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Trial Offer

Trial Offer were an enigma in their own lunchtime. Although the group lasted for only 21 months, their unique blend of pop and new wave was hammered out with energy and volume. A combination that made them a popular and influential act on the Forest of Dean music scene of 1979 - '81.

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The original line up was Sid Phelps on Bass and backing vocals, Phil Brown (Biffo) on Rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Mark (Wog) Worgen on percussion and backing vocals and Andy Leigh completing the line up on Lead guitar and vocals. This was a line up that did not change for the life of the group.Shown here from left to right - Andy, Biffo, Sid and Wog.
Starting off whilst still at school. Their first gig was a hastily rehearsed set of a mix of covers and self penned songs. Played to a packed house of 650 school children. They headlined with another school group called 'Red Shirt'. Andy's first attempt at a new wave song 'UFO'went down well. Trial Offer were growing in stature, playing regularly in local venues notably: The Lion in Cinderford, Ruspidge Village hall, The Market Tavern in Hereford, the Brunnel Rooms in Stroud and a hippy camp on Wotten under Edge common, not forgeting the odd birthday party.
One notable event was when "Desmond" (aka David Pudge) had booked them to play at the Rank Xerox apprentices' Xmas bash at The Woodlands hotel. When the group arrived at the the venue, the landlord was rather dubious when he saw Wog's Pink Mohican and remarked in a Lancashire accent "You're not one those Punk Rocket groups are you?". To spice up the night two members of Red Shirt joined the throng and one of them, angry at some advice Andy had given Barbed Wire, hit Andy onto the Trial Offer 4x12 speaker stack and toppling it. Sadly the guitar in use by Andy that evening was Tony Troughton's (ex- Barbed Wire) - leaning against a table. The speaker stack falling full onto the guitar splintering the neck. The Trial Offer fans gave the Red Shirt boys a good sending off and the Woodlands' disco ball became a make shift football. Trail Offer went on to greater popularity, graffiti appearing in the local public toilets. Seen here at the Miners welfare Club in Cinderford playing on the same bill as Punk Group Barbed Wire.
The Boys went on to play at Cinderford Rugby Club and Cambridge University. They were approached by ageing rocker Hans Richter (aka Mike Hopkins or Hoppy to his friends). Hans helped the boys to make a demo, arranging for them to record in Eardlsley Studios. The demo still exists and remains the only half professional recording by Trial Offer. The summer of '81 saw Sid and Biffo head in separate directions to different colleges and Trial Offer quietly disbanded. Does the legend live on? You tell me! Of course we cannot end this tale of nostalgia without naming a few of the faithful entourage who made sure that at least ten people turned up to each gig. They are :-?. Slack (Jackie Harris), Alge, Jayne Hodgkinson, Lesley Withers, Pam (Gina), Linda & Helen Smith, Basty (Mark Baston), Desmond (David Pudge), Andy Field.... If there are any of you not mentioned here please email me and I will be happy to add you to the role