Who`s bright idea was it to stage a Show summer special? Oh yeah, it was ours.
"We`ll definitely play," "yeah we`ll do it," These were just some of the comments I heard from various bands in the build up to staging the summer specials.
My god, the grief we suffered trying to organize things for your pleasure! Never have I been put through the rinser or been fecked from pillar to post as much as I was during this period.
Bands, or should I say band managers gave me their word, swore blind that they would come and play The Show.
Bands dropped by the wayside one after an other as we stood there, hair falling out, smoke emitting from our phones due to over use and generally waiting for Tom, Dick and Barry to get back to us.
Then, at the last minute, when things were looking grim and the storm clouds were brewing, we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat (unlike the national football team who usually do it the other way round) and called upon our old ally Dennis Hopper Choppers.
Along with Blofeld, who also stepped up to the board at the last minute, DHC saved the day and made sure that The Show faithful were, once again entertained.
Variety was also apparent on the wheels of steel where our very own P.M. Soloman Burke played an eclectic set early doors traveling heavy through country & western, swampy blues, rock & roll and a whole host of different genres for you to devour.
It was hard work getting there but we done it in the end. The minus factor sure outweighed the plus factor in the run up to the summer special but with the help of the good friends and lovely punters of The Show the plus factor was shining brightly when the fat lady sung and Elvis left the building.
Thank you all.
ps: Apologies to those who were expecting to see The Alps and a DJ set from The Lo Fidelity Allstars.
Due to circumstances beyond our control this gig was canceled at the last minute which in turn resulted in the incorrect listings being published.
The LO Fi`s will be with us soon and you can THE ALPS doing their thing at The Show on Friday 30th July with support coming from the wonderful FRANC.
I'm not the only one fortunate enough to have the enviable opportunity to have called Fleetwood my home. It's other more notable residents are Jane Couch, the female boxing champion and Sid Little who lives on the outskirts of town (I bet he tells people he lives in Rossall) who is one half of the comedy duo Little and Large (a.k.a 'Fat and Useless' ~ ed.) Comedy? Ha! You must be having larff! Undoubtedly and inaccurate description, but it's how the TV Times used to describe them. I know where he lives. I also know that he's currently appearing in a 'Seaside Special' for the summer in Great Yarmouth. I take this as an open invitation to burgle his house. There is some good news for Sid today. I can't be bothered, maybe some other time. I suppose I can count not breaking in Sid Little's house as my good deed for the day.
Spurred on by my own sense of generosity I decide that's it's time for a long-awaited reunion with the streets of Fleetwood. As I walk past the gloomy terraced housing I realise that I no longer belong here and to my surprise my heart sinks a little. I'm sure there was a time when I did belong. Maybe, I never really did. I turn into Hatfield avenue and plod disconsolately towards the roundabout at West View, half hoping to bump into someone I know, even just a familiar face would do. I don't see either. I hope my friends that have chosen to stay here are happy in their marriages, employment and children and are busily enjoying living their lives. I know that we didn't say we would be friends forever. Suddenly at this moment I wished we had. I have a thousand memories growing up here and I think I'm laughing in nearly everyone of them. You know what they say don't you? If you didn't have a wasted you, you wasted your youth. I can easily admit that I enjoyed wasting my youth here and with the people I wasted it with. As I approach the roundabout more memories of the past come flooding back and I remember the 1990 world cup finals where hundreds of football fans flocked here to celebrate after every English victory, dancing and singing in a good natured fashion around the roundabout. The police promptly arrived every time and began pushing people and before you could say 'heavy handed police tactics' trouble erupted and the police got the arrests they wanted. This memory fades and is quickly replaced by one that makes me laugh out loud. This of course is acceptable whilst in company but never really looks that good when your by yourself. Two girls walking toward me look at me oddly, quickly glancing at each other and move, as one, across the road to safety. It was a Thursday night in the summer of 1988, I was returning home in a taxi after a night at the Palace Discotheque in Blackpool. As we approached Westview I could just make out a solitary figure moving in the distance on the roundabout. I was my mate Jonesy, attempting, to drunkenly recreate the dance moves to 'Y.M.C.A.'
