The following 2 stories are long. They are also about famous people. BOYS, obviously. Crumpet’s is L O N G but that’s because you need the back story to fully grasp the situation. And also because of her bizarre memory for Every. Single. Detail. Ever. Panda’s is actually borderline hollywood-sensationalist but it’s SO much better off here than on a tabloid’s pages. Bare with us. It’s worth it (we think). Grab a cuppa. Oooh and maybe some cake. Mmm cake. ALSO THERE ARE PICTURES.
I still remember the first time I heard that song. My friend Ruth sang it to me when we were sitting on the bench in a PE lesson having both not been picked for that particular game of netball. Year 8 (maybe 9?). 1995. I recognised it a bit from the radio but once she sang it I went home and kept the radio on the WHOLE time until I finally heard it (on Capital FM).
THIS IS THE TYPE OF MUSIC I WANT TO LISTEN TO FOREVER, I thought. A few days later I was in the car with my dad and said “I LOVE THIS SONG I NEED MORE SONGS LIKE THIS CAN YOU PLAY ME SOME PLEASE”.
My dad had been a DJ in the 70s you know. My parents have no money or property or whatever. But one day, the most brilliant record collection will be mine. Which makes them way more awesome than YOUR parents. So my dad played me The Who, The Kinks, a whole heap of stuff really. It wasn’t quite right but it was obviously ace.
I ran off and bought every copy of everything COOL I could find. NME. Select. Melody Maker. THERE THEY WERE. The Bluetones. A lovely black and white poster in the middle of Select magazine with an interview. They were now My Boys and I went STRAIGHT to Woolworths and bought Expecting To Fly and thought it was the greatest bloody thing I had ever heard in my life.
I then spent the next few years at school being bullied JUST LIKE YOU for being what we now all know made me The Cool One but back then made me The Weird One for stuffing walkman headphones up my school blazer sleeve so that I could listen to the Stone Roses and Oasis and Menswear and Blur and The Who on the compilation tapes I spent all night compiling.
THEN 1998 arrived and a BRILLIANT thing happened. The 2nd Bluetones album came out. I joined The Blue Army – the most incredible thing The Internet had EVER been invented for. I spent EVERY lunchtime in the school library on the Last Chance Salloon message board discussing the most ridiculous and brilliant nonsense with likeminded people. We’d send long chains of Blue Army emails discussing who was going to which gigs and which pub we’d meet up at first.
When they played outside of London, we’d arrange lifts and any number of lovely Blue Army’ers would come and pick me up from school and drive me to Portsmouth or the TFI Friday set or somewhere else brilliant and way better than GSCE maths which I had no chance of passing anyway.
Then I went to uni… the 3rd album had been and gone with all its associated school bunking, Norwich gigs, obscure merchandise and so on. My collection of posters and NME clippings went off to art college and for the next howevermanyyears I let Stupid Boys tell me what was cool to listen to.
FACEBOOK came along. I was kinda late to the party on account of feeling a bit blah and out of the loop with such things, until I moved to Australia and thought I best keep in touch with people and show them photos of me covered in flies at the beach and so on.
I instantly thought I KNOW I’LL ADD Mr Bluetones! And sure enough lovely Mr Bluetones went right on and accepted me and approx 600 other Bluetones lovers in to his face.
one day about a year after being FB ‘friends’ and never saying a peep, he wrote an almost-cryptic facebook status with (I forget which song now but I think Mark remembers – in fact I know you do you mentioned it the other week!) some Scott Walker lyrics in. Now if you hadn’t realised this already from my thorough recollection of minute details, I have a VERY odd memory – especially for scripts, conversations, lyrics etc. So I’d heard this song once – probably from my dad – and knew the next line and posted it as a comment. He sent me a hilarious congratulatory email for knowing those lyrics and some lovely email banter kicked off.
This is a good moment to explain that this is not the stalking of love n romance* (despite his thorough loveliness) – this is pure musical worship. I just love The Bluetones. That is all.
