New Mood on Monday

The keener eyed of you will have spotted a recent exchange in the Comments between a chap called Johnny and I.

Johnny is one of the loveliest blokes I’ve ever met. We worked together for a time, during my vacations from college and then for a year after I graduated and had nowhere else to go, in the kitchen of a Happy Eater restaurant on the A1, which connected London to Glasgow and passed by fairly close to the villages where we both lived. And yes, that fingers-down-the-throat logo up there really was the one officially selected to best symbolise the chain of eateries.

It was a shitty job, but Johnny and I had a lot of fun doing it, trying to make each other crack up as we cracked eggs, fried sausages and definitely never picked anything up off the floor and served it anyway. Nosireebob, not us.

Here’s how good mates we were:

  1. We went to see Sonic Youth together (support: Pavement and Huggy Bear, extra cool points there) at Brixton Academy, circa 1993
  2. We wrote an “alternative” company magazine together. There was an official version (The Happy Eater Hotline) which we thought was utterly dull and rubbish, as corporate circulars generally are, so produced The Happy Eater Hitline, where we slagged off and made stories up about our work colleagues. We left it, anonymously, in the staff room, and when the shit hit the fan (as it inevitably did, when someone complained about how they had been portrayed), it ended up with us being asked to write something similar to go out to the whole company. We declined: that was too corporate and very much not cool.
  3. Johnny was a keen photographer, and got me my first (and only) ever album review published in a fanzine he took snaps for;
  4. We made compilation tapes for each other.

Has friendship ever had such a symbolic gesture as a mixtape?

I still have the mixtape Johnny did for me (somewhere); the front cover is a photo Johnny took of Dave, our deputy manager at the Happy Eater (now deceased, as you may have picked up from the Comments exchange) who we loved as he would let us sit in the manager’s office (adjacent to the kitchen) and chat and smoke whilst we were supposed to be working. When I find the tape, there’s a series just waiting to be written.

As I recall, the tape was full of tunes by Johnny’s loves: Senseless Things, Jacob’s Mouse (see also: Comments), Pearl Jam/Soundgarden ‘supergroup’ Temple of the Dog, and this, which I had never heard before but, if you were unhappy about last Monday’s selection, then this should snap you right out of any ongoing malaise:

Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod

You’re awake now, aren’t you?

Happy Monday. More soon.

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10 thoughts on “New Mood on Monday”

  1. Jesus Built My Hotrod. Brings back memories of a holiday in France, sitting in the backseat of a Cavalier, legs sticking up through the sunroof as the car barrelled along at 100mph with this blasting out.

  2. Every Xmas Eve after I closed up the shop for the day, I used to invite a few customers and friends in for festive drinks and nibbles. Every year I promised myself that it would be more orderly than the last and every year it ended up in carnage. I invariably wound up going in to clear up the empty bottles food trampled into the carpet on Xmas Day. From 1992 the tradition was established that the last record played before I chucked everyone out was Jesus Built My Hotrod, which probably didn’t help the whole carnage thing I was talking about. In retrospect I probably should have seen them off the premises with something slightly more festive.

  3. I had, then ripped, then sold the CD single of Jesus Built My Hotrod, with the brilliantly titled “Short, Pusillanimous*, So-They-Can-Fit-More-Commercials-On-The-Radio Edit” of the title track.

    My girlfriend at the time thought Al Jourgensen was super hot. At risk of sounding hypocritical, time has not been kind to him.

    Thanks for the wake up, Jez!

  4. Had to pull the hanky out of my pocket for that one, Jez. You’re a sweetheart you are. I’ll send you one of those new-fangley playlists shall I? Only this time it won’t have a picture of bad boy Dave with it. Mind you, my taste hasn’t shifted much… probably be full of the things and the megas, knowing me. Toodle pip.

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