Mike’s Pop Pilgrimages
No.5 – Wayne Hussey’s willy, London

I used to be a bit of a goth. No, that’s not true, I used to be a lot of a goth; a suede-booted, black-haired, cross-in-ear, bangle-wristed embarrassment to my parents.

My gig-going days began when the Sisters of Mercy split, a spawn of goth bands scurried from their ashes. Ghost Dance one night, The Mission the next, reborn Sisters at the weekend. There were various establishments where people like me could congregate away from those who wanted to punch us. The Pink Toothbrush in Rayleigh and Prince of Orange in Chelmsford were both places with Snakebite-varnished floors and Nephilim friendly DJ’s, where gothic sub-culture almost looked like a movement. However, these places were merely staging posts on the path to goth enlightenment.

The holy grail of goth pilgrimage was the Intrepid Fox in Soho. In the late eighties acceptance in the Fox (by barstaff, by crimped nutters) meant you had passed your goth finals. The Guinness came decorated with a five-pointed star and the pool reserving system was based more on bullying than leaving a coin on the table. I revisited about a year ago for the first time in a decade. The Fox looked lighter, cleaner and a bloke in a suit sat at the bar. A gang of bikers should have been beating him with a stool, but no. It had changed irrevocably, although the smell of ancient sick still haunted the place.

My finest goth moment came at the Fox. All About Eve were touring their hippygotharse nonsense about harbours and meadows at the Astoria. Post-gig, Wayne Hussey of the Mission sat in the pub with his hairy bandmates. In an interview in that week’s Goth Times he’d complained about the inadequate size of his manhood. In the scrum for his autograph I asked him if it was true. He sighed and scrawled small willy Wayne on my arm in black biro.

So this meeting between the goth singer and the goth fan ends in anticlimax with the former writing ‘willy’ on the latter’s arm. Using the law of diminishing returns (scientifically proven by Cult albums) I think this ends the pop pilgrimage.

I washed my arm a week later when my manager in the Bank of England Financial Markets division asked what the writing under my sleeve was all about.