by Spencer Vale and Andrew Melladay
CHAPTER 16 – NEVER FORGET
Never forget where you’re coming from. That’s what Take That once said and Taurus happened to agree – although it took them a long time to realise it.
When egos get in the way, opportunities get missed and the early days get long forgotten in a tidal wave of over-inflated self-opinion. Robert knew that deep down, music was his number one passion. It had always been about the music for him. Even when he was womanising, a situation he too often found himself in, he was thinking about what the ideal soundtrack to sex with the woman in question would be. Opportunities had indeed been wasted. He knew this. If another opportunity came up, he wouldn’t let it slip away again.
What an opportunity Taurus had been; wasted before they ever really proved themselves. Spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself and you’re going to end up being a bit player in your own life – never mind about the lives of the rich, the famous, the young, the successful, the beautiful, the nubile (still love that word) and whatever other crazy misconception you believe the music industry is. It doesn’t actually matter what Robert believed, what Ashley believed, what Patrick believed, what anybody believes they were striving for. Nor what the aim was or what their ultimate goal was. Taurus was an opportunity wasted. Fact.
When Robert got the call, he was shocked and embarrassed. At first. And then it dawned on him that this was not an opportunity to be missed. Let’s face it: no musician, (a musician is truly how Robert saw himself despite the parties and the womanising), really wants to be able to say that they filled in for Right Said Fred. No musician really wants, in their heart of hearts, to say that their come back gig was a student grad ball. But replace Right Said Fred at the 2004 University of York Graduation Ball is exactly what Taurus did. Never forget where you’re coming from was Gary Barlow’s advice and during the moment’s hesitation that Robert had between saying yes rather than no, he nearly did forget.
Thankfully for Taurus (and for us) he didn’t. He said yes. All he had to do now was convince Patrick and Ashley, his old band mates that he hadn’t spoken to in a musical context for months, that Taurus needed to get their act together. Literally.
So many old bands, one hit wonders and flash-in-the-pans, that have since faded into obscurity have found themselves recently resurrected, albeit briefly, in voyeuristic reality TV shows. Any chance to recapture former glories and they’re there. It’s such a fickle world though – reality TV. Even the winners are losers. Let’s face it. They’re all just a bunch of losers, or what are they really doing on there? Desperation – that’s what makes them do it. Reality TV stars are in it for the column inches. The money is just a by-product. True musicians are in music for the love of music. The women are just a by-product.
When Taurus was formed, the collective members – although they never really shared one true voice (and I mean a collective opinion as opposed to the crap boyband One True Voice – another by-product of reality TV) – they realised fairly early on that it wasn’t going to be about the music. Not for them. But from that moment on, that’s when Taurus’s music career began to go off the rails. Admittedly, this was long before they had even had their first gig, never mind about a record deal and a single out; but it’s still the moment they turned to the dark side (sorry Mr Lucas).
Speaking about their individual motivations behind forming the band, you could say that: Patrick was in it for the sound career move (although the so called by-product of women was high up on his agenda and arguably interchangeable with the primary motivation), Ashley needed to fill a gap in his life and wanted the opportunity for a laugh, Robert was in it for the musical kudos and enjoyed the praise that his compositions got him. Essentially, all three members of Taurus were looking for an outlet. They all needed something to help focus their creative energies and channel their performing juices (and yes, I have spotted the innuendo there). Taurus as an artistic outlet was perfect for them. Despite everything that I have already said, I appreciate you might still be dubious about the use of the word
artistic to describe Eurovision wannabes, but that is because it’s just not the right outlet for you. Whatever your particular outlet may be, the fact remains that we all need one.
And that’s how Robert persuaded the boys to reform. Actually he didn’t really need to persuade them. Patrick and Ashley jumped at the chance. So too did I. The opportunity to hang out with the boys as mates again was enough for me, although I have to admit to having a momentary memory lapse when Rob asked me to roadie again.
“Oh yeah, Taurus…I totally forgot, what with final exams and so on. I should get time to do it after tomorrow I reckon, so I’ll get a practice venue sorted and let you know then.”
So that was it. Taurus were going to perform together again for the first time since flopping live on national television back in March. Taurus were going to perform at the University Graduation Ball, having (hopefully) graduated ourselves. Just for the record, we did graduate. Just. But that’s an added bonus considering we’d spent over a year obsessed with anything but studying.
Patrick and Ashley were buzzing. So it turns out it was never about the girls! They were just the by-product. It wasn’t even about the music really. Oh no my friend – it was about the whole bizarre experience. Nothing really beat that buzz of being on stage and having people cheer and shout their name. Even polite applause was better than nothing. No. Scrub that. Polite applause was fucking cool too. Being appreciated for what you do, whilst enjoying what you do – is that not what everyone is striving for? Who can honestly hold their hands up and say that it isn’t?
Courtesy of Right Said Fred, (suddenly unavailable for the York Uni Grad Ball due to some German TV appearance – honestly), Taurus had been given another opportunity to experience that buzz and they were not going to waste it this time.
Anything was better than the lows that they had found themselves wallowing in. This was exactly what they needed. They didn’t even care if they were going to get booed off stage. They just wanted to be on one again. As it so happened, they didn’t get booed off stage. Far from it. Six hundred students, male and female, sang along to the chorus of What’s the Deal with Europe? and as far as they could tell, every one of those six hundred students were enjoying themselves just as much as Patrick and Ashley and Robert were.
Was it the best gig they had ever done? Probably.
All this gave the guys hope. Could this be the start of something? Especially when you consider the fact that Timmy Mallet makes an excellent living out of touring universities and clubs.
Ashley saw him in a local club in Derby a couple of years ago and one of the first things he did when he came out on stage was shout “Transformers!” and the whole of the audience replied back “Robots in Disguise!” And I think that’s an age thing. He’s only got a limited life span on the student circuit. In this day and age you’re going to be pushing it to find students that are still old enough to remember Timmy Mallet in his heyday. But even so I think it’s encouraging.
I’m sure Timmy Mallett was one of the first advocates of modern health and safety policy. In the first series of Wacaday he would bash people on the head with a soft mallet. During the second series, he wasn’t allowed to do that anymore and he had a machine that he hit instead and it would mechanically count up how many times he had hit it. But in the end he’d still put the plaster on the kid for being hit. I guess that he had to stop hitting the kids on the show because kids were imitating it at school in a similar way to the Tango adverts. “You’ve been tangoed!” You’ve got burst ear drums more like.
But I digress. So it turned out Timmy Mallett was not the only one that could enjoy a second bite of the cherry on the student gig circuit. As a result of the York Grad Ball, Student Union reps all around the country started booking Taurus for their Union extravaganzas. Patrick, Robert and Ashley had gone back to their roots. They’d heeded Gary Barlow’s warning and they haven’t forgotten where they came from. As Take That sung in that same song: “someday this will all be someone else’s dream.” It turned out that for now at least, it’s Taurus’s.