Stamford, February 15th 2013
I have lurched from the desert to the frozen north. Leaving the Gulf last week I had visions of handbags on fire, buried minions dug up and displayed in future museums. These men died building towers now ruined, airports since vanished beneath the sea of sand. Emirs, Sultans and Kings: born to rule over those selected to serve. I played pretend palaces and Vegas-style hotels. I served my sorry time. I bought some fags, came home and torched some Camels. We’re burning up the world.
Scotland is shining under a flat white disc of sun. Stray patches of snow streak the bluffs atop which fresh ranges of turbines flower, turning in slow motion. Driving south we see a black military transport plane veer around the corner of a gorge like a fleeing vampire. Nestled off the road lies some sort of rocket launcher taking practice pot-shots. Nobody has a job but they’re still rehearsing for a war. Never mind the North Koreans, it’s them French I don’t trust. With their horse meat baguettes and perverted films, stinking up the place with their perfumes and cheese.
We aim for the A1, the crème de la crème of roads, connecting the two capitals. We take in hill country on our way to the wastes of Lincolnshire where, as the landscape opens, spires sprout around us from village thickets. Christ’s columns calling acolytes from the farms. Clouds close their palms across the beaming sun and we plough into a tailback. The relentlessly avuncular Radio 2 spits hissily on the stereo, pop aberration after pop aberration. We’ll look back upon this era as the age of poisoned music, adulterated with auto-tune. That phased squeak is the hallmark of lazy producers. Set fakers to stun and move on. We’ve been overrun by the Cadbury’s Smash spacemen, warbling and warping the nation’s pop so that everything sounds sung through the nose, stingy and sneering and slightly hysterical. Cartoon voices for a country of cretins. Rise up cretins, rise up.
Stamford is picturesque, historical and built from that lemon cream sandstone that glows like gold in the winter sun. It is all that the Gulf was not and that isn’t a compliment. I see only white folk with their grim pampered faces as they emerge from luncheon to browse the local tat. I size up the scene hastily: antiques, wine and highfalutin wallpaper shops lurk amongst the lanes. Too rich for me. Looking at the list, this looks like the posh tour. Thank the Lord I brought my collection of cravats.
I retire to my apartments after the show. Dave, the sound guy, is next door to me. His room is called “Pride” while mine is “Prejudice”. It’s the little things that make life worth living.
I tap at the keys and listen to music. David Garza’s Only Fire comes up and stops me in my tracks. I listen twice. It has five stars on my stupid device. Weariness creeps over me and I eye the enormous double bed. Hotel living, that extraordinary luxury. The street beneath my window is empty and dark and still. I can gaze into a black field from here, its rich English soil sticky and glistening, alive with turning earthworms. The burning handbags recede from memory, Jerusalem is still being builded here.
18 Responses to “Stamford, February 15th 2013”
Really enjoyed the Stamford gig. Quirky venue! Great to go and see Justin play as always. Always fancied a stay at The George Hotel in Stamford, so good to tick that box too. A cracking night all round so thanks for that Justin.
Thanks Les for your second review. You lucky devil! I’m starting to wait with anticipation your comments. I was hoping September would be the release date coz that’s my birthday. I saw the Youtube clips and was very impressed with the new stuff, I especially like ‘Priscilla’. How lucky you were to hear ‘Another Letter Home’, I adore that song and now I must get out the ‘Jimmy Blue’ vinyl and play the B side. Anyway thanks again it is much appreciated. I’m off now to grab my ‘Waking Hours’ tour t-shirt from 1990 and just think about the talent that is Justin Currie, I’m grateful I have seen him in concert even if it was 22 years ago. Cheers.
Bloody Hell, here’s a thing. I think Justin’s voice may be getting better. If youare insane and dont care about that, even better news is coming, read on McDuff.
Ive just got back from the venue. As Justin said tonight we are in “Manchester, Salford or Sale, or whatever the fuck it calls itself”. I always like this from Mr Currie, non of the pop-star artifice for him. You know the stuff other performers tepidly dish up… Whoo Manchester, youre the greatest. Sod that.
So tonights the stage was barely lit, it was the darkest set Ive ever seen, black, stark, haunting, and you had a few moments to take it in after another decent spot from the support underling geezer, before the frantic punk song that acommpanies Justins entrance these days began to blare out.
There he was once more, self effacing, humble, imploring us to participate. to be the driver of the show. Its great, nobody does that, the others are too precious by half. I suppose if Justin chose he could get away with acting the diva, but the fact that he doesnt makes me unaccountably happy.
So it was then that the set list, such as it was, deviated like a three legged runaway horse, but always a quality thoroughbred horse. Justin quipped that he wasnt playing “Ace of Spades”, as it was Iain’s tune and “Jesus Saves” also got short shrift dismissed with a sharp exclamation of breath, but other than that it was all up for grabs.
