Album sleeve photographer Michael Spencer Jones continues his memories of ‘The Oasis years’.
Be Here Now (album released August 1997, reached Number 1 in the UK)
“That was interesting... photography can often be about problem solving situations – there’s always things coming up you have to sort; the light or shadows coming in where they shouldn’t be, or props not arriving.
Be Here Now was just full of these problems that kept arising.
We drained the swimming pool and repainted it, and then we got the tarpaulin to camouflage the scaffolding [that was supporting the Rolls Royce] and then realised the blue was completely different from the blue of the pool.
It was: ‘I’m afraid we’re going to have repaint the swimming pool to hide the fact that the Rolls Royce is supported on something, which might take away the illusion’, so we did that and then it was ‘right, let’s fill it back up with water’.
With swimming pools you can’t just get a normal domestic hosepipe, it’d take about three days, so we had to get the fire guys out to get to the nearest hydrant, then started filling it up.
This is about seven o’clock in the evening, so we retired to our room, then next morning drew the curtains back, looked out... no water in the swimming pool... oh s***. ‘What is going on? Why isn’t it full?’ – you look at your watch and Oasis are arriving in two hours.
A quick phone call to the fire brigade: ‘we have a problem – you’re going to have to come out’, so they came out, went to the hydrant and suddenly realised they’d not turned the water on properly, so they turned it on and it started to fill up...
Then a side issue was that the water pressure in this five star hotel (Stocks House in Hertfordshire) went completely, so they couldn’t wash up, you couldn’t brush your teeth, flush the toilet... and this is in the morning when everyone’s getting up. All the guests are going absolutely mental... there’s this mini mutiny happening in the hotel.
Anyway, the pool fills up and then I looked from my window and saw all this foam and black scummy mess in the pool.
What had happened was the water level had risen and the oil from under the Rolls’ wheels had washed off and gone into the pool and it was black.
So we got this rowing paddle to skim off the top layer of oil and we managed to clean it up about 20 minutes before the band arrived – knowing nothing of all the trauma that had just happened.
A lot of people think the Rolls Royce is Photoshopped into the swimming pool... no, trust me it was definitely not.”
* Out of the Blue – The Oasis photographs of Michael Spencer Jones is on show at Snap Galleries until February 28 2009. Tel: 0121 748 3408. www.snapgalleries.com