News journalist Clarence Mitchell writes:

On the road with The Polecats

It probably is Watford, replied Phil disconsolately from his sandwiched position between Alan and Tim behind me. The Transit van ground to a half at yet another set of traffic lights.

IT LOOKS just like Watford, said Boz as the sprawling, neon-lit mass of Leicester City centre unfolded before us.

The Polecats with Alan Warner
The Polecats

News journalist Clarence Mitchell writes:

On the road with The Polecats 

IT LOOKS just like Watford, said Boz as the sprawling, neon-lit mass of Leicester City centre unfolded before us.

It probably is Watford, replied Phil disconsolately from his sandwiched position between Alan and Tim behind me. The Transit van ground to a half at yet another set of traffic lights. The freezing fog seemed to descent in thicker clouds as we made our way through the crawling homebound traffic. Every now and the there is a stop for Boz to wind the window down and ask a startled passer-by: ''''Excuse me mate, can you tell us the way to Leicester University''s Beaumont hall?'''' 

Our departure from Ellesmere Avenue in Mill Hill about three hours earlier seemed an eternity away...."Right, start as you mean to go on, joked  Barry as he handed me a few guitar cases. I took them out to where Phil Bloomberg, Bassist with the group, and newly joined guitarist Alan Warner waited next to the Transit van. "Normally we take a decent sized coach with us when we go on tour but as these are only  a few warm-up dates we''re saving a bit of money  by taking the Transit explained Phil", as the gear was loaded and we all climbed in. With Barry at the wheel  we left Mill Hill and headed down Hendon way for West Hampstead  to pick up guitarist Boz Boorer.

Far above us the oranges and purples of the dying afternoon slowly succumbed to the cold, grey, waterladen sky that spoke of the foul night to come. ''''He''s got a new haircut!'''' laughed Tim as Boz locked his front door and walked down the path towards us. Fending off much friendly abuse he got into the van and we moved off  and up the Edgware road to greater things. Like Kingsbury. 

Within moments of our arrival Glenwood Grove, drummer Neil Rooney was safely shoe-horned in between Barry and myself in the front, and the van settled down to the journey ahead with the aid of Peter Powell and a puzzle book.

With Boz suffering from acute toothache we toiled  up the faceless M1 as the darkness closed in and unknown distant houses and sodium-lit streets gave way to distant fields. Then the fog came down. With the headlights shining back at us the bumps in the Watford gap car park were a welcome feeling beneath the wheels. We all wandered into the concrete motorway Monument. 

"I hate travelling, don''t you?" said Neil halfway through his first sandwich. I mumbled my agreement  as I watched Boz disappearing in the general direction of the fruit machines.

Once back in the Transit our trek continued, punctuated with two clashes with a clown of a lorry driver whose idea of entertainment was to sit on our tail, with his lights on main beam and a fog horn blaring.

Like some cheap Hollywood horror movie the fog swirled even thicker  as we slid down the off ramp towards Leicester. "Right lads,look for the signs", said Barry as we swung onto a large roundabout, Phil spotted one. "Oadby!,  What a great name for a place,"  he guffawed as we swung off the roundabout and headed into the city centre. "Here we are in Oadby", echoed round the van. Much mirth as we passed through the unsuspecting Leicestershire town. It was that sort of night. 

Boz winced as his tooth played up again. We drove courageously on as Barry bemoaned the lack of a map from the gig promoter. Eventually we got sound directional advice from a local we picked on, Following his instructions we came across a more promising signpost. "Oadby again!" shouted Phil. More mirth and much falling about. Minutes later Leicester city hove into view....

"There it is," said Alan, amidst whistling of the theme from Tales of the Unexpected  we drove into the entrance of the ivy and fog enshrouded, tree surrounded, Beaumont hall. We parked beside the lorries that arrived ahead of us with the road crew and gear and made our way inside the University hall.

"You always get stages like these at university gigs," Tim said as he walked on the many small table type sections that made up the platform.

After wandering about for a while and examining the mixing desk,  which had just survived the many rigours of a Dexy's Midnight Runner's gig,  we were ushered in to the band's room for the night - complete with liquid refreshment, cheese sandwiches,  tomatoes and a piano.

A little while later the early evening emptiness of the building made the sound-checks echo viciously off the walls of the strangely designed hall. Whoever heard of pillars along inside walls anyway?  

We retred to the room before the students arrived for their Christmas Ball, of which band's set was to be the highlight. 

"We're supposed to be getting a support band," Barry told me, "but they haven't arrived yet," Oh well, interview time....

Details. The Polecats are Tim Worman, Lead vocals and guitar; Phil Bloomberg, Bass and vocals; Boz Boorer, lead guitar; Neil Rooney, drums and new man Alan Warner on guitar. 

To be continued......

 

Make a circuit by The Polecats with Alan Warner on Pedal steel guitar



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Alan Warner
Edgware
Middlesex

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