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Tales From The Conference League : The Curse Of Voon

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Last time I talked about my old band Voon, and our run-in with the local music establishment. This was just one incident in a run of "interesting" luck which came to be known in Leicester as The Curse Of Voon.

The Curse first manifested itself during the brief period when we had a drummer - a lovely bloke, but surely the only teenage drummer in the world to be both arthritic AND allergic to alcohol. It was like having a premiership footballer who was celibate and allergic to money. He was actually studying to be a professional drummer, but after playing with us for a few months his marks went into steady decline and he ended up being kicked off his course, not before he managed to miss one final gig with us, when the gearbox on his car exploded on the way there - that was his excuse anyway.

After that we found DANGER looming from every angle. Our first cassette was recorded in a room that, when we moved out of the house, was cordoned off by the council with bright yellow tape saying "DANGER! Gas Leak! Danger of DEATH!" We did always feel quite light headed, but we thought that was just the excitement of the rock and roll music.

The DISASTER POTENTIAL coincided with our first ventures outside of Leicester, it was almost as if The Gods Of ROCK were telling us to stay put. There was a wave of venue closures, blown up electrics and, in one case, a real live fire which brought down the whole block of buildings which contained our venue. The angered deities could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they'd realised that our willingness to ROCK was not matched by our ability to navigate. In London we once played entirely the wrong pub, just because it happened to have the same name as the one we were meant to be at, and another time we ended up having a massive argument about exactly how many rivers there ARE in London, as we'd gone over at least three already and still weren't at the venue.

Word of The Curse started to get back to Leicester, and the next time we played at The University the soundmen said "Oh ho! You're the CURSED lads are you? Brilliant!" He wasn't laughing so much half an hour later when Simon was fixing his keyboards with sticky tape, sparks were flying out of the drum machine and I was busily drunkenly knocking over his PA system.

There was even an article about us in The Leicester Mercury... in which we took a few gentle liberties with the truth, just to pump it up a bit. For example, the incident in Peterborough when I'd tripped up and Neil had broken a lead became a near death experience involving stage explosives, the building's electrics and a large pool of water. Once we realised that people actually preferred Exciting Lies to the Boring Truth there was no stopping us, and we embarked upon escapades like The Dead Drummer Fib discussed last time and, perhaps even worse, Simon's Prison sentence.

One night someone asked after him and I said, truthfully, "Oh, he can't come out tonight, he's revising for exams." They seemed a bit disappointed with this so a few hours later when somebody else asked I said "He's in PRISON!"

This seemed to go down MUCH better, and over the next few weeks the story ballooned into a hideous travesty of justice, and it was all we could do to stop members of other Leicester Bands from STORMING THE PRISON to free their unjustly accused colleague. Simon, of course, was absolutely LIVID about the whole thing. He couldn't believe that his good name was being sullied and declared his intent to clear the whole thing up just as soon as his exams were over.

So it was that a week or so later we were out celebrating the end of his education when another local band came in the pub. The saw me and smiled hello, then stopped dead in their tracks when they realised THE ACCUSED was with us. Simon was QUIVERING with rage when he saw their faces, "I will tell the TRUTH!" he hissed.

One of them nervously approached our table. "Simon?" he whispered. "Glad to see you're out - you've become a bit of a hero to all of us, tell me, what was it like?"

Simon looked him straight in the eye and said "Oh, it wasn't too bad, we mostly played football." He didn't pay for a drink all night.
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