I was thinking of posting this song up anyway without recourse to the archives, but using the words typed on 22 March 2007 tells the tale from my youthful days:-
What were you all doing in 1979? I know that some, indeed, many of you probably weren’t born. I imagine that others would be running around dressed in nappies and looking for a feed from a nipple (but what you did, and do, in the privacy of your own home is no business of mine).
1979 was a momentous year in my life. I was 16 years of age and I had passed a whole bundle of exams that would let me go back to school to take more exams that would let me get to university. Over the summer months, I got a full-time job for six weeks which gave me, for the first time, a degree of financial independency. I was able to buy loads of singles and albums, but more importantly, tickets for gigs at the Glasgow Apollo to see loads of new wave/post-punk bands.
1979 was also the year that I fell in love for the first time. But the problem was that me, and hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of others, were in love with the same person. And she didn’t really love us back. Not when she was shagging the guitarist in her band.
Debbie Harry. The voice and look of Blondie. Sigh.
So when the news came through that Blondie were to play a UK tour at the tail-end of 1979, including a gig on 31st December at the Glasgow Apollo, it was all systems go to obtain a ticket. And that meant getting out of bed at 5am and getting my dad to run me into town where I joined the queue of those who were sleeping out overnight outside the front door of the box office at the venue. It was a long drawn-out five hours with only a small radio, and a mate from school to keep me company. But we got our tickets. And from memory they were £5 which was way way more than I had ever paid for a concert ticket in my life up to that point (bear in mind, my wages in the summer job had seen me take home £26 a week…)
A couple of weeks later, the BBC announced that the Glasgow gig was to be broadcast live on television and radio as part of the special programmes for Hogmanay. I took a fair bit of stick at school, and at home, for seemingly wasting my money on something I could now be watching on the telly….but nobody seemed to understand just how important it was to actually be in the audience gawping at the love/lust of my life.
The gig was all that I looked forward to for months on end, and I played and wore out all of my Blondie singles and albums, learning every note and every word so that I could fully sing-a-long.
The night itself started off brilliantly, as I ended up speaking on Radio 1, for about 5 seconds. Millions of listeners would have heard a squeaky-voiced adolescent say he was ‘Jim from Sandyhills who wanted to wish his mum, dad, his brothers and all his mates a Happy New Year’. I’ve no idea what record was played as I was shaking with excitement at the fact I had just been live on the biggest radio station in Europe. I thought I was a star….
That turned out to be the highlight of the night, for the gig itself was a huge disappointment. The sound was poor – it was incredibly loud which I think was to try and disguise the fact that Blondie were an appalling live act. Debbie’s vocals were lost amidst all this, and the gig wasn’t helped by the fact that part of the way through the set, there was a lengthy pause to allow the TV network to come in on cue.
But until now, I never admitted any of that to anyone. To the world and its auntie, the Blondie gig was the ‘best I’d ever been to’. Thinking back on all this, it’s hardly a surprise that I have spent a large part of my working life in the dark and unsavoury world of political spin….
So here, all the way from 1979, and courtesy of a winning bid on e-bay last week, are two tracks from a 12” single, the cover of which was sellotaped to my bedroom wall.
Was it really almost 28 years ago????
mp3 : Blondie – Heart Of Glass (12″ version)
mp3 : Blondie – Rifle Range
2013 Update…………..it’s now coming up for almost 34 years since said gig!