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That was the Quo month that was ... October 1996

12th - "Hello" magazine feature the Rossi family

The glossy colour weekly magazine "Hello" featured a five page spread for the Rossi family to present their most recent addition, Fursey, to the world. The article contains numerous photos of Francis and Eileen with their new son and also include most of the other Rossi offspring. The interview material discusses Francis' bad times as well as the more recent good ones and his new 'family man' image. "And he's more of a Nineties man than most give him credit for. He's squeamish when it comes to nappy-changing, however, but he'll do it if he has to and Eileen admits that he's handy around the house. He cooks, takes great pleasure in treating all his visitors to his ultra-healthy, exotic home-made fruit juices and even enjoys washing-up and cleaning the cooker." Bizarrely, the subject matter changes tack - "There really is only one thing that dad has a problem with around the house - surprisingly for someone who's had his share of rock 'n' roll adventures, he's a little prudish about nudity. You won't find Francis wandering around with no clothes on." The interview and collective photographs form an impressive spread and show Francis away from the Status Quo limelight in a way which few interviews and articles really achieve.

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14th - Rick Parfitt interview in the "Daily Mail"

Lina Das presented an interview with Rick Parfitt in the October 14th edition of the Daily Mail. She opens with "If there was a manual entitled How To Be A Debauched Rock Star, 48-year-old Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt (motto: You can never wear too much denim) would probably have written it. If he had not been so busy being debauched, that is."

The interview is titled "My daughter died as a punishment for my wild rock lifestyle" and so obviously talks about Rick's devastation after Heidi's drowning. He also talks about the new stability in his life afforded by the rekindling of his relationship with Marietta, albeit a long-distance one with her still living in Germany with regular visits. Two photos round off the piece, a large one of Rick with Marietta and a smaller one of him with Patty.

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21st - 'Gotcha' revealed by The Sun

The following article was published in "The Sun" newspaper on October 21st, 5 days before the Gotcha was officially shown on the BBC show "Noel's House Party" .

Noel Edmonds looks the pick of the grandpops in flares and flowing hair - all set for a rocking good gotcha. He donned 70s gear to spring an hilarious surprise on Status Quo veterans Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi. The wrinkly rockers never suspected the ancient fan approaching on stage was Noel setting them up for his House Party show. Rick, 48, and Francis, 47, thought they were taking part in a BBC tribute to their 30 years in the music business.

Viewers next Saturday will see them failing to twig the truth as questions from the 300 "fan club members" in the audience become increasingly bizarre. One asks if they will kiss his 90-year-old mum - and they agree! Another fan - really an actor - sings a cringe-making song he wrote for them. The unsuspecting stars then hear Noel, 47, claim in a strong Brummy accent to be their greatest fan with a huge collection of memorabilia. He persuades them to sign cardboard cutouts of themselves - before revealing they have been Gotcha-ed.

GMTV host Eamonn Holmes was in on the gag and interviewed Rick and Francis at the theatre in Brentford, West London. A TV source said: "It's one of the best ever Gotchas. Rick was first to spot it was Noel and gave it a big groan."

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26th - Gotcha on "Noel's House Party"

The BBC1 Saturday evening variety show "Noel's House Party", presented by Noel Edmonds, ran the Quo 'Gotcha' (as filmed on July 30th ) on October 26th. Francis and Rick formed part of the show's introduction as they rode in the back of a Jaguar car to the supposed 'great house' where the show is meant to come from.

The 'Gotcha' itself came towards the end of the show and was a 10-minute piece. Rick (in black leather trousers and black leather jacket) and Francis (jeans and black jacket) came on to the strains of "Rockin' All Over The World" and sat through the highlights of the Gotcha - some of the serious questions from fans were included then the various stooges and their ridiculous questions. The alleged huge Quo fan who'd written a tribute song was also shown 'performing' his song, out of tune and with forgotten lyrics. Cringeworthy stuff, especially for those of us who sat through this and had no idea it was a set up!

The film concluded with Noel (then pretending to be Quo fan 'Stan') taking a huge cut-out of Francis and Rick from the stage and asking them to sign it. The penny finally dropped and the bleeper covered up all of the ensuing expletives as Noel Edmonds presented them with the Gotcha trophy.

Quo played out the show with the first TV performance of "All Around My Hat", complete with Maddy Prior and audience participation. The whole thing was taken in very good humour as one might expect from Quo, just a shame that a real "Audience With Status Quo" has never followed.

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26th - Australian Quo convention, York on Lilydale, near Melbourne

My trip to Australia in October 1996 resulted in the following article being published in FTMO magazine (Volume 3, Issue 1).

Following 1995's successful gathering of Quo fans near Sydney, the Australian Quo convention moved states to Victoria and, on October 26th, more than 50 fans descended on a pleasant resort hotel, just North-East of Melbourne.

A chance encounter with the organisers of the event, Jean and Bernie Lowndes, at Hereford Leisure Centre during the 1995 tour, led to my invitation to visit Australia - and, through heavy promotion and hard work, they spread the Quo net far and wide, catching this pommy and fans from all over their vast homeland of Australia. Various events during the day (plus some time to admire the impressive collections brought along for display) led to an eagerly awaited video message from the band. In a very natural, unrehearsed film featuring all the members of Quo, Francis and Rick assured the Aussie fans that they'd be touring again - last year they said in 1996, this time 1997 was the revised estimate! - much to the delight of the convention. Then came my personal highlight of the event - a Quo cover band made up of enthusiastic fans. They played brilliantly and had to be virtually dragged off stage to keep us anywhere near the tentative agenda! With their spirits raised, the revellers proceeded to end the day with four hours of non-stop Quo boogie on the disco.

As a British visitor to Australia (taking in Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns - with Quo T-shirts proudly on display), my welcome was incredibly warm and the Aussies were all interested to hear any Quo news, particularly on the live front. I had to admire the continued dedication of the fans 'down under', still fanatical - even without a tour since 1978.

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28th - Quo release "All Around My Hat"

The third single to be lifted from the "Don't Stop" album, "All Around My Hat" was released in the UK on October 28th. The CD single (on PolygramTV with catalogue number 575-945-2) had three tracks - the title track, a "Don't Stop" reject in "I'll Never Get Over You" and "Get Out of Denver". The limited edition 7" picture disc (catalogue number 575-944-7) had "All Around My Hat" as its A-side, backed with "I'll Never Get Over You". The cassette single (catalogue number 575-945-4) featured the same two tracks.

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