78 AND COUNTING

That above is a replica of the ticket for the first gig I ever went to. There were two support acts – Bobby Henry and The Cramps. It’s coming up for nearly 38 years since that unforgettable and historic night in my life and I only wish I had been the type to have kept a journal of who I’ve seen, and where, ever since.

As it is, I’m going to try from memory to list all the Glasgow venues that I’ve ever paid money to see a singer or group perform. It could very well be exhaustive but there’s also the possibility that folk might mention somewhere in their comments and that’ll jog my memory further. Oh and there’s a reason for this particular posting that will become clear in the next 24-36 hours.

1. Apollo

Legendary venue that began as Green’s Playhouse in 1927, where Mrs JC, as a young teenager, saw David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972. A year later it changed its name to the Apollo under which banner it operated until 16 June 1985 when The Style Council became the last act to play there. I was at that particular gig but it wasn’t thought at the time that it would be the end as there had been previous false alarms about the venue closing its doors and, besides, where else was there in the city for gigs that could attract 3,500 fans?

The location is now a multiplex cinema.

2. Barrowlands

The best live venue in the world – without question.

Originally opened in 1934 but rebuilt in 1960 after a fire. It was a traditional ballroom rather than a gig venue but Simple Minds had shown what could be possible when they utilised it as a location for filming a promo video and then played live gigs at the end of 1983. The venue, with its 2,100 all-standing capacity quickly became very popular and began to draw events away from the Apollo thus leading to its eventual demise.

3. SECC

Christened ‘the big red shed’ on its opening in 1985 – and the final nail in the coffin of the Apollo. The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre was built as a flexible space to host all sorts of events, including concerts, within a variety of different sized halls. The sound, for years, was absolutely appalling, as the main income was derived from the exhibition and conference market and so the building wasn’t built to the best of specifications for music lovers. I’ve been to all the different halls in the main SECC building over the years but I’ll count it as one location for the purposes of this exercise

4. Clyde Auditorium (The ‘Armadillo’)
5. SSE Hydro

Two purpose-built venues in the grounds of the SECC complex which opened in 1997 and 2013 respectively. The former will always hold special memories as it was where I saw Leonard Cohen for the first and only time back in 2008; the latter I’ve only been to once so far, and it was for a bitterly disappointing gig by Belle and Sebastian in 2015. Hated the experience so much that I’m missing out when Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds play there later in the year.

6. Glasgow University Debating Chamber

One of many student venues I’ve caught bands in over the years. The most recent was a fantastic gig by Belle and Sebastian in 2016. The difference in them playing at this intimate sized venue in comparison to the Hydro is beyond words.

7. Strathclyde Students Union – Level 8
8. Glasgow University Queen Margaret Union
9. Glasgow Technical College Students Union

#7 was where I spent almost every weekend between the ages of 19 and 22. Too many great gigs to single out one above others. #8 was where I first saw The Smiths in 1984. #9 I hadn’t been back to in years until Jacques the Kipper and myself went along to freak out to Carter USM in February 1991.

10. Tiffany’s
11. Plaza Ballroom
12. Maestro’s
13. Henry Afrika’s
14. Soundhaus
15. Barfly
16. The Arches
17. Night Moves (later changed name to Rooftops)

All of the above are no longer with us. Tiffany’s was the choice of venue for bands who couldn’t quite fill the Apollo and was where I saw many up and coming post-punk bands between 1981 (when I was old enough to get in under the licensing laws) and 1987 when it was converted into a casino.

The Plaza was where I first saw a number of bands including New Order, Suede and Blur – it was demolished and turned into flats in 1995. Maestro’s and Henry Afrika’s were discos occasionally used for gigs – can only recall being at them on one occasion and that was to see Tears for Fears and The Wake.

Barfly, I was at once to see Young Knives in 2006. I cannot recall who I saw at Soundhaus but it was to watch a band for whom the bass player was a young relative of a good friend of Mrs V’s.

Night Moves was the venue where bands played midweek as the student unions, for the most part, only hosted live gigs at weekends – my most memorable time at NM was The Fall supported by Cocteau Twins in 1982. It’s still in use but only as Victoria’s nightclub.

