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The Ken Ardley Playboys

Diary of A Band: Part 3 (of490)


Richard Dimbleby was in our band; round, black and with a hole in the middle he had his own stool and microphone at the front of the stage. From his blue box with the ŒDansette¹ badge he would tell the audience about Churchill¹s funeral while we played ŒMatchstalkmen and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs¹. At this time we played anything vaguely related to art and artists - ŒVincent¹, ŒPicasso¹ even Boney-M¹s ŒPainterman¹; we thought that¹s what they meant by art-rock.

Other artists had cottoned on to the idea of forming bands (if we could do it anyone could) and with a gaggle of performance artists and revived seventies art-punk bands the soon to be dead Joshua Compton organised his first ŒFete Worse Than Death¹.

So on a sweltering August afternoon, in our band uniform of heavy brown serge coats with ŒWestminster Council¹ embroidered on the collars, we and Richard took to the stage. This performance was filmed by the BBC and still gets aired in the early weekday hours as part of an Open University course called ŒDiscovering Art¹. It¹s not unusual even now for band members to be accosted by grey skinned insomniacs screeching ŒI saw you on the telly last night¹.

I looked down to see four seedy, jeering drunken trainee accountants from the Inland Revenue amongst the assembled neo-bohemians of Hoxton Square; they were¹Armitage Shanks¹ on the last leg of their tour of England¹s minor cities. We swapped fan magazines as they dragged amps from the back of their fetid ambulance to the stage from where Dick Scum was about to launch into a tirade against Œarty tossers¹ beforeVic Flange, Basil Bile and Rod Vomit joined in with the first bars of ŒYou¹re Going Home In A Fucking Ambulance¹.

Somehow it seemed inevitable that our paths would cross again.