It’s May 1968, Narnia’s Children have just arrived in the UK from Jersey, recently moving into a rural village where they’ve been installed in a flat over a hairdressing salon. They are in England to record and audition for record companies their manager, Stephan, has lined up for them, as well as beginning a tour of the UK and making preparations for a tour of Europe later in the year. Scott tells us about his day.
We got in late, actually about 4am, this morning, having driven from Cornwall after our gig there. Everyone slept in the van, including me, and for once we didn’t have any girls with us. Rich our roadie drove whilst we slept. It was an amazing gig, we were head-lining and all the fans were there just to see us. The place was heaving, all along the front of the stage all we could see was girls, and they were screaming for us. It was awesome. Zak had to smack a couple of blokes with the mic stand who were trying to get on the stage at one point, shouting about us looking at their girls. It was hard not to look, they had their hands on the stage and we were worried about treading on their fingers.
Afterwards, in the dressing room, we had about a dozen girls barge in whilst we were changing and they were all right I guess, it’s nice to be appreciated, but they kept trying to kiss and grope us and pinch our stage gear. When we were loading the van with Rich we found one of them hidden in the back behind the speakers and amps. If it hadn’t been for a mic landing on her foot and her screaming blue murder, she might have come all the way home with us, not that she’d have been the first stow-away we’ve ever had. Those girls – the stories we could tell you.
Rich unloaded the van and we went upstairs to have some tea and toast before hitting the hay, but after a few cups and more toast we were all still too hyped to sleep so we got our guitars out and messed around for a bit and started to write a song. Mo used his tambourine as a drum and before we knew it we’d written a whole song. Zak had even got a few vocals down on the tape recorder. Eventually, one by one, we all decided enough was enough and we headed off to bed. Josh and Zak share a double bedroom and Mo and I share the other. Rich often goes back to London to sleep if we don’t have any gigs for a while, but if he doesn’t he kips on the sofa. He chilled on the sofa because we have to drive up to London later on. Our fixer, Psychedelic Smith, has lined up some publishers for us to visit in Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street, SOHO). They’ve got some songs for us to hear with a view to perhaps recording them as LP fillers for when we make our first long player. We’ll have mostly our own songs and some by famous writers. Apparently it helps having material by someone well-known on your record.
Rich kicked us out of bed about 10am and after a queue for the bathroom – and endless complaints for Zak to get a move on and decide on what he was going to wear – followed by several cups of tea, toast and cereal, we all piled into the van and Rich drove us to the West End. Along the way we had a good laugh, back-firing Bessie Bedford (as we call our ancient van) every now and again when we spotted a cool looking chic or two. They nearly died of fright and we nearly died laughing. Sad but true.
Tin Pan Alley is awesome, so many music shops and so many guitars to try to resist playing and falling in love with displayed in the windows. The publisher we were meeting was up some well-worn wooden stairs at the side of one of these instrument shops. All dark and dingy really. Upstairs there was a grand piano and an old bloke sitting at it hammering something out, reading from the sheet music, as a girl stood with her copy trying to sing it. All right if you like Kathy Kirby I guess. We met with Psychedelic Smith and our manager, Stephan – over from Jersey to tour with one of his other artists – and a cool guy who looked like Sony Bono, who had some songs he thought we might like. We went up another storey and sat around a large reel to reel tape deck whilst he loaded it with the songs he wanted us to hear. After a couple of hours Stephan left to meet the accountant in Chelsea and we left with several songs on sheet music and on demo tapes to play when we got home.
On the way back we dropped into Chelsea to visit some songwriters, who are interested in writing for us, at their totally awesome pad which was in Cheney Walk, not far from where Mick Jagger lives. We met with two Australian female singers, one of whom is married to one of the songwriters. We’ve seen both girls on TV a lot, mostly on Top of the Pops. Zak tried to get off with both of them – what an idiot. We sang our own songs for them, they looked out some of their songs for us, and played them to us. We sang along with them and the girls even did some backing vocals. We drank way too much tea and inhaled too much grass. I think we were all half stoned by the time we left and we had to keep stopping for the loo on the trip back.
Just before we got to the village where we’re living now, we stopped off at a Little Chef, all new and smelling of paint, and ordered hamburgers and chips – or French fries as the server kept telling us. We all had chocolate milk shakes and felt very American.
Later, we sat together on the floor in the sitting-room – there are not enough seats for us all – and watched Top of the Pops and ate cheese on toast. We ran through some of the songs we had collected earlier and worked out parts for each instrument, and our four-part harmonies, as Zak sang lead. About midnight we all headed off to bed because we have to be gone from the flat by 6am. We’re driving up to Wick in Scotland where we have a series of gigs before heading to Elgin and then back to the flat.