TV Takes The Leeds
Got up at 8:00 a.m., phoned work and went through the actions of the meeting
I was no longer attending - 'cos I'm on holiday yippee! Back to bed and
another couple of hour's kip.
Had almond cereal for breakfast whilst listening to Rant by Ian Hunter and
chatting about how the Sheffield gig had gone. I put on my TV Smith Blackpool
Punk Festival video. This wasn't the brightest of moves, as TV hasn't a big
ego like many rock primadonna's, he shuffled around the house uncomfortably.
One of the most noticeable things about life on the road is the huge gap between
the adrenaline rush of the live highs and the numbing drag of the long day lows.
To relieve this boredom I suggested a trip to Wetherby to pick up our vacuum
cleaner from the repair shop. TV was ecstatic and totally overcome with excitement.
It took us a while to get back down to earth after our trip. I checked out
the selection of pizza's for lunch; spicy chorizo & jalapeno…spicy chorizo
& jalapeno…a-ah sunblush tomato & mascarpone - perfect! Alex, our trainer
from work, called "do you know any TV Smith lyrics connected to work, it's
for a training course I'm running?" he asked. "Yeah, I replied there
is quite a few - hey TV, which lyrics do you think would be best to use?"
I heard Alex quietly gasp and I realised what was occurring - I was in my kitchen
cooking a pizza for one of the world's greatest songwriters and asking him about
lyrics to use in a training workshop! Part of the pizza fell limply to the bottom
of the cooker in awe. We decided on Buried By The Machine from the Cheap CD.
After lunch TV went into the lounge and tuned his guitar - some prat sneaked
in and took a photo - so much for privacy!
At 5:30 p.m. we set off for the bus to Leeds. As we stood at the bus stop a
mother and child walked past. The kid stared at TV in awe (no doubt thinking;
my god is that TV Smith….in Clifford!) Lisa, my wife, arrived on the incoming
bus and a quick say hello, wave goodbye later our bus arrived. Then both our
mobile phones rang and we had difficulty getting on the bus and paying our fares
- great timing!
As we approached Leeds, the bus went passed the first of the posters I had
been fly posting. Boy was that an experience! I decided to scribe different
headline quotes on each poster (these included: "Righteous Anger - Infectious
Tunes" / "Acoustic Protest Punk" / "An Unexpected Tour De
Force" / "Rich in Invention - Dripping With Melody" / "Can
Anyone Write A Protest Song?…" ) Later it was carry on time! This featured
me, a 43 year old training manager, sneaking around Leeds ducking behind hedges,
gluing and sticking up TV posters and diving into the safety of my car and scarpering.
My great idea to use a tube of old border paste backfired when the perishing
old tube split at the end and sides - what a sticky situation! At least I didn't
get shot in the kneecaps Jules!
Arrived at Leeds station and bought the second of today's energy drinks, this
one was called Solstice. TV asked what it was like "smells like cow crap!"
I replied. Got some money out of the cash register as another toddler became
mesmerised by the Punk legend. "Kids are a sucker for old, guitar carrying
punks with bleached sprayed drainpipes" he grinned.
We soon reached The New Roscoe. The walls were awash with TV posters proclaiming;
"1977 Punk Meets 2001" / "TV Delivers The Goods a Long Lost Hero"
/ "One Guitar - Punky Anthems - Powerful Voice" (yes …the phantom
scriber had been at it again). Entering the plush concert lounge TV was
amazed to see all the delicate antiques hanging from the walls and ceilings
"Wonder how do they survive the mosh pit?" he pondered. In the corner
were five people who were far from being antique (the oldest looked about 16).
"Are you Three 33?" they nodded in confirmation. "Hello I'm TV
Smith pleased to meet you" he greeted. "Do you have any drums?"
they responded looking non-too hopefully at TV's guitar and an empty handed
roadey (me). "Nope, just me, and my guitar" TV retorted.
I wangled a pint of Yorkshires finest; Roosters Yankee. TV's Atlantic Tunnel
sound check went well again. The guitarist singer from Three 33 took to the
stage, he sounded pretty impressive. Then it was the female bass players turn,
she was looking a little bit self conscious. The bass sound was fine, "vocals
please" asked the experienced sound engineer. "One Two", "One
Two"….."John's a puff", "he told me to say that" she
giggled, pointing at the guitarist.
We had a quick chat with Three 33's manager (who also used to be in a late
70's Punk band) and then decided to go for a stroll up to my old regular The
City Of Mabgate. TV was looking forward to meeting the landlord because he had
heard he was the most miserable landlord in Yorkshire (maybe TV wanted to
get him to sing Big Fish?) Alas, he wasn't in so we sat down and had a quick
pint. TV had liked the Roosters, so he ordered a pint of one of the breweries
Outlaw beers (ah! another convert to the delights of quality cask ale).
Outside we met Lisa (with Smit and Henry, who had just travelled up from Peterborough).
Smit, Henry and I looked like the bookend boys in our resplendent black Generation
Y T-shirts. We also bumped in to Wes and Holey from the infamous DRAY Riders
(out on the Drinking Real Ale in Yorkshire trail again at the Mabgate and Roscoe).
Got back to the venue and things were hotting up. Spotted Neil, Richard, Jules
and Paul from work. Other members of the DRAY's began to arrive; I said a quick
hello and thank you to Tank, Nev and Burkey (Wes and Holey joined them later).
