After our adventures in deepest Oxfordshire, I keep in touch with Val by phone, with increasingly lengthy calls. I have to go out to a phone box at the end of the street or use the payphone in the University Library foyer. My hall of residence has one card-operated phone between about 20 people so being on it for hours at a time isn’t popular. Besides, it eats phone cards faster than the regular call boxes. Val’s heard from Thom again; the band go into the studio soon, they’ve got producer John Leckie, fresh from walking out on the Stone Roses as yet unfinished second LP and they’re at (1960s Record Producer) Mickie Most’s RAK studios in London. The album will be “Glam rock over my dead body,” Thom writes. He’s still taking everything so seriously. We love it.
Meanwhile we’re collecting material for the next fanzine, people are sending in their bootleg tapes of gigs and I get to hear some of them. At the end of January the band announce that they’ll play three dates in the UK in May and some UK festivals. They’re also off to Japan and Australia for the first time.
The NME runs a “Brat Awards” special issue, with Thom on the cover standing awkwardly between the twin side partings of Justine from Elastica and Brett from Suede. His hair is out of control, in the pictures inside he’s waving a video camera around.
Val hears about the now confirmed May dates first, an exclusive for PID. She also finds out about a gig in Reading that the band are playing to celebrate Tour Manager Tim’s 30th Birthday. She’s going to go and as the band can’t find the questionnaires they’ve completed for her, she’s hopefully going to get an interview while she’s there.
The gig takes place at a small social club. The band play under the moniker of Faithless & The Wonder Boys. They play some of their new material for the first time.
Val gets her interview with Thom, in a laundry cupboard at the Social Club. Her Dictaphone dies and Thom ends up taking notes. He also gives her his old typewriter (having got an Apple Mac at Christmas) so she can keep on producing the fanzine. He’s had his hair cut. The new album has a working title: Belisha Beacon and when asked what it’s about he replies elusively, “Love Out Of Concrete”.
Val’s cupboard interview launches her new fanzine venture, Insane, which is an attempt to go beyond the bands that the weekly press deign to cover. I write a few reviews of gigs I’ve been to in Glasgow and there are loads of other contributors. We hatch a lot of plans and have some optimistic ideas about where we’re going to go with it.
Meanwhile the weeklies become obsessed with a new scene they have christened The New Wave Of New Wave.
I sit down and compose a long letter to Thom that finally puts into words what I’ve been trying to say.
The tickets for the May dates arrive.
I’m at my parents’ when I find out that Kurt Cobain has off’ed himself. I read about it on Teletext.
Blur’s Parklife is released. I’m coming to the end of my first year of University. Radiohead have set up an Ansaphone service – you call up and listen to a recorded message (usually from Ed and Colin). They’ve been busy at RAK and have been living in London for the duration of the recording session, much anticipation about the forthcoming live shows.
Val has received a selection of clippings from some of the Japanese Radiohead fans. Finally, we have some decent photos of Thom to use in the fanzine.
On the 23rd I arrive in Manchester to help Val make up the PID tour special – which involves several bus journies to the place with the cheapest photocopier in North Manchester. The ‘zine comes complete with the cupboard interview, the best photos yet and a free Creep badge. We will try to sell them at the gigs over the next three days and hopefully make Val’s money back.