Eyewitness: Tony P

Like I guess most people the Virgin Prunes happened to me almost by accident.
Being young blossoming post punk/Goth wannabes in the early 80’s my friends & I had a ear for anything out of the ordinary & hearing about a band on at the Hacienda in Manchester called Virgin Prunes was too good to miss.
Dave-id took to stage, Dik, Strongman & Mary hidden in the gloom at the back of the stage gloriously bringing the stories to life. Next is a simple but effective image that will stick with me forever, two (wo)men enter, their faces lit by candlelight…”What the F**K?”
I’m 16 years old & it’s like I’ve just woken up, the hypnotic throb of the drums/bass, the vicious stabs of ethereal guitar, the two caterwauling (s)he-devils prowling the stage, my friends & I are transfixed until the last violent chord. The bus journey home was a cacophony of planned journeys to buy anything & everything by the Prunes & what about when they….! Amazing!
The next time I saw the band was in ’86 at the Festival of the Tenth Summer at Manchester G-Mex. The band was billed early (just before local punk/poet John Cooper Clarke) & they suffer badly in the greylight to an audience hungry for the Smiths & New Order. Gavin seems awkward without Guggi & all the on stage antics (eating flowers, etc.) seem a little premeditated.
On the plus side the band played well, with some beautiful guitar work from Mary & Gavin’s voice although sometimes lost in the vacuous surroundings was superb. Lastly, London Hammersmith Palais where the band once again played fantastically but with no real edge to a typical London audience jumping on what they think is the latest bandwagon, but as usual jumping just as the train is pulling into the station.
A great band, who had some truly wonderful songs, but I fear will be remembered for being childhood friends of U2 instead of an acerbic, thrilling, ORIGINAL ensemble shoving shit & beans into the face of an otherwise stagnant musical decade.
We are all Virgin Prunes & we should all be proud…I am!!!