What follows is a brief discussion of the tracks included on 'The Legend of Voon'. I have tried to be as concise as possible, only digressing when there was an anecdote to be told, a chance to make myself look cool, or just that it seemed a good idea at the time.

         
Mark Hibbett, November 1996

The Curse of Voon - first published 1996 by Aritists Against Success, in conjunction with adafraganac f'tyac dulac g'nac.

any resemblance between the people and events described within, and any living person or events that actually happened, is at best dubious.

  

CONTENTS

  

1990-1992

Intermission

1993-1994

Postscript

  


1990 - 1992

  

MORGUE DANCING

(sometime in 1990, 41 Paton Street, Leicester)

Strictly speaking, this track is pre-Voon. It was recorded in the living room of the house I shared with Neil. The day before this we'd wandered down Narborough Road and bought a bass guitar. We spent that night learning "Freak Scene" (it was the early nineties, so there wasn't much else to learn) and the next day making this song up. The backing vocals are by Gaynor, who lived there too but mercifully declined to become involved in the whole thing any further. She's now got a good job, her own house, and is about to get married. Neil and I have a lot of anecdotes about being in a band.

  

DOMESTIC BLISS

(a few weeks later, 41 Paton Street, Leicester)

This is the song that made me want to be in a band - I was so proud when we eventually managed to play it all the way through. Bless. We were going to be called "The Ali Bongo Band", but that was obviously too silly, so we chose Voon instead. It was a word that Neil kept writing in the snow (i.e. it thus "came to us in a dream"), but we later found it in all sorts of strange second-hand bookshop sci-fi novels that he kept buying. Spooky eh?

  

RATHER SPOOKY

SHE'S A SPACEMAN

(11th March 1991, The Spreadeagle, Leicester)

Our first gig! Luckily I knew the promoter of a local comedy club, the Casbah (me) so we arranged ourselves this spot. We were meant to do Domestic Bliss, but Neil refused - it's very strange listening to all these live tapes, as most of the talking is by me. Neil was terrified of talking - I once sat him down for a Serious Chat about how he really ought to say a few words between songs. Now there's no shutting him up.

  

DECAPITATED BLUES

STREETS OF LONDON

(20th April 1991, The Spreadeagle, Leicester)

Our second gig! This time we did loads of songs, but most of them were crap. At the time I couldn't see how other people could think we were anything but brilliant, but I suppose it does take a bit of looking for. Listening to the tapes now there's parts where I can't decide whether it really is crap after all, or simply years ahead of it's time - I prefer to think the latter. Anyway, "Decapitated Blues", like "Rather Spooky", was a heavily re-worked version of a song by my band from school, The Masters of Nothing, and "Streets of London" was about 25% of the songs Neil could play from start to finish.

  

PILCHARDS OF DEATH

(sometime in the summer of 1991, 40 Brazil Street, Leicester)

After our first couple of gigs we recorded a demo, "Yoghurt Flange", on my friend Chris's 4-track. It was great. Unfortunately we proceeded to have a big row and split up, so we never had the indignity of failing to sell any. Most bands do this sort of thing - play two or three gigs to their mates, have EITHER a big row OR a terrible gig, then never play again. The key to the success of Voon was that we had THOUSANDS of rows and MILLIONS of bloody awful gigs that nobody came to, and kept going. We charted new territory in what happens when a band nobody likes keeps going against universal indifference through sheer bloody mindedness. We reveled in people hating us, and dreamt of the day when there'd be no-one left in the room when we finished our set. Every time a new fashion appeared in the music press we'd say "This is it! At last they've finally caught up with us! We'll be signed at the next gig and be famous!" Stupidly, Voon finally shuddered to a halt mere seconds before Britpop happened, when useless bands were getting on Top of the Pops all over the shop.

Anyway, the point of all the above is that this is the song that set us going again - I was staying at Brazil Street, Neil came for the weekend, and Chris went out, so we crept into his room and pissed around with his stuff for a couple of hours. In these little ways is history made.

