Room at the Top

Room at the Top

Adjoining the front attic bedroom at St Clement’s Road there was a small ante-room which most of the time I was there remained rammed full of furniture, pieces of cot and long-forgotten baby apparatus. But between the mattresses and leftover Christmas detritus, for a few hours, before risking permanent disability, you could curl up reasonably-comfortably in a foetus-like position and escape the world. Top digital advertising agencies these days pay good money to have such environments built for their creatives. It was a handy place to reteat if one of my roomates was snoring particularly violently or was liable to urinate on me. It was also a good spot to evade the softlads. If one came a-knocking and you didn’t want to banter ‘Sorry pal, I’m working on my dissertation’ was always a good line to get rid of them. It would indeed have been the ideal en-suite studio to do any artwork but there was no light or any flat surface on which to put down paper. It was though perfect for daylight hour creative thinking. Can you imagine that a few miles down the road at Factory Records, Tony Wilson and Ben Kelly were wasting a million quid on such a concept? Sometime around 84-85 there were vague plans to turn it into a photographic dark-room, the junk was cleared out and a desk installed. Inexplicably Ashley’s Safeway trolley was retained. It was at this point that the master-stroke occured to turn the face of Sam the Dog into the greatest canine branding concept since Lassie. Bone Idol Promotions was born. For a while it was also the headquarters of Teenage Kicks. From this tiny forty-five degree roofed hideaway, many an audacious signing was plotted and tactics deployed next day behind the church were talked long into the night. The original sign on the door, hand-rendered in magic marker is now a highly-valuable collector’s item. Ever restless, we wanted to broaden our operations base and the tiny space became the home of The Voice magazine. Not a lot of writing was done admittedly, but there was a great deal of listening to music and informed debate, particularly now that straight outta Leeds, a style icon and bass guitarist of reknown was across the landing. The Lenny Leinster era was upon us. The main competition at the time seemed to be based in the south, credibility was vital, so it became important to set up a base there. Ealing, a leafy west London suburb was chosen. Its ready-supply of fresh juice, au pairs and access to the start of the M1 gave it the edge that any alternative needed in those ultra-competitive image-is-everything days. We apppointed Tony Beresford to take control of operations down there and the rest is history. Now hear The Voice.

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