SECRETS - THE FIAT LUX DIARIES

 
FEBRUARY 1984

Wed 1
Mike Smith R1 play.

Hugh’s latest mix of "Blue Emotion" is delivered for appraisal.

Mon 6
Gig: Dingwalls London.

Picked up band and set off for
London by 10am. Quick meeting at Chris Carr’s office before dropping band off for haircuts in Notting Hill. Sound check at 4pm then meeting about having a custom made backdrop for stage shows. Gig goes well. Afterwards band do an interview with BBC Radio London, before retiring to the Columbia Hotel.

Tues 7
“Secrets” unexpectedly drops to 75 in the UK singles chart. Questions asked of “strike force” and Marketing at Polydor.

To Chris Carr’s office at 11am for interview with a German music paper. Then onto Hampstead Heath for a photo shoot with David Westerner in the Grecian style ruins of the Victorian cemetery. Then to Melody maker offices for interview with Paul Strange. Then all reconvene to local pub along with Helen Fitzgerald and Sue Johns. In the evening another photo session, this time a studio based one for Polydor and the “Blue Emotion” sleeve with Sheila Rock. Stylist Ray prepares clothes for the band. This takes about five hours longer than expected, but eventually I take the band back to the Columbia Hotel to rendezvous with Chris Carr and Sarah, Malcom Dunbar and Ali from Polydor plus Ali’s sister Marylin. They introduce us to their new signing Lloyd Cole and The Commotions and an evening of drinking ensues.

Wed 8
Meet Lucian at RCA Music to discuss publishing deal. Then onto Asgard agency offices to meet Mick Griffiths in situ. I then take Ian and Steve back to Yorkshire while David remains and goes to Polydor to try an edit idea on "Blue Emotion". Using a safety copy tape in Billy’s office he takes out a few bars of instrumental to make the song more “single friendly”. Then another evening spent socialising with Malcom and Lloyd Cole at the Columbia.

Thur 9
David at Polydor studios supervising his edit idea being made on the master tape. For some reason this takes three hours. Once successful Alan Sizer and Billy and Nicky from A&R treat David to a meal at Ho Ho’s.

Fri 10
David meets Billy at Trident studios for the disc cutting of "Blue Emotion" which is done by a man called Mick. Hugh Jones contributes tips over the phone. On completion the acetates are taken over to Polydor for evaluation by the A&R department. David has an afternoon studio session in Polydor’s basement studio to make a "Blue Emotion" backing tape for live work. Engineer is Graham. Hugh Jones arrives at Polydor and approves the cut. David accompanies Malcom Dunbar and Zeke from Orange Juice to the LSE to see The Red Guitars in the evening.

Sat 11
Janice Long BBC Radio 1 Interview.

I bring Steve and Ian to London from Yorkshire. Chris takes us all to BBC Broadcasting House by Taxi at 7.45pm. Sonnie Rae our plugger is waiting in reception. After interview the band sign things for autograph hunters outside then go for a meal with Sonnie. We all meet up with Janice Long again plus journalist Betty Page at the Columbia hotel for drinks.

Sun 12
Drive Ian, Steve and David back to Yorkshire.

Tues 14
Odyssey Studios London.

Drive David to London for 12” mix of "Blue Emotion". Hugh Jones arrives there at 4pm and mixing continues throughout the night. Sue Johns from Beggars Banquet gives me a break by driving them back to The Columbia in time for breakfast!

Wed 15
Lunchtime meeting with ATV music publishers. Chris Carr, David and myself in attendance. Another meeting with MCA music mid afternoon, then to Polydor, who seem to have a muted reaction to the "Blue Emotion" 12” mix. Then we are shown a feature on the band in the new Melody Maker and song lyrics for Secrets in Smash Hits. Drive David back to Yorkshire in the evening.

Sun 19
Rehearsal at Smithy Brook Farm Wakefield. Preparation for Janice Long session tomorrow.

Mon 20
BBC Manchester Janice Long Session.

