2014: My Top 50 gigs

CarterUSMFCNov22sideon

I didn’t see 50 gigs this year. I saw one. It was one of the all-time greats, though, so that counts for a lot. It has been some years since going to music gigs was a regular outing for me. Let’s be honest: a large percentage of the music gigs I have been to since 2007 have been Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine at Brixton Academy. But this one, on November 22, was the Final Comedown, that is, their actual farewell, on home turf, to a home crowd. I was proud to have been among the 5,000 who communed there, some of them (not me) in original Carter shirts, many more (not me) in reproductions, more still in brand new ones for the occasion. (For the record, I wore my only band t-shirt, the Space Cudette one that Cud gave me two years ago when I played the drums with them, when they supported Carter at Brixton.)

I have written before about the almost metaphysical experience of seeing two men fill a 5,000-capacity amphitheatre using only their still fairly skinny bodies, a couple of guitars and some backing tapes, but whatever works. Carter USM have the hits, and a fanbase to sing them back at them at the tops of their ageing lungs. They used to have Jon Beast, whose passing was one of the sadder bits of news in 2014, but whose memory lives on in the chant of “You fat bastard!” We’re all fat bastards now. In tribute. The Final Comedown was less of a gig, more of a loud vigil. It allowed me to queue up for what might have been my last time down the side of the Academy, collect my pass from the little window, and stumble up the stairs in the dark to the “VIP bar”, where bottles of Carslberg or Tuborg sell for £3.80, but where you might, as I did, bump happily into Michael Legge, Danielle Ward and Simon Evans, not to mention Adrian, Carter’s old manager in the days when I was a cub reporter for the NME. I saw the gig itself from the right hand side of the front (where the exit from the backstage bit comes out). I am definitely getting too old for this shit, though, as even amid the unfettered joy and untrammelled shouting and air-pointing, I found myself slightly irritated by people blocking my view and filming everything on phones. But the magic was not destroyed.

CarterUSMFCNov22Beasts CarterUSMFCNov22brightlights CarterUSMFCNov22brightlights2 CarterUSMFCNov22crowd CarterUSMFCNov22crowdclose

So, that was my gig of the year. I await the official DVD with anticipation. You can pre-order it here, and the company that lovingly make it, Nyquest, kindly supplied all the photos, via Carter’s manager Marc.

CARTER_3D_PACK_SHOT

As for other live gigs, well, I went all the way to the Edinburgh Festival for three days but I was working, so I only saw one comedy gig. It is, by definition, the best comedy gig I saw in 2014: Josie Long’s groundbreaking Josie Long show Cara Josephine, which I highly recommend, especially if you think you’ve got her sussed. Depths of honesty and autobiography are revealed in this show which makes it one of her very best, I think. I am glad to say that I saw my only comedy gig of the year at The Stand in Edinburgh, one of the greatest venues in the world.

JosieLong

I saw two plays in 2014. Do they count at gigs? They are live entertainment. One was Daytona at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, in London’s busy West End, courtesy of my friend Harry Shearer, who’s in it. As a very infrequent theatregoer – mainly due to price – I must say I love every minute of any play. Daytona, written by Oliver Cotton, who also stars in it, is set in Brooklyn in 1986 and, through two estranged brothers (wayward visitor Cotton and Shearer, who’s happily married to ballroom-dancing Maureen Lipman), it examines Jewishness down the ages, from the Holocaust to that which exercises modern Jewry. Having met Harry through 6 Music and relaxed into his company ever since, it was a joy to see him act, which is what he does, in such exalted company, and in such an unfamiliar milieu.

Daytona

As I always say, I see too little theatre to judge with precision, but I know I enjoyed watching these three superb actors lead me through a story whose outcome was unknown to me.

Ballyturk

Later in the year, we paid good money to see Ballyturk at the National Theatre, inspired to do so, I must confess, by the pleasurable experience of meeting and interviewing Cillian Murphy for Radio Times in Dublin, by which time he had already premiered his longtime confidant Enda Walsh’s Ballyturk in Galway. By the time it arrived in London, we’d purchased tickets, in a moment of fiscal madness. Acting alongside the physically committed Mikel Murfi and – in an extended cameo – the great Stephen Rea, Murphy was a revelation to those of us who’d only seen him onscreen, in films or Peaky Blinders. This is a hard play to pin down, but it seemed to be part hallucination, part something else, set to the great tunes of 80s pop (Living On The Ceiling, The Look Of Love etc.), and set inside the mentally suspect head of one of the two characters, who may have been part of the same head. Murphy’s voice was ragged by the time we saw him (and for which Mike Leigh and Karl Johnson the actor were in separate attendance), but this screechy imperfection added to the dislocated verve of the piece.

