The Loft

The Loft started one night in the Pied Bull in The Angel, Islington. I was playing a show with my new band. I was doing something musically that was a reaction against the prevailing post-punk way of doing things that my previous group, Damp Jungle, had adhered to – making sort of difficult, spiky music with a kind of earnestness which, although laudable, but seemed to miss some of why I’d fallen in love with music in the first place. So, I was trying to do something more pop, for want of a better word. We had a show supporting my friend (and later to be Weather Prophet) Dave Greenwood Goulding’s band, The Fuck Pigs at the aforementioned Pied Bull, later to become the Powerhaus, now a building society.

Andy and Bill came to the gig because the drummer of the Fuck Pigs was Isle of Wight legend Razzle, whom Andy had grown up with. After I had played, they came up to me and asked if I might want to be the singer in their band. They gave me a cassette of their music and I said I would listen and let them know.

As it happened, I wasn’t sure that I did want to do it but as Andy and Bill did not have a phone and we had arranged to meet at their drummer Andy’s place in Tufnell Park the following Sunday, I very politely went along to say thanks but no thanks. I remember they suggested that I stay and play some songs anyway, there was a guitar there and Andy the drummer’s squat had a working rehearsal space in it, so why not.

It was very enjoyable to play music that afternoon. But as both Andy, Bill and myself were in our last year of college so our time was limited, we decided to meet every Sunday afternoon and see what happened. By the end of the year, we were calling ourselves The Living Room had a set of new songs. I remember I saw a tiny news item in the NME about Rough Trade (sic) opening a new club. This turned out to be The Living Room, which took place in an upstairs room at The Adams Arms, where the folk club Shuffles usually resided. In early pictures you can still see folk albums adorning the walls. We became regulars and soon we got to know Alan and Dick and were offered a support slot to the TV Personalities.

This time is fully documented fully in Neil Taylor’s book, C86 & All That: The Creation Of Indie In Difficult Times (Inkmonkey Editions 2020).

The full story is documented with great grace and perception in David Cavagnah’s My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize, (Virgin Books, 2001) which I’m very proud that he chose to name after the opening lyric in my song Up the Hill and Down the Slope.

Pretty much everything we ever did is compiled on Ghost Trains and Country Lanes.