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  LOOPY'S WORLD: PART SEVENTEEN - JERSEY: THAT LITTLE ISLAND IN THE CHANNEL

Steve 'Loopy' Newhouse

steve newhouse



loopyworld

There is nothing like an adventure to somewhere new and exotic, but this was Jersey, in the English Channel, so until we get to Nassau, Bahamas, let's spend a little time in the Channel Isles.

Closer to France than England, it's incredible how we kept this beautiful little island to ourselves. We fought and beat the French for it, the Nazis invaded it but we got it back and the scars are still there as a reminder of what Jersey has been through.

If any of you watch Time Team on Channel 4 and caught the episode about the Nazi occupation of Jersey then you will understand what I mean. Such an incredible history for such a small Island.

And then they got invaded again, only this time by Iron Maiden. In a nice way I might add.

Article continues below...





It's always nice to get to somewhere new, unpack your bags and go and explore, at least that's what I thought.

"Mr Newhouse," said the receptionist, a young blonde lady by the name of Jo Millar, (more about her later). "You're in room 15. Up the stairs, along the corridor, on the right."

Sounds easy enough, so off I go. Up the stairs, along the corridor, and here it is, Room 15. Put the key in, open the door wide, to find a huge room. Massive even, with one small problem. No bed. Humph!!

Back along the corridor, down the stairs to reception, only to find a few of the guys haven't finished checking in yet, and not wanting to appear pushy, I waited my turn.

When the last person had been given their room, Jo noticed I'd been standing there a while and said: "Everything alright?"

"Yep, absolutely perfect," I lied. "It'll be even better when I get a bed in my room."

Jo blushed bright red, and hammered on the office door behind her. Having spoken a few inaudible words through the door, she turned to me and apologised to me profusely. She then told me to go and have a drink on the house, and in the meantime my room would be sorted out properly.

Not one to turn down a free drink, I made my way to the bar only to find several of the crew already there helping themselves to liquid refreshment.

"Loopy, what you having?" asked Billy Barclay, Dave's roadie. "I'll have a lager Bill. How much?"

"It's free," said Bill.

"Really?" said I.

"Of course it is," replies Bill. "This is our home for the next six weeks. There's only us here. The band pay for everything."

By this time, several questions are going through my head at the same time. Jo said free drink, Bill said it's all free, where's my bed?

After about ten minutes, Jo came to the bar and told me my room was ready and told me to help myself to anything and if I couldn't find what I wanted, then come and see her in reception and she would sort it out.

This, ladies and gentleman was my introduction to my new home for the next six weeks, Le Chateau, Corbiere, Jersey. And I loved it.

The other thing that would have been nice at this point would have been an itinerary of what was about to happen over the next few months, let alone the next few weeks.

The reason I bring this up now is simple. It's the end of January and it's bloody cold, but in less than two months we will be heading off to Nassau in the Bahamas where it's bloody hot. All I have is winter clothes and you can probably see where this is going, so I'll leave it until it's appropriate.

During our stay at La Chateau, some of the band hired VHS players for their rooms. So I did too. There was a huge library of videos in the TV lounge downstairs, and having so much spare time I must have watched every one of them at least twice.

Sundays were always a day to look forward to. There was a pub near the airport which only opened for two hours, 4pm till 6, but this place was full the whole two hours and the one thing that stood out was the volume of the juke box. It was so loud I'm surprised that we ever got served. We used to come out of there with our ears ringing.

Then we would go back to the hotel and carry on drinking. Some of us would head off to the TV room to watch a new satire show called Spitting Image, which if you've never seen it I suggest you get it on YouTube now. For half an hour every Sunday night the TV room was packed as most of us rolled around laughing.

The band would probably rehearse every other day, so you can imagine the boredom. I used to have driving lessons in the morning, along with Bruce and Adrian. We used to get picked up from the hotel and told where to drive by an old boy called Bill Cleary. A native to the island, Bill obviously knew every back street there was and I used to thoroughly enjoy my lessons, but unfortunately when it came to the day of my test, which was the week before we left, Bruce and Adrian fared a lot better than I did.

They both passed and I drove so badly that Bill suggested that I shouldn't take my test and keep trying. I had to agree with him as on the day I was terrible. Nerves got the better of me I guess.