I turn right into Broadway and walk past my old school. Oops no I don't, its been replaced with a pile of rubble. They'll probably be building the usually uninspired houses and black of flats all in the name of progress. Change and decay is all around me. It's not that I have any particular affection for my old school. Perhaps I'm just turning into a grumpy old fucker. I soon arrive at 'Toms Joint' my parents Butchers shop where I lived from 1978 to 1997. my dad still lives there, although the shop is now closed and the exterior has seen much better days, I still have a soft spot for the place. Another memory that makes me smile; my dad (Tom, obviously) once made some fried chicken and displayed it proudly in the shop window accompanied with the advertising slogan - "Tomtucky - better than Ken's". it wasn't long before a representative from Kentucky Fried Chicken turned up threatening legal action and he was forced to remove his sign.
Christ, I'm thirsty. I was on an all day drinking session in Blackpool yesterday and I'm starting to experience waves of nausea again. In need of liquid I enter the newsagents on Poulton Road in search of Lucozade. I momentarily consider dishonestly appropriating the refreshing energy drink. I decide against committing theft and purchase the item. As I'm leaving the shop I hold the door open for a middle-aged woman who is smoking a wearing a pair of pink, fluffy slippers. I give her my best smile, usually reserved only for people I really like. She doesn't smile back, never mind thanking me for holding the door open for her. My heart sinks again and I wander off towards Manor Road and head for the beach, muttering to myself.
I've been dreaming of this moment recently. This is my favourite part of Fleetwood, the boating lake and the impressive ornate hump-back bridge that crosses it. I've been coming here all my life and it's still the same. Maybe that's why I like it here so much. I fantasize that if I still lived here I would walk up here every day and stand on this wonderful bridge. My heart lifted in a buoyant mood I set off for a stroll along the beach. I find a bench to sit on and look out across Morecambe Bay.
Minutes later a man walks past with his dog. "Hello", he says brightly, "Lovely day isn't it ?" I glance up at the battleship grey sky, whilst the wind streams in off the Irish Sea numbing my hands and face and I begin to feel the first splashed of rain. "Ooh yes it's a lovely day", I reply. I know my attempts at sarcasm will be wasted. I consider murdering him. I know I could do it in a split second and I'm sure he knows it too. I generously spare his life and he moves off. I know I have a criminal mind but I lack the essential qualities it requires to commit any of my dastardly ideas. A life of crime is obviously not for me. Pity, so many unfulfilled ambitions…..
A flood of memories engulfs me. It's 1975 and I'm 4 years old and my mum is dropping my sister and I at my cousins house on Macbeth Road. We're watching Tiswas and drinking Vimto. We called it Vimpto for some reason. I still do. It's now 1979, I have a skinhead and a green flight jacket with orange lining. I am also wearing cherry red Dr Marten boots. I know what your thinking; a very cool 8 year old. Unfortunately I'm going to Cub Scouts where it is mandatory to wear shorts so I just look like Forest Gump in his calliper wearing years. 1982 and I've just purchased a grey and burgundy Y-cardigan which I'm going to wear proudly at my first Halloween disco. 1986 playing and watching football all summer. 1989 being sick outside the Steamer pub after three pints of Theakstons Old Peculiar before heading off to Planters. Fast forward to 1997 and I'm leaving Fleetwood , maybe forever. These thoughts of the past drift idly away and are replaced with the image I had 18 months ago when I was last here. I'm in the Conservative Club with my dad. It's mostly full of old men sucking of rolly's and drinking pints of mild, playing snooker, darts and dominoes. Some one opens a door and Club Tropicana by Wham emanates through from the function next door. The Conservative Club is a place where two very different worlds collide. I also notice that slip on shoes with white socks are still not considered a fashion faux par in here. I eventually decide to rise from my comfortable bench to leave Fleetwood. I don't look back as I head for Blackpool to catch my train back to the North east and home.
