March 1st 2000 will go down as a momentous occasion in this crazy thing known as 'Rock History'. It was on this very day Sir Fruit of Bat launched a fab compilation CD with 16 'up and coming bands'. All had been given the chance of letting the public hear their talents. The album was titled 'There's A Madman On The Roof' (on one of the coolest new labels, 'Spinach Records') and to celebrate it's release six of the acts featured were to play at Brixton's infamous George IV. I was asked to compere this potentially wonderful evening! How could I refuse, eh kids?
My night started when I met my dear friend; serial piss-head Gavin at Brixton tube station at approximately nineteen hundred hours. We got a quick bite to eat and made the walk to the George IV. I didn't realise the journey would be so bloody long from the Tube Station. I'm sure it was only a five-minute walk last summer (when the mighty Abdou last played there), I'm asking for a limo and chauffeur next time, my legs were killing me (they had a machine gun at the ready, ha! Ha!)

Anyway we got our little selves there in the end and into the George we went. I saw Rich from 'Allergy' (one of the featured bands) and he told me nobody had sound-checked yet and things were running late. Oh well, I thought to myself. Better get a couple of beers in then! As I was a tad nervous about this compare malarkey quite a bit of Dutch courage was called for, I can tell you dear readers. I was soon joined by some familiar faces like Kenny (an infamous character known to many Abdou fans), Nina & Tim, ex -of Pharmacy amongst others. We all had a nice chat and the booze was flowing. I knew it was going to be a good night :-)

The first band on that evening were Malowski. I went up to the stage suitably attired for my comperes role (Shiny black boots, Levi black boot cut Jeans, Shiny black shirt and a mod style suit jacket!). I welcomed everyone, told them why they were here, advertised the CD and got the show underway! The band themselves started brilliantly with a good punk racket. After a while though they became a bit samey but that's probably because I didn't know the material that well. The singer looked fantastically unhinged and definitely had a certain charisma.

I decided to mingle a bit before the next act! I said Hello to Jim Bob, Der, Alain & Andy Abdou. They were all very pleased to see me (if you count the phrase 'Piss Off Marc' as welcoming that is!). Before I knew it, it was time to introduce the next turn who was called 'Bransby'. If you'd had told me I would have enjoyed a bloke playing angst ridden songs on an acoustic guitar I would have laughed in your face. This man was superb though! He had the voice of an angel and his lyrics were spot on. Even though we were running well short of time people were impressed enough to get him back on and demand another song. Well done Bransby!!

Nothing, though, could have prepared me for the next band, fantastically called 'Holy Roman Empire'. They were sooooo f*cking good. They played to backing tapes and a drum machine ( a la Carter) but with more of a futuristic Y2K sound. There were three of them all singing with one of them playing a guitar and another bashing a huge cymbal. It was kinda like 80's synth pop gone wrong but very quirky & occasionally punky! I loved every minute of them and advise you check them out. My favourite song was the fab single 'Benazir Bhutto'- Buy it!!!

I then thrust onto the stage to introduce the reason many people were here tonight. That was of course to witness the majesty of the mighty Abdoujaparov. I read out a few (made up) dedications and proceeded to get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy of hormonal excitement (I think!!). It was at this point (during his entrance) that Fruity fell off the stage. Sorry mate but it was dead funny :-) The boys played a blinding set full of 100 pounds of raw Rock n' Roll energy! Fruity was well pissed and was thus in top form, telling jokes and having banter with Andy and Alain. I actually really enjoyed 'Benjamin and Jumble' that night (normally that's the song I choose to visit the little boys room too- not tonight though, it really worked) They closed with 'Maria's Umbrella' and the crowd pogoed like there was no tomorrow. An extremely enjoyable half an hour or so was had by all! Abdou are definitely one of the bestest live bands ever & that’s official!

There were still two acts left though! Would the fun ever stop? The first were ' Big Orange' that were enjoyable in a 'Simon and Garfunkel' type of way. The crowd definitely seemed to warm to them. Check out the song 'Andrea' on the Madman CD, you'll like it! I do think, though, that perhaps ‘Little Ripe Satsuma’ is a better name for their band. I’ll write and let them know, I think.