  

SANTA IS COMING

(November-ish 1991, 40 Brazil Street, Leicester)

The first outsider to become embroiled in the world of Voon was George, but he was a hippy who couldn't play guitar and never got past the first practice, so he need concern us no further. The first extra member proper was Dave the Robot. He was a rum cove. He used to chuck away his loose change because it was making his pockets messy, would say "It's David, actually", and played his one and only gig with gaffa tape over his nipples. All this, and he still refused point blank to cover his face in silver foil, wear white gloves and body pop, no matter how much we pleaded.

This song was written as an attempt to see why Indie Guitar bands never released Christmas singles, and I think we found out. It's also the first glimmerings of our synth-driven dance leanings, which were to make so little impact on our sound over the years.

  

VIBRATOR

GET BACK

TREVOR AND SARAH

(9th December 1991, Spreadeagle, Leicester)

Of course, once you've got a synth player in your sonic noise terrorist guitar band, the next logical step is to get a clarinet player, and luckily I knew one. And that's the ONLY reason I asked her to join the band, no, really. Jane was a friend off my course who did some folk singing, which obviously made her even more suitable for Voon. She too only played this one gig, which was videoed by some art student, so that in the end we got 3 seconds of us setting up and half an hour of a strobe light. Arty. A few weeks after this gig Neil played me a Dinosaur Jr song which he'd ripped Vibrator off. Strangely, this sudden realisation of things did not extend so far as to make me see how chronically bad my singing on "Trevor and Sarah" was. I thought it was really good.

  

BABY DON'T LEAVE ME

WHITE RABBIT

ASK

CHILD OF THE MOON

(1st March 1992, Cellar Bar, Leicester)

Another new line-up, as Dave and Jane left, making way for Aiden the drummer. Aiden was great, but he was never really meant to be a drummer as he was allergic to alcohol and had arthritis in his wrists. He played this gig after being in the band two days, and found it all a bit bemusing as he'd only previously played with blues covers bands, but he threw himself into it with enthusiasm and, uniquely for Voon, technical know-how. He also shagged a lot. Neil and I would turn up for rehearsals to find him sprawled on the floor saying "No fast ones today lads, too much shagging." We worshipped him. Another time, as we set off for a gig in his car (he had a car!) some fool, who was in no way me, quipped "Oh no! What about all the groupies? We've forgotten the condoms!" "Sod that", said Aiden, "We're not a charity."

Wow.

As mentioned, he was only in the band for two days before this gig, and we did an hour long set. During "Ask" several people left in disgust - in fact, if you listen carefully, on almost every live track you can hear either me or Neil saying "Bye" as we performed our famous pub clearing act. "Baby Don't Leave Me" was another Masters of Nothing Song, we'd learnt "White Rabbit" when we provided incidental music for a production of "Alice in Wonderland" (which sounds a lot more bohemian than it actually was), and there were loads of dodgy Stones covers on the go that year.

Aiden stuck around for quite a while, including the time that Jamie joined the band, making us a proper four-piece like The Beatles! Sadly this didn't last very long, there's no photographs, and the only tape of this line-up was destroyed by a support band who had got us banned from a pub for drinking all the free beer we'd been promised. Aiden ended up being one of the first victims of the Curse of Voon - on the day of one particular gig he had to pick his car up from the garage, collect his drum kit, and have an interview about his future with his course leader. The course was in Leicester, the drums in Luton and the garage in Bedford. He had the interview, cycled to the railway station, caught the train to Luton (with 1 minute to spare), was picked up by his dad, drove to the garage (3 minutes before it closed), got his car, moved his drums into it from his dad's car, and set off to Leicester, only to have his gearbox explode halfway there.

We hardly ever saw him again after that. He had learnt well.

  

SPACEMAN 9

(Spring 1992, 40 Brazil Street, Leicester)

Suddenly we were back to a two-piece. We were bored, Chris was out of the house, and so we snuck in his room and pissed about with his stuff again. We were to do this quite a lot over the coming months.

  

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INTERMISSION

  

There now follows a gap of just over a year, during which many things happened which were never recorded or photographed. I'll try and discuss them as briefly as possible.

