Paul Goodwin

Nothing says "we've sold out" like a saxophone

Published on Mon 26 Oct 2009

Last week was pretty busy. I wish I'd used the extra hour to get some more sleep instead of going "aah well, the clocks go back, I'll stay up an extra hour" on Saturday night.


On Tuesday we did a bit of quizzing at The Empress, which seems to have developed an urban farm in the beer garden, and came a point and a half away from the unusually big prize. I could've won it for us if I'd been a bit stronger in my resolve about who the short-lived Pope of 1978 was, and if I'd been a bit more careful about what the Oxford reserve Boat Race team are called. Oh well - 2nd out of 35 isn't bad, and I wasn't a huge amount of use on any of the rest of it.

On Wednesday I (along with most of the rest of Cambridge - there can't have been a pub within half a mile of Highbury and Islington tube without someone I know in it) went to Islington to watch the Broken Family Band's last London show at the newly refurbished, and apparently Relentless, Garage. We got there just in time for Chris T-T, having had a pint or two (and an unsuccessful game of Blockbusters) in the Hope and Anchor, which took me back to when I was naive enough to try and book gigs, and people were naive enough to say yes. He was great (despite no "Tomorrow Morning") and silenced the room by starting with an a capella song about the ancient trees that got cut down to make way for the M1 (it was better than it sounds when put like that). Unfortunately, the London crowd being a pretty ignorant bunch in general, the chatter soon started. I got a bit cross with them, as much because they'd have probably liked it a lot if they'd given it a chance as anything else, but I still really enjoyed it. The Broken Family Band were just brilliant. Could well have been the best time I've seen them, though I suspect I say that a lot. They played a greatest hits kind of set, which is the perfect thing to do on a farewell tour I guess, and it was so nice to hear some of the songs from back in the day. I got a bit emotional, so God knows what the last ever gig is going to be like next week. I went for a drink with a couple of  The Pony Collaboration and some other guys after in the only place open on Highbury Corner at 11pm on a Wednesday and ate the dirtiest chicken I've had in a long time from the only place open in Finsbury Park at midnight on a Wednesday before (just) getting the slow train home. Which, for some reason, had a jazz band jamming with some choir boys on it. And as if that wasn't odd enough, they'd set up right by the loo.

I realised on Friday night as I was walking to The Junction to see Frank Turner, eating my fancy fish and chips from that new place on Mill Road (not bad, but your hands stink of fish afterwards) that it was going to be the first full waking hour since getting off said slow train that I wouldn't have been sat in front of a computer in the office. I got in about halfway through the first support act, Beans on Toast, who I'd seen when Frank Turner played at The Loft a few years ago, and really not liked. I think I must have softened my stance on well meaning but not very bright folk-punk since then because it wasn't the least good thing I've seen in ages - I even quite liked some of it. Though I'd not recently seen David Thomas Broughton last time. In fact it wasn't even the least good thing on the night, that dubious honour going to Fake Problems, who while they could play very nicely (as all Americans who make it over here can - the guitarist who looks like Tommy from early Third Rock From The Sun was particularly great I thought) had such rubbish songs that I started wishing the sound would get worse so that I couldn't hear the words. I've not been sure where I stand on Frank Turner recently - it's seemed to me like all his stuff for a couple of records now has been about how him and his friends are just playing music to have a good time and it doesn't really matter if they make it big because they're having a good time along the way and you shouldn't waste your life doing things you hate, just have a good time (fine if you come from money...). But he sings it all with such conviction live that you can't help but have a good time, so maybe he's on to something (certainly a lot of people seem to like it). That, coupled with his band being approximately 20 times better than when I saw him in January (though the bassist was still trying a bit hard to pretend that playing bass is actually a difficult thing to do) made it a properly storming, uplifting, manic grin-inducing, time. Really, really enjoyable. I met some guys in the pub after who'd seen me supporting Mark Morriss the other week and recognised me, so I had a few drinks with them and posed for a photo or two (get me! The best thing about it was they couldn't remember what I was called) until Mr Turner turned up and they had to go and talk to him instead. I'm just being an arse - that's not really what happened at all. Good times.

