|Image: Prince Street: Me, Binny and Rob at O2 Academy, Glasgow|
Yesterday I covered Friday; today is all about the day that followed. Saturday was all about the band mega-band Madness, and the associated meet-up of all my nutty friends in Glasgow city centre. It was a fabulous day; it was a day of fun and thrills, childish excitement and glee, raucous laughter, immature nonsense, silly drinking, and above all, happiness, oh happiness beyond belief.
After waking up with not much of a hangover following the Biffy Clyro gig the night before, I was showered and dressed into my selected nutty garb for the day within half an hour. I waited the next hour for my sister to get herself together by watching the weather stories on the news—it was going to be a cold day, but I knew I would feel nothing.
First stop: Ludovics Café for a couple of hot filled rolls and cup of tea. Lovely jubbly. We headed off to get the train into the centre of Glasgow and before long had joined the others in the Crystal Palace pub in Jamaica Street, a short stone’s throw from the O2 Academy where Madness would be performing.
Pete, Dave, Iain, Rob, Robbie, Murph, Bob, Laura, Patrick, Dicka and an unknown female whom I forget her name, all made our new and re-acquaintances and got the beers in. Some of these people I only got to know through Madness many years ago and we have been pals ever since. Going to the gigs without any of them in attendance just wouldn’t be the same and it was brilliant to be back in their company. And when I say brilliant, there is such a feeling of warmth and love when in the company of Madness fans I’ve never experienced anywhere else, that we truly are one giant nutty family.
After a few bevvies it was already time to move along the road to the O2 Academy for the first gig of the day. Yes, you guessed it, Madness were playing TWO gigs in one day in Glasgow and I would be going to both. It was very cold but I felt nothing but warm happiness making that walk over the Clyde and joining the humungous queue to get in. A few fake falls were thrown in for good measure as we waited, but before long we had our drinks were working our way through the crowd to the front of the stage to await Madness.
This first gig was a semi-relaxed affair. As a matinee performance it was a shorter set list for a smaller price, and is designed mainly for the younger Madness fan to be able to get to appreciate their favourite band in a much safer environment. It didn’t quite work out that way, though, as most people who were there were also going to the evening show and were using this one as a warm up gig. However, the crowd started off much less animated than one would expect to see at a normal Madness gig, but then, it was only 4pm in the afternoon!
Madness played a lovely selection of tracks ranging from the fans’ favourites like One Step Beyond, The Sun and The Rain, Tomorrow’s Just Another Day, My Girl, Forever Young and NW5, but by the time they got to Baggy Trousers and Night Boat to Cairo, the crowd was really gong for it. We were also treated to a couple of new songs from the forthcoming new album as well as the classic, Swan Lake. As a warm-up it was pretty good stuff and more tiring than I imagined it was going to be.
The most touching moment was the young Downs Syndrome lad from the very front being asked to go up on stage, and dancing his way through Night Boat with the band. Super stuff!
Back to the pub then and more drinks. We’d also booked a table in Bread and Butter pub in the city centre where we snacked on pizzas and more beer. I talked my pal Bob and his girlfriend Laura into coming to the evening gig so they could get the real Madness experience, and to celebrate we started drinking shots.
I left much more drunk than when I went in.
Time was ticking so we jumped into the Clockwork Orange (aka Glasgow Underground) round to Bridge Street and then made the short walk (full of some wondrous fake falling by me) into the venue. I was getting ridiculously hyper by this stage and bantering with anyone that happened to walk within ear shot (something my sister dreamed about later except this time I got a kicking for my efforts). Within a short while we found ourselves back inside the Academy for part 2.
This time the crowd was much more animated; fuelled with drink and ready for a good old fashioned nutty knees up, the atmosphere was epectric before the band came on. Where before the crowd was made up of middle-aged men and women with 16-year old kids, the evening crowd was made up largely of ageing skinheads, Madness diehards and pot-bellied nutters in Fez’s and pork-pie hats. It was going to be a good ‘un!
And it was, of course, an awesome gig. Madness came out bursting and played a fantastic set comprising the favourites but also a few welcome surprises. Lovestruck made a welcome reappearance to the set list as did The Young And The Old, but there were also some small changes from earlier in the day. Out went Swan Lake and in came Tarzan’s Nuts during the encore.
I cried twice: once during NW5 as I recalled my life with Madness and how lucky I’ve been, and once during It Must Be Love as I remembered the same song being played during my wedding ceremony to Gail. It was all very emotional; it always is.
And it was a passionate crowd that bounced around with me in the bosom of its mosh-pit, sometimes next to my sister, other times my pals bouncing around near me. I wasn’t for moving, though, and stayed for the duration.
By the time the gig was over I’d danced non-stop and belted out every single word of every single Madness song sung. My ribs were sore, toes in pain and my left knee somewhat twangy after another twist. I wasn’t caring. This was Madness and one of my greatest loves and when you take a look behind you to see all the smiles and arms held aloft at everyone joining in with Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, you know what it’s all about. Madness is about spreading love and happiness and they do it better than anyone.
When the side-door to the Academy opened there was a huge rush of steam as the below-freezing cold air of Glasgow met with the rush of steaming hot air from inside the Academy. I took a video of Madness leaving the stage and then us leaving the gig—watch out for it on Friday as it will be my special Friday Vid. Meantime: Click here to view Madness Day pictures in a seperate browser window.
* Complete next re-write of BACCARA BURNING
* Resubmit SLICK after returned
* Keep on top of fiction submissions
* Submit to all selected fiction competitions this month
* Start work on new ideas for chapbook
* Publish RR issue 13 for December
* Develop plans for larger site overhaul for photography client
* Keep all my websites updated and relevant
* Catch up recent gig reviews (Charlatans, UB40, Biffy Clyro, Madness)
* New gigs lined up for review (Shed Seven)
Reading & Learning
* SCAREDY CAT by Mark Billingham
* ONE GOOD TURN by Kate Atkinson
* Use Podcasting ideas to publish first one
* More Christmas Special Offers on books
Get 25% off STELLA, my spy novella with a twist, when you order the e-book from the publisher’s website at www.eternalperss.biz. Simply quote 612JMZN67VZX at checkout.
Grab issue 24 of Open Wide Magazine for only £1 (one British pound) and you can read my short story, LETTING GO. It’s well worth it!