Monday, 16 August 2010


I met Ronnie, the original Cavern manager, through her band FRANTIC SPIDERS, Exeter's first and best 'Riot Grrl" band.
They had been making a name for themselves supporting the likes of Huggy Bear and The Voodoo Queens around the UK, and were on this occasion playing with us at Exeter Art College.
I was at the bar when Ronnie walked past carrying a ridiculously tall tower of glasses.
“Can you drink up please mate!” she barked at a frightened looking student in John Lennon glasses and a Doctor Who scarf, snatching his half-finished drink and adding it to to the top of her large stack.

When I got back to our van it was so full of empties you couldn’t fit in the amps.
“Somebody said you were opening a pub.” Ronnie explained. “I thought you could do with some glasses!”
They had collected about 400 of them.
“Hey, do you want to be bar manager?” I asked her, while the hapless Art College dudes walked around scratching their heads, looking for something to put in the dishwasher.

The Frantic Spiders had been played on the John Peel Show, and got ‘Single of The Week’ in Melody Maker for their “You’re dead” 7” single. They were on the verge of being signed to Elastica’s label before they went their separate ways.
Singer Charlie went on to playing in Spy 51 and Gay Dad, and Ronnie started here ultraviolent industrial noise band TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME.


TSS were a band that really tapped into the raw emotions of life, with Ronnie’s onstage personas, such as the bloodsplattered Psycho Surgeon, really acting as a protective buffer between band and audience. By that I mean the Personas protected the audience from the true content of Ronnie’s songs!
She is a great writer, and went on from TSS to become reviews editor for Rocksound.
I found this battered, never-before-seen, video we made for Toxic Shock Syndrome in the early 90s.
We filmed it in that Pet cemetery down by the bridge to the Double Locks.


  1. great blog, write something new

  2. Actually, TSS and Frantic Spiders were both going at the same time Your Dead came out After Ronnie had left and been replaced by Caroline.

    Many people were in the revolving line up for the Toxics myself included, and gave me my first ever stab of playing in a proper gig environment, something I'm eternally grateful for Ronnie giving me the opportunity to do so.

  3. Why do the filmed inserts look familiar, when they can't be?

  4. Aww, that's such a great blast from the past! The Cavern, TSS, Frantic Spiders (and all the other bands who were around at the time) were such great times! I've never seen this video before - thanks for putting it up! I'm doing TSS-style burlesque these days (under the moniker Lilly Laudanum) - kind of confrontational dead people~! (and still writing for music mags!) xx