Sunday, 31 March 2013

And it never will be

You think you know someone. You have a few conversations. You ride bikes together. You suffer the indignity of a cold, freezing, wet Christmas ride at Sweets.

Then you find out you are of a similar age. You share one or two conversations about music and find you liked, and like, the same bands from the eighties. And that two of them are playing in Bristol in a couple of months' time.

So you get tickets, arrange to meet, have a bit of laugh about men of a certain age, all that kind of thing. And go in to watch the first band, who happen to be The Men they couldn't hang. One of my favourites.

A funny thing is that I had an open circle with them from the last time I saw them, no not what you might think and the whole story is too complicated to tell here. I thought they were a bit off form so I walked out early, thinking I'd catch them next time. But I never did, so always regretted it a bit.

Anyway, last Thursday they were fantastic. Stiff Little Fingers were OK, but I could always take or leave them, and so I did actually leave them. I hope Grant wasn't too upset, I think they were more his cup of tea than the Men. And it did give me the opportunity to bump into, and chat to, Swill. About the music, about the history and about the politics.

I think Grant might actually think Margaret Thatcher did a good job. I'm not going to argue with him, he seems like a nice bloke to me. Falklands probably, got out of her own mess, and the Iranian embassy siege I'll give you. But her ideas about thrift and self-reliance? A bit of unintended consequence I think. And while Alf Roberts may have felt a sense of obligation to the community, I don't think that idea was really what her policies promoted.

A fairly under-appreciated band TMTCH. Maybe it's because they did songs like this. Are they a bit too close to the knuckle for cosy, comfortable Britain these days? They do other stuff too, tales of historical struggle, jolly music and love songs. But they play with passion and fire, that's what I love.

And of course I realised that some of my own passion and fire has gone out since I last saw the Men the couldn't Hang. And that is despite the  world going crazy, riots all over the place, wars for oil, countries wrecked for the benefit of who exactly? Capitalism hasn't got a stunning record for helping many people has it? I know I've lived well off the crumbs from the table, but I still have this belief, deep down, that the world should be more equal, and at the same time some people should be contributing more and not just accepting a life of indolence.

So that is what I took away from the gig. As well as a t-shirt that I'm still wearing and a CD of "Waiting for Bonaparte", and "How Green was the Valley".

And these:

What I think we need is a bit more protest, a few more cobbles torn up and metaphorically thrown in the direction of those self-serving, self-interested capitalists that have pretended to be the only way for too long. I don't have answers yet, but I'm working on it.

And if you don't agree with me, then argue, debate, create. Maybe, we could collaborate and make the world better for more people.

Tomorrow I'll return to cycling and tell you all about our great ride over the Quantocks & Exmoor. But for now, think on this

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article, thanks for sharing the tunes, I've been a fan of both bands for ages but couldn't make the trip up to Bristol this time around.

    Oh, and here's the excellent Grace Petrie doing that protest thing that we all need right now.