Live In The City Of…Angels – Out October 4th

Well, here is the news!

And here also, from the album, is Love Song – sounding overdubbed (Jim’s voice, at least) to buggery.

Look…I hate to criticise, I really do. BUT…if you are going to release a live album…have the bloody courage of your convictions! If you want to keep that reputation of being one of the best live bands in the world…WHY overdub “live” albums?

Okay, I am basing this purely on the sound of Love Song. I’ve not heard anything else from the album, and I wasn’t at that gig…but Jim did write a post after the tour about how run-down and full of lurgy he was feeling during the tour. No one I knew who went to the gigs heard anything up with his voice.

I’m sorry, but to me, overdubs feel deceptive.

And he’ll be pissed off with me for my preliminary critique. But it is how I feel. And I am NOT going to lie. It’s just my first impression over what I’ve heard.

Sorry, Sir. But if I can’t be honest with you, then I might as well just…do as Annie Mitchell suggested and go and “step off the planet”.

But it’s a first impression, based on one song from it. I’ll no doubt invest in it, listen to it and give it a full and fair critique on release date.

Available to pre-order…details can be found on Simple Minds’ social media platforms.

Why I Love…Oh Jungleland

Glasgow is now a city I am longing to live in. The first time I visited Glasgow was in November, 2016. I felt an instant affiliation with the place. It had been many years I had wanted to visit Scotland’s most populous city. My first (and subsequently ONLY one up until that point) visit to Scotland had been a 16 hour whirlwind visit to Edinburgh and, to be honest, Edinburgh really didn’t do much for me at the time, and so I had always wished to see Glasgow to compare and contrast.

Well, it only took me another 15 years to get to Glasgow! It was a “freebie”. I had auditioned and secured a place on quiz show Fifteen To One, so my trip was all expenses paid. I arrived on the evening of November 5th – Bonfire Night. I was up on the 11th floor of the Jurys Inn on Jamaica Street. I may not be a “kid called hope” and the only reason I was holding out my hand was to film the view of the Clyde from “this highrise land”. And I wasn’t seeing the Northern Lights, but I was seeing fireworks being fired off all over the south and east sides of the city. It was beautiful.

Obviously my soundtrack for that night WASN’T Oh Jungleland but Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel.

The first thing I did when I arrived in Glasgow was to get a cab to the Old Dumbarton Road and to Tantrum Doughnuts. I bought three of them to go so I could enjoy them once I got to the Jurys Inn. As I waited for the taxi to come and collect me and get me to the hotel, I was offered a cigarette by a very dishevelled (in all likelihood homeless) but kindly gent. “No, I’m sorry. I don’t smoke, but thanks for offering anyway.” Even a Weegie that hard on his luck would offer a complete stranger a cigarette. Was I a little scared? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. That section of Old Dumbarton Road at that time was not exactly teeming with people and it was already dark and I was alone. Despite feeling a little vulnerable, I felt a huge sense of being welcomed.

Anyway…on to the song itself!

Uplifting from the get go with a fun little keyboard melody and a great guitar riff from Mr Burchill. Subtle yet perfect basslines from Mr Giblin and immaculate Gaynor drumbeat.

Only Jim could make a bleak and cold winter in Glasgow sound romantic “you’ve got the long nights” – put a parentheses of lines around it “you’ve got the love drugs” and “you got the heartbeat that spirals to heaven” and you have an irresistible romantic image of the city.

It has been a favourite Simple Minds song since I first heard it back in 1985. The only album I ever had of Simple Minds’ for many years was Once Upon A Time. I played the whole album regularly once I had it…but I never really kept up the momentum of being a Simple Minds fan. Never felt compelled to explore the back catalogue. Lost touch with them after a year or so after OUAT was released. Remember liking Belfast Child a few years later…but that was it.

Oh Jungleland to me is much more a homage to Glasgow as a whole. Waterfront concentrates more on the Clyde to me. Mr Kerr may tell me otherwise.

It’s uplifting and gives a sense of belonging. It feels like it says within the context of the lyrics…“This is my city. My people. It’s the city that made me.” The place has a beauty all its own. I see it every time I’m there. And that phrase…the city’s moto has never been a truer symbol of a city I have ver seen “people make Glasgow”. They do.