The evenings performances finished with a great Indie-Rock outfit from Stevenage known as 'Allergy'. Not before though I said the immortal line: "Girls often say to me, Marc I wouldn't mind a climax- well I have one for you now, here's Allergy!!!" The crowd didn't laugh but I thought it was hilarious (some people, eh?). 'Allergy' made sure the night finished well indeed with a fast paced set that had everyone swinging (though not in a sexual way I hasten to add!). 'Plastic Armour' was a highlight for me. The crowd seemed to enjoy the last song which I think was called' The Only Living Boy In New Cross'.

All in all, there were a great mix of bands and everyone seemed to have a smashing time. The night was not to end here though. I had C.D. signing to do. Yes, your favourite compere was asked to sign a few CD's (or more to the point I said 'Can I sign your CD pleeassssssssssseee!'). I drank more Beer and had more antics (like being sick and stuff like that). In years to come people won’t be claiming that they saw The Pistols at ‘The 100 Club’ or The Beatles at ‘The Cavern’. Instead there will be tales of how great it was at The Spinach Party!

It was then time to carry on partying in a crazy Y2K fashion (yeah!!! Let’s have a revolution!). We all meandered back to ‘Chateau Fruitbat’ for large helpings of Bailey's and Jack Daniels'. I seem to remember, admist these festivities, being in Fruity's bathroom and the room was spinning quite a bit. I was borrowing a contact lens case from Fruity's better half, Crissi. She asked me if I was alright and If I wanted a bowl to be sick in. I decided that the best cure was to carry on drinking.

My next memory was then rolling around on the fireplace in Fruity's studio with a quilt because I felt all tired. When I woke up I was in the lounge, how did that happen??? When I came to my senses most people had left. I said goodbye to Fruity and my merry way I went. It was a fantastic night and I really hope the compo CD does well. Thanks to Nina, Kenny, Gav and Neil for being ace company amongst other others. A big suck-upy thanks to Fruity though for putting on the night and letting me compere. Hope I wasn't too bad me old son!

Marc Ollington - Compere

2000-09-30, Bull & Gate - London

I'm writing this on Sunday, the morning after the gig, the tiniest hangover is retreating has removed it's Doc Marten's from my kidneys, Crissi made me and everyone a fried egg sandwich and I now have to strength to tell you about last night.

Before that though, I have to fill you in with some details about the lineup for this gig. Andy and Alain couldn't make it for this gig as Andy has decided to retire from Abdou and pursue the million and one other strings to his bow (he was last seen re-mixing Robbie Williams). I am sad to see him go, but I can understand why and I wish him the very best. He is a top sausage and the World is a better place because of him. Alain has spent the summer in his homeland of Corsica and will be staying there for a while yet. I think he likes the sunshine ;-)

Luckily for me, Jason from the Aussie Abdou has decided to move to the UK for a while so he can fill the vacant bass role. Andy also put me onto Dave, who, after two rehearsals, sounds like he has been playing with Abdou for years. As Jim's Super Stereoworld aren't gigging at the moment I also get to borrow Ben and Pete on drums and keyboards (cheers Jim!)

OK, onto the gig.

Saturday morning was the usual pre-gig rush and panic around the house, as usual, I had forgotten to do loads of stuff and had to rush to get everything together in time for us to pick up the van.

My Bruv, Brian was in the driving seat and thanks to his hairy Formula One driving it was no time at all before we had picked everyone up and arrived at the Bull & Gate.

After a while, the sound-guy turned up and we did a good soundcheck, running through some of the songs that needed a slight memory jog. We stopped to watch Bransby sound-checking before heading up to a local pub, were one of our mates Ngaire was having a farewell bash before heading off to Frome in Somerset, where will soon be a resident.

I got back in time to see the excellent I Ludicrous whose Fall-like songs had me tapping my feet and chuckling. They did a song called Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, which was about how there was an uncanny similarity between them and Carter and that they believe that they should have been famous, not me and Jim. Perhaps they were right! They also did a cool version of an old Mekons song 'Where Were You'.

