This dates back to the glory days of Britpop, when ‘Parklife’ reigned and Blur were playing the Mile End Stadium (I could go and get my ticket but that would involve standing up, and I’m too tired). I lived in Bristol and had just started to look after Creation Records at work (not the important stuff though, more of the stock control kind of things) so we got invites to events – and it just so happened the Boo Radleys were supporting Blur.
Four of us left Bristol and drove up to Mile End, parked the car and made our way to the Mile End Dog Track where the gig was being staged. On the way we’d stopped at a service station and Ange and I had some cards made up which if I remember correctly read something like this: “Pop Tarts! Jo and Ange – here’s our numbers” – to hand out to friends or whoever when we got there. I’m not entirely sure why we did them, but we did – it was nothing more sinister than that.
I did actually bump into a few people I knew there, so they did come in handy. For most of the gig there were nerdy looking boys wearing cord jackets and NHS specs, with greasy hair, such was the Jarvis Cocker look back then – and every time we saw one we’d say “LOOK! ANGE! JARVIS!” and she’d gasp, turn around and then realise we were winding her up. We managed it several times as well which made it that little bit funnier, it was a game we played the entire day and we didn’t get bored of it once.
The time came, Blur played and were great, so we headed up the road to the aftershow which was being held at the York Hall Boxing Club. Present were all the Britpop popstars of our time, we got a table (then had to wait for a good 45 minutes to get served) and tried not to stare too much. Then, it happened.
We had our drinks by this point – I think we’d ordered in shorts though god knows why after such a long wait at the bar, and we saw him. “Ange” “ANGE” “ANNNGGGE!” we tried to subtly tell her. “JARVIS IS BEHIND YOU”
She’d grown wise to our ways and ignored us, with a non-believing “yeah, right” – but this time Jarvis really really was right behind her. “No, Ange, he REALLY is”. Somehow we managed to convince her.
She looked, saw her hero, snatched one of the boys cigarettes, had three very big drags, got her g&t, downed it in one and grabbed a pen. A message was scribbled on the back of the card, something along the lines of asking if he needed anyone for future videos then she’d be interested (and I believe she crossed out my name and number and circled hers which is quite funny!). She strode over to him, handed it over and after about ten seconds of chat came back overcome with excitement at meeting her hero.
Obviously you then have to keep your cool but we were all grinning like idiots and giggling away as she’d got to meet him and it was great! Eventually we decided another 45 minute waiting at the bar would be pointless, so we headed back to our car and back home to Bristol with an exciting journey up the M4 and lots of laughter about our slightly mad end to the day.
The following day I went to phone Ange. Her mum picked up the phone, and called up the stairs. I had a flatmate Alistair who could do a convincing South Yorkshire accent. Yes, I’m sorry.
“pretend to be Jarvis!” I said, and although we both knew it was a bad bad idea, we did it. He was on the phone, did his best accent and chatted to Ange for about two minutes – then he shook his head and handed me back the phone.
“Ha!” I think, “she’s obviously twigged that its us playing a trick on her!” I snigger, thinking we’re oh so hilarious. So I put the receiver to my ear.
“Andwedidn’tgetinuntilfouroclockthismorning” she’s almost hyperventilating in a kind of ‘ohmygodmyheroisonthephone’ sort of way, and at that point in time I had absolutely no idea what on earth I was going to do. So I said “errr, Ange”
There was a loud shriek, and the phone went dead. What actually happened was that she pulled the phone out of its socket, and kept it that way for a good hour and a half. I kept redialing feeling like the worst friend in the world, ever. EVER. She believed our stupid prank. Oh dear oh dear.
Eventually I got through to her, and she’d had a bit of a shaking fit afterwards and I felt even worse. I should have jumped on the bus with a bottle of wine and some flowers or something, but I didn’t.
Eventually I was forgiven, and everything was fine. Phew.
There is a postscript to this story as well. Jarvis is now signed to one of our labels at work, and he came into the office one day. While not telling him the story (I’m sure he’d just think we were a bit odd or young), I asked him if he’d do a nice message for Ange, which he did and I got it off to her in the post, anything to sort that karma out. There was one very happy lady in Bristol too… oh, and I also sent her his single ‘Angela’ which I think we both like to pretend is about her and it’s an ode to that card we gave out, so eventually all was well with the world again.
I’m not such a bad friend after all, see. I do eventually put things right.