BBC sessions are recorded at an old Hippodrome theatre right in the middle of an infamous Manchester council estate. The car park has its own CCTV system! We arrive at 11.30am and are met by producer Dave Shannon and engineer Paul. The band have to set up on the theatre stage while the mixing control room is up at the top of the theatre gallery. There are lots of orchestral instruments that they get interested in. There is a tea lady serving just for us in the circle bar. Four songs are recorded for the session completed to satisfaction by 7pm. Drive everyone back across the Pennines.

Tues 21
Take David back to BBC Manchester to oversee mixing of yesterday’s session. Finish at 12.30pm. We then drive to Bradford to collect some gear we are hiring for forthcoming tour.

Return David home to do final gear checks and restringing while I accompany Ian and Steve to watch local band The Bland Brothers performing in Wakefield.

Wed 22
Gig: Fat Sam’s Dundee.

This is the start a run of UK headline dates. Get everybody on the road by 9am, but we miss a scheduled 2.15 interview at Radio Tay. We don’t get there until 4.15, but they are very nice to us and we tape one for the following Monday. The venue is a good looking nightclub with a good PA system. We have a new banner which makes its debut. It’s also the first time Sleepless Nightmare is played live. A success. Didn’t leave the venue until 2.30am.

Thur 23
Gig: Henry Afrika’s Glasgow.

After a phone interview with Smash Hits from the Dundee hotel, we arrive in Glasgow in plenty of time. Ian, Steve and David spend the afternoon looking around the city. I pick up an NME which has an article on Fiat Lux by Bart Bartlet. Sound check at 7pm goes well, and the band Passionate Friends who we’ve gigged with before pop in to say hello. Take David to Radio Clyde to do a “round table” programme. They have a finished copy of "Blue Emotion" which they give us! Back to the gig which is now packed and goes well.

Fri 24
Gig: UMIST Manchester

Chris Carr rings us in Glasgow to say that Polydor are planning to hand the tapes to someone we haven’t heard of to attempt another 12” mix for "Blue Emotion".  Set of for Manchester at 2pm. Sound check is good – another good PA.

BBC Radio 1 Roundtable play for "Blue Emotion".

Steve is suffering from a sore throat but the gig is appreciated by  the audience although it’s a bit smaller than we’re used to, probably because we were competing against Thomas Dolby at Manchester Hacienda. Back home after the show.

Sat 25
Gig: JCR College Birmingham.

BBC Radio 1 Saturday Live play.

Arrive at the venue at 3pm to find all the backline gear set up but no PA system. Frantic phone calls establish that our agent Mick had accidentally cancelled it. I organise a replacement which doesn’t arrive until 7.30 pm. Quickest of sound checks before doors open, but it turned out to be a fine gig with a full house and two genuine encores. Stayed in a local guest house.

Sun 26
Returned to Yorkshire. David prepared backing tapes for shorter set at forthcoming Thomas Dolby support and for approaching Whistle Test TV appearance.

Mon 27
Gig: Blue Note Derby.

Seemed very small and we had trouble with David’s Jupiter 8 in the sound check which our soundman Paul eventually fixed. Expectations were not high before the doors opened.

BBC Radio 1 Peter Powell play 5.45pm.

Conversely this turned out to be one of the best gigs yet with a packed enthusiastic crowd and three encores which meant we had to repeat a song for earlier in the set. Back to Yorkshire afterwards.

Tues 28
Gig: The Leadmill Sheffield.

Meeting in Wakefield with the director that Polydor have line up for us to do the Blue Emotions video. Look around a few possible locations. (Strangely his name is Sebastian).

Have a fish and chip lunch before making for Sheffield. First appointment is with Richard Tandy at Radio Hallam for an interview. At the venue meet up with Bland Brothers who are supporting us plus a number of Wakefield crowd including the rock n roll band Sha-Boom. Also a lecturer that taught David, Steve and I called Dave Lambert is there. The show is a bit tepid tonight and the audience response reflects this a little. Drive everyone back home afterwards.

Wed 29
Gig: The Venue Liverpool.

BBC Radio 1 Simon Bates play.

Get to Liverpool just in time for 4pm sound check. There’s no rider – instead the manager takes us to Pizzaland for a meal! Tonight is a good show well played and a good response.

Pack up quickly afterwards to travel to London overnight.

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