LEGig

Moshpit Memories – Sowing The Seeds…

LEGig

When my mum took me and my brother to a fete in Northampton in the 1970s, I unwittingly stumbled into the first “gig” I’d ever seen, for there were The Wombles in all their furry glory. A mate of mine later bizarrely asked me whether it was the “real” Wombles and the worrying thing is, I think he was serious. I guess he could have been implying that members of Steeleye Span may have been in those costumes, as was often the case on Top Of The Pops back then, but somehow I suspect not.

Anyway, it’s difficult to say whether this legendary rock group had any bearing on my lifelong obsession with music, gigs and festivals, but it may well have planted a seed in my four year old psyche. Besides, at that point, I was more excited about getting Arsenal legend Malcolm “Supermac” McDonald’s autograph at the same fete. He charged me tuppence for the pleasure, the tight bastard.

There are two answers though, when people ask me who the first band I ever saw live was. The other answer is besuited and booted Coventry dwellers King, named after their cockatoo-haired frontman and future MTV presenter Paul, and whom I went to see off my own back with my then schoolfriend Kevin at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall. I don’t want to put the band down because at the time I loved the show, but let’s just say that King’s last (solo) hit, in 1987, was called ‘Smug And Irritating’.

I guess I’ll stick with The Wombles as my answer then…

…conveniently skipping the fact that I saw…er…Rolf Harris at the same fete and that he may even have been on earlier than The Wombles…though now I think about it, it CAN’T have been the same fete, because I was about seven years old, rather than a toddler, and had the piss ripped out of me when I patiently waited in the “IN” queue to get the Aussie doodler’s autograph, and after doing so, attempted to come back out the same way, through all the other kids who were queueing and getting in their way. Rolf sarcastically shouted “Make way for Lawrence! Make way for Lawrence!” and I was mortified.
Admittedly, this story was funnier before we all knew Rolf was a nonce, but still…

I still remember my third gig, Madness – again at De Montfort Hall – who really cemented this whole live music thing for me with a dazzling performance and a slurry of perfect pop hits that remains one of my favourite shows I have ever attended. What makes this doubly impressive is that this was during the 1985 ‘Mad Not Mad’ tour, their key songwriter Mike ‘Barso’ Barson having left the band and inner tensions having reached boiling point with petty squabbles aplenty and frazzled friendships teetering on the brink for the best part of the preceding two years. I was blissfully unaware of such animosities at the time though, and I lapped up every minute.

After that, my gig-going becomes something of a blur, easily explained by the fact that I was very soon to be in my late teens, and hence, shall we say, “experimenting” at gigs and festivals on a fairly regular basis. Granted, the vast majority of the time, this was generally just alcohol related, but, forever ingrained in my memory are the good, the bad, the ugly, the surreal and the downright ridiculous moments – courtesy of musicians, fellow punters and grumpy stewards – that I will attempt to cover on a regular basis in this column. Watch this space…

NB – I have since discovered that Paul King did NOT release a solo single called ‘Smug And Irritating’ at all, and that I have, in turn, had my pants pulled down and my derriere spanked by whoever ransacked the article I got this information from. I guess that serves me right for resorting to using Wikipedia as a source…

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.