I was sober. But still going out.

It was a difficult time, but it was easier to be in company than going mad at home smoking weed and taking valium to sleep.

I was going out a lot.

I went to this show with my Wedding Present friend.

I remember them opening with Interstate 5 even though I don’t think it was out yet.

I remember a great Blue Eyes and a brilliant Brassneck.

They were heavier and/or moodier than the Weddoes.

High: Blue Eyes.

Drinking: Lime and soda.

Thinking: I can do this.

Bloc Party


That ticket says Comp for “Complimentary.”

This was a private show for a London radio station.

I knew some people who worked there, so I got a free ticket.

It feels like there was a lot of this at the time. I was on guest lists and it just became an accepted thing.

And there was free booze. (That ticket says Jamesons. For Whiskey).

I know it would have been magnificent, but this free party at this venue starts to blend into all the others.

At one of them I was introduced to a girl I tried to have a thing with for a while.

Someone was trying to match make.

She’s still a friend.

The night we met, she poured a drink over my head.

Maybe that was this night?

High: very

Drinking: for free

Thinking: I’m on the scene.



I don’t think I ever actually bought a copy of Metal Hammer, but I used to stand and read it in WH Smith’s.

I’d done the same with home computer magazines six years earlier.

Then, it was all about tips for games. The Hobbit. Valhalla.

Now it was all about picking up mythology from the written word.

We all knew Aerosmith from Run DMC’s Walk This Way (I have a 7” single of this – given to me around this time by a school friend), but I’d taken it a bit further.

In the revision period leading up to my GCSEs I’d bought both the 1980 Greatest Hits and the 1978 Live Bootleg double album.

Toys and Rocks followed in short order

I loved them both.

Still do.

And then of course there’d been Permanent Vacation.

I never owned it on vinyl, but Rag Doll, Dude and Angel were often on the radio rock shows. Dude was even on TV.

I had a tape of it, with Whitesnake’s Saints and Sinners on the flip.

I remember a lunchtime by the river with a friend’s stereo and Permanent Vacation. Smoking cigarettes.

The days out of school to smoke dope started coming about a year later.

Aerosmith will always sound like summer to me.

And then there was the release of Pump.

I bought it from the local record shop on the day of release.


It wasn’t what I’d expected.

Some great songs, but Dulcimer Stomp? Hoodoo Medicine Man?

I still think FINE is a great song. And I honestly enjoyed Elevator. Jamie’s Got a Gun once made me cry.

On the inner sleeve of the record it says that F.I.N.E stands for “Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.”

Obviously, it refers to the girl(s) in the song.

But it wasn’t obvious to me.

I thought it was something to aspire to. “One day” I thought, “one day…”

Metal Hammer was worked up about the 1989 tour dates.

Because apparently the band hadn’t toured outside America since the late 70s.

They hadn’t played the UK since Reading in 1977.

Everyone was excited.

Steve and Joe had come onstage at the end of Bon Jovi’s Milton Keynes bowl show earlier that year to play Walk This Way and announce their return.

It was one of the most exciting things I’d seen in my life.

And now Metal Hammer had published a list of all the songs they wanted Aerosmith to play for their UK dates.

It was a list of every song they had ever recorded.

In order.

Obviously we went.

The support band was the Quireboys.

In those pre-internet days I had no idea that their whole “look at us we’re boozy, it’s a bar on stage and we have piano” schtick was basically stolen from the Faces.

I remember Spike, the singer, working the crowd.

“Who wants to come to a party?


“A really good party!”




It’s nearly 30 years later and I’ve still never knowingly been to what you could call a sex party.

At 16 I’d maybe awkwardly kissed three or four girls. All while drunk, though maybe not as drunk as them.

When they finally came on, Aerosmith weren’t the band from Live Bootleg.

But they came on to Rats in the Cellar which was thrilling, and both Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way were played.

I walked home from the station to my parents late, the main road was empty.

I walked in the road. Ears ringing.

I felt FINE.

High: Sweet Emotion

Drinking: Someone may have tried to get a pint. And they may have managed to get served. It wasn’t me.