That’s it for gigs. I like to see people performing, live, in front of me, but I see this less than I’d like, in a world where money is very much an object.

How to review books written by your friends: some tips

ExtraOrdinaryLifeFrankDerrick81RockStarsStoleMEMemoirsOASGDQ

I am a published author. I like to self-pityingly think of myself as a former published author as the publisher of my exponentially worse-selling memoirs never writes and never calls, but the writing fraternity don’t need me to add to their woes, as the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society have just produced a report that says writers’ incomes are dwindling fast and only the 1% can actually live off rearranging the English language; cue: death of novel, end of world etc. Anyway, a large proportion of book reviewers are published authors. Ergo, authors are constantly reviewing other authors. (After all, what is an author if not a reader with a typewriter?)

books_and_bookmen

It’s a minefield, and Private Eye‘s Books and Bookmen column is particularly hot on exposing elbow-patch nepotism, whether between authors locked in a critical love-in, rival publishing houses locked in internecine warfare, or simply pals giving good notices to pals. Writing is a lonely furrow, so writers tend to be sociable, and always up for a free drink at a reception or launch.

I have not reviewed that many books professionally. Both the Saturday Times and the Saturday Mail have teased me with what looked like regular book-review work in the past, and I enjoyed it while it briefly lasted (the Times even tasked me with providing the first, overnight review of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, but I fear this was an administrative error). I’ve reviewed quite a few titles here. The commissioning editor of this blog obviously fancies me. But I do know this much: it’s much harder and more time consuming than reviewing, say, records or films. You have to read a book, for a start.

ACLostSymbola

If you ever find yourself in the precarious position of having to review a book written by one of your friends, here are my tips:

  1. Declare an interest straight away.
  2. Specify the depth of the friendship, which will help us know whether or not to trust you.
  3. Go out of your way to make at least one critical judgement if you’re otherwise praising the book.
  4. If you don’t like the book, do anything in your power to get out of reviewing it.

Duly armed, I shall now review three books written by three of my friends.

ExtraOrdinaryLifeFrankDerrick81The Extra Ordinary Life Of Frank Derrick, Aged 81 by JB Morrison (Pan Macmillan, £7.99 paperback) is unique among the trio for being a novel. It is JB Morrison’s first book, but Jim Bob’s fourth. I am Jim Bob’s friend. I have known him since Sheriff Fatman, we send Christmas cards to each other, support each other in our respective careers (I recommended him for the Mark Ravenhill Barbican panto gig; he lets me hang out backstage at Carter reunion gigs) and occasionally have a coffee. We have never been to each other’s houses, but I know where he lives and he knows where I live. He has previously thanked me in the acknowledgments of his novels as I have read them in galley form and told him they were good, which they were. I love the fact that a man so renowned for his witty and clever lyrics has transferred that skill to prose. Important disclosure: he didn’t send me Frank Derrick to read, so I’m not thanked in it, and I read it when it was already a book. Maybe this JB Morrison is a bit less matey than Jim Bob. It helps to create a professional distance.

I loved the book. In Storage Stories and Driving Jarvis Ham, quite a lot happens but it is told in a sort of downbeat, matter of fact way. The same approach applies to this tale of a Sussex village octogenarian widower as he convalesces after being knocked down by a milkfloat, but – beyond the accident (“Frank had a broken toe, the one next to his big toe, the little piggy that stayed at home, which was also his prognosis: to stay at home”) – very little happens. He is assigned a carer, an intrusion he initially resists, but in the form of Kelly Christmas, turns out to be a ray of light that illuminates his life (“it felt like a whirlwind has swept through his flat”). That’s pretty much it. But what a vivid picture of old age, male pride, smalltown politics and the arse-ache of familial responsibility Jim paints. Economically, too.

