Hardwick Live Festival, Near Durham, 19th August “I do like to be beside the seaside...." "Rain I don’t mind...."
I arrive in a lovely seaside town excited about some Puta Madres rehearsals. But I find Peter is fast asleep and drummer Rafa has landed himself in prison. Should I expect anything else? Some might say what a shambles. I say what a band.
Still, there’s lots to explore, and the rest of us (Miki, Miggles, Katia, Jai) battle manfully (and womanfully) against the driving rain until we have no choice but to take refuge in an old market. I see pastie shops and gift shops and an old man playing ‘Rain’ by the Beatles. Happy days. Pleased eyes.
We strut on down to rehearsals. We do our thing without Peter or Rafa. We try to figure out which songs sound ok without our mighty drummer. We hope hope hope he’ll arrive in time for the gig tomorrow. Then it's back to the hotel where we find Peter awake and decorating the place in flags and trinkets.
We hug and catchup on life until the early hours. Peter tells me shit about his life, I tell him shite about my life, and we listen to 50s Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti talking over jazz music. Guess that’s what friends do.
We get onto the topic of my late uncle John who very sadly passed away recently aged 64. He was a songwriter and a very fine one too. We listen and singalong to his songs until the sun rises.
We soon set off on the mighty journey up North to Hardwick Live (near Stockton), wondering what the hell we are going to do without Rafa? Lovely Miki needs a pee and there seems to be no petrol stations for miles. So we take a detour to the closet Travelodge...sweet relief… such an underrated feeling.
As it happens the traffic is terrible, and we are late for the show. But fortunately for us (and no-one else) a generator has blown up and the whole thing is running late. That means we get to go backstage and hang out with the fantastic Peter Shelley and Steve Diggle from Buzzcocks…Who I’m chuffed remember me from supports slots I’ve done with them for TRAMPOLENE. They're still smoking their heads off.
Tonight, Peter’s very own drum technician John Russell, whose job it is to set the drums up and then take them down, will be filling in on the drums. He has never played with us before. He has never played the songs before. But now he is about to do a show in front of thousands and thousands of people. We are all a bit nervous but I guess we are excited too. God knows how it’s gonna go, but the show must go on.
We were late to the gig, but as we stumbled on stage and the crowd roared, mysteriously we were told that we were too early. So we had to stumble back off again – very strange.
Peter says it is the first time he has ever been early to a gig in his whole unpredictable career. I suppose there’s a first for everything…I managed to get a cool kid’s hat signed by all the band. I think he was happy with that.
When we eventually play, I noticed Steve Craddock (guitarist with Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller and The Specials) watching us from the side of stage. We met years ago when I was roadying for the Strypes.
My hands got sweaty with nerves and I started playing wrong notes. Fuck. I bet he thinks I’m shit. But I battled on and kept looking at John Russell our drummer-for-the-night. Soon I felt pretty good and forgot I was being watched. John bustled and ripped through Pete's song like they were punk rock on speed. The whole hour and half set was done in nearly 30 minutes. The crowd were wonderful and understanding and accepted our situation...we would have played all night..but some big tall bloke came and kicked us off...so Pete threw his guitar into the crowd and I started to play Fuck Forever...end of chat.
After the show Steve was in the dressing room and showered me with all sorts of compliments about my playing and I started to blush. Maybe he thought all the wrong notes were jazz chords? I'm happy either way.
We set out to watch O.C.S and I’m quite blown away by the perfection of Steve’s playing and his sound - fuck, I feel like I got a lot to learn. He keeps looking over at me and flashing his hands. I smile and start to do the parts on the imaginary guitar in my hands.
Soon enough, Peter is on stage with Simon Fowler singing ‘Robin Hood’ and the whole crowd is crying. Then the band launch into ‘The Day I Caught The Train’ and I think to myself…shit, as Punch (or is it Judy) would say "that’s the way to do it."
On the way home Peter and I sit up front of the bus and the big dawg himself asks me to read ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad to him while he drives. I feel content and keep reading for hours but I have to read in the style of a Polish man trying to hide his Polish accent..Peter’s request…and before we know it we are back at the seaside. Ready and hoping to get some songs down.
Love You as ever
PS. Just time to mention that recently my computer had a mental breakdown- luckily it seems to be healed now. But I lost a few things - including all my ramblings and Tour Diaries about, Ghent, Lucerne and Malestroit. So- if anyone can remember anything about those gigs that will jog my memory, please let me know I’ll and do them next week…Thank you. ... See MoreSee Less
Jack that was right near my house mate! I was away, hope you're well.
Been waiting for this Shaun Morton 😍🤗🤗😚😚
I think minus the Dundee diary, this is my favourite. Love OCS and the footage of Peter doing Robin Hood is sensational.
We were right at the front, it was the most entertaining performance of the day that's for sure 😉 that poor drummer deserves a medal 😂 this explains alot Judith! x
Aww Steve Craddocks lovely been in him company a couple of times. And Rafa is he now free? Hope it was just an overnight thing. If i read for hours as a passenger id be sick after a few lines... age and loud music has aggled my inner ear i swear. Sounds like all good fun kidda. Shine on x
On behalf of Paul Leadbeater ... he has the black bolder holder...flung from a mysterious wearer
Victoria Bryson Michelle Baker
Jack.. was Albion always going to be your last song or did you have more on the set list?
I'll send you a pm with pics from Ghent
Jack you should give us an email for sending you that info i hope your pc is ok now
everything is so unpredictable
I didn't notice any bum notes. I guess I thought it was Jazz🤗
I should of popped down the front to see you but was being too cool with my mates 😎