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In Conversation with Fever...

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

In Conversation with Gary Crowley...

Having interviewed Gary at last years 'London Voices' event I thought it was only right to catch up with the voice of London before he returns to Marylebone for 'Coming Home' on Monday 7th October. Without further a do here's what we chatted about...

MOU: What are your early memories of living in Marylebone? 

GC: Happy memories. We had family who lived nearby back then. And lots of good friends. Playing out in the street was a constant whilst I was one of those rare kids who actually enjoyed school...mostly!

MOU: What was it like growing up around here in particular attending Rutherford School? 

GC: The real bonus living in Marylebone/Paddington as far as I was concerned was that you were a 20 minute bus/tube ride from the West End. 
So when Punk kicked in (I was 15) I was immediately drawn to the clubs on and around Oxford Street and it was only a short journey in which I took full advantage of. 
The 159 bus became one of my best friends and my route into town and guaranteed excitement.

Rutherford my school was multi-racial and I loved the company of my school pals (some of them were the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life) whilst a couple of the teachers were particularly encouraging.
One in particular was our English teacher Dave Meaden, who loved Pop music as much as we did and whose lessons were always engaging and fun. 

MOU: What was the first single you ever bought? 

GC: The first single I ever bought with my own money was from Giljays on Church Street and was Rain by Status Quo.
It’s easy to forget but Quo were one of the cool bands before Punk exploded. So that’s my excuse!

MOU: How did your ‘The Modern World’ Fanzine come into production? 

GC: Fired by Punk and the excitement and possibilities it offered, myself and my school pals immediately wanted to get involved in 
some way. We’d tried forming a band but it never got past the discussion stage so gave up quickly.
Excited by the fanzine Sniffin Glue and others, my friends and I hijacked our school magazine and with Mr Meaden’s help, turned it into our own version of a fanzine. 
Being in the centre of London and with me leading the charge we subsequently got to interview all our favourites including the Jam, Clash, Pistols, Generation X etc.

MOU: What was your favourite interview from that Fanzine? 

GC: It would probably have to be the interview with Joe Strummer. We literally bumped into Joe in the street during a school lunch break. I asked if we could interview him and he said yes. I asked if I could bring a pal along and he said, ‘Of course’, but when word got around the school, I think seven or eight of us turned up the next day at (The Clash’s Camden HQ) Rehearsal Rehearsals!
But he was welcoming and very encouraging. It meant a lot to us.

MOU: What bands are you digging at the moment? 

GC: I’ve always had eclectic taste as s kid and new music from WH Lung, Flyte, PP Arnold and Adam Green are all exciting me on my Saturday night radio show at the moment.

MOU: On leaving school in 1978 you took up a junior position at Decca Records and then went onto taking over from Danny Baker at the NME as a telephone receptionist… What are your memories of this time? 

GC: All good! I’ve fond memories of both of those jobs. I was 17/18 years years of age and working in the West End with people who were interesting and mostly encouraging and the late 70s of course was such an exciting, vibrant, eclectic time for music. I was out almost every night going to see a real
mixed bag of new bands.

MOU: What was your introduction to Mod?

GC: My introduction was through my Auntie Christine and Uncle Dave who were top Mods from North West London. I literally would sit them both down and interview them! At school my ‘60s obsession spilled over to the point where I would gear every school project that was given to me and make it about the 60s, so I could write about Mod and other youth cults.
The book Generation X became my bible. So when I started hearing about this new wave of bands coming through via the music papers in late '76/early '77, I was ready! And the two bands that encapsulated the energy and positivity of Punk/New Wave were the Jam and the Clash. Those were my favourites.

MOU: What bands are you digging at the moment? 

GC: I’ve always had eclectic taste as s kid and new music from WH Lung, Flyte, PP Arnold and Adam Green are all exciting me on my Saturday night radio show at the moment.

MOU: What is your favourite track at the moment? 

GC: Holy Ghost! - "Do This" I cannot get enough of it and it puts a big dopey smile on my face and makes me wanna dance. I love the scratchy Chic guitar...

MOU: Sum up London in one sentence…

GC: "London Pride means our own dear town to us, and our pride it for ever will be." Copyright Noel Coward.

Coming Home – An Evening with Gary Crowley takes place at The Cockpit, London NW8 on Monday 7th October and tickets are £10 from here!  https://tinyurl.com/GCcockpithttps://tinyurl.com/GCcockpit


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger