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?

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!

1978 – simply the best

I was (sweet?) 16 in 1978. School had gone horribly wrong. But I discovered Radio City (I lived in Southport) and music generally.


Last night Top of the Pops replayed music from 1978 – this was pure genius – this sort of quality has not been repeated since. The playlist:

Blondie – Picture This
Brotherhood of Man – Figaro
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
Odyssey – Native New Yorker
Elvis Costello – I Don’t Want to go to Chelsea
Manfred Manns Earth Band – Davy’s on the road again
Travolta / ONJ – Summer Nights
The Boomtown Rats – Rat Trap
Mr Blue Sky – ELO
Yvonne Eliiman – If I can’t have You (I don’t want nobody)
Sham 69 – Angels With Dirty Faces
Dan Hill Sometimes when we touch
The Motors – Dancin the night away
ob Marley and the Wailers – Satisfy My Soul
Chic – Le Freak
Jilted John – Jilted John
Johhny Mathis and Denice Williams – Too Much Too Little Too Late*
Ian Dury and the Blockheads – What A Waste
10cc – Dreadlock Holiday
Rose Royce – Love Don’t Live Here Any More
Boney M – Rasputin

If you were’t there – get on You Tube – watch and learn! If you were there – you’ll understand!! I can remember this stuff like it was yesterday…This was when punk and New Wave started to nudge the MOR junk from our screens. I was quite comfortable going out in a black bin bag! But secretly I liked the soul / disco stuff too – but don’t tell my punk mates that!

For the next few days you can watch the programme here. It’s a must do thing!

*OK Johnny Matthis wasn’t much cop.

The World Owes Me A Living…

…I’ve been on this dole queue for too long” – or so the Boomtown Rats song goes. Looking After Number One – if you aren’t old enough!

I happened upon a debate last week on Jeremy Vine. I don’t listen very often as I’m not really old enough – and his choice in music is questionable at best. Far too middle of the road…

But he had a phone in about people being taken to hospitals and then discharged in the middle of the night. Somewhat horrifyingly they didn’t get the blues and two’s treatment on the way back. They had to make their own way home – usually at 4am, in the rain and living miles from home. They had no money (with them or at home). Their husband / wife (delete as required) were looking after the twelve kids and they had depression et al. Some were double amputees. I think.

I mentally switched off. It was like something from Simon Bates and ‘Our Tune’.

The most sensible comment I heard was that the NHS ran hospitals not taxi firms.

Whilst hospital trips can be traumatic, we surely do have to take some responsibility for ourselves. Taxi drivers will normally wait whilst you pop inside to get some money – or get you to a cash machine. Not wanting to call a family member at 3am is a bit weak – especially if there has been an ‘emergency’.

The over-riding sentiment that came out of the chat-show was this presumption that people expected the be wet-nursed. They expected others to sort them out. Life’s not like that?

The other way of looking at it is that life might be a bit tough at times, but the alternative is not a great option?

Dexy’s Midnight Runners – now less the midnight runners

I remember it all too well. 1982. I was working (briefly) at the now defunct Kimberley Brewery.

I didn’t have dungaree’s but I did have the Dexy’s Midnight Runners album – from which they drew ‘Come on Eileen’. It remains, to this day, a disco favourite. The drum section towards the end is a classic. Perhaps you had to be there…

Kevin Rowland was notoriously difficult and it was perhaps no surprise that the Midnight Runners ran off. It was a brief period of fame.

But 30 years on they’re back. But renamed, they are now just Dexy’s. Rowland is there as are a couple of the original members of the band. I have only caught a few minutes of the songs, but they sounded rather good. I was surprised.

You will know if you follow this blog that I’m a big music fan – and the music from the late 1970′s through to the Eighties was some of the best in my view. Squeeze, Bowie, The Stranglers and The Boomtown Rats. I liked the Dexy’s album, but when I listen to it now it sounds rather dated!

I have heard that the super-group Steps have reformed – but I think this sounds like it’s for the money. And that is surely the issue. When you have been away for so long, you can’t help but wonder whether these bands are in it for the cash. Cashing in on peoples memories. That’s going to lead to disappointment!

