Paul was on drums, George was on vocals, I was on guitar and Diane on tambourine.
One hour had elapsed before we were all thrown out. Ted, who readers of this blog will remember I caught on camera singing 'Flaming Star' by Elvis outside the Unemployed Centre, was waiting in the hall way with Ross, asking to come in. Ross is a very talented harmonica player, who I had asked to come and jam. By chance he brought with him Ted, who fancied a bit of singing.
Several of the impromptu band smelt of alcohol, but, still, none were causing any trouble nor I believe, would have. Some looked a bit rough around the edges, a couple are in hostels with a history of addiction (who doesn't have that history) and homelessness. Nobody was legless. Everyone was compus mentus.
The owner of the studio burst into the room and told us to get out because, "You're making other users of the studio (and presumably herself) feel uncomfortable." She said she needed to protect her equipment and her clients, though it came as a total shock to George, Diane and I, who were just getting into 20th Century Boy by T-Rex. George, respectfully shook the dust from his shoes and told her on leaving that her studio was shit anyway, which, actually, is a fair and accurate assessment of it, especially for £12 an hour and a distinct lack of vital drum equipment ready to hand.
I hadn't even had time to whip out the video camera to get Diane to film George doing his best Marc Bolan impression. What really annoys me about Brighton is that it is meant to be so 'free' and 'liberal' and 'easy-going'. The woman who owns the studio is a 'community activist'. She is constantly campaigning for human rights around the World and banging on about Guantanamo, although, strangely, since Obama has been president in the US, she's conveniently forgotten that the prison camp sited on foreign soil to get around international human rights law has yet to be closed since the 'anonited one' came into office. Also, I thought she was pretty mean concerning the human rights of those on her doorstep in Brighton who it seems are rejected wherever they go.
Ross and Ted walked on after a quick chat and a small busking jam outside the studio. George, Diane, Paul and I went under the bridge on Trafalgar Street and performed 'Gentle on My Mind' and 'Sweet Caroline'. We made, in total, 36p. Still, at least we didn't have to shell out for the studio. It seems to me that 'street' people are condemned by society to perpetuate a 'street' existence, never to find an embrace from society but for the arms of Holy Mother Church. Hostel dwellers and homeless in Brighton are consistently hounded by police and community police, judged by society, criminalised by the authorities and traders and despised or distrusted by even the most liberal of Brightonians you can imagine.
And, forgive me if I am wrong, but isn't the history of rock and roll littered with crackheads, junkies, alcoholics and smackheads? I mean, what would she had said if Pete, sorry, Peter Doherty had walked through the door with his band and asked for a rehearsal? I left feeling like some kind of 'equality law' had been broken. Think there's no leprosy in Brighton? Think again.