The DHSS v1 tipped as the ‘band for the 80s’ split before the first week of the year was out. But 1980 saw a further two versions of the band, DHSS v2 playing just the two gigs, Lichfield Friary School and a popular new venue: The Stable, at the Tavern in the Town. This also saw the first appearance by DHSS v3 and that of Tamworth’s first performance poet – Edward ian Armchair with his debut performance lasting a mere 10 seconds “I walked into a lonely room, and saw the lonely people…and suddenly…”.
Ice had their busiest year yet, rarely out of the pages of Musicbox. A nine-date tour of the Midlands; a maxi-single, the A-side being “Clouds of Cirrus”; controversy over who should headline when they supported Big Daisy in Lichfield; they secured a three year deal with the T.W.O. management agency; Mick Rutherford had a suspected heart attack; they were banned from Hurley Working Men’s Club for being too loud and they started selling their own T-shirts, in a choice of black, red or blue priced at £2.75 plus 25p postage and packing.
Heavy Rock was the order of the day in the town with Herald reporters Richard Whitehead, Rob Sly and Cathy Pettigrew enthusiastic supporters of the genre. A new heavy band were on the scene, Titan, already with their own single and album. Sam Holliday featured again with, guess what, a 500 word review of…yes, The Stranglers.
Nationally Britain was going through a Mod revival and The Jam deservedly had their first No.1 with Going Underground. Synthesisers and New Romantics were popular and Tamworth had its very own synth band – Those Attractive Magnets. Formed after Rikk Quay left The DHSS they’re popularity and workload grew as the year progressed, often to be seen at the Stable, with the Buttercup Roadshow in support – but also, interestingly and quite uniquely to this day – they played the Ankerside Shopping Centre on 9th August 1980 (I remember sitting below in the Sensory Garden in the Castle Grounds hearing the electronic music wafting over the flower beds by the bandstand, Ed.)
Tamworth Arts Centre was in the news in 1980 for several reasons. Early in the year you could see an excellent performance by the 7:84 Theatre Company of Sus by Barry Keefe. And later in the year on the same day, 8th August 1980 two upsetting stories could be read in the Herald concerning the Arts Centre. Firstly it was reported how a “Duo planned elaborate hoax to get inside Arts Centre building” and a “Trainee used ‘inside know-how’ for break in” and then further on in the paper – news which was to prove even more shocking: “AFTER five years as Manager of Tamworth Arts Centre, Dave Armour is moving on.” Yes Dave Armour, the person who single-handedly created an arts culture in Tamworth – yes, an A.R.T.S. culture in T.A.M.W.O.R.T.H., had found another job in Deptford and was moving on. For the rest of the year we read how the Council failed to decide how the Centre would be run – the year ended in confusion – the local arts in Limbo.
And then finally, at the end of the year on December 8th 1980 the saddest news of all, the death of John Lennon. R.I.P.