I am fan of what may be termed as ‘metal’. The term ‘metal’ is a little bit embarrassing. It has a stigma, more of a smegma, attached to it, whilst Iron Maiden must take some responsibility for this state of affairs, the overall blame lies squarely at the feet of Saxon, an 80’s incarnation of so called ‘metal’ but really, you’ll find more metal in pack of cup-a-soup.
In Tuesday night’s ‘Get Your Act Together With Harvey Goldsmith’, the latter attempted to revive the career of the former. I’m a big fan of HG but I really wished he’d left this lot alone. Whilst the programme was entertaining enough I don’t need to be reminded of them. I would rather listen to Matt Bianco and Five-Star copulating in an echo chamber.
Saxon arrived on the metal scene at about the same time as I became a teenager, to my credit they were spurned quite early on by yours truly, but the stigma (smeg) of their hoarse screeching, heavy fairylight sound and ‘style’ (spandex, long mullets, all-round cuntiness) without doubt lasted right up until grunge hit the UK in the 90’s.
Saxon consist of a bunch of extras cast as tramps, charisma retarded sex offenders led by the dreadful Biff Byford, a sort of Lidl-lite Lemmy crossed with Ecce Thump. The man is an utter prick, stuck in an 80’s time warp with a wholly misguided and inappropriate ‘rock-star’ opinion of himself. Poor Harvey, firm but fair, simply wanted to bring them up to date, he ejaculated ideas like a little fat winkie which were met with derision, insults and misplaced attitude, all from Byford as the rest of the band were too thick to actually speak.
In the middle of all the mouth from Byford, Harvey managed to get Saxon a gig which resulted in a bunch of teenagers enthusiastically moshing out in a modest club in Lincoln, a minor achievement, yes, but it indicated that Harvey’s task wasn’t quite as impossible as I’d supposed. This brief moment of positivity was deliciously negated at half time during a football match in Sheffield when Saxon attempted to break the Guinness (Book of) Record for the most air guitarists in one place. They got booed off. Actually, they got chanted off - accompanied by lots of synchronised pointing.
Harvey got Saxon a gig at some big town-venue in Sheffield. It held 18,000 and work needed to be done to promote the band, as this was supposed to be Saxon’s homecoming tour and ticket sales were predictably slow.
After being called a ‘fucking wanker’ by Byford, Harvey convinced them to record a new single that moved away from their usual fayre of metal brotherhood and ‘oooh, I have sex with a lady’. Byford came up with a socially aware number, some tosh about ‘guns and knives’ on the street because, apparently, Byford had been a ‘bit of a criminal’ back in the day. I bet that shop keeper in Yorkshire had to re-mortgage his shop after Byford nicked a tube of Spangles in the fucking 40’s.
Following a style makeover which Byford really enjoyed but pretended he didn’t, the band’s completed single, new graphics, band photo etc., were presented in front of the rock press. Down to some nifty production the single didn’t go down too badly with the journos (though I’ve heard it and I thought it was cack). It did have the desired effect on the gig in Sheffield though, but it wasn’t quite as packed out as Harvey said it was. The cameras don’t lie and the audience were predominantly male and looked like aged Eastern European refugees.
Harvey also managed to get them to some Rock Awards thing at some posh hotel in London (I was flagging by this point) in which the band were encouraged to mingle with the rock glitterati. Byford and Harvey made the effort to work the room, the tramps scuttled off nowhere to be seen and it is at this stage that I need to mention the Saxon manager.
From the outset of the programme a large man who wasn’t appearing on stage or in band photos always seemed to be just there. He didn’t speak a word - just lurked. He was a bizarre looking thing, like a new super breed of Welsh lesbian with a serious drink problem. Harvey ordered him to mingle but he looked confused. Actually I have to admit I felt a bit sorry for him, he wandered into the middle of the room where he was greeted with a sea of turned backs and posed like a five year old trying to not do a wee wee.
The only time I heard him speak was the follow-up show on E4 when they were reviewing the half-time football incident. I can only presume he’d had a couple of bottles in the green room. Harvey was berating the band for, essentially, being pussies and not giving the crowd some ROCK when Pat Butcher suddenly lost it and stepped in. ‘VEN FOOTBALL CROWDS LOSING ZER IZ NUZZINK ZAT CAN BRING ZEN BACK, NUZZINK!’ He looked livid, his face was redder than a stoplight, I laughed heartily…
…My laughter was cut short. Harvey had done a better job than I could comprehend; the fucking cunts are appearing at the Download festival. They will be on the same bill as Slayer for fucks sake. So thanks Harvey, I will sit back and watch what kudos was clawed back by these masters of metal dribble down the drain as I face another round of social isolation and mockery.
I hate Harvey.