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Friday, 13 November 2015

My Summer With The Jam

2015's summer was unbelievable! I was given some truly life changing opportunities by some very special people, they know who they are and I can't thank them enough! The Jam are to me the best band there ever was and ever will be. Their songs still resonate with me to this day and I've lived with the sounds of the Woking wonders for as long as I can remember. This summer marked 40 years since the bands formation and in true Jam style came with it a host of great things. A stunning exhibition as Somerset House was the talk of the country, along with a coffee table book and a sure to be awarding winning documentary.

Filming: 5/6/15 

I was lucky enough to be in among all of this happening all summer and it was unreal! With uni over June arrived and so did a huge opportunity. I was asked down to the big smoke to do some filming for the upcoming Jam doc. Mega nervous I jumped on the train and still couldn't believe my luck. London was sunny and warm, I had an inkling that it was going to be a good day! I got to RAK Studios around 12pm and met the team, a lovely group of people who couldn't do enough for you! Bob, Martin and team I salute you! Bob and Martin talked me through the days format and what would be happening. This was it, 20 years old and interviewing the Modfather, it doesn't get much better than that let me tell ya! Paul arrived with Nicky and the twins and it was lovely to see them all. Immediately me and Paul began talking about 'Saturns Pattern' and what tracks we dug I'd met Paul before and we get along like a house on fire! Two Modernists from two different times who dig a lot of the same stuff, it couldn't be a cooler friendship. So time to get down to business, I was given a set of questions to ask whilst also adding some of my own and off we went. With a wink and a smile the interview began and went swimmingly, we both had a great laugh doing it and the team were pleased with how we went about things. Clothes were the main topic of conversation during the day as they always are with the discerning modernist. We chatted about Real Stars Are Rare and how good its all looking, what a brand! Selvedge denim took up some conversation too, you can't beat it. An afternoon I will never forget, an absolute pleasure from start to finish! The rest of the afternoon followed and I was interviewed by Bob for the rest of the filming. We talked The Jam (of course), Mods, clothes, football and other musical influences of mine. It was great to get to air my views on the movement and the band who changed my life. I met Vic Coppersmith-Heaven at the end of the day too, what a lovely chap!

Exhibition Premiere: 25/6/15 

Fast forward to the end of June and I was invited down to the Big Smoke again, this time for an evening spent with lots of faces at Somerset House. It was the premier of The Jam: 'About The Young Idea' Exhibition and it was another night I won't forget. Caught the Train with my good mate Mark Simmo, who many of you will know as 'Acoustic Weller'. We arrived in the big city and the excitement was building, we'd heard just how good the exhibition was and were now going to be able to see it in the flesh, among some of London's most notorious faces. Quick pint on the strand and off we went up the road to Somerset House. Greeted by Sally Cradock on the door, we eagerly showed our invitations and wandered into the main courtyard. What a sight, culture right in front of you eyes! The Bar Italia boys turned up shortly after and parked their scoots at the front of the courtyard, some lovely machines among them. We were early, but that didn't stop us grabbing an Estrella and seeing who was about. Half an hour or so passed and in walked my good friends Mark and Lou Baxter along with Martin Freeman clad in a lovely black Smedley, seersucker ivy three button, stay press and Bass. Smart. There was good clothing in abundance that night, I sported a RSAR Oxford with a pair of wool POW check strides and some DJ Weavers. Then in strolled my good mates Billy Sullivan and Stu Deabill and the banter started to fly about as it always does when we three meet. Time passed and the crowds got larger. Then there's a surge towards the bar entrance and it was clear to us that PW had arrived, I got in amongst it and had a quick chat to Paul and got a pic. We then went into the exhibition and it was absolutely rammed as Paul and Bruce were making their way round at the time. Single handily the best exhibition I've ever been too, full of life and memories that made that band the best in the fucking world! Met some right faces over the course of the evening too; Micheal Douglas, Dean Chalkley, Mick Talbot, Phil Bickley and the RSAR team and many more! A great night was had by all here and it really was one of the parties of the century.

An evening with Martyn Goddard and Bill Smith at Somerset House: 29/7/15 

Next stop on the eventful summer of yours truly was hosting a talk with Martyn Goddard and Bill Smith at Somerset House. This talk coincided with the exhibition and had a large focus on the work which Bill and Martyn did with The Jam. It was an absolute pleasure to be asked down to be the compare for the evening and I really enjoyed doing it. The screening room at Somerset House was rammed with punters eager to hear personal insights from these industry legends. As well as speaking about their work with The Jam, the guys also included a 'Top 10' which was their favourite photographs and album covers they had produced. The stories which we were told throughout the interview were great, tales of location shoots, musicians running off to the loo every five minutes and general Rock N Roll accounts. The audience were great too asking some really interesting questions and they hung on Martyn and Bills every word. Another top night in London followed by a Nando's with my lovely girlfriend, yeah I'm a sucker from chain restaurant chicken!

Documentary Premiere: 24/8/15 

My summer got better and better as time progressed and this was another night to tell the kids about! I hadn't seen any footage of the doc so was mega excited to finally see my northern charm on the big screen. Arrived into Kings Cross mid afternoon so I decided to have a wander up to Camden Town to pass a few hours. I'd found an unreal black suede pea coat in the markets there a few years previous so was hoping for the same sort of luck to follow. I came back empty handed unfortunately but had a good coffee and found a Boro home shirt from 03/04 in a vintage shop, always good to see one away from the ground! Night fell and I'd smartened up, strides on, shoes polished and hair sorted and off I went to meet Bax and Snowy. Quick beer on Carnaby St and then it was time to head off to the hotel for the premiere. We bumped into Hannah and Anne Weller out the front and it was great to see them both. The gaff where the doc was being shown was unbelievable like something out of a Bond film. I was relieved and thought to myself, "Glad I wore trousers"! On the way to the cloak room counter I bumped into my good mate Marc Jones and we had a chat about AFC Wimbledon, a proper club who are my second team, that's another story... Few beers later and it was time to see the hugely anticipated film. I sat on the back row with three faces, Martin Freeman, Micheal Douglas and Eddie Piller. Class! On arriving into the cinema we had a goodie bag waiting on our chairs which was a replica of the pink and white paper bag which came with 'The Gift' a real nice touch. Film over and it was time to reflect, I still couldn't believe I was in it so my head was all over. Had a good chat with Bruce Foxton afterwards, what a lovely bloke! Like all the other events I met loads of class people who have become good friends. Another night I won't forget. I can't thank all the people who have  thought of me enough! So cheers all, beers on me next time ey!            

My summer with The Jam, a summer every young Modernist would love to have, I am eternally gratefull. Move On Up...


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger