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I do believe I told Glenn Tillbrook about busking the tubes in London while I was doing it, and he laughed and thought it a brilliant thing. Then he asked, “Would you come along with us -- we’re meeting at a pub and going to do something. . . “ I wasn’t sure what he meant, but he did mention dressing up in hippie-ish garb and being silly, which I was definitely into.
Had I been better at keeping a journal those days, I might be able to say the name of the place we convened, but just play along for now, OK? I believe it was in the West End. . .
We all arrived at the appointed pub in the late afternoon, donning silly garb, like tee shirts with peace symbols, long skirts, and flowers in our hair. We had tambourines, maracas, guitars. There was Glenn Tillbrook, Chris Difford, me, John Bentley (I think), and a few other friends & Squeeze fans. I even think that Glenn’s first love, Jo (a very sweet, soft spoken woman with long blonde hair), might have been with us. We sat in a booth and drank a bit, then got up and marched around, indoors, outdoors, in single file, chanting, “The Mushroom Men and the Sixty-Sixth Trip! The Mushroom Men and the Sixty-Sixth Trip!” on and on. Very silly, and much fun, making music, making noise, nothing planned.
That sort of silliness reminded me of the times that Glenn would parade out in the streets of NYC in years previous, in a vintage dressing gown or long smoking jacket over his shirt and jeans, with a stylin’ fedora, derby or porkpie hat (I always confuse them all). Not sure why he’d do that, but what the hey? He IS a front man and fun is fun, right hon?
I’m still not sure why we were doing the “Mushroom Men” thing -- would have been a good name for a sixties parody band & all, but nobody had time to put such a thing together, what with being a top-of-the-charts band like Squeeze, or a struggling Yank on the town, like me. Whyever it happened, we made a good hour of it, being noisy-silly, making a performance art sort of thing out of a mantra we all intoned together, “The Mushroom Men and the 66th Trip.” If there was a camera crew or photographer who was shooting that day, please do step forward and help enlighten/refresh us on where, when, and why. But of this I’m sure: it happened in the late summer/fall of 1981. And I think it might have been mentioned in the NME or Melody Maker. . .
My take on it, in hindsight: The guys in Squeeze needed to blow off a lot of steam, because they were riding high at the time and Jake Riviera (Elvis Costello’s manager) was courting them, and Miles Copeland had always been their manager & agent and so. . . either it would be a new, unknown entity guiding their thriving but fragile music careers or, as Difford would say of Copeland, “The devil you know.”
The Mushroom Men were on their 66th trip, and this is my entry #66, in honor of that bizarre memory. . .