I was, and remain, a massive fan of Gary Numan. Even through the dark days of “Numa Records” where things got . . . uh . . . suspect, I remained a fan and have been absolutely thrilled with his resurgence. Splinter, his last album, is a career best. And I said that about his last album, Dead Son Rising.
Back when he was still recording under the name Tubeway Army, decent record shops were a bit thin on the ground. At least, they were in Grimsby, where I was living. I’d recorded the first few singles off John Peel, but it wasn’t until “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” came out that that I found myself able to actually buy vinyl. Shortly before its release, I’d managed to get a Saturday job at the supermarket in Keelby (Tate’s, fact fans!)
For the first time ever, I had money to spend and pretty much all of it went on records.
There were always ads in the back of NME from record shops advertising all the singles that the local record shops wouldn’t stock, so a lot of my vinyl buying was done via mail order. I spotted one that stocked the first three Tubeway Army singles and thought “Yes! I’m having those!”
So I went and bought a postal order – I didn’t have a bank account at the time – and sent it off.
Mum, dismissive of my taste in music as always, asked “What rubbish have you ordered now?”
I replied “Tubeway Army. “That’s Too Bad”, “Bombers” and “Down In The Park”.
Unfortunately, she misheard and thought I’d bought one single called, wait for this, “Two Bad Bummers* After Dark”. She went absolutely ballistic and went on a massive rant about ‘not having that filth in the house’ and ‘why would want to hang round with queers’ (she learned out why a few years later) and got herself in a right tizzy claiming she’d smash every parcel I received until she got the right one . . .
When I managed to calm her down and told her she’d misheard and then proved it by showing her the advert, there was no contrition, no apology no signs of embarrassment she just carried on as if nothing had happened, bless her.
Mums are funny things.
I love mine to bits.
*just for non-UK readers, ‘bummer’ was, at the time, popular slang for ‘gay’.