THE RAMONES ROCKET TO RUSSIA SHEFFIELD TOP RANK 1980

RAMONES COVER

The Ramones,3rd album was Rocket To Russia,released in 1977 this was one of the 1st albums i bought,it may have been the 3rd one actually, i bought this back in 1977 as a 13 year old from virgin records in Sheffield which at the time was situated at the bottom of the soon to be pedestrianised Moor, it was a great hangout for all the new punks and kids who liked this “new music” that had just arrived,So why you may ask am i posting regarding this band and album? well I’ve been going back over stuff that I’ve had for years and at present I’m struggling to find anything newish that takes my fancy,and plus the Ramones are a F**king truly great underrated band!,plus i have a small tale  to tell regarding the images you see on this post,this album was the last with the original drummer Tommy ramone,the album is a cross between surf rock and punk which was recorded in Manhattan New York,as is the norm with the ramones,the album was all short 2 minute long songs, so if you ever got bored with one track then you could just pick the needle up and move it along! or nowadays just program your cd/mp3 player to play the ones you like! how times have changed,Here’s the tracklisting on the original vinyl album,from the opening guitar riff of cretin hop i was totally hooked on this great band

RAMONES SIGNED

Cretin Hop

Rockaway Beach

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Locket Love

I Don’t Care

Sheena Is a Punk Rocker

We’re a Happy Family

Teenage Lobotomy

Do You Wanna Dance?

I Wanna Be Well

I Can’t Give You Anything

Ramona

Surfin’ Bird

Why Is It Always This Way?

RAMONES DISC

looking at the inside cover of this album the graphics are truly great and point very much towards a band who did what they wanted to do and didnt need a stylist etc to create an image for them,i got to see the band in 1980 and it’s the only time ive seen them alas,so heres the story behind the autographs.myself and a few mates would always be hanging around outside various venues in sheffield in the late 70s and early 80s,at first wagging school and later having days off work or leaving early,the ramones where playing the sheffield top rank it was a sunday and we would usually hang around trying to get in for the soundchecks etc,there was quite a few other lads and lasses hanging around and the ramones road crew in and out with stuff,we finally got in for the soundcheck around 30 or so of us and the ramones run thru a few numbers stopping every so often to adjust some piece of equipment, when the sound check was over the band just jumped off the stage and everybody started talking to them and it was a nice friendly atmosphere with the band as curious about us as we where about them,others had various items such as records and posters tee shirts etc i had this album with me,the band where great, nothing was too much trouble for them, fans posed for photos with them, i went round the band getting the cover signed,and as usual with me something happened,my pen ran out! as you can see i have 3 autographs on this cover,all in all we must have had 2 hours in there chatting and mulling around with other fans,oh yeah and it was a truly great concert that night as well! around 1992 i took the cover to a record fair to get a valuation on it,not that i was going to sell,there was a couple of stalls selling stuff like this and a guy on one reckoned around £10! which was greeted with loads of abuse from me!after all he was a long haired rocker anyway!here we are now in 2017 minus dee dee ramone,johnny ramone,and we cant forget joey ramone, 3 truly great musicians now reformed in another life!looking back on my youth, what are the chances now of meeting your favourite band or artist? probably not good if you hang around the venues,they have security all over the place and just dont have the time for the people that really matter to them ie the fans,they treat you as if you are some crazy stalker hellbent on inflicting pain or attacking them,im glad i grew up in that era,where everything now seems so simple!! enjoy the ramones!!