They place I grew up in is an area of south-western Sydney called Busby. On a street called Ayrshire Street. The family surname is McInnes (that’s the Scottish version of the spelling, either this or Mac). I have a mixture of Irish, English, German and Aborigine (the Scots blood is in my siblings – I should have actually been a Lawson, but took the McInnes name for convenience – well, more had it foisted on me). I can’t tell you what kind of annoying hell that was growing up – having the name Larelle – which NOBODY in Australia seems able to pronounce properly! – combine that with McInnes – then put Ayrshire Street, Busby into the mix and I DREADED being asked for my name and address over the phone! At least in person I could just ask for a pen and spell it all. Phone calls that I knew I needed to make where these questions would be asked became ritual “Larelle = L – A – R – E – double L – E. McInnes = M – C – I – double N – E – S. Fifteen – ONE FIVE Aryshire Street: A – Y – R – S – H – I – R – E street. Busby = B – U – S – B – Y. I DO NOT miss those days! And, yes, I still do have to do spelling of my name and address, but now in the days of the Internet, not so much. Phew!

Back then I would have NEVER foreseen the notion that one day I would be moving to Scotland. It was never really something on my radar. There was always more of an allure to the UK, culturally. The music in particular. I think I would have described myself as (erroneously) as an Anglophile. But I suppose the pull was stronger to England, initially. But the pull to Scotland gained more force. And over the past 10 years became a pipe dream of getting out of England and moving to. But it never seemed something remotely tangible until about 12 months ago.

So soon, somewhere in Scotland will be home. And with any luck, “Oh Jungleland” will be the place I call “home sweet home” – or as a little plaque I saw in the market stalls in Merchant City on my most recent trip up had said “Hame Sweet Hame”. I was SO tempted to buy it, but I didn’t. Hopefully the market seller will be there in several months time when there is a wall to hang the plaque on.

And that is a rather personal account of why I love Oh Jungleland.

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Glasgow Weekender – Linda McCartney Retrospective – Part Two

After not a super long but very solid night’s sleep, I awoke to see…although an overcast sky, high clouds and dry conditions. It seemed promising. I looked at the forecast which seemed to say although it was dry now (around 8am), it wasn’t going to last and it would be a dodge of sunshine and showers for most of the day.

I had to check out of the hostel by 10am, so after some social media catching up, I got myself ready and out the room at 9.45. The weather was still dry at that point but had clouded over quite a bit more.

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I stopped in for breakfast at the Bucket List Cafe up on Cambridge Street. I had scrambled eggs served with toasted sourdough and a very strong but very nice latte (and a second). By the time I left the cafe the weather had turned decidedly “dreich” and only got heavier as I walked along. I stopped under some shop facades because although I was protected enough by my umbrella, my cloth backpack wasn’t and I was getting worried about how wet things inside of it would get. The rain eased after several minutes and I walked onwards to the Kelvingrove.

My plans had chopped and changed over the weeks prior to arriving in Glasgow. Initially I wanted to see the Linda McCartney Retrospective, take in the Clyde, go down to Barras and Merchant City, have something to eat at a Cafe/Bar called Mono (with a fully vegan menu), then go back up to the Cineworld to catch a film before getting on the red-eye coach back to London. Then I thought, maybe with it being summer and the potential for good weather, I could go to the cathedral and then necropolis instead of the exhibition.

It was all change again when the weather seemed uninterested in playing along. So on I went to the Kelvingrove. Along the way, as I was making my way along Sauchiehall Street, just as I am walking by Royal Crescent, along comes this man on a bike. He’s in full MAMIL regalia and helmet…but there was something in the eyes. As he rode past me, he looked at me. I was drawn to those eyes. There was something familiar about them. Wishful thinking, I am sure…for one hopes that every street corner they turn into that you’ll see a familiar face. One hopes the serendipity would allow such a thing. It did with Derek once. Up in Glasgow for the Walk Between Worlds album signing, me and the OH were making our way back into the city from up the West End. As we’re walking down Argyle Street, who should we see walking along in the opposite direction but Mr Forbes. Well, I spotted him anyway. The OH was none the wiser. Lol. Did I make myself known or say hello? Hell no!

Anyway…Jim in lycra? Jim riding around the city on a bike? Naaaah! Doubt it.

The weather was still pretty dreich by the time I got to the museum, so the right choice was made. I left my bag in the cloak room and wanted to sit and have a coffee before going into the exhibition, but both cafes in the museum were heaving – it had just gone midday. The exhibition itself seemed relatively quiet and had no queue to go in so I decided to get straight on with it.

