Woke up in TUTSville UK, with Smit’s 9-year-old
son, Bengy, singing, “I am the lion and the lamb, I am part of the plan, I
am the lion and the lamb.” Whilst Smit was shouting out “Stop the pigeon,
stop the pigeon,” in his usual delicate voice. Then TUTS united as they both
joined in the chorus of The Explorers Walk Away.
to Ipswich at Chinese dentist time – sing-a-long TV time again as me, Smit
and Mark MOORE (smitsmate) Explore the Great South East. Rang the Fleagles
and Alan from the T.U.T.S. (TV United Tour Supporters) and arrange to meet
at the gig at 6:30 pm. It’s great how so many of TV’s fan club travel all
over to see what C5 calls ‘THE GREAT MAN’. Got lost and couldn’t figure out
which switch was the switch to Ipswich (had to get that in somewhere!)
The White House Hotel reception guided us in – just what did we do before
we had hands-free mobile phone kits. The world must have seemed a lot larger!
As we had arrived
in good time we decided to get changed and go to the Fat Cat pub. Smit donned
his black Useless T shirt and I put on my Gaye Advert One Chord Wonders. We
arrived at Mark MOORE’s room just in time to witness his wardrobe toppling
over on him (we looked inside but could find no lion, lamb or the Ips witch
Mark MOORE entertained
us on the long journey by telling us stories of his conkering days as he gleefully
boosted his collection of conkers under each Horse Chestnut tree. The Fat
Cat was great. The Oakham JHB, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold and Woodforde Wherry
were on top form as we dived into splendid chicken, mushroom and green pepper
pasties. Klaus sent me a test and passed on his regards to TV and the TUTS.
Arrived at the
Corn Exchange and were greeted by a duo of Fleagles and THE GREAT MAN himself.
The Fleagles gave me a present that Mrs Fleagle had made for me; my very own
’Tj SUNDOWN’S GIG REVIEW BOOK’. This touching gift featured pictures of TV
Smith playing alongside Richard Strange at Southwick, me writing the gig review
at The Verge, Shady my wonder dog and the Oakham JHB pump clip. I was speechless
– yes, me! TV whispered “What incredibly nice people” as he left the table.
The first thing
we noticed about the beer was that a lot of it had already been drunk! Gulp!
TV added to this concern by informing us that the PA system wasn’t working
– this was going to be interesting…
cool TV and two perspiring Personal Assistants got the PA working. TV burst
into a better Future and a roaring Lion.
Rikki Flag (from
Know Your Products), resplendent in punked up hair and red leather jacket,
introduces himself and chats to me about TV and to Smit about Ipswich’s soccer
defeat at the hands of the Derby enemy.
I had left the Fleagles’ present in the car I went with Smit to the beer goodies
for sale stand. Smit bought a Timothy Taylor’s T-shirt and a set of Cotleigh
brewery’s superb beer mats. Idea! I flicked through the mats and found the
Golden Eagle and forked over my 20p (Hey! Big spender).
I returned to
our TUTS table and gave my present to an ecstatic Fleagle. He began to put
the mat under his beer, and then, noticing my disbelieving eyes following
his hands, he pulled back, and put the 20p beer mat in his pocket. I explained
how I had befriended the owners of Cotleigh Brewery in the 80’s. Back then
traditional quality ale was my favourite hobby and Cotleigh were my favourite
brewers. The story of how I discovered Cotleigh brewery was my first published
work in my short career as an amateur real ale journalist. It was called ‘Of
Antlers And Feathers’. To cut a very long story short, my friendship with
the brewers grew from strength to strength, culminating in annual holidays
to their luxury house in Fowey, Cornwall; and commissioning, naming and promoting
my own beer called, yes you guessed it, Cotleigh Golden Eagle.
Mr and Mrs Fleagle
snapped awake when the Alan family arrived towards the end of my tale.
wife chatted to Smit about the ins and outs of life in Spalding and Market
Deeping. Charlotte, Alan’s daughter, got TV to sign her autograph book. The
man obliged – “To charlotte, lots of love à TV Smith”. Alan and his
son Chris were quietly awaiting the main event.
to the TUTS table with news, “This bloke at the bar saw my TV T shirt and
said – “Oh! You’re on tonight! What sort of music do you play?” TV & the
TUTS laughed their heads off!
I asked, “How’s
the new album coming along Teev?” TV replied, “It will be finished in Germany
next week, then it will probably take about six months to finalise everything
and get it out on the streets.”
A bloke appeared
behind TV and handed out what looked like a wine label to me, TV, Smit and
Mark MOORE! I read it out loud, “Single men - meet attractive, interesting
ladies at dinner parties”. We picked up our heads and laughed them back off
Wham! Not A Bad Day à Bam! 21 à Thank! Future à
You! Rich à Man! This Year,
“I’d better have
a drink, everyone else is”, said TV toasting his glass up to the crowd. TV
stared at the glass. From the front you could read the word STAFF on it.
