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January 27, 2013 / Aware of the Void

Rennie Peppermint and the Goose Fats

Hollywood Slim and The Fat Cats

I had the good fortune to catch up with some old friends from university recently. We passed the time in the usual manner, trying not to focus too much on how much older we all look, avoiding making direct eye contact with new found bald spots and patches of graying hair. It is not often that someone asks me direct questions about my past but I was very surprised when someone enquired if I was still in touch with Rennie or any of the other Goose fats.

If you ever need to make a really lasting impression on someone, ride towards them on a unicycle while juggling knives. This is how I met the legend that would become known as Rennie Peppermint.  The chap knew how to make an entrance. He worked out the exact colour tone of the granite used to construct most of the grey buildings in Aberdeen and made sure that his outfits always clashed with them. Walking down Union street you could, literally, spot him a mile away.

He barreled toward me on his one-wheeled death machine and shouted in a thick Glaswegian accent, inquiring if I was the lad with the Irish accent and bass guitar. I explained that I had an accent and a bass but I was not proficient with either. “Does nay matter” was the abrupt reply. And with that I found myself in a band.

The third member, our guitarist slash drummer , was a Scouser called Flash Ron. I don’t believe that there was anything prodigious about myself and Ron. We were chosen primarily for our ownership of musical instruments and exotic accents. Later I would discover that it was forever an annoyance to Rennie Peppermint that local and national newspapers never picked up on the column inches that could have arisen from some very hackneyed Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walk into a bar type set-ups.

The music we played was Nirvana mashed up with the Petshop Boys with a side of Bowie and was pretty out there even for some of the electronica that was doing the rounds at the time. But the music was not what “Rennie Peppermint and the Goose Fats” was about. It was more of a stage act. It tended to be Rennie doing his own crazy brand of  circus tricks on stage with the climax being the After-Burner. This involved Rennie drinking mouthfuls of kerosene, spitting it into the air above the audience and setting fire to it before it hit the crowd. The resulting fire ball was spectacular. As was the resulting indigestion for poor Rennie. His excessive consumption of a well know brand of indigestion tablets is in fact where he got his stage name.

At its peak the band had a single in the UK charts “If you don’t like it, get the F*ck off my boat”.  Not at a high number but it was in there. We were signed to EMI records but never produced an album due to artistic differences.  The differences being that we were unable to play together, did not have anything to contribute or even the drive to be famous that spurs on similarly untalented clowns. We claimed at the time that we left the label over the disgust at the money-worshipping commerciality of the music industry.

Sadly, Flash Ron was killed in a car accident a few years ago. The obituary in his local newspaper mentioned his brief brush with fame but unfortunately misrepresented us as “Pepto Abysmal and the Goose Steps”. I am still trying to have this rectified and my complaints to the PCC have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Rennie Peppermint finished his degree and was one of the architects responsible for selecting the door furniture for the CERN project. As a fat middle aged architect he no longer craves fame and or infamy. Which makes it all the more ironic that it was one of his door handles that fell into the large hadron collider causing 2.8 million euros of damage and throwing modern science back a decade. Although knowing him, insofar as anyone could know him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had been recruited by a future version of himself sent back in time to sabotage the project for the sake of all humanity.

As for me, I got my shit together and started a blog……..

CNV00080

Somewhere over Scotland

The Riptide Movement

CNV00075

Brian O'Connell Juggler

Violin

Rennie Peppermint and the goose fats

13 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Moni / Jan 27 2013 7:37 pm

    Wow. That was an amazing story. My mind is kinda blown right now.

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 27 2013 10:23 pm

      Mind blown in a good way or mind blown in an unexpected pair of trousers in the library washroom sort of a way?

      • Moni / Jan 28 2013 12:28 am

        haha! In a good way. Great story!!

  2. drawandshoot / Jan 27 2013 8:38 pm

    That really is an amazing story. Your writing is always so great! As are your photographs – love the flying tie! : )

    • Aware of the Void / Jan 27 2013 10:21 pm

      Thanks Karen, your words of encouragement are always appreciated. The short of the chap in the tie was one of my first ever film photos……well since I started photography as a hobby at least.

  3. marinachetner / Jan 28 2013 5:45 am

    You got your shit together and started a blog huh? A little more exciting than your days as a musician I guess.. 😉 Who knew…? Great post and collection of photos.

  4. GLSmyth / Feb 14 2013 4:27 pm

    Nice images, the tie guy, of course, is my favorite. The bass player with the gloves has me thinking.

    • Aware of the Void / Feb 14 2013 4:43 pm

      Thanks GL, Glad you like it. That bass player is now famous – They were buskers what I took my shot but they now tour the worls as “the Riptide Movement” really worth a listen. http://youtu.be/yCaq32hqYgo

      • GLSmyth / Feb 14 2013 6:01 pm

        I have a friend who shoots as many concerts in the Baltimore/DC area as possible because those images become valuable if the band becomes known. Actually, so far he’s doing fairly well.

  5. kathryningrid / Feb 24 2013 1:10 am

    I enjoyed this post immensely for its own sake *and* because our nephew’s punk band Honningbarna (Honeykids) just finished a recording session for EMI in Stockholm and is gigging there before heading back home to Norway–or is it off to another UK tour, or elsewhere?? I’ve lost track. I’ll bet you remember similar adventures of your own with, perhaps, a bit of bemused nostalgia and whimsy! Great post, delightful shots!

  6. kathryningrid / Feb 24 2013 1:11 am

    PS–‘Unexpected Trousers’ sounds like an excellent band name. 😉

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