23.5.2018 – Oslo Hackney Show in London, UK

I’m just home from London and being English, I put the kettle on. Then, because I’m a philistine, I add milk and sugar to the Earl Grey. It’s tea, it’s how I like it and it’s time to sit in the sun reflecting on yesterday.

Home is a small market town called Todmorden, which sits at the head of the Calder Valley, high in the Pennine Hills of northern England. It seems pretty unremarkable place until I start thinking of its history. Birth place of Keith Emerson and John Helliwell (saxophonist in Supertramp), scene of the mysterious case of Zygmund Adamski and the alien abduction of PC Alan Godfrey, not to mention the start of Dr Harold Shipman’s killing spree, and the site of the only school to have produced two Nobel Prize winners. At least it was at one time, but it may still be. It’s home to the UK’s highest beach and then there’s our guerrilla gardeners, Incredible Edible Todmorden, who commandeer empty land and spaces to plant herbs and vegetables for people to take whenever they wish.

I’d been catching up on Kristina’s posts for the UK tour and it seems such a whirlwind itinerary. It’s a shame the touring party didn’t have opportunity see much of Manchester as we’d had a week of such glorious weather then the heavens open when the band arrives! It’s a shame they didn’t see the Town Hall which always reminds me of Hogwarts, and it’s a shame they didn’t get further north than Glasgow to see Scotland become a truly spectacular landscape.

I’ve travelled down by train. As a lifelong football supporter you gain a working knowledge of the road and rail network, and planning 12 weeks ahead meant I could secure bargain tickets. After checking in to a cheap and cheerful B and B I head for Hackney, part of the city I’ve never been to before, and it’s a surprise to find myself there a mere 12 minutes later. One stop on the tube, two by overground and the train deposits me at Hackney Central, right by the venue. Just the four hours to kill before the show then. I have a wander around and find Hackney to be like any other suburb, as it’s out to the east of the city and away from the areas readily identifiable as London, before returning to Oslo to eat, where a 20% discount is offered on the menu on production of your ticket for the show. The bar begins to fill up and I’m joined by a gentlemen meeting his daughter and her partner for the show. Last night he’d been to see the Rolling Stones, tomorrow night it’s Sparks, but this evening he was with his daughter who was eager to see Screaming Females for the first time. We chat about the band for a while and realise that that I’d not heard any sound check or seen any of the tour party. No cause for concern though, as Marissa suddenly appears outside.

The show itself was simply magnificent. Screaming Females absolutely tore the place up. 25 minutes and 6 songs into the set and the band have the crowd in the palms of their hands. They’ve not said a word, just ripped in to each song. This really was superlative stuff, with the crowd dancing and singing along.

As this is my first attempt a creative (or not!) writing ,I won’t attempt to review further when there are far better people than me to do so. Here’s a link to a review that hits the nail right on the head.

Also, I put two videos of the show on YouTube, which can be found here…and here.

So it ends, and once again it’s all way too soon. I manage a brief chat with each of the band as I simply couldn’t leave without thanking them after seeing two performances that have taken me right back to being that awe struck 15 year old who watched the Ramones all those years ago.

At the station I see my erstwhile dining partner, with daughter and partner, all grinning from ear to ear. Then the train whisks me swiftly back in central London and I find that my mood changes dramatically as the intense experience of the show is left a few miles to the east.  I’ve just walked away from something wonderful, something I feel as though I’ll never have again and I’m almost tempted to head back in a bid to recover the intense joy that tonight’s performance gave me.  This is why I always hate seeing goodbye to the band members and the people I’ve met as it seems so final and I just never know whether I will have the chance to do it all again

Stiff upper lip old boy, so I head to a nearby pub for nightcap.

Next stop, work on Saturday morning for the first of two day shifts but there should be more to follow in what is shaping up to be a monumental 2018….

PS – Sock Update

Found the blighter! My bag has shoulder straps that allow it be worn as a backpack. These can be folded away in to a pouch when not in use, and that’s where the missing piece of hosiery was.

Shame I threw away its partner….