Back in the early nineties I worked in an independent record store in Soho called Selectadisc. My job was to file vinyl, CDs and cassettes all day, every day. The days were long and hard but I knew it was only a matter of time before I became a rockstar with my band the Pointy Birds. By night we played all the Camden pubs and venues (the ‘toilet circuit’ as it is known) rubbing shoulders with the likes Blur, Suede, Pulp and Radiohead – all the bands who went on to bigger and better things during the explosion of Britpop.
But for some reason, some reason, we couldn’t get signed, sold no records and even got bottled off stage at our first ever gig. But we did have one big fan. His name was Ricky. He worked as the Entertainments Manager at the University of London Union and became our manager. Ricky got us in the studio, we recorded a demo and then played some important industry gigs, supporting his band and also a bouncy castle, but the fickle finger of fame stubbornly and annoyingly refused to point in our direction and we called it a day.
Ricky went on to do quite well though, and I don’t begrudge him all his fame and success, but for the pointy birds it wasn’t to be…a real shame because those songs were great..still are…
So I decided to write a book. It’s called Anoint My Head – How I Failed to Make it as a Britpop Indie Rockstar.
The idea was to try and figure out where we went wrong. Coz it still baffles me. Some people, or ‘friends’ have said, a bit unkindly, that maybe it would have helped if I’d had singing lessons. Or learnt to play our instruments properly, at least in tune. Or why we persisted with a drummer who lacked natural rhythm. Some have even said it was the jokes between the songs that weren’t funny….but I don’t accept any of that….
So this book is more a deep dive into why we didn’t make it. Did we not really want what we thought we wanted? Was it a fear of failure holding us back, or a fear of success maybe? Or was it a fear of fear? Or maybe even a fear of fear of fear?
It took nearly 6 years to write but was in gestation for nearly 50, or maybe 40…30.
And it was really fun to write, like going back in a time machine, back to the early nineties – a more innocent time maybe – pre internet, no mobile phones, no pandemics. So by reading this book, you can be transported back to the early nineties too…and relive all the vibrant sights and sounds and smells of Camden market…well maybe not the smells…but definitely the pony-tails and the sideburns…
But yes it’s funny. Definitely funny. My mum and dad have read it and said they were really impressed by how many pages I’d written. So that’s good. It’s got boxset written all over it (not literally). But if Netflix OR HBO don’t commission it then someone is definitely asleep on the job there..
And if you missing gigs then this book could be the next best thing, as the story lives in the back rooms of all the old pubs and music venues like the Camden Falcon, The White Horse in South End Green and The Marquee. These venues are sadly no longer with us – someone somewhere decided that bands were to be replaced by the triple-fried chip cooked in goose fat which I have to admit are quite delicious…
And yes these venues might have smelt like the Gorillas age at London Zoo but they were our magical musical halls where dreams were made, or broken like shard of glass in the 30 year old beer-soaked carpet at the end of the night. And they need protecting because once they gone, they’re gone.
The story also lives in the equally dark and dingy record store where I spent quality time trying not to get sacked for misfiling vinyl while day-dreaming of becoming famous. But I knew it was only a matter of time as I was armed with the 4D’s – essential ingredients to make it in the business – determination, dedication, drive and ……Desire….some people say they are the same thing like 1 D but actually you need all 4. Some joker said I had one d and that was delusion which wasn’t very nice.
The book is asking some big questions too, not just why we didn’t get to number one, or even number 100, but also big existential ones like where does this desire to become a rockstar come from? why we create a narrative for ourselves – why we are who we are. Anoint My Head answers all those questions. And more.
Yeah so I’m now in the process of getting the book out there…and I’m hoping Ricky will send a few tweets about the book… he’s got rather a large target audience there….13 million and counting…he hasn’t returned my calls at the moment..he’s probably very busy, but if he could send a few tweets, wont take him long…. willing to cut him in, 50/50 indie split and all that…and then who knows what might happen….
I mean I’m not saying we should get the band back together…or anything….but…
Some people say you’ve left it too late…smell the coffee and all that…and I agree, I mean the last thing I want to become is some sad 50 year old still trying to still make it..how sad’s that..? It’s a young mans game…but at same time even though we’ve got older, those songs are still young, and they were great….and so I say back…there’s always tomorrow…and you know just a one off gig…no pressure..just to promote the book….and lets see what happens…
I’ve already spoken to Dave and he’s up for it, Marcus is working in local politics now holding the government to account but am sure he could be persuaded, we’d have to fly Josh back from Sydney…not sure who we’d get in on drums, there is always Blur’s drummer, could ask him, or failing that we can get Jef the chef again to play bongos…not ideal as he can’t play them…and you Ricky he got some influence now, he might want to manage us again…could make things happen…but yes lets cross that bridge….
But yes buy the book…its got a bit of everything…cue music….its the tragic tale of band who didn’t become rich or famous, but had a manager who did. It’s a document of a musical era and charts the rise of some of the biggest Britpop bands of the decade. It’s also about friendship – half road movie / half buddy film perhaps. But ultimately it’s a coming of age story about pursuing your dreams and what happens when reality gets in the way.
So if you were in a band that didn’t make it or wanted to be in a band or you are still in a band then maybe this book could be for you. Or if you like a bit of nineties nostalgia. Then this book is a love letter to a bygone era and a snapshot of a time that no long exists. A period piece if you like. Or if you like music AND comedy and dont mind a bit of hilarious inter song banter, then this book is definitely for you too.
The Pointy Birds didn’t make it as a band but maybe they can make it as a book – and that might get interest back in the songs….and you know some of them were timeless classic and it is never too late….