(*anyway when I was littler it was all about the guitarist)
A week or two later, one of us (forget who first) wrote a status about reading Nick Cave’s novel, The Death Of Bunny Monroe. Now I ADORE Nick Cave, but this book is a bit meh. Anyway we were reading it along at the same pace so we chitchatted about it ‘meh’ing together until we finished. Mark had a solo gig coming up so invited My Ginger Wife and I along. It was SO LOVELY. Only about 40ish people I reckon. You have to remember the last time I’d seen them live was – you know – their ‘heyday’ and what have you. This was perfect. Like a vegas lounge bar with tables and candles haha. Mark came and sat with us and chitchatted whilst everyone else glared at their watches wondering why he wasn’t on stage. He asked about Australia and old buildings and millinery which was BRILLIANT and lovely. Like catching up with an old friend. Except obviously my 15yr old self was inside my brain going OMGOMGOMG. Well I thought that’s what it was – it was actually Gingerwife sitting next to me squeezing my hand saying OMGOMGOMG in my ear.
The gig was excellent, and we got to hear new Bluetones tracks. Mark even made a BRILLIANT* joke about ME on stage. No one else got it or laughed but that made it even more awesome. (*On playing Slight Return, he said “This is the song that made me a millionaire… no Lauren, not a milliner….”). Yesyesyesyesyes. Awesome.
So this is how it goes now. There’s a gig, we chitchat, have drinks before/after, and talk like pals. WHICH IS ACE.
When the Bluetones played in Brighton in May we went out for sushi before the gig. Which was fun and lovely and nice n’all… BUT HELLO FIFTEEN YEAR OLD LAUREN WHO’S HANGING THAT MASSIVE POSTER ON YOUR BEDROOM WALL YOU’RE GOING TO GO OUT FOR DINNER WITH THESE PEOPLE IN THE FUTURE. I even got a lovely sweet text the day after making sure I’d got home OK. BEST THING EVER. Oh yes- this was of course after getting an email saying “lets go out for food first… my number is blablablblabestnumberever”. I was all “oh right better put that in my pho…. WAIT WTF??????” Ha.
SO yep. That brings us up nicely to a very small great solo show round the corner from mine and Gingerwife’s house. Which was bad because it meant we had MAXIMUM drinking time and NO travelling sobering-up time. Both a little worse for wear, we sat in the (2nd of the night) pub whilst Mark wondered around Kilburn looking for us (because we were drunk and therefor NOT where we said we’d be)
What followed is my favourite Gingerwife memory ever.
Quietly – so she thought – between two songs (much heckling had already taken place including demands for songs mainly featuring piano and so on, at a solo accoustic gig) – Gingerwife turned to me and said VERY loudly
“I know more words than ANYONE else here AND IM DRRRRUNK”
The gig finished and realising how drunk we really were we thought it best to just get the hell home. Headed outside and of course lovely Mark is there. HAVE I TOLD YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE BEARDS BY THE WAY? Because I do. A LOT. If you follow me on Twitter or Properly Know Me then you know that. But it’s relevent to note that Mark had a rather excellent bit of facebush going on at this point.
ME: “we’re off….”
Gingerwife: “WIFE! WAIT! LETS TAKE A PHOTO OF YOU BOTH”
Mark: “OH YEAH it can go on your dailybooth”
Me: “urrrgh… OK….”
(commence grinning for HORRIBLE photo)
What followed would have been a perfectly lovely friendly hug. Almost a CUDDLE even. Even with a lovely old peck on the cheek. BUT IM DRUNK REMEMBER.
Oooh he’s giving me a peck on the cheek
Ooooh it’s all warm and fuzzy.
Oooh beards. Mmmm I like beards. COMMENCE BEARD NUZZLING.
Mark on the off chance you’re reading this I doubt you’d have even noticed. But I spent basically the next week reliving this horrific incident over and over. Soft beard though – good work.
THEN there was this one night when I dun a tweet about how I fell over in my pants in a rush to get ready for a night out.
BRRRRING (text message noise)
“Listen here miss stop dancing around in your knickers you hear?”
(other bits of message omitted to increase hilarity and relevence)
Well I can tell you somethin kids.
You can have all that history of loving a band. Go to all those gigs. Have every CD. Buy every obscure piece of merchandise. Know every lyric.
But nothing will prepare you for receiving a text message about your knickers.
When i was 20 and madly in love with a certain actor off of a certain TV show, to the point where i had him on my bedroom wall and sadly still have him on my keyring. I would of thought you were fucking mental if you told me that ten years on i would receive this sort of thing in Emails from him…………………
.”Hey there sweets. Whats going on??? Talk to me dam it!!! Now!!!!”
“i’m thinking about flying out there to see you after my play is over. hit some pubs and just get out of la.. how does that sound??”
Hahahaha Recounting this is making me realise how Bizarre it freakin was…Ok so pretty much a year ago whilst i was still married i saw an advert for a convention and key Ring Man was gonna be there. So i called my friend and we decided to go. Not because i was still a fan mind. Hadn’t watched the show in years but we decided it would be fun.