“I asked for STAR and they gave me STAFF! What can you do?” exclaimed TV …
“I don’t follow
anyone, politics or religion. Here’s a song about that called Roll Like a
River,” introduced TV. “Well you could roll like a river into the dirty sea,
or you could swim upstream with me.” Sang TV & the TUTS. “You landed more
than just a job, got the rest thrown in for free, a world of compromises,
lies, the whole mentality. Turn around and face the flow, start to swim. The
deeper they dig the hole, the more of us fall in. Every door they open leads
to another door. The good worker never gets what he’s dying for. And we all
walk blindly down the well-worn way. The slave driver rules with the collusion
of the slaves.”
New Church. “I
was informed last year that nobody claps at beer festivals ‘cos they’re all
holding their glasses! So what are you clapping with? Here’s another religious
song for you,”
The Lords Prayer.
“I ain’t coming save yourselves,” scream the TUTS.
“People say don’t
ask for miracles, Just except things as they stand,” Sang TV. Big gulp! It’s
my mobile phone text song request. I turn around to my gig review book, which
is sat on the bar and write ‘Tj IS VERY MOVED’. I feel moisture welling up
in the corner of my eye and double check to make sure that it’s due to Smit’s
cig smoke. Stay cool Tj! “CHANGE YOUR HISTORY NOW!” Continues THE GREAT MAN.
“People say you’re just a silly fool, it doesn’t matter if you are. Just go
and reach out for that miracle, you’ll get your miracle for just daring to.
You feel completely at ease, now the enemy’s dead and the prisoner freed,
people say you should never let go, people talk – but people don’t know. People
don’t know. People don’t know.” At this point I intended to sing the backing
vocals; “You got all you need (you got all you need), you’ve got harmony (you’ve
got harmony),” but I’m to overcome to remember what to sing. Nice one Teev!
Thin Green Line – leg end time.
“The Easy Way!”
bellows the only person even louder than me. I turn to Smit and say, “He hasn’t
got a piano!” Just as I hear Teev hit the first note. First People Don’t Know
and now The Easy Way – Not A Bad Day! I think to myself. Teev leaves out the
last verse, but who cares as this may well have been the first time he has
ever played it on acoustic guitar.
One Chord Wonders.
Alan videos Expensive Being Poor while I do my best to out shout TV into Alan’s
Mike. Alan’s too nice to deposit his forehead on mine! I glance to my right
and see Chris 13 singing along with great gusto. Tomahawk Cruise finishes
off the first set. “I expect to see you back for the next round” shouts TV.
still standing… For now… Beer time.
The last verse
of Easy Way kick-starts the second set. This man really is the consummate
professional, Erik Russell was right. TV gives a nod to Smit as he hits the
last note of this Explorers classic.
Big Fish has
me writing illegible notes in my diary, much to Mr and Mrs Fleagle’s amusement.
Only One Flavour! Safety In Numbers! “If that monitors working I’m a pint
of beer” says TV as he sticks his head inside the PA like a demented lion
tamer. He kicks one of the speakers round a little so that he can hear it.
Tomorrow. “This one’s for YOU, forget the rest, say goodbye to those grey
gloomy clouds that get you so depressed”.
One Million Pounds.
“Alcohol,” TV toasts the jubilant crowd.
Soon As I Found
It I Lost It sees Alan rather moved actually.
“Great British Mistake”, hollers Rikki Flag and his Punk mates. TV obliges.
One of the punks grabs Smit and they commit to a strange combination of pogoing
and sumo wrestling before the rather inebriated punk ends up flat on the floor.
Wang! TV’s string
has snapped and Mrs F gets her song.
Swimming In The
Flood and Tj gets his song. “It’s like a good dream!”
Eyes. Pogo time!
Rikki takes to
the stage and announces “I have counted that we have 347 people in the gig
and if we all join in on the TV Runaway Train Conga we will get ourselves
in the Guinness Book of Records.”
Oh no! The TUTS
all look at each other nervously as they slowly moonwalk backwards from the
front of the gig, edging carefully back to Charlotte and Paula and the safety
of the TUTS table.
Too late! “These
two lads from Leeds” barks Rikki, pointing at me and Smit, “have come all
this way to lead the record breaking TV Runaway Train Conga”.
Me and Smit tussle
over who is going to take the lead. I manoeuvre Smit to the front and thankfully
he doesn’t object too much. CONGA TIME…
One punter gets in the way and is sent
flying though the air. As TV climaxed the song, the festival organiser bellowed
“FREE BEER,” as if in reward. I hit the Hop Back Entire Stout – big time!
Later...TV tells me, Smit and Mark MOORE
“It was weird singing to a conga. One minute there are loads of people dancing
in front of you in a line, and then suddenly they all disappeared around the
back of the beer barrels and scaffolding. I thought, “Oh well, I’ll just carry
on singing, they’ll be back.”
Alan had joined the Conga we would have appeared on the Guinness Book of records.
The rest of the night is as cloudy as the gooseberry beer
TV was drinking at the end of the night. I am informed by reliable sources that
it involved kebabs, nice babs and a too loud and expensive disco.