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THE JAM SHEFFIELD POLYTECHNIC NOVEMBER 10TH 1978

This event is  39 years old and obviously the few memories i have of this are jaded to say the least!im not quite sure if we had tickets or it was a pay on the door,but one thing is you had to be signed in,this was of course back in the days when the “students” where all a bit elitist,ie you had to be one to drink cheap cider in the students union bar even tho you had put fuck all in to the system,all that type of shit,keeping the riff raff out type of thing,it was a nightmare and as a 14 year old you can only stand being told to fuck off so many times,the thing with the students around that time was it was there kind of music circuit which was basically for them and nobody else like i mentioned earlier an elite club,so there we where me and jimmy and im not sure who else was with us,standing around trying our hardest when the man himself paul weller came walking down the steps in a parka,we managed to grab him and have a word about getting us in,but no chance there was nowt he could do as there was loads on the guest list,somehow one by one we managed to get in, and assemble at the bottom of the steps that went upto the concert hall,i remember there being a table selling tee shirts and stuff but not purchasing anything at all,on getting to the door that lead into the concert hall i can clearly remember the sound of patrik fitzgerald banging away on his guitar the song “safety pin stuck in my heart” i think we worked our way down to the front as all 14 year olds would do at the time! and next up where the dickies a great band from america who played everything at 100MPH, i already knew both artists from the peel show,so they where another 2 added to my slowly growing list of bands i had seen.So showtime and to this day i can hardly remember anything about the jam playing this night, it was the 1st time i had ever seen the jam and hardly anything i can remember!One thing is, i went in as a 14 year big jam fan but came out a massive jam fan,this gig along with a few others put me on to a lifetime of listening to this great band and paul weller solo stuff and the style council and the future recordings of bruce foxton and rick buckler,why post this you may ask? well it’s 39 years to the day that i saw this band which changed everything in my life after coming out of the now demolished sheffield polytechnic building things where different,these events in life may not really be important to a lot of us,however over the next  4 years i went on to see the jam 25 times,along that way i had some truly great times,met some great lads and lasses,and of course watched a truly great band just get better and better,would i swap this event for anything? NO! in fact i won’t swap any of the 25 times i saw the jam,probably not even to see the pistols who are the only one of my favourite bands ive never got to see.

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GOODFELLAS COMES TO SUBURBIA.

I got a part time job  with a couple of my mates collecting glasses at Smithywood Working mens club, outside it was 1979 but inside it was still definitely 1972, it was frequented by the local lotharios still dressed in flares, kipper ties and jackets with huge lapels, the shoulders of said jackets caked in brylcream or huge dandruff flakes, facial hair shaped into Emperor Ming style moustaches or bushy sideburns shaped and trimmed by Seagraves the barbers further along woodseats,  they stood around the bar holding court with there cheap pints of stones or wards and even cheaper crap jewellery dangling from there wrists and medallions around there necks, they strutted off to the same table they’ve sat at for years, the wives sat waiting dressed in the latest grattan catalogue fashions, faces caked in cheap make up drinking Barley wine whilst constantly chain smoking park drive cigarettes. 

Various members of the committee would walk in and instantly be hero worshipped, by day a road sweeper but by night a celebrity, men falling over themselves to be seen on first name terms with “the committee ” they always sat at the front , the best seats in the house as they say, people moved out of the way for them, Las Vegas  had definitely come to woodseats. The scene in the film “Goodfellas ” where the waiters bring out a table for the mobster Henry Hill and place it right in front of the stage always reminds me of how these characters where worshipped in there.
My favourite nights where when there was a comedian on, I use the term “comedian” loosely, they where usually crap, some tenth rate loser spewing out the same jokes and the same act that wasnt funny 20 years ago so hardly funny now, the positive was they would always take the piss out of the committee, they would sit there with there cheap pints of bitter pretending to laugh along whilst looking around to see who also dared to laugh at them,    they loved it, but the club was laughing at them , not with them!
Then there was the bingo, this was the main event, this was what the women came for, there had to be complete silence, woe betide  anyone who dared make the slightest noise even the proverbial pin dropping would bring tsunami size uproar, I had not been there long and I took it upon myself to collect glasses during bingo and I dropped a glass, it shattered the silence like a bomb going off, 400 adults screaming and shouting at me, baying for the blood of a 15 year old, I was the gazelle at the watering hole surrounded by lions, when a line was called one of the lesser committee members was duly dispatched to check it calling out the numbers whilst the bingo caller nodded his head confirming each number,  full house brought out the nastiness in most of the women, no matter who won it, it was always a fix, or they where lucky, she’s not won it again, these phrases always filled the smoke filled air, it was always “well done ” when a committee members wife won it strangly enough.

