The Bloody Victoria Line! I cried, sat on the bus to Brixton from Liverpool Street with IC on Saturday night. The Line was closed due to some engineering nonsense so we were forced onto a double decker, creeping slowly over hill and dale, round the houses -all of them, in order to deliver us into the ever-loving arms of SW9.
Finally we alighted and made our way to a pub crammed full of thirty-forty, even fifty something’s, dressed for the most part in black, essentially barring us from any sort of civilised comfort which wasn’t going down well with the Memsaab. I have to say I wasn’t best pleased either, the people were okay and everything but we had to keep moving out of peoples way and… Christ, a seat! There! A FUCKING SEAT!
Instantly the word became an enchanted place again. It wasn’t just one seat we’d bagged but a table for four, two minutes later Gerry appeared with Justin. It was so perfect I could’ve shit gold, instead I ordered another pint.
Gerry had bought us tickets for Fields of The Nephilim and The Mission as a wedding present, which was jolly nice of him. But he knew as well as we that his gift could either be marvellous or just okay. Lately we’ve been disappointed by seeing old bands that’ve come together and made a fist of their history by trying too hard to modernise proceedings leaving the audience bewildered and largely pissed off.
We were all philosophical about this and treated the evening as a chance to catch up with a gig factored in, like. We left the pub with plenty of time to spare for the bands, at least we thought we did, and took the short walk to the Academy which quite literally had a queue going all the way round the block, right back to the entrance. Annoyingly this setback cost us the first song of TFotN, we could hear it as we passed the emergency exit five minutes before making it inside.
We rushed in via the bar and took a half decent spot by the mixing desk. The sound wasn’t great but the band were, in fact they were as good as when I last saw them in 2007. The final song, Last Exit for the Lost was as good, if not better, than when I’d seen them four years ago.
We grabbed a fag and some awful wine in the interval and got back to our spot for The Mission. I have to say, I was more dubious about this than anything, the last time Gerry and I saw them they were a bit, well, shit. Wrong again, admittedly they looked completely different, almost as if they’d accepted mortality, but rattled through the very best of their tunes accompanied by yours truly screeching his fucking head off. I enjoyed every second of it; they even played one of my favourite songs of all time, Wake. Marvellous. Brilliant night, fantastic present, missus and I were as pleased as punch.
I’ve no idea what time arrived home or went to bed but I did know I wanted to be up at 8am for the MotoGP. I woke in time but discovered that the zinging in my neck the previous day was, as I had suspected, the pre-amble to a bloody cold and thought it best rest up for a while. For the first time ever, I decided to watch the whole race later on the i-player.
A few text messages beeped, before I’d a chance to read them I got up and padded into the lounge where IC was doing some such and such on her PC. She asked me how I was before suddenly interrupting herself with a certain sort of ‘oh no’ and looking me directly in the eyes. I instantly figured that something awful had happened in the GP, then I recalled the text messages early Sunday morning. I asked her, and she reluctantly told me. ‘Marco Simoncelli has been killed,’ and I lost it for a good 15 minutes.
Now this may seem like an overreaction, I didn’t know him personally, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve always loved motorcycles (been riding since I was 7) and by default, motorcycle racing. If I had my way I could happily spend the entire weekend sat on my arse watching blokes racing bikes before getting on mine and riding until my bum fell off, but this isn’t the best way to act in a relationship. As a sort of compromise I focus my attentions on the MotoGP, to such an extent I get paid to write about it, not much but a fucks site more than what I get for doing this…
Thing is this. If you grow up loving bike racing you’re inevitably going to have heroes, Barry Sheene is/was mine. This sort of adulation doesn’t go away. For the past few years I’ve been a big fan of Valentino Rossi for his flair, his genius, and more recently MS for the same reason; though he was at the beginning of his career, Rossi is coming to the end of his. Indeed, MS reminded me of Rossi back in the day (they were very close mates –he was involved in the accident that killed him and by his side when he died) he rode old school, aggressive, determined and had a charismatic personality to match. I liked him instantly and he became my out and out favourite. And yes, it felt as if I knew him in an abstracted sort of way, this may have something to do with watching someone on the brink of mortality week in, week out. It’s complicated.
I wanted to see the accident before I watched the live coverage; I didn’t want to sit waiting for it to happen and it was sufficiently awful to cause me to shake uncontrollably for a good hour. This wasn’t just shock but an emotive, empathic reaction, track or not, riding a motorcycle comes with universal risks, mixed up with the tragedy of watching a decent bloke being killed.
Needless to say it didn’t make for nice Sunday and I’m still feeling the repercussions as I write this. Ciao Marco.
A thank you Gerry chart and tune. Thanks Gerry, Therry.
NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 The Kooks Is It Me? 18 9 10
29 The Big Pink Stay Gold 26 4 26
28 The Wombats 1996 NE 1 28
27 Alice Cooper I’ll Bite Your Face Off 21 3 21
26 Delilah Go NE 1 26
25 Kate Bush Wild Man 30 2 25
24 Brett Anderson Brittle Heart 19 5 19
23 The Subways We Don’t Need Money 16 10 2
22 Cage The Elephant Aberdeen 28 2 22
21 Red Hot Chili Peppers Monarchy Of Roses NE 1 21
20 Kasabian Re-Wired NE 1 20
19 Cherri Bomb Spin 13 7 8
18 Manic Street Preachers This Is The Day 24 3 18
17 Bombay Bicycle Club Shuffle 11 10 1
16 Nightwish Storybook NE 1 16
15 Arctic Monkeys Suck It And See 15 4 15
14 The Horrors I Can See Through You 9 8 3
13 Birdy People Help The People 17 3 13
12 Airship Algebra 12 5 12
11 I Am Giant And We’ll Defy 14 3 11
10 The Duke Spirit Surrender 4 6 4
9 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds AKA What A Life 7 6 7
8 Enter Shikari Sssnakepit 10 5 8
7 Cerebral Ballzy On The Run 20 2 7
6 White Lies The Power And The Glory 8 4 6
5 The Howling Bells Into The Sky 3 6 2
4 All The Young Quiet Night In 6 4 5
3 Mastodon Curl Of The Burl 5 6 3
2 Battles ft Gary Numan My Machines 2 5 2
1 Jane’s Addiction Irresistable Force 1 5 1