Sunday, 24 January 2010
The year started off strangely again. Last year I had a meeting with long lost friend Simon Jarvis, also a bizarre correspondence with an old school friend called Mick Campion, who I had not seen since a Gary Numan gig in Aylesbury in 1979. He found me through Friends Reunited, a site which I forgot I had joined!!
Anyhow, the first week of 2010 brought a message via the Dieter Muh MySpace page from Drew Cormack. Andy Andrew Drew Cormack. Drew disappeared off the radar in early 1986. Then he was living in Stoke Newington. We met for one night, January 1986 and played snooker in a room above a pub in Stoke Newington. Me, Tim Bayes and Drew Cormack.
February 1982 and I am playing a gig at the Swiss Cottage in Lincoln. A CND benefit organised by Alex Cormack. Up for the gig from the deep south (Grantham) is his brother Drew. After playing a set as ESP Disk-rd, that was myself on drums and Dave reading poetry Drew introduced himself and said he played guitar and he was interested (if we were) in joining. Dave and I jumped at the opportunity, someone who could actually PLAY an instrument. A few weeks later Drew moved to Lincoln (the far North) and we began rehearsing in an outhouse of a house in St. Catherines. It was funny as we had to tell Drew that I was in fact the bassist/vocalist of ESP Disk-rd and Dave was the drummer. The Swiss Cottage affair had been a one-off. We were there, we were drunk. let's get up and do it kind of affair.
We decided to change the name to Active EG.
I got on really well with Drew. He had not heard of a lot of the stuff that Dave and I were listening to - he was dead stuck in to the Velvet Underground and Faust and Nico and all these groups that involved you taking drugs to listen to, whereas I was in to TG, Factory Records, Shoes For Industry, SPK et al. No drugs needed. Drew introduced Dave and I to smoking joints.
Moments later Drew and I were sharing a flat in the Sincil Bank area of Lincoln, and we had our first gig lined up.....Grafton House, home of the labour party in Lincoln. We were playing a "Young Socialist" Disco, supporting Total Strangers. A group of which I was now the drummer after Dave passed the auditions and then said no! I had to step in to help old friends out.
The gig was a great success. I have it on tape!! Still. After 28 years and it is bloody brilliant. We rip off The Fall and Devo and Gang Of Four, but it's bloody brilliant.
Now Drew and I were living together - it did raise a few eyebrows as even though we were both strident heterosexuals we enjoyed camping out on occasions at the Crown + Cushion and various other pubs in Lincoln - we lost the outhouse rehearsal space so we moved to a community centre on the outskirts of Lincoln. Brant Road Community Centre. (Badlands). Our last gig was there supporting Suburban Toys. We were so pissed and stoned we could hardly stand, so we decided to swap instruments. Drew drummed (or at least smashed a drum kit), I played toys (found in the centre) and Dave played guitar until he bled. We lasted about 10 minutes. That was the last Active EG gig.
I remember Dave wheeling his drum kit home across fields and across the river Witham in a wheelbarrow as Drew and I caught the last bus to Lincoln and home to beer. That night we split....
Drew and I briefly formed Hermann & The Helmets, he on guitar and me on WASP Synth and cardboard, but it didn't last as Drew up sticks and moved to London.
A year or so later and Drew is living in a squat on the Pentonville Road, Islington. Apparently the squat (I was to find out later) had Dave Tibet living in it, but back then I was staying on the third floor with Drew. I used to travel to London on giro days and stay with Drew and his then girlfriend Natalie. I was now hooked on Amphetamines and weed. I would go down to London, spend some money at The Record + Tape on essential vinyl and blow the rest on Beer and Speed. Drew was working as a barman at the Batcave. This lasted throughout 1983/4. and then I lost touch......
Drew was OK in 1986 when we called in (Tim +I), like I said, he had moved to Stoke Newington and was OK. But then, after that nothing.
Tim, Dave and I used to talk about Drew all the time. He changed our lives, he opened doors that needed opening. When Dave and I were in London on Dieter Muh business we would keep an eye out for Drew. 1989 and Tim put 50p on him being dead!!! And then on Jan 6 he bloody writes to me, congratulating me on sticking at it.
Alive I tell you...Alive!
I responded of course, but he has disappeared again. For the now, but 2010 is going to be such a fucking good year because I know that Drew is out there (whereever - he never said where he was now residing) alive and .... with access to a computer. If you are reading this Drew - I love you + thanks.
1: Active EG at Grafton House, Lincoln. Drew (Guitar) + Dave (Drums)
2: Drew and Me in Sean Rorke's house. 1983.