Sting—Fields of Gold

I know I’m a metalhead, but this is just such a beautiful and perfectly written song.

You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

So she took her love
For to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold

Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley
We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold

See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold

I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I’ve broken
But I swear in the days still left
We’ll walk in fields of gold
We’ll walk in fields of gold

Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
You’ll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold
When we walked in fields of gold

Dodgy gig in Edinburgh

Dodgy playing live at Edinburgh's Electric Circus
Dodgy playing live at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus (L-R: Andy Miller, Nigel Clark, Mathew Priest)

On Wednesday evening I drove down to South Queensferry, teamed up with my brother Eddie, and the pair of us took the train in to Edinburgh Wavelery to see—what Wikipedia calls—’English power pop trio’ Dodgy in concert at The Electric Circus on Market Street (which is right next to the station).

The summer of 96

In 1996 I was working with homeless young people in London, and living in a very nice basement flat in Eccleston Square with my good friend (and former National Youth Choir of Great Britain member) Jonny Coore. We had a summer of beautiful weather. It was the summer of Euro 96, which was hosted by England, and the city was alive; the atmosphere was electric. It was the year that I got engaged for the first time. And the soundtrack to that summer of 1996 was Free Peace Sweet by Dodgy.

In many ways it was a strange choice of album for me. I was heavily into metal (still am), I was trying my hardest to avoid anything with the ‘Britpop‘ label, like Oasis and Blur, and yet here I was listening to Dodgy again and again and again.

But the song writing was fabulous, and I loved the use of acoustic guitars throughout the songs.

Live

I was always under the misconception that Dodgy were from Birmingham. Apparently they started out as a band called Purple, a trio from Bromsgrove and Redditch in Worcestershire, who moved to London had a few line-up changes and re-badged themselves as Dodgy.

So, they were in London in 1996. I was in London in 1996. How on earth did we never bump into each other?! I would have loved to have seen them in concert back then.

So I made up for it this time around. They were coming to Edinburgh on their UK tour. I live about 50 miles from Edinburgh. I bought a ticket. My brother bought a ticket. And on Wednesday evening, I stood about 10 feet from the tiny stage at The Electric Circus and grinned from ear to ear for about 90 minutes.

It was an intimate gig. Dodgy were fun, and professional, and played a fabulous set. Despite my dodgy back (no pun intended), which was really beginning to hurt by the end of the set, I could have stood and listened to them for another 90 minutes.

Guitarist Andy Miller stood stage left behind a lap steel guitar on a stand. His playing was intricate and delicate but never too much. At times his guitar sounded more like a keyboard and I loved it for that. Every now and then he would look out to the crowd and smile. He obviously seemed to be enjoying himself.

Vocalist, guitarist and bassist Nigel Clark stood centre of stage, armed for most of the evening with an acoustic guitar, occasionally taking bass for a few of their earlier hits. The rest of the evening bass duties were handled very comfortably by a friend of the band. There was a warmness and confidence about his stage presence that suited the venue.

Drummer Mathew Priest has a fabulously simple drum set-up but he plays it so melodically and with such space. If I was a drummer he’s the kind of drummer I would want to be. I enjoyed his between songs chats, and we all marvelled at his knitted drumstick warmers in what I presumed were Aston Villa colours.

Thank you Dodgy.

New album

Dodgy released a new album Stand Upright In A Cool Place earlier this year, from which this is a track

Playing live

I don’t get out much these days. That’s my choice. I have three small children and a wife to support. So when I do get out to see a live band it’s a real treat. I’m glad I made the effort this time. Dodgy live were more than I expected. The venue was much smaller than I had expected but as a result there was an intimacy and a relaxed feeling to the gig that I relished.

The gig also reminded me how much I miss playing in a band live. Maybe one day I’ll get back to it. I sure hope so.

As my brother and I stood on the platform at Edinburgh Waverley to catch our return to Dalmeny, Eddie asked me “So, have you got any other bands you’d like to see live on your… bucket list?”

If you don’t already know, a ‘bucket list’ is a list of things you’d like to do before you kick the bucket (die).