On the low crime rate in the village of Fullwind: “The sound of sirens meant that somebody had left the window open and the TV up too loud during Midsomer Murders.” A new pair of glasses are “so light he might forget he was wearing them and begin a hunt round the flat to find them.” Winning £2.40 on the Lottery, Frank is “almost too embarrassed to collect it … It felt worse than not winning at all.” Jim is a quiet observer of people, and Frank Derrick is his best novel. Although I was all for the Kurt Vonnegut-style drawings in Storage Stories, and the music biz allusions in Jarvis Ham, by narrowing his focus, he’s upped the narrative ante. It’s harder to write about something extra ordinary and make it extraordinary. I can’t think of a negative thing to add, for nepotistic balance. Er, the name Albert Flowers was a bit on-the-nose for the man in charge of Villages In Bloom.

RockStarsStoleME

Rock Stars Stole My Life! by Mark Ellen (Coronet, £18.99 hardback). Now, is Mark Ellen my friend? Well, if we bumped into each other this afternoon, we would, I suspect, hug. He’s someone I’ve known for 23 years. Before that, of course, I read his pop magazine and watched his rock TV show, then read his next two pop magazines. In 1992 he interviewed me for a job and thereafter gave me the job, at the second of those magazines, Select. Such is his voluble, non-hierarchical personality, even if he is your boss, he becomes your pal. If you’ve seen him on telly, or heard him on the radio or a Word podcast, that’s what he’s like. I was around Mark Ellen for five years of my magazine publishing career on a nine-to-five basis, feeding off his boyish enthusiasm, if that’s not too prosaic a word for whatever it is that fizzes around his veins. Freelancing for him at Word was even more like being in his and David Hepworth’s gang. I sorely miss the excuse to drop into the office and soak up Mark’s vibes, or shoot the £50-man breeze with him over a recording device. And now he’s written a book about it all.

Rock Stars Stole My Life!, presented and penned like a sidebar in Smash Hits, it actually reads like Mark’s half of a spirited conversation (and his was never as little as a half). It’s exclamatory, endearingly vague, citation-free and all over the place. It begins “somewhere over Greenland” on Rihanna’s Boeing 777, where the elder statesman of pop journalism is among a more youthful press corps and, in less than a page, ticking off the first of his print-trade neologisms: “I wander down the aisle to see if I can scare up some more booze.” Mark really does use the phrase “scare up.” So in love with the intricacies and left-turns of our old pal the English language is he, such daft verbal ticks become lifejackets as he bobs about in the ocean of nonsense that is pop and the pop industry. Herein, he turns his life – well, his professional life, he’s not big on the old private life, beyond fond passing mentions of his wife Clare – into a 40-chapter Hoary Old Rock Anecdote.

Each tale is turned on the lathe of froth with a flourish and a curlicue throughout – to say they are “embellished” suggests they are untrue, but it’s not that. Mark cannot use a grey, functional sentence. It is not in his bones. Henceforth, whether he’s recounting early festival safaris “sleeping in fertilizer sacks”, his first, faltering steps at the NME, or the full flowering at Smash Hits and the subsequent executive-level eyries at EMAP, we get “records of every stripe”, copy that comes in “screeds”, the video boom that comes in “warm trade winds”, machinery that “cranks into action”, Toyah being “of no audible talent”, the Beatles being “cheese-scented”, the Q Awards negotiated over “long months of fragile protocol”, and “m’learned friends” are mentioned more than once. His style bounces across the facts like a beach ball. It’s difficult to take your eye off it. And the getting there is half the fun.

Though Mark’s writing is decorative, it’s actually as economical as Jim Bob’s. We can see the elder rock journalists in the Knebworth press paddock when he describes them as “roguish characters in leather jackets … forking smoked salmon off paper plates.” When he notes that new partner-in-speechmarks Tom Hibbert was a fan of Big Star, all we need know is that they were “thin, lackadaisical men from Tennessee who played chiming melodies with a mournful cadence and a doomed, romantic sheen.” (It was always a great injustice to the rest of us that Mark declined to review records for the magazines he ran.) He is generous, namechecking other talents as he goes, showering humble compatriots like Hepworth, Andrew Harrison and Paul DuNoyer with bubbly approbation, and never less than effacing about himself. (When he becomes “editor-in-chief” he calls the title “embarrassingly grand-sounding.”)

