Guest writer, Darren Tyler, shares his special tale of his time at ‘Burn The Shard: Part One’. As one of the unlucky many who did not get one of the elusive 99 tickets, Darren could have easily been dissuaded from making an effort to get in – but he didn’t…
Here we find out how Darren joined the events of November 23rd, 2017 and how it all expanded from there. Loads of great photos from the evening here too…
Darren is also the author of ‘The 1968 Ford Galaxie Manual’ – a history of the iconic car from ‘Superman 3’ to ‘Doctorin’ the Tardis’ all the way up to ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ and beyond. Due for publication later in 2018.
Gatecrash The Shard by Darren Tyler
I’m on my way to the JAMs’ ‘Burn The Shard’ (without a ticket).
Not really sure whereabouts to go or if I’m going to see anything if I do.
Not even any of the lucky 99 know until last minute.
But I’ve got the day off and the coach is booked so why not, I remember how gutted I was after not getting to ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’.
It’s all hush hush and there’s not a lot of info out there.
All I know from a few messages on social media is that a few of the 400 are meeting up at a pub in Stoke Newington so that’s where I’m heading.
A bit of the book is set in east London and it mentions a trip from Stoke Newington to The Shard.
Still a bit dubious but after a couple of beers and a funny coach ride to Victoria consisting of a sly cider and a Jamaican woman laughing her head off out loud watching WWF wrestling, I’m well on my way to London.
Once I arrive I’m on my way to the underground tube.
After being told the wrong directions from a railway worker I end up south of the river in Brixton, off the train and back to Victoria.
Now I’m heading the right way for Seven Sisters then to change to Stoke Newington, arrive at Stoke Newington and it’s starting to get dark.
Still unsure if I’m going to be able to see anything put on by the JAMs, I stroll towards a pub called The Three Crowns.
I spoke to Mark Rolfe and he said that’s where he and a few were going.
I got there and couldn’t see anyone in there so went to a pub over the road called The Jolly Butchers and had a pint, there was another pub up the road slightly and in the middle of these 3 pubs was a funeral directors in a place called Pyramid House.
Don’t know if it meant anything but it made me think even more.
I messaged Mark and he said he was in The Three Crowns already so I finished my beer and headed there.
I grabbed a beer and joined him and Richard at their table and this happened…
Posted by Mark Rolfe on Facebook:
It was a bit weird.
After that we drank our drinks and speculated about what to do.
Richard had seen a postcode that had been put on Facebook and took off straight away (pretty JAMs style) – N1 5RY.
So that’s where we decided to head to, we walked along weaving in and out of London’s busy roads, still unsure if we’re wasting our time.
Then around 7:53 I heard ‘Look!’
And there was the Ice Kream Van coming towards us.
Being driven by Jimmy and accompanied by Ronald McDonald. Brilliant!
We’re following it for sure.
The Ice Kream Van turned right at the lights and we walked towards the corner of the street and saw the van coming back out of a side street.
Looked like it was picking people up or dropping them off (Winnie and Yoko?).
We followed the van as it turned left onto Queensbridge Road, and there were The 99 all walking in a line.
The sound of the megaphone.
Smoke bombs bellowing yellow smoke out everywhere from pyro being planted around London by Gimpo.
All being kept in order by DPM and K2.
They don’t mind us joining them and just ask us to stick with the group,
In the smoke I see a woman in black sticking up a 2023 poster then she’s gone.
The Ice Kream Van pulls out of the road on my right again and drives the alongside The 99 and then we see a rented van with Bill in it, as we walk to a building on Queensbridge Road we all stop where Oliver reads out from ‘2023’.
Everywhere we were going the locals were wondering what was going on.
The chap in the shop next to where we were gathered seemed very interested.
Then there was the handing out of tangerines.
I put mine in my pocket 🍊🍊🍊
I take a few pics and say ‘Hi’ to Jimmy in the van.
Shortly we’re back on the move again.
Gimpo is organising the laying out of the rope behind the Ice Kream Van measuring 99 metres.
We all pick up the rope and are instructed to follow.
So we’re off weaving around the streets of east London, Daisy with the JAMs megaphone with more narration from the book.
Gimpo laying out the smoke bombs everywhere, even on top of the Ice Kream Van.
Twitter makes the world even smaller as a chap I know from it, Dreamshifts recognises me and we have a good laugh and chat about this and that while we walk through east London’s streets.
Locals looking out of their windows and stood in there front gardens wondering what all the smoke and noise is all along the road and on their front walls and bellowing from an Ice Kream Van.
Before I know it we’re heading towards a McDonalds on Dalston High Street.
Hearing “Big Mac with fries” as soon as we see the arches.
It was funny as we all walked through the restaurant singing out “Big Mac with fries!” Getting some funny looks off the people in there, then we’re off again.
I heard later of a member of staff grabbing someone by the throat saying “Respect the brand” but I didn’t see anything?
We head over the road and into a pub.
Same as McDonalds we just walk straight through the pub getting some confused looks off some old cockneys as they have their Thursday night pints.
Why? Who cares it was funny!
One bloke said to me “What’s going on?” and as I was going out the door, I said “Check out the JAMs!”
Also spotted Ronald McDonald at the bar.
There was a homeless man asking for spare change outside so I gave him my tangerine.
He said “Oh, another tangerine, thank you.”
I think we went round the block and back past the pub again and McDonald’s then headed down another side road.