My Sister Kim, Nephew, Martin and Brother-In-Law, Beanie arrived to make it
a real family affair. It was Kim's second ever gig, having just seen David Essex
last week (the only connection between the singers being the colour of their
hair!). It was Martin's first ever gig. Beanie used to like the Adverts in '77;
in fact one of his favourite sayings was "Mi cymbals fell off", which
was a quote from Adverts drummer Laurie Driver at the end of the B-side Quickstep.
On came Three 33. They played a great set. Their original songs were well played
and catchy. I counted the crowd at over 90 - yes! Three 33 finished off
with "here's one for the old folks" as they burst into My Generation.
At the songs end the drummer (who had eventually managed to locate some drums)
threw down his drumsticks Keith Moon style and marched of the stage with defiant
attitude - nice one!
Time for another beer! At the bar loads of people seemed to want to buy me
a drink, so I walked away with a couple more Roosters. Stood with Lisa and my
work mates as TV took to the stage. One slight problem was that all the teenager
Three 33 fans were sat on the tables at the front (with matching parents down
one side) and all the TV Smith fans were stood behind them (many at the bar).
Oh well at least there were 90 of us and it seemed like a friendly crowd.
"I wrote this song when I was 21 years old" started TV (you could
see some of the kids at the front thinking - 21, boy that's old! Following
No Time To Be 21 was New Church (I've been asked on TV's site to start a
best ever TV lyrics list - "Strength within you, not without you!"
takes some beating).
Then three fan fav's Atlantic Tunnel, Only One Flavour and Immortal Rich followed
by This Year' and Cast of Thousands. The crowd began to warm up and the ale
continued to flow. "The sights I've seen, the things I've heard while sliding
down the learning curve," sang TV. Following Future was one of my favourites,
Eurodisneyland Tomorrow. Then came the first (and last) ever punk sea shanty,
The Day We Caught The Big Fish.
I heard one fan shouting out "The Suit" and realised that Dave Allen
was in the house. I went over and had a chat with Mr Channel 5 himself. It was
great to meet him at last.
During Thin Green Line TV started to do his leg-end-ary high kick - teenage
mouths widened in shock! TV introduced the band as he sequenced his way through
Lion And The Lamb and Expensive Being Poor. I spotted the lads from Sheffield
and said hello. TV had promised one of them his last copy of Useless, so I nipped
through to the side of the stage and got it for him. Taking a few side close
up shots on the way back.
After a splattering of March of The Giants (Can't Gather Giants - too right!)
came get Your Ticket Out Of Here followed by the gorgeous As Soon As I Found
It I Lost It, this songs "a knifes edge between love and pain". Paul
had been watching me take photo's "you should climb up on the tables at
the front and take some pics looking down on TV" he advised, "great
Idea Paul, why don't you show me how to do it" was the unsubtle crafty
reply. Off he went mountaineering his way to the front.
"This songs for Martin at his first ever gig" announced TV (cheers
Teev!) as he propelled himself into Bored Teenager. Martin (my nephew)
had been going through the Kevin and Perry years, with "I da no" as
his response to most questions.
Next that one big hit single and a few Punk fans began to make their way to
the front. Some more explosive jokes preceded the ever appropriate Tomahawk
Cruise and Happy Homeland with 'the sequencer band'. Instant up-tempo with the
World Just Got Smaller Again. Smit and Henry made a beeline for a space at the
front and began dancing, much to the amazement of the teenagers who again stared
with their mouths wide open in disbelief. I snatched up my pocketed camera like
The Sundance Kid and flashed at the bopping duo. No doubt in an effort to get
Smit and Henry to sit down, TV opted for the cheerful Runaway Train Driver,
but it didn't work on and on did they pogo, duck and jive.
"MMMoooooorrrrrrreeeeeee" shouted Smit, it was encore time again.
One of the Punk girls dancing at the front asked, "Play No Time To Be 21".
"I've already done that one" replied TV, "I want to hear No Time
To Be 21!", "I've got nearly 200 songs I can play and you want me
to play one twice!", "I WANT TO HEAR NO TIME TO BE 21!" she demanded.
Seeing this could go on forever, TV gave in, and finished off with 21 and One
I went to the front and helped TV sell some CD's. I was delighted when some
of my mates bought several copies. Martin came up and thanked TV for the dedication
- splendid young chap my nephew (and I thought he was meant to take after
TV had a chat with John Keenan (the Leeds gig arranger) who was pleased with
the turnout and performance. It was three times as many people as TV's last
Leeds gig at the Duchess (mind you as I had pointed out to John earlier,
their had been a snow storm that night). John was going to see if he could
arrange a joint gig with TV, Hugh Cornwell and Tom Robinson. Fingers crossed!
We had booked a five-seater taxi home and when it arrived we said our farewells.
By now the Roosters beer had taken hold and I forgot to give directions. After
a friendly kick I got myself in order and we were soon back on track.
Back at Clifford I got TV to sign a poster "to Martin at his first gig"
and took a quick photo of the signing for Martin. We hit the porter, Stella,
smokes, nibbles and music. As the Hambleton Nightmare, Orkney Dark Island, RCH
Ale Mary (which I remember tasted like a spicy Christmas pudding) and Freeminer
Deep Shaft flowed we listened to Ian Hunter and They Might Be Giants (with free
sing-a-long provided by Smit and Henry). Lisa was the first to retire (roundabout
the time Smit started singing). Smit and Henry then got into a very intense
discussion about work…the last thing I remember saying that night was "you've
got TV Smith, your favourite singer songwriter in the room and your having a
bloody debate about work!!! We finished the night by talking about what a great
gig it had been and how TV and I had had a roller coaster of a day.
Went to bed pissed and late, but on half-day holiday tomorrow.
Long Eaton next - can't wait!