I know that Harry wasn't happy about it. His vision was seeing me driving the band around and looking back I can see it was a missed opportunity but some things are not meant to be. Plus, the band had paid for half my lessons so you can understand Harry being a bit pissed off.

As it happens, I never drove again. But I enjoyed the experience. Jersey is a lovely place, even if it is whizzing past at 30mph. That's the speed limit on Jersey by the way. No motorways, freeways and very few dual carriageways. You can drive around the whole island in less than an hour, so why would you need a road to get you there quicker?

One thing that does become apparent quite quickly in Jersey is how expensive things are. I bought a pair of speakers for my walkman in a duty free shop and paid £30 for them. I saw the same speakers at Heathrow, on the way to Nassau, for only £10.

Even a decent pint of lager was £2.40, where in the Green Man (my local) it was only £1.90. It was OK for the band members and established crew, who had their own wage deals set up, but I was only earning £100 a week and even then it didn't go far.

So, going back to the lack of itinerary, here I was with all my winter clothes and in a few days we were flying to Nassau. I needed to get home and seriously change my wardrobe.

Tony Wiggens, the band's tour manager, agreed to let me fly back and get my clothes sorted out, so I left Jersey and flew home for a night stop over.

Mum had sorted all my summer stuff out, so all I had to do was dump my old stuff, pick up my new and head back to Heathrow.

That didn't stop me going down the Green Man and having a few beers with my old mate Di'Anno and after a curry and a few more beers, I finally got home at 2.00am. My flight back to Jersey wasn't until 2pm so I had time to get some shut eye and made my way to Heathrow.

I was in the departure lounge when I spied a familiar face. It was Ross Halfin. It turned out he was coming to Nassau with us but was on his way to Jersey to hook up with the band first. Anyway, the beers were flowing nicely, and we were getting more and more drunk.

Eventually our flight was called and we boarded, got our seats and carried on drinking. It wasn't until we landed in Jersey we both realised we needed the toilet badly, so we both rushed through customs and passport and found the nearest toilet. Within seconds, airport security burst into the toilet, thinking we were drug dealers trying to hide our stash.

Once John Harte, Maiden's security guy, had sorted things out, we were allowed to leave the airport but me and Ross were so pissed we just laughed all the way back to the hotel.

The other thing I remember about my time on Jersey was doing a crazy stunt with Bruce. Apart from being the name of a Grand National winner, Corbiere is also famous for its lighthouse. And one morning at low tide, Bruce decided it would be extremely macho, and a little dangerous, to climb the rocks as close to the water's edge as we could, all the way round the Lighthouse.

As I have already said, it was now February but it was still bloody cold. So, with cameras in hand, we took off on our little venture, just me and Bruce. The walk down to the lighthouse only took a few minutes, but the climb down the rocks on one side and then all the way round the base of the lighthouse, and back up the other side took almost an hour.

With my back to the Atlantic Ocean, I stopped to take a photo and wish I hadn't. A huge wave came in, smashed against the rocks and soaked the pair of us. Needless to say, we made it back to the hotel only for the pair of us to be bollocked by Rod for doing such a senseless thing. It was Bruce's idea, and he told Rod as much, but as usual, Rod blamed me.

Yet again Steve intervened and told Rod to lay off. I can still hear the mumbling buffoon now.

"What if Bruce had fallen in, blah, blah, blah?"

Harry's reply was swift: "He'd be a lot wetter."

When I got back to Jersey from home, I found out that Jo Millar had been relieved of her duty as receptionist. The other word is fired. I went to my room absolutely gutted. She hadn't done any harm. She was bored, and used to join us for a drink or two. But the hotel manager decided she was getting too close to some of us and didn't like it, so they sent her back to Britain.

When I got back to my room, Jo had left her home number on a small piece of paper on my bed. I rang the number to check it was real and spoke to her for half an hour. She had been treated badly by the hotel manager, but I also think a complaint had come from one of the guys, probably Rod, but I can't prove that.

During the course of the conversation, I managed to get her home address and said that when I got back from Nassau I would look her up.

And I did just that, but it will have to wait for another day.


Click here for the Loopyworld index, including Steve's tribute to Clive Burr...




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