Repetition…

I’m going through illness again. Bear with me as I try and pull myself out. Things may be quiet here for a bit. There’s not really anything to report on the SM front. Jim says they are working on new music (which is fabulous…of course I am excited. As excited as my heart and mind are allowing to be at this time) but for the fans it’s very quiet.

I hate that psychobabble phrase “It’s okay not to be okay.” I know what they are trying to say and what they mean. But right now I’m not okay AND I AM NOT OKAY WITH THAT! I want to punch myself in the face! I am angry at myself for not being okay. Because when I am not okay I am full of apathy and the lowest self-worth. I’m never exactly high with that at the best of times…

So I do stupid things like this endlessly when I feel ill. Because…his face and his beauty is the only thing that makes me feel okay.

And I know I sound ridiculous and pathetic and I hate myself for it. I just descend into a hole, down a well and sometimes I feel like I’ll never get out again.

I hate not being okay…

Steve In Stevenage…

You know sometimes when you see something … you’ve just been made aware of it but it happened just a couple of days prior so you missed it completely?

Well…that just happened to me. I’m checking the local record stores, particularly those over the Hertfordshire border…to see what they’re stocking and their prices for Saturday’s RSD. I checked Revolution Records in Stevenage to see that just this Monday gone STEVE HILLAGE WAS THERE DOING AN ALBUM SIGNING! I AM GUTTED!

I am ssssoooo gutted I missed this. I think I’d have been the ONLY person there to say “So, Steve…what was like working with Simple Minds on Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call?”

I’D HAVE GRILLED HIS ARSE! Lol. “Is the story about the pot plant true? Did you really fall down a stairwell on an office chair?” You know…all the probing questions! Lol

Oh, shit. I can’t believe I missed him! 😩😩😩

Stewart Copeland – Royal Festival Hall, London – March 30th, 2019

After Thursday’s affair at The Stranglers gig, I was thankful to know that I’d be seated at the Stewart Copeland gig.

28BDCB54-7D79-4AA0-86D7-7C67050EA0E3

From my memory of how the side seats looked when I was there for the Manic Street Preachers/The Anchoress Meltdown gig last June, the seats appeared like they’d give you a pretty good view. I suppose the rail could make it a little restricted with the view, especially if you’re a short person and sit low in your seat but for less than half the price of the stall seats, it made it an affordable last minute choice to go.

And I chose my seat well. There were seats either side of the auditorium. Both seats I was viewing when buying my ticket would have given me very similar views of the stage. It was just down to me whether I’d feel more comfortable facing the stage via facing it to the right or left. For some reason I couldn’t quite understand, I was favouring sitting on the left side. It ended up a great choice as from how you see in the few sneaky snaps I took, Stewart’s kit was facing – what was for him from the stage side perspective, the right side of the auditorium. I had a prime view.

He arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm, wishing the crowd a good evening. Cracked some jokes about half of his children were probably in the audience…or the actual audience! Lol. He started with film scores.

Tunes from Rumble Fish, Wall Street, his work on the Ben Hur live experience, the Spyro videogame soundtrack….as well as the odd Police number (in which he gave praise to Sting – I nearly fell off my chair! “Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – the greatest songwriter ever to exist on the planet” – quote/unquote!), playing Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Darkness and Miss Gradenko. And no Stewart Copeland set would be complete without The Equalizer, which he strangely did not perform but handed it over to the orchestra conductor who just happened to be a rather accomplished drummer himself. Stewart by way of a role swap, conducted the orchestra on the piece, as you can only imagine Stewart Copeland would…with quite a few giggles from the crowd as he made over exaggerated hand gestures and at one point did the Twist whilst still conducting away.

I think he also played something from The Rhythmatist and also played some Balinese Gamelan music.

220591D1-A4A7-45BE-9A9D-FA269FCF8049

He talked in between every piece, telling a brief story behind each. How they came to take place, etc. Namedropping directors like Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppola along the way. Always bringing out chuckles in the audience.

With a 20 minute interval about 45 minutes into the set, the gig came in at just on two hours. All done and dusted by 9.30pm. I had never been out of a gig so early! I was back at Victoria by 9.50 and on the coach back to Luton just after 10pm. And back in the door at home by 11.30pm. Incredible!

423F43F1-BC4C-4579-9480-24C2191A701C.jpeg

Any worries I may suffer a repeat of Thursday were long gone. I had a draining journey back from Weston-super-Mare during the day, but was soon revived with a meal and a short meander around the Southbank of London.

Stewart put on a great show. Great musicianship by the orchestra. Stewart was in good form both musically and as a general showman and class goofball.

It was a great night. I was so happy to have seen him. At times during the set I had been sitting their inwardly pinching myself, thinking “I am actually HERE watching Stewart Copeland play! This is fucking amazing!” And it was.

The Stranglers – O2 Academy, Bristol – 28th March, 2019

It was quite a hike from Luton to Bristol. First a trip to London, then on from there to Bristol. I arrived at 3.45pm and met up with a friend shortly after.

We had a bite to eat at the Boston Tea Party at the top of Park Street. A nice place. Looks deceptively small on the outside, but has plenty of seating upstairs. I needed to fuel up before the gig, so had a chai latte, a veggie burger and chips.

We queue outside that venue around 6pm. We were met with a few other fans after…and the queue got progressively longer. Another friend us in the queue around 6.40 and we were let in a few minutes before 7pm.

Support act was Dr Feelgood. A curious support in that there is not a single original member of the band within the group. But they were great all the same. Great musicianship. The singer was quite a showman but at least he was animated and not standing about looking like he’d prefer to be elsewhere.

