The Real, Real Passionate Table Dancer (Certificate X)
To protect the artist, TV Smith’s name has been changed to X on all entries.
I was woken up by Smit and Henry asking for the house keys so, they could leave for the return journey to Market Deeping. Toast for breakfast. Got X to sign me a few more mementoes. This included a copy of Useless for Patrick (Touchstone) Leblanc. Patrick is a Canadian singer in a Quebec Punk band called the Aversions. X said that he wouldn’t mind doing a short tour of Canada with the Aversions, so I let Patrick know that he has been set the challenge of arranging a few Canadian gigs.
Played Ian Hunter, Ian Mcnabb and Mike Peters on the drive down the A1/M18/M1. X raved about Rant by Hunter. He told me that that Ian Mcnabb had been spotted at one of his solo gigs. Ian Mcnabb was watching X one mouthed (probably those leg end ary leg kicks again!). Who knows maybe this inspired Ian to start his dynamic and entertaining solo acoustic tour in ’98! X and I continued to talk about all kinds of music during the journey. From Mike Peters (ex Alarm) and how his Punk band, The Toilets, once supported The Clash in Liverpool, to New Romantics like Duran Duran.
Thought I might have taken a wrong turn at the M18. I pulled on to the hard shoulder, just before the actual motorway, to take quick look at the map. Then, out on nowhere, appeared the Filth! Next second it was flat of the floor, with arms stretched out as a pig pistol waved above our heads and we were strip searched for drugs and hidden weapons……
……….Okay, okay that’s not quite how it happened!
The policeman pulled up behind us and asked why we were parked on the hard shoulder. I told him “we think we might have taken the wrong exit and are now heading for Doncaster.” “Now then lad’s – what should have been the correct procedure to resolve your uncertainty?” “I should have asked THE PASSENGER to look at the map, Mr Patterson, sir” I grovelled. “Take the next left, go round the roundabout and double back. You have gone the wrong way you silly scallywags. I’ll let you off this once, but don’t do it again” he replied. “No officer, we have certainly learnt our lesson” we jointly replied. He got back in his car and drove off at speed. “What a very nice man” we agreed in unison.
The might of Multi-map saved the day as we arrived at X’s lodgings in Long Eaton (with not a rifle in sight). I went to work and then spent a couple of hours in the pub discussing coaching needs with one of our new external trainers. No decent beer, no decent wine and I had to pay for the food, but at least the meeting proved worthwhile.
Checked in at the hotel. Multi-map and my ace accommodation booker, Rachel, struck gold again as the hotel is very near the gig venue and the local Good Beer Guide pub. Got into the black (this time courtesy of a New Model Army T shirt – complete with purple snake). Had a quick beer in the taproom of the local whilst listening to Boss Of Me by They Might Be Giants on the juke box (I got to meet the two John’s in November – one hell of an entertaining show by those Giants!).
Arrived at The Sportsman and forgot about the guest list and paid. Went back and got a refund and bought X a pint of Stella and me a pint of Bass with the cash. The guys at the till thought I was some major gig arranger from Yorkshire and asked if I could get Crumblefish (the support) some gigs up North. I left my details and a few more appropriate contact names and phone numbers.
The venue was long eaton thin. At either side of the stage bronze male and female torso’s hung from the wall.
Had another chat with X. He told me that Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny/Theatre Of Hate/Dead Men Walking) had been in touch. Kirk told X that Mike Peters had said “if X wants to turn up at one of our Dead Men Walking gigs we will role out the red carpet for him”. Dead Men Walking also features Pete (Wah!) Wylie and Glen (Pistol) Matlock. I had the opportunity to see and meet Mike Peters in December and Mike confirmed his offer. Mike also said that he thinks that he saw The Adverts on the day Elvis Pressley died - you Gone Elvis On Me, Mike?
The trend for naff drinks continued. Dissatisfied with the Bass I went on to test the Stella, Strongbow Cider, Guinness, Marstons Pedigree and Smirnoff Vodka and Red Bull!! throughout the rest of the gig – hic!
Crumblefish started off well, but soon descended into rap and various covers (including Rage Against The Machine and Hendrix). At the end of the gig a fan asked the lead singer “are you staying to watch X?” – “What… the bald professor On Wheels in that superhero team film?” the singer asked surprisingly. “No, the ex Adverts singer songwriter.” “Oh him! No I’m afraid I’ve got to be up early for college in the morning”. This really is Rock’N’Roll I thought to myself.
X and I mingled with the crowd. One guy was a local driver who had been stunned to see a poster stating X was playing Long Eaton. He had turned up sporting a pink and white Gaye Advert One Chord Wonders cover T Shirt. Nice one! I then got talking to another guy who hadn’t seen X since The Adverts. We got chatting about the ’77 punk scene and I found that like me he thought the best live bands were The Adverts, The Clash and …..John Foxx’s Ultravox! We sat right at the front to catch X’s performance.
