There is an old adage that you should never meet your heroes because they can never live up to the god like status that you have enshrouded them in. They are destined to come crashing down from the pedestal that you've placed them on, when you realise that they are real and maybe not as good looking or tall as you expected them to be. Perhaps they are complete and utter arse holes or devoid of the charisma that you thought they exuded. One dark November night back in 2006, I was to put this theory to the test. And I can confirm that there is an element of truth to it, although not in any way that I could have possibly pre conceived.
"Primal Scream have come to town! No, I don't think you heard me." PRIMAL SCREAM have come to town!" I have seen many bands in my life. From solo pub singers to stadium rockers. Much of my teens, twenties, thirties (and now forties) has been spent absorbed in live music. Somehow Primal Scream slipped my net, but here we are on a dark November night in Liverpool in 2006, and Primal Scream are about to take the stage. Needless to say, I am frothing at the bit.
The past six months have been a torrid time, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and tonight I am going to celebrate that light. You see, I have just given six months of my life to a job that I despise. That's six months of dreading getting out of bed in a morning, six months of wishing for red lights on my commute to work (just to slow down the process of arriving), six months of trying to avoid sucking corporate dick and six months of pretending that there may be a place for me in the business world. At the end of this week I will finish my job. Next week I will go island hopping in Greece. But tonight, none of this is relevant. Tonight, I am living for the moment, and I have a pocket full of pills to assist me.
Whether Primal Scream deliver or not, it is hard to say. By the time the support band (The View) have finished their set I am already flying. A swirling combination of rock music, beer, ecstasy, pre holiday euphoria and post corporate excitement has made sure of this. Of course, my serotonin saturated mind picks up on the more famous of Primal Scream's hits and is thus elevated to an even greater plain of consciousness. I am enjoying myself so much, that before I know it, the gig is over. The exact opposite can be said of every working day that I have just spent over the past half year. How life likes to kick you in the balls when it see's that you are enjoying yourself, just a little bit too much.
The concert over and any chance of another encore dismissed, we make our way out of the venue and into the cold night air. As ever, this is when you really know that you are buzzing. The music pleasantly ringing in your ears, your body twitching with adrenalin and your jaw shaking with the excesses of your pocket pleasures. Although the gig is over, positive vibes are resonating through my very existence. I can feel that the night is destined for new pleasures. I sense that the best is yet to come. And I am right.
My mate Tom gets a text from his mate Hugh. Hugh works behind the bar at bar Korova and he has got wind of an after show party which is allegedly going be DJ'd by Mani. Mani is the bass player from Primal Scream, but more importantly from the Stone Roses -who are arguably the most important British band of their generation. If you British and you my age, Mani (the legend) needs no introduction. Even if the possibility of seeing him DJ'ing there, is nothing but idle gossip, we are not taking any chances.
We arrive at a dark bar Korova and peer through the windows. It appears that very little is going on.
"What do you want lads?", the bouncer asks us.
"We've heard a rumour that Mani is Dj'ing here tonight", I eject with excitement.
To which he replies "Mani fucking who?"
This established, we enter the bar anyway in the off chance that the bouncer is a misinformed imbecile. Bar Korova, as it was, is split into upstairs and downstairs with a separate little room at the back. Our group elect for this room and we make it our own. Plying ourselves with beers we chat the night away with little regard for the music that comes from next door. It is only when Tom and I decide to go for a toilet stop around an hour later, that we notice that Mani is indeed gracing the DJ box and that the room is literally a who's who of British rock.
Gathering our ranks, we take our party next door to get amongst our heroes. This is when the party pills really kick in. As soon as I cross the threshold of the main room, I am transformed into a fully fledged party animal. My nervous system hot wired to Mani's mixing desk. I am overcome by the pure excitement of the night, and especially by the fact that Mani is spinning his discs not 2 ft way away from me. I am so flooded with adrenalin, that I attempt to join Mani in his DJ box. An action which prompts Mani to lost his shit and personally eject me (this makes me very happy).
It is only after my ejection from Mani's DJ box that I notice Primal Scream's support band (The View) sitting in the corner of the room. Any reserve that I may have once possessed has been etched away by the chemicals, which means that I go straight over to join them. My presence in their corner goes unnoticed however, because they are all lost in their own little worlds. My suspicion that LSD is to blame for their current states of mind, is aroused when one of them randomly initiates a conversation with me about Enid Blyton (the Children's authoress), whilst he stares at the wall. Although, it's only when I steal his last cigarette that he fully notices my existence. For a second he thinks he's annoyed but then forgets and continues with his story about Enid Blyton, to anybody that may be listening.
