Archive | June, 2014

Something in the water

5 Jun

We have a Hungarian engraver work with us, he is partially deaf, and when he joined 2 years ago he spoke no English, he still only speaks a little English, I think learning a new language must be that much harder when you are deaf.

He seems to operate in his own little bubble, today he got a text message to say his Father in Hungary had died overnight – His father is also an engraver and was only discovered this morning by his apprentice – we’re not sure but it seems he had a heart attack – I think there can be few things worse than a sudden unexpected death, especially if you find out about it when you are in a different country.

Of course it has brought all of the feelings of loss back for me, not sure they ever went away, but it instantly brings them back to the surface, I tell myself I was lucky, I was able to be there when I lost my mum and my dad, holding my dad’s hand, stroking my mum’s hair as they left this world, but I don’t feel particularly lucky, it’s a strange feeling of being alone, I feel like an abandoned child, in adult form.

But it also brings out a defiant streak in me, I will not be publicly emotionally blackmailed into buying a book I do not wish to purchase, on principle I will refuse to buy it now, it isn’t the £4.75, it’s the fact you don’t know me at all if you think you can shame or embarrass me into making a purchase – would a purchase have any meaning if you glare publicly at someone until they buy it?

I also do not want to be invited to a show, 48 hours before the event when I was told two weeks ago that a group of friends had booked the show and they hadn’t thought to include me – I didn’t want to see the show in the first place and I don’t want to be added in at the last minute like an after-thought – it might sound ungrateful but if I wasn’t in the original plans I’m happy to stay outside of them, especially when one of the crowd has taken to filling his Twitter timeline with pictures of himself in crotchless underwear – I want to un-follow but I’m worried about causing offence or seeming rude, how English is that?

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Hit and Run Part II

4 Jun

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I have seen Prince live at least 20 times, I first saw him live in 1988, I saw his 1990 Nude Tour 8 times, the last time I saw him was 6 years ago as part of his 21 Night Stand at London’s O2.

This year Prince has been doing Hit and Run shows, as the title suggests they’re often very last minute.

I checked into FaceBook yesterday at 10am (tea-break) to a message from Steve from The Beatles Shop, he informed me that Prince was doing two shows in one night at London’s Camden Roundhouse, that Ticketmaster were the only sellers and the tickets were on sale at noon that day (yesterday) oh, yeah and the concerts were for today.

I think Camden holds a special place in Prince’s heart, he had a shop there in the early 90s, and Part I of his Hit and Run shows at the start of the year kicked off up the road at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.

It was like Kate Bush all over again, so midday came and there I was nervously tapping my debit card details in as a clock in the bottom right of the screen counted down.

I had intended to get two tickets, but the short notice of the date and the fact that standing tickets were £82.50 each meant I just got the one ticket.

I worked late last night so that I could leave early today, as the doors opened at 5.30pm.

The tickets required Photo ID, it felt like a trial run for Kate Bush’s Autumn shows, The Roundhouse is bigger than The Hammersmith Odeon and with venue staff working the queue to check the photo ID, they stamped the tickets with an Approved stamp like you’d get in the library.

Quick purchase of a souvenir t-shirt and I’d got my place about 8 people deep from the stage, trying to avoid any giants in my eye lines.

At 7pm Prince’s band 3rdEyeGirl (who look stunning, and as I later find out play loud and fierce) come on to introduce Prince and also make it very clear that they want phones, cameras and video recorders to stay in our pockets and bags “We want to see your eyes, not your iPhones” and the audience seems to obey

I have to say it was tempting when there was a particularly good pose to want to capture the moment, almost as an instinct but I’m now writing this as a permanent record of the night 🙂
It was actually really great to be at a concert without the sea of phones, I had a great view for most of the night, and concert etiquette seems to be rapidly fading so I’m all for more phone-free gigs.

Prince started the night wearing a gold and purple frock coat but that was removed after the first few songs and he spent the rest of the night in a black hooded 3rdEyeGirl vest

It was practically a greatest hits show, and he looks so happy playing his old songs – some artists might begrudge playing songs from 30 years ago, but he has a big grin on his face all night and is constantly making eyes at the audience.

He started with a funked up version of Let’s Go Crazy, followed by Take Me With U, Raspberry Beret, and U Got the Look – for most people these would be the big hitters to end a show with, but Prince just knocks them out to get things started and everyone warmed up.
In the next hour we get 1999, Little Red Corvette, When Doves Cry, Sign O the Times, and Nothing Compares 2 U … Prince asks if we’ve had enough hits yet… then launches into the sublime Kiss, Diamonds & Pearls, I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man and a blistering extended romp through Purple Rain – it’s at the end of this song that Prince suddenly looks serious ” the future is yours, younger generation”.

This is Prince so we also get a 10 minute guitar and drum work-out during Guitar (I love u London, but not like I love my Guitar) he finishes with the B-Side She’s Always in My Hair … we’ve had 2 hours in the presence of genius … and he is doing it all again now while I type this up.