We were to young to drink so we would have fizzy drinks, a lad worked with us who was 18 and he thought he was jack biscuit because he could buy a beer, he would put his beer down and go and collect a few glasses and then sit down again drinking whilst we did most of the collecting, he loved himself but to us he was a complete bellend he still had the flares and longish hair and at 18 why would you want to collect glasses on a Saturday night when you could be out in town with your mates having it large?  He was Billy no mates that’s why, it probably took him years to get the wrapper off and then he no doubt paid for it. After a while we starting taking the piss as one night I had a swig of his drink and it was Lager shandy, the fucking lightweight,we drank more then him on youth club nights! 

STAIRWAY TO HE(LL)AVEN!

We had a basket to stack glasses up in, “No more than 6 high” we got told by the bar manager, he was more concerned with breakages then he was about us young lads doing ourselves an injury ,they could get quite heavy at times as well especially if we also put bottles in,back then bottles had a money value as there would be a small return on them from the brewery, recycling had yet to enter this prehistoric world frequented by these lumbering hairy cavemen.  i would clear a table and some bloke would give me grief because I’d took his empty glass away, a lot of them would go back to the bar with the same glass, women could be worse, most drunk Barley wine and they would go apeshit if you took the bottle away and there was a tiny drop left in the bottom, I once got chased through the lounge by a blue rinsed psychotic monster with a park drive hanging from the corner of her mouth screaming at me to stop as I had taken her bottle away. Me and my mates made a  conscious decision then never to frequent this place or any like them in the future, and I’m glad to say in nearly 40 years  I’ve been in a WMC less than a dozen times.

Saturday nights the tables would be filled with food, it was party night so to speak, the blue rinses and the chain smoking  caked in make up cheap catalogue wearing wifes would lay out various disgusting sandwiches and pork pies on the tables, all trying to outdo each other in the rancid food stakes, most of it was not fit for human consumption, the catering industry definitely had nothing to fear from these park drive smoking creatures. There would be food left and they would offer it to us as we cleared the tables,  I always said no, the odd time the drunks would take offence at our refusal to accept there offering of curled up ham and mouldy cheese sandwiches drowning in cheap mustard and pickles and rock hard pork pies, the shallow end of the gene pool was always overcrowded on a Saturday night in the smithy!!

DISCOVERING JOHN PEEL 

In a previous posting i mentioned my introduction to John Peels night time radio 1 show, It was Christmas time and I was up late just playing a few records and flicking through the dial on our newly acquired state of the art music centre, Xmas 1977 I was 13 and i came across this glorious shambolic speeding punk blasting out in fine crystal clear glorious FM Stereo from the speakers, I sat and listened waiting for the end of the song for the DJ to say who it was, the short sharp and extremely good tune came to an end and the dulcet tones of John Peel came across the airwaves announcing I had just listened to Johnny Moped’s”Incendiary Device” and it held some position in a record chart that the 13 year old me had never heard of and certainly would never see either being performed by the band, or Pans People throwing a few shapes whilst dressed in pocket handkerchiefs,high heels and bad timing on good old TOTP. It was followed by more Fabulous tunes, again bands I’d never heard of, they just kept coming and coming, it was Punk tapas, a never ending line of small plates being served up, I was the junkie searching around for a lost stash of drugs, as i frantically looked  for cassettes to record what was cartwheeling out of the speakers, The Lurkers “Shadow ” Sex Pistols “Holidays in the Sun” The Clash “Complete Control” John Cooper Clarke “Suspended Sentence ” The Rezillos  “I can’t stand my baby ” The Motors “Dancing the Night Away ” it was a Thunderbolt of Biblical proportions,  at midnight he announced it would be repeated later in the week, I just couldn’t wait. I went to bed that night buzzing, sleep didn’t come easy, I was making plans for the following night just hoping there was more of the same, that evening 40 years ago had started with my parents watching some Christmas time variety show full of flares and horrendous haircuts, by choosing not to sit with them and watch this “Adult Entertainment ” I had put the radio on by chance and found John Peel, all these years I’ve always believed in chance meetings or spur of the moment decisions can change your life as this certainly did.

