Sunday, June 8, 2014
Last night was a reunion of sorts, twenty years on and 200 miles west, in a different country.
Since that first gig, I've seen Paul Heaton numerous times, either with The Beautiful South or solo. Various small and large venues across the UK and Ireland, football stadia, fields in Somerset, even a café in Manhattan.
But this promised something different, albeit familiar. No longer solo, Jacqui Abbott would be back on stage alongside him. And they had a fantastic new album to show off, which they did from the start.
The crashing opening of "Some Dancing To Do" brought the band on stage, followed by Paul and Jacqui. And then Jacqui sang and I was suddenly years younger. One of the best female voices of recent pop has lost nothing in it's absence. I once read a review about Eddi Reader saying she could sing the telephone directory and it would still sound fantastic - the same applies to Jacqui.
But there was Heaton's back catalogue to be plundered, and each song brought a flood of memories.
"Old Red Eyes Is Back" triggered the memory of being tossed around the floor at that first gig like flotsam in a human sea.
I had forgotten just how good "Prettiest Eyes" was - I don't recall ever hearing it live. (Maybe one in a big shed somewhere?) It also resonated with me much more than it did in my single days.
"Rotterdam" - I was still word perfect after all these years. Naturally "Irish stout" got a huge cheer. (This also brought to mind the single's B-side "Pollard". Do look for it online.)
"Dream A Little Dream" (yes, not a Heaton original) - Christ, I spent seven quid of my student loan on an import CD of that!
"I'll Sail This Ship Alone" was my highlight of "Welcome To The Beautiful South" - and here it was being sung in front of me.
And from further back in time, gems from The Housemartins' brief burst of glory - including my first sight of P.D.Heaton on noisy guitar for a splendid "Me And The Farmer".
As usual, Paul had plenty of entertainment between songs: the dichotomy of Tayto crisps in the thirty two counties, a tale of a Battle of the Bands competition that involved Gary Glitter, an art competition...
One of the best gigs I've been to in ages. New songs fitting perfectly alongside old songs - some of which I'd never heard live or never thought I'd hear again.
All in all, brilliant.
And welcome back Jacqui! (The blokes stood behind me were certainly happy to see you.)
Some Dancing To Do
Old Red Eyes Is Back
Costa Del Sombre
Moulding Of A Fool
We're Not Deep
When It Was Ours
Dream A Little Dream
Don't Marry Her
The Right In Me
Good As Gold
I'll Sail This Ship Alone
Me And The Farmer
Caravan Of Love
Saturday, May 24, 2014
1) The things you are saying are perfectly sayable - obviously so as they are spewing out of your mouth.
2) People who want to say those things, already say those things. They don't need somebody to claim to speak on behalf of them - everyone in earshot has already heard them and already made up their mind.
3) The people who choose not to say those things may have conciously done so as those things are either:
c) some form of "-ism"
d) patently untrue based on personal experience, research or that commonly missing human value of "not being a dick"
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Berlin Schönefeld airport. Old, decrepit, small, claustrophobic in places, due to have been replaced. My experience there today was one of increasing frustration.
The day began well, with three train journeys, each one punctual to the minute. The stress began shortly after entering Terminal A. Departures, naturally, are upstairs. There are eighteen check in desks, in two banks of nine, in an area so small you could comfortably throw a tennis ball from one side to the other without much effort.
However, in between is a snaking queue of similarly frustrated passengers waiting to go through the security gate, restricting each check in desk to a queue depth of a few metres. Matters are not helped by there being insufficient barriers to guide the security queue, so the queue of confused travellers randomly juts out into the remaining space.
Furthermore, in front of all this, the Berlin Landespolizei have three massive scanners for luggage pre-screening. Again with a long, ungainly queue.
Once through security, one can relax in a corridor that has a handful of shops and one bar. Kilkenny's Irish Pub, obviously.
As I write this, I'm sat in a small departure lounge - more accurately a slightly larger Portakabin - waiting for my flight. This is, of course, at the furthest reach of the terminal.
Actually, there's the incoming plane. Salvation may be at hand, at least until Ryanair's first onboard announcement.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
I have a theory as to why England are currently toiling their way to humiliating series defeat in Australia.
During the summer, in the build up to the previous series, it was declared "the worst ever Australian team" to make its way to Britain. Errant nonsense, as the 3-0 scoreline was no fair reflection of those tests.
However, England seem to have decided to properly show what a worst touring side ever looks like - particularly when it contains most of the players who have been unassailable until recently.
In a way, the haplessness is comforting. It's nostalgia for those fragile 80s and 90s teams. Winning things just isn't English, or indeed cricket.