X kicked off with his most appropriate Fall Of The Giants (Twin Towers) song Borderline. “Things bad and getting worse - all stations on red alert”, “She’s unstable – she’s gonna blow! Barbarians are breaking through.” “I keep my monsters tied.”
After the emotion came the power of Only One Flavour followed by my favourite Red Sea single; Safety In Numbers.
“Here is one for the generation after the New Romantics,” said X. Generation X (sorry Y) was followed by my overall Adverts favourite song - A Cast Of Thousands. “Why not fill up some of these front seats” X invited. Gary Smith (first to vote in the X Fans Top 100) and a few friends edged forward and X burst into a passionate Immortal Rich and then straight into What If?
X then went for some common themes. First up is leadership in Driver and Passenger. Then Lords Prayer “why not make up your own religion” X questioned. Money and its link to happiness was next in the form of £1,000,000. Followed by a song about crap Jerry Springer style television, the melodic and moving Swimming In The Flood. “It’s like a good dream and you don’t get many of them!” Another instant classic – the best written song of 2001.
Speaking of classics, X brought out his legendary band in a box for the X Fans Top 10 songs, Lion and Poor, followed by the lesser-known Your Ticket Out Of Here. This time the sequencer didn’t do the usual trick and the audience remained a little bit subdued.
X had had enough; he jumped off the stage and strode towards the crowd. “Coming straight to you!”. X approached my table and without checking his pace he leaped onto it. Instinct took over and I grasped my pint and yanked it out of harms way. A deathly hush spread through the hall. X burst into a fantastic boot stomping acoustic version of Atlantic Tunnel. He was almost “smashing through the”…. table top “with a boom, boom, boom”. I took a quick photo almost up X’s nose and retreated to the next table. This was the most awesome display of the tour - what passion! I don’t know how the thin legs (of the chair) survived. X shocked the halls very culture and climaxed (Well it was a table dance!!!) with a final “boom, boom, boom.” The crowd went wild and X was greeted with thunderous applause. He returned to the stage triumphant, with arms held high!
How could he follow that? Never try and predict this punk! It was time for one of his most miserable songs - a sea shanty about a crew of fishermen who accidentally snare a nuclear submarine and die a horrible death. X then lifts the crowd onwards and upwards with a huge specimen grin as we continue this roller coaster emotion ride with I Know What You Want (X certainly does!).
“STRAIGHT AND NARROW!” I bellowed, “I think you heard me this time” I joked. X obliged. “What a great song” I shouted (mimicking Tom Robinson’s comments at X’s Xmas London gig in 1998).
Time for a commercial break, but first a poem – the crowd went utter library like silence - X was impressed “respect” he declared. After the Punk Rock Poem came Gary Gilmore’s Eyes, Bored Teenagers and after a dig of “do you know how hard that is to play?” came Great British Mistake.
The Future Used To Be Better was next – enthused by one of my favourites I scurried to the stage to get some side view close up shots. X has stopped writing his diary at the moment – It’s s shame that this night was going to be another blank page!
Sequencer is out again for the new up-tempo Sugar Crash. Someone in the audience shouts, “Play Anarchy in the UK”. X retorts with “I don’t do cover versions matey!” (Especially not X Pistols songs!) He generates even more speed with The World Just Got Smaller Again and Runaway Train Driver. Again he throws up his hands and soaks up the applause – I get a great shot! X leaves the stage for a well-earned breather.
The constant applause and cries of “MMOOOOOORRRR” generate an encore with the title track from the latest album – Useless. X was really chuffed that De Toten Hosen chose this track for Best of. He believes it is one of the most underrated songs from March Of The Giants.
X polishes off the night with a 100 miles per hour version of One Chord Wonders. Yet another Xceedingly Xcellent, Xtraordinarily Xpressive, Xceptionally Xciting, Xplosively Xhilarating, Xemplary Xhibition!
After the final applause has died down a young punk makes his way to the front and tells X that Driver and Passenger is a song that he relates to so well that it feels like it’s actually been written about him.
I help X to sell some CD’s and persuade the Clash/Adverts/Ultravox fan to purchase the We Want The Road CD EP for the ridiculous price of £1.
X went on to have another adventure involving closed-door curry houses, Turkish kebabs, a nosey and intrusive video camera and special old and dusty bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, but those are his stories. Maybe one day he’ll tell them, but for know they remain another blank page in his diary.
I made my way back to the hotel suitably happy and relaxed. Unfortunately the Red Bull energy drinks kicked in and I couldn’t get to sleep. Inspired by X’s death defying sportsman’ like leap onto my table I choose to watch the Evil Kinevel live story on TV.
Tomorrow it’s on to Lincoln for the final leg of the UK tour and the last day of my adventure – can’t wait!