Early next morning I was in that limbo state of not asleep but not quite awake, that time lapse of “who, what, where ” am I, that blank period, then the exocet missile hit me between the eyes as my mind slowly coughed farted and crunched into 1st gear, the previous night came kicking the doors down of my teenage memory bank, I reached for the cassette I’d used last night and stuck it in my small “hand me down ” Tape Recorder pressed play and laid back listening to my new found music. Later that morning I was sprinting round to my mates house, cassette squeezed into my jeans pocket as I hopped skipped and jumped over, around and through the puddles on the pavement as I headed for my mates house. 
My mates mother answered the door and I shot up to his  room, I burst in on a slumbering comatose adolescent vampire, blinking and holding his hands to his eyes as I pulled open the curtains to let in this grey damp Christmas 1977 morning “listen to this” I spat out as my shaking hands rammed the cassette into the tape deck laid on the floor, I pressed play and turned the volume up as high as possible, “fucking hell what’s this” he muttered as the morbid monotone voice of John Cooper Clarke reciting the joys of “bring back the rope for everyone ” slowly brought him out of his Xmas slumber, I told him how I found it and what was played the previous evening and it was on again tonight, we grabbed some toast and ventured out into the Xmas gloom, catching a bus to town we bought some cassettes to record that night and then made our way through the Christmas shoppers to Virgin Records at the bottom of the Moor, this was the hang out for all the young punks and rockers and most Tribes back in 77, at times it got tasty with various Tribes slugging it out with each other, we made our way to the punk records and looked for some of the band’s I had recorded the previous night, we came across Cooper Clarke, The Lurkers, a band called the Boys who we hadn’t heard of before who looked pretty punky and The Motors who didn’t look punk but where featured a couple of times in the festive 50, I spied Johnny Moped’s”Incendiary Device” and i just had to have it, I picked it out and paid at the counter and just wanted to get home to play it.


We arrived back at my mates house and put my new single on, now this was bloody class, what a record! the B side “No one” was just as good as the A side, so we played it again and again, we  fiddled with my mates radio to tune it to radio 1 so he could listen later, I floated of home in the gloom of Christmas and stuck my new single on the hifi, my mum was making tea and kept giving me funny looks as I sat in the dining room headphones on rocking backwards and forwards to the sound of the mopeds, I grabbed my tea and shot of to my bedroom amid protests from my parents that I should be sat at the table eating and not laid on my bed, that night I must have checked the clock a thousand times, at one point I swear it was going backwards, just before 10 I made my way towards the kitchen, switched the radio on and sat back and waited, major panic as the intro music was not what I had expected, my fears were eased as the sombre dulcet tones of (my future all time hero) John Peel cut across the airwaves and into my (sweet) suburbia. I was completely mesmerised for the next 2 hours, punk, reggae, and new wave, but also other genres all totally obscure to this 13 year old, I listened every night after that and the following days I would play my ever increasing collection of tapes all filled with his shows.

I also had a well earned “brucey bonus” as 1978 brought along The old Grey Whistle Test into my life, so one night a week I would record peely and sit and watch TOGWT patiently waiting for a punk band to make an appearance in between the rock operas of meat loaf and various other long haired, flared trouser American MOR FM radio rock band, some weeks it was a waste of time, but as punk and new wave took 1978 by the scruff of the neck more and more bands made there racket heard presumably to the displeasure of whispering Bob Harris, that however is another story to tell.

Over the next few years I accumulated hundreds of tape recordings from these shows, my collection of tapes probably documented the changing musical landscape of the late 70s and early 80s, from punk to new wave, post punk, ska revival and 2tone to the burgeoning small label indie scene to the coming of the smiths and early dance such as New Order etc. 

I sort of lost interest around 1983, mainly due to my favourite bands either splitting (The Clash, The Jam) or just going past there sell by date, I still occasionally listened in mostly when I was working nights, I went a long period in the 80s of not buying music or going to concerts, only now have I found music from that period that I missed which If I had carried on with peely I would have had! Live and learn eh! My tapes all ended up being thrown away by my parents around the late 80s along with various other musical gems I had collected over that fantastic period of my life,  when the Internet came along it brought all this great music back, I found loads of John Peel sessions readily available to download and listen to all over again, I went one step further and actually put a lot of what I had downloaded back on cassettes, I went full circle! Thank you Internet!!