Next on was Bransby, who never fails to impress me with his great songs and wonderful voice. This is the third time that he has played before Abdou and I know that he has got a lot of admirers in the Abdou faithful. 'Plenty More Fish In The Sea' was my favourite today, although all of the songs sounded great.

So then it was our turn. We were all a little wobbly with the effects of a little too much alcohol, and had a few teething problems with broken Bass amp and then a broken bass string. I had to do a solo version of Rose, whilst a new string was being put on. I think that it sounded OK, although my guitar was a little out of tune. That's the first time that I have sung solo in public since busking in the damp pissy subways of Croydon way back in the 80's

Here's the set-list:

Innocent Like Vinocent
I Don’t Know


Aren’t We All
Shut Up

Losers Walk
Benjamin & Jumble

Baby Food
Queen Bitch
Maria’s Umbrella

I really enjoyed playing again, especially to be back at the Bull & Gate, scene of many a Carter USM triumph. The band sounded joyfully chaotic, but somehow that made it all the better. It was great to see a lot of moshing and general boogying down the front. Although the drunk bloke who kept on smashing the mic into my face began to get a little annoying. Thanks to Daz (super roadie) for sorting him out. Pete from JSSW joined us for the last four songs of the set and played a very flashy 'piana solo' on Jumble and Benjamin.

We got asked back to do an encore and played out with Really Really Sorry with Crissi and Bransby singing back-ups and Fire Tender Red, with a Fruity / Bransby duet thingy.

So, all in all another great success. I think that we all had a great time. Once again it was like being amongst family and friends. Thanks to everyone that braved darkest North London, it was a very jolly night indeed.

Let's do it again sometime.

2000-11-06, The Man In The Moon - Cambridge

This gig was set up by my good friend Kev Rook who had spent a lot of effort in getting the gig properly promoted, by distributing flyers, putting up posters and arranging interviews. He did a fantastic job even to the point of printing out and sending me detailed direction to the gig. If only all promoters were as diligent ;-)

WE were told beforehand that the gig was small but it was still a bit of a shock when we arrived, piled out of the van and walked into a room that would have trouble holding little more than 100 people. We were warmly welcomed by the venue crew and by the guys from Miss Black America, who were to the main support for the night.

Before long Dave (abdou new guitarist) had a beer and we were on stage sound checking. I had to gently scold our roadie Chris Bell, as the guitars were horrendously out of tune (apparently the batteries were flat on the tuner ;-)). Anyway, after we got the guitars sounding reasonable, we whipped through a few songs and handed the stage over to Miss Black America. We stopped and listened to a few of their song but then had to leave as we had heard that there was to be a huge Firework Display in town. We arrived just in time to see the fireworks and even the teeming rain didn't dampen the pyrotechnic splendour.

We returned to what was a rapidly filling venue just in time to see the first band on ?????? who did a grand job of warming up the crowd.

Next on were Miss Black America, who were really great. My favourite was their theme song Miss Black America. If you see the name around and they are playing near you, I suggest that you get down there and see them.

After several too many beers the drunken but still coherent Abdoujaparov ambled onto the tiny stage and played a shambolic and energetic set. Yeah, we weren't exactly note perfect but we kicked serious arse in my opinion.

Favourite songs for tonight were Birthday, Shut Up & Baby Food.

I could go on about how great a gig it was, but you had to be there really. A big thank you goes out to everyone that was there, packed out the venue (apparently a venue record) and cheers, danced and drank.

After the gig we hung around for a bit chatting to peeps and then we headed for Kev's place where we had a bit of an aftershow party and I ended up fast asleep in a drunken haze on Kev's sofa whilst the rest of the band wrecked Kev and Elpie's house (in a very polite way, of course).

We had to finish partying eventually as we still had to drive back to London. Der the only sober member of the entourage drove us in the van and towards London. The trip home was fairly uneventful apart from when we lost Dave at the service station and nearly left without him.

Thanks so much to Kev, Elpie, Steve and everyone that helped make it such a great night.

Roll on the next one I say!

Fruity xxx