Friday, 23 March 2012

Part 5 - It All Goes to Compost

  Recording for their first album went great, the boys spent each morning working in the tulip fields then after a hearty lunch took to the studio and recorded one awesome gardening themed track after another till 9p.m. when a cheese supper was served before bed. At the end of their stay at the farm the guys had a great debut album and a full understanding of modern tulip propagation, not to mention a fully recharged batteries that were ready to rock. 'Enough Grapefruits for the Whole Class?' debuted at Number 8 but after 2 weeks rose right to the Top of the Pops, the first wave of success is a crazy time for any musician and being Spring also for any young gardener as the boys were swamped with fan mail asking for autographs and seeds from a pumpkin grown by Brian himself were reportedly being sold on the black-market for 20 pounds each! On the back of this massive U.K. success 'Three Peas in a Pod' and the Captain set off to conquer America.

  Night after night, gig after gig the band covered the whole continental United States bravely keeping up the appearance of being a great young band on the rise but underneath a darker truth was starting to surface Ali had been sniffing fertiliser for years socially but with the enormous success of the group his ''hobby'' had now become a full blown addiction, Pots was also having his own problems after a trip to do a couple of shows in Hawaii he had met the girl of his dreams on a orchard plantation for a photo shoot and now he was backing touring all the time he had trouble focusing on the music and longed to get back to the islands again but Brian himself faced the most heinous challenge of all…fishing! During the Hawaii trip a local millionaire took the boys out on his yacht compelled to be a good guest Brian agreed to wet a line at his hosts request and found he really loved it. Brian now thought of only one thing, fish and fishing, sort of two things really. A blessing in disguise came when Ali burst through the door of the hotel the band was staying at in Acron, Ohio, ''He gone the bastard!'' he exclaimed, ''Who has?'' said Pots and Brian in unison, ''The Captain, he's been collecting our fees in cash and hiding it as padding in his scarecrow outfit, now he's skipped to Mexico to start some hydroponic business with all our money!''

  The boys said nothing, there was nothing to say, they knew the circumstances had colluded to end their musical dream. The boys finished their last six dates in America which gave them just enough money to get back to the U.K. except for Pots he headed straight for Hawaii and marriage where he still lives as one of the finest orchid geneticists in his field. Ali's fertiliser sniffing got a lot worse before he eventually checked himself into rehab in the late 90s, he now runs a small cottage garden nursery outside of Norwich. For Brian fishing was now his only passion, all his songwriting royalties were spent on the finest gear, rods and lures and he began travelling the globe looking to catch as many species of gamefish as he could. So did fishing destroy the dream lifestyle of rock and soil for Brian?  Gardening by day and music by night, I don't think so, he reached the peak of his profession the only way to go was down, but he went sideways into another profession to avoid ever being seen as a failure or sell out well played young man, and we still have his music forever even if his vegetables are long eaten.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Part 4 - The Fruits of Success

  The next four months was like a haze for the young men and not the good type of haze you get from burning off your rose prunings on a crisp Winter's afternoon. From Wetherby to Yeadon and Pudsey to Hebden Bridge in an old landscapers van rented to the band by their own manager and chaffeur. The boys played clubs, pubs, halls and garden centres to enthusiastic crowds and some of the smaller nurseries were even sold out! Under Captain Craw's watchful eye the boys honed their act and onstage banter which mainly consisted of fruit and veg themed jokes mainly written by Pots to while away the time in the tour van. Brian didn't really know what was happening except that when the boys featured in the entertainment column for 'Gardener's World UK' he felt they were about to break into the big time. Still it wasn't all plain sailing with the lads cooped up in the van for long hours and not much time off tempers sometimes frayed, ''Imperial Green Longpod is the most superior broad bean variety Ali and you know it!'' Pots screamed into Ali face during the drive to Thrum Hall for one of the largest church fetes in the area, ''I'm a Witkiem Manita man when it comes to broad beans, sorry Pots my good man, Ali often teased the other members of the group by insisting on going into bat for inferior bean varieties and Pots took the bait almost every time, ''Say Imperial Green Longpod is the best or I'll belt you'' Pots stood up in the van ready to pounce on a giggling Ali, ''Hey, quiet you morons!'' the two boys were startled to hear the voice was coming from their leader brian who almost never raised his voice even when white butterfly grubs took out his entire cabbage crop last year, ''I've had it with you two, either shape up or ship out'' Brian yelled, Ali and Pots were totally stunned, Brain was the main songwriter and they knew he was their only ticket to stardom, so they all went back to their seats and spent the rest of the trip in silence.  

  Captain Craw knew this was the turning point he'd been waiting for and as he pulled up to the church gates he stopped the engine and said ''Boys, you've all been working very hard and I think you've earned a rest…'' he said quietly, ''Rest? What are you mad? Everything's just starting to go our way, is this what you call management?'' Brian said to the captain incredulously but the captain continued '…look I've booked you three a months holiday in a tulip farm in Holland, you'll get away from the grind learn more about bulb propagation and recharge your batteries…'' Pots andy Ali smiled widely as this was like a dream come true for them, 30 days of nothing but tulip sorting and genetic plant study, ''I won't go! I'll play without you, I'm going to be a star and none is going to stop me!'' Brian huffed at none in particular ''Oh I forgot the other reason for going over there they also have a state of the art recording studio, how would you like to record your first hit album boys?'' Brian hopped out of the van and started doing an improvised jig around the van as Ali, Craw and Pots looked on laughing, ''I think that's a yes'' the Captain confirmed.    

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Part 3 - Gettin' Some Green

  Everybody sniggered as the three young men in bib and brace overalls sheepishly made their way through the 100 or so people gathered in the ballroom of the 'Chlorophyll Club' to the stage where 'Three Peas in a Pod', the name the lads had decided upon the night before were about to make their very first performance. Gerry Garson from the top local Goth/gardening band 'The Bean-Stalkers' that had just finished playing whispered quite loudly ''Who ordered the load of chicken manure'' as Brain, Pots and Ali got settled onstage, '' Stop the turnip truck, it's three short!'' was another snide comment made by Billy, lead singer for post punk outfit 'Poison Ivory'. Brian pressed 'start' on the drum machine and history was born as the band launched into 'You can prune me back' followed by 'Make like a tree'  and finishing the set with ' Shirt potatoes baby!' in fact the band played most of their first hit album in that set with a crashing silence between each song as none of the young gardeners in the radiance could believe what they were witnessing, the birth of a legend.

  When Brian announced ''We are 'Three Peas in a Pod' and thanks for listening'' a large roar went up from the crowd, they and nobody could deny that was a breakout performance and their first! As the boys were busy chatting away with admirers and even accepting a few gifts of sun dried organic fruits a face loomed over the top of the crowd and bellowed ''So you want to make it in showbiz hey?''  all three boys looked up at the 6'9'' strangely attired man staring motionless at them, ''Sure, I guess'' said Ali, ''Who are you?'' Brian half whispered incredulously ''Me? Why I'm only your new manager and the man that's going to make you richer than you've ever imagined'' the giant figure slowly replied looking into each one of the boys eyes intently as he spoke, ''Yeah, but WHO are you?'' said Pots now tired of this weird display ''The name's Captain Craw, the best human scarecrow and talent manager in East London, how does 5000 pounds as a signing fee make you feel?'' the Captain took a cheque book from his inside coat pocket and waved in the guys faces, ''Jeepers'' said Brian.