First draft! This is my story for my writing group, the title we had to write to was ‘Revo’.
This was our big chance; we’d been playing together for months, rehearsing in Phil’s bedroom, thank god the neighbours were very old and hard of hearing. Phil’s mum didn’t mind, ‘hello boys!’ she’d say when we arrived, lugging our stuff up into the house. Marty arrived first, unloaded his drum kit off the number 39, and then waited at the bus stop for us to arrive on the number 42 so we could help him up the hill. It wasn’t so bad on the way back and Phil would help us to the bus stop. Marty’s dad met him off the bus and helped him back to his house. If Phil’s dad was back early, he did mind, so we’d go up to Phil’s room, and just do the vocals, although Marty couldn’t help but keep time with his hands, hitting anything available. Even then Phil’s dad would sometimes bellow up the stairs, ‘oy, you lot! Cut the racket or you’re out!‘ Then Phil’s mum would bring us all a cup of tea and cake and apologise and say his dad had had a hard day.
But this was our big chance; we’d played for the cubs Christmas party in Phil’s village junior school hall, his mum was Brown Owl there. The little kids had thought we were great but in fact we weren’t, we were rubbish. We’d played for Dave’s sister’s birthday, but there were only a dozen twelve-year old girls who to be honest did think we were great – but who wants kid sister’s mates as an audience? And also we did have quite a few technical issues which luckily they thought were part of it and laughed like anything – but you don’t really want to be laughed at if you’re a pop group, do you?
So our big chance – to play at the end of school dance, in our school hall, with all our mates there and whatever girlfriends they had, or sisters or sisters’ best friends they could drag along. Being in the group avoided me having to try and find someone in a skirt to come to the dance with me. It was actually advertised as a school disco – well, hardly, but we’d do our best. The crucial thing was the set list; we had to get it right, especially the first numbers. Once everyone got going and the illicit alcohol started to take effect then we were confident we could do it. To be honest, people who’d heard us, mates who’d squeezed into Phil’s bedroom to hear us, and mates who’d come along to the cubs Christmas party with their little brothers, had said we were good, considering…
There was one thing that was troubling us – the electronic side of things. We’d had a few disasters including fusing all the lights in Phil’s house; luckily Colin’s dad’s an electrician and a decent sort, and he came round and fixed it before Phil’s dad came home. We clubbed together and bought him two bottles of Double Diamond. We asked him about speakers, mics and amps, but he said it wasn’t his line, he was domestic. He mentioned a mate of his from the British Legion and kindly said he’d take a couple of us along to ask him. Well it was very kind, and so Colin and Phil went along to meet his mate and to cut a long story short, he couldn’t in fact help, but he knew a bloke who could, who was too busy and it ended up with some second-cousin of someone’s sister-in-law’s aunty.
Later we all agreed he was a dodgy geezer, but nice enough, but the kit he got us was somewhat temperamental and we had a few electronic explosions, which he said he’d sorted with gaffer tape and a few crocodile clips and banana jacks. It was one of those things where, because we’d payed him, and payed him quite a bit which involved getting pocket money early, borrowing from siblings, raiding post office savings accounts et., we felt as if we should trust him. He kept saying quality doesn’t come cheap, and you want to be professional and well there’s another band over the other side of town that needs this sort of gear…
We spent all our spare time practicing. Luckily for some reason exams were early that summer and after them school was pretty relaxed. Back to the set list, the opening number, the dancing bit, the romantic bit, and then the great ending. We kicked around so many different songs – to be honest, our repertoire was broad. Phil’s mum kept saying we were lovely and played lovely music, and she told us Phil’s dad had heard us when he was mending his bike in the shed, and he’d said we weren’t bad.
So what number should we kick off with? In the end there was only one number which would do, and we practiced it so much that I even dreamed about it.
The pressure was on me, I guess because I was John Lennon and I had to kick off with that great riff , then Marty came crashing in Ringo-style, and then Colin screamed like Paul, and then he and Phil/George were in, and then me with the opening vocals. We practiced and practiced, and listened to the album over and over. I felt a great pressure because it was my number really. It would get everyone dancing, that was for sure.
I guess by now you’ve guessed what happened. We’d practiced in the afternoon, night fell, we pulled on our suits, pulled on our smiles, and went out to kill our fans dead… or something like that. We actually got a cheer as we trooped on stage – it turns out the headmaster’s son had raided his dad’s drinks cupboard, decanted stuff into Vimto bottles and everyone was what you might call receptive!
“Hi fans, we’re The Delawares!” shouted Phil and I went into my mighty riff, spot on!
Marty thundered in behind me, Colin screamed, and I bellowed “You say you want a revo – ”
There was a mighty explosion and smoke billowed and there was an ominous whining and we stood in shock staring at each other as Marty gallantly thundered on…
And that was it… fire extinguishers were deployed by the PE teacher, everyone was herded into the playground, and eventually allowed back in and the music teacher found his record player and a surprising selection of 45’s.
We headed to British Legion, almost in silence. As we entered some malevolent force set the jukebox going “You say you want a revo – ” There was a small bang, a whine, and it died.
It did put us off to be honest, the public failure was dreadful, but at least we had a new name for the band, and at least we had fame, the local press got hold of the story and there was a photo on the front page with that very new name beneath it, and we did get plenty of gigs after that. We called ourselves Revo.
Great little story. Do you mind if i add a few thoughts? As a long-time member of a writing group I can’t resist! I think you should leave out “I guess by now you’ll have guessed what happened”. No, I didn’t, so don’t make me start to think of what might happen when it was flowing along so nicely. And the ending, I think you should end with just a couple of sentences not two paragraphs. We don’t need to know about you going to the B.L. and the newspaper reports. Keep it tight and keep us with you in that hall, once you open the door and leave the story slackens. I like the new name for the band – that’s great. Altogether, it’s a brilliant story. Hope you don’t mind my input but I still write fiction (mostly for competitions these days) and I’ve just finished editing a book, something i love doing.
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Thanks for your thoughts, very kind of you to take such trouble!
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