I first entered the tunnel on 24 October 1982. Well, I say ‘tunnel’ but the reality was the complete opposite. I saw the light.
Me and my girlfriend had met a lad called Dave Kurley who, that October, put on a small run of concerts by local bands at the famous Crucible Theatre. Truth be told it was in the much smaller studio next to the main auditorium.
We had heard about a local group called Pulp and were keen to go see – we were really into the local band scene; playing and viewing. We had been doing a stint at putting local bands on above a pub (The Hallamshire) - that’s where we met Dave.
Anyways, we turned up and were completely – cliché alert – blown away by Pulp. Trouble is it was the direct opposite of what I was generally listening to at the time – This was heavy post punk music such as Killing Joke, Southern Death Cult, noisy doom merchants and all that – and here I was swooning to gentle acoustic guitars, a spray of tinkling piano, and a toot of the odd trombone. All topped off with the most charismatic singer you could imagine. Or not imagine. Fully formed with an odd little shoulder shuffle dance and a wry line in patter to butter the audience up between songs. The band had even decorated the stage with little orange paper fish stuck onto string and hung about the place. I had never seen or heard the like before.
I recognised the lanky bespectacled singer from gigs that I had put on at the Hallamshire. He would come up the stairs to the concert room but never put his 50p in the tin and go in to see the bands.
“You going in or what?” we would say. “Can I just listen out here” he would reply. “Suit yourself” we shrugged. He, alongside his mate Tim, would then sit on the top step smoking roll ups whilst listening to the goings on inside.