2. The Biggest Lie – Elliott Smith
3. Dog On Wheels – Belle And Sebastian
4. Sin City – Flying Burrito Brothers
5. Different Drum – Lemonheads
6. Something Happened To Me Yesterday – Rolling Stones
7. Cut Across Shorty – Eddie Cochran
8. Beat Surrender- The Jam
9. Janie Jones- The Clash
10. Unknown Stuntman – Lee Majors
11. Walk Don’t Run – Herb Alpert And Tijuana Brass
12. Cant Buy Me Love – The Torero Band
13. Tijuana Taxi – Herp Alpert And The Tijuana Brass
14. Golden Retriever- Super Furry Animals
15. First Of The Gang To Die – Mozzer
16. Connection = The Rolling Stones
17. Billericay Dickie – Ian Dury And The Blockheads
18. 24hr Party People - Happy Mondays
19. Love Will Tear Us Apart- Joy Division
20. Guitar Man – Jesus And Mary Chain
For four hours last Thursday I became a humanitarian vegetarian, pushing aside the sardines on my plate, sating myself merely with the watercress and artichoke hearts. I happened to be fingering a copy of The Idler, and a particularly ingratiating article about 'Buddhism in cold climates' had diverted me. The crux of the piece appeared to be about the feasibility of this most fascinating of religions in temperate parts of the world. Can one accept that all existence is suffering, that the cause of suffering is desire and that freedom from suffering is nirvana when day-in day-out cloud and sodding rain? Is it any wonder we're so alienated as a people, I meditated, a fork limply hanging from my mit.
And it was only the appearance of my acupuncturist Gerry clutching a bottle of good dry Turkish red and a cylinder of Spanish Sausage, round about tea-time that really lapsed my flirtation with vegetarianism. I'm down to half a sugar in my PG in the morning, though.
I think the Buddhist theme is one that becomes hard to shake. A good friend of mine killed himself recently. I'd made him promise that if he ever felt the urge to shuffle anything off he should telephone immediately. If he was to kill himself I was to be present in the room. I'd forced him to agree to this much. He didn't keep to his word unfortunately, choosing instead to leap from the roof of the Ibis hotel in Reading. He left no note.
We were both men who knew depravity and the rules regarding the wearing of tan footwear. He was the type who tried really to rush through life with his head down and his collar turned up, and I rather think he'd prefer to avoid the afterlife, or even what Mr Hendrix described as 'not to die but to be reborn'. He didn't want to be here in the first place.
Who wants to come back as a frog, when the chances are you'll end up in a lab somewhere being thrown bodily against a brick wall by a technician and dunked in acid in order that the boffins can see your spinal cord at work??
I shall miss his intermittent visits to my boudoir, always unannounced, and rarely with very much to say. I would offer him a cup of tea and he would always say, "No thank you, just a cup of boiling water, please." He was fond of hot water, and would try and savour the difference between one cup of water and another. It was rather like having an imaginary friend in some ways. The stillness of the man and his habit of saying nothing further for the rest of his visit was at times quite chilling. It all brought back memories of a childhood imaginary companion I had, who hated me.
No man is an island, entire of itself … any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
I shall endeavour to be at the Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green at 'The Show' next time round, and I will introduce myself to anybody wearing a desert spoon in their breast pocket. I'm actually having my hair washed that night, but I've recently acquired a Revlon Celeb Hair Stylist dryer, so I shall probably be along without any kind of frizz.
Roger J Harbinger QC Bar (retd.)
Harbinger dispatch is camp x-ray 'APPROVED'. When I was in the RAF we
had a pretty good relationship with the USAAF.
I can remember a conversation I had with a Stealth Bomber Pilot only
very recently, and I said to him "What are you gonna do when this damn
show's over Tiger (a playful name I had for many of the boys in
"You can't talk to me that way" he said, "I'm a free American."
Roger J Harbinger QC Bar (retd.)