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
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.
'phoned home to let my wife Angela know where I was going
and a few minutes later the mobile 'went' again.
time it was a text from my son Paul, the message said..."get
me simon donalds autograph".
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).
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.
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.
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
knew my son would be pleased with that, but Norman said, "You
should really get Chris's now"
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.
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.
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.
on the pics to see the full size images..