Taking his cigarette with me (not sure why because I don't smoke), I am up and bouncing across the room fuelled by my chance encounters with random rock stars and on the prowl for more. Who else can be loitering in the dark corners of bar Korova? I think to myself. Of course, I have my suspicions that Bobby Gillespie (singer of Primal Scream and once drummer of Jesus and Mary Chain) may also be around, and if he is I aim to find him. This thought has only seconds to evolve before I spot him, across the way, propped against a wall and surrounded by bouncers. I approach him with a little jig in my step, whilst maintaining eye contact and encouraging him to dance along with me. His bouncers soon put pay to that, casting me away, as if they were squatting a mosquito. Bobby meanwhile, stands there all aloof, his eyes dead to my existence. I make a mental note that he is a good foot shorter than I thought he was, and I put his behaviour down to his little man syndrome.
Undeterred by Bobby's bolshie behaviour, I dance off in the direction of the toilet, as I suddenly become aware that my bladder is about to burst.
Once there, I fling open the toilet door and make my way in. The door closes behind me and the toilet becomes my new world for the next ten minutes. I am aware that there is somebody else in the toilet with me, so I look up to get a better glance. And lo and behold, I can't believe it! If it isn't Andy Rourke stood there before me, as I live and breath. If you not excited by this news then you are obviously not as big as a Smiths fan as I am. His presence in the toilet could only have been superseded by that of Morrissey, Johnny Marr, or Zippy from Rainbow, as far as I am concerned. Zippy is an obnoxious green frog puppet from a children's TV programme for anybody that may not know (and my all time hero). Oh yeah and Andy Rourke was the Smiths bass player.
"It is, isn't it, I shout out", unable to contain myself. He nods back at my in agreement.
"You cannot possibly begin to imagine the impact that the Smiths had on my life", I continue. He continues to nod.
I then babble on for the next couple of minutes about a whole manner of irrelevant subjects whilst Andy (who is super nice), nods his head and thanks me for my words. Unable to contain my excitement, I lunge at him and he offers me his hand to shake. Unfortunately, I grab his hand with a little too much passion and his big jagged shaped ring digs into his finger, drawing blood immediately. Grabbing a paper towel from the dispenser, I offer it to him with an apology and he wraps it round his finger to stem the blood. "Fuck I think to myself, I've just destroyed one of the fingers that have played their part in bringing me so much pleasure over the years.
The drama is not over yet. My sudden interlude has distracted Andy from what he was doing before I entered the scene. Remembering his task in hand (bleeding hand), he bangs on the door of the toilet cubicle five times and shouts "hurry up". This action does not bode well with the person in the cubicle, who is blatantly snorting coke.
"Fuck you la, I'll fuck you la, if you don't stop banging la", the angry Scouser shouts back. A Scouser for the non English people reading this, is a native of Liverpool. Scousers are well known for their direct no nonsense attitude, amongst other things, and also their insistence in calling everyone la (short for lad) - even if they are a girl.
Andy looks back at me and raises his eyebrows. He puts his finger to his nose and simulates a snorting action, to make me aware that the guy is snorting coke.
"I only want to get my drink back", he tells me, "I left my vodka and coke on the floor when I had a shit and I want it back", he futher informs me. I meanwhile smile like a retarded Mormon, elated at the absurdity of the situation that I have found myself in. My smile is only wiped from my face by the aggression of the irate Scouser as he bursts out of the cubicle and threatens us both on his exit out of the door. Once again, Andy and I share a moment and happiness cocoons me.
And if you think that's where it ends, you'd be wrong. Five minutes after my toilet escapades, I am once more flying around the bar, when I spot my mate Emma. She is excited because she has spotted members of her favourite band (The Cooper Temple Clause) sat in one of the booths. Without giving her time to resist, I grab her hand and whisk her across the room in their direction.
"Which one is it that you like?", I shout with little discretion. And then thinking that I know who she likes, I grab the guy that sits between us and her idol and pull him from his seat. This just happens to be Andy Rourke, who is still nursing his bleeding finger. Once more we share a moment. Emma slips in Andy's spot and sits there with an embarrassed smile upon her face. Whilst I bounce on the spot.
And that's it. My night is done. I've met three of my idols in one night. One of them has thrown me out of his DJ box, another has set his bouncers on me and not only have I almost severed the finger of my biggest idol of all, but I've also manhandled him from his seat, so that my mate can sit next to his B celebrity neighbour.
And that is why you should not meet your idols.