More than a passing interest in music and magazines is a prerequisite but that’s obvious. If you happen to have lived quite a lot of the book, as I have, it will sing to you. Not least when, just prior to he and Dave jumping the good ship EMAP to go it alone, we learn that the company’s “upper corridors” are suddenly stalked by “highly paid strategists hell-bent on evolution.” What was once the “greatest place to work imaginable”, had become “infiltrated by wiry creeps in designer shirts.” I remember it well. To declare an interest, I get my sole namecheck on page 319, when the Word podcast is hymned and he enthuses that I am “still besotted with Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.” Which is where we came in.

MemoirsOASGDQ Memoirs Of A Shoegazing Gentlemen by Lord Tarquin (Sonic Cathedral, paperback). Last night, I attended the launch of this tiny but rather beautiful edition because its author, David Quantick, is my friend and since he moved out of London I haven’t seen him very much. Sonic Cathedral is celebrating its tenth year as an independent label specialising in Shoegazing music by producing its first ever book, the collected columns of “Lord Tarquin”, originally published in the NME between October 1991 and February 1992, Shoegazing’s peak. They appeared in the “humour” section, Thrills, edited by Stuart Maconie, with me looking over his shoulder as our desks adjoined and he, too, was my friend. I’ve known Quantick since 1988, when I first walked into the NME. He, Maconie and I formed a comedy triple-act at the turn of the century and took our show (about music journalism), Lloyd Cole Knew My Father, to the Edinburgh Fringe, and onto Radio 2. Quantick had always appeared on our Radio 1 shows, and we had a certain, arch chemistry. (We even had a few huffs during the tense making of the Radio 2 series, which proved how much we liked each other.) For a long while, we were all three represented by the same agent.

To revisit Quantick’s wryly wicked words in stout pamphlet form, exquisitely designed and illustrated by Marc Jones, was a tonic on the train home from last night’s launch at the Heavenly Social, wherein a solo-strumming, flat-capped Mark Gardner of Ride, and three quarters of Lush (host Miki, DJ Phil, guest Emma, all looking hale) provided the royalty. (Andy Bell also turned up, but after I’d left.) The “Lord Tarquin” conceit was then, and remains, that the Shoegazing scene was populated by poshos. It wasn’t, strictly, but it felt that way, with its Thames Valley epicentre and its languidly studenty sound (and one or two actual well-heeled members). Blur, Lush, Chapterhouse, Slowdive, Catherine Wheel, Revolver, even Chicane, all were dragged into Quantick’s world of privilege, boarding, “double deten” and “botheration” at Shoey House school. Tossed off at the time, they may have been, but these short-form lampoons are rich with imaginative language. It is very much in the sculpted spirit of one Mark Ellen.

“Just popped back from a round of fives in the Lower Quad with Russell from Moose! Top-hole shuffle! Russell was ten up on a double shubunkin when he dropped the bally spinnaker! The cream buns are on him next time we pop into Mrs Shoggins’ tea shop in the village!” And so it goes. We might all toss something off as funny and daft as the memoirs of Lord Tarquin. That there is a label specialsing in Shoegazing music at all – never mind that members of the bands affectionately pilloried in a music paper 22 years ago are happy to grace the launch of said satire – simply proves my 20 Year Rule. It’s one that only people who’ve lived for 40 years or more can appreciate: that everything comes round again after 20 years; all you have to do is wait it out, and not fall out with anybody or die in the interim.

Not available in all good bookshops (whatever they are), Memoirs Of A Shoegazing Gentleman is available to purchase here and, before that, from Sonic Cathedral’s stall at the Independent Label Market in London on Saturday (12 July).

Now, fun over, back to reading the introduction of Thomas Piketty’s Capital. I have never met Thomas Piketty and he is no friend of mine, so my review of this book will be pure and unsullied by soppiness and nostalgia when I review in about … a year and half’s time?

The drummer from Cud?

In may ways, I like the fact that the photographic evidence of what was, for me, an historic night, is all blurry and indistinct, as my memory of it will always remain vivid and forensic. On Saturday, November 10, 2012, at approximately 19:25, I drummed with a professional band, onstage at a famous rock venue, with a paying audience in attendance, for one song. The band was Cud; the venue was Brixton Academy (these days the O2 Academy); the song was Rich & Strange. It was an honour. It was a privilege. It was a treat. In the old days, we might have called it my Jim’ll Fix It moment, but that reference point has been all but erased from history. It did involve a flamboyant man from Leeds – or from a band formed in Leeds – who, with his three bandmates, fixed it for me, but there the similarities end.