As you enter, you’re greeted with photos of a young Linda before her photographic career takes off. One or two self-portraits and then very early work of her capturing the Rolling Stones in New York on the Hudson in 1966 and some images of The Doors taken in 1967. To my surprise there were two wonderful photos of Linda that had been taken by Jim Morrison on display. I have to say, based on those two photos alone, Morrison himself wasn’t too shabby behind the lens!

Obligatory as it would be, there were several of her earliest photos taken of The Beatles and of Paul on his own. And there were also some absolutely stunning photos that Paul had taken of Linda.

The next room focussed more on later Beatles photos, mostly ones taken at Abbey Road, one of when Paul and Linda got together. And there were early family photos of Paul and Linda together and of Paul with Heather, Mary and Stella.

Elsewhere there were two sets of displays of polaroids showing intimate family life. Wonderful colourful images of the family on holiday and of local life in the places they went to. Life on the road, touring.

In the final room was a display of work dedicated to Scotland, incorporating family life on the farm as well as everyday life for the locals.

It was a really extensive retrospective with a lot to see. I really enjoyed it. I grabbed myself a few postcards from the gift shop on the way out.

As I left the museum I thought “Oh well, I’m down this way, might as well have a doughnut.” I walked over to the store on Old Dumbarton Road but it was quite full and still quite warm from the heat of the previous few days. I decided against it and headed on down towards the Clyde.

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What’s better than a jamboree? ….

By the time I got down to the Clyde, the clouds were parting and the sun was making a full appearance. And by the time I got myself down to King Street and to Mono, the clouds were high and distant and the sun was glorious. It was quite warm inside Mono, so I thought I’d indulge in an alcoholic drink. I looked at the specials on the board and saw among the options a kumquat margarita. I knew kumquats are citrus so I thought it would be a rather refreshing thing to have on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was delicious. I could have easily had another had they not been expensive and had I not feared getting tipsy. For my main I had the Schnitzel – served with roast potatoes (they didn’t seem roasted rather than boiled, with skins on) miso mustard cream, salad and beetroot chutney. It was really nice. And I indulged in a dessert of apple cake, served with a scoop of ice cream on top. It was all really delicious and the decor inside is nice. I’d definitely go there again. And there’s a music store within called Monorail. I had a look around, but nothing took my eye.

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The Kumquat Margarita

After leaving Mono, I headed for Gallowgate and to Barrowland. It was the only point I had to get my phone out and refer to Google Maps. I knew I wasn’t far from there but I couldn’t quite get my bearings. I wanted to go to Barras so I could see the “Oor Ziggy” statute. There is a bucket trail on again this year. Last year it was penguin statutes and this year it is various decorated versions of Oor Wullie. The weather being as it was, I didn’t get to see as many Wullies (pun absolutely intended!) as I’d have liked. Lol. But I did see some. And I now realise, I missed seeing the one with Jim’s name on it. Damn! But I did get to see “Oor Ziggy”. Below are the Wullies I spied while I was up there.

I walked back through Merchant City and the market and had a quick perusal. I didn’t really see anything I fancied. Well, I saw one thing. A little plaque that said “Hame Sweet Hame” that I was tempted to buy to hang in the house that will be our hame that I hope we’ll buy within the next 12 months or so.

Another pit stop for an ice coffee and then up to the Cineworld for a film. I was hoping that, to tie in with seeing the exhibition earlier in the day, I’d get to see Yesterday. I got to Cineworld at 6.45 and the next screening of Yesterday was on at 7.50. It wasn’t due to finish until 10.15 which would have cut it fine for getting over to the station for my coach at 10.30. I thought it best not to chance it. With few other options and with at least 3 hours to waste, I decided on seeing The Lion King instead. I know! Lol. And I am sad to say I really did enjoy it. It has been really well done.

I grabbed a bottle of water for the journey home (and was armed with sesame snaps and a bag of marshmallows that I had bought earlier in the day) and was over at Buchanan Station at 9.40.

It was a long journey home…but it was a wonderful weekend.

Glasgow Weekender – Trevor Horn Gig – Saturday, July 27th – Part One

It was going to be a long day. I had set out from home at the ungodly time of 4.30am. Plenty of time to get myself to Luton station for the 5.08 train to St Pancras. That was the theory. The practice was different!