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS THE AVENUE CHESTERFIELD 

A 2nd visit to Chesterfield this year to a new venue recently opened called The Avenue, previously a Rileys Snooker centre (so I was told). The first “proper ” concert i went to was The Tom Robinson Band back in 1978 they where supported by tonight’s band Stiff Little Fingers, billed as a 40th anniversary tour it was a first time ever in Chesterfield for the mighty SLF,the last time I saw them was maybe 5/6 years ago at the plug in Sheffield and overall I’ve seen them 6/7 times over the last 39 years (f**kin ell!) My first time at this venue and I was impressed, fairly wide stage so plenty of opportunities to stand near the front, a balcony looking down at the stage was quite crowded so you had options of which view you could have, huge downside was the bar, at least 10 deep with 4 people serving, 25 minutes before we got served so my mate and I got 2 pints each, maybe the fact that this was probably the first big band they had put on and never expected it to be this busy, so hopefully they get that sorted for this cracking venue.

Jake burns, Ali McMordie on bass, Ian McMallun on guitar and Steve Grantley on drums came bounding on stage and quickly straight into “breakout” minus his singing as it was so distorted “straw Dogs” followed and sound corrected and Mr burns could now be heard quite clearly, dressed in a polka dot shirt and looking rather portly I may add! “Fade away” followed and a quick breather as jake  introduced the next song “my dark places” what I like about jake burns is he always explains his songs, about the backgrounds to them and how he came to write them.

“Safe as houses” “nobody’s hero” “at the edge” followed next then a real oldie in “barbed wire love” and “roots ” then a newish (well this century ) “Strummerville” Jakes tribute to the legend Joe strummer, who was instrumental in the Fingers first footsteps on the punk scene.

The heat is turned up as early classics are played “wasted life” “tin soldiers” and the classic “suspect device ” one of my all time favourite punk records, play it at full blast and hear the anger in his voice, jake burns was well and  truly pissed off with his lot back in 1977, and that’s your lot! We missed the encores due to running for the last bus back to sheffield ( tight gits) but a cracking show none the less, this was no going through the motions, no nostalgia circuit performance, it still means a lot and the songs mean a hell of a lot to this band whether they are last century or this century the Fingers are still as important today as they were back in the days when they came full throttle at you courtesy of John Peel. 

SET LIST 

Breakout
Straw Dogs
Fade away
My dark places
Safe as houses
Nobody’s hero
At the edge
Barbed wire love
Guilty as sin
Roots, radical
Strummerville
We were young
Wasted life
Tin soldiers
Suspect Device
——————
Johnny was
Gotta getaway
Alternative ulster 

THE JAM SKEGNESS 1981 CHANGE AT BOSTON

As usual our bible of the time,The NME (New Musical Express) announced a Jam tour and as usual my mates and I got our heads together and decided to do a few dates mainly to venues we hadn’t been to before, as luck would have it i was due some holidays from work, tickets all sorted by the usual SAE And Cheque method, no booking fees back in those days! As I had 2 weeks off work i made the most of it and went to a few gigs on this tour and saw a few other bands as well. 
1981 is a hell of a long time ago 36 years if we are going to be precise and my recollections of these times are hazy to say the least, however they where good times.Apart from getting the tickets, which was easy it was how do we get there? None of us could drive yet so it was going to be the train, I was 17 and this was the first time I had ever been on a train, along with my 2 best mates at the time jimmy and John we where joined with andy a mate from work, Andy was a year or so older then us and was a good lad who loved his music and was a big Stranglers and joy division fan, I’m glad to say I’m still mates with him 36 years later, I reckon jimmy booked the train as he was good at that sort of thing, if it had been left to me we would have ended up in Inverness or somewhere.

