Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Continental Plumbing Meets Foxhunting, And All In Leather...

I had meant to publish these in some kind of chronological order but that's now gone out of the window.  So we now jump back to the tail end of 1988...

Now it has been said that many a strange thing happens in a Belgian toilet (that has been said, hasn't it ?) but, on the evening of Monday November 14th 1988, I think at least one resident of Gent may have thought things had a got a little too strange. The occasion was the first show proper of The Wonder Stuff's first European tour. They had previously appeared at a couple of European festivals but now we were into a run of 12 shows starting in Belgium and dipping in and out of France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany, or that was the plan. The first show was at a very lavishly appointed venue called the Vooruit in Gent, Belgium where the band would be supporting the (in my opinion) very wonderful Julian Cope.

It was here I finally got to meet the bizarrely monikered Baron Beat Moll Troy who had been unable to work on the "Groovers on Manoeuvres" tour as he was working with Cope. Strange fellow, dressed head to toe in black combat gear but with long red hair held out of his face with brightly coloured plastic clothes pegs.

All went well as I recall and we were all packed up in time for me to be able to watch Cope's show. He was toward the end of his black leather and that microphone stand period and, let's be honest, Copey has never really been "all there" as it were. So...I was having a fine old time watching the show when I saw Mr Cope disappear from the stage. As it was during the song "Reynard The Fox", and he had a radio microphone and there is a fairly lengthy ad-lib/spoken bit I presumed he'd jumped down into "the pit" (that being the space between the stage and the barrier for those not in the know) to entertain the front row and I decided to go relieve myself of some of the Belgian beer I'd drunk.

On my way to the Gents in a corridor near the stage I came across Beat Moll frantically searching around for something.

"Have you seen Julian" he asked me
"No" I replied "but I can still hear him singing so he can't be far away"
How strange, I thought, as I continued on my way and entered the Gents, how do you "lose" your singer ?

But OOOOOOH what a sight greeted me on entering the male facilities ! Trapped wild eyed in the corner, desperately looking for a way out of his current predicament, was a rather distressed looking Belgian fellow, facing the urinal with "tackle in hand" you might say. And the cause of his wild eyed desperation and distress ? One fully be-leathered Julian Cope dancing around him in the corner with microphone in hand, bellowing the closing phrases of "Reynard The Fox" at our somewhat dazed Belgian..."AND...AND...AND...HE SPILLED HIS GUTS ALL OVER THE STAGE" before turning rather smartly on his motorbike boot clad heels and sprinting back in the general direction of the stage.

That tour staggered on for another 5 shows (including a very amusing stop over for a night off in Austria) before coming to a crashing halt in Frankfurt when we all decided to go home and cancel the remaining 5 gigs (sorry Europe).

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