I arrived at Luton station around 4.45am. I looked to the screen for the timetable and see which platform my train was leaving from. In a rather tired state from such an early start it took a moment or two to register what I was seeing on the screen. All the trains going to London up til 5.40am (all that the screen was showing at that point) were cancelled. I stood there rather dumbstruck initially. And then the panic set in! It’s ticking towards 5.00am and I had to be at Euston station by 6.30 at the latest for my 6.36am train to Glasgow Central. WHAT THE HELL WAS I GOING TO DO?! It flashed through my mind “Well, short of getting a taxi into London that may or may not even get me there in time – AND cost me a small fortune – I’m pretty screwed. In fact, I’m probably not going!” I wanted to cry!

The thought of that…the thought of not going was breaking my heart. The only thing I could feasibly think of doing was getting in a taxi…but I knew it wouldn’t be cheap. I rang my partner and told her what was happening. “What do I do?” “Well…there isn’t much choice left. Take a taxi.” The first cab couldn’t take me as he wasn’t able to take card payments but thankfully the second driver could. “We will make it, won’t we?”, I say to him. “I’m sure we will. I will do my best.” As I’m settled in and we’re making our way to the M1 motorway he says to me “You know, you could have just flown to Glasgow.” Lol. I could have throttled him at that point. But I went on to explain that I booked the train because my passport had expired and although Luton to Glasgow is an internal domestic flight, I believed that a passport was still required. I subsequently learned that only photo ID is required and that even an expired passport (up to five years from expiration) is sufficient for internal domestic travel. Damn!

To my huge relief the motorway was largely clear of traffic and the rain wasn’t too heavy so the driver was able to go as fast as his traditional Hackney cab would allow. He dropped me at Euston at 5.49am. We made it in under an hour. I was stunned and relieved – and rather sad to be paying a £90 taxi fare! BUT…I had made it to Euston and in plenty of time before the train was due to depart.

The rest of the journey was relaxing and I arrived at Glasgow Central right on schedule at 11.59am. Approximately 10 minutes later, I found myself in Tantrum Doughnuts ordering two of them – a limited edition hazelnut blondie and the signature pistachio and hibiscus one. I also had a reviving latte.

The weather was a bit miserable when I arrived – dreich, as the locals are known to describe it. I wandered about a bit. Tried to keep dry. Then eventually made my way up to my accommodation for the night, hoping I’d be able to check in a little early and maybe get an hour’s sleep before the gig later on.

I head back down to the city centre at around 6pm, stopped in for a coffee at a cafe nearby the RCH, then went into the venue around 7pm.

I was starting to get quite excited by then. I know Mick had told me on FB that, of the Minds, only he would be there…but I couldn’t help but hope that maybe Jim had wanted to surprise even Mick by showing up at the last minute…either on his own or with Charlie.

I had a great view from my seat and the stage looked quite full so there was going to be quite a few people on the stage performing! The show started promptly at 7.45. Trevor arrives on stage to a warm and rousing round of applause. Once at the mic he says, “I’m 70 years old and this is my first solo headline tour.”

Musically, the show started with the biggest bang – an amazing version of Two Tribes, sung by “Roberto” (as Trevor kept introducing him through the night as) aka Kalon Rae. I don’t really watch TV these days so was unaware of him and his appearance on The Voice UK last year. He certainly nailed it! It was one heck of an opener that’s for sure and it set a standard for the rest of the night. Second song in was Trevor’s own Buggles composition of Video Killed The Radio Star. The next song – a Godley & Creme composition, Cry, came with the dawning realisation that the short man on guitar standing next to Trevor on his right was indeed Lol Creme himself! Kalon sang Cry but Lol himself sang the next number, a fab version of 10CC’s Rubber Bullets (Lol having written and performed it as part of the 10CC lineup, of course).

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And the hits just kept on a-coming. A photo of the setlist above. The wonderful Steve Hogarth sang It’s Different For Girls and Ashes To Ashes. A pair of wonderful female singers sang the “t.a.T.u” number All The Things She Said. One of them took the lead on Slave To The Rhythm.

It was back to Kalon for another Frankie tune – The Power Of Love, then Trevor himself sang the lead for Living In The Plastic Age, and Steve Hogarth again for I’m Not In Love – Lol Creme on piano for it – and Everybody Wants To Rule The World.

There was an interval of 15 minutes.

