Some things I get involved with make no sense to me at all. The Project to Uncover Ancient Hill Figures is one of them. Flinton Chalk is a dangerous optimist and I find it hard to say no. Would you take instruction from a used car salesman? This is the man who got chased across Fyfield Down near Avebury by a spectral Black Dog and used to spend his spare time dressing up as a Transvestite Pirate Nun, driving around in an old police car which was used in one of the Superman films. You may also know him from recent outings as a member of the band Badger Kull.
Let me recap for those who joined this insanity recently. I had my work as Tour Manager, and the person to blame, with Samantha Fish on her European Tour smashed to pieces on March 12th.
I got a call from Management at 3am and was instructed to drive Samantha and her group to the airport in the morning following an announcement from Trump on TV. Samantha Fish had been selling out her shows, the tour was going well, she was working like a dog, we were all having fun and it seemed to be paying off. It looked like I knew what I was doing.
As we all waved goodbye at Amsterdam Airport, I wondered if I would ever see them again. The group was flying home to a huge financial hit. The backline hire company, the cheap-deal-pay-upfront-non-refundable hotel rooms, the van hire company and all the others involved were not going to offer any refunds so nothing but financial catastrophe awaited. Imagine having three more weeks on the road to complete, all your income pulled, but still having to pay for everything? In the music Industry the stakes are always high, and things rarely go in your favour. When things tip over, in my experience they tip over badly, without mercy.
I returned to the UK in shame as the Netherlands closed all music venues, Denmark closed the border with Germany, and Norway sent troops to the border with Sweden. I was one of only five vehicles on the last Eurotunnel Shuttle of the day. I had a van piled high with rented backline and boxes of unsold stock with the prospect of no work for at least the next year. As the train thundered through the darkness I felt like I was being sent home to detention for crimes committed. As I stared into the abyss, contemplating the collapse of the music industry and complete financial ruin, there was little to feel good about.
And so it began. The Apocalypse. If you needed proof of how serious all this was, Gimpo, the last man alive who will not be beaten by anything, called to reschedule the M25 25 Hour Spin. And when Gimpo is forced to reschedule his M25 Spin, you know something is going on, or something bad has happened.
But then only a few weeks later, I was sat in the sunshine of no work, no income, no government support and no idea what to do next. While the rest of the world cowered in fear with the threat of a deadly virus and death on a ventilator, I was putting the phone down thinking to myself “Nevermind the financial ruin, nevermind the apocalypse, I’m probably going to need a good spade”
You remember how this started with “What’s the best thing you can do with £100?”
Flinton needed £300 for an invertebrate specialist/ecologist to carry out an initial assessment of the likely ecological impact of re-revealing the chalk on Wandlebury Hill and potential trampling in the vicinity.
This would enable trustees at Cambridge Past, Present & Future – Wandlebury Country Park to at least decide if they would be happy for Flinton’s proposal to “Uncover the Ancient Hill Figures” to move to the next stage.
To cut a long story short, I gave Flinton £100 with the strict condition that he could only have the money if John Higgs also gave him £100. Flinton sent off £300 and John Higgs returned to work on the life and work of William Blake.
I sat around looking at all of the cardboard boxes of unsold Iron Man Records stuff and all the Samantha Fish Merch and unsold records wondering how to make myself useful. That’s why the recent run of TC Lethbridge Books happened. If Flinton was going to get his £300 we needed more than just John and I asking “What the fuck’s going on?”
John agreed to publish another run of 111 books as long as Flinton and I promised to make something happen, and not keep interrupting him with nonsense while he finished up his work on Willam Blake. Flinton would need a budget, so the book would serve to initiate the process. A series of limited edition posters and brand new Vinyl would follow. Everything seemed straight forward but would anyone care, and when would this ecological impact study happen? It was the Apocalypse too.
So here’s some good news at last.
All the John Higgs – TC Lethbridge books have sold in super quick time. Thank you.
I have been able to send John Higgs his costs for the book, and his time and effort. I’ve also been able to send Flinton a donation to the cause to get things moving on the poster and new music. And look, Flinton has commenced work on the Poster already…..I can’t wait.
In the meantime the Iron Man Records website nearly fell over when it got inundated with visitors reading about TC Lethbridge, 111Hz, and The Project to Uncover the Ancient hill figures on Wandlebury Hill.
The other day, whilst carrying out some research of my own, an email arrived on my phone. It was from Flinton. It read as follows:
James Littlewood – Chief Executive – Cambridge Past, Present & Future wrote:
Flinton, hi. I hope you are well.
I have some good news. The ecological survey has been completed (attached) and I have discussed the outcomes with Ros. Based on this we would have no objection in principle to taking this project forward to the next stage, providing that any project would fulfil the recommendations in the ecological report (or any such similar recommendations that might evolve during the further development of this project).
Let me know what you think the next steps might be.
James Littlewood – Chief Executive
Cambridge Past, Present & Future – Wandlebury Country Park, Gog Magog Hills, Cambridge CB22 3AE
Flinton wrote back saying:
All good here thank you and hope you, your family and colleagues are safe and well also.
Thank you very much indeed for your email, received at our end with much delight and further gratitude to you and Ros for your positivity.
I shall discuss this development with my colleagues and get back to you with some suggestions on how we could proceed.
So there it is. Thank you for wondering “What the fuck’s going on?” We have premission to proceed……it’s on. Ecological Survey for Wandlebury Hill Figures PDF attached below, just click the link. The Project to Uncover Ancient Hill Figures is go!
In other news I have managed to get my hands on a few last copies of the original pressing of TC Lethbridge – Moon Equipped on Vinyl.
Flinton has signed and numbered them and they are going up for sale on Discogs to raise additional funds. I can’t offer these for free to Patrons as we need to raise funds for the Project, but if you know anyone who would like to get a copy, or fancy making an offer, they are going up for £200 here. I have also put the Moon Equipped Vinyl up on Bandcamp and in the Iron Man Shop.
Fundraising aside, I have decided to offer all Iron Man Records Patrons a treat.
In recognition of the positive reply from Cambridge Past, Present & Future, I would like to offer every Iron Man Records Patron a free TC Lethbridge T-shirt. If you are a Patron, leave a comment below the Patreon post here with your requested T-shirt size. If you want to become a Patron just sign up here, its easy. A TC Lethbridge T-Shirt will be in the post to you sometime next week as an instant reward for your help with all this. I only printed 111 T-shirts, and there’s about 50 left….. so get in quick, first come first served. You are making things happen. Thank you.