The Wishing Chair

Nick Scott – vocals / guitar
Dunoe – vocals
Liz – bass
Simon Blackshaw – Drums

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I knew of the Wishing Chair when I was around in Carlisle, but it was towards the end of my time there, and I can not say I had seen them live, but of course you knew they were giging a lot. Skog was my old pal from the early punk days, but the Wishing Chair was not punk in that sense, they have evolved from it, they had been in a lot of other bands before that. I knew Duno as a Mod, at first, i think he was still at school. He was heavily into the Jam and the Who and so was I.

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The best thing to do is to let them tell about the band in their own words:

Nick Scott writes, “Years ago I used to play in a band called The Wishing Chair, which was composed of Dunoe on vocals, and my ex-wife Liz on bass and Simon Blackshaw on Drums ….it was a very self cathartic experience……Dunoe was my bessie mate for a long time….we had grown up together…, wrote songs together, and shared the same wife, albeit not at the same time….it broke my heart when I found out he was sharing the same bed as me with Liz…..through my Dad and Mum’s guidance I realized it was ok to still love and feel no jealousy…so what did we do ??? we formed a band together to help heal the wounds…..the songs originally were about what was going on in our lives, and were not ashamed to feel these feelings…because of these feelings, we wrote some awesome songs….and feel very lucky that it has shaped the person that I am today….there were times when I felt bitter blows by Dunoe’s words, and it’s very much taken from his side, and if I had my take on it, it would have been a different story…the only thing I could add was the music. but I think we added to each others emotions well. even today is difficult, don’t know why, but it is….our lives are intertwined on many levels still today, ….but today I feel happy that we shared these experiences together..I would like to think I have grown by my experience doing this and for my future in Love & Life…..long live the Wishing Chair”

The article below is taken from Cloudberry Records. It is an interview with Nick Scott concerning The Wishing Chair and bands in Carlisle.

“20 recorded songs but no releases. How did you end up recording so many songs and not putting them out on a record?

i suppose we were developing our sound and never thought about putting them out as singles or a cd.

++ How many demos were released? Do you remember the tracklist of them?

We released 3 demo’s with hand felt-tipped covers and envelopes, which was a great job !

Demo 1
1) Randall and Hopkirk (deceased)
2) Three White Leopards
3) Cattleline
4) Hide the Clock

Demo 2
1) Cloak and Dagger
2) The Magic Faraway Tree
3) Amateur Dramatics
4) The Wishing Chair

Demo 3
1) Climb
2) Painted They Stare
3) Claiming Islands
4) Soap Sculptures.

++ How did The Wishing Chair came together? Was the Carlisle music scene small? Did the name The Wishing Chair come from Enid Blyton’s books?

We had all been friends for a long time, and had been in a band six years previously together called ‘Long Street’. Stephen and I were school friends and had been in a band together at school called ‘Jamswamp’ after school we worked together delivering beds and furniture and had a love of music and Carlisle United, we met Liz when we were thirteen through a friend and great inspiration at the time called Steve Harkins who was singer/songwriter.simon was alot younger than us but fit in really well, and we knew him from various bands around town. At the time there was a very healthy mix of bands, who were all very supportive of each other, The Twiggs, who were my favourites, Cosmic Cat, the E-Springs, The Cat in the Hat, The Mighty Helmets, April Sunshine, Red Mullet, 10 Gladioli. The name certainly did come from Enid Blyton, A world of make believe, but with both dark and light story lines The sense of escape, adventure and realising true and full potential are laced throughout each song and each song was like a short story with characters entering, telling their tale then disappearing off…to I know not where

++ Speaking about children books, which are your favourite 5?

– Lion the witch and the wardrobe (there’s a theme here isn’t there, of magical lands)
– Lord of the rings (as a series of books)
– The Wishing Chair (of course)
– The magic faraway tree
– The Shoot football annual of 1975 (as Carlisle United were featured in it as they were in the top big las league then)

++ What were your first dreams and intentions with the band? Did you have any particular style or band you wanted to sound like or was it mainly about getting together and having a good time while playing?

Getting together, having a good time and blending everything we’d ever heard into our own sound was how we sailed all the songs were drawn from emotion and real life and fantasy

The dream was to stay dreaming…

++ Seems like you and the others were in a couple of other bands on the side, was it hard to find time for Wishing Chair? Which were these bands you were involved with? Were being in bands and play music a common hobby in Carlisle?

Stephen and I both played in different duos playing the working mens club/pub/bingo hall circuit which provided us with a living. Stephen was in partnership with guitarist Ian ‘mert’ from the Daisychain Connection in a duo called ‘Waiting for the Postman’ and I was in ‘the men upstairs’ with Paul Musgrave who was the singer in ‘Celtic Storm’, so if we were playing at night, we would rehearse in the afternoons, the duos were our bread and butter so we needed to do it, and we played 3/7 nights a week, I enjoyed it but I think stephen would say different. I suppose being on the circuit you come across many musicians across the ages from your area, so everybody did seem to be a musician, but its like that in every town im sure

++ Being from Cumbria, so close to Scotland, who were more influential for you at the time, Scottish bands or English bands? I guess also Scottish bands toured more around your town, right?

I love it that Carlisle used to be in Scotland (even though I love being English) I feel it breaksdown the crazy nationalistic sillyness that sadly has ebbed and flowed throughout history. We’re a City firmly influenced by both, aswell as Italians (who came to build a great big wall) and Danish who came and knocked down loads of walls, then settled down to stay I love how when you peep under the covers of nationality you see that it is indeed a great big collage of identity.

