Track 5: “Ceremony”, Joy Division

Something of a surprise that a band attracting national attention was playing at High Hall, a hall of residence at the University of Birmingham – but a very welcome one.
A fan through listening to John Peel, I’d seen them supporting the Buzzcocks six months or so previous.
I’d gone in my usual blue Littlewoods shirt (never one for fashion), and starting swaying to the very first song – “Ceremony“.  You just got into the groove and started dancing.  I’d even hung around towards the back so I’d got space to move.
There was a bit of a commotion when the lead singer appeared to have collapsed but he came back on.
Not long after, Buzzcocks did a BBC Radio 1 live concert and my mate looked at each other slightly confused when Pete Shelley said “this one’s for Ian Curtis who died last night”.
It wasn’t until almost a week later that an NME poster made it clear to us that he was the Joy Division lead singer.  And it’s kinda how we were – you liked the music, and didn’t worry about the individuals artists; against strut. But once we knew who he was – horrible shock.
This was to be the celebrity death that had the most impact on me, and of course the story has become very well known with 2 movies (a lot of “Control” was filmed in Nottingham and Mapperley Hills) and lots of documentaries, and even one of a series of 4 posters celebrating the event – the actual poster for the night got the date wrong and black biro was used to fill in the errant number “2”.


The recording of the concert was to be the second half of a double album of collected songs, despite one of the mikes not recording the first part of the vocals of “Ceremony” at a proper level.  (I was there, but I can’t hear myself …)
Even so, it’s my favourite version, of my favourite Joy Division song.

Track 5: “Ceremony”, Joy Division, from Still album, live recording from May 2nd, 1980 at Birmingham University.

Previous track – “Making plans for Nigel”, XTC.

Track 4: “Making Plans for Nigel”, XTC

The first gig at university, and that surprise that people thought it was so important to shout out the names of those favourite tracks, in case the band didn’t play them.
The concert hall at the Guild of Students was a nice size, and it was a pleasure to see XTC, part of the new wave, were the first headline act I was gonna see.

“Making Plans for Nigel”, XTC seemed profound then, but perhaps less so now, especially since we’ve lost British Steel, and the confidence we had to really run the country.
The song has many hooks, and the first of them is the drums. So distinctive.
And the song has cropped up in the most surprising of places.
In the crumbling streets of Havana, Cuba, we’d found a decent restaurant, save for the 2 men and a woman touring the tables singing a song at each – and expecting a tip.  And we so didn’t want to stop and listen to “Guantanamera” being sung for us, but we were the last table and the meal was a tad compromised cos we knew they were gonna reach us and we were gonna say No.  We said No, and then felt guilty as they graciously accepted our decline and moved away to the ’50s juke box, where they dropped a big old Cuban coin in the machine and those drums came out, moe powerful and engaging than ever before.

Track 3: “You’re Wondering Now”, The Specials

Again at a Salop home game, and a mate explains to me how ska was being re-worked as “The Prince” comes over the tannoy, and you’re getting ready for university, and after all the music the West Midlands has had (Slade, Black Sabbath, er, Judas Priest, ELO) it seemed yet another vindication for choosing Birmingham University.
And yeah, the region comes up with UB40, Selector and The Specials.

Yet as outside the mainstream as it sounded then, it an’t now – BBC tv’s “Death in Paradise” has even embraced “Wondering Now” made popular by The Specials.
I particularly like the Colchester Institute live performance “You’re wondering now”, Specials, broadcast by the BBC.
Can’t see it on radio, but the fashion, dancing and the performance is great, if let down by the “alright”s at the end.

Trains and planes and satellite pictures

rs_1024x759-161209165053-1024-sunny-pawar-lion
Loads of scenes with trains and railway lines – much better then “T2:Trainspotting“.
So this film couldn’t miss.
Lion” is at its best when showing action and landscapes; dialogue – not so good – a soap opera style of misunderstanding, whilst some of the lines are swallowed.
Despite it being based on a true story, I was sceptical.  A child being lost in the ’80s and not found?  The film explains it all, including just how many children are lost in India.

International Women’s Day – 2017

C6aU6gDXQAEYVNOA tweet from Nottingham Library Services to tell us of Nottingham City’s first woman Councillor – Caroline Harper, whose obituary in the Nottingham Evening Post has been found from the online newspaper archive.
The tweet – ‘“Nottingham’s Pioneer Woman” who died in 1937: first female City Cllr, first female , first female Magistrate
I know the current residents of the house in Lucknow Avenue and they report –
“Surprisingly, we had not heard of the lady.
“An earlier resident here was the popular Town Clerk from 1912 to 1937 Sir William John Board OBE and his family; and

I have some info on him (was he known as Bill Board?).
“He died in 1946 and Lady Board in 1947, both aged 77.
“The City Engineer Brown, whose works included the Victoria Embankment and Wilford Bridge, lived next door.”
More anon.

Meanwhile, should not leave this topic without mentioning the first woman leader of the city council – Betty Higgins.

The Dilettante Society published an article on Nottingham suffragette Helen Watts via Left Lion.

17202721_954766740280_5698338505358977230_nMeanwhile, Gedling Borough Councillor Roxanne Ellis was part of a launch of a quilt commemorating the 598 women killed between 2009 and 2015, which was unveiled at the Houses of Parliament.
(From memory), one of the victims was from my home village, Hanwoodbank (in Salop).

McDonald’s closes in Shrewsbury town centre

… on the day I went to see “The Founder“.

Apparently the beginning of the film is a great advert for McDonald’s burger, but this was lost on me cos I’ve never had one.
Somewhere, sometime in the past, I was steered away from eating at such establishments, and part of football and politics away days was going to local cafes, such as Hanley town centre on Monday.  Lambs liver, followed by caramel shortcake with a strawberry milkshake. (I didn’t check how the milkshake was made – a significant part of the film’s story.)

Two brothers design a product – high quality food from a very  limited menu prepared in a hygienic, consistent and fast way, which people collect at the counter and eat from the paper products.
(Food in a paper is reported to be an innovation, when in Britain, we’ve been eating fish & chips from paper for a very long time.)
A failing salesman sees the potential for franchising, but only makes a success of it when he sees the business as a real estate business too – his appeal to the brothers for a better deal having been refused.  He becomes the founder of a new corporation.
20170225-sstar-ab0374h-mcdonalds-closureThe film is certainly more educational – and arguably less cruel –  than BBC tv’s “Dragons’ Den”.  Although the scene where the 100th new franchise is set up to drive the first fast food outlet – did the USA never have fish & chips shops? – out of business demonstrates meanness.
One parallel with Trump – using corporate power to not meet commitments previously paid – but only reviews have drawn this out, and remember, in the period of Trump’s trail to The White House, Hollywood was missing.
Still don’t particularly care to have a McDonald’s but was surprised to come home to the home computer to find a friend bemoaning the closure of a 34 year old McDonald’s franchise in Shrewsbury town centre.  (The part-medieval building can’t be upgraded to a new standard any further at the end of a lease.)  Never went, and now never will.
Meanwhile, anyone in Nottingham fancy setting up a mushy peas and mint sauce franchise?
P.S. worth checking out stuff on employees terms & conditions.

Salop’s community programme cover

A great photo on the programme cover; and a celebration of the community activities of the football club (like all clubs do I think).
The match featured 2 clubs in the relegation zone, so important for Salop to win.
A league table for games since the arrival of Paul Hurst as manager shows Salop 12th, but more than that, some of the forward play was good to watch, and with the team getting to know each other more, there is potential for even better.