Isle of Wight Festival 2013

My last blog was about the truly excellent Boomtown Rats appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival 2013. But it wasn’t just The Rats’ who were there – although they were the best by a Country mile!

I thought I might share some images and memories…

Firstly, it takes all sorts at Festivals. Often there are people in fancy dress, other times you might just assume that some people just dress oddly?

Nice arse?

Nice arse?

Although you can stay in a normal tent if you like you can gamble on something a little different…

The tents disguised as dice

The tents disguised as dice

There was a retro feel this year – with the appearance of Hugh Cornwell from The Stranglers, Steve Harley, Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople), T’Pau and Blondie. All superb!

Blondie aka Debbie Harry

Blondie aka Debbie Harry

Then there were The Killers – as good as ever…

The Killers lead-man Brandon Flowers

The Killers lead-man Brandon Flowers

And when you win a big cuddly toy, there is only one thing you should do with it…

Where am I?

Where am I?

Finally, there was clearly a bit of a wardrobe disaster for a number of people? And I love that they had their own flag…

Where's Wally and the matching flag

Where’s Wally and the matching flag

All in all, a great festival…

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!

Is it really a year? The Isle Of Wight Festival beckons…

The mud has long since been forgotten. The persistent rain is a distant memory. The tent is in tent heaven…


I posted my top tips at the end of the show last year – you can read them here.

Today I head south to that little Island in the Solent – where I get to spend the next four days in the sunshine watching a number of bands. without doubt the highlight will be The Boomtown Rats on Sunday!

But there’s a few others as well – Stone Roses, Ian Hunter, Laura Mvula, Happy Mondays, T’Pau (!!), The Killers, The Script, Bon Jovi and Blondie…

The blog may go quiet for a few days, but I’ll be back next week – probably with some news on who was good and who was bad…

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.

Sometimes it goes wrong…

I wonder sometimes about just how much Facebook know about me? The targeted adverts are quite worrying. I make no secret that one of my favourite bands of all times is Squeeze. I have lost track of how many times I have seen them – last in New York. But also in Nottingham back in 1980 – and on the Beach in Cannes too!

There was a great targeted advert for a T-Shirt inspired by the song. On the of the greatest songs were written by Difford & Tilbrook is Pulling Mussels – the lyrics are sublime…

They do it down on Camber Sands, they do it at Waikiki
Lazing about this beach all day night, the crickets creepy
Squinting faces at the sky, a Harold Robbins paperback
Surfers drop their boards and dry and everybody wants a hat

But behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete
And I feel like William Tell,
Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet

Pulling mussels from the shell
Pulling mussels from the shell

Shrinking in the sea so cold,
topless ladies look away
A He-man in a sudden shower shelters from the rain
You wish you had a motor boat to pose around the harbor bar
When the sun goes off to bed, you hook it up behind the car
But behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete
And I feel like William Tell,
Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet

Pulling mussels from the shell
Pulling mussels from the shell

Two fat ladies window shop something for the mantelpiece
In for bingo all the nines,
a panda for sweet little niece
The coach drivers stand about looking at a local map
About the boy, he’s gone away, down to next door’s caravan

But behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete
And I feel like William Tell,
Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet

Pulling mussels from the shell
Pulling mussels from the shell

But behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete And I feel like William Tell,
Maid Marian on her tiptoed feet

Pulling mussels from the shell
Pulling mussels from the shell

Now check the T-Shirt out. It’s, er, not those sort of Muscles?? Perhaps they are being ironic?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged lyrics, muscles, , Pulling Mussels, Squeeze, t-shirt

Dexy’s 2012 – pretty good

Back in May I was reminiscing about the new Dexy’s album. No midnight runners – just Rowlands and a few of the original gang for a reunion album – called ‘One Day I’m Going to Soar’.

As expected, I bought it in the week. Via Amazon. Sorry HMV and other shops, but CD’s are now bought on-line….