The photo above, the first of many from the friendly world of citizen phone-journalism, was taken by Andy Goymer from what must have been “down the front.” In it, I am actually hitting some miked-up drums in public! This is massive for a failed musician! If you remember that the only other time I have played drums with a professional rock band was 20 years ago, in a club in Wakefield, soundcheck only, but the same song! (cue: well-worn but always good-value pictorial evidence, by Tim Paton) …

… you’ll understand the significance of this occasion. Cud were supporting Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, who were supporting my old pals Carter USM, for whom Brixton Academy is like a second home. It was, you’ll have spotted, an early 90s wet dream for indie fans of a certain age and temperament. I attended Carter’s first reunion show here, in November 2007, since which it’s been an annual fixture pretty much. Through thick and thin, I always seem to have been able to engineer crossing paths professionally with Jim Bob and Fruitbat, via 6 Music, Radio 2, or Word magazine, or, once, the Times, and the same is true with Cud, whose flamboyant oeuvre has become a byword for me whenever I fill in on 6 Music. I even managed to tie in one of my stints with an exclusive announcement of their summer dates. I had less of a concrete friendship with Ned’s, but spent a glorious day with them in Stourbridge about 20 years ago, and managed to engineer affable singer Jon Penney onto Roundtable along with Miles Hunt and Clint Mansell once, which was, again, for me, a little bit of history. As one hits one’s forties, such visitations to one’s twenties become swollen with significance, cultural weight and, well, larks.

Anyway, back to the present, and this side-of-stage shot – ah, the hallowed side of stage, where every music journalist who ever lived has always dreamed of being! – by John Bownas, who was far more “with the band” than I.

When you are the Drummer From Cud – and younger readers who don’t remember Cud won’t fully appreciate the significance of the band’s drummer – and you were added late to the bill, to open the show, you must arrive at Brixton Academy by 5.30 for soundcheck, and a very truncated soundcheck at that. (Oh, and you will play with the Ned’s backdrop; this is the fate of the first band on! It’s a great backdrop, mind you.) I must admit, I’d been nervous about my three minutes and 36 seconds in the spotlight all week. I am a drummer in my bones, but I don’t get to practise much, as I don’t have a kit, and haven’t had one since I left home in 1984. I’ve been lucky enough to have a crack in adult life when I’ve been recruited to the 6 Music band, but there are too many drummers at 6 Music, and they don’t need me any more. Thus, all practice of the fills, patterns, cymbal smashes and intricacies of Rich & Strange were done in my head, or, unobtrusively, on my bag on public transport. Luckily, they let me have a quick go around the kit during their short soundcheck, itself beset by problems with playback, so quite tense, even for a bunch this fun-filled.

That’s a nice shot of the outside of the famous venue, from Ian Moulds. And this next one is the actual Drummer From Cud, Gogs Byrn, in situ. The original drummer, Steve, was with the band when they first reunited, but has had enough of touring now, so Gogs, a Leeds sticksman of some repute, stepped in. Or sat in. And it to him that I owe the greatest debt for my Cud’ll Fix It moment. Firstly, he had it foisted upon him a bit, as he’s never met me and has no history with me. Secondly, they only had an eight-song set, and he was willing to give up one of their most famous songs to an ex-journalist with a death wish. I thank Gogs for Saturday night. He’s bloody brilliant, by the way.

I took that shot, actually, from the stool of Ned’s drummer Dan’s kit, which Gogs’ was set up in front of. Again, the lot of the second support band! By the way, do not underestimate how awestruck I was, walking out onto that stage. Even with the venue empty, it was a head-spinner. I have been in the audience at Brixton so many times, in youth, and in adulthood (I rarely go to gigs now, but was here for Carter, Arcade Fire, Kasabian, Goldfrapp and Arctic Monkeys in recent memory), but never have I been out on that stage. What a pleasure.

Three in a row now, from Cormac, Julian (who runs 3Loop, who put out Cud’s lovely BBC Sessions box set, and have a Family Cat one imminent – order here), and Will Scott. Thanks to all for these. I might be a speck in them, and you’d need special Spooks-style scanning equipment to prove it was me behind the kit, but the context is important.

