Monday Morning Life
Monday 23 February 1998
Yesterday I paid my debts and went to see university friends in their indie-jazz experimental band Penelope Quiche. I arrived at a small pub in North London. "I'm afraid the only way into the venue at the moment is through the Gents," said Simon (the trumpeter) apologetically. "I hope you don't mind."
I sighed. What a way to spend a Sunday, climbing over urinals. Random friends and supporters roll up. "Have your groupies turned up yet?" says one hopefully. "No, and they're here for us anyway," says Simon snappily.
"You have abandoned the idea of throwing offal into the audience to make it a real experience for us," I hiss sharply. "I thought the whole point of forming this band was for the groupies. You're not going to attract the average gorgeous pubescent girl throwing kidneys around."
"No, we've left that out," Simon said regretfully. "We've got this song about the overfishing of the oceans which we thought might attract the animal rights people but they'd be put off by the liver and stuff."
It's amazing what a sniff of fame does to the normal 20something man. When I knew these three last they were a molecular biologist (Giles), a computer programmer (Nick) and an accountant (Simon).
But put them in a dark room on a Sunday lunchtime in north London, give them instruments and they start arguing furiously about whether they should wear sequinned tops or not. "After all our first song does say 'we are here to entertain you'. What's more entertaining than sequins?" says Simon. The others disagree. "We've already spent the best part of a day in a charity shop looking for gear. We'll wear black and white," says Nick. I roll my eyes.
"There's another thing, Glenda. You've got to stop calling Nick just Nick. You've got to call him by his stage name - Cathartic Nick," said Giles. "Simon's the Blonde Bombsite. And I'm Mondel Plasmid."
"Where does the Mondel bit come from?" I ask innocently. He looks a bit embarrassed. "It's the middle of my middle name Cholmondeley," he says.
"You can't be a rock star with a middle name like Cholmondeley," I say in disbelief.
"Yes I can." The pop star tantrum is in embryo. I hastily agree.
The rockstar attitude pays off and the set goes well. People are even dancing by the end. They come off stage, bathed in sweat and deliriously happy. There is only one disappointment. "I didn't see any groupies, did you?" Oh well maybe next time.
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