It arrived on Wednesday and was immediately ripped to my iPod, iPad, car, macbook air and office mac… Because, it is really rather good. I have played it to death and it’s only Saturday. It’s not got the raw edge of too-rye-ay but it is quite grown-up! I am suitably impressed and will keep an eye out for them playing live. It’s worth a punt – if you like your music. And if you were a fan first time round of the dungaree wearing hippies…this is a great follow-up. Rowlands still has a distinctive sound.

But my abiding memory of Dexy’s the first time round was when they appeared on Top the Pops doing their follow up to Come on Eileen – a cover of Van Morrison’s “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)”. TOTP got it slightly wrong when they put a picture of Darts player Jocky Wilson up as a backdrop!


By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man! Tagged album, Come On Eileen, comeback, Dexy's, Kevin Rowlands, , too-rye-aye

The Boss – aka Springsteen

It doesn’t seem a week since I was playing in a muddy field on the Isle of Wight. The festival this year will be remembered for the rain and the mud – it was epic.

But as I blogged in the week there were also a few bands on too. And some good ones at that.

I was interested to see that the NME published their list of the best acts of the festival in the week by listeners and they suggested:

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Pearl Jam
Biffy Clyro
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Miles Kane
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
The Vaccines

Well, I’m with them on Bruce. He was amazing – belting out (literally) hit after hit interspersed with some new stuff from “Wrecking Ball’ for nearly three hours. This is a showman at his best – with an incredible stamina for a 62 year old. I last saw Springsteen (with the E Street Band) in 1993 – a period when I think he was at his best, or so we thought. They were the days of Born in The USA and Dancing in the Dark.

But last year ‘The Promise’ was released – music he wrote in the late 70′s but never recorded after a dispute with his record company. I love that stuff. It still sounds like 1978.

But the highlight of the set for me was ‘Because the Night’. A song he gifted to Patti Smith which gave her the springboard into the UK. This song is in my top ten soungs of all time, so playing it was a real bonus.

I have been asked by several people whether he is worth seeing, my response, he was worth the price of the ticket – £175….

Without doubt ‘The Boss’.

PS I don’t agree with the NME on all of their list – Pearl Jam were rubbish!

Its music month…

I can’t believe that we are in June already. June is my Festival Month!

I get to be a responsible adult – living like Ray Mears (well nearly). Living off the land, sleeping under the stars and generally fending for myself. Yes, It’s the Isle of Wight Festival again. It’s my 9th year in succession.

This year they’ve moved it back a few weeks (something to do with some Royal Celebrations or something?) So we start on the 21st – and I can’t wait. The line up this year is pretty good – generally.

I’m looking forward to:

Bruce Springsteen
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Noel Gallagher
The Darkness
Primal Scream
The Stranglers
Big Country

And the one’s to miss…

Professor Green
Katy B
Tiny Tempah
Jessie J….

Thats why there’s a bar!

The other thing we need to arrange is the weather, as last year’s efforts were not good. The picture is of my mate Jeremy donning his rather fetching all-weather gear! With luck we won’t do that again! Roll on the Isle of Wight!

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!)

Portable Speakers….

I bought some small portable speakers in New York four years ago – they were really good, but they got a bit wet last year at the Isle of Wight Festival. It turns out they weren’t waterproof and so emitted a hiss in protest. Irritating at the best of times. They got binned.

So I have been looking for replacement. Ideally so that I can listen to my iPod / laptop when I am away. An external speaker is a necessary luxury!

The solution has been found in the form of a Jawbone Jambox. I bought it in the shop girls don’t get – the Apple store in the Meatpacking District of New York. It was $199, so not cheap.

It is fantastic. The sound from the tiny little box belies its size. And better still it connects to my phone and laptop by bluetooth (although there is a dinky little red flat wire for a speaker connection). It also has a microphone so you can use it for ‘hands free’ – the reception is really clear. I haven’t used it for conference calling, but it looks as though it will handle this with ease.

It’s an impressive bit of kit, really well built, cool to look at and sounds as good as some hi-fi systems! The battery life is around 10 hours too. It could have almost been made by Apple – it’s so good!

It now accompanies me everywhere – so when the need takes me I can do Tiger Feet on the train or wherever…