I said I would explain about the leek pie.
Leek pie has become synonymous with my memories of travelling around the country to gigs with my boyfriend’s anarcho punk band in the early ‘80s. Leek pie!
It really wasn’t very rock’n’roll, was it? Where were the tour rider requests with their bizarre demands to remove all the brown M&Ms (except of course we called them Treets back then) from the sweet bowl? I mean, what sweet bowl?
After travelling for hours to anonymous towns, taking wrong turns and arriving just in time to use the loo and for the band to soundcheck and prepare before the doors opened to the black-clad masses, there was rarely time to check out the local Chinese or chippy. So it became the norm to take your own food – crisps perhaps, you might think, or Mars Bars - the sort of thing you could stuff into a jacket pocket and get a quick sugar and salt fix from.
But with anarcho punk being all about doing it yourself, rejecting capitalist values and, in particular, strong views on vegetarianism, maybe there was resistance to this level of conformity from some quarters? So one of the girlfriends began - very sweetly, really - to bring her home cooking to gigs in a Tupperware dish.
I remember it well, arriving at Birmingham Digbeth Civic Hall, with its grandiose interior, all decorative ceilings and high windows, and as the band finished unloading their gear, a voice rang out:
“Would anyone like some leek pie?”
I mean, I do like leeks, and it would have been great at any other time, but they are notorious for repeating on you and, I don’t know, what with it being served cold and the insides being a bit gooey and the pastry being rather flaky, it just wasn’t obvious pre-gig food. And, this is going to sound really mean, but the whole hippie-commune-knit-your-own-yoghurt aspect of it just… well, forgive me, but... it can just seem a little too earnest. There’s a fine line between earnest and sanctimonious and the home-made leek pie was in danger of crossing it.
That gig went very well in all respects apart from some shitty little dickheads at the front who decided to gob at the band by way of showing their appreciation. Some of this landed on my boyfriend’s guitar and shirt. Ironically, I have to say it looked not unlike the contents of a leek pie. If only it had been - it would have saved all that worry about Hepatitis B.
There’s more irony to come. Many years later the band played a reunion gig at quite a large, well-known venue and, things being so different this time around, there was a proper dressing room (with comfy armchairs and a clean loo and everything!) and… guess what?.... a gig rider!
Some food and drink was laid out by the venue staff on a little table, plenty for everyone, band and entourage. Several cans of lager, Mars Bars and lots of packets of crisps. I had to laugh when I saw most of them were Smokey Bacon flavour.