BEFORE THE MAIN EVENT
As many of us know, Fleet is the home to the one and only ‘Howling Laud’ Hope, leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party and the longest serving political leader in the UK. Alan is a popular figure around town and is also a Fleet Town Councillor, so he is no stranger to keeping busy! Sadly though, as with most events this year, Alan was forced to announce the cancellation of the 2020 MRLP conference due to the covid outbreak. Here’s the announcement he shared:
Monster Raving Loony Party
It is with great sadness and not very much gladness that I have to inform you all, that this years conference in Louth Lincolnshire, 24-25-26 September, has been cancelled. Blame it on Dr Covid, coming in here and upsetting all our plans, how dare he.
I have informed all the acts that were booked, and the accommodation that was joining in with us, but if you are booked in of your own accord somewhere, please inform them ASAP. We shall want to go back at a future date, please don’t let anybody down.
I was waiting until August 1st to find out the situation, but my arm was twisted today by the Government announcement that ‘Social Distancing’ will be in operation until 1st October at least, if not longer. Under those circumstances, it just wasn’t going to work.
I know we were all looking forward to it, only 9 weeks away, but there it is, nobody more sorrowful than me. This would have been our 37th party conference.
Never mind, lets hope its for the best, see you all again sometime, look after yourselves.
Howling ‘Laud’ Hope
So what has this got to do with Adam Ant? Well I’ll tell you…
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Back in 2010 the Loonies were arranging their annual conference and this year it really did go ahead…with a very special guest visitor and performer, Adam Ant. So how did this come about?
Alan Hope: “I first met Stuart Goddard (Adam Ant’s real name), many years ago with Screaming Lord Sutch. Stuart was a fan of Sutch, and he was telling us how he was going to be a ‘Pop Star’, make a million then retire. We said yeah, yeah, ok my friend, in your dreams. He certainly proved us both wrong!”
The meeting could have been just another one-off famous encounter but it didn’t end there. In September 2010, Alan received a call from Stuart (aka Adam Ant) out of the blue, asking to meet up with him and discussing an interest in ‘alternative’ politics. Alan told the 80’s star about their upcoming conference in Fleet, to be held at the Links pub (now known as The Station) and was surprised when Stuart asked if he could come along and do a spot there.
Alan explained “Of course I said yes! I wondered in the back of my mind what he was going to be like”
At this point, Alan really had no idea if Adam Ant was actully going to turn up or not but any doubts he may have had soon vanished when the man himself walked in…
Alan said “He was excellent!! He bought another guitarist with him and sang all his hits. He brought the place to its knees. People were absolutely amazed”.
Below: A short clip of Howling Laud Hope on stage, before Adam Ant arrived. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
ADAM ANT ROCKS FLEET
Alan Hope said : “He did ‘Prince Charming’, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, ‘Goody Two Shoes’,
‘Stand and Deliver’…many more too. He did all of his hits, and was excellent!”
Below: “Shakin’ All Over” sung by Adam Ant at the MRLP conference on the 25th September 2010. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
Below: “Cleopatra” sung by Adam Ant at the MRLP conference on the 25th September 2010. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
Below: “Physical” sung by Adam Ant at the MRLP conference on the 25th September 2010. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
Below: “Young Parisians” sung by Adam Ant at the MRLP conference on the 25th September 2010. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
Below: “Johnny B Goode” sung by Adam Ant at the MRLP conference on the 25th September 2010. Credit: Jack Slipper Videos.
The Chuck Berry song would have gone down well with Alan as he sang many of his songs back in the day, under his stage name “Kerry Rapid”.
Alan remembers: “One of my personal highlights was sharing the stage at the Agincourt with one of my great heroes, Chuck Berry. This was the 26th February 1967, when Chuck was on a pretty busy tour of the UK. But I didn’t really get to meet him apart from a brief chat before we went on. We played a lot of Chuck Berry songs and I was worried he would object to us playing his stuff in our set, so I thought I’d better ask. He was quite relaxed about it: “You go ahead and play whatever you like. I love to hear other people playing my songs.”
John Hope (Alan’s younger brother) remembered: “Another outstanding memory was at the Agincourt in Camberley in February 1967 when Kerry Rapid and the Soultones were the supporting band for Chuck Berry. Kerry Rapid sang a few Chuck Berry songs that night with Chuck Berry stood in the wings listening to every word. Chuck Berry was very impressed with Kerry Rapid’s version of Johnny B Goode and after the event asked Alan if Kerry Rapid and the Soultones would be interested in being the support band when Chuck Berry the next time he came over to the UK to do another tour.”
Below: Photos from the evening. Credit: Alan Hope.
Adam’s girlfriend Bridgit accompanied him to the conference, bringing along a rather cute furry companion who seemed very unimpressed by fame and fortune!
Alan comments: “That same day there was a birthday reception for Gina, the landlady of the Links. Adam Ant’s girlfriend went to the buffet and took a sandwich. No-one knew who she was and she was told off by another guest, even though the landlady had said that it would be OK”.
Below: Brigit brought her dog with her to the conference. Credit: Alan Hope.
In true rock star style, Alan sang with the performer on stage, as he describes it “we did a bit of duetting”.
That was Adam’s only appearance at the MRLP conference (so far!) but will he come back to Fleet?
Alan says “We may meet again, I still have his contact details. I have called him a couple of times!”…so if you happen to be reading this Adam, Fleet would love to see you come back one day soon! (yes I am a shameless Adam Ant fan can you tell?!)……
Following his appearance at the conference, Adam was invited to appear at GuilFest in 2011 in his first UK tour in more than 15 years. He appeared with his new band : The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse…a reference to his new Loony pals maybe?!
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