Thinking: what *exactly* goes on at a sex party anyway? 

Setlist on

radiohead bush


It was clearly ridiculous that Radiohead were playing Shepherd’s Bush.

They were just launching Hail to the Thief, and the album had leaked a bit before this.

The tickets were literally like gold dust, and I couldn’t believe I was offered one for free from a friend.

They worked in publishing and someone was doing something with someone in the band or something like that.

And then two of my other friends managed to buy tickets on the grey market for 100 each.

It was the first time I knew people who’d bought tickets like this.

So the downside was sitting on Level 3.

It may be a really small venue, but when you’re that high up and you can’t stand it takes something from the experience.

I remember looking down and watching Johnny work the pedals.

I remember a crowd sing-a-long to Karma police.

I remember being disappointed that it was such a short set and so much of it had very little guitar.

I think this is the first time I saw them and there wasn’t My Iron Lung.

But when they brought it to a close with the OK Computer material they proved it yet again.

You can see the whole thing here – though that’s not how it looked to me.

High: Paranoid Android

Drinking: Barely. No one wanted to move.

Thinking: I’m actually glad I didn’t pay £100 for this.

Image  —  Posted: April 28, 2017 in 2003, Radiohead, Shepherd's Bush Empire



I came to the Smiths late.

I got the first album second hand about the time that I was doing my GCSEs, and I followed that with Louder than Bombs.

I never owned any others on vinyl, which now seems a little embarrassing.

I lent that first album to my best friend, and he fell very heavily for them. He was a Meat is Murder guy. He also bought all the solo albums,

The two of us went to this show together, and it was honestly thrilling.

You could feel the fanaticism in the audience.

Libertines supported. Bit of a shambles, frankly, but still… Morrissey….

There was a brilliant First of the Gang to Die, which I don’t think was released at the time.

There was Suedehead, and Sunday.

There was a Light that Never Went Out.

High: Hand in Glove

Drinking: Obviously not too much, because the memories are strong.

Thinking: If a double decker bus….

Setlist on



I was really quite obsessive about this band.

My book club just read a novel where one of the characters has a bumper sticker with the words “I Hate My Life” on it.

His mother wants to borrow his car, and she tries to scrape the sticker off: “I’m not driving it with this on,” she protests. “It’s ridiculous. It’s so negative.”

“It’s a song,” her son replies. “From the Pernice Brothers.”

But it’s not. It’s actually from the album Joe Pernice brought out as Chappaquidick Skyline in 2000.

I didn’t have the bumper sticker, but I had the t-shirt. I wore it a lot through till about 2009 when I met my wife.

I put it on for book club the other week, but they never got to saw it as I’d gone out drinking at lunchtime and by the time I tried to get there I was incapable.

In 2001 the Pernice Brothers had their second album out, The World Won’t End.

It may be their best. It opens with Working Girls. It’s majestic.

I went to this show with a colleague. He was someone I’d been working with for about a year.

Over the next decade I’d work with him again in three other jobs.

At the time he was close to being made redundant from this one.

The dotcom bubble had burst and our company was downsizing.

It didn’t help that he had a little problem with heroin at the time.

In that book club book, there’s a suicide.

The way it was written, all I could think of was this friend who ended up making two attempts sometime around 2011/2012.

We lost touch after that.

At this show we were hammered.

I remember him getting into an argument with someone, for being very tall and jumping around down the front.

Security got involved.

High: Monkey Suit

Drinking: really heavily. Before, during and after.

Thinking: bloody student venues.



The Swedish girl who worked with us got into Robyn.

I loved this album.

Not my usual kind of thing at all. But the production, the writing, the attitude, the voice.

It was great on headphones.

And it helped that I really wanted to like it.

The show was amazing. She’s a serious star.

And like most serious stars, shorter than you’d think.

This is what it was like. Only it was better.

High: it was honestly, (honestly), thronged with Scandinavian girls.

Drinking: enough for euphoria

Thinking: you’re a star.