Dennis & Lois

In this mid-post lockdown haze we’re in where everyone thinks it’s all over (it is now) but it isn’t really, we’ve settled into the world of quiet tv nights. This is helped a lot with new series of Taskmaster and Inside Number 9 (to name two), with more good series coming up. We introduced the 12yo to The Breakfast Club (“it’s a bit boring, too much dialogue and nothing happened”) and we stumbled upon Amazon Prime’s new free streaming service. I can’t even remember the name of it, had to google what it was to work it out, but within the service was a load of documentaries I’ve had starred for a while in the hope I can watch them one day – and lo! They’re all available. Including a new A-ha documentary which I’ve read about today.
So in an attempt to try and blog a bit more or talk about things a bit more, and be a critic for my Rebel Badge I’m starting with Dennis & Lois.

Dennis & Lois met many years ago, don’t have kids (the bands are their kids) and have spent most of their lives going to watch bands. That’s bands from the Ramones to Happy Mondays, New Order to Fat White Family. They’re fans, they’re mega fans, they meet the bands and they’re legends. They’ve worked on merchandise stands at the shows and they’ve befriended the bands, often putting them up when they’re in town.

So what to expect from Dennis & Lois? I was quite charmed by it – by the end I felt like maybe I had seen them selling merch at one of the many shows they might have, and that our musical tastes aren’t that far apart. There feels like there’s no musical snobbery in their lives – they just love music, purely, exactly as it is. If it sounds good, if it makes them feel then they’re there.

Alas, Lois has health issues, one small section of the documentary focuses on how she is unable to walk and has to stay in the car while Dennis watches Fat White Family – and they’re both upset they’re not with each other. It’s quite a sad moment, they’re always alongside each other at shows, dancing to the side or down the front.

By the end of the doc Lois has mobility issues and uses a chair and stick to get around (and always drives!) – and has a wonderful moment while watching Elbow.

Dennis & Lois met in 1975 and have seen over 10,000 shows, usually four or so a week. They both held down jobs as well – and of course inspired the Happy Mondays song of the same name.

The difference with this documentary and how you’d expect huge fans of music to be, you feel like you’re there with them all the time, that you belong and they’re not untouchable. That everyone who meets them knows them, and respects them too. Their house is a treasure trove of everything everywhere ever. From autographs to old photos – including a section where Dennis shows some photos (slides) he took when he saw Elvis live.

Dennis & Lois is available now, give it a watch and if you read this, let me know what you think. Also, bear in mind it has been so long that I’ve given my opinion on something I’ve probably missed loads out.

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What a Strange Year.

I mean, could anyone have predicted it would turn out like this?

I haven’t worked in the office since March, and I have no desire to take public transport to do that (and can’t at the moment thanks to Lockdown #2).

I’ve developed a healthy addiction to Animal Crossing. Haven’t most people who have the game?

Everything is slowly falling apart, and I’ve got my bubble.

I turned 50 and had a lovely day at home with the food coming to us. H started secondary school and got to finish primary school. Shaun got a temporary promotion which has enabled us to get that new cupboard for the kitchen. It looks quite organised, unlike most of the other rooms in the house.

How is it that we can spend all day at work, get home and find time to tidy stuff, yet when you’re at home all day you just can’t find the energy. Maybe it’s just lockdown fatigue.

We’re lucky, we still have jobs, H is fine at school, and things are tickety boo. There’s absolutely nothing else to report, I just felt like 2020 needed an entry.

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Our 2019 Gig

The eighteen year old me would be wondering how it was even possible to only go to one gig in a year. I’m still not sure – other than my hearing is deteriorating quite a bit (even though I’ve worn earplugs for over fifteen years at gigs) and there comes a point where it isn’t as enjoyable. Oh, and add the costs of babysitters too – it can get pricey.

So my 2019 gig ended up being Adorable at Bush Hall. Adorable were a band I was never an obsessive fan of – I like the band, I own the records, don’t get me wrong. But they weren’t my House of Love or dEUS type of obsession. BUT. My friend was in the band. A friend from my past who I knew well before the band, so I knew I had to be there.

So let’s skip back a couple of decades. I can’t remember how our paths crossed, possibly bands and fanzines and chatting and writing letters. We all wrote letters, lots of them. We all chatted on the phone a lot too. Robert was in a band, The Applicants. I know I met all of the band when they played with The Williams in Scunthorpe, and I remember us all the following day hanging out at Paul and Alan’s house. The Applicants were a fun indie band; female singer and the sort of music which fitted in with that late eighties early nineties sound.

Somewhere further down the line Robert ended up playing guitar with The Williams, and indeed by the time they got to support Primal Scream on their second album tour (just Egham, Oxford and Aldershot) the band were powerful and things seemed to be moving in a good direction. I think we may have all joked how Robert was in eleventy billion bands and how did he get the time to play in them all.

That tour was the last time I saw all of them, time meant we all moved away, the letters and phone calls and fanzines stopped and we all lost touch. That was until Facebook came along where you’re guaranteed to find most people again. We all got back in touch. We all got back to Bush Hall. Half of the Williams and that fanzine writer from York.