Somehow we had got to discussing getting to Skegness a few weeks before and what I can remember was one of the lads reckoned he could ride a bike to Skegness rather than use the train, Steve was a bit of a lad, always stage diving at gigs, mad as a hatter, but a great lad who again loved his music,and over the years he learnt to play both bass and lead guitar pretty well and  played in quite a few bands, but sheffield to Skegness on a bike? It’s a long way even in a car, I’m sure he borrowed some standard bike no gears at all, my memory is telling me it was a kids bike which would be about right for Steve, I seem to recall he set off on the Thursday and basically just pointed his bike in the direction of Lincolnshire and fair play to him on doing it as I didn’t have a clue in which direction Skegness was.Saturday morning and we are on the platform at Sheffield Midland station waiting for our train, I’m nervous, I’ve never been on a train before and I’ve got a thousand and one things running through my head, will we be on the right train? Will it crash? Does it go fast? John is winding me up even more, he can’t believe I’ve never been on a train, at 17 I had never ventured anywhere, my parents never took me anywhere, anytime soon I’m going to clip John, he’s my best mate but he’s pushing his luck! Our train pulls up and there’s a few more assorted mods and Herbert’s boarding the train so it eases my worry of getting on the wrong train, there’s a gap between the train and platform of around  4 inch so I take a running jump and leap across this bottomless void and I land halfway across the carriage I turn and look around and my mates are falling about laughing at me along with most of the people in the carriage, “you where lucky there Pete, none of us have a rope to pull you back up if you had fallen thru that 4 inch gap” jimmy tells me as he wipes the tears from his eyes, I shuffle down the train taking it all in, I’m looking in the various cabins as I make my way down the carriage,in those days most of the carriages had a long corridor with cabins off to one side that sitted 6 or 8 people unlike today where most train carriages are open with seats facing both ways. We settle down and the train leaves and after a while I wonder why the train is going backwards, it’s then that I realise I’m sitting with my back to the engine, I’m just about to say something about it but decide not to purely as more piss taking will ensue, we pull in at various stations and various shady characters get on all looking like they are heading to the same destination as us.We get talking to some lads from Mansfield and we all swap stories of bands we’ve seen and different jam concerts we’ve been to, cans of beer duly arrive and our carriage party is in full swing .We pull into Boston station and change trains for Skegness, it was a mixture of mods, skinheads, punks  and families all going to skegvegas for there own variation of the bucket and spade tour, we eventually arrive at skeggy train station and we make our way up into the town centre, now I’m not sure if we had booked a B&B but we end up in one on the corner where the clock tower is,and bang across the road from the seafront and the pavilion, huge added bonus of a pub next door as well! 

B&B 1981 STYLE

We are all in the same room and there’s 2 single beds and 1 double and I cop for the double with andy, John and jimmy snigger at us and try there hardest to wind myself and Andy up with gay jokes etc,which are duly noted and filed away until my moment comes. A quick wash and brush up and change of clothes and we are in the chippy next to the pub, this is what we came for, there’s hundreds of jam fans and mods mulling around, there’s small groups of scooters arriving laden down with overnight bags and tents strapped to luggage racks, the pub below us has its patio doors open and “tubestation” is blasting out,we sit on the wall outside chips in one hand, lager in the other,the jam in the background, does life get any better than this? (I was only 17!!) We got chatting to some lads from Lincoln who had hung around the pavilion whilst the band’s equipment was being set up and they are going back over later for the sound check so we decided to do the same, I always hung around for the soundchecks when I was a teenager, I wagged school a lot around the ages of 14-16 I just loved that hanging around and watching bands soundcheck, hopefully getting to chat to the bands, all the times I got in I never encountered any nastiness from bands and roadies to fans who at times could get in the way, bands where on that level with fans, punk rock got rid of all that “aloofness ” We decide to have a wander around and go across to the pavilion and see what’s happening, this is where my memory starts to play tricks on me and I’m struggling to put things in order, we made the soundcheck and also copped for a brucey bonus as we bumped into Rick Buckler in a bar on what remained of Skegness pier, like the “chicken and egg” scenario I’m unsure if we went to the soundcheck first and bumped into rick later, or the other way round? 

Common sense would tell me any musician would soundcheck first then go for a beer later, we played the state of the art video games (rather badly in my case) pinball machines (rather good in my case) lost money on the slots and bumped into rick! Along with a few more jam fans we had a chat with rick who was quite willing to chat to this bunch of teenagers which steadily grew in size, I can remember one lad asking where Paul was and his answer was “probably on the dodgems with his dad ” which brought quite a few laughs and giggles from everybody especially ricks mates, where divisions already setting in back in 1981? One of ricks entourage politely declared drummers question time over and everybody went away with a smile on there face. How would the same scenario look here in 2017? Loads of “selfies” fucking Facebook check ins, texting and ringing mates “guess who I’m with?” Tweeting etc, and that’s if you’ve not been told to do one by some self important minion! It was definitely simpler times last century!

