11th September, 2013
Come morning I’m back out on the balcony again, sunning myself like a retired military man. I put on Curtis Mayfield then listen again to young Lloyd’s album, Standards. Myrtle and Rose is very touching. Then I listen to a bit of Neu’s second album and I am struck by the obvious lifts Martin Hannett and Joy Division took for Unknown Pleasures. The heavy plate reverb on the gated snare, the unsettling sound effects. It’s funny to think that Joy Division were essentially a seventies band. But they sounded like the future and the future sounded like hell. So here we are.
We motor north to London burning diesel, the great belt with its white stitches tugging us forward. An eiderdown of cloud blankets us as the sun slants between the sheets bringing the road alive with a trembling light.
I have to head straight to Manchester for a breakfast TV thing after tonight’s show and the journey is on my mind, nagging me. I need to dispel such irrelevances and focus on the show. I slap myself in the face, twice.
We enter the twisted thicket of London and get caught in its gorgon’s embrace. We cross the Abbey Road zebra crossing without so much as a raised eyebrow. We’re hardened old pros, us. Ooh, look there’s the Shard!
I sit for hours in the frigid environs of the Union Chapel dressing room, a huge hall of a place that I’ve never known to be warm. I attempt to get a little sampler I bought in Brighton to run my backing tracks. It won’t. Another porridge umbrella, then. My legs get so cold I consider buying a travel blanket. I’m sure Islington must have an appropriate outlet. Something tartan with a nice pile. Something manufactured by appointment to some minor buffoon from the royal family. Something that warms your lap in the back of the Land Rover as you are driven back to the lodge with a dead stag on the bonnet.
I actually enjoy the soundcheck through the sheer boredom of the rest of the day and afterwards waste an hour or so listening to Thelonious Monk, which as anyone knows, is not a waste at all.
After an efficient show to a warm bunch of listeners, two of us make for Manchester while the rest go to a hotel. I’m riding shotgun on the journey north, turning the dial through the stations. Late-night radio – that constant comfort to all-night drivers. James Dean Bradfield is talking about books and Richard Hawley with Janice Long. He reads a long passage from Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families which is an impressive use of mainstream radio.
We get to Salford’s futuristic cityscape around half three and I manage to sleep for a few hours before walking across a plaza to the BBC to enter the surreal and serene domain of TV world. If I’m honest I quite like it. I’ve always liked doing live TV, it’s a nice little buzz. Although there’s always a tiny voice screaming way, way down in the depths of me -“Say cunt! Say CUNTS!!!” I presume this never shows, but who knows? People at home might be watching on their sofas, clutching their mugs of tea increasingly tightly. “Go on. Go on! Say cunt. Say CUNTS!!”
My sofa hosts are charm and professionalism personified and so effortlessly congenial you almost want to invite them round for some tea and cake to meet your mum.
This Salford Media City place is an imposing development. It feels somewhere between Burbank in LA and Docklands in London. It lacks a little greenery. No matter, it will all be pleasantly overgrown mere years after the impending apocalypse.
I re-insert myself within my Holiday Inn cubicle, luxurious in its modern way – lots of white with bits of fake walnut veneer. They put a velvet ribbon round your pillows with the word “soft” written on an attached plastic label. Just in case you were thinking of using one to throw through a plate glass window during a fire. Or starting a riot with one. POLICE BEMUSED BY RIOTERS PILLOW ATTACK
I go back to bed and do this: tap-tap-tap. I’m tapping into your conscience with my fleshy prodder. I’m throwing words out into the morning with the insouciance of a bored wizard. You would not believe the spells I cast.
12 Responses to “11th September, 2013”
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I have shelled out loads for Del Amitri songbooks over the years just so I can make childish attempts at playing them to my Grandson. I do sound crap but he learns them and plays them to his many mates who then go out and seek the Righteous path.
I am wanting to carry on the great tradition with Lower Reaches and have spent days trying to work out the chords on Into A Pearl. I have given up….are you prepared to help. Fuck off would not be a helpful response so heres laying myself out for your ridicule and mockery. Still luv ya whatever !!
I posted a complaint to JC about not being able to locate the chords for “as long as you dont come back” anywhere (im to lazy to work the chords out myself). He didnt post the complaint on here and I didnt get a responce, but as if by magic the chords were posted on Ultimate Guitar Archive a few days later and according to the web site it was posted by Mr JC himself. I never said thank you to JC so, thank you JC. altho it could have been a coincidence or saying that he could have got one of his little workers to do it for him. But i like to think that he is such a good bloke that he will do little things like this for his fans. Hope this will help you Ash, just google ultimate guitar archive and you may find the chords. Thank you JC for keeping us entertained and helping me annoy my wife and daughter by playing and singing your songs badly in the kitchen.
Try playing them in another room, you’ll sound much better
Thanks Greetings from Liverpool, my wife suggested the same thing only her suggestion was ‘in another room in some other fuckers house’.
Excellent gig at Union Chapel. You were particularly well behaved on TV. I was somewhat surprised to see you on it as I arrived, semi conscious, at work and stumbled into the canteen only to be greeted by “Little Stars”. My overriding thought at the time though was “How come this old bastard looks more awake than me?”, particularly as the BBC have inconsiderately buggered off to Manchester. Verily you are the new (ish) Peter Pan of Pop.
Whilst I’m at it, please play “Unbeliever” on the Del Amitri tour or I’ll shave off one of my sideburns and send you it in the post. If, however, you need a spare though, ignore my request…
I wish you had said ‘cunts’. I’ve always said tv programs need a bit of shock value. What happened to putting chocolates on the pillow? Don’t they do that anymore? You should have Abdul with you. Cats are great lap warmers.
That ‘efficient’ show at Union Chapel got a 5 Star review in the Independent. And much deserved!
A Wookie’s legs don’t get cold. Union Chapel must be haunted.
All that tapping of your fleshy prodder will make you go blind.
Wizard indeed. Neophyte! ;-)
Hello from one of the warm bunch of listeners. Great gig, thank you, and the first I’ve been to where I’ve had Earl Grey and a kitkat instead of overpriced lager in a plastic cup. But that’s Islington for you.
Salvation can be yours, bring a hip flask.
It was coffee, actually.