Monday, February 03, 2014

When You Were Young.

I  went to see del Amitri last week. They are a special band for me because their second album, Waking Hours (you probably know it as "the one with Nothing Ever Happens on it") was the background music to a very difficult period in my life (when you're kicking off your morning commute with Kiss This Thing Goodbye every single day there's probably something there underlying which has not been adequately addressed). When they played Hull's legendary Adelphi Club* to promote the album and then dropped into the record shop where I worked the next morning I insisted that they help themselves to a few of our albums in return for signing theirs. Guitarist Iain Harvie picked up a copy of Neil Young's Zuma and Justin Currie signed my copy (which I still have) "Anything for a freebie". Guitarist and future Fast Show writer Dave Cummings declined to add his signature on the not unreasonable grounds that "...I'm not on it". 

 Their next LP Change Everything... pretty much soundtracked my personal renaissance, so I retain a soft spot a mile wide for them and their works. I even bought their compilation 'The Collection', which has one of the worst covers ever committed to print and doesn't even have Kiss This Thing... on it. There's still an online review available which is headed "Del Amitri were great - but please don't buy this album..."  

 The concert was also an opportunity to catch up with one of my old English teachers - not the Welsh one with the novels who turned out to be right about Graham Greene - the other one whose first job it was to coach me through the tricky opening scene of The Sea King's Daughter for our school play ("Behold! The Sea King!" - I can still remember my big line even now). How I principally remember him is as a slight, beardy drama enthusiast, which is what he remains, albeit a now a retired ex-headmasterly one. He was the one who bought Ziggy Stardust into the lunch time record club and got us to deconstruct 10cc lyrics in class. He also provided exercise books for me to fill with poetry and doggerel which he helpfully critiqued on his own time. He posted an update on Facebook this week about our meeting.

 Tuesday was very special seeing Del Amitri back together after many years and playing as if it was only yesterday. An extra bonus was meeting up with Shane Kirk at the gig after over 35 years! He was 11 and in my first English class in 1976 – a first rate student who produced the most amazing writing which encouraged me to continue in the job. Those are the times that are never forgotten and make it a privilege to have been a teacher. Such a shame that today’s teachers do not have the opportunities to teach to the interests of their children rather than those of the lunatic, Gove.   

Thank you, Sir. That means a lot.

*Essentially a couple of terraced houses knocked together, so that attending a show had the air of nothing so much as an over-boisterous party in someone's living room while their parents were away.


John Medd said...

Your post mentions Del Amitri. And Hull. Made my day. That's all.

Do You Do Any Wings? said...

I should point out that del Amitri later put out Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears" (from 'Zuma') on a b-side. I'm not saying that was ultimately down to my actions that day, I'm not saying it wasn't. If a butterfly flaps it's wings in Andy's Records, mind...

James Partridge said...

Beautiful, man. Really.

12stringbassist said...

Oh. I thought "Don't Cry No Tears" was theirs... An illusion shattered!!!