PAUL WELLER SKEGNESS PAVILION SOUNDCHECK 1981
BRUCE FOXTON SKEGNESS PAVILION SOUNDCHECK 1981
BRUCE FOXTON SKEGNESS PAVILION SOUNDCHECK 1981

From memory there was quite a gathering of excited lads and lasses who charged into Skegness pavilion on that Saturday afternoon when the doors where flung open for the soundcheck, Paul as ever looking the style icon dressed in sky blue trousers, blue bowling shoes, black Fred Perry and a white denim jacket and longer hair,Bruce more casual in jeans and sweatshirt, rick in jeans and tubestation tee shirt, the hundred or so lads and lasses got treated to an hour or so of snippets from the nights set list, that’s all I can remember apart from the band finishing up and signing autographs before floating to the nearest bar or the dodgems. 

Somewhere between this point and the gig we got talking to 4 lads from Sheffield who i think had been on our train, over the next couple of years I became best friends with 2 of these characters doing lots of gigs and spending a lot of time on West Street and in particular The limit club, again I’m proud to say I’m still friends with one of these lads, following The Jam back then created many friendships and nearly 40 years on they are still creating new friendships of like minded souls who gladly have a story or two to swap about “the best F**king band in the world ”

The evening started off back in the bar next door to our beds for the night,which again was rammed with Ben Shermans,Fred Perry’s, boating jackets, the odd parka, lads in suits,  girls in sixties dresses, the odd punk or two, jam tunes blasting out again amongst a healthy mixture of Mod Revival bands such as purple Hearts and the chords, a great singalong to “Time For Action ” with all the pub shouting “Wankerrrrrrr” as the record faded out ( turn the volume up at the end) some 2 tone sneaked it’s way in between some Small Faces and The Who records, such a great atmatmosphere, that’s what being a teenager was about then, that’s what I miss from those days, I can’t see it happening now, the mobile phone and (anti) Social media killed all that, we are all a bit tipsy by now, at 17 we where still at entry level drinking so we decided to make our way across to the pavilion and catch the support, and that’s about all I can remember of that night! A mixture of alcohol and adolescent excitement wiped the memory banks of that night, I can’t remember the support bands but I can remember at one stage being down the front and soaking wet with sweat bouncing away with teenage adrenaline to Eton Rifles and not giving a fuck actually! Towards the end of the set we made our Way to the back of the hall gasping for breath and needing a drink desperately, what I do remember is as we made our way out into the cool seaside air Andy egging me on about a girl at my side eyeing me up and saying something about her night would be complete if she got to meet a nice mod boy as she stared at me, I never got the hint really and Andy gave me some stick about “how much on a plate do you want it”?  I’m not not ashamed even now at 53 to say  that I was one nieve teenager, or just an innocent one?

We went back to the pub buzzing and full of ourselves over the concert, the pub filled up quickly with hot and thirsty teenagers downing pints at a rapid pace, everybody going over different parts of the concert with voices raised above the sound of the music being played, soon there was kids dancing on the tables outside and one lad got everybody singing acapella style to Eton Rifles, it was such a fantastic night but it had to end,1981  had licencing hours back then and it was last orders, across the road was a nightclub and a fair few made it over and up the stairs, we swerved it and retired to our B&B exhausted but having again had the time of our lives , I had loads more weekends out like this over the next few years be it concerts, scooter rallies or football, in fact some of the best times in my life.

The next day we dragged our arses out of bed and made our way home, a quick jaunt along the beach and a few photographs and it’s homeward bound changing at Boston for Nottingham for sheffield! We sat around the station with our new mates and  other rather subdued lads who had been to the concert, addresses and phone numbers exchanged and “see you Wednesday  in Leicester ” and other  cities could be heard. Over the next couple of weeks I went to 3 more The Jam concerts, I caught The Teardrop Explodes a couple of times as well during those 2 weeks, I wasnt home much but that’s what being 17 was like during the early 80s there was so much music going around.

