Guitar Man, Part 5

The year was 1996. Hell, it could’ve been ’97. We lived in the future, back then. The future was our business. Hell, the business was our future. We were just four guys, connected by one vision, managed loosely across a couple of departments.

Richard brought his fist down on the desk. Hard.

‘Hell,’ he growled, ‘we need to form a band. A band with a strategy.’

John was passing by the meeting room at that moment, and hearing Richard’s words he pulled up at the doorway, his features clenched and his words mouthed exaggeratedly to compensate for the glass window in the door separating him from his three colleagues in the meeting room.

‘Strategy?’ he mouthed, ‘if there’s strategy to be discussed then I’m the man. I have a job title says as much.’

John was right. Hell, John was in.

‘Then it’s settled,’ snarled Richard, ‘I didn’t personally invest in becoming a qualified Sunday League football referee to waste my time not making decisions.’ And he brought his other fist down on the desk. Hard. ‘So my decision is that we meet at the rehearsal studios in Ossett, near Wakefield. Tomorrow. After work.’

Martin had been silent up until now. But Steve got in first:

‘I want a company car,’ he said, again.

The corridors of the rehearsal studios in Ossett snaked through the repurposed building like rivers of musical legend. Feedback and turbulence. Enough said. Martin silently set up his drum kit, his mind awash with memories of (possibly) playing with people from Sheffield who went on to become Pulp. Richard and John argued strategically, off to one side. Steve fingered the unfamiliar knobs on the Squier Bullet Strat he’d bought in Castleford mere days before; the very same day he’d read an interview in Q Magazine with – who is it – Hayley Mills’s boy – Kula Shaker – who spoke of the mystical significance of certain numbers – numbers which Steve put into the National Lottery that evening and won ten pounds on. Great days. Unforgettable. Not a big enough win to buy a new car. Hell, would the company ever come good on that?

Out in those rivery corridors flight cases stood like ships at dock. Their spray-stencilled flanks were a never-ending Who’s Who of northern rock royalty.

The Seahorses

The Wedding Present

A rumour went up that David Gedge had been in the building earlier.

Hell, no time for hearsay.

Martin invoked the beat from his drum kit. Richard and Steve wrung the necks of their guitars. John pushed his heart and lungs into the microphone. Together the band had a strategy…. a strategy that took the form of a playlist.

Echo Beach
Mony Mony
Don’t Look Back In Anger
Losing My Religion
Happy Hour
and, possibly, Martin would remember,
Teenage Kicks

Hell, just realised it comes across that 'Strategy' may have been the name of the band. It wasn't. Hell, it really wasn't.

Hell, just realised it comes across that ‘Strategy’ may have been the name of the band. It wasn’t. Hell, it really wasn’t.

About Stevie Mitchell

I come from a long line of cartoons and beer. I was once peed on by a tiger. Hoping the resultant super-powers are yet to come, cos if these are they, then, grrrr....
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