Anti-hero turned villain of the classic Mervyn Peake Gormenghast trilogy
Youthful renegade, Machiavellian plotter, false lover, killer, ugly slightly-deformed man who had suffered horrible burns in a murdering accident.
But much more than that.
Steerpike. One of the best, most innovative and influential bands – no, let us say the best, most innovative and influential bands in not just Billericay, but Wickford and Basildon as well.
Steerpike. What a name for a band! It was such a good name that, although we didn’t realise it, there was a Steerpike in Norwich and a Steerpike in Sussex as well. The former is on Wikipedia, although you should note that they are up for deletion as being not notable enough for inclusion.
I leaf through the old flyers and posters, and it all comes rushing back to me.
This was an exciting time in my life. The loud guitars, the girls, the seminal gig supporting chart legends The Sultans of Ping. And then, just as our breakthrough seemed certain, I ran over the bass player’s foot in my Reliant, and the drummer was prosecuted by Basildon Council’s Noise Reduction team and couldn’t practice any more. We continued for a while with replacements, but it wasn’t the same.
More old tickets, flyers, a backstage pass for the Pink Toothbrush club.
I take a deep breath. Dave, Iain and Simon are on Facebook. I don’t tend to approach the past that much, as the present is horrible enough – but in one email I shift away almost two decades of what might have been.
They all reply, in good humour. Simon is well; Iain doesn’t play any more but would love to get together one last time; Dave has forgiven me about the foot thing. I realise what good friends we were and how, with the Sultans of Ping, we came so close to touching stardom. Why do people lose touch like this? It is a shame.
Now Simon’s in financial services, Iain’s a surveyor and Dave works in IT. So in one way, and in one way alone, there is a tinge of sadness involved. I am the only one remaining who still lives the life, who has kept the flame of rock and roll alive. It is bitter-sweet.
Shaking my head, I switch off the PC and walk reflectively up the road to bowls.