The following is an excerpt from Chapter Seven of “The Jason Zodiac Files”, Jamie Carter’s biography of Jason Zodiac.
Mandy comes into my life in the summer of 1988 – yes, that’s right, the so-called ‘Second Summer of Love’.
She walks into the back room of the Camden Falcon, just after bunch of no-hopers The Bad Cats had finished. She’s long-hipped and fluid in black top and jeans, green Celtic eyes, Asian cheekbones. We know each other vaguely because she’s been going out with a mate of mine, John. Well, I say mate; nobody liked him. They just pretended to. Me, I’d been through a rough patch too. I’d split up with Jenny and was on the rebound. I’d landed my dream job at the New Musical Express but it felt like it was going nowhere. I spent my time in the subs room cutting, pasting and checking, writing the occasional article or review, and interviewing bands that nobody else wanted to (losers like The Poster Loonies, The Water Addicts, Gay Karl and other twats you’ve never heard of). For the summer I’d been doing Single of the Week, but even that had lost its charm. The initial thrill of seeing a desk piled high with mailers was replaced by the frustration of realizing it will take ages to listen to them all, and most of them will be shit.
The NME I’d worked on that week was a microcosm of 1988: stale and lifeless and ready for a shake-up. A cover feature on Morrissey and his new album, “Suedehead”, and the death of the Smiths; interviews with The Fall, The Triffids and Billy Bragg. Amongst all the old stuff, and the full-page ads for golden turds such as Sting’s new single “An Englishman in New York”, was the only gleam of hope; Single of the Week – “Beat Dis” by Bomb the Bass. I didn’t know it yet, but it’s the shape of things to come.
I watch Mandy as she drinks her lager. I watch the swing of her long hair, the shade of fresh chestnut. The air is hot and smells overwhelmingly of beer and tension. Across the pub, at the entrance, the legend FOSTERS glows in excited red neon, the pub punter faces reflected in the huge mirror, the red grinning faces laughing and shouting so hard the chat merges into one long incomprehensible barrage of pub noise.
The bell rings for time. “What are you doing after this?” I ask her.
“Going to the Edge,” she says.
“Is that some new club?”
“No, it’s the Edge, Jamie, Edge with a capital E,” she says. “Just like Ecstasy.”
JASON ZODIAC AND THE T-SERVICE:
“THE CAMELOT RUN”
by PETE KORNER
and MICHAEL SHENLEY
first broadcast – 13th March 1968.
running time – 44 mins 53 secs.
SCENE 7: Wintle Hall INT – DAY.
A large group of well-dressed men and women are standing inside a huge drawing room, drinking champagne from fluted glasses, chatting and laughing with each other in very high spirits.
They are surrounded by a giant indoor racetrack. Plates are whizzing around the room on top of miniature racing cars running along a long plastic Scalextric track shaped like a Moebius loop. The plates are carrying buffet food such as vol-au-vents and tiny triangular sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
JASON, TANGERINE and SCREAMING LORD SMITH enter the room. JASON wears mirrored ray-ban shades, a purple crushed velvet frock coat with matching bellbottom trousers, a lemon frilled shirt from John Stephen, and high-heeled Chelsea boots from Mr. Freedom (Kensington Church Street).
TANGERINE wears a black and white Mary Quant mini-dress, knee-high side-zippered white vinyl boots from Countdown, a floppy hat and long false eyelashes,
SMITH wears a navy blue suit, pink shirt and paisley cravat, all designed by Pierre Cardin.
- CHESS (VOICE-OVER): Jason, can you hear me?
JASON (discreetly touching the earpiece he is wearing behind his ear):
Loud and clear, boss.
- CHESS: I’m initiating a scan for any known operatives of the Church With No Name that may be in this room. Stand by.
The three take champagne glasses from a waiter dressed as a Grand Prix mechanic and sip their drinks.
Close-up on a dark-skinned man standing alone, wearing sunglasses.
- CHESS: The man you are looking at is Astor Karvik. He’s one of the Church’s top assassins, and he uses the code name of ‘Man-Snake’. The computer says his preferred weapon is darts of highly potent serpent venom.
SMITH: Sounds like he needs a good kick in the cobras.
Close-up on an attractive young lady, holding court with a group of male admirers. She wears a bright red dress that matches her lipstick, and smokes with a long cigarette holder.
- CHESS: That’s Valerie Felgate, in charge of Church transportation and smuggling activities. Her code name is ‘Fast Lady’.
JASON: Nice chassis.
TANGERINE: Down, tiger.
Close-up on a large man in glasses, wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches, and a bow tie. He is scoffing a plate of cheese and pickle sandwiches.
- CHESS: That’s Dr. Terence Spooner, otherwise known as Anagram Sam. He’s the Church cryptography expert. We suspect him of breaking several MI5 and MI6 codes and selling the secrets to certain hostile powers.
ANAGRAM SAM (to passing waiter): Cheaper gammon, my good man.
WAITER: Pardon, sir?
ANAGRAM SAM: I said, more champagne, my good man.
WAITER (handing him a glass): Certainly, sir.
JASON: I’d love to know why The Minister thinks this treasure hunt needs the attention of the T-Service.
TANGERINE: I’d love to know what the treasure actually is.
SMITH: Just like a woman.
Sound of banging gong. A waiter takes the stage.
WAITER: Ladies and gentlemen, may I present … your host!