Main image L-R Billy – Bob – Brinsley – Nick (NYC 1970)
The preposterous 1970 launch of the band Brinsley Schwarz – affectionately known to its participants as ‘The Hype’ – is the stuff of rock legend. To describe it in the briefest way possible, its movie logline might read: ‘Over ambitious pop managers launch incompetent beat group by sending a plane-load of drunken journalists to review their debut in New York… hilarity ensues.’
Of course, as we all know, Brinsley Schwarz returned from America with their tails between their legs. Shunned by the media and disillusioned by the outcome of their disastrous launch, they soon adopted a crucial anti-showbiz ethos that gave rise to the London Pub Rock Scene, from which… [cont on P248]
I wrote about it all in No Sleep Till Canvey Island – The Great Pub Rock Revolution (Virgin Books 2000, 2003) following many years of research, during which I interviewed most of those who took part and assembled the story in minute detail. I have recently been revisiting the text in preparation for a new book, so imagine my surprise when I turned on the radio today (BBC Radio London: The Roberts Elms Show) only to hear Russell Clark reciting the story, as it appears in No Sleep, more or less word for word! Although I missed the start of the broadcast, I am assured by Mr Elms that I did get a name check, for which I am grateful.
Anyway, a listener to the show called in and said he thought the story would make a great film. Well… some years ago I was approached by a film production company in Hollywood who wanted to option the story for a proposed dramatisation. Lawyers were engaged and draft contracts were faxed back and forth, but nothing came of it. I remember telling Nick Lowe about the possibility of his portrayal in a dramatic reconstruction of ‘The Hype’, to which he replied: “Yeah! With Johnny Depp as Dave Robinson!’