The only two Dr Feelgood songs I know are Milk And Alcohol and Roxette and they performed those. The only thing I’d say as a negative was, although the overall sound level was great, the singer was lost in the mix. He was too low. Couldn’t much hear him either singing or playing the harmonica. Other than that, the set was great and I really enjoyed them.

All good. Everything going well.

Just a short break and then out come the boys. We were in a prime position, right in front of JJ. I filmed a bit here and there and have one complete song of them performing set opener Tank.

All was going good. The following day was Dave Greenfield’s 70th birthday, and my friend, Ruth, had made a special celebratory banner for him. After a few songs, Ruth produced the banner from her pocket and we held it up against the barrier. JJ noticed it and nodded approval, then he went over and got Dave’s attention and pointed it out to him. A short while later, Baz noticed it too and asked Ruth to throw it up on the stage to him. Baz then clipped it to the front of Dave’s keyboard stand and it stayed there for the rest of the gig.

About half way through the set I was starting to feel unwell. Light headed and just…not sure of myself. A little overheated, but it was so cramped in there, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my jumper off.

I sat down and would have probably revived myself had I been allowed to stay there a few mins, but security guard came over and told Ruth I needed to stand back up, that it was too dangerous for me to sit at the barrier. I stood back up and I was not too bad initially. JJ checked with me that I was okay and I had mouthed to him I was fine and gave him a thumbs up. I was just trying to keep calm and ride the feeling out…but it didn’t work and after a few minutes I was out for the count. I shared the footage on the blog of what ensued.

I could feel myself being pulled over the barrier and feel being carted off. I was conscious again and saying “Guys! I’m okay!” Lol. Obviously NOT okay, but at least conscious again. They took me out a side exit and sat me on the ground for a few mins. They then got me a chair and I sat there for a few more mins. I was allowed to go back in but had missed a few songs. It was so crowded, I was right at the back and I wasn’t going to risk trying to get to the front and get reunited with my friends.

I didn’t stay in the venue again for too long. There was a bar out the front and some seating, so I just sat and waited until the gig was done.

The Stranglers are ALWAYS top class. They are never anything else. Set was great, I mean the actual stage set…the set list of songs were too. Some songs as a fan but not “uber” fan I was unfamiliar with. And there were a couple of new tracks played and I caught a bit of one of them.

51C79447-C2F0-4811-9D6C-B78E6D370D39

They’re a stellar act. The venue is small, intimate, and on a personal level, could do with a bit of ventilation. Great otherwise though.

I’ve seen them at least once every year now since 2016 and this year I may end up seeing them twice, all things boding well!

You’ll NEVER be disappointed at a Stranglers gig…even if you do find yourself fainting in the middle of it.

A Short Personal Note

The past few days have been quite a bit of a topsy turvy affair. I was hoping to do reviews of both The Stranglers and Stewart Copeland gigs that I went to over these past few days today.

One might be a little awkward to do too much of a review for, sadly. The other should be fairly full. Both I hope to post tomorrow.

Today I’ve been to the GP and received an initial diagnosis that is something I will just have to deal with. The GP thinks I have vasovagal syncope which is basically fainting due to sudden drops in heart rate or blood pressure. Nothing much else to be done for it, it seems. But I am booked in for a blood test and ECG at the surgery on Thursday morning. Nothing concrete about my diagnosis until these things are done and analysed.

I must admit that the notion that this is something like this, and there is not much else to be done, and I just have to deal with the psychosomatic effects of feeling the onset of it and just having to “ride it out” scares the frigging bejaysus out of me. It feels like what would happen to me through the worst of the whooping cough years ago…when I could feel my airwaves blocking up and my not being able to do anything about it and eventually pass out through lack of oxygen to the lungs.

To be conscious of it happening. To be alert to it, yet have to use my own recovery techniques to prevent a full attack is just so scary. Obviously I am failing miserably to override these factors. Quite how I actually stop my own heart rate dropping or my BP from falling I can’t quite fathom.

I am going to have to rethink certain things when it comes to gigs and stuff. Seated venues wherever possible. Most likely goodbye to the front row at the barrier at standing gigs. Yay!

Kids! Listen to me. Just…live life NOW. Don’t do what I did and live like a fucking hermit half your life and never go anywhere or do anything. Take it by the horns! Do all that you can. Do everything in your power to enjoy what you have and live life to the fullest.

Life is far too short. End of personal talk.

On with the blog as it stands tomorrow.

The 30 Day Song Challenge

B867E3CA-28F3-4789-83DD-F7CC79CBC148

I saw this a few days ago on Facebook and thought it would be fun to do – esp. if I tried to stick to the theme of Simple Minds. I was just going to keep it on FB but now FB has had a meltdown this evening, so I’ll shift it here and post the first three days as well, and backdate them.

Actually posted Wednesday 13th March, 2019

10 Years Ago – No Regrets?

Well, you’re not meant to have any regrets in life. And of course, I did try to get “into” SM fully in 2006…but here I am in 2009 professing my love for OUAT and well, if only I tried building on that again.

I’d have been around for the release of Graffiti Soul and Lostboy! and for the 5×5 tour and OMG! Just…

But a wise friend told me not to think on what I have missed, but what I had experienced since actually becoming the SM fan I am now. I mean…just yesterday…fulfilling the dream of taking the first step in learning to play the drums…and look who my teacher is?! Wow! Amazing!

So…no regrets, eh? Oh…but I’m still wishing for that TARDIS, at least to take me back to experience just ONE 5×5 gig!