All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015

The Lucifer Connection

Well, the devil’s in the details so they say and, strangely, it seems to be so. For instance, when I first met Jacques (the wonderful clarinet player for the Real Tuesday Weld), he was dressed (or undressed as I should say) like the wicked one himself.


It had been a rather peculiar day. At that time, I was working in Fitzrovia a couple of days a week for someone who did a lot of refurbishment work for The Salvation Army. I was actually designing a twelve-foot high replacement crucifix for a Sally Army hall in Whitstable on the Kent coast. (Whitstable is quite nice by the way – good for oysters I believe). I was bored. I had been out all night and frankly, I felt terrible. It was one of those days when, you know, you somehow how manage to get in to work because you have to and you need the money and if you miss another day it’s over and you keep telling yourself: ‘just get through this, get through this, then we can get home and get straight into bed and everything’s going to be alright’.

I was nodding off and I couldn’t focus. I mean it's not that hard to design a cross right? I mean all the work’s already been done for you hasn’t it? Well, I was making a terrible pig’s ear of it and I could sense the combination of concern and puzzlement / distaste of the other people who were around. (Thankfully, the one Christian present was being very nice to me.)

Anyway, there I was doodling over this crucifix and thinking about the cross in St. Joseph’s when I was small and thinking about my mother (ex-nun) and wondering ‘where did it all go wrong?’ when the phone rang and it was for me:

‘Stephen, will you be my Jesus?”


“Will you be my Jesus?”

This was said in a heavily accented French female voice which, although I don’t know how to represent in writing, was unmistakeably that of Sophie Seashell, manager of the crazed castrati band The Tiger Lillies, an old friend of mine and, at that time, co-founder of the wonderful art-cabaret club ‘Nux Vomica’.

Apparently, there was a Nux Vomica show on that very evening and Sophie had decided to do a ‘piece’ around Mary Magdalene. She needed some extras. She had somebody who was going to play the Devil and was calling to see if I would take the part of the Son of God. Having had a very strict Catholic upbringing, I was understandably rather superstitious about it…and then there was the matter of the hangover and that promised early night in. I refused. Point blank. And I felt proud.

But anyway, you know how it is. The day goes on. You go out for lunch, wander round Soho a bit, think about life, come back to work, think: ‘I can’t fucking stand doing this for much longer”, the Ibuprofen and the metabolism kick in a bit and you start to feel just a bit perkier. The prospect of an early night now seems rather depressing. Everyone else will be out having fun, you're only young once, you are becoming bourgeoisie, what about Dylan Thomas? etc., etc..

So, I rang Sophie back:

‘Ok, I’ll do it”…

Four hours later, I entered an upstairs room in a pub in Islington and was directed to the ‘dressing room’. This, I kid you not, was the size of a saloon car. Already in it were Sophie, who was wearing nothing but three carefully placed seashells, and a friend of hers' who was wearing nothing but a pair of horns (and a grin). Sophie introduced us:

‘Stephen this is Jacques”

‘Er, oh, hello’

I wasn’t quite sure what to shake.


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Anonymous said...

thankyou marvin - good luck with the suicide stuff

the clerkenwell kid

michelle said...

so how'd the crucifix turn out? :)

clerkenwell kid said...

you know michelle, i never went back..........

Stella Polaris said...

*laughs her arse off*

I dunno why, but I sincerely enjoy these "how I met person x" type of stories.

And I certainly enjoy this blog.

Ms. Questionable said...

I'd like some more information on this wonderfully delicious tableau. Just what did you have to do as Jesus, what didn't you have to wear? What did Jacques have to do and wasn't he wearing? What did the seashell kid do? My imagination is working over time.

clerkenwell kid said...

Jesus was wearing swaddling clothes (of course). I seem to remember my role was to lean langorously against a sort of post-industrial cross. Ms Seashell was prancing around slightly threateningly glaring at the audience and J. was blowing his horn (and looking vaquely like he wished he was somewhere else....)

we all tried not to make eye contact

Ms. Questionable said...

My Lord! But I thought Jesus only wore swaddling clothes as a babe? Simply delicious - like I said. But no singing? Since you were contacted at the last moment, do you think Martyn refused to do it?! He'd make a terrific Jesus don't you think ;)
But not nearly as cute as you.

clerkenwell kid said...

i am very fond of martyn - but i really don't want to imagine him in swaddling clothes........

Ms Questionable said...


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nell said...


Please tell Jacques that residing in a town near Denver (Colorado) is an amiable woman who thinks his clarinet playing is divine and suspects he received a big, wet, sloppy kiss from Euterpe on the day he was born. And I dont say that about just any old clarinetist. tell the truth...I have never said that about ANY clarinetist. TAKE THAT BENNY GOODMAN!
And what you could have done was stick out your hand and see what he offered you in return. But that might have just made things even more awkward...if that had been possible.


clerkenwell kid said...


he was pleased about that!

he blushed

nell said...

Awwww...I caused a blush. That fancied my tickle. I kind of had a guilt ridden moment the other night while enjoying Benny Goodman and a very young Billie Holiday on Your Mother's Son-In-Law. But I'm sticking with what I said. SO TAKE THAT AGAIN BENNY GOODMAN!!!


nell said...


my copy of les aperitifs et les digestifs arrived in the mail last night (very beautiful by the way) and i am now convinced euterpe did more than just kiss jacques! he REALLY is very talented...but YOU already knew that. never again well i suffer a goodman guilt moment. now...where can i find more of his horn? (and no..that is not a euphemism.)

greatly enjoyed your stand by your man. i have a very large soft spot for old school country. hank williams and i often twang together.

clerkenwell kid said...


i'm very glad you enjoyed it. i passed your loving comments onto jacques. He blushed

that's a good thing.....

nell said...


heee...heee..that makes two times i have caused a blush! i'm afraid i may be turning into a clarinettist least when it comes to jacques. earlier this week my beskydy cd arrived. got me smiling from ear to ear. i hope i can catch them live at some point. or that they put out another cd. i would certainly buy it, i like to encourage the talented. and thanks for passing along the comments.


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