The Nuneaton train crash
Summer of '75. This was horrific. People died. Four of The Movies were on the train, travelling up to a radio show. Jon and Jools were back in London in the studio, working on the first album with Pete Gage. Lucky them.
All four were brutally knocked about, and Durban suffered a terrible injury, which he bore with the fortitude of a true gentleman. An example to us all.
teeth of Harrogate
Not so good an example was set by Jon, who for some reason chose to bite his guitar on the last chord of the last song onstage at Harrogate. A string lodged under his bottom front teeth, and sprung them right out. The gnashers described a perfect arc in the lights and landed on the head of a girl in the front row, who brought them backstage afterwards. Everyone thought it was a great finale, and probably deliberate.
Jon still has the flying teeth, in a jar. The record company paid for a bridge, which has lasted to this day and is better than the originals.
tongue-tied in the presence of greatness
Did they meet any famous rock stars? Of course they ruddy well did. You don't go seven years in that business without. There were so many, that I'm not going to name them. Except Ringo. I mention him only for his good humour when - at a Supertramp reception in the Shepherd's Bush Hilton - Jon attempted to land in Lyndsey de Paul's lap, but missed, landing on Ringo. They then had a well-mannered conversation on a full range of topics, which ended only when Jon slipped to the floor, overcome by whisky and memories of the brother he never had.
There's nothing worse than when your support act gets to be more successful than you. This happened at least twice to The Movies, once with Dire Straits (who were dreadful that once as support, and then got unusually better), and another time with Paul Young. This fellow was with the Street Band, formerly Q-Tips, and while on tour they had a hit with the appalling 'Toast'. To make matters worse, Paul Young cut Jon's best school tie into pieces while the band were into their last number at Loughborough/Leicester or some such place, while it was still round his neck too. He was obviously bonkers, and fully deserved the years of continual success that opened up for him.
Before Star Artistes, the band flirted with other managers, for example the Grossman brothers. These had recently arrived from Boston with the intention of making a name for themselves (though why they couldn't do that in Boston I don't know). They started up an American-style restaurant in London. Then they thought of the music business, a good way to get famous. Trouble is, as managers they really didn't cut it. The split was not amicable, and I hope that the Grossmans can put the spleen vented by band members down to the feverishness of youth. One of them was Lloyd Grossman, known for food and loitering in other people's houses.
And when SAM temporarily took a back seat, none other Pete Townsend briefly stepped into the breach, with Propellor Records. Nothing much came of it, but having the great man backstage at the Marquee (practically his stage) was a kick, though he was overcome by eastern religion at the time.