The Arches was a superb basement venue deep in the bowels below Glasgow Central station. It was more renowned as a club, and it was drugs-related issues within the club that led to its closure in 2015, but I was lucky enough to see a number of great performances there over the years, including British Sea Power, Lambchop, Frightened Rabbit, Aidan Moffat and Billy Bragg.

18. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
19. Broadcast
20. Nice n Sleazys
21. Hug and Pint
22. Academy
23. ABC
24. ABC 2
25. City Halls (both pre and post multi-million £s renovation in 2006)
26. Stereo
27. Mono
28. The Garage (formerly known as Mayfair)
29. CCA
30. Classic Grand
31. Old Fruitmarket
32. 13th Note
33. Platform
34. Old Hairdresser’s
35. Glasgow School of Art
36. Cathouse
37. SWG3
38. Glad Cafe
39. Woodend Tennis Club
40. Flying Duck
41. Oranmor (upstairs)
42. Oranmor (downstairs)
43. Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
44. Strathclyde Suite at GRCH
45. Renfrew Ferry (which despite its name, is a location in Glasgow)
46. St Luke’s
47. St Andrew’s In The Square

All of the above remain in use and all have been visited regularly. I make the distinction at Oranmor and GRCH as the various halls are completely different in layout and atmosphere, and in the case of GCRH, size.

48. Pavilion Theatre
49. Tron Theatre
50. Cottier’s Theatre
51. Citizens’ Theatre
52. Mitchell Theatre
53. Tramway Theatre
54. Glasgow Film Theatre

Turning now to oddities and venues that I’ve only been to either once or twice.

55. Grand Ole Opry (notionally a C&W club; have seen Lloyd Cole and The Twilight Sad on the two occasions I’ve been along)
56. Langside Hall
57. Queen’s Park Bowling Club
58. Hyndland Bowling Club
59. Titwood Bowling Club
60. Offshore Cafe
61. Berkeley Suite
62. Jeffrey Hall, Mitchell Library

(#56 – #62 have all been one-off gigs by Butcher Boy)

63. Buff Club
64. Brel
(Malcolm Middleton/Rick Redbeard/FOUND as Chem Underground triple bill in 2012)
65. Fairfield Club
(Malcolm Middleton/Phantom Band/Strike The Colours/De Rosa as part of Malky’s Burst Noel in 2008)
66. The State Bar
67. Pollokshields Burgh Hall
(LP launch by Wake The President in 2009)
68. Dennistoun New Parish Church
(Admiral Fallow/Rick Redbeard/Kobi Onyame as part of East End Social Duke St Expo in 2014)
69. Everlasting Arms Church
(King Creosote/Alexis Taylor(Hot Chip)/Siobhan Wilson as part of East End Social Duke St Expo in 2014)
70. Kinning Park Complex
(LP launch by Randolph’s Leap in 2014)
71. Glasgow Academical Sports Club
(scene of a momentous Martin Stephenson solo gig)

Some smaller venues that are no longer in existence.

72. Moir Hall
73. The Roxy (has been re-modelled and re-opened as The Hug and Pint)
74. Captain’s Rest
75. Bowler’s Bar

and finally, three outdoor venues

76. Glasgow Green
77. Richmond Park
78. Kelvingrove Bandstand

Proud to say I haven’t been to gigs at any of the three football stadia nor Bellahouston Park, despite it being on my doorstep.

#79 is on its way. Stay Tuned.

mp3 : The Jam – That’s Entertainment (live at Apollo, Glasgow)
mp3 : Echo and The Bunnymen – Never Stop (live at Barrowlands, Glasgow)
mp3 : The Smiths – You’ve Got Everything Now (live at Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow)
mp3 : Malcolm Middleton – Red Travellin’ Socks (live at Oran Mor, Glasgow)
mp3 : Frightened Rabbit – Keep Yourself Warm (live at Captain’s Rest, Glasgow)

Last of the above features James Graham of The Twilight Sad on backing vocals.

JC

JUST LIKE BUSES….

Second successive day for a one-hour mix. Apologies if they’re not your sort of thing. I promise there won’t be another for a while.