So we got there and went to the guest talk and there he was, older and a bit bigger but still freaking HOT!!! It was all very exciting and oooh look theres key ring man how weird funny etc. That night there was a party, so we got dolled up and headed down to the function swuite. I was outside talking to a group of girls when suddenly he appeared right next to us, surrounded by giiggling girls and a minder. Before i knew what was going on my legs had decided to walk towards him and my brain followed after.
Me: Hi errrr i just wanted to say Hi and thought i would regret it if i didn’t umm so yeah Hi!”
Him: Hey how are ya?
Me: Yeah good how you finding this English weather (nervous laugh) (And Yes i spoke about the fucking weather)
Him: Yeah its ok, that outfit is amazing by the way you look great.
Me (flustered): Oh errm yeah thanks well I’ll let you get back to it.
So i scurried back to my astounded friend who was in shock that i had gone over. He walked back past me and as he did so he stopped looked at me and said “WOW i really do like that outfit”
Throughout the night I’d find him looking over and when i went over and chatted again, he remarked again about my dress. Its fair to point out this dress is quite cleavagey.
The next day we had to go get our pictures taken with the ‘stars’ when it was my turn he smiled and remarked AGAIN about my outfit last night. Then it was another gust talk, during the talk i felt a bit yacky so went outside i noticed there was this bidding comp to pay to go have a meeting with him and ten other fans, or you could buy a raffle ticket. So i bought a ticket and thought no more of it. Well i won, so off i went with ten other people to have a private meeting with him. We ended up having quite a laugh and i left it thinking actually your really bloody funny and ok.
That night was fancy dress, we went as zombie prom queens. I looked beyond hideous. Absolutely caked in sticky fake blood and a horrendous blonde wig with a head trauma. So down to the party we went and i walked over to him. “Wow you look horrible!” was his reaction “Yet you still look so cute!” Yeah i friggin did!!!!
What followed was a mega bizzaro night, we basically ended up hanging out like two normal people down a pub. We shared cigarettes,drunk together, geeked off and laughed. Oh and totally flirted. Everywhere he went girls were around him but he would escape and come talk to me. At one point he was surrounded by girls wanting their picture taken with him so i stepped back a bit. It was bloody freezing and he lent over and rubbed my arm and remarked to this girl “Isn’t she adorable” Adorable ADORABUBBLE ME ME ME!!!! Then at the very end of the night he said to me “Take me away from this please” God this was it, i could quite easily have gone back to his room and him mine and possibly had the best night of my life but i was married with kids but oh fuck this was KEY RING MAN, chances like this dont happen often…….So what did i do, i said No obviously.
I dont think i slept at all that night, then the next morning i went down for a Rolly and there he was. He gave me this massive grin when he saw me i skipped over and we shared a coffee then he had to go in. We went home a few hours later. I found him first and we said goodbye had a kiss on the cheek and a hug and that was that.
I’d never felt so depressed in my whole life, i was on such a comedown. But me being me and the fabulous stalker i am. Found him on facebook and sent him a message, he messaged back and before i knew it we were having flirty email communication.
He talked about coming over and me going over there……..I’m ashamed to say i failed to mention the fact i was married with kids. I told him i was seeing someone but i was ending it. I think the whole thing with KeyRing Man did promt me to finally end it with the X. So anyway the email kept up all over christmas and X moved out in the January. KeyRing Man has a blog and does these voice blog things. There i was listening to one in February about a fan meet and greet he was doing and he said this…….
“So, sign up people. Fly in from out of town. That’s it. That’s all I got. That’s all I got. Maybe (Insert my full name here) can fly in from out of town and say hi. So, yeah, OK. Talk to you soon – bye.”……….
Eeeeek that was exciting!!! But i felt terrible, I’d never not told anyone about the kids before, they’re my bladdy boys I’m not denying em to noone…Even a sort of famous noone.
So i sent him this really honest email and said how maybe I’d given him the wrong impression blah blah blah that i had two children blah blah and also that it was getting boring him constantly asking for my number then NEVER calling and that was it really. I dont think i got a reply not directly to that. The last one i could find was him asking me how this date went that i had. We’ve had a few messages since then but that was ages ago. I hear through a mutual friend that he’s doing really well, which I’m dead pleased about. It still amazes me that it happened and will definitely count as one of my favourite memories when I’m coughing up a lung on me death bed.