Archive for the ‘Secret Machines’ Category

secret machines


They were heavy, and they were loud, and in 2006 they had a new song called Alone, Jealous and Stoned, which kind of sums it up.

More importantly they were playing a venue that was far too small for them.

The start of 2006 felt good.

I’d started a new job and the shine of self-confidence would last about another six months.

How confident was I feeling that month? Well, I’d gone out one lunchtime to the new office’s local Pret A Manger and bought a sandwich which had tomato in it.

And I didn’t take the tomato out before I ate it, walking back over Holborn Viaduct.

Didn’t take it out,  even though I knew it would have touched the bread, and the chicken.

That it would be wet, slimy and seedy.

All of this repulsed me.

Now I know that my food issues are, in part, connected with my autism – but at the time I felt like I was reinventing myself.

Like I was suddenly some kind of self-empowered hero. Like a young Greek god.  Because I was eating a sandwich with a tomato in it.

Obviously I couldn’t talk about this to anyone.

But I could always talk about music, and I talked a lot about this record.

I’d bought the tickets for me and one of my oldest friends, and on the night I convinced an old colleague – in town from Huddersfield and phoning to see if I fancied a drink – to score a ticket on the door.

It was great to see them both, and to see them both get on. I always fretted about introducing people I knew in different contexts.

I re-introduced the two of them at my wedding in 2011 and they were close to misty eyed about this show. I don’t think they had anything else in common, other than knowing me.

And with two albums of material to cherry pick from, and a small venue strafed with lights and smoke, the three Secret Machines looked positively cosmic.

The three of us stood at the back with swaying and sweaty plastic pints of Red Stripe.

Last year I had an email from the same old friend.

“Guess what just popped up on my Google Play? Ten Silver Drops. Fuck it’s good.”

I asked him if he’d known that Benjamin Curtis had died three years ago.

He hadn’t.

I think he was genuinely sad for a moment.

High? From the minute they came on.

Drinking? All the lager. All of it.

Thinking? Not alone tonight.

Here’s how the Guardian wrote it up.


Secret Machines, March 2005

Why? Because Now Here is Nowhere was simply stunning. I loved that record and remember using it to test volume limits on my first ever iPod.

High? Honestly? I can’t remember a thing, but odds are it was hearing Sad & Lonely live for the first time.

Drinking? Patently too much. And being this something of a stoner band in the days pre-smoking ban, I’d be surprised if I’d been standing at the end.

Thinking? Again, I can only venture a guess, but I suspect my mind was blown, and if not blown then certainly distracted from what wasn’t really a very happy time in my life.

Gig on Songkick