With Voon back to a two-piece we retreated to the studio. Well, we sat around in my room smoking jazz fags and writing songs about Surfing Monsters, but there was a 4-track in the room, so it still counts. Neil had gone back to Essex and I was on the dole in Leicester. He'd come to the Midlands on a Thursday night, we'd go to the pub, then spend all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday in my room recording. It got a bit weird in the end - I particularly remember one afternoon with us stood on either side of the room beating sheets of metal arythmically with old pipes while screaming "Hilary's boyfriend's brains exploded" at the top of our voices and not thinking it unusual. This might be explained by the fact that when I eventually left that house the gas board came round and cordoned off my room - there was a massive gas leak in there. It was smart, just like ET, with loads of official tape all over saying "DANGER! Danger of DEATH by Poisoning or Explosion!"

Cool.

Out of all this came the album "Modern and Vivid", which is 80 minutes long and bloody brilliant, give me a tape and I'll copy it for you, go on. Unfortunately, such was the studio wizardry involved, we could never hope to recreate the soundscapes created when we returned to the live arena, so one day we asked Simon to join as a keyboard player. He didn't own a keyboard, in fact he'd never been anywhere near one in his life, but he was staying in the loft, so at least he was handy.

A week after this Simon did his first gig, supporting John Otway in front of one of our largest ever audiences. The next day he played his second, as part of an equipment promotion in a music shop (I think the idea was that people got so pissed off with our inability to play the expensive instruments that they'd be impelled to buy them, just so that we'd have to stop), and the day after that we went to Peterborough to play his third. After about a week he stopped shaking, and by the end of a fortnight he was able to speak again.

Thus was the new look Voon up and running! We played many many gigs! We travelled! Travelling was brilliant. We played in London several times, and though we always got there without any trouble, something always went awry on the way back, largely because Neil and I were catatonically drunk and could hardly manage to get into the car, let alone out of London, and Si seemed to think he could drive better without his glasses. How we laughed as I innocently asked how many rivers there were in London, as we seemed to have crossed at least two already and look, there's the houses of Parliament! Again!

We supported Seefeel one night, who had pedals and a lightshow. "Can you turn the lights off so we can see the film please?" they asked. "Oh, can you turn the lights on so we can see our guitar pedals please? Oh. Can you turn the lights off so ..." we laughed ourselves silly, as they talked to somebody from Too Pure, and got signed up just as we were circling the Brixton Fridge for the third time.

We played with a band in Kennington who had a song called "Don't Sleep With My Friends", which was good advice considering the state of their friends. When we arrived the promoter said "Sorry the PA's not ready lads. I'll buy you a drink to say sorry." He was impressed that we were being Northern and drinking bitter, but not so impressed to find that the cost of the round was more than the ticket proceeds we'd generated (the other band's list of tickets sold was a mass of ticks and crosses, names and promises, while ours simply said "Trevor"). The audience was terrified of us ("Are we too punk and Northern for you?" I bellowed, as Simon [Basingstoke] and Neil [London] goggled) and they ran away when we went to the bar. Me and Si told Neil that the ladies' toilet was the dressing room, but he asked me not to mention that.

  

We booked a gig at Hampstead's prestigious White Horse. It was only as we left to go home that we realised we'd just played the rather less prestigious Brixton White Horse instead.

  

In Northampton we played a Battle of the Bands with a sixth-form band called Journey Into Gingerbread, whose lead singer, a pony-tailed little troll, asked me "Are you a rock and roller?" "No", I replied, "I'm Anneka Rice." He didn't come near us again all night, which was nice. It was an excellent gig, one of the best we ever did - the promoter loved us (he wore an "I like Voon" sticker when he announced the results, and later tried to organise an "International Festival of Voon" all day tribute concert - really), the audience loved us too and mobbed us as we came offstage (most of them were women! they tried to snog us! it was the only time this ever happened!), but we still didn't win. Oh well.

