Scuzzy Romance: Playing the Bull & Gate
Julianne Regan [+]
Bath Spa University
According to Simon Williams, of Fierce Panda Records, ‘The Bull and Gate [was] the absolute definition of the ‘toilet circuit’…’ ( coldplaychronology , 2008). No collection on the topic of beloved, sticky-floored venues would be complete without its inclusion. My discussion explores the scuzzy romance and heartfelt nostalgia associated with this and similar venues, and how they were more than venues; they were communities. My band, All About Eve, played there on 29 Apr 1986, 22 Sep 1986 and sometime between 17th & 24th October 1986. We played in plenty of other toilet venues in our formative years. These were places I also visited as a punter. They include The Pindar of Wakefield, (currently The Water Rats), where we played our debut gig, Sept 5th 1985, Hammersmith Clarendon (RIP), The Broadway basement bar and Clarendon Hotel Ballroom, Croydon Underground (RIP) and Finsbury Park Red Rose Labour Club. We even played a secret gig in The Marquee under the not particularly undercover name ‘Martha and the Harbours’. All About Eve was invited to play the Bull & Gate’s closing gig, which took place on May 3rd 2013. 27 years had passed since our debut appearance, and we were in a state of disrepair so had to decline. From 1982 to 1987, I lived a 10-minute walk away from the B&G, frequently attending gigs there. I’ll never entirely forgive myself for jumping up on stage with Balaam and the Angel, uninvited, to attempt to sing Paranoid with them, while only knowing the first line of the song. Cider and blackcurrant had a hand in it.