Saturday 7 October 2017

The Saturday List #149 - My Seven most embarrassing moments (that I'm willing to share)

We've all been there, haven't we? You know that awful feeling when you just want the world to swallow you up, because you've managed to make yourself look like a prize fool. Well I thought I'd share my top ten with you. So here we go!

1. Cricklewood Hotel, Sat 30th November 1985.
This was the night of an infamous Falde Dots gig. This was a big gig for us. We had just returned from Belgium and were on a bit of a high. The venue was packed. What could possibly go wrong? Well unfortunately for me, the stage was made from beer crates. Half way through a guitar solo, it collapsed beneath me and I was left looking like a prize berk. Even worse, I broke my guitar. Fortunately, I had a spare, but no one let me forget it.

2. SPL International offices May 1984.
I was working for an IT company called SPL International. My job was as the computer system manager. They developed software and I often used to nip in to do maintenance jobs at the weekend, that I couldn't do during the week. My ex girlfriend accompanied me on one occasion. The office was always deserted at the weekend. I had the run of the place. My girlfriend had managed to spill something on her skirt. I suggested that she wash the stain out and dry the skirt on the radiator. I assured her no one would come in. She did this and was sitting there in her knickers, when my boss happened to walk in. He was suitably amused, but she was not!

3. Cromwells Bazaar, Burnt Oak, 12 May 1983.
You may wonder how I remember the date so well? It was my Ex girlfriends birthday. I offered to buy her some new Levi's jeans. She wanted to go to Brent Cross to choose some, but I persuaded her that Cromwells Bazaar in Burnt Oak had a better selection (the fact it was cheaper played no part in the equation). She found a pair of Levi's she liked the look of. She went to the changing room, came back and asked the question every man fears "does my bum lookbig in these?". I said "no", but clearly there was a slight inflection in my voice and I received the look forged in the fires of Hades, that women give you when you know they have taken a slight. I realised that she was not going to be giving me a birthday treat later. But how much worse could it get? Well much worse. When she went back to the changing room to try another pair, she found that the zip was stuck. The Jeans could not be removed. It turned out that the Levi's were manufactured to the highest quality. No amount encouragement could budge the zip or prize them off. Eventually, the manager of the shop had to nip down the road to a hardware store, to purchase a Stanley knife, to chop her out. Not only was it highly embarrassing, but I knew that there would be a heavy price to pay!

4. The Washington Square Hotel, New York City, October 1991
I arrived at the Washington Square Hotel, straight from a flight. I checked in, then went out for some refreshments. I found a rather unfriendly Irish Bar, where the barman hated the British. I always refer to him as Mr Plastic Mc Paddy, when I retell the story. He was extremely rude to me. At first I couldn't work out why, so I asked him if I'd offended him. He replied that "all Brits offend me". I realised that this poor soul, who had never set foot in Ireland, personally blamed me for the centuries of British persecution of the Irish. At this I became indignant. My family has strong republican credentials. So I said "For your information, I'm probably more Irish than you and my grandfathers cousin was Kevin Barry". Events took a turn for the worse, when, to my complete surprise, Mr Plastic replied "who the f.... is Kevin Barry". At this, a gentleman who was sitting at the bar and it transpired was something to do with the local IRA went ballistic at him for insulting a republican martyr. After that I was treated like a celebrity and drank free Guinness all night long at the barman's expense. I staggered back to the hotel, stripped off and fell asleep. Later on, awaking and being drunk and disorientated, I  staggered to what I thought was the bathroom. As I steppred in and the door slammed behind me, I realised my mistake. I was standing naked on the landing of the Washington Square Hotel. I had no key and no choice but to go to reception and get them to let me back in.

5. Centrefile, Aldgate, January 1992.
This one was a slow burn. I was interviewed for a job as a freelance IT Consultant. At the interview, the chap interviewing said "I see you used to work for BACS Ltd, what sort of things did you do there". I proceeded to explain how I'd taken some software that was really badly designed and used to take 23 hours to run and managed to fine tune it to run in four minutes. I assumed the interview went very well as I was offered the post. About six weeks later, I was in the pub with my new colleagues and one started to say "tell him John, go on" to the chap who interviewed me. After much sniggering, I was informed that he was the guy who designed the software I'd spent ten minutes rubbishing. I felt awful.

6. SPL International. March 1984.
At the time, the company was based in Windmill St, W1, just off Tottenham Court Road. We used to play five a side football on a Tuesday. We'd being our kit in and change in the office, then walk up to the pitches, which were behind Warren St. My colleagues were amused by the fact I didn't have a sports bag. I just used to pop my kit into a Budgens carrier bag. On this particular occasions, I went to get changed and found that I'd made a slight mistake. When my ex girlfriend had got up, she'd put the kitchen waste, which was also in a Budgens bag, by the front door. I'd brought this in to work. My colleagues found this hilarious.

7. Mill Hill, August 1979 .
This was meant to be a key moment in The False Dot's career. We were being interviewed by Baj from XPert I Punk fanzine. We were due to support the UK Subs in Derby. The interview was all set up. He'd come and watch us rehearse and then have a chat. What could possibly go wrong. Everything. Two days before the interview, Dave  Edwards, our drummer was attacked in Mill Hill Broadway. He was thrown through the window of WH Smiths and severed a tendon. There was no way we could perform the gig and no way we could perform at the rehearsal. I said to Pete Conway that we should cancel Baj's visitm, but he said "no, we'll play him some tapes and have a chat. It's a better story". On the day of the interview, Pete turned up late and drunk. Baj was already in a foul mood because he'd come to see a rehearsal for a band playing in Derby and that wasn't happening. He asked Dave why he was thrown through the window. He replied that he'd been mistaken for Pete Conway. At that Pete walked in and started to misbehave. After five minutes Baj left. The interview was published. We'd played him a badly recorded cassette. He suggested that 'their music is as immature as their behaviour". A week later we split up. If anyone has a copy of the mag, I'd love to see it again!

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