An inside page from Lemon Meringue Pantry.
500 print run, paid for out of my student grant, and sold at a loss on every copy – very Tony Wilson. And yet, at gigs, in record shops and through the post – people bought the thing. As my writing and layout improved with each subsequent fanzine, so sales decreased. Had I carried on past four issues, I would have created the perfect, readerless fanzine.
Not sure why I had it in for Pete Astor, pasting him up as a crotchety old character from Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. I loved the Loft, particularly the songs on the Creation compilations Alive in the Living Room and Wow! Wild summer; ‘Why does the rain’ and ‘Your door shines like gold’ being more mysterious beasts than the bull in a china shop charge of ‘Up the hill and down the slope’. Perhaps it was the transition from the elemental but intimate punk rock of the Loft to mature artiste and Weather Prophet that got my goat. Anyway, a few years later I spent a very pleasant evening with Pete, drinking Leffe at a bar on Place de la Contrescarpe in Paris till the early hours. He set me to reading The sportswriter by Richard Ford, which was no bad recommendation for an aspiring writer.
Following the tone set by the bright yellow cover, the inside pages of Lemon Meringue were alternately salmon and light green. What was I thinking?