Woking up the World.
Genesis of a Monster.
Ever wondered how world famous super group The Jam began?
Wonder no more. Here is the story, warts and all.
From Woking to…The World.
Basingstoke. Cold, forbidding; post war grey concrete roads intersect without meaning on bleak corners like some black and white M.C. Esher print. Torn poster corners flap forlornly in the icy winds. It is 1976 and
Basingstoke is not a place to visit without a very good reason.
Which is why we find ourselves, instead, at
Woking had recently won ‘
Nicest Town at Tea Time' award in the May monthly 'Nice Town' awards.
Woking would often whistle happy tunes to each other whilst tossing daisies, dandelions and snap dragons and greeting with a 'How-Di-Do' every day.
All this was to change, however - terribly and suddenly.
Mrs Buckler’s house: Mrs Foxton and Mrs Buckler had worked terribly hard all day to produce a selection of home made fruit preserves and were sitting back, looking forward to the Woking Fruit Festival later that afternoon. As Maud Buckler lit her third Woodbine of the day and pushed the ashtray across to her close friend ‘Foxy’, she smiled happily as her son, Rick, pressed the kitchen door open, dressed in his school blazer and cap.
“Hi, Ricky, what are you up to today?” She enquired of her rosy cheeked boy.
“Oh, hi Mum, hi Mrs Foxton, gosh you look nice,” Blushed Rick, somewhat tongue tied, “Me and Bruce are off to Woolworths to meet David Watts. We’ve just been watching Top of the Pops with Ed Stewart. He’s so groovy! We’ve saved up enough pocket money to buy Paul Nicholas’ latest smash hit 45 ‘Dancing with the Captain’ and Bruce thinks he might have enough to get a Tina Charles’ poster, too!”
“Goodness, how lovely!” exclaimed Mrs Foxton, exhaling sensuously, “Well you two behave and don’t get into any trouble, will you?”
Like two guilty schoolboys, Rick and Bruce scurried off in the direction of town, avoiding tossed snap dragons and daisies with skill. As they approached the high street Woolworth’s, a frown crossed the face of Rick like a cloud across the sun on a summer’s day. He nudged Bruce sharply in the ribs. “Look, Bruce, it’s that Paul Weller.”
Bruce scowled. “Our mums have told us to have nothing to do with him,” he muttered, “And he’s right outside Woolworths.”
“Yes, he’s not even wearing his school blazer or cap,” added Rick, horrified, “He’s sporting a ‘Ruby Flipper Sucks’ badge, too!”
“Yes. But to be fair they do suck a bit. Legs and Co are a breath of fresh air after those recent anodyne displays of choreography, I must say,” answered Bruce, sagely.
“Must you?” asked Rick, irritated by his friend’s new found opinions and his surprisingly mature vocabulary. “Oh no. He’s coming over.”
With a sneer upon his sullen, surly face, Weller was indeed, ‘coming over’ and Rick caught himself shivering with fright as the bigger boy casually sauntered up and adopted a threatening stance.
He was eating chips from newspaper. Chips with curry sauce, spooning mouthwards with a wooden forked tongue implement.
Curry sauce? That was new. Dangerous, too.
Rick had heard of curry sauce, bought over in the sixties by the Maharishi; beloved of those demi-devils The Beatles, and he also knew of and feared the hallucinations such foreign foodstuffs could bring.
“Want a chip?” sneered Weller, evilly.
“We don’t eat chips, Paul,” mumbled Bruce, shocked. “My mum calls them the spawn of the devil. And they’ve got polyunsaturated cholesterol, too.”
“Polybloodywhat? You fairies. Eat the chips!” leered Weller, stabbing Rick’s eye with a hot fried potato and adopting an uncouth cockney patois reminiscent of yet to be born hip-hop artist and guru to a generation, The Hip Hop Artist Named Reveal. “Cause if you don’t, I will do to you what I done unto David Watts.”
“What?” trembled Buckler, longing for the jammy aroma and warmth of his mother’s bosom.
screamed Weller, his mouth full of hot potato. He smelled horrible - exotic
spices and lime pickles. “I done him up like a kipper, him with his untamed wit
and his hairs on his chest.”
Foxton’s eyes widened in terror. “But he is the head boy of our school. He is so gay and fancy free. He took his exams and passed the lot!”
“I’m the Daddy now!” screamed Weller. “Eat the chips. Eat them! These taste of pubs and wormwood scrubs and too many right wing political meetings, these do.”
With hot tears running down their young cheeks, Bruce and Ricky partook of the curry sauce and chips.
But, they were actually pretty tasty and with relieved smiles the two boys were soon yumming them up. Bruce, remembering his newly found mature vocabulary was soon opining just so: “I say, Weller, old chap, these are pretty darn tasty. I never really liked that David Watts anyway, he was a bit effete for my taste. Can we be friends with you instead?”
“Yes, come back to ours, Paul, and meet our mums. They’ve made some lovely jam for us,” added Rick, sensing the end of the story approaching and possibly the punchline.
“OK lads,” laughed Weller, clapping them both on the shoulders, “The only thing is: I don’t like jam!”
Howling uncontrollably, like pub comedians recently in possession of some free new ‘be a pub comedian’ material, the three new amigos left Tina Charles behind, to be a footnote of history and sung their way towards a new future thus to the tune of Sloop John B:
“We fooking hate jam, we fooking hate jaa-aa-am, we are the Jam boys, we fooking hate jam.”
And that’s entertainment. As they say.