When the gig resumes, Trevor is delayed in his return. It becomes immediately obvious as to what the delay was when he comes striding back out in a sparkly jacket and A KILT. He is welcomed back out to cheers and a number of wolf whistles. Lol. He places his hands on the sporran at the centre of the kilt and says, “I have always wondered what these things were for…but now I know.” He opens it up and reaches in then holds his hand aloft. “Picks!”, he says, with a pick between his thumb and fingers. On we go into a fab version of Owner Of A Lonely Heart sung by Trevor.

Then the moment arrives. “While we are on a Scottish theme”, says Trevor, “I started visiting Scotland more in 1988. That’s when I started working with Simple Minds. I’d already been working with so many bands and artists by that point but I can say that working with Simple Minds, it was the first time I felt like I wasn’t working with a bunch of arseholes. They are great guys.” And then it becomes a little bit of a blur what else he said because I know Mick is about to appear on the stage, but I still remained hopeful that at the very last minute that Jim and Charlie would be there too. Sadly that didn’t happen, but I gave the loudest cheer as Mick walked on stage. To be there to see him play was all I needed to make my night.

I feel terrible that I didn’t catch the singer’s name but he was very good. And seeing Mick play was so very special. I recorded Brothers In Arms live on FB but stopped filming when Rhythm Of My Heart started. I just wanted to take it in properly and enjoy watching Mick perform. Kalon provided the vocals this time, and he was wonderful again.

A lovely understated female vocal ballad version of Dancing In The Dark was next. Not before Trevor relayed the story of his dealings with The Boss and how he’d asked permission to do Born To Run…bossa nova style. Lol

Another major guest performer in the shape of Argent’s Russ Ballard. Crowd sing-a-longs to Since You’ve Been Gone and God Gave Rock N Roll To You left the hordes on a high.

Great renditions of Girls On Film by the female vocalists, then it was Steve Hogarth again for Kiss From A Rose and Blue Monday, before a final Kalon led amazing crowd up-off-our-seats, clapping and dancing version of Relax.

A final encore of Money For Nothing and that was it. An amazing night was had by the vast majority of patrons in attendance. I certainly enjoyed it! It is a strong contender for “gig of the year” for me. Perhaps only being slightly pipped by Massive Attack at The Hydro back in January and Stewart Copeland at the Festival Hall in March.

As soon as I was back out on the street, I propped myself up by the stage doors. The only person waiting there initially. But then Phil Palmer and the man providing the vocals on Brothers In Arms and Money For Nothing came out for a cigarette and that got one or two people stopping, congratulating and thanking them for the gig. After about 15 mins, there was six other people waiting with me. About 45 minutes of waiting and Mick walks out through the stage doors. I get his attention “Hi, Mick.” When it registers with him who I am he says to me “THERE YOU ARE! I’ve been looking for you all night.” Aaww! What an utterly sweet thing to say! “So, you made it then?” A bag of nerves, I just said “Yes I did.” But in hindsight I’d say “Of course I did! I wouldn’t have missed this for the world!” We chatted briefly and then I asked him if he would be so kind as to sign my Life In A Day 7” picture sleeve and an original vintage print I have of Mick taken in Brussels in 1983 by Stefan De Batselier. He signed them both for me. We hugged and then he was on his way.

Oh no! I didn’t even get a photo with him! Mercifully one of the other people waiting had stopped him and asked if they could have their photo with him so that gave me the opportunity to ask. I tried to be Miss Appalling Selfie Taker (and was succeeding!) when the man with Mick said “I can take it if you like?” YES PLEASE! Lol. Save me from my selfie doom. Lol. And he really couldn’t have taken a more wonderful photo. It is just so, so lovely.

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It was a wonderful night.

I will discuss Sunday’s day of exploration tomorrow.

Mangled Magazine Interview With Jim

A quick interview with Jim from 1979. I feel vindicated about my thoughts on cassettes. Lol

See…I don’t get the comparisons to Magazine, either. But I’d have died to have seen one of those gigs now!

As for the “Secondhand Simplicity” review title? A lazy alliteration…that’s all it was. I seem to remember it was a pretty good review otherwise. I’m sure I have it posted here on the blog somewhere.

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Why I Love…Changeling

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The dancefloor. Frigging hell! Did Simple Minds know how to fill it back in the day. I guess they still do to be fair.

But let us rewind back to 1979. Rockfield Studios in the Welsh countryside. Five young men from Glasgow are in the studio making the followup to their debut album. An album that really couldn’t be more different to the first. They are still just babies, with the average age of them being just 20. They are still very much learning their craft. Recording in the studio next door are none other than Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Could life get any sweeter?