I only saw Adorable the once at Leeds Duchess in 1992. That was the last time I saw Robert, he thought I might hit him. I didn’t. I was pleased, delighted, full of happiness he was in a band who had been signed to a label (Creation). Everything was fine again.

But it didn’t end well for Adorable. The press gave them a hard time. They split feeling like they were a hated band, that nobody liked them. They weren’t on speaking terms.

In 2019 they got back together for a few gigs, to split up properly on their own terms. I think it worked.

So here we all are in 2019. Married, kids, still going to gigs. Alan found us in the crowd easily, Robert found us afterwards. We all grinned, reminisced and felt like it was a bit weird we all knew so much about each other thanks to our Facebook statuses.

The gig itself was great. So much energy and power, all the old songs, no new ones (of course) and so much love for the band in the room. Other people can talk about that who deserve to. For me, for my only gig this year it was a happy memory. We’re all older and if, when you’re older you get that chance to put right what didn’t go right when you’re younger, take it up. Do it. Don’t live with ‘what if’s’ and ‘should I?’ or ‘I wish I had’ regrets.

My 2019 gig going started and ended at Bush Hall in November.

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The Past Never Disappears

My not-often spoken about job involves me trawling YouTube looking for videos that are incorrectly claimed. This week I’ve been on a bit of an Ultra Vivid Scene good mood – and have found all manner of oddities dating back several years. Any excuse to listen to this several times, eh?

And what a great song it is.

I probably wrote the blurb underneath it too, and let me tell you it is NOT easy writing lots of YouTube blurb. If you see any videos with useless text about the singles or album that the track has come from, that’s me in the late afternoon having run out of things to say but being desperate to set them live. Then again, if I were to post things like ‘Oh, isn’t this a great song? Remember when (insert tv show) used to play this all the time back in the eighties? How I miss the programmes like that” etc etc bla blah. It sounds like me rather than someone at the record label. So you can’t really win.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, my brainwashing of H is going well. She knows plenty of songs by The Breeders. Ruddy marvellous.

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2018. Great.

When you’re a parent all you do is babble about being a parent a lot. Which I do. I’m very proud of my daughter and every day she does a proper decent human being thing. So when she does that I allow myself a pat on the back that we’re bringing her up properly. (she’s 8 now)

But when you’re a parent you sometimes lose a bit of you which disappears for a while. Or maybe it’s just me. So many friends kept doing what they did when they had kids while I looked on enviously. Going to a gig and then dealing with the following day (and the overnight which would probably involve broken sleep). Repeat to fade… dealing with each day was hard enough let alone anything extra.

Then there’s the issue of having no family nearby, or any babysitter we could call on (or afford!) – these things don’t come cheap. So things have fallen by the wayside.

However, I’m getting out to gigs again, almost always work gigs (as they’re free tickets and we can afford a babysitter) and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. Now I wish all these bands would do lower-volume afternoon gigs for the next generation of music lovers.

Given the majority of this site is old-school html and I don’t have Dreamweaver any more, I’d love to add my photos of Lush, The Breeders, Queens of the Stone Age, Absolute Bowie and more to the photo section. However, it’s not that easy.

Then again, in the days when this site would be somewhere great old photos live, vs now when it’s on YouTube or Instagram within seconds, maybe that’s just how it’s meant to be.

I’ll get around to it. Probably in the next year or so.

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Still Here.

Today I received an email offering me an apprenticeship in setting up a blog. To the address on this site.

Which was quite sweet of them and all that, targeting this poor little old blog which probably dates back to around 2003 even though I’d deleted most of the old posts.

It’s not really for me though. Maybe if I was starting out… but still.

I also currently have about seven blogs, though not all active. Heck, my life is active enough without trying to juggle more things.

So yes, still here. Must dash though, we’ve got Rainbows in a minute… got to keep the Girl Guiding thing going, right?

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Beautiful Noise

So.. five of my photos from this site have made it on to the excellent documentary ‘Beautiful Noise’ – I bought it on DVD and we got around to watching it last night. It’s great, a good snapshot of the time, and is up to date enough it’s covering bands reforming – a most enjoyable evening anyway!

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The Shame

2013, and I’ve barely updated in a year. Sorry blog. I have nothing to report that isn’t elsewhere, being a parent uses up a lot of time, and having ‘me’ time is a rare thing these days. Honest.

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no posts since February? Poor. Poor.

Have a photo.

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Yes Yes

Happy Christmas, Happy New Year and so on. Ours was a nice quiet one, no travel to York, no travel to Australia – we stayed at home and did nothing. It was LOVELY.

My back still hurts several months on, but not as badly – it’ll just take a long time to heal, whatever it is I did to it. I’ve been told one side has more tense muscles than the other which is nice to know but would be nicer if there was something which would fix it. Pilates classes have helped.

So yes, 2012. Speak to me again this time next year, and let’s hope it’s a good one…

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