Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Things I meant to post last week

Early last week, I was roused from my commuter-stupor when I saw a man who I was convinced played Danny Kendal in Grange Hill in the 80s. We got off the same train and I was transfixed by his head-down, purposefully shuffling gait – ambling down platform 14 at London Bridge station just as he used to turn his back on the school building and make for the gates, with the bellow of Mr Bronson ringing in his ears.
I think it's clear from this picture that it is DEFINITELY him – it's there in his thick black hair and diminutive stature. It's my considered opinion that he probably now works as a graphic designer or web developer. This is evinced by 1) leather elbow patches on a vintage-look jacket and 2) beard.

Similarly, when I first moved to London, and used to walk the [middle class bit of the] mean streets of Camberwell, I would, on occasion, see 'Bullet' Baxter. I'm sure that if I bumped into Johnny Depp buying Weetabix in the nearest Sainsbury's Local, it could not come close to eclipsing my excitement at these two fictional eccentrics from my childhood apparently walking their path out of my television 25 years ago, and all the way into my postcode.

It probably wasn't him.

Like many of our peers, my friends and I spent a significant portion of last week engaged in lengthy and involved discussion about whether we would attempt to go to see the newly reformed Stone Roses play next summer. There is no easy segue or close link between Danny Kendal and the Stone Roses, apart from, perhaps, that distinctive, nonchalant walk. A swagger in the case of Brown and co. A few daily portions of fruit and vegetables short of a swagger for Kendal.

Naturally, I have heard all the stories about Ian Brown's unconventionally impressive live vocals. I have heard Ian Brown's unconventionally impressive live vocals, but on that occasion, I had carefully set my expectations several legions below neutral, which enabled me to be pleasantly surprised. I have also read about the financial motivations that may be behind the Roses' new-found zeal for band life.

In spite of all this, there I was, sitting at my desk, excitement creeping all over every part of me, waiting for the news of the reunion press conference to break online, wondering if the Stone Roses would even turn up – just as, in 1995, I'd wondered if they'd even turn up at the Leeds Town & Country Club. They did. Grown men cried. In a good way.

But here's what I think I would really like to be doing when the Stone Roses take to the stage at Heaton Park next June. I would like to be in a friend's garden, staging 'the Headphone Roses', a glorified indie disco, listened to individually on earphones, because obviously we don't want to upset the neighbours, I mean we sorted the problem with the hedge out so amicably it seems like suicide to rock the boat.

It can't be my garden, because I don't have a garden. I have a flat roof outside my kitchen window. This would be fine if we kept the numbers right down, but even so, I don't imagine my downstairs neighbour would be too thrilled as we came crashing through her ceiling within the first four bars of I Am The Resurrection. There would be a 'support act' of course – a carefully compiled turn-of-the-90s indie playlist – followed by the playing in full of that golden first Stone Roses album, and there will be lots of dancing, because there will be room for lots of dancing, what with there not being 49,970 other people invading your personal space.

There would be cold beer at sensible, supermarket prices and upmarket organic red wine and barbecued burgers – we could, of course, undercook them slightly for an exciting hit of festival-food jeopardy. But in reality, of course they'd be reassuringly well done and served with that Waitrose celeriac remoulade that I really like. There would be a toilet that is clean, dry, fragrant, fully functioning and just a matter of feet away, so you would not hear the faint strains of one of your favourite songs drifting through the evening air as you exit a Portaloo and realise it will be over by the time you have legged it all the way back to your mates in the crowd, because the band has come on earlier than billed. YES JARVIS COCKER, I AM TALKING TO YOU.

I would perhaps scatter a carpet of half-eaten noodles and cracked plastic pint glasses all over the lawn for authenticity and 'colour'. But crucially, there would be NO DICKS THERE. And here I should make it clear that I could be talking about the crowd or the band. Only people whose occasional dickishness you are familiar with, and tolerant of – which is to say, your close friends and family – are allowed. There would be licensed taxis home, at a time that is later than your normal bedtime, but not, like, that late. We've all got DIY to do in the morning. No one will have to spend their journey home wedged in the corner of a surely-illegally-overcrowded bus or train carriage hoping that no one vomits on them, missing their stop because they are physically hemmed in by a league of bodies sweating cider.

The undoubted success of the night will lead to a franchise of similar 'music-listening experience' events, and eventually we will be able to eradicate the whole wretched business of live music altogether, and all the bad smells, discomfort and idiots that come with it. Jean-Paul Sartre said 'Hell is other people.' To that I say, 'Bonjour Jean.
Je pense que nous devrions être amis. Voulez-vous venir à la maison de mon ami et écouter les Stone Roses?'

Who's in?


trashsparkle said...

In! Bloody excellent idea.

Rachel said...

I have definitely seen Christopher "Stewpot" Stewart in Stoke Newington.

Marie said...

Me. I am in.

InvisibleWoman said...

I could virtually come - sit on my sofa in the warm with headphones in, playlist loaded and my tea on my knee. Follow the action on twitter and save the taxi fare home. I suspect I don't live all that near you...

mountainear said...

Well, moi perhaps. The idea of a not-too-late-night appeals. Ditto clean toilets and not-too-loud. Can I bring a pudding?

Jeez. I sound like my mother.

Jane said...

We recently did something similar for an, ahem, Kaiser Chiefs gig. Only they were playing at the abbey at the bottom of the hill so a barbecue in the garden gave us as much of a ringside seat as we wanted. I don't think the Stone Roses are due to play Kirkstall Abbey this time, but a few more divorces and they'll be doing the rounds again. You bring the remoulade- sounds ace.

Nick said...

I was at University with Jon Lambeth (aka Danny Kendall) and last I heard he was working as a financial journalist, so that could well be him you spotted.

Alison Cross said...

I'll only come if AC/DC are the support act.

Just heard that Jonny Haliday is going to headline at some gig in the Albert Hall. Last night of the proms, mibby.

Can't see the attraction. For him. Not the Stone Roses.

Get your ape-stylee walk reprised.


tea and kate said...

Can I come? I once spent a happy Saturday in 1997 trailing Ian Brown down Portobello Road when I lived in that London. Although to me, much as I love it, the sound of the first Stone Roses album will always be the soundtrack to GCSE Maths revision.

Anonymous said...

We can compare notes afterwards about who had the better time - me at Heaton Park or you lot ;-) Beth x