Northampton was another of the early manifestations of The Curse of Voon. We were supposed to play the Roadmender, but the gig was moved because of "mysterious arson threats". A little while later another venue went bankrupt a week before we were meant to play, another got it's PA stolen the night before, and yet another had it's performance licence cancelled mere hours before we went on. I soon learnt that stories like this could be of some use for getting us in the paper, and I may perhaps have started to exaggerate a little. For instance, when we played Peterborough I nearly broke a lead, but by the time we got back to Leicester this had become thousands of pounds worth of explosives accidentally going off mid-set, destroying our equipment, half the venue, and putting most of the audience in hospital. Poetic licence. Local papers are great, sod all happens so they'll believe any old crap, and we were soon regular Figures Of Doom in the weekly music pages. Weirdly, it started to become true. For instance, one night we played the University, and the soundman laughed "Ho! We'd better watch out for the Curse of Voon, eh lads?" He wasn't laughing an hour later, as Simon tried to fix his keyboards with sticky tape while the drum machine pre-empted jungle and my guitar snapped in two as I drunkenly fell into the PA.

And from then on there was to be no stopping the lies, all the terrible lies. Simon had to miss a couple of gigs to take his final exams, and it was pointed out to me one night that this was not awfully Rock and Roll. I was just pondering this when Tim The Celebrity Drummer Out Of Prolapse (in pre-Endsleigh League Indie Band Megastardom SellOut days) came over for a chat.

"Why-aye canny lad," he said, "where's canny wee Simon then, like?"

I thought a moment, and said "Oh, he's in prison."

Hastily, I told Neil what I'd said, so he cornered Tim for half an hour and told him all about the incident (a bungled burglary, eerily predating similar troubles the Charlatans would have a year later with their keyboard player - spooky eh?), the trial and the thoroughly unjust three month sentence he was serving. By the end of the week the whole of the Crap Leicester Indie Band scene was up in arms about the Basingstoke One, and Simon was thoroughly disgusted by the whole thing. "How could you?" he would weep, as he swept out of the kitchen dramatically.

After his last exam we were in the pub celebrating, when Prolapse walked in. They saw Simon and cowered. After a discussion on the other side of the room Geordie Mick drew the short straw, and approached Simon, who was seething with rage at what we'd done. "I will tell them the truth!" he declared.

"Why-aye canny lad," said Mick. "You're a bit of a hero round here like. What was it like, in prison, like?"

"In prison?" said Simon. "Oh, it wasn't too bad really. To be honest we played football most of the time."

From then on we went wild. People would pat him on the back in a spirit of solidarity, and be prepared to believe that we'd had to spend a weekend in Australia recording a single, asking for months when they could expect to get it on import. We sent some "I like Voon" stickers to the Melody Maker, who covered their offices with them, rechristened the gossip column "the column that likes Voon", and put "How Voon Is Now" as one of their top ten songs for Christmas. The fact that there was no such song (at that point) didn't stop us from telling everybody that this was actually an early import of our big Australian hit.

  

The best of all the lies, however, was the beginning of our other bid for notoriety. A magazine called CLAG had started locally, and was about as good as its name would suggest. It was run by the usual bunch of fat old folk singers and unreconstructed rockers, middle aged men with pony tails and sweat rings, who once reviewed Del Amitri (not exactly underground hipsters) thus: "Mr Amitri has a pleasant voice, but mention must go to his band, who display great musical proficiency and can really kick arse." They'd already printed a good review of us (written by me, as it happens) and so decided to send someone to review a gig. The resulting article filled an entire page. It was an "hilarious" piss-take, comparing us to Abba, the Beatles and the Bay City Rollers, claiming we were the greatest band ever, before, with amazing comedic timing, revealing in the last sentence they we were actually shit.