“Why?” I asked, “If I don’t are you just going to shove me in front of the next train?”

Dodgy were definitely on my list. I’ve scored them off now… but do you know what? I think I might just write “Dodgy” on that list again.

Epilogue

A few weeks ago I got a phone call from my Mum.

“Hello Mum!”

“What’s this I hear about you going to a dodgy gig?”

“The band are called Dodgy.”

“Ah… right,” she said, obviously sounding quite relieved.

Day 29: A song from your childhood #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 29: A song from your childhood

Sailor—Girls Girls Girls

We used to have this British Relay Wireless (BRW) television that had, if I remember correctly, four channels (BBC 1, BBC 2, STV and Border TV) but if you then pressed a button it would switch from TV to Radio and offered four channels there too (I can’t remember which ones, although BBC Radio 2 was probably one of them.

British Relay was a cable TV company, so the TV was plugged into the wall using a very particular socket with loads of pins. I remember being both excited and disappointed when we had to move to a conventional TV aerial because the signal wasn’t as good as cable and we dropped one of the ITV channels (STV, which meant no more Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade on a Sunday afternoon).

Sailor’s “Girls Girls Girls” is the first song I remember playing on the radio. It came out in early 1976, before Jane was even born!

Is it just me or does the song in places sound like The Muppet Show theme tune?

Day 28: A song that makes you feel guilty #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 28: A song that makes you feel guilty

Ferry Aid—Let It Be

A song that makes you feel guilty? I pondered. There isn’t one. How can a… and then I remembered this song.

Ferry Aid were a British-American ensemble group, brought together to record the song “Let It Be” in 1987. The single was released following the Zeebrugge Disaster, which had occurred on 6 March 1987 involving the capsizing of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise ferry, which killed 193 passengers and crew.

My dad bought me this single when it came out, and I remember sitting in my room, with my back to the door, with some school friends. Someone picked up this single and started teasing me for owning it.

Those immature days when anything less heavy than Slayer was a shameful offence.

So I joined in, so to be a part of the group, to be accepted. “Oh, my Dad bought it for me, I don’t know why I don’t even like it. What a…”

And then I turned around and standing in the doorway was my Dad. He’d heard everything that I’d said. He looked hurt, quietly closed the door and walked away.

I can’t remember what I did. Whether I chased after him or not. But the truth is I really did like the song. It’s by The Beatles, to whom I’d been introduced by my Dad. It features cracking guitar solos by Mark Knopfler and the late, great Gary Moore.

The thing is though, because it was a Beatles song and they hail from Liverpool, and have a ferry for all these years I’ve always been convinced that this was a song to raise money for a Mersey ferry disaster!

Day 14: A song that no one would expect you to love #30dsc

30 day challenge day 14: A song that no one would expect you to love

Sugababes—Ugly

I first heard this song on the electric radio. BBC Radio One, no doubt. I had no idea who was singing it, I just really liked the lyrics:

When I was 7
They said I was strange
I noticed that my eyes and hair weren’t the same
I asked my parents if I was OK
They said you’re more beautiful
And that’s the way they show that they wish
That they had your smile
So my confidence was up for a while
I got real comfortable with my own style
I knew that they were only jealous cos

People are all the same
And we only get judged by what we do
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then
So are you
So are you

There was a time when I felt like I cared
That I was shorter than everyone there
People made me feel like life was unfair
And I did things that made me ashamed
Cos I didn’t know my body would change
I grew taller than them in more ways
But there will always be the one who will say
Something bad to make them feel great

People are all the same
And we only get judged by what we do
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then
So are you
So are you

People are all the same
And we only get judged by what we do
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then
So are you
So are you

Everybody talks bad about somebody
And never realises how it affects somebody
And you bet it won’t be forgotten
Envy is the only thing it could be

Cos people are all the same
(The same, the same)
And we only get judged by what we do
(What we do, yeah, yeah)
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then
(Yeah, you)
So are you
So are you

People are all the same
(Oh, oh, oh)
And we only get judged by what we do
(What we do, yeah)
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then
(Yeah, so are you)
So are you
So are you

Are you surprised that I like this? I was, kinda…