Bad Manners

It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve spent far too much of the morning being pissed about by British Rail[1], so instead of working I’ll tell you a story that I’ve just been reminded of by a discussion on IRC.

([1] Or whatever they want to call themselves these days.)

It’s approaching Christmas 1982 and I’m the social secretary at The City University in London. My main job is running entertainments for the students. I’m told that the band Bad Manners put on a good Christmas show so I decide to book them.,

Now when you book a band, one of the most important thing to check is called “the rider”. This is an extra list of things that the band needs above and beyond the actaul money that you’re going to pay them. It will generally include some food in the dressing room, a bit to drink and stuff like that. Bad Manners want three course meals for them and all their roadcrew (a total of 20 people). I agree, but alter the rider to state that this meal must be taken before 6pm (because that’s when the canteen closes). Their agent agrees to this change.

So the day of the gig arrives. Bad Manners are setting up and soundchecking. This goes on for some time. And then some more time. It starts to look like they might miss the meal. I point this out to their road manager and their agent. They try to point it out to the band, but they are too wrapped up with their artistic endeavours to take any notice. Their agent asks me if there is any alternative source for cooked food, so I ask the bar manager whether he could cook twenty pizzas. He agrees, but points out that he can only cook two at a time.

I go back to tell the band to find that the road manager and agent have both vanished and it’s therefore up to me to break the news to the band. The lead singer of Bad Manners is a very unpleasant skinhead called Buster Bloodvessel. He doesn’t like my idea. He doesn’t like it at all. I tell him that his agent agreed the restriction on the rider so I’m doing him a favour. He tells me that if his agent doesn’t back up my story then he will hurt me badly. I decide it’s best to stop the conversation there and lead them all off to the bar where (eventually) twenty pizzas are produced. There is much moaning about the quality of the food and some talk about not laying the gig which is deflected by the agent.

And then during the introduction to one of the songs, Bloodvessel goes off into a long rant about how hungry he is because we haven’t fed him properly.

All of which explains why I can’t listen to a Bad Manners record without grimacing.

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