Working Class Love Songs from the Moseley Border
By this time, we were first year sixth formers. I was only doing English as an ‘A’ Level, whilst catching up on some resits at ‘O’ Levels that I completely failed first time around. This was possibly not my wisest ever decision, but, for the most part, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Somehow we ended up, jokingly, naming the band Frigid Mable. This, and the subsequent additional clauses, were invented in a spirit of knowing that it wasn’t a name we’d stick with. At the time we hadn’t even attempted to write a song of our own, sticking religiously to instrumental Bunnymen covers. Spencer and I did persuade our Art teacher – Miss O’Hara – to let us paint a band poster one week in class. I think she understood that neither of us were particularly gifted artistically, and had taken the subject not to gain a qualification but to mess about once a week.
Proudly displayed within hours of it drying, our joint effort lit up the sixth form common room. Huge lettering, accompanied by some rather dubious portrayals: two “cookie monsters”, supposedly representing Spencer and I, looking like an eight year old’s attempt at sketching Pac-man after a night on the cough mixture; and a hero in a cape, the letter “A” across his chest in the style of Superman, representing our guitarist. The full band name was:
“Frigid Mable Meets The Cookie Monsters – Featuring Captain Ash!”
At least one member of our band was not as overjoyed as Spencer and I at this masterpiece in marketing.
We started trying to write our own songs eventually, which, however dire and unformed they were, at least seemed to confirm our status as something approaching a “proper” band. I don’t know if this was because we desperately wanted to express our artistic ambitions, or because we’d pretty much run out of Bunnymen songs to learn and sing. But when you realise that most of your favourite band’s songs contain the same few easy chords, you get big-headed enough to think that it’ll be fairly simple to match their achievements or better them. I realise I’ve never written anything as stunning as “Never Stop” or as brilliant as “Over The Wall”, but that sure as hell wasn’t going to stop me trying.
For somewhere along the line, I’d somehow become the band’s singer and – by default – lyricist.
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