|Image: 2-Tone Info|
I said I was beginning to get excited on Monday, yesterday I was almost fully distracted. Walking to work with Man at C&A, Do The Dog and Gangsters filling my ears, I could feel the adrenalin pulsating through my veins until all I wanted was it to be Wednesday and standing in the Academy. It simply cannot come quick enough.
Cast your mind back to June 1981. It was a hot summer and the schools had broken up. Margaret Thatcher had been in power for two years and the country was in the grip of a recession. Unemployment and homelessness were soaring, teenage pregnancies and glue sniffing were rife, and there wasn’t much for the youth of the day to do. The future for Britain was bleak, and everyone needed a lift. Even school kids like me.
I was almost eight years old and had developed an early love for music. Most of my listening material revolved around borrowed third of fourth generation cassette tape recordings of punk band Adam and the Ants, and Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads in November 1978. I was in Primary 1 when that song came out, and I still remember being put out of the classroom for battering my head against the wall while screaming out the lyrics.
The following April (1978), I discovered Madness when they released Baggy Trousers, and then to complete my musical transformation and birth of my true personality, The Specials came to my attention with the release of Ghost Town.
It was their last release, but for me it was jus the beginning; the commencement of lifelong love of ska, reggae, and the skinhead way of life.
September 1991 and I went to university. All I listened to was that whole genre of music, and all I wanted was something I could never now get – to see the bands that made me, performing live in front of me.
The following year it all started to happen when Madness came to Edinburgh. I thought then that it would be my only time to see them, as it turned out I’ve seen them 18 times now. I saw The Selecter, The Beat, The Blockheads, Bad Manners even meeting some of them personally along the way. But I never got to see The Specials. They were untouchable and would never, ever (we were assured) reform.
Until now. Which is what tonight is all about. I’m about to shave my head and look out my dancing boots, then board a train to Glasgow to see the fulfilment of my ska career unfold 29 years after it first began. Finally, I will get to see The Specials on stage (albeit without Jerry Dammers – he’s the one missing out on the party, but we all want him there) and tonight we will party. Oh yes, tonight we shall party!
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Until tonight. Until tomorrow.
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