They obviously had no idea who they were messing with. Other bands who had been slagged off had sent whinging letters, then split up in terror, but we decided to take the whole ghastly aging rocker scene on. Part of the review was an interview with our drum machine - I know, priceless isn't it? I went into their offices one afternoon after work to hand in a friendly, jokey letter (Ha!), and gave The Performance Of A Lifetime. "I know you weren't to know," I sniffed," but the thing is, the reason we used a drum machine that night is ... I'm sorry, I'm fine, it's just that ... well, our drummer had been killed in a car crash the night before. You weren't to know, but obviously if you really had spoken to us ... well, I just thought you should know, in case anybody said anything. I think it's what he would have wanted." There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The next issue of the magazine carried a full page of letters from irate Voon fans, some sticking up for us, my own "jokey" letter, a few criticising the general muso-slant of the magazine, and a couple drawing attention to the sad circumstances before the gig. They printed a quarter page apology to the band, their friends and family, which ended by saying "Voon should carry on with what they're doing - they certainly have a lot of fans!"

No, we just had a lot of stamps.

And that was just the start - after that every monthly issue had more and more about how terrible we were, debate raged in the venues and rehearsal rooms of the city, audiences reached double figures as people came to see what all the fuss was about, and when I took posters round shops people would say, "Are you in Voon then? I've been reading all about you." It was wonderful. We deliberately wound them up by slagging off all the other Leicester bands in everything we sent to the local paper (which it merrily printed), and every time they gave us a bad review we'd put it on our posters, along with our recommendation from the Melody Maker, and quotes from John Otway ("Voon are great") and Lenny Kravitz ("I like Voon"). Unusually for us these were entirely genuine - I bought Otway's (brilliant) book and Lenny Kravitz's album (it was the early nineties, as I may have mentioned, and all sorts of things seemed like good ideas) and demanded that they sign them thus. "What's with this crazy Voon shit, man?" demanded Kravitz. At the same signing someone asked him how it felt to sell out - "Sell out? SELL OUT? No way man! No way do I sell out" he raged, before an aide pointed out that they'd meant he'd sold all the tickets for his gig that night.

To this day members of the old CLAG editorial committee quake in fear as we approach.

Anyway, on the crest of this particular wave we returned to the studio (well, the spare room at the back really) to begin work on our next tape, "Interesting", which is where we resume our story.

  

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1993 - 1994

  

REALLY LOVE YOUR GIRLFRIEND

(January/February 1993, 43 Walton Street, Leicester)

The recording of "Interesting" was a difficult time, as the three of us had moved into a house together, were going to the pub together, and recording and playing gigs together. We thought it'd be like the Monkees, but soon realised that they only had to live like that for half an hour a week. We became prone to massive camp arguments backstage about cleaning the hairs out of the bath, which didn't do much for our Hard Men of Rock image. It also seemed to cloud our judgement, as this song was left off the finished tape because we didn't think it was very good.

  

HOW VOON IS NOW

IT'S A MESSAGE FROM ANOTHER WORLD

CHARMING

DAY TRIPPER/DAY CARE CENTRE

(10th June 1993, The Magazine, Leicester)

It's strange that this is the only live recording of the me, Neil and Simon line-up, but I guess we were too busy playing the wrong venues, pissing people off and arguing in the kitchen about teabags to remember to tape anything. These four songs are a fairly good representation of the material played during this era - political, hard hitting and upfront, confronting and dealing with the issues that mattered, capturing the hearts and minds of The Kids.

Oh, all right, all the other songs were still about pilchards, 100 year old ten foot ducks, people we didn't like and girls who didn't fancy me. We'd have many backstage discussions about why people refused to take us seriously, then go on wearing gold lame blouses (me) or cut off army trousers, a t-shirt with "FUCK OFF" tippexed on it, and a fishing hat (Neil) and try to stick huge lumps of polystyrene on each other's heads while singing about Pylons. The public are so fickle.

This gig was a support to a band called "Litany of Fear", who lived up to their name by being a long boring list of unpleasantness. Their audience hated us, and we ended in the traditional manner by trying to clear the pub with "Day Care Centre". But we didn't care! We were going to be famous! Two of our songs were on a compilation from Tea Records. There were loads of local bands on it apart from us, including Prolapse and Cornershop. One of these bands has just toured America for the millionth time, another is working with David Byrne, and another is being written about in an A5 pamphlet. Can you guess, dear reader, which is which?

