...1984...The Brown Cow at Bramley in Leeds, West Yorkshire. If, at the end of the night I could have ordered a couple of RAF aircraft to fly in and strafe the place I fucking well would have done so unhesitatingly!
That particular night I (and two others, Ron Darnbrough and another chap whose name escapes me) had been booked to do a 'Folk night'in this God forsaken pub right in the middle of one of the rougher council house estates in Leeds. I'd driven over to Ron's house in my car and then we'd gone to pick up the other guy from where he lived in Leeds. We arrived at the pub and I could tell straight away what sort of do it was going to be. If I had driven to the gig in my own car I would have taken one look at the place and turned round and gone straight home and pretended that my car had broken down. But, I was locked in for the night. So we got out and started unloading the PA and getting the gear into the pub. The clientele were an assorted bunch of ragamuffins, skinheads, punks, layabouts and their slapper female counterparts. Loudmouthed and aggressive and determined to be obnoxious to what they saw as our 'intrusion' into their private space. They were throwing stuff at us as we set the gear up! "What sort o' music do you play then?' they asked, 'Folk music', 'What's that then? Mull of kintyre or summat?' We tried explaing but really, what's the fucking point? Anyway, so we set off and started the evening. At one point one of the females got up and went to the toilet "Where are you off?" said her mate, "I'm off to t'bogs!" she replied in a voice the entire pub could hear, "Well fetch us some tissues then!" "...What for?" "...Cos I've gorra fishy fanny!" again in a voice to waken the dead! (so that was just the female contingent!)
At one point as I was singing a young guy came up with a full pint of beer and stood right in front of me and looked round at his mates. I got the distinct impression it was in his mind to pour the contents of his beerglass over my head and he was looking around for backup if I should turn nasty! I gave him my evilest look and thought to myself, "This is it then, if he pours that over my head he's getting this banjo round his skull and we'll all be ending up wakening up in hospital (if at all!) Thankfully he turned away and went and sat down. Anyway, at half time as we took a well earned drink, this same guy grabbed hold of an old bloke in his 60's, got him on the floor, took his trousers down and pretended to perform a homosexual sex act on him! We had a word with the Landlord at one point, it seemed incredulous that he let things like this happen in his pub but to be quite honest he seemed frightened of his own customers, "If you think this is bad you should see 'em on a weekend!" was his reply!!! This was on a Thursday night.
Of course as the ale flowed and the night wore on they didn't want to let us off! Older looking thugs came in with a penchant for Frank Sinatra and several wanted to get up and sing into a microphone (knobheads simply LOVE microphones don't they!)their own versions of 'Ole Blue Eye's'greatest hits. Eventually the night ended after what seemed like several geological epochs and as we packed the gear away the pint wielding bum boy came up and informed us we were 'Fucking crap!'The worst bit of the night though was to come when I was paid £8 for my part in the evening! Eight fucking quid! It was shite even back in 1984! ...even on a good evening!