Monday, April 16, 2012

The moon's a balloon

Fantastic news - Keith Moon has been approached to make an appearance with The Who at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. At last it's the reunion that we fans have been waiting for! I can only hope that doesn't prove to be a rather late April Fool joke, as The Who's manager Bill Curbishley doesn't appear to be taking it very seriously - either that or as this story shows he's trying to ruin everything by suggesting that Moonie has been a little difficult to contact for the last 30-odd years. Surely the Olympics committee concerned wouldn't have made the laughable, tragic, pathetic error of inviting a dead person to participate in their ghastly charade would they? Of course there is always a chance that it's actually an indication of spectacular incompetence on the part of the organisers - after all, it's hard to think that with someone like Jeremy Hunt on the team they could be anything less than excellent isn't it?

Mention of the man they (allegedly) call 'Corrible' remind me that it seems customary for an ill-informed politician or celebrity to put one or more of their feet squarely in their mouth around the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, and this year it's the turn of 'comedian' Alan Davies who clearly used every last iota of his intellect and wit when he observed that it 'gets on his tits' that Liverpool F.C. choose not to play on April 15th as a mark of respect to the 96 fans who died on that ill-fated day. He then went on to make several other similarly well-argued observations (click here to find out what they were and some of the reactions to them) and was then amazed when some people found them offensive. I don't know very much about him as a person but pretty much every time I've seen him on shows like 'Q.I.' I've thought him to be smug, self-obsessed and above all unfunny (not exactly a career move for somebody who appears to consider themselves to be a comedian) although I suppose that somebody must like him; I also believe that he's something of a football fan which to me make his comments all the more unfathomable. Anyone with even the remotest interest in the game is aware of the ongoing sensitivity of anything to do with Hillsborough; also surely the point here is that Liverpool F.C. choose not to play on that day i.e. it's their way of honouring the people who died and the others who were effected by the tragedy, and as such that should be respected. Apparently Davies has a show booked at The Liverpool Empire in September - now that should be a very interesting evening, and probably quite an easy one to get a ticket for...

In the meantime much evidence of last weekend's Department S show has surfaced by the magic of the Internet - click here for a YouTube interview with guitarist Mike followed by 'My Coo Ca Choo' (the interview explains why that song is in the set!) as well as these four more clips, while the evocatively named 'Peek-A-Boo' magazine features these photos taken at the show. All good stuff, although I might wear a different hat next time!

Time for another F.B.I. Band gig on Saturday night, at Harry and Clemmie's wedding reception at Boodles Club in Central London. With a membership that has included people like The Duke Of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and David Niven this is another of those 'they-don't-normally-let-people-like-me-into-places-like-this' gigs that your humble narrator participates in from time to time; these generally end with me uttering oaths and curses in these hallowed pages followed by me suggesting insurrection and class war at the earliest possible opportunity. To be honest as an evening this one went along similar lines to all the other ones (i.e. a bunch of toffs take virtually no notice of us until some of the more drunken among them accidentally start dancing recklessly and a bit too close to the band for comfort; suddenly loads of them start doing the same in case they were missing out on something and the show ends with scenes of general mayhem and them barking their demands for more in the general direction of the band before lurching off in the general direction of the bar) so I don't feel as though there's too much to say that I haven't said on similar occasions. However the band (Tony on vocals, Richard on keyboards, Mark on drums and Jon on bass - more about the horn players in a minute) did manage a drink in the nearby Red Lion before the show which was most enjoyable; at the club I braved a look in the 'Members Requirements' book (essentially suggestions and / or complaints) which regularly featured Henry Blofeld musing on subjects as diverse as digestive biscuits (he wanted McVitie's rather than the non-descript brand that he'd been served) and who he sat next to at breakfast (he wasn't too happy about being seated next to a stranger) among other similarly life-threatening incidents. But probably the oddest incident occurred shortly before 9 pm, the allotted time for our first set - Jim the trumpet player arrived with minutes to spare (as usual! How does he do that?!?) and asked where Ian the Sax man was; when Tony said that he wasn't doing this show and he believed a dep had been arranged Jim sat down with the words 'oh, is this the one that he can't do?', pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket and began dialling. Within a few minutes he said 'Howard will be here around 10.30' than asked if there was any food... with no sign of any guest or indeed the bride or groom we were led down to the staff canteen where food was indeed available, before going back upstairs just as a chap wearing a saxophone strolled in, introduced himself as Howard ('I've been doing ''Singin' In The Rain'' around the corner') before blowing a few notes to check if his microphone was working correctly. We began 'Soul Man' a few minutes later to an empty room; it took 4 or 5 songs before the dangerous dancing started - and you know the rest...

And yesterday saw an all-day Cool Britannia rehearsal at Ruff Rockers in Uxbridge. We'd all been a bit disappointed with last month's Southend session as we felt that we didn't sound as good as we might have, but fortunately it all went better this time with everyone playing well and pretty much all the songs sounding like they should. With not long to go before the opening night this can only be a good thing!

In the meantime I'm off to play 'Live At Leeds' (and indeed to watch the only footage of that incredible show) and to wish that I'd seen The Who with Keith Moon behind the kit. After all, that opening ceremony story surely must have been a not-particularly-good-taste joke - mustn't it?

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