On Saturday I went to London because we ended up with some tickets to Green Day at the O2 Arena from work. I thought I'd make a day of it, so went down at lunchtime to meet an old uni mate at Piccadilly. I was late due to being let down by the transport network for the first of many times that day (they thought it'd be a laugh to stop all the southbound lines except the Piccadilly from Kings Cross, which meant the ENTIRE WORLD was trying to fit on the 3 trains an hour they could be bothered to run). He didn't answer his phone for a bit so I took some photos.




That demonstration was right in everyone's way. To misquote Chris T-T - war's bad, well done, have a biscuit.

When we did manage to meet up and circumnavigate the march we went for a few drinks and some noodles, and I took delivery of a "luck in love" charm like the one I'd that I'd failed to get when I was in Japan. I think it actually says marriage on it, but beggars can't be choosers and all that. And, frankly, for all I know it actually says "I hope you get an incurable degenerative disease". 

During the journey to the O2 I got the angriest I've been in a long, long time. I stupidly forgot to check exactly how much of the Jubliee line had been shut "due to investment", but, assuming it wouldn't be pretty much the whole bloody thing I got the tube from Oxford Circus to Green Park so I could catch it all the way to the venue. Of course, pretty much the entire bloody thing was shut. "Oh well" I thought "I'll just get the Piccadilly back to Piccadilly Circus and work my way down". Forgetting that the Piccadilly Line was still having to cope with the ENTIRE WORLD on its own. An hour, several kicked walls, and only 3 unboardably packed trains later I managed to force my way on to one to complete a journey that would've been a 5 minute walk if I'd known. Where's that London Underground song on youtube... Chris had (quite rightly) gone up to the box when I finally made it to the O2, as well as having a go at blackjack in the VIP Rocksino with the 50 Rock Dollars we got given on going in. I was a bit peeved that I didn't get to play, but it was vaguely my own fault and it's not really so much fun if you're not playing for real money anyway. And now I have 50 Rock Dollars to spend on something else. Maybe a 30 Rock box set.


When I finally did make it up there was a giant rabbit dancing on the stage, a table full of food and a fridge full of free beer. I'm not convinced about corporate boxes at gigs, but, to be honest, of all the massive sell out bands that there are, Green Day must be right up there. There are 6 of them now, including a part time sax player (if I was a big Green Day fan from the early days that'd be like a dagger in my heart. Or my ears), and it seemed more like a pantomime than a gig. But it was no less fun for it.



I'd heard bad things about the sound in the O2, but it seemed fine to me - I guess it helps when you know the songs. That said, other than the classics (of which there were a fair few), the highlights of the gig were probably when they got people out of the audience to be the band for half a song, when the singer (Billy Joe Armstrong is it?) dressed up as a nun,


and when he got a water pistol and started shooting the crowd, then upped it to a hose,


then a power toilet roll shooter thing,


then a T-shirt bazooka. Also they played the Benny Hill theme. That was pretty good.


I left halfway through the encore (I'd heard Basket Case, which was the object of the exercise really) in order to get to Kings Cross for the 11.15, leaving extra time to allow for the fact that the Northen line couldn't be bothered to stop there, and made it with a good 3 minutes to spare, only to find that, seemingly for a laugh, they'd moved the 11.15 forward 3 minutes. Maybe my Japanese charm actually says "you shall have nothing but grief on public transport". Still, Rishi and James from Karmadillo were on the train I did eventually get, so it was more entertaining than the earlier one would've been. Especially as I'm reading the stupidest book I've read in ages, which is about a woman who gets a telepathic connection with a guy because she gets some of his blood in a transfusion. Maybe I should write a novel - you don't seem to need to be very good. Except I'd just spend years getting it exactly how I wanted and everyone would read the first 2 pages and say they didn't like the typeface.

I'm sure you've all seen it already, but I recently discovered this on youtube and find it much funnier than I would have expected to.