Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Lay Down Thy Raincoat And Groove

I was amazed to find these gems of ephemera in the treasure trove that is more commonly known as our attic.

Amazed to find them, amazed they had survived and amazed to realise it was 34 years ago that The Bunnymen had played at The Royal Albert Hall for two consecutive nights in July 1983.

Aged 14 I was already aware of The Bunnymen – I had been a fan for a few years already as I started my exploration of post punk and found their music to my liking. I loved exploration, I loved field trips, archipelagos, fishing, poking around on beaches, old stuff and I dressed in camouflage……they seemed to like most of this too. It was a match made in heaven.

I can categorically say that I was the only one at our rural school who liked them – I got the school bus driver to turn up the volume as high as he dared when The Back of Love came on the radio and I got shouted at by everyone for doing so………I did the same for Tiny Children by The Teardrops knowing full well the girls liked it and they would like me too for sorting it out.

Aged 13 I had already seen The Bunnymen live. My first outing was to the wonderful WOMAD Festival in July 1982 to see them perform in the Showering Pavilion at Shepton Mallet. I remember the whole experience as being a mind blowing extravaganza on my young senses. My brother and I, after purchasing the remaining two tickets left at the gates, had literally £1 left to last us the day. This was a bummer when there were new experiences to enjoy and a huge Zoo Records merchandise stall that had delights a schoolboy could only dream of.

Later, when I had sufficient funds to purchase a Postal Order, I sent a few quid to Bunnymen HQ for some of the items I had spotted on the Zoo stall and that is when the fun started – I soon realised these guys were OK and they knew what it meant to be a teenage fan. Not many bands have had such a rapport with their young followers – I got the impression after talking to Mick Jones of The Clash when my best mate Overend Watts introduced me to him at one of the Hammersmith reunion shows that they (Mott The Hoople) had exactly the same rapport. Sneaking young fans in, giving them goodies and generally looking after them.

The Bunnymen did this – my PO was soon returned by that amazing and lovely chap Jake Brockman with a pile of freebies and asking my brother and I to make ourselves known at future gigs…….the rest is history and Jake, Will, Les and Pete were a joy to be around.
I digress….this was meant to be about the “buried treasure” find of the Albert Hall ephemera…..needless to say I was at both gigs and as was the norm at that time school was totally forgotten about and two days in London sleeping in my brothers old Renault 5 car and record buying were the order of the day. We had a ball.

The gigs to this day are still up there in my Top Ten – any gig that starts with dry ice and Mendelsshons Fingal's Cave is going to be a classic. I liked that overture then as much as I do now. The first night saw the gig being halted as panic ravaged RAH staff tried to stop the surge and get fans off the carefully laid out chairs in the hall. It was chaos and I loved it. My older brother, looking after his 14 year old younger brother, lost me and we eventually found each other at the end………and did it all again the following night.

A few years later I remember telling my friend Overend about it – his reply, “that’s nothing new Son, we did all that in July 1971 at theAlbert Hall and we got all rock gigs banned there, sort of makes the fans freakout a bit that place”……I think he’s right, but it remains a special memory and I feel somewhat freaked out myself that it was 34 years ago today.


Bureboyblog said...

Lovely ole job Dickie. I saw them twice I think, second was on the tour where their set looked like Apocolypse Now. Stunning sound.
Villers Terrace for me. Crocodiles was their best LP i think

Dickie Straker said...

Heaven Up Here for me BB - halcyon days! TTFN Dickie

The Essex Scribbler said...

Great post Dickie. Funny thing, fishing and music go together well ( but definitely not at the same time ). The Clash at Ipswich Gaumont in January 1980. I was excited and terrified in equal measure, there was often an undercurrent of violence at gigs in those days. First ever gig was DrFeelgood at Essex Uni in 1978, not bad eh ? Despite being threatened by a load of bone heads. Happy days.

Dickie Straker said...

I have similar memories Scribbler....I think my Folks would have freaked if they knew the half of it! Happy Days! Yep, quite right, fishing and music go hand in hand - soundtracks to and from water etc, love it! Dr Feelgood, wow!! TTFN Dickie