We just posted the list of the amazing bunch of people who feature in the Flowers of Romance tree. My family moved to Bromley in 1973 and I was there until the end of 1979 and so if there was any tree I ever had a chance of being in, it would be this one. Unfortunately the schoolboy bands I was in at the time played Rocky Mountain Way and our own songs with piano parts in the style of Elton John, so it wasn’t to be.
But one of the most memorable gigs I went to was The Slits and Siouxise and the Banshees at Croydon Greyhound. Not sure which year. Earlier that night I’d called a friend to see if he wanted to go for a drink and his mother said that he had gone to a gig in Croydon. I looked at the paper and saw that there were two on that night: Barclay James Harvest at the Fairfield Halls and the Slits and the Banshees over the road. Reasoning that he couldn’t possibly want to see BJH I went to the Greyhound.
Well, he wasn’t there. It turned out that a girl he fancied had offered him her second ticket and he wasn’t going to refuse. So I was at the Greyhound on my own, wearing, I still remember, flared jeans and a pink sweater, while everyone else – literally everyone else – was in punk gear. An alarming sight. I stood there hoping people would think I was from a record company or music paper, and wasn’t just a prat.
At first I was very snotty about the musicianship, and I couldn’t quite believe that they were allowed to get away with it. It was hard to work out if they were, well, you know, serious. But the energy was unbelievable, and although not completely convinced, I came out thinking that maybe it was time, at last, to go and get some straight leg jeans. Well, one step at a time.
I was impressed enough to buy The Slits’ first album, Cut when it came out, and not only for cover picture. The Flowers of Romance tree brought it all flooding back. Thank you Pete.