Monday, 10 August 2009

The importance of being Lee Mavers

Oasis tickets for the recently opened Liverpool Echo arena, sold out in minutes. I made a cursory effort to purchase one but the Internet was constantly jammed and given that I had already seen them 3 times, I easily gave up.

It's now the day of the gig in late summer 2008 and the office is alive with Oasis banter. It seems like I was the only person in the office that did not get a ticket. I am taken in by the atmosphere surrounding the place and I decide that I want to see the concert. My efforts to make a purchase are however going unrewarded due to the ridiculous prices that I am being quoted. I am offered a glimmer of hope from a colleague who tells me that somebody that he knows got a returned ticket for the previous nights concert from the box office. I email a few friends and we decide to follow this optimistic route.

Glenn and his wife Debbie meet me at my house and we walk to the Arena, stopping at the Corburg pub on route for a beer and a tequila slammer to get us in the mood. As we approach the Echo Arena, there are many glum looking faces outside and it soon becomes apparent that any chance of getting a ticket is going to cost us a small fortune. You know that the game is over when every single tout is asking you for tickets. A substantial queue has also gathered around the box office, although this does not appear to be getting any shorter. Glenn and Debbie join this queue whilst I scout around unsuccessfully for a tout.

After a short time I join Glenn and Debbie in the queue and we anxiously wait for any activity. By this point I am assuming that we are pissing in the wind but thankfully we don't give up. A group of boisterous young scousers behind me are planning a raid on the doors. They ask me if I want to join them in their feeble plan and I decline. Before they decide to carry out their fiendish acts, the doors are opened and chaos ensues whilst 30 people try and get through a small doorway in an every man for himself scenario. Glenn and Debbie are successful in getting through the first doors but I have the doors shut in my face. I can see Glenn and Debbie through the glass doors but there is no way of joining them. Fortunately for me they bargain with one of the door officials and I am finally able to join them.

Although we have penetrated the first doorway, we then enter a second queue. It appears that we will be successful but it is a long drawn out process and a process that is hindered by a totally arrogant Southern scumbag who cons us out of our place and then lies about it afterwards. At first it seems like this is the final nail in the coffin but eventually we are given the opportunity to buy tickets at face value. We hurriedly make this purchase and are ushered into the man arena. We have missed seeing the first couple of songs by now but at least we have been able to hear them.

Ignoring our allocated positioning, we make our way to the bottom of one of the stairwells from where we have a reasonable view. This is much to the stewards annoyance but her efforts to retrieve us are unsuccessful. It's a great thought to think that hundreds of people have paid 5 times more than us and have probably got a much worse view.

The band are OK but my excitement is driven much more by the fact that we managed to beat all the odds to watch the gig. We sing along to the Oasis classics and try to convince ourselves that we like some of the songs that weren't on the first 2 albums or the Masterplan. Noel converses with the crowd on a few occasions, mainly to introduce songs. On one such occasion, he says " and this one is for Lee Mavers", before he launches into the "Importance of being idle". Now, for anybody that does not know, Lee Mavers is a true Liverpool legend, who will forever be known to the majority for his amazing pop song "There she goes". In the late 80s and early 90s, Lee Mavers band The La's were tipped for the top, with their beautifully melodic tunes. What actually happened, is they brought out one good album and then disappeared. Apparently their second album which never evolved, was marred by the fact that Lee Mavers sought pure perfection and was never satisfied with the sound that was produced. This eventually led to the band going their separate ways. John Power went on to have a successful career with the band Cast, whilst Lee Mavers disappeared into a herion induced bubble somewhere in Huyton. The press labelled him a recluse and he was not seen or heard of for years, apart from when my mates spotted him buying toilet rolls at Tesco's in Huyton on several occasions.

The gig ends and Glenn, Debbie and I decide that we will go for a few beers. Although there are reams of people trying to get taxi's outside the arena, we are lucky and manage to get one fairly quickly. We hastily decide to go to Lark Lane to escape the crowds as much as anything else. Lark Lane is a great little Bohemian area about a 10 minute drive from city centre. The Lane (as it is affectionately known) is a unique blend of pubs, cafes, wine bars and shops and it makes a great alternative to going out in Liverpool centre.

We choose a pub called Vinyl which is a cellar bar and the only bar on the Lane with a late license. Surprisingly, the place is empty when we walk in apart from a couple of guys standing by the bar. Now at this point let me tell you that there is a recording studio on Lark Lane known as the Pink Windmill. This studio is owned by Andy McCluskey from the 80s legendary band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD). Oasis recorded some of their first album in this recording studio and it was also the place where Atomic Kitten recorded "Whole again". It is not unusual to see Liverpool rock/pop stars, such as John Power (La's/Cast), Ian McCullough (Echo and the Bunnymen) or Pete Wylie (Mighty Wah) hanging around in one of the pubs. However, as I have mentioned before, Lee Mavers is a recluse and I personally have never seen him around during my 7 years in Liverpool. In fact I have recently read an article in the Guardian about his reclusive lifestyle. So, I am more than a little surprised when Glenn notices that one of the two guys at the bar is actually Lee Mavers.