It was, inevitably, over very quickly. Three and a half minutes, in fact. We finished soundchecking about a minute before the doors opened, and had only about 15 minutes to get into character – and costume! – before going back out onstage. Carl, always a born frontman, changed into skin-tight tartan kecks and a frilly shirt sexily open at belt level to reveal a triangle of middle-years stomach. I had to make do with a new Cud t-shirt, as I hadn’t considered the showbiz element.

Here are the pros, relaxing backstage, after the gig.

And here’s the same three-quarters of Cud, with their temporary, one-song interloper.

And here is me and Gogs.

The latter two were taken by a professional photographer, Sara Bowrey, whose full set, which includes loads of superb action shots of Carter and Ned’s, is on Flickr here.

Needless to say, once I’d done my bit, and retired backstage to help Cud sup some of their rider before they headed off back up the M1 to get home before midnight, I morphed back into a happy punter, and … oh, I went to the upstairs “VIP Bar”, because I had an Access All Areas pass and it looks down on the auditorium. From here, like some tragic rock biz freeloader, I watched Ned’s tear up the house.

… And then I went into the venue for Carter, who were as magnificent as ever: just two old blokes with guitars and a backing tape, shrouded in dry ice, belting out hit after hit after hit, each one accompanied by people whose vivid, formative memories of the album 30 Something, means that they are closer to 50 Something. I wasn’t technically “down the front”, but I was to the side of the bit just behind down the front, and it was fabulous. The Impossible Dream a highlight, as it always was, and always will be.

Was it Carter’s last gig? Why would it be? Why would these bands whose heyday was 20 years ago stop doing it when there are enthusiastic punters who will happily pay good money to come and see them doing it? I had a nice chat with Jon, Rat and Alex from the Ned’s in the corridor, and in the VIP Bar, and they’re doing it for all the right reasons. They have day jobs. But when they play in Wolverhampton, as they are doing before Christmas, it’s like when Cud play in Leeds, or Carter play in Brixton.

I thank them all for proving that nostalgia need not be a disease. I can simply be a point around which like-minded souls can gather, and have a pint, and have a sing-song, and have a nod. A minor scuffle broke out in the mosh pit during Carter – just two lads with hot heads – and it was snuffed out so quickly, and the general feeling from those around it was, “Come on! We don’t do that sort of shit here.”

A big thanks to Cud, though: Carl, Will, Mike and Gogs, and their entourage, particularly Alaric, as he’s from Northampton, and brews real ale there. For Cud news, click here; for Carter, here; for Ned’s, here.

Ah. Stop press.

40 years of Radio 1

Carter R1

I hereby honour Radio 1’s 40th Anniversary with a great picture I have in my archive, taken for BBC publicity purposes (if you’re the photographer, let me know, and I’ll credit you for it – although my eyes look a bit funny), of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine posing with two DJs after recording some humorous item or other for Collins & Maconie’s Hit Parade in 1994, after drummer Wez (right) had joined. How fresh-faced Maconie looks! How hirsute and childish I look! We have been written out of Radio 1’s long history, despite spending a number of years on the air during the Bannister Years, and co-hosting live coverage of the Brits and the Mercury Music Prize for the station during that time. (How we laugh when we remember Stuart’s off-colour remark about burning tyres when discussing “gypsy dancer” Joaquin Cortez one year.) Stuart even went on to present the Album Show for a bit after the Hit Parade had been shunted to the weekends then just shunted. (There were no hour-long slots in the new schedule, we were told.) It was a great time to pass through what used to be Egton House, just as Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley were getting their Docs under the desk, Chris Evans was in full flight, and Mark and Lard had found their evening mojo in Manchester. I feel privileged to have been there, even in a fringe capacity. We never made it to postcard status, Stuart and I, even though we won them a Sony Award. Where are we now?

(The other prompt for digging out this pic was that I interviewed the reformed Carter for the next issue of Word the other week, and it was a heartwarming experience to see Jim and Les – alright, Fruitbat – in a cafe in Crystal Palace before watching them rehearse for their comeback gigs at Brixton and Barrowlands using the original backing tapes. I don’t think any of us had changed that much. Although Brixton is totally sold out, Glasgow isn’t, and all your Carter USM/Jim Bob/Abdoujaparov needs are served here.)

Here’s me pretending to have played the drums with them, Wes-style, in their rehearsal space. (I believe this one was taken by Muir Vuidler, but correct me if I’m wrong.)

Carter and me 07