Songs played included an acapella, “Another Letter Home” whilst tuning a guitar (talent!), “In the Frame”, “Lighten Up the Load”
After a virtually flawless a sortie through the back catalogue, Justin said his instinct was to just play some songs he bloody knows, and explained he never plays Guitar at parties because he has never successfully learned a thing, including some of his own. It comes across as humble but you half suspect that he’s such a perfectionist that in his mind if its not learned and played note perfect every time it doesnt count.
Personally I could happily listen to justin recite the Motherwell Phone Directory to a backing group of travelling itinerant umpah lumpahs playing out of tune vuvuzelas and guitars with broken strings, but Justin always seeks perfection and mostly achieves it.
Justin was also kind enough to explain that “The first rule of being a pop star was playing youre own hits” When he explained the (not to be repeated) second rule of being a pop star there was a gasp of shock from those not used to the laconic wit. It definately made me laugh anyway, but Im not sure the prim looking family to my left shared the sentiment. Oh well fuck em, er or not.
On the way out, I was treated to the sight of some incapable, yoof getting thrown out by the security guard. Dont treat me like a kid, he bawled obviously not seeing the irony of his wailing as he was forcibly ejected.
Now back in the day at a big Del Amitri gig Ive seen a few people get a bit chippy after taking alcohol. One 90’s gig springs to mind of a guy with a slurred scottish accent shouting through the whole concert, ey big-man, spit in the rain ey big-man ey? This was ok but even after they played it he still shouted for it. But somehow it was fitting, it wasnt incongruous.
The difference with tonights ejection was that the incapable youth had to be escorted through a pristine art gallery by the scruff of his neck as he kicked and wailed. Whoever said life imitates art couldnt have made this stuff up.
So McDuff if you read this far for the news you’ll want to know the following: Tonight somebody asked Justin when his new album might be available. He said that not only will it be available from September, but that his manager thinks he has hopefully lined up Justin a new record deal
McDuff here…brilliant review! Great news about the deal and the album in September as well. I got a chance to see a couple of clips on youtube and was blown away by the new songs. It’s gonna be one great album!
-Glinda McDuff xxx
P.S. What I wanna know is…what’s the punk tune?
Was like a kid at Christmas this morning when I discovered Youtube clips of Justin from Saturday night. Bloody brilliant. Have just shown my nan the clip of him singing ‘Priscilla’ and she liked it as I did too. I think secretly she really likes him. I had a look at his boots and was wondering if they are the ones he bought in Texas, as usual he looked handsome and sounded awesome.
Hi pay day loans. If you think he arouses you you should see what he does to me!
I appreciate the good work you are doing! I’ve really enjoyed reading it. You’ve arouse me a great interest. I’ll investigate it more. Keep up doing it!
Collection of cravats? Have you got a black one? Please lend it to me – I’ll return it in pristine condition. I only need it for one day – honest.
I know it’s simple to knock one up on the sewing machine, but as it’s already got its work cut out making a professor Snape coat, just thought I could cut a corner on the way.
Missed your chat…though you sound like you could do with being a man with nothing to do for a while. Plough on. All you can do.
See you in Bath. Interesting architecture – if you like Regency. Or join me for a bit of fossil hunting on the south coast.
No cravat required for that, mind. Wellies would be good.
Enjoyed the show in Stamford, mate. Travelled from Bedford with the wife to see you. Was your stage slave the Dels keys/squeeze player? Wanted to shout out ‘Hard To be Human’ as request but was too late. Seemed sad that everyone just wants the hits and not the new stuff which is just as great. Me brother’s looking forward to seeing you tonight.
Have just realised this blog contains 2 of my favourite words-‘Handbags’ & ‘Cadbury’, thanks Justin. Speaking of chocolates just wondering if the audiences this time will get free melted Curly Wurlys and jellybabies. Please steer clear of horse meat.
Justin, was that Stuart Nisbit with you on stage in Dubai? The footage was too far away for me to see who it was.
“Its the little things that make worth living”.
LOL…The Jane Austen Suite! I can see Justin as Mr. Darcy in his cravat can’t you? ;-)
Welcome back to the cyber world Justin, you’ve made me very happy. It goes without saying yet another wonderful travel blog and yes Stamford looks beautiful as I googled it last week. Now that you’ve toured the Gulf how about coming back to Australia? I’ve even got my 7 year old niece asking when are you coming here. Anyway happy travels, enjoy the rest of the tour and I am really looking forward to the new album and more travel blogs. Oh and go easy on the fags, it’s such a dirty habit!
I take it you didn’t enjoy your working holiday then? lol Wonderful blog, as usual, and so happy to hear about these being published. I hope the secret albums are included as those were absolutely brilliant as well. Can’t wait for the new album! xxxxxxxxxx
It’s been so long. Good read as usual and I’m looking forward to the next already! Oh and I cannot wait to hear the new album.