Last Saturday was the Tough Love birthday party. We were 4 years old. I don't need to say this all again. It's all written below. i wrote about the day for another website, but unfortunately the article got pulled because of the credit crunch, global warming and pig flu. There wasn't really much they could do. Circumstance is a bitch. But because the internet is the land of opportunity, I'm able to self-publish like a true radicalist. Just don't call me a crusty, OK! Photos come courtesy of the gregarious Kevin O'Neill (that's those with the flare set to HIGH) and equally lovely Naomi Goggin (that's those with Favours for Sailors looking handsome and the crowd getting wild. More here). Thanks, y'll.
"This weekend the label celebrated it’s fourth birthday with an all day party at the Old Blue Last. Seven bands, loads of DJs and a fanzine swap workshop. Sounds great, right? Well yeah, but also no. Thanks to the New Plague, we lost a band, a DJ and a photographer to illness before the day had even started. Pig Flu is closing in. We are all doomed. But thankfully, I managed to weather the storm by drinking an intense chocolate milkshake and crushing anxiety with a mile high sugar rush that was better than drugs. My head was in the clouds, even if I was nervous everything was going to go tits up. And then the bands started and it got really busy. Ridiculously busy. Because there’s no money in running an independent label, you have to do it for love (and the girls too, which is a different kind of love). But this was definitely hard work, more like when I spent a summer digging holes for a man obsessed with bikes than rock and roll glamour.
We worked the door for eight hours solid, as well as sorting out lost equipment and band rider demands. This was all done sober too, because have you ever tried counting money when drunk? You have to tattoo numbers on your arms every three seconds because memory and alcohol are not conducive and your life slowly turns into the film Momento. But fortunately, there was some cash to count. The night sold out (obviously amazing), but this then meant turning away hot Italian girls who aren’t used to being told no. The kind of girls I struggle to say no to; anyone would struggle to say no to. It felt like a moral dilemma, although according the bouncers at the venue, there’s no such thing as morals when there’s a low cut top and a suggestive look involved. I was stronger.
Just as it looked as if we might coast to victory, there were four power cuts that lasted for a total of two hours. The room was plunged into accusing silence and darkness, and for two brief minutes I considered turning the night into a murder mystery and killing myself. With the venue curfew closing in, we were faced with the very real proposition of having to refund everyone’s money. My little heart was fluttering like a hummingbird having a panic attack, especially as I’d already paid half the bands. Then suddenly, as if by magic (or what they now call ‘electricity’), power was restored. Favours for Sailors took to the stage to play their last ever gig, replete with overenthusiastic man-child crowd surfing, stage invasions and witty asides. Finishing with their Ramones aping anthem “C U Next Tuesday”, they stepped from the oily stage leaving us with the final words “that proves conclusively that there is no such thing as free will”. It was an emotional moment, and I was holding back the tears as I was accosted by appreciative drunken men and 18 year-old-girls reveling in the glory of the night. The girls certainly helped.
Running a record label is bloody hard work. It’s also the best thing in the world."