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Back To The 80’s…Nearly / Electric Magic 37 years gone

22 November 2008 2,586 views No Comment

Alan Stutz book launch was a truly epic night.

One of the best.

The good lady and I found it quite surreal seeing so many faces from the past  we had not seen for years. People we worked with years back who shared so many of the ups and downs during the 1980’s.

Alan and publisher Jerry put on a great show including a very clever spoof Spinal Tap author interview film segment which bordered on comic genius and included Alan wearing his original Led Zep Knebworth T shirt.

Great also to see two of the Earls Court Bedford six namely my good friends Dec and Phil. It was another late one that ended with me drunkenly surveying those remaining to name their one favourite band – acts as diverse as New Order, Eyeless In Gazza, The E Street Band, The Faces ,Monochrome Set, Led Zeppelin and The Bay City Rollers were submitted – the latter pair courtesy of Mr and Mrs Lewis.(I think the good lady was joking – or not!).

Alan has loomed large in my life since 1979 and was responsible for a bit of TBL history. He was the first person in Bedford who I didn’t really know to come up to me and acknowledge the mag. “Great magazine Dave, I’m a big fan” was his opening line at a party we both attended. Very quickly through mutual friends he became part of the Wallbanger crowd. Subsequently we shared many nights out and gigs (Plant solo quit a few times, Page Outrider, Status Quo, Prince, Bruce etc).

He was my drum roadie in the band we formed that nearly rocked the world.

He was next to me on our settee at 1.35 AM when Rock And Roll blared out from Philadelphia at Live Aid. He took photos at our wedding and even though he moved to Newcastle a decade back, he has always kept in touch – as he has with all his many friends. He told me a long time ago that he was going to write a book – we both have kept diaries for years. Now the book is a reality.

Reading the book Diary Of A Nearly Man is as surreal as the night itself. It’s quite amazing to read detailed accounts of nights out that I was involved in that occurred over 25 years ago. Alan relays these tales with an infectious humour that has had me laughing out loud.

Witness this extract about how the time his Dad brought their first ever colour TV – a big cultural event in households in the UK in the early 70’s after years of viewing in black and white  

“I ran all the way home and sister Pauline was already there. ‘’Look at this Alan’’ she exclaimed! It was Arthur Of The Britons with Oliver Tobias and we both watched amazed as he rode his horse across the open green fields.

After the programme finished though we noticed that the news was in green and in fact every programme after it was in varying shades of green. When Dad came home we enlightened him about the faulty TV.

He merely replied ‘’Well it’s in colour isn’t it?’’.

It was to be another six months before we got a television that looked more realistic. The tennis at Wimbledon looked ok however’’   

You get the idea. There are countless other stories of the ilk.

By the time he has linked up with yours truly and co the nights on the town get crazier as the years go on. 

(Quick aside I saw the aforentioned actor Oliver Tobias in the Munich night club   Led Zeppelin gathered at after the Olympiahalle gig in 1980)

The book is also a real snapshot of the music of the era as Alan was a prolific gig goer with tales of seeing AC/DC, Rush, Girlschool, Thin Lizzy, Zep at Knebworth, UFO,  Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent, Slade, Twisted Sister, Queen, Status Quo (many times), The Cramps, The Stray Cats,  Prince, Bruce Springsteen and many more.

The book also has a colour picture of us with Alan and his wife Wendy – I’m wearing a rugby shirt I have no recollection of owning and the good lady looks like one of the girl singers in The Human League.

Ahh the 1980’s. Didn’t we just love them.

Like Alan I’ve kept a diary for some 29 years and yup I guess one day I’d like to follow Alan’s example.

He has done amazing job and though it’s of obvious interest to those that know him, as a story of growing up, drinking beer, lusting after the ladies, and soaking up the great rock music of the era it ‘s a genuine timepiece. A paradox of men behaving badly sketches played out within a genuine search for love. 

It’s what we did back then and Alan did it with a humility and hilarity that shines though on every page.  

It has the same feel about it as the Martin Miller book Suzy, Led Zeppelin And Me. A good laugh is guaranteed and along the way you’ll find out what your TBL editor was up to during those post Zep years.

The book’s print run is selling fast – to check it out go to these links

 http://www.mbtpstore.co.uk/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=1246

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-Nearly-Man-Alan-Stutz/dp/0955754216/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227111360&sr=8-11

Elsewhere at work retail frenzy is beginning to happen and TBL 22 is being proof read as we speak. Watch the TBL site for announcements of its availability.

Finally in a week of nostalgia, one of the most memorable dates in my calendar has swung around again. Yes November 21…it was on that night 37 years ago the boy JL took me to see Led Zeppelin live and all for just 75 pence each.

I can vividly remember everything about it, from the train journey to St Pancras (and the attractive lady who shared our carriage!), the Virgin stall with Zep 4 on sale, Maggie Bell, Home, plates that didn’t quite spin, pigs that didn’t quite perform And then Led Zeppelin who did…magnificently right in front of my very eyes and things were never the same in our house after that.

True Electric Magic. I’ll be playing that tape this weekend for sure.

The 1980’s seemed a long way off that night. This last week through reading Alan’s book I’ve felt I’ve been back living them.

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