I am happy to confirm the widely held perception that Guy Garvey, the singer from Elbow, is a thoroughly decent, down-to-earth chap. He and Jah Wobble were the stars of the two separate and concluding sessions yesterday at Louder Than Words and I was torn between them and a third that featured Spencer Leigh, the Liverpool writer and DJ, talking about The Beatles.
The affable Mr Garvey was on a panel discussing lyric writing but he also mentioned how his group got their name. Having tired of being called Mr Soft, Guy asked his four colleagues to come up with a new name and bring their ideas to a meeting in a week’s time. On the appointed day he was the only one who’d taken the trouble to think up a name, Elbow or Elbo, which none of his colleagues much liked but being as how no one else had even bothered to come up with an alternative they stuck with it, following a heated discussion on whether or not to add the final ‘w’.
Meanwhile Spencer Leigh was telling us all about the mysterious Raymond Jones, the teenager who in November 1961 became the first person in the UK ever to buy, or at least order, a Beatles record, from NEMS, the shop ran by their future manager Brian Epstein. There has been much speculation as to whether Raymond actually existed or was dreamt up by Epstein as a bit of a PR exercise to explain away how he cottoned on to the existence of The Beatles in the first place. He did, after all, contribute bland record reviews for Bill Harry’s Merseybeat magazine which featured The Beatles in just about every issue and which was sold in his store, so he’d have to have been a bit slow on the uptake not to know they existed by late ’61. But it turns out our Raymond really does exist, and that he did go into the store and try to buy ‘My Bonnie’ which was duly ordered for him by Brian. The mysterious Raymond lives in Spain nowadays, by the way.
Louder Than Words drew to a close around 6 o’clock yesterday evening, and a fine time was had by all, especially my pal Slade drummer Don Powell who was promoting his book Look Wot I Dun during one session. Don enjoyed himself so much he stayed for the whole weekend.