Friday, June 17, 2011

Not a bad day revisited

Back in May last year I wrote a typically over-emotional piece in these hallowed pages relating to 3 gigs in Yorkshire with T.V Smith. In it I recalled a moment during 'Borderline' at The New Roscoe in Leeds when I felt that it might have been the best piece of music that I'd ever been involved in. I wasn't relating to my or T.V.'s performance - it was the song my friends, the song. You remember songs don't you? They were things that people used to write, back in the days when people who had something to say for themselves chose to use 3 or 4 minutes of pop music to express their feelings. These days I'm not really sure what people do, but that's more my problem than yours, or indeed theirs. But I remembered that moment last night, on the stage at The 12 Bar Club in Denmark Street, next to the afore-mentioned T.V. Smith, playing the afore-mentioned 'Borderline'; as we swung into the first chorus and T.V. sang 'on the borderline, why don't you get on my side?' that feeling returned. You don't get moments like that very often, and I'm sitting here struggling to find a way to describe it. Again I looked out from the stage - there was a small oriental lady at the front, Gaye Advert behind her to the right, some punky lads in the shadows, all eyes on T.V. with the song building and building, bringing all the outsiders like me... you... us... together - '... it's not just you, sometimes I feel it too... look your enemy right in the eye, and say ''stay away 'cause I keep my monsters tied''... on the borderline, where the rules do not apply... you'd better steer wide...

I closed my eyes and played. And played. And played. And suddenly, everything - everything - was alright.

I'd not played at The 12 Bar Club before and I'd love to play there again as it's a great little venue, although the word 'little' is very important in this sentence. There are tables that are bigger that the stage, front rooms that are bigger than the audience area and I'd imagine that one person with flu could very easily infect everybody in the building with one sneeze. It's murky, dank, seedy - in other words, it's fantastic. I travelled up on the tube with Esso; as we arrived '1-2-3' by The Professionals was playing in the bar and club manager Barnet was anticipating a good evening. Esso went to The Angel to meet up with John King just before T.V. arrived; soundcheck was straightforward enough with John the sound man getting everything right in no time. I bumped into Brian from Wunjo Guitars as I walked around the corner to the Nunu takeaway (falafel and salad - excellent!) who I'd not seen for a while - when I said I'd been in a few times and he'd not been there he said he'd been 'working on his golf'. Business must be good then... after catching up on a few phone calls I met Esso and John for a drink then went back to the venue to catch a few songs from gig organiser Brandy Row - anyone who plays a Johnny Thunders song is alright by me - and to get ready for the gig. We were due on at 10.15 but went on a bit later than that, and 'No Time To Be 21' kicked off a set that for me surpassed the 100 Club show earlier this year in pretty much every way. I've dribbled on about 'Borderline' already, but there were more than a few 'can this get any better? Yes it can!' moments for me; that said I also played a couple of absolute howlers during my solo in '21', forgot the extra beat of silence in the last chorus of 'Worn Once', messed up a chord change or two in 'Bored Teenagers' - well, you don't get something for nothing do you? Our set ends with 'One Chord Wonders' and general audience mayhem, we encore with 'Good Times Are Back' and 'Runaway Train Driver' before T.V. sets up shop at the front of the stage and does a roaring trade. Excellent!

It's a late bar and people are everywhere, it would have been great to stay for a drink but Esso and myself have got a last train to catch. Oh well, maybe next time. As we're leaving a chap called Martin stops me to say that he still has his old Price singles and that it was great to see me playing, was the band still going, when was I playing with T.V. again, while we were talking a couple come over to ask the same questions- for a few seconds I think about taking up Esso's idea of getting a cab home later, but times are hard and it would cost too much. Oh well, maybe next time. And once again another one of those amazing songs says it all - it's expensive being poor, these days more expensive than ever. And you don't get something for nothing do you? But for evenings like this, it's all worth it, every time. See you on the borderline sometime...

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