  

RUNAWAY

ALL TOO MUCH

(October 7th 1993, Newt and Cucumber, Northampton)

Things got so grim between the three of us that Neil ended up leaving, to "settle down and become an electrician", he claimed at the time. He didn't do either of these things, but did form a new band with ex-guitarist Jamie. Strange that. Saddened but not put off, I went round the venues, rehearsal rooms and music shops putting up "Guitarist wanted" posters. I couldn't understand it - I always saw loads of "guitarist seeks band" adverts, and ours clearly stated "Prestigious Local Band VOON", but not a single person ever rang. I wonder why?

Anyway, we thus had no choice but to force Chris to join, which was achieved by moaning at him for weeks on end until he gave in. Chris could do that Real Singing thing, which was a bit of a novelty for us, and we truly believed that this would be the beginning of the end for crap gigs where we were too drunk to play, that nobody ever came to anyway.

As you can hear from the tape. this was not to be.

  

DEEP SPACE DIPPY

(Late 1993, 148 Mere Road, Leicester)

By now I was sharing a flat with Si in a rather dodgier area of Leicester than before - one night the local TV news did a piece about "Child Prostitution Gang Violence Drugs Hell!" and we jumped up and down excitedly saying "Look! It's our house on the telly!" The area seemed to be a haven for cat rustlers, as everywhere I went I saw Lost Cat posters, one of which, entitled "Have you seen Dippy?" particularly inspired me.

Well, "Inspired" is probably the wrong word - I can't believe I ever thought that this song was a good idea. People reading early drafts of this story have complained that it is engineered to pander to my vanity, designed to show me up as Great and Cool. I offer the inclusion of this song as my defence. Still, it does feature Chris doing his Grown Up Singing, David Bowie-esque backing vocals, singing "Oo oo, Deep Space Dippy" far more earnestly than perhaps it warrants.

  

BOOM SHAKE THE ROOM

(25th November 1993, The Magazine, Leicester)

And still we gigged. My songs about girls not fancying me were fighting for space with Chris's ones about dead Grecian philosophers, but this Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince cover was the one everybody liked. It was meant to be an attempt to reverse the trend of indie bands going all poppy and dancey, by turning a poppy dancey song into an indie dirge. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and, strangely, it still does.

  

PROLAPSE, PO AND CORNERSHOP

HERE'S LOOKING AT EUCLID

STAY DEAD ELVIS

(February 1994, Stayfree Studios, Leicester)

Around this time I embarked on my glittering career in academia, which involved getting a proper full-time job and, for reasons best know to the Inland Revenue, a lovely big tax refund. Seemed odd, but for 200 I was happy to go along with it. Many people advised me on all sorts of sensible and worthwhile ways to invest the windfall, and after careful minutes of contemplation, and a good night down the pub, I decided to blow the lot by sending Voon into a Proper Studio.

We had a brilliant time. We'd all read "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions", so spent most of our time saying "Hmm, it's a bit toppy. Could we bounce that down with flange in the monitors on foldback please?" It was very hard to be even a little bit cool about it, and during the mixing Chris and I had to take it in turns to run out of the room, so that we could hop up and down and squeak with the sheer thrill of it all. Simon missed it, because he was going through his Chasing Women (and, by and large, catching up with them) phase. What a fool! He missed the setting the bass levels just for the sake of having sex!! Mad!!!

When we first entered the studio we were terrified to discover that the engineer was Kev Reverb, a ten foot tall cowboy with sunglasses, dressed all in black and possessing a voice like The Voice Of DOOM. Our fears grew when we entered his little mixing room, and found it to be a shrine to Elvis Presley. We quaked with terror at the thought of what he'd do when we came to recording "Stay Dead Elvis", but all he did was laugh (mind you, when he laughed local whales would look up and think "What the hell was that?") and reveal himself to be a truly lovely chap. He did most of the mixing for free and gave us lifts home on nights when we stayed especially late. He was great.

