Rennie Peppermint and the Goose Fats
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……..