So, as last described, I deigned to accompany Calvin Hayes, a young drummer, up to the paternal home, in scenic Totteridge. The goal: meeting Mickie Most.
I’m not sure any ulterior motive other than meeting the famous producer happened, because in my head I knew the kind of music he produced (though I did love many of the songs from the sixties -- and later on, even -- including the Yardbirds, Suzi Quatro, Kim Wilde, and Alan Merrill’s Arrows (“I Love Rock & Roll”). It seemed to me that the of British music scene of late included some very, er, disposable stuff. I wasn’t sure how you could characterize the music I was making, but it was more like “Mother Maybelle Meets Chrissie Hynde,” and I was a huge fan of Roseanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache.”
And, as you already know, Squeeze was my favorite band in 1981. And yes, I did love really tight 3-minute popsong gems and wasn’t beyond believing that they worked.
The day of the fateful Most meeting (born Michael Peter Hayes, he changed his name in 1959), I was wearing my black-tinted hair in a long shag style, a black pullover that had a dipping round neckline with a 4-inch ruffle, a modest-length 3-tiered skirt, navy with tiny white polkadots, and red cowboy boots with 2-inch heels. All that was topped with a blue-black-red-green tartan shawl. That outfit may sound strange, but somehow it all conveyed, for me, the cute country punk rocker of my dreams. I tried dressing the part, which was always fun (still is!).
The Most/Hayes homestead in Totteridge was impressive but not “over the top.” An appealing sense of moderation governed the successful producer’s family digs, so they didn’t live in any sort of McMansion yet (a concept and word that didn’t yet exist in 1981), but a comfortable, attractive, large house. Very upper middle class and not showy -- kind of perfect. (This must have been before he built a “palatial home” in Totteridge, which sold for 20 million pounds in 2005 or so.)
(again, here's pics of me at the time -- I really was quite stylin' in my quirky fun country-punk rocker way)
So, we’d arrived at the house, made some tea in the kitchen, then Calvin and I settled in to a home office type room, adjacent to the living room (or great room), readying for the meeting. What had Calvin said about me? Had he played the songs for him already? Was he receptive? Would it matter? . . .