In 1985, the year before I became an official band member, one of Newell's regular mail-order clients in Germany took the cassette version of a collection of songs called Under Wartime Conditions, pressed it up as a vinyl album and distributed it to the stores. Newell was jubilant. This was, he reckoned, a real anarchist's triumph, a giant petrol bomb through the record companies' corporate windows. An album of songs made in his house in his spare time, using only a raddled guitar, an old piano with drawing pins in its hammers, a bass which was a barely modified plank, and a rusty xylophone, had gone down the system's blindside and made it right into the shops. 'And', he said victoriously, 'no one with a pony-tail and stupid plastic glasses came anywhere near it.'
So this was the Martin Newell whom I joined full-time in the Cleaners from Venus: an angered pop guerrilla with his own agenda, a one-man music-biz resistance unit.