I used to have a tradition of featuring one or more songs by Irish musicians every 17th of March. I thought I’d go one better today.

mp3 : Various – Songs For St Patrick’s Day 2017

Tracklist

The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
Shining Light – Ash
Fire On Babylon – Sinead O’Connor
Fashion Crisis Hits New York – The Frank and Walters
Blues for Ceausescu – Fatima Mansions
You Made Me Realise – My Bloody Valentine
Happy Day – Blink
More Endless Art – A House
She’s So Modern – Boomtown Rats
Something Wild – Rare
Alernative Ulster (Peel Session) – Stiff Little Fingers
In The Days Before Rock ‘n’ Roll – Van Morrison
Understand – Brian
Julie Ocean – The Undertones

JC

WHAT IF IT DIDN’T MATTER THAT NO-ONE WAS TUNING IN?

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I’ve come to enjoy cobbling together the one-hour mixes these past few months. Up until now, they’ve tended to have some sense of purpose to them, whether for essential listening for lengthy plane journeys, offering a take on the outcome of the US presidential elections, Xmas, my young brother’s birthday or just a way of saying hello to someone.

In some ways this latest offering did have a purpose in that I thought I’d simply play a tune and without any advance planning try and come up with a song that either complemented it or offered something of a contrast. I imagined myself as a DJ on an local internet station, broadcasting around 3am when nobody is tuning in and offering no opportunity for listeners to interact. And here’s what emerged over 60 minutes:-

mp3 : Various – Working the Graveyard Shift

TRACKLIST

A Brighter Beat – Malcolm Middleton
I Wonder Why – The Heart Throbs
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? – R.E.M.
Jo-Jo’s Jacket – Stephen Malkmus
Erase/Rewind – The Cardigans
Shimmer Shimmer – She’S HiT
Red Right Hand – Arctic Monkeys
Evil (Silver Alert Remix) – Grinderman feat Matt Berninger
She’s Lost Control (extended version) – Grace Jones
New England – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
Don’t Fence Me In – David Byrne
One Horse Town – The Thrills
Christ for President – Wilco
Hairstyle – Goldblade
Nirvana – Juliana Hatfield
Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More
Theme from ‘Batman’ – The Jam

I think you’ll see that around the 45 minute mark, I got temporarily distracted by reading something on social media about the latest alternative facts offered by the Donald. I hope you get as much out of listening as I did putting it together.

JC

HAPPY BIRTHDAY S.C.

The final part of The Undertones series will have to wait another seven days. It’s my young brother’s 51st birthday today. I know he pops in here every day, firing up his laptop while soaking up the sun in Florida, and so as a wee bit of surprise for him I’ve put together an 80s mix tape jammed with stuff I know he likes.

mp3 : Various – Songs for a Handsome Devil

TRACKLIST

Speed Your Love To Me (extended) – Simple Minds
Sit Down – James
Kiss This Thing Goodbye – Del Amitri
Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Marc Almond/Gene Pitney
Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
What Difference Does It Make? – The Smiths
Prisoner of Love – Spear of Destiny
Cath – The Bluebells
Tinseltown in the Rain – The Blue Nile
Hallelujah Man – Love and Money
To Cut A Long Story Short – Spandau Ballet
Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) – Haircut 100
Rip It Up – Orange Juice
The Honeythief – Hipsway
Pride (In the Name of Love) – U2

And, believe it or not, the whole thing comes in at 60 mins and 00 seconds – more by chance than design!!

Have a great day young fella and I’ll see you doing your dad dancing to all of this when you come over in the summer.

BONUS POSTING : IT’S GETTING BETTER

Not too long ago, I shared with you some of my on-going concerns in life and how they were combining to impact on my ability to get fully motivated this year. Those of you who know me in any shape or form will have immediately realised that throwing in Trump and Raith Rovers was just my way of clouding what was really on my mind, namely Mrs Villain being unwell and requiring a couple of hospital visits over the festive period.

The emerging and good news is she has nothing that is life-threatening; she does have some issues with a lung which is likely to make her susceptible to infections, some which will be worse and more painful than others (the 2016/17 strain is a belter in that regard) but nothing that can’t be fixed in the medium-long term with medication and a degree of rest. Given there is a history of fatal lung diseases in her family, there was a real fear gripping Villain Towers for a while.