Don’t know if it meant anything but I noticed when we walked past a bible institute there was a lady in red sat on the stairs.
We had attracted quite a bit of attention from the locals especially a bunch of youngsters, all jovial though they just wanted to join in with some pyro.
Someone watching from above.
A short act is performed.
Could hear police sirens, don’t know if they were for us? Daisy calls out “Off to illegal fly posting!”
Before I know it we rejoin the Ice Kream Van. It’s serving mince pies apparently made by Bill, the van’s handing out shots of Jura whiskey too.
I’m loving the style of the pies with Mu written on them.
I’m not a drinker of spirits but I’m not turning down a drink off the JAMs.
I’d had a few ales over the day so it went down well.
I spotted Bill handing out the yellow buckets.
Mark and Richard that I met up with at the pub at the beginning of the night had been given yellow buckets off bill to start handing out.
I walk over and asked Bill “Do you need a hand with anything?”
Bill thinks for a second and says “You can go up to the front and start handing these out.”
He gave me a big cardboard tube full of all the 2023 posters, I get up near the front and start handing them out soon helped by others.
I see Ronald McDonald in a shopping trolley enjoying a mince pie and whiskey.
Winnie and Yoko perform an act from the book which is an illegal fly posting lesson.
Now we’re off for The 99 to start the illegal act of fly posting the 2023 posters.
We head to the boardings of a building site and The 99 get to work.
I just stand back and film The 99 in action.
Walking in the road picking up a smoke bomb in the road almost getting ran over by a car, is worth it.
I was walking along filming with the smoke bomb in my hand. Jimmy came over and asked me to get the smoke out of the way because of the filming.
We head off back to where The 99 started.
The canal side Barge House.
On the way someone has started a fire.
It was quickly put out by some of The 99 with their yellow buckets and water from the canal.
We arrive at the funky little canal side cafe/bar.
I spot the Ice Kream Van and can’t resist a photo with it. Chuffed!
Everyone mingling outside including Bill and Jimmy.
I make my way into the bar for a drink.
Gimpo still stood outside setting off yellow smoke bombs.
Evan the swans seemed intrigued and came over.
Badger kull will be performing at 11pm.
And I was chuffed to be offered the chance to buy the JAMs’ very own Dead Perch Pale Ale
This goes down very nicely and I keep the empty bottles to take home.
Saved a full one for my best mates’ birthday too. He was chuffed.
Jimmy and co started handing out song sheets.
We were given two lines.
“HEAVE AWAY, HAUL AWAY!!
“WE’RE BOUND TO BURN THE SHARD DOWN!”
Everyone sang along!
I almost didn’t bother coming to London, even this morning was still dubious and thought I might not get to see anything without a ticket and everything being so secretive. Now, here we all were front row at a Badger Kull performance.
Alongside Bill and Jimmy, all singing along together.
And after I’d been given the job earlier of handing out the 2023 posters by the JAMs without needing a ticket.
Was a pleasure.
Was a great mix of people with a great atmosphere and a lot of fun.
It was great to see both Jimmy and Bill so relaxed and happy mixing and chatting with everyone.
Along with the sing song.
Dead Perch had the JAMs new product.
For £20:23, you could have either:
With free poster and free audio book
Or you could have:
The Audio book
With free 7″single and free poster
Or you could choose to have:
With free audio book and free 7″single
The choice is yours.
All in all I’m chuffed to bits and privileged to meet a couple of my heroes from growing up.
Along with purchasing the record.
Jimmy and bill were stamping everyone’s books and new item.
I’d took my ‘2023’ book so asked them to stamp that, I was wearing my old KLF hoody and I couldn’t resist, I asked bill to stamp it and he did with great enthusiasm.
“Burn The Shard: Part One” – completed.
It’s hard to explain to most what I got up to in London. Some of it might sound a bit mad, all I know is that I’m so glad I made the decision to come. It was great fun all night.
And that’s what it is, fun for everyone.
Huge respect to The JAMs who spent the time and effort to put on a unique piece of participatory art for all to enjoy.
A totally different and very exciting way to launch an Audio Book or Record.
A record with no music on it following Bill’s ‘No Music Day’.
Around 11:23pm it was obvious that all was over.
People were leaving and some staying chilling out with a drink.
I left and made my way to the hostel I was staying in.
I got around the corner and Jimmy and the Ice Kream Van was there with a few people round it.
It wouldn’t start.
As I walked up to it Jimmy managed to get it started.
Big thumbs up from Jimmy.
Unfortunately, it screams for a little while then it dies.
Bill was there as well.
Jimmy gets out with a grin and says “Anyone want to buy an Ice Kream Van?”
They decided that they were going to leave it here.
I got in the back of the van and helped get a few boxes of stuff out to go in Bill’s rented van.
Bill left and I had a brief chat with Jimmy and then he was gone in a car.
I was buzzing and made my way back to the hostel somehow.
I left for home in the morning stopping at a pub I’d been in about a year ago for West Ham away.
Synchronicity and coincidences happen all the time in my life.
I bought a pint and sat at a random small table for one on its own.
It was table 23.
I had a couple of pints while texting and tweeting.
I noticed a tweet to someone, might of been to Daisy? It was from a Twitter friend of mine.
I then made my way to Victoria for the coach home.
As I came out the underground and headed to the coach there was a homeless lad sat cross legged on the floor singing always look on the bright side of life through a traffic cone. Nice.
My trip to London
All photography courtesy of D. Tyler.