Graham Holliday, A-side: Are Your Dreams At Night 1985 Sizes Too Big?, 2019, TGIGIFFY, 18 x 13 cm, 140 pages, PB
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In the early 1980's, in the small town of Rugby in the centre of England, three teenagers began melding early blues with feedback, one-chord drones, booming drums, smashing cymbals, gospel, Turkish Saz and two-note melodies. Natty Brooker, Pete Kember and Jason Pierce were Spacemen 3. On 3 August, 1985, they played a gig in the backroom of the Black Lion pub on St. Giles Street in the nearby town of Northampton. All these years laters, it is still the best gig I’ve ever seen. It is also the gig that led directly to the band’s first-ever recording deal.

As a teenager growing up in Rugby in the '80s I saw Spacemen 3 play in many pub backrooms. They were, and remain, an incredible band and over the years, their reputation has spread far beyond those sticky floored, fag ash filled, grubby backrooms. Sometime in the early part of the 21st century, in a house in the south of France, I rediscovered a shoebox filled with photos, posters, tickets, flyers and cassettes from the mid-'80s and I tipped the lot out onto the floor. In among the ephemera were the photographs and cassette recording from that gig on 3 August 1985, the earliest Spacemen 3 gig for which there was a recording and photographs. And I wondered: where were all the people who were at the gig that night? And did they remember it too?

Graham Holliday formed The Shift with Gavin Wissens, of The Cogs of Tyme and the Guaranteed Ugly, and Tim Lloyd from The Revolving Unseen. He wrote and recorded songs with Gavin and former Spacemen 3 members Will, Natty and Rosco. Graham left Rugby in 1996 and has since lived and worked in South Korea, Vietnam, France, Rwanda and Senegal. He is a journalism trainer/consultant and editor with the BBC and others. He has written two books - both for the late, great Anthony Bourdain's Ecco Books imprint - and he recently completed his first novel.

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