Yes it could. These five young men band together and make one of the best dance tracks of the late 1970’s as you are ever likely to hear.

OKAY! I’ll be the first to admit that…given all the changes in lyrics that Jim Kerr has made in SM songs over the years…esp. early on (he would rewrite songs entirely from demo to album recording), it’s quite a thing that there wasn’t a change made to the opening line to Changeling. I suppose that was the curse of there being no demos for Real To Real Cacophony. They went straight into recording.

The sticking point, lyrically, is that horrible propensity for snidey shits to take the mickey out of the opening line and continue to sing along to Wombling Free, which I’ve got to say…I don’t know what it does to Jim…but to me, it fucking pisses me off no end!

Perhaps we should concentrate on the musical structure of the song for now? Synths and bass opening with an instant dance hook. Drum grooves quickly follow and then a simplistic yet fab guitar riff. Industrial dance grooves. Fuck these boys were good at them! There’s nothing quite like this on Life In A Day. They hadn’t made a sound quite like this, yet…but boy does it signal the start of a very identifiable early “Simple Minds” signature sound. An aural “watermark”, if you will.

I really don’t know anyone who could listen to this track and not tap their feet or their hands and just get hooked in by the groove.

In spite of what the Arista execs hear at the UK HQ with Real To Real Cacophony in which they appear utterly dumbfounded, they do seem to make the right choice in having Changeling as the lead (but unfortunately subsequently ONLY) single off the album. How they didn’t then follow it up with Factory and Premonition is anyone’s guess. One can only assume they were already becoming concerned that SM was going to leak money hand over fist.

Changeling has no chart success, so one assumes that is why there are no other singles released from the Real To Real Cacophony album.

The failure of the single to chart can’t be down to it being deemed “not good enough” by the music consumer of the time? Just listen to it! Was it just overlooked from a then pretty flooded market? Singles at this point sold in their THOUSANDS every week. Albums had their importance then too, but the single was still king at this point. To the point where single picture sleeves were at their height. A single was packaged with as much of a visual selling point as an album was at this point in time. Every Simple Minds single released so far had been in a picture sleeve…Changeling being no exception. Did the picture sleeve “sell” the single? Hmmm…I’m unsure it did much. Life In A Day was certainly simplistic in its design, but it made an impact nonetheless. As for Chelsea Girl? She was on the mark. Jim was on the mark for wanting that Jean Shrimpton painting as the cover.

But for Changeling…I don’t know what a greyscale image of some hosepipe really tells you about the song. There’s a kind of industrial look to the cover, yes…but where I think the texture and simplicity of the Real To Real Cacophony album cover works to sell it (luring you in wondering what the hell this album is about as the cover actually gives NOTHING away by design) – that same simplistic approach falls flat for the Changeling single.

Back to the song itself. Let’s get back to those lyrics. Young Mr Kerr, what you on about, boy? Lol. For me, I gotta say that Changeling is a very rare beast in that it is all about the tune, the groove and not much about The Boy’s songwriting…for a change. I still love the words…but they mean fuck all. Lol. But hey….some of my absolute favourite Bowie songs are pure gobbledegook. The Burroughs technique has a lot to answer for, sometimes. I couldn’t write a song that means SOMETHING…let alone one that doesn’t really mean anything at all but sounds like it does anyway. And to me…that’s master craftsmanship.

In summary? In the simplest terms, it’s a dancefloor filler. Possibly Simple Minds’ first. At least one of the first, blazing a trail for more killers that follow…I Travel, Celebrate, This Fear Of Gods, Love Song, The American…the list goes on (and on and on 😜).

And that is why I love Changeling.

(PS: Jim can’t mime to save his life….but I bloody love him anyway!)

Ruts DC – Pelton Arms, Greenwich – June 28th, 2019

Jumped on the tickets when it was first announced. At £10 a throw, they were not to be sneezed at.

I thought Greenwich might be a bit of a pain to get to…but hey, the gig would be great so we’d cross that bridge on the day. Well, as it happened, we could get a train direct to Greenwich from Luton. I had NO IDEA this was even possible. That made logistics nice and easy.

