“I knew I was the victim of somebody’s evil plan.” (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Framed, 1972)
On returning from the States with ‘some tart’ and our children, I reestablished the solo gigs to make a steady living and bought equipment required to record the new songs I was writing. 8-track Portastudio, reverb/compression unit and, a new kid on the block: The Sony Datman. DAT or Digital Audio Tape was the future back then, and the Datman was the ultimate portable solution to getting your recordings down. At £999 it wasn’t cheap but fitted in the palm of your hand and was every bit as professional as the studio-installed equivalents. The downside was it used 4xAA batteries which lasted about a minute with the optional extra of a power unit exclusively available from Sony at £25. Being Scottish, I complained profusely to my fellow Scot at East Kilbride Sony Centre before paying the extra and getting banned from ever entering the store again by calling his entire Sony enterprise a bunch of cheating money-grabbing C*nts. No matter, songwriting-wise I was on a roll. According to my records I sent Polygram over 30 songs, 23 of which were being considered by artists as diverse from Mr Big to Irish Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan. Astrid was cautious; after all, there was no deal beyond the Move Me contract, so anything subsequent would require a new agreement.
Her bosses at Polygram were more direct.
Rock music was a no-no, dance-inspired techno was the future and they were probably right. Record companies and publishers were signing up teenagers with samplers in their bedrooms and doing rather well thank you very much. Despite Astrid calling my new stuff, “Amongst the best songs you’ve ever written,” I was clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. I continued writing and demoing at a ferocious pace and at least one of the ditties would come good for me later.
Things were getting out of hand with Naz, however, legally speaking.
In a pathetic game of ‘Sue Me Ping Pong’ which, looking back at it now, verged on laughable so I’m not going to elaborate, was finally put to rest by Dunfermline based solicitor, Blair Morgan. Blair was the legal head of Nazareth Dunfermline whose duties included pacifying ex-member Manny in times of dispute. He was also a childhood friend of Pete & Dan’s, the administrator during several of my house purchases since 1981 and a devout supporter and director of our glorious Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. On the whole, he’s a good egg, so when we finally touched base in mid-season at yet another defeat for our local team nicknamed The Pars, a sudden case of common sense overcame us. We agreed to drop all litigation and concentrate instead on debating who’d be a decent centre half for the aforementioned Pars. The weight off my shoulders was immense. As Blair himself said at the time, “No one’s going to benefit from mudslinging and life is too short so let’s all just shut the fuck up.”
Amen to that.