My three years as a student were a rich musical banquet. I revelled in the fact that you could go out to the Limit Club and see Martyn Fry of ABC or Phil Oakey of the Human League out having a good time, and sometimes they'd say 'hi' to you. Pulp's Jarvis Cocker was a well-known guy around town; often to be seen in the pub which had hundreds of tea pots around the ceiling. Does that still exist? After a night out, the 2.30am late bus to Totley (7 miles) was double the normal 12p fare, thanks to the Labour city council of the time; they played Abba music on the night bus to discourage people from fighting. The art school students made Sheffield challengingly creative and there were hundreds of confident, stylish and original young people to feast your eyes on whenever you went out. A particular favourite was one guy who used to wear tailored suits in different kids' curtain fabrics. I never spoke to him, but I loved his verve. A few new club nights started up - always on a Monday or Tuesday - never at the weekend, and they throbbed with electronic sounds and art-school poseurs. I loved it; I don't think I drank alcohol at this time, and the clubs didn't seem to be big on drugs or excessive booze; it was mainly about the carrying-off of daring style.
During this time, I did still write songs, though. I was in a bedroom band, initially called The Chaos Biscuits, but then changing to become The Pandas. It tended to include a biscuit-tin or drum machine rhythm section (hence the name), me on guitar and a twangy bass. Sometimes I sang, and sometimes Simon Knott sang. He is now a highly respected photographer and historian of East Anglian churches. Another member of the collective was Anthony Kershaw Wilson, who got progressively interested in horoscopes and the Tarot, and now, I believe does it professionally. One song by The Pandas is called 'Sunday', and it was later recorded by PO! for the album 'Not Marked on the Ordnance Map' under the name 'Better'. I didn't manage to get in touch with A.K.W. who wrote the lyrics, but I did credit him.
Mike McKrell, Ruth Miller, Antony K. Wilson. I am wearing a 'Girls At Our Best' T shirt.
Ant with Simon Knott
David James - part of the biscuit tin rhythm section
Simon, Mike, Antony: the boys in the band doing the kind of thing we did back then.