a phone booth in the Amsterdam Caransa Hotel, and you really MUST come…
…. because Steve and the band are here.. we bumped into them and we’re now having a drink with them, so hop on the train and COME!!!
Marian.... are you still there?
Is it really true?????? Oh, Steeeeeeeve!!!!!
(an undefined sound, and someone swearing in the background)
Yes, rest assured, it’s true. I find it hard to believe it myself, but yes, yes, so please do come!!!
“I will, I WILL.. oh my god… help!! What am I to wear??
Never mind.. just come a.s.a.p !!!
I hung up the phone and for the next five minutes my friend and I were having fits of laughter…. until I decided it was time to phone again and break the news to my poor cousin. Naturally she was flaming mad (you bastards!!) and if I remember correctly she was on the verge of bursting into tears. In the end she managed to compose herself and what she told us next was rather hair-raising…
Partly triggered by her envy towards singer Patricia Paay, whose hairdo in those days was big curls plus a most beautiful reddish hue, Marian had taken up the idea of dyeing her own hair with henna. Since she had long manes, her mother needed to assist her, and whilst mum was in the midst of applying the henna on her daughter’s hair, I made that crank phone call to her. In a rage of excitement my cousin had flipped back her head, causing the henna to splash all over the carpet, books, clothing, etc.
I humbly apologized and realized that this wasn’t funny at all… but then again, how could we have known that she was in the midst of a hair-dyeing job when we phoned her? Surely not
our fault (!) My friend and I quietly cycled to my home with
an undistinct feeling of guilt. We got to my room and sat
there going ‘oh dear… but, it *was* funny wasn’t it…’ .
In the other room the phone was ringing, my mother took the call and minutes later she entered my room looking puzzled and upset. “What the … have you done? What’s going on? I’ve just been phoned by Marian’s mother and she told me a rambling story about your phoning Marian and a great big mess…. she was ever so mad, also at me!”
So we admitted what we had done – I noticed that my mother had a hard time keeping up her serious appearance…
A little while later my mother, not being able to control her laughter anymore, told us that my aunt had given her a stiff lecture by growling “It’s about time you began keeping that headstrong daughter of yours under control – AND her horrendous friend!!”
(Incidentally, my cousin’s real name is not Marian)
Loved your story. It's amazing how one band can evoke so many memories in so many people.
Incidently, love the name Janine. It too evokes memories for me, but this time of David Bowie who was my other musical passion of the 70's. The song of your name 'Janine' from the Space Oddity album is one of my favourite Bowie tracks.
Have you heard it?
CHELSEA SUPPORTING HARLEY FAN SINCE '73, TWO SONS.
Hi Harley fans, a song of Steves that helped me through an extremely tough time is Journeys end. My father had just passed away at our holiday home in Florida and I flew out the next day to be with mum but upon my arrival she was not at the airport to meet me as she was taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack. I spent 3 of the loneliest days and nights alone at the house, despite the kind efforts of friends and neighbours. It was that song that kept me going until my brother arrived, although I still draw strength from it. Mum made a full recovery thankfully. There are other songs of Steves that mean so much to me personally and for different reasons but Journeys end (a fathers promise) twangs every heartstring. P.S. Karen, I have purchased a contraption that converts tape to cd so I would be happy to do Anns copy so long as it's legal.
Anyone remember the heat wave at Crystal Palace, mid 70s - 76, I think. My sister jumped in the lake with others, apparently spoiling Steve's plot to blow it up with pyros underwater. I'm sure she's sorry, Steve!
I took a (then) girlfriend to the Woodville Halls at Gravesend to see Suzi Quatro, must have been early to mid 1973?
The "unknown" support band came on in satin suits and completely blew me away. It was a fair few weeks after this that the Sebastian single came out.