Viz 25th Birthday Party
Gosforth Hotel
Salters Road, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
10th December 2004

It started with a 'phone call. I was at 'The Bodega' (a pub on Westgate Road) having a very nice Christmas Lunch with old friends and ex-colleagues when the mobile interrupted the annual Christmas Quiz with a once in a lifetime invitation (well, once in every 25 years anyway). It was Naughty Norman ringing to ask "did I want to come to the Viz 25th Birthday Party?"

Well of course I did!! - We arranged to meet outside "the Gosforth", I don't think I'd been there since Spare Pair last played there over 20 years ago - but I was pretty sure I could find my way there again.

I 'phoned home to let my wife Angela know where I was going and a few minutes later the mobile 'went' again.

This time it was a text from my son Paul, the message said..."get me simon donalds autograph".

I arrived at the Gosforth, met Norman, and after a pint in the bar we went upstairs. Norman introduced me to Dolores and we were given our Party Bags and our "Shoddy Souvenir Programme"- the picture on the cover was the Anti-Pop poster from the night that Viz first went on sale exactly 25 years ago. Spare Pair weren't playing that night but we were there - and I bought a copy of the very first viz comic - (in the following months I also bought the second and third but unfortunately I don't have them any more).

We went in, and Norman introduced me to Chris Donald (Norman knows a lot of people!), we got a drink from the bar, tried to find a way to link up the turntable to the disco (we couldn't) then sat down and watched the room fill up.

A few familiar faces started to arrive and I told Norman that I had to get Simon Donald's autograph - he told me that he knew Simon too (I told you he knows a lot of people), so he made the introductions and I asked for an autograph.

Simon did a bit better than just an autograph, I handed him my souvenir programme and in a few minutes I had a signed drawing of Sid the Sexist!

I knew my son would be pleased with that, but Norman said, "You should really get Chris's now"

So, a few minutes later the programme had Roger Mellie gracing the back cover too. Chris said there were a few other people I should get - including publisher John Brown - and before long the back cover was covered with original drawings of Sid, Roger, Tasha Slappa, Gilbert Ratchet and Finbar Saunders.

Just to round it all off, we thought it would be a good idea to get the musicians autographs on the front cover - Arthur 2 Stroke, WM7 and Naughty Norman.

It was an excellent night - and I ended up with a unique memento of the evening. Unfortunately it belongs to my son but I'm quite sure he won't be putting it on ebay.

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Viz 25th Birthday