Perhaps I’m being cynical. I will probably buy the Dexy’s album out of curiosity. I won’t be following Steps though.

However, if Bob Geldof is out there watching – the comeback tour can’t come soon enough. It only seems like yesterday when I appeared on stage with Jonny Fingers and helped him play Banana Republic! Derby Assembly Rooms – April 1982 (oh dear that seems to be 30 years ago too!)

A sense of deja vu!

It happened at the weekend. I plunged headlong into buying a turntable – after threatening to a few weeks ago. I am the proud owner of a Pro-Ject Genie3 – which is about to be discontinued, but has won all manner of awards… It is connected to my new Cambridge Audio amp system.

It sounds fantastic.

I had to crawl into the back of my garage to rescue my collection of albums – ‘vinyl’ as it is now called! And I found some real gems from a (nearly) forgotten era. In no particular order…

Blondie – Parallel Lines – in beautiful white blonde vinyl
Bowies Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars – still an all time favourite
Bowies – Young Americans album – which must be nearly worn out!
The Boomtown RatsA Tonic for the Troops – which I bought just after I saw them play live in 1979 at Stoke
U2 – The Joshua Tree – the last album I bought – and the best album they ever made!
Sade – Diamond Life – smooth, smooth, smooth
China Crisis – Working with Fire and Steel
Olivia Newton-John‘s Xanadu – on glorious pink vinyl!

Are what I have played so far…

I am loving discovering stuff from this era in my life. And it sounds so very good!

Music – a sense of deja vu?

As you may guess, if you are a regular reader, I am a big fan of music. My iTunes library comprises 6,328 albums or 52,640 tracks. If I had 145.2 days I could listen to it all (that would take me until Saturday 15th February around 11am).

But my oldest son has recently bought a turntable (and has spent a small fortune on LP’s!)

And this has got me thinking…

I have about 150 albums at the back of my garage (somewhere) – these were bought at the time when music was not just great – it was brilliant. The Boomtown Rats, Bowie, Blondie, more Bowie, The Clash, Sex Pistols et al.

So I am wondering, should I get a turntable again? iPods celebrated their 10th birthday recently, and digital music has changed our lives – millions now wander round with those little white ear buds in. Oblivious to the world around them. I have thousands of tracks of music in my car. Thousands on my phone, another load on my iPad.

But I think I listen to music differently now. I used to actually listen to it, now I wonder if it is just on as background stuff? Some of it isn’t – but a lot of the time, I use it to help me concentrate / avoid distractions.

But when I used to listen to music I’m not sure this was the case?

Will the turntable make me listen to the music again? If I do, I have a feeling I will be reverting to the stuff I bought 30 years ago though!

Brilliantine Mortality

Last night I saw my second ever gig at the Derby Assembly Rooms.

The first was a sweaty affair in April 1982 when my girlfriend at the time (later to become my wife!) was hauled on stage by Bob Geldof for a dance. The Boomtown Rats were in town! I quickly followed and found my way to the side of the stage to talk to Johnny Fingers – whilst he showed me the rudimentary keys to Banana Republic. He wore the trademark pyjamas! It was a great night. I can’t believe it was all those years ago – I can remember most of the set!

So 28 years on we were back again; to see The Manic Street Preachers. But I had an ulterior motive – they were supported by one of my favourite bands – British Sea Power. And despite only getting a 45 minute slot they were as brilliant as ever. Their music can be quite ‘earthy’ with sounds taken from the Countryside amalgamated with rock music. Some of the lyrics are wonderfully dark – brilliantine mortality… I’m not sure what it means. You used to be able to buy a jar of the stuff on their web site – but it’s out of stock?

They have been described as English Eccentric. They are certainly that!

I bought the new EP – and met Noble from the band. I last saw him jumping from the balcony in The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham.

And after all that the Manics were pretty good too – putting on nearly 2 hours of Welsh rock! A great night out…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged , British Sea Power, Derby Assembly Rooms, Live Music, Manic Street Preachers