As a band we were influenced by both English & Scottish bands soaking up everyting we came across (like a big pop sponge).

Touring wise we got a good mix back in the 1970’s & 80’s sadly the bands used to play in our Market Hall, which had a glass ceiling so in the summer it was like watching a gig in a green house

++ Last summer Paul Vickers wrote a piece about you saying that “the music they played was quite skiffley, but with Johnny Marr-style guitar. It had a Hans Christian Andersen quality to it as well – lots of childlike imagery”. That’s a nice comment to receive! What about the Hans Christian Andersen reference, you think it was based on the music itself or simply the rather imaginative song titles (mainly thinking about 3 White Leopards which indeed could’ve been a child play by Andersen, and of course The Wishing Chair)?

Paul’s description is absolutely ace we couldn’t have put it better ourselves We were always facinated by the different levels of things like Hans Christian Anderson they were adult stories told in a child like way with all the hope, fear and excitement that childhood holds and with no limitation to imagination and possibility. 3 White Leopards is a pastiche of TS Eliot poems i’ve always been fascinated by ‘metaphysics’ (on a very basic level, not the deep deep really complicated levels that talks about maths and stuff, but on the level of it being ‘the theory of being and knowing’) this was a theme throughout all the Wishing Chair songs.

++ How often did you practice together and how did the usual rehearsal look like? Did you meet for other things other than playing, like mini golf or maybe paint ball?

We used to rehearse as much as we could, I would think at the beginning it was everyday, and that continued, we loved sculpting the songs, Simon our drummer was brought in once a week , so it was me, Stephen and Liz practicing round the fireside most nights, and in our spare time we all enjoyed origami and shark fishing together.

++ You recorded the song Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), was it your favourite TV Show and why? Which other TV shows did you enjoy back then?

Randall & Hopkirk was such a great concept two detectives and one of them a ghost who could walk through walls and basically be wherever he wanted without being spotted.

Fave TV show was Mr Benn the very thought of having a mate (in a fez) who can offer you different costumes and doorways to felt tip coloured worlds completely blew up my tiny brains as a child and still sets off quite a few explosions now.

++ Its interesting that you never released any records but managed to shoot some live videos. Were you a live band more than a studio one? Any particular gigs that you remember the most?

We did a bit of everything. we used to enjoy playing acoustic in the bar of our local arts theatre before and in the intervals of productions,because it was like our fireside rehearsals,very intimate, i don’t think we ever had a bad gig,it was all a big adventure.

++ What was the biggest highlight of The Wishing Chair as a band?

Being in a band together

++ Why and when did you call it a day? What did The Wishing Chair members did after?

I don’t think we ever split up ! we’ve all done loads of different things since then, Stephen is a professor of pop and spreads the word in many directions, Liz is postmaster general and runs base camp, Simon toured the world playing in big bands on cruiseships and I live in Thailand and have a live music venue

++ You now have your own band November222 and you included The Wishing Chairs song ‘Wishing Chair’ on your first live show (which you do superbly)! Have you ever covered other Wishing Chair’s songs?

hey thanks, we did a version of ‘digging in the shade’ i didn’t play the original recording to the Thai lads in the band, so it was a very different version,and i was singing it, i have some live video, so it maybe will be on youtube on eday . and most nights i do an acoustic set in the bar and one or two songs sometimes make the set.

++ Thanks so much! Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for taking a trip in The Wishing Chair, Off we go, we know not where ………”

Cumbrian Band “Chaos”

I got sent these tracks by John Kemp, in response to Ed Butlers mail, which I enclose here:
John writes:

Chaos were
Jav Turnbull (Vocals),
Eddie Brown (Gtr),
Brian Mounsey (Bass) & Duncan McDonald (Drums).
Later Frank Chapman was added as a 2nd Guitarist.

“Chaos from Aspatria. I rated these in my top 3 bands in 79/80 alongside the Clash and uk subs. Gave psycho faction their name from the punky reggae song whose lyrics were “man killed on the street, cos he doesn’t eat meat, cos he had a black face, cos he spoke to a nun”. Cover of somewhere over the rainbow was epic, tinged with threat and Menace. Come on and join in the chaos was just F F Fun.
Original line up was Jav vocals, fast Eddie guitar, Brian mousey bass and Duncan Drums. All were huge characters, friendly, funny & welcoming people. I went drinking with them before some gigs and just laughed all the time.
Fast Eddie left and was replaced by Frank Chapman of Whitehaven who is now in Hexed.
At one point they were preparing to go to London to further their career & Duncan may even have gone. Things get vague round here. The hunt for any recorded music by them went on for years. They were legendary. Some news filtered through about brushes with the law that, if true, makes me a bit sad that such great people were put out of circulation. If they had punk rock judges the lads would have been pardoned due to their phenomenal, powerful, original and truly epic music.

Some basic recordings eventually surfaced.

The gigs I remember – Chaos supported the UK Subs at Wigton in April 79. They played twice at Silloth with Blitz and the Black Crow’s Gazztops.
Chaos’s songs – Somewhere over the rainbow, Chaos ’79, Spyatree Life. They also done great covers of Public Image and Kill (Albert Y Los Trois Paranoias).
They used to practice at the back of the Brandraw pub in Aspatria.
Duncan later played for a band called the Doonicans (They released a record on Probe Plus). Eddie produced an album for Distortion in the 80’s.
There is another 4 track demo out there somewhere. Maybe someone in Aspatria might be able to shed some light on this.

The tracks by Chaos that John Kemp sent are here: