A poster from October 1987 advertising what was essentially a launch gig for Pristine Christine and thus the label itself, with the Sea Urchins and Poppyheads supporting Bristol’s Groove Farm (who designed the poster – I keep meaning to have a word about that missing apostrophe in “Bristol’s”) at the Tropic Club down on Stokes Croft, which is now all craft beer and cupcakes but back then was mostly secondhand furniture shops and ciderpunks trying to cadge 10p for UHU and Bulmers outside the anarchist squat in the old Volkswagen showroom on the corner of Ashley Road (see also: Have You Got 10p?, debut single by The Ejected on Bristol’s Riot City Records, home of Vice Squad). I’m rambling, but I thought you might like some context. I know I would.
A night in Lausanne, Switzerland, where I’m not sure we’d ever sold a single record. We also didn’t know, till we saw the freebies on the door, that it was sponsored by Marlboro. “Le décor vous appartient” translates roughly as “the decor is owned by you” – I’ve no idea what that means, but I’m sure Alison from Brighter would love to know who owned the bit of decor that split her head open during soundcheck. She still played, after a trip to Lausanne A&E, but in a bit of a painkiller haze, so probably didn’t notice the mass pogo that broke out when Brighter started, and stopped seconds later when everyone realised they weren’t the Damned. All very peculiar. But probably what you’d expect from something that used the words “happening” and “jam session” on a flyer.
I know nothing about Mr Bojangles in Nottingham, though I’m guessing from this flyer that it was on Lower Parliament Street. As you may detect, this is actually a double-sided flyer – indiepop was nothing if not thrifty – and the other side is for a Bob gig at the Dial in Derby. I know nothing about that either, though I have been to the Dial, with The Field Mice. They made us curry. (The Dial did, not The Field Mice – that would be weird.)
A flyer from November 1986, advertising upcoming events at the EEC Punk Rock Mountain; which, I discovered on a trip back to Bristol the other week, is now flats, rather than the slightly peculiar country and western pub in the middle of a traffic island that I remember so fondly. And, frankly, so badly – my only real recollections of the gigs listed here are that The Clouds were ace and that The Jasmine Minks were completely spooked by the mirrors that lined the rear wall – given the size of the bar, they were effectively staring at themselves for the entire duration of their set. Younger readers might also like to know that only four of the bands on this flyer were any good; I’m afraid you’ll have to decide which for yourselves.
I think we were quite excited to be offered the chance of doing our first Christmas party at a big London venue, the Powerhaus in Islington; the idea that big London venues might be on the lookout for gullible provincial labels who hadn’t quite grasped that a Sunday evening less than 48 hours before Christmas Day isn’t necessarily a good time to hold a party – especially if people have to get the Northern Line to Angel for it – never occurred to us. That would be the old Angel station, of course, with the really narrow island platform. The Powerhaus is now a branch of Halifax. Angel now has the longest escalators on the Underground. Don’t say we never tell you anything.
A poster from what people later referred to as our alliterative period, which lasted for much of October 1992. The Royal Park was in Headingley rather than central Leeds, and my main memory is of someone trying to sell me drugs within five minutes of arriving for soundcheck that afternoon. That’s actually my only memory, to be honest, but that has nothing to do with the drugs. The cat is Jessica, and that’s our fence (again: garden, not drugs).
A poster for the last issue of Clare’s pre-Sarah fanzine Kvatch, which came with a flexidisc featuring Cling Film by The Sea Urchins and Baby Blue Marine by Bristol’s Groove Farm (see here for a picture of the flexi in its handpainted sleeve). The Sea Urchins are the band in the bottom half of the poster. Of the other bands mentioned on the poster, Mighty Mighty’s Throwaway was on the first Sha-la-la flexidisc, and Friends of the Family morphed into Pram.
A poster advertising our first compilation and also new singles by The Orchids and The Field Mice (SARAHs 11 and 12), which had just come out. It would obviously have looked less inept if the text in the top right had been black on white rather than white on black, but it’s based on the sleeve artwork, and we had no realistic (i.e. affordable) way of producing a negative. The view down Welsh Back from Bristol Bridge (which is what this is) has changed a bit since 1988… these days, it’s in colour…
Bit of a legendary gig, this, partly because of our own mad decision to try to have a 4-band line-up on a Sunday night when licensing laws meant that everything had to be done by 10.30pm. It was only Brighter’s second-ever gig, the Field Mice played as a duo of Bobby and Harvey as Michael couldn’t make it, and Action Painting! (who were in the audience) got into a fight with the Sea Urchins who carried on playing even after the lights had gone up… pretty good entertainment for £2.50, I think you’ll agree. Happy days.
Click here for the review in local listings magazine Venue.
A flyer for issue 6 of Are You Scared To Get Happy and its two Sha-la-la flexis, one of them the Poppyheads’ 4-song Postcard for Flossy EP – yes, a 4-song 6½” flexi. The Poppyheads later recorded for Sarah, obviously, while Remember Fun had two tracks released by Egg and a retrospective EP on Matinee. Emily’s 4-song Irony 12″, meanwhile, was not only the 50th single on Creation but also much heavier than our flexidisc, as many journalists pointed out at the time.
A flyer sent out in December 1990 announcing a change of distributor from Rough Trade to Pinnacle, as if anybody but us really cared, and our new releases for the start of 1991… and also the 1990 Christmas Party, which we seem to have organised for two days before Christmas… possibly not a good idea. I think this was the only Christmas Party we did outside Bristol.
A postcard for the Unholy Soul tour. The delicate “marbling” effect was achieved by leaving it in a damp cupboard; these days, you’d just use Photoshop’s “mildew” filter. Potteries folk still cover their children’s ears and speak in hushed tones whenever the Orchids’ day off in Stoke is mentioned; I wish I could expand, but – what happens in Stoke, stays in Stoke, that’s what they say. Though they say it less often now the A500’s fully open, of course.
A flyer for the the label’s launch gig at Bristol’s Tropic Club in October 1987 (i.e. the Sea Urchins and the Poppyheads supporting Bristol’s own Groove Farm) and the release of Pristine Christine the following month; the flyer was handed out at an earlier gig at the Tropic. Impressively, it seems, people were already calling us Bristol’s favourite label. Or maybe that was just us…
Poster for Brighter, Even As We Speak and the Hit Parade at the Falcon in Camden Town (corner of Royal College Street and Jeffreys Street, and the main Camden pub venue in those days – it’s now flats) on January 31st, 1991; this would be Even As We Speak’s first trip to the UK, and before we’d released our first Hit Parade single.