SKEGNESS RAILWAY STATION

Over the years I’ve seen many bands, my memory has never been great recalling the hundreds of concerts I’ve been to, 25 times I’ve seen the jam and there’s not much I remember, mates I’ve been with have filled me in on details, my photographs have added pieces to the jigsaw I form around every concert , we all see things in different ways and interpret them in our own way so there’s never a true account of events. At the start I mentioned our mate Steve betting he could ride a bike to Skegness, setting out on Thursday he made it by Saturday morning! He slept in bushes, fell off a few times and got a lift the last few miles by a van load of mods from Coventry who he ended up drinking with all weekend, we saw him around early evening on Saturday but the next time I saw him was back in Sheffield 4 days later, and to this day i don’t know how he got home!!

PAUL WELLER DONCASTER DOME APRIL 2017

And now for something completely different  as the pythons would say!! Four days after seeing Moonlandingz at The Leadmill it was Paul Weller time,Sheffield was not included on This spring tour so it threw up a couple of possibilities for our choice of venue, last time around (2015) we picked York barbican and as it had been included again we thought somewhere different, Doncaster Dome was decided as our chosen venue, luckily we got seated tickets mainly due to my better half waiting for a date for an operation which had a recovery time of a couple of months, so the last thing she needed was being knocked about by some fat 50ish “mod” in a 20 quid Harrington jacket clutching his pint of fosters whilst posing for “selfies” and shouting out for jam songs.

Mixed crowd tonight, young and old, couples, father and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters (aunties and uncles,remember that one?) And I’m extremely happy to say a very low Comedy Mod turn out, whether there was a 2 tone tribute act on somewhere or the distinct lack of jam tunes played on the 2015 spring Saturns Pattern tour may have finally given the Austin powers brigade the message. Anyway a capacity crowd awaited the return of Mr Weller along with 2nd in command Steve Cradock, the massively talented Andy Crofts, moving from keyboards to bass guitar, Thomas Van Heel (just needs to play with rick for the full set of  ex jam members!) stepping into croftys keyboard duties, Steve pilgrim on drums along with the moons Ben gordelier on percussion completes the line up, the band charge out and launch straight into White Sky, long time and I’m where I should be, from 2015s  Saturns Pattern Album, Ghosts from The Gift album made a surprise appearance and a cracking version it was as well! Ever-changing moods was another surprise tune added in, the back catalogue is getting a hammering already and it came across well being played by a band who probably hadn’t been born when this song graced the top 5 last century, back to Saturns Pattern for the title song and paul switching to piano for the excellent single Going My Way, New song time! Woo See Mama from the forthcoming album was an absolute belter and if the rest of the album is as strong as this tune it’s going to be a ten from len. Then we are back in 1980 visiting the Sound Affects album for Man in the Cornershop, the lyrics as relevant in 2017 as they where in 1980, Suzies Room! From heavy soul is given a dust down followed by The Attic from Sonik  Kicks more dusting down of old tunes and we have the mighty,no gigantic Ever Had It Blue from TSC days, one of my favourite Council tunes ever, however it didn’t quite cut the mustard for me with it being minus the brass, Friday Street next and back to the debut solo album for Above the Clouds and then we are back rocking , rolling and loud for the debut single Into Tomorrow, is it really all that time ago? Still sounding loud and fresh after all these years.

Long Road and Cranes from the new album are next followed by the riff laden Peacock Suit from 97s Heavy Soul, Dr John’s bluesy Gilded Splinters a song I think weller has made his own is guttsy and dirty blues as anything that’s come out of New Orleans in 30 years, Come on, let’s go is blasted out and it’s over!!!

Not quite, returning to the stage, chairs are laid out and Steve pilgrim joins on acoustic guitar, wildwood starts and flows into Monday being given a excellent acoustic makeover, going into John Lennons Love and then into pauls recent film soundtrack song  “the ballad of Jimmy McCabe” my first time of hearing this song and I thought it was very good, Out Of The Sinking finished this 1st encore rather nicely, only moan I had was maybe half of the audience switched off during the acoustic songs which was quite a shame.

Second encore and we had impossible idea and City Streets, again from Saturns Pattern, a great song quite trippy as well, back to The Jam days and Start! Andy Crofts bass playing really stood out, that was something else I noticed, first time in years I’ve heard the bass turned up in the mix, could never hear Andy Lewis,minchellas or Marco nelsons bass lines at all, The night finished with Changingman, pretty apt as well, as Paul is always changing his direction and influences and coming up with fresh music all the time, Another cracking night!!