 

We got the train to the stop after Greenwich, Maze Hill, so we could our bearings to the pub. It wasn’t far from Maze Hill station. After we cased the joint, we took a meander along the Thames and headed back towards Greenwich. There was a bit of time to kill to peruse and look about. We ended up at the Royal Observatory. ****PUN ALERT**** I had a “mean time” straddling the meridian. I was getting myself quite muddled about this the other day when I was there…being quite a thicky. Lol! I can be the biggest dumbass sometimes. I’d never been to Greenwich before and didn’t realise just quite what a viewpoint of the rest of London you have from the observatory.

Looking ahead I think this train journey will cut out a lot of faffing getting to the Alice Cooper gig at the O2 in October.

But let’s get back to the gig and Ruts DC.

While we were at the observatory having a mooch about, the boys were back at the Pelton Arms going through soundcheck. From the little clip I saw on Facebook, it was sounding fantastic. I didn’t have much doubt of it.

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A quick pitstop back in the main bit of town for a bite to eat then back to the pub in time for the gig.

Leigh was about in the pub. I ended up seated next to him. I had taken along my copy of the South Of Babylon photobook with Virginia’s photos in. I asked Leigh if he’d sign it for me. “I’m not in it though”, he says to me. “I know, but you’re part of the band now and I’d like you to sign it.” He seemed to think the other guys would be a bit funny about it. He said “If you ask Segs and he says it’s okay, then maybe I will.”

After a short while, my ears tune in to a song playing over the sound system. I think I am hearing the opening strains to something VERY familiar…and then I hear the unmistakable drum and bass combo of McGee and Forbes and YES! Theme For Great Cities was playing in the pub. This pub was now officially the coolest pub in London!

About 10 mins before showtime, Segs and Ruffy arrive at the pub. I take my chance while Segs hasn’t been flanked on both sides by peeps. I sidle up to him, book in one hand, Sharpie in the other. “Hi Segs, could I please have you sign this for me?” “Is this the book? I haven’t seen it yet”, and he has a flick through it. “This is brilliant.” Of course he signs it but then keeps hold of it and carries it around showing peeps. He showed the guy manning their merch stall and then the promotor (I’m assuming?) of the gig. He then goes over to Leigh and shows him. “Hey, have a look at this. Isn’t it fab?” It’s my cue to say “I asked Leigh if he’d sign it earlier on but he said I to ask your permission first. So, will you give him permission to sign it?” “Leigh! You can sign it. I’ll get Dave to sign it for you and all.” Ruffy had gone to a back room to get into his gig clothes. So when he comes out, Segs is on the case. He’s still carrying the book around. He’s got it open on a page of close up portraits of the guys so he can show Ruffy his portrait. “Look at this – it’s that book”, he says to him, putting the book on the table. “Will you sign this for this lady?” With the book all signed, I left them to get themselves ready for the stage.

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The stage was right in the corner of the pub. Acoustic levels were great. Clear views were awkward, esp. if you’re on the shorter side of height, obv. Not much space for dancing…but the couple of ladies in front of us were determined. From my place in the crowd, I could see Leigh but not much of Ruffy and Segs only from time to time.

The crowd kept jostling and moving about. People continuously moving, making their way back to the bar and the back again to try and get back to their spot. About halfway through the set, things were getting a bit steamy. I was getting ready to alert the OH about maybe getting out of the crowd and sitting back down when she says to me “I need to get out of here and sit down. I don’t feel so good.” We’re as bad as each other. Lol. She has Meniere’s so standing venues are not great for her anyway.

Sat back down, we were both okay. Obviously couldn’t see a thing but could still hear things great. Couldn’t fault them for sound levels. They were spot on.

It was a fairly short set. They played for just over an hour. Babylon’s Burning being the close of the set, with a single song encore. Others in the set included Music Must Destroy, In A Rut, Staring At The Rude Boys, Love In Vain, West One, Kill The Pain and Psychic Attack.

Enjoyed the set. Crowd was good. Nothing kicked off. Everyone pretty respectful and stuff. Pub was great. Acoustics inside were great. I do actually prefer acoustic sets. As much as I love the full rock experience, you tend to get a better clarity at the acoustic gigs. There’s no distortion of sound. You can actually HEAR things, you know? The venue location was good too. Easy to get to. All good.

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I went and thanked Segs for a fab set, asked for a snap together and we were off back home.

Not sure when my next opportunity to see them will be. I would LOOOOVE it to be Hamburg in December (where they are supporting The Stranglers)…but things are a bit too up-in-the-air for that to be a definite at the moment. Only time will tell.