So, let me clarify. Lee Maver's is a recluse. I have recently read an article on this in the Guardian. I've just been to an Oasis gig which I was unbelievably lucky to get in and now I have just bumped into this reclusive figure, whom Noel Gallagher (Oasis) has not 1 hr earlier been alluding too as idle. Even more bizarrely, Mavers and his mate are the only other customers in the bar. Glenn, then points out that the other guy with Lee Mavers is the drummer from the La's. Wow, this is too much, I have to talk to them.

Lee Mavers and the drummer go upstairs and I follow them in stalker like fashion. They get on to the street above and spark up their cigarettes. I sort of stand there, in an awkward fashion for a few seconds and then when it is obvious that I am not there for a smoke, I fire out and opening sentence. The sentence that I use is probably the worst sentence that I could have used and sparks off the following conversation.

Me: "erm, I went to see Oasis tonight and they dedicated one of their songs to you"

Lee Mavers: "Oh yeah, which song like?"

Me: "The importance of being idle"

Lee Mavers: "The cheeky fucking twats, they're a fucking shit band"

Me: "erm"

Lee Mavers: "Do you know what I call those fuckers?"

Me: "erm"

Lee Mavers: "The fucking talentless brothers - they're fucking useless la"

La is an expression that all Scousers use and is a shortened version of lad. Even girls in Liverpool are referred to as la and it has been said that some scousers even refer to their own mum as la.

For many years I did not make the connection between the band name the La's and this overly used scouse abbreviation.

I quickly change the subject and tell them how good that they are looking for their years. In actual fact I am thinking how good they look considering they have been smack heads for years. The drummer picks up on this compliment and thanks me.

"Cheers la, it's years of hard drugs and partying that does it kid".

Lee Mavers, seems to take offence to the drummer soaking up the compliment and says,

"How can you say that he looks good? He's dressed like a fucking undertaker". (he actually does have an undertaker resemblence)

The drummer in turn takes offence to Lee Mavers abusive words and comes out with the following torrent of abuse.

"Fuck off, do you know what you are? I'll tell you what you are, you're the biggest waste of talent this country has ever seen". (I'm agreeing in my head).

Lee Mavers then mumbles something under his breath before shouting "Fuck off, anyway I am off to pick up my kids". With this he staggers off down Lark lane

It is 11 o'clockish on a midweek night and Lee Mavers is staggering off to meet his kids (I'll let you make you own judgements on that).

He is not more than 15 yards away, when the drummer shouts "That's it, run a fucking way, just like you always do Lee. You're a fucking waste of time".

Lee Mavers spins around, sticks 2 fingers up and shouts "fuck off" before disappearing around the corner. At which point, the undertaker drummer turns to me and says the following:

"You know what la! he only says that Oasis are shit because they are everything that he every wanted to become".

Right now I am feeling astounded at the argument that I have just started and therefore I take a short while to respond. My response once again has the articulacy of a Norris Green, North Face gangsta.


To which the drummer replies "He's a fucking prick la, full of shit".

With this he walks off and I go and join Glenn and Debbie to tell them what has just happened.

The story does not end here. There is one more twist.

I'm at work the next morning and of course I've told all my colleagues of my latest random event. It's a beautiful day and as per usual I go for a walk at lunch time. Inspired by the previous nights chance meeting, I stick the La's on my Ipod. I'm totally absorbed in it, until, hold on a minute - this track sounds totally like an Oasis track. A millisecond later I have it, "well goddamit, it's The importance of being idle".

There's me thinking that Noel Gallagher is referring to Lee Mavers as a lazy git, when all along he is either adulating him or sneering at him, whilst totally ripping off the riff to his song.

It all clicks into place.


Anonymous said...

I remember this night well! What a night and one to remember for sure! Cheers Andy, Debs xx

elf said...

quality story la. love the lane, gotta hear la's again .
that weight loss dick above needs to stfu,mind

Tracy Glover said...

I liked your tale about Mavers. It's a bit sad, but rough and real, like you'd sort of expect him to be.
The Las album is till one of my favourites. There is good music, Oasis have had their moments, but Lee's songs get me right in the gut. It is so sad that he never made much more music or filled his potential, but maybe he¨s a bit like Syd Barrett, he just doesn't fit in with that world. Ace story,

Anonymous said...

He's definitely not a prick. Met him once a few years back, absolutely sound. So into the music, an ye, i bet he did go an meet his kids.

Andrew said...

Great anecdote. Certainly all has the ring of truth - how frustrating to have been a drummer/musician with Mavers, & compared to him the likes of Oasis really are talentless