In this section of my website, I am going to introduce readers to snippets from my forthcoming fictional memoir The Accidental (Music) Journalist in this extract, Sabrina is just about to get her big break as a student music journalist at King’s College London in 1995.
My friends at King’s were all different. There was Michelle, a second year Classics student, Larry a mature student – he fancied himself as a bit of a Roger Daltrey type. Larry and Ruben regularly played in a Mod-type band called Mods R Us or something similar like Ogden’s Nuts (Larry was a big Small Faces’ fan), when they were not trying to “chat up birds” at King’s. Humphrey was from Wales and then there was Steve, he was softly spoken and about 6ft 6 inches tall.
We would regularly meet up in the bar for a pint of Stella, chew the fat, that sort of thing. On this particular night, I was complaining about my recent treatment at the hands of Professor Wayman over the “Afro-dite incident” to Michelle.
She said something to this affect: “Wayman is a stubborn old goat, and very stuck in his ways, I don’t know why they don’t exhibit HIM, in the British Museum along with the other relics. I think it was really funny what you did, I could use your talent on the student paper. Do you want to work with me? we really need a bunch of editors – sports, news, music editor…maybe music editor? Do you want to do that?”
My eyes lit up.
“That’s really kind Michelle, that sounds like a really fun idea, don’t mind if I do!”
I thought to myself that might have a certain ring to it…Music Editor of the student newspaper at King’s College London…
“But Michelle, I warn you, my music taste might not be that student friendly. I am only into bands from 1968-72. You know, Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, the Beatles, Cream, Peter Green, Quicksilver Messenger Service…”
“Who the hell are they? I HAVE heard of the Beatles, that’s about it. Are you stuck in a time warp? Michelle asked in a bemused fashion.
Although Michelle didn’t know what I was going on about, my encyclopaedic knowledge of this era – self-taught – was going to stand me in good stead when I carried out a work experience placement at classic rock magazine – Mojo – some months later.
“Come on, there are so many great bands around at the moment, I will introduce you to the entertainment manager, Tim Chalmers. He used to work at the Hacienda in Manchester. How about this band Oasis, they’ve got a new album out, called Definitely Maybe, you might like them?
“OK, Michelle, I will try and get with the programme, but I don’t want to listen to any old dirge…”
Anyway, buoyed by the prospect of possibly being an editor of something, I went to the bar and got another pint of Stella. I bought a round for a fiver then went off to the jukebox to put some songs on.
The jukebox in the student union bar, was legendary.
Everything you wanted to hear, from the quirky, classic to the latest music. I put on an Oasis’ song ‘Slide Away’ keen to see what all the fuss was about then went back to the table. I waited tentatively until the song started.
“I like it Michelle. A wall of guitar, nasally vocals, sexy lyrics, melody.”
I drummed my fingers on the table and nodded throughout the six minutes and 31 seconds of the song.
“Love the song Michelle. Wait…I think the song is starting again…”
“Yep, here it goes,” said Michelle.
“Out of interest, do you remember how many times you put the song on? you better go and check.”
There were now rumblings from the student masses in the bar. A lot of jeering ensued.
“Who is the dickhead who has put this ‘Manc’ rubbish on again?” said some burley bloke at the bar. He looked like he was studying agriculture or farming or something like that.
I had put ‘Slide Away’ on five times. I moved away from the jukebox gingerly as if I had committed a crime and returned to my table.
I leaned over and whispered to Michelle: “I have put the song on five times by mistake. What shall I do?
“Just act like nothing has happened, we can ride this one out.”
Disclaimer: The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.