These, then, are the songs left off the resulting "How Voon is Now" tape. We didn't think they were very good, which is silly really as it had never stopped us before. Looking back though, perhaps concealing "Prolapse, Po and Cornershop" from the public was a bit of a blessing.

  

BE WITH YOU

(8th September 1994, Y Theatre, Leicester)

Unfortunately the fun was not to last - we all started to develop these things that you earth people call "lives", and all of a sudden singing about girls who don't fancy me in empty pubs and being rude to people didn't seem quite as important as it used to. Thus it was decided (largely by me, I must admit) that this would be our last gig. It was quite a good one to go out on - it was part of a long-running battle of the bands competition on local cable TV. As I say on the tape, people were very impressed when I told them that Voon's farewell performance was to be televised, until they discovered it was only cable. About 10% of Leicester can get the community station, but only about 0.005% watch it, and those are the people who are actually on it.

Still, it was a great night. Simon couldn't make it because he had to rehearse for one of his many stints at the Edinburgh festival, so it was left to me and Chris to get very very pissed, be interviewed by a dreadful old hag (who's chat-up line was "Mmm, I do like Alternative music. Have you heard of a band called REM?") and generally piss people off. I asked one of the organisers who the much-touted touted celebrity judges were to be. "We've got the editor of Future Music, the local Musician's Union Rep, and Rick Astley's producer." I asked, in a concerned way, why the celebrities hadn't been able to come, but he didn't seem to understand. Waiting in the wings the soundman told me that they got loads of big-names coming down to check it out. "Last week we had the drummer out of Saxon!"

We were the first band, so stood behind the dreadful presenters doing Joey Deacon impersonations while they introduced us, and went on to spend 15 of our allotted 20 minutes slagging off Cable TV. In the dressing room afterwards we found the aforementioned hag trowelling on make-up, saying "I'm too old for all of this." "Yes," I said, "you are." She then turned to a friend and said "This band would do a lot better if they stopped putting themselves down." Chris, in a torrent of abuse and disdain, tried to point out that we weren't, it was everything else that was shit, and it all ended with her storming out shouting "You don't know who my husband is!" Funny woman.

Chris had to leave early, as he'd recently been in receipt of a baby, and I was left alone to witness the very end. There were four bands playing and they normally announced only the winner. This time, however, they also read out the names of the two other bands who came joint second. Can you guess, gentle reader, which band was thus seen to be placed last?

The two people who'd come to see us were shocked and disgusted by this, but they didn't understand. This was the perfect way for Voon to go out, pissing off folk singers, heavy metal soundmen, "local bands" organisers, and all the other fun-destroying idiots we'd always been up against. We never became famous, never changed the world or made any money, but if anyone else has ever had such a good time being liked by so few people in so many awful places, I have yet to meet them.

It was bloody great.

  

  

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POSTCRIPT

  

This story would not be there to be told without Neil, Simon, Chris, Gaynor, George, Dave (David, actually), Jane, Aiden, or Jamie, nor without the bewildered understanding of people like Haz & Dave at the Mag, Cody and Colin at the Pump & Tap, Andy at the Charlotte or the many other promoters who didn't know what hit them. We also relied heavily on people like Cathy, Brendan, Steph, Matt & Zac, Stu, Prolapse, Stevie Marmite, and the almost several other people who came to see us, even occasionally. To all of them, much thanks.

After Voon finished, Neil went on to play in Booster and Zing (both with Jamie), Bungalow Bill, Gnarf!, John Sims and, along with me and Tim the Celebrity Drummer, The Council. As well as The Council I played with the K-Stars, guested in Cha Cha 2000, and joined Chris's next band, Ernie and Joe. Chris also played solo quite a bit and is currently in The Unknown Stuntman. Simon is set to go to acting school, Jamie is doing some dancey stuff, and the whereabouts of all the other ex-members is a mystery.

  

On December 4th 1996 Voon made their big comeback gig at the Princess Charlotte. We did intend to do a big all night show on a weekend, ploughing through the entire back catalogue with every surviving member, but all we could get was a 20 minute midweek third on the bill support.

Somehow that seems fitting.

  

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