The habit has been broken…

Last year as we wandered towards summer I was looking forward the my 10th Isle of Wight Festival. The Boomtown Rats were a highlight as you probably know if you hang out here. They were brilliant.


But this year my annual trip to the Island won’t be happening.

It’s all about the music. The line up is I think as weak as I’ve seen. This is a festival at which I’ve seen Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Killers, The Police, The WHO, R.E.M, Paul McArtney, Neil Young (who was crap), Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Quality acts.

But this year – Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Kings Of Leon are headline acts. I’ve seen them all. And whilst they are ‘ok’ I can’t say I would rush to see any of them.

The only band worth seeing are The Specials and The Selector (who are relegated to graveyard spot). I last saw both of them in 1979 at The Kimberley Leisure Centre as part of a bill with another small band from the time – Madness…

I’m going to miss the tent and the whole ‘not washing’ experience. But my back to nature expedition is on hold this year. I’m going to have to settle for Splendour at Wollaton Park. Good reasons for this – it’s a mile from home so the tent stays firmly down. Oh – and Geldof and the Boomtown Rats are coming. Result. Who needs the Isle of Wight?

Bad news good news …

For reasons which will become apparent I attempted to switch our flight out of Toronto back to New York earlier in the week. However, the change was going to cost twice as much as I paid for a return ticket. The girl couldn’t explain it. I didn’t bother.


But then the weather took a turn for the worse and suddenly Air Canada were cancelling flights out of Toronto. In doing so they were offering anyone with a ticket the chance to change flights! As the forecast was for worsening weather we decided to change our 7.15pm flight to a lunchtime 12.15 one.

The bad news was that this gave us a lot less time in Toronto. Especially when the show overnight hit the 6″ mark! We dutifully set off for the airport. It was as bad weather as I have witnessed – but this is Canada and they are not about stop for some light flurries. They dug our plane out and we managed to get underway – nearly three hours late. We were de-iced so as not to crash.

So that was all of the bad news – apart from the re-defining of moderate turbulence by the Captain – I presume heavy turbulence is when the wings are ripped off! A girls was literally thrown off her feet.

The good news was we were back in NYC for another gig. And if you thought the post about Barenaked Ladies was bad – how do you explain to your mum that you have actually seen Pussy Riot. They were guest of honour at the Amnesty International “Human Rights Home” concert in Brooklyn. I should make it clear they didn’t play – but rather spoke out against the oppression in Putin’s Government. Feisty young ladies and a credit to all ‘frondeuse‘ on the planet.

But the concert was also peppered with celebrities – Madonna, Susan Sarandon, The Fray, Blondie, The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons and for the third time in less than 12 months Bob Geldof! Geldof played at the ‘Secret Policemans Other Ball’ concert in 1981 – singing “Mondays’ – he did the same last night.

Stars of the show? Imagine Dragons by a long chalk. So every cloud?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Music, Travel Tagged Amnesty International, Blondie, , Brooklyn, Concert, Imagine Dragons, Madonna, , Pussy Riot

The trouble with God is that he think’s he’s Bob Geldof

Last night – for the second time this year I relived my (wasted?) youth. Rock City played host the best rock and roll band on the planet – as announced by “Sir” Bob Geldof to an audience with an average age to qualify for a bus pass (me excepted of course).

Saint Bob?

Saint Bob?

If you weren’t there in the late 1970′s and early 19080′s it is hard to describe the influence the Boomtown Rats had. Geldof was a loud mouthed (and at times foul mouthed – he uttered the F-word for the first time on live TV during Live Aid) and opinionated. The songs resonated with a disenchanted youth. Me included. It was rebellion personified. We were pissed off. Still am it seems.

But the tunes were good too. And the lyrics were sublime. This is proper rock and roll – requiring to be played loud even if the pensioners were struggling with their hearing aids!

The set-list was impressive (I knew every word of every song here – such was the mis-spent youth):

(I Never Loved) Eva Braun
Like Clockwork
Neon Heart
Do you In
Someone’s Looking At You
Banana Republic
She’s So Modern
I Don’t Like Mondays
CLose As You’ll Ever Be
When The Night Comes
Mary of the 4th form
Lookin’ After Number One
Rat Trap
Never Bite The Hand That Feeds
Diamond Smiles
Boomtown Rats

Geldof was irreverent, funny and serious at times – reminding us that nothing has really changed since he wrote this stuff. What the voice lacks – the enthusiasm and energy make up for.

This was as good as a gig gets for me. 10/10.

The Greatest Rock n Roll band on the planet – OFFICIAL

After a break of a few days I’m back with news of a band who have been away for 27 years! I have been on the Isle of Wight at the festival – It was my 10th year. The first year I went really to see Bowie – but this year there was a special surprise.


The Boomtown Rats had re-formed. ALthough it was a relatively short set (which Geldof over-ran as you might expect), they played as well as any of the previous dozen or so times I have seen them. The first time was back in 1979 a few weeks after ‘Mondays’ had been at No.1. Geldof was resplendent in a snakeskin suit – the material for which came from Nottingham!

They romped through stuff, mostly drawn from the early years – the set list was:

I Never Loved (Eva Braun)
Like Clockwork
Neon Heart
Do You In
Someone’s Looking at You
Looking after number one
I Don’t Like Mondays
Mary of the 4th Form
She’s So Modern
Rat Trap

Geldof was suitably ‘adult like’ in language terms. We all needed to go and do something to change the world. But the real message in here was an interesting one. He wrote Mondays and Someone’s Looking at You 35 years ago. Mondays was famously about 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer who shot at Schoolchildren in California. Geldof recounted a recent story of a similar shooting in Ohio recently. In the introduction to “Someone’s Looking At You” – he suggested that matters may now be worse – if you go to London you have your photo taken around 3,000 times in a day! His song was a bout him being photographed at a protest march for GreenPeace!

I was never going to dislike the gig – they played stuff I grew up with. Geldof sounded great – irreverent as ever! Le Frondeuse? Don’t take my word for it – the Telegraph review is here.

And great news – they will tour in October. I can confirm I’ll be there!

It’s a Rat Trap…

There was the best news of the decade this week (ignoring the HS2 announcement). It seems that The Boomotwn Rats have decided to re-form – and play the Isle of Wight Festival. This is good on two counts. Firstly that this is my all-time favourite band – just in front of Squeeze and alongside David Bowie. Secondly, I have tickets to the Isle of Wight Festival!

johnny fingers

I have been wondering for some time why the Rats hadn’t re-formed. Lots of bands from that era (and later) have captured a listening audience of a certain age trying to re-live their earlier life!

26 years after they last played Bob and his band of merry men are back together.

Who can forget the hits – Rat Trap and Monday’s. But there’s some great stuff on earlier albums. The Tonic for the Troops album remains one of my all-time favourites. “(I never loved) Eva Braun” was once described as the most cheerful song about Hitler ever written!

The album takes it’s name from the great lyric, “And Charlie ain’t no Nazi, she likes to wear her leather boots, ‘cos it’s exciting for the veterans and … it’s a tonic for the troops.“.

The great news is that I know every word to every Rats song, so if Geldof needs a hand I am ready for this. I did once ‘help’ Johnny Fingers play Banana Republic – but that’s another story!

So the only questions are… will Johnny Fingers wear his pyjamas and will Gerry Cott wear those sunglasses?

Rock on June – and the Isle of Wight Festival!