Obviously it's a play on words, in reverence to the 1983 YAZOO track 'Nobody's Diary'. I am not a 'somebody', I just happened to keep diaries that document certain events on certain dates regarding DEPECHE MODE and Yazoo amongst others and I was lucky to be included in that part of electronic musical history. A diary isn't written like an article, it documents comments written off the top of your head, but consigning to history your thoughts and actions on that day..... and what amazing days they were!
|My diary - June 1981|
The band were starting to get interest from music magazines.
I particularly like this page as it mentions 'The Towngate', 'The Highway'
and 'Crocs' in Rayleigh where DM played live many times in their early days
so parents weren't so property mindful) and we'd often spend a night in various pubs nursing one or two beers but happy to just be with mates. The best pub at the time was "The Highway". It played an eclectic mix of music and all sorts of groups would go in there, mods, skinheads, new romantics and even some of the local 'hard nuts'.
Crocs/Pink Toothbrush is about ten miles away from Basildon in another town.
So what topic to have as a theme for the first blog?
It has to be the town where I grew up, still live and where one of the biggest bands in the world grew up. It's been two years since I started giving " Depeche Mode In the Beginning Private Tours (of Basildon) - 1981" I thought a blog would be a good vehicle to elaborate on the tour and provide some background and answers to the questions I get asked most frequently.
How did it all start?
|Author Jonathan Miller's book which prompted|
the first Depeche Mode Tour of Basildon
The plus side of getting in touch with Jonathan was that it made me get up in the loft and rediscover all the memorabilia I'd had kept for years relating to DM, Yazoo and THE ASSEMBLY - for which future blogs are planned. I was amazed by what I had up there, all long forgotten but very appreciated! Lovingly taken back in time. Sadly not all the emotional floodgates were welcome. The downside was that it brought back memories of my mother's death, as losing my wonderful mum to a brain tumour happened at exactly the same time as the beginning of a relationship with VINCE CLARKE. The overwhelming grief was severe and shocking in it's resurgence. The next few months were probably the most exciting times of my life but ironically the very worst too.
|Dennis and Sascha outside Basildon Railway station. |
About to take a Private Tour while researching 'Monument'
What is the population of Basildon?
|Postcard of Basildon sent to me while working at |
Butlins - 1980
Do you know DM personally and why do you take the tours?
|The innocent early days - my family home in |
Basildon and where I replied to DM fan letters
I really enjoy taking fans on the tours and the payback for me, apart from witnessing the obvious joy they bring to the fans is that every tour brings back more and more memories that can be shared - so win win for all. I almost feel a duty to share my memories and I also it occurred to me that someone is going to organise tours one day so it might as well be me for the right reasons.
How many points of interest are there and how long does a Tour take?
|Section of an interview with DM in Smash Hits magazine - 1981|
Vince talking about 'Composition of Sound'
The pre DM three piece 'COMPOSITION OF SOUND' played. Dave hadn't joined the band at this point. I still have a ticket for the party, designed by Nik and the only one still in existence. It is precious to me as it features a photo of my mum and sister. I also kept a review of the performance that was written in a local fanzine in 1980 by my brother. Sadly I don't have any photos of the live COS performance, and as far as I'm aware none were ever taken by the party goers, there was a leak at the hall and I was sorting it out! These and other precious pieces like handwritten lyrics to 'Dreaming of Me ' by DAVE GAHAN can be viewed in full on a tour.
|Rare ticket of The Paddocks party|
where pre DM 'Composition of Sound' played live.
|My Diary - May 3rd 1981|
A nice dedication from Vince.
first time on May 3rd 1981. They'd released
their debut single 'Dreaming of Me' and the band were getting music press interest.
|Poster for DM's gig at Sweeneys|
28th April - 1981
The 'Towngate' bar as mentioned previously was a much more subdued drinking hole preferred by Martin, Andy and Vince in the early days. The building was later knocked down to make way for development and the new Towngate Theatre was built to replace it. I remember being in there for Vince's 21st birthday drink up and then holding a surprise party for him at my parents house. Can still visualise the band and friends all jumping up from behind the furniture when we came in the room!
I am very conscious that the people who now live in homes previously occupied by the band growing up are not pestered in any way. One household told me that fans had actually knocked on the door one Christmas Day!
There was one instance where a very lucky fan and I were outside Andy's family home and the home owner came along just at that moment. She kindly invited us into the house as her husband was decorating and having stripped the wallpaper had found Andy's dads initials and a date in the late 1970's on the wall! This was a common custom back then. What timing indeed and we were so very lucky to see that before the new wallpaper went up.
It also brings a smile to my face when I remember that my husband and I actually went to look at Martin Gore's house when his parents were selling up and moving on. My father-in-law worked with Martin's dad and so gave us an early viewing. We eventually chose another property as the parking was better.
One of the points fans mention is that they are surprised how close Martin, Andy and Vince lived to each other. Short walking distance and in Vince and Martin's case - literally a stone's throw away from each other!
|A week after The Paddocks party - the first gig under the |
name of Depeche Mode and Dave's debut.
|Daryl Bamonte pictured at The Paddocks party |
with friend Brian Denny who took part in the
unofficial DM video 'Random Access Memory'
|Before the band and success....|
Dave, Nik and I and a couple of photo bombers
I remember we were having coffee in my kitchen and he said Vince had asked him to be the front man in his band.... I said to go for it.
Coming clean now Dave and admitting.... I was the one that sent that secret valentines card in 1980!
|Andreas Noreen - Avid Swedish DM collector|
outside one of the Churches where the band
practised in the early '80's
Vince, Martin and Andy were all from the same area of
Basildon. The church and especially the 'Fellowship' were a very important part of their lives at that time. Vince had come away from religion when we started dating so I was never a part of that particular circle and it's not one that I would have entertained either. It's here I have to thank Andy's lifelong friend Steve Burton for filling in the blanks for me.
There are two churches that are significant, one for being where they used to meet for prayer and singing together with friends. Anne was an integral part of the group and she introduced them to the other church which her parents were involved in. It was booked for band practise - making the most of the excellent acoustics the building afforded.
|There is a road named 'The Gore' in Basildon - nothing|
to do with Martin' family though.....
A tour is usually three hours and I usually pick people up from Basildon railway station (approx. 35 minutes from London Fenchurch Station ) or they can park outside my house and we go from there. It's mainly driving around stopping for photographs and there is a bit of walking too as some parts of the tour are pedestrian only. The family homes of Anne and myself where the fledgling 'DM Information Service' was organised, Jo was based in Billericay, an adjoining town to Basildon.
I also include an opportunity to see some of my various memorabilia collections consisting of personal and rare professional photographs, backstage passes, music magazines, the original DM and Yazoo fan club letters from the early 1980's. This is at least another half hour but usually a lot longer with a coffee included.
I'm proud that my tours are an individual experience. No tour is the same as people ask me all sorts of different questions and some of the buildings are accessible only on certain days.
I do urge people who are contemplating booking a tour to not dither - I generally book tours to fit in with people visiting London. Life is unpredictable, I'm getting older by the day and you never know when the chance could be gone!
Please contact me through the Private Tour facebook page or via
email DMpersonaltour@gmail.com for prices and booking arrangements.
I am also looking forward to participate in a Q & A session at the DM fan event in Berlin on May 13th - 16th. http://www.dmtreffen.de/ for tickets and details of the activities taking place.
Here are the links to my various facebook pages.
Depeche Mode in the Beginning - Private Tour
Depeche Mode Information Service 1981
Yazoo Fan Club 1982