Thank you for all your very kind words and thoughts after that particular posting – they meant a great deal and were hugely appreciated. Here’s my way of showing said appreciation; don’t read anything into the choice of songs – it was just me having a bit of fun and thinking this would make a good hour of listening:-

mp3 : Various – Breathing That Sigh of Relief

Tracklist

Love Vigilantes – New Order
Did You Evah? – Iggy Pop & Debbie Harry
Kelly’s Heroes – Black Grape
Waking Up – Elastica
Penelope Tree – Felt
My Love Is Like A Gift You Can’t Return – The Man from Delmonte
Radio Radio – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Amateur Hour – Sparks
Sheila Take A Bow – The Smiths
Bye Bye Pride – The Go-Betweens
Fait Accompli – Curve
Setting Sun – The Chemical Brothers
Come Home (original version) – James
Sweetheart Contract – Magazine
The Model – Kraftwerk
Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole & the Commotions
Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh
Final Day – Young Marble Giants

Worth mentioning that my football team are still struggling to win a game – the last victory was in late October – but we did a well merited draw in a cup tie last Sunday against a team from a higher division. Maybe it’s a sign that things will begin to improve on that front.

Cheers.

BONUS POSTING : 58 AND A BIT MINUTES OF OLD FAVOURITIES

Really finding it hard to get motivated right now. Maybe it is the cold weather and the eternally dark mornings and nights. Maybe it is the growing sense of unease and anger at the fact Trump takes over the White House in seven days time. Maybe it is the fact my favourite football team are in a slump at the moment and show no signs of emerging back into winning ways. Maybe it is down to worrying about Mrs Villain being unwell just now and awaiting soon the results of some tests carried out last week at the wonderful NHS hospital just up the road from here.

More than likely its a combination of all of the above.

So when I got in from work a couple of hours back I just wanted to find solace in some old songs and in doing so wanted to pull something together that I can listen to on trains and buses this next few days without having to concentrate too much such is their familiarity. Feel free to listen in.

mp3 : Various – The Musical Equivalent of Comfort Food

Tracklist

This Is Pop? – XTC
Asylums In Jerusalem – Scritti Politti
Candyskin – Fire Engines
Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Saint Etienne
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down – Elvis Costello & The Attractions
I Wanna Be Sedated – Ramones
Town Called Malice – The Jam
Don’t Talk To Me About Love – Altered Images
Felicity – Orange Juice
No Bulbs – The Fall
Common People – Pulp
Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey
Ladykillers – Lush
Kennedy – The Wedding Present
Ain’t That Enough? – Teenage Fanclub

Enjoy.

BONUS POSTING : IT’S A COLLECTIVE THANK YOU

I know I’ve tested a fair few patiences these past two weeks with the abundance of cover versions, but it was a way of letting me ease off a bit at a time when, traditionally, the number of daily visitors tails off somewhat as those who perhaps fit a visit in as part of a routine quite rightly find themselves with other and better things to do.

As as a way of expressing my gratitude to those of you who have continued to drop in, I’ve pulled together another mix of music lasting around the hour mark – 59:58 to be precise – that I think hangs together reasonably well. The title, as is becoming a habit, lifts from one of the songs making an appearance.

mp3 : Various – Directing Traffic On The Disco Floor

Tracklist

Water (Peel Session) – PJ Harvey
There There – Radiohead
The Decision – Young Knives
If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
Safety Net – Shop Assistants
Good Shit – Cornershop
White Love – One Dove
Last Train to Transcentral – The KLF
The Shy Retirer – Arab Strap
Two Timing Touch and Broken Bones – The Hives
Taste the Last Girl – Sons & Daughters
Everybody Knows The Monkey – Mighty Mighty
Shine On – House of Love
Date With the Night – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Breakdown – Buzzcocks
These Things Take Time – The Smiths
Driver 8 – R.E.M.
Boys Don’t Cry – The Cure

Warning : There’s a wee swear word (surprise, surprise) within the Arab Strap song. Just in case you’re thinking of playing the whole thing in the presence of young kids or those who may be offended.