Wednesday, 18 August 2010

My Life Story meets Ronnie Scotts

The Golden Mile is a great cd, the second album by My Life Story a band riding on the cusp of britpop and not really crossing over to any great extent. I read about them, as I did with many bands in NME and remember seeing them live in the white room, a cracking music show fronted by Mark Radcliffe. The next day they were coming to Brum to promote the single on a mini tour and doing things differently by playing the far more prestigious Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club rather than the flapper and firkin. The venue was more appropriate for My Life Story as they had an air of the theatrical about them, strings the normal and single to be promoted (twelve reasons) a really theatrical production.

I loved it when bands I liked appeared at Ronnies but previously this had been limited to 80's revival gigs (when 80's revival gigs were not trendy at all and hence played these little venues, witness Howard Jones and Toyah both of whom had a profound impact on my love of music). I loved it particularly because at my work it was a very closely guarded secret that we had corporate membership to Ronnies, so closely guarded it seemed just to be me who knew. The membership entitled people to phone up and get 8 free tickets and the days before email this was not publicized around the office. I must have had the secret passed onto me on a drunken night, in some initiation, but rather than take clients and entertain them (presumably the reason for the membership) I would entertain family and friends as i did not have too much spare cash then (the wage of £9k didn't stretch to too many gigs). In fact the membership was so secret that when I passed on the fact to another person and they tried to book, they were asked whether they had had the booking approved, 'no who should they get it approved by' was the response, and the answer was me. I was seen as the key person behind my company when in actual fact I was the lowest of the low, oh the power!

Ronnies was a Great venue, dark with cabaret tables or benches serving food whilst the gig was on, really civilized. I am not too sure what it looks like now as when Ronnie Scotts ran into financial difficulties, it became The Rocket Club, a lap dancing club that must be doing ok as it is still there today, I wonder if they still serve meals in baskets in between dances?

The gig itself was great as I met the enigmatic Jake Shillingford, the first time I had met anyone who I considered cool. I have met many since and struggle to get more words out than just 'hello, I think you are great and I love your music'. Today was the same but I got my first autograph, on the picture from the NME so I must have been prepared and planning to meet them, 'best wishes Jake.' I also had the excitement of standing at the urinal next to one of the support act which again was quite exciting, he had nice shoes I recall, zebra skin effect. But both of these meetings (in the loosest sense of the word) led me to realise that these glamourous individuals on vinyl cd and tele were in fact very normal people whose clothes up front were a lot less glamourous than when seen from the audience or on tv. Probably due to sweating into a suit, something I know from hot days in the office is not very glam at all.

But I do remember loving them and the gig, the sound was so different to the bulk of britpop, and felt really theatrical, like Mark Almond crossed with Jarvis Cocker. I have to admit I loved the gig more than seeing Oasis at Knebworth which happened within 7 days. Obviously I never told anyone at the time, (uncool) but probably reflected in the fact that whilst I own all of oasis's albums, I own all of My Life Storys albums, plus all of the various singles, in multiple formats, (they really did stretch out the bsides with different interpretations of the same song) and recently bought Jakes next bands debut album Exileinside (a good ebay purchase for £1)

The physical product of the album did create a conundrum that I have faced a number of times with 2sides of my personailty vying for supremacy. The album came as a limited edition little book version with a nice picture of the 11 members (yes count them 11) of the band in the centre, (not surprising the neve made it big with cash being split 11 ways). So

Question - do I buy the limited edition (a Great edition to my music collection) but one that was outsized and did not fit on my cd shelves, forever to sit in a little pile with the Pixies greatest hits and Spiritualised ladies and gentlemen in the stupid pill box

or do I get the regular shaped boring disc that will fit pleasingly to the eye on the cd racks, and meet my slight case of OCD.

Well it tends to be limited editions every time, and a special shelf has been built for the outsized Duran Duran albums complete with separate DVD and book et al, although are the extras bits ever listened to, watched or read?.........

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