1984 In the Beginning

Early in 1984 Tom Foad, a guitarist from the Basingstoke rock band the Avalanche, put an advert into a local shop window. He wanted to start, as a sideline, something a little more acoustically based than his current brand of hard rock/metal, and it seemed a good way to advertise. The call was soon answered, Cathy Alexander had just moved into the area, and was looking for someone to write with as well as play a few gigs. Previously, she had performed as a solo artist at clubs and festivals, mostly in the south, singing and playing a mixture of traditional material as well as her own songs, and these items were to form the basis of the set that was played by the new duo.  After a while Tom suggested that  a bass player might not be a bad idea, and Cliff Eastabrook from the Avalanche, another hefty rocker with a decided Chris Squire influence, made it three. After a few rehearsals, this unnamed  predecessor of the Morrigan, played two gigs, most notably one at the Swan folk club in Eversley, before Tom decided that his commitments to his other band and shortness of time must force him to retire from the scene.

At the Eversley gig,  Colin Masson was one of the audience and mightily impressed.  At the time Colin's own band, Elidor, was just breaking up.  When Tom Foad decided to call it a day, Cliff remembered a conversation he'd had with Colin at Eversley and asked if he would be interested.  The original line up of The Morrigan (as yet, unnamed) was now complete.

The Vinery Days.....
In those days Cliff was sharing a large house in Whitchurch called The Vinery,  with a group of like minded people, and the landing became the rehearsal space for the new band.  The house had an ideal atmosphere for the sort of music which began to emerge from this very unlikely fusion of folk, classical and rock backgrounds.  It was a hot-house of creativity; in one room somebody might be making a video, in another some experimental cookery might be going on,  someone else might be cultivating a garden in the attic, and The Morrigan was not the only musical thing happening.  Best of all, it was only two doors up from The White Hart!! Of such beginnings are great endings made (or something like that).   But the band still lacked a handle.  Rehearsals had been rehearsed, a gig was imminent at the Carribean Club in Basingstoke, and still, no name had leapt out of the woodwork.  Heated discussions took place in the closing moments before the gig; finally the band were announced as Airport Convenience, an obvious reference, for anyone in the know, to a well known folk-rock band, and thereafter a general embarrassment to everybody.  Something had to be done.....

.......  Let's all go down the pub

 CLICK HERE  To continue the story from 1985 onwards