It’s rather spiffing when one is looking forward to an evening and it ends up as a classic. After a rather pithy day in the office I cycled home full of good spirits, I’d had a jolly chat with Myfwt, Jim had e-mailed me to tell me he was already waiting at the flat and after a quick change at home we were just about to get into the tube when I got a call from Ray. I’d not from him in a while but as soon as his number appeared it was obvious that we were both heading in the same direction, he too had succumbed to the whole goth thing in the 80’s and had figured out that I was going. We arranged to meet at The (new) Intrepid Fox in a couple of hours
I’d already made plans to meet pals at The Two Brewers on Monmouth street so at precisely 6.10 I met Gee and Rick, who’d just arrived, and bumped into Swinsehead as I went to the bar. It was a glorious warm evening, if a little muggy, but stood on the street with a pint watching the passing throngs going about their business I could actually feel my self unwinding. A friend of a friend passed by and I grabbed him to say thanks for the book he’d kindly signed and given to me, he’s currently enjoying an acting role in a nearby theatre but to say anymore would be indiscreet. Nice bloke.
We had a couple of pints at The Brewers and made our way to The Fox, needless to say it was rammed with just the crowd I’d expected, largely middle aged men, a few gothy chicks and all still maintaining something of the you-wouldn’t-understand-if-you-don’t-know about them; wall to wall black, piercings tattoos, it felt like coming home. Essentially, it felt 20 years ago. Beautiful.
We were joined by one of Gee’s mates, Justin, he runs a nightclub in Surrey (I can assure you it’s not as shit as it sounds) and is good pals with members of Hawkwind, I liked him instantly. By this time the pints were going down nicely and the crowd had begun to thin to catch the support act, slowly the black faded and the usual ‘metal’ punters began to diffuse the absence of colour.
Ray arrived with his boss who immediately bumped into some of his friends, who, coincidentally, Justin knew. Even more coincidental, I popped on a Cardiacs youtube link last week and one of them was the guitarist from the band. Everyone was introduced to everyone else; there were now 9 of us.
We arrived at the Astoria just as The Fields of The Nephilim took the stage, Ray got me a beer and I began yelling at the exact same moment Myfwt texted to wish me a good evening and to not get shouty, as is my want. The band began sedately, a little to quiet for my ravaged ears before kicking off into their main set. It was fucking hot in there, sweat was pouring off the crowd, it was a sold out gig and the place was rammed solid much to the detriment of getting a good view. Our group disbanded into individuals and couples vying for a good spot, I found a super platform on the stairs to the bogs until Jim found me and ushered me upstairs to a prime location on the balcony. We bumped into a gild who’d flown alone from Dan Diego just to see the band, it was her first trip to London, she was flying back the following day. I only mention this to give some idea of the impact the band has had on some of its fans. Largely the crowd were congenial and polite most probably due to age, despite that the atmosphere was intense. The closing number was the best, a swirling, gliding drone that had a hypnotic quality; it was one of the best numbers I’ve seen performed by any band anywhere. By this time the volume was immense, my trousers were vibrating to the bass and I could feel the chorus in my chest.
After the gig we convened on the street and wandered over to The George for a closing pint. It was still very muggy but a relief to be out of the venue which by the end was like the Persian Gulf. The 9 of us stood about chatting, I was texted by a friend who wanted to know the band personification of ‘shoegazing’. This resulted in a ludicrous and hilarious 5-minute conversation of grown men shouting over each other. We settled on Ride.
When it was time to go Jim and I were half cut, as were my friends. I left Gee grinning at me from the entrance to the pub clutching yet another full pint. Both Gee and Jim are married with kids so when they do get a chance to get out, neither wastes it. We got off the tube at Tooting, Jim and I were ravenous but it being Thursday and after midnight the decent fast food outlets were shut so we had to opt for snacks from fucking Tesco. We didn’t drink anymore when we got back, a cup of tea and a spliff, which wiped Jim out completely, and he crashed out fully clothed in my bed.
Jim and I have always slept together since we were 17, neither of us is remotely known to doff the brown hat I hasten to add, it’s just the way it is. I woke up to the dulcet tones of Jim having a good old spit up in the bathroom, when he came back to bed he smelt exactly like aromatic pipe tobacco. His heart was racing and he was feeling shitter than dung, he put this down to over indulgence, I put it squarely at the feet of eating 3 cheap Cornish Pasties, two bags of Revels and most of a large bag of cheese balls prior to sleeping. He was just about okay when he set off and I ran a fucking massive bath before sitting down to write this crap.
Myfwt is popping over in a minute, it’s another warm bright day and I’m feeling just fine.
Today’s youtube clip is in memory of Rod Poole of Swervedriver who was murdered in LA last week. Bye dude