So the final day of the first Liverpool International Music Festival at Sefton Park and the sun was cracking the flags, The Desperado’s and Magners were in the cool bag and off we headed to the It’s Liverpool Legend’s stage and first up we caught The Merseybeat legends doing rock and roll how it used to be in the old days. Next up was John O’Connell and by this time I was thankful for the odd rouge cloud to keep the sun at bay for a bit. I had heard a lot about John O’Connell and have most probably seen his old band Groundpig back in the 90’s at one of Liverpool Irish bars. I was very impressed with his set and enjoyed the banjo making an appearance. Up next was something completely different and Malik and the OG’s a mixture of a poetry and music and some mention of revolution. Staying at the same stage and up next was the Liverpool blues legend that is female vocalist Connie Lush. Complete with broken leg causing her to perform on a Solomon Burke style throne. Ms Lush has some amazing vocals and each member of her band is a great musician but unfortunately I had to cut her set short to get over to the main stage to see one of my favourite band play The Christians. Now with the sun out I was expecting the main field to be busy and it sure was with many thousands (I reckon at least 25,000) on the field chilling and ready to see one of Liverpool’s finest bands. I managed to get near the front where there was some decent space as the field was busy with it being so big there was plenty of room. Now having bought the first Christians single at the age of 13 on the recommendation of my music teacher (Who is a brother of lead singer Garry) I was looking forward to seeing them for who knows what number time and they are the band I have seen the most in my life (Deacon Blue second) How great it was a lovely late summers day and the band were playing in my local park for free. With it being such a short set it was bang and the big hits were all played. Poignant hearing “Greenbank Drive” played just a few hundred yards away from the real Greenbank Drive and in my youth I think I might have thought of having the road sign off to put next to my Christians posters but alas it was one of those heavy very old style Liverpool signs and apart from my cunning plan being theft it was never gonna stay up on my bedroom wall without planning permission from my neighbours !! Garry’s voice really suits The Beatles “Here Comes The Sun” and right on time the sun came back out during that song. No encores and the crowd happy to lap more up their time was over. I will never ever tire of listening to the songs of The Christians from which I can map my life from 1987 to 1993. For those part time fans they have a new single out next month “Inner City Blues” which is a 2013 remix from their album track of the same name a cover from the fabulous Marvin Gaye’s “Whats going on” album. Video below.
So quickly over to the It’s Liverpool Legends stage to catch Deaf School. Again a band I had heard so much about but never listened to. Around in the 70’s in Liverpool as I was being born and I have read stuff about them performing at Eric’s I was expecting some full on punk performed by some elderly people. Well i got the elderly people correct (Sorry Deaf School) but it was not the raucous punk rock I was expecting but more of an eclectic music performance ranging from cabaret at times to hints of punk. I was reliably informed by my mate I was with more than a hint of an art college music about them well he should know he was around at the time. Anyway I quite enjoyed them and will be borrowing the best of from my mate who is to cool to admit he likes them but did have a white handkerchief to wave about during a few songs along with many other members of the crowd and the handkerchief was complete with Deaf School sown into the corner . He did not really but that will be an urban myth which will grow over the years which brings me onto the final performance of the weekend.
Back to the main stage and back in 1989/90 I was well-known to be sporting a Soul II Soul t-shirt and as I have grown older the urban myth has spread that I also wore a pouch. As the years have gone by this pouch then developed an Africa badge on it and finally the red, yellow and green of the rasta’s. The t-shirt bit was true. At last after 24 years I could finally see Soul II Soul live and again like The Christians only at my bloody local park for free. Soon Jazzie B was on stage with Caron Wheeler and with no messing about the beat of “Keep on movin” was booming out over Sefton Park, 25,000 people plus cheered and there’s no weather that suits Soul II Soul than sunshine and there it was a musical moment in my life which I will remember forever and even when typing about now even brings a smile to my face. All the big hits were there and I impressed my mate with a word for word rendition of Jazzie B’s rap in “Get A Life” even after nearly 24 years and of course there was only one way to round it off with Back To Life. As great as I expected Soul II Soul to be sadly the end to the first Liverpool International Music festival in Sefton Park was upon us. In what was a pilgrimage on the way home through the park I pointed out the very tree by the Fairy Glen that in the summer of 1990 I bloody ripped one of my Soul II Soul t-shirts (Any chance of another one if your reading this Soul II Soul ha ha)
So what a great festival in Sefton Park and much better than what The Mathew Street festival had become. Hopefully the same next year and a real pleasure to be there for all four days. Musical highlights were The Tea Street Band, Clang Boom Steam, Stony Browder Jnr, The Christians and of course Soul II Soul. I never seen one spot of trouble over the entire fours days I was there. Everything was helped of course by the weather holding up then turning nice. A mention for the nice friendly stewards who can at times at various events be a pain in the arse. The only moan was £4 for a pint and £5 for sausage and chips. Thankfully with some local knowledge of Lark Lane that £9 was turned into Sausage and chips and 6 cans of Budweiser. Only one way to end this blog.
A happy face, a thumpin bass for a lovin race.
Fay x x x x x
Oh and my boss picture from Friday night (click for larger version)
So day three of my Sefton Park extravaganza. (Day 1 & 2 blog here) and I decided to head over to the main stage with amazingly no beers. The main stage today was The World Music stage. First up for me was Stony Browder Jnr and what a fantastic performance and funktastic choons. I was thinking I will have to check out some of their music. I cant find one thing about them on the internet ? No Facebook, Twitter. The only thing I could find was a Stony Browder Jnr that had something to do with Kid Creole back in the day. The lead singer wasn’t that old !! So I have asked the festival via Twitter if they have any more info. I will report back. After kidding myself about not bringing any booze I soon headed to the bar and was hit for £4 for a cider. Next up was Kof who was from Liverpool and as soon as he started you could recognise what a great voice he had and as the sun came out during his set it was perfect weather for his music. Stand out song for me was “Child of the ghetto” Kof gave away some CD’s at the end and I managed to grab one having an advantage being 6 ft 3. I will bang it on my ipod and give the CD to my daughter to get into. It could be the first step from JLS onto KOF and then boom listen to this Clash album or your grounded ha ha. Next up Panjabi Hit Squad not my scene and with a cider being £4 I made a quick dart to Lark Lane and got 4 cans of Bud for a fiver. Dont even get me started on it being a fiver for sausage and chips. When in festivals etc you begrudgingly accept being had off but at Sevvy Park with shops and Chippy’s not far away it just aint happening. So I met a couple of lads and we headed over to the it’s Liverpool tomorrow stage where there was a late showing from the very strange Bonnacons Of Doom complete with druid like robes. Next up were Ghostchant who were decent. After a longer than expected second visit to the offy as Lark Lane was chokka. We made it back to the main stage for the end of Portico Quartet. We were waiting for The Marley’s to come on last and all that seemed to be on the stage was a DJ and somebody shouting loud getting the crowd at the front going. I reckon I could have pulled that off with a few “Make some noize Liverpool” and “Hands in the air Liverpool” Another DJ came on and in the end we spewed it as there was no sign of Damian Marley. Considering it was a world music stage the last couple of hours was not the world music I was expecting. I was hoping to find a gem of a band from Ghana or Argentina that I had never heard off. It was much busier than Saturday but I think the estimate of 50,000 in total and 29,000 at one time might just be putting a bit of spin on it. I have an idea why not sell Sefton Park meadow and put a stage in the park and do more things like this. I jest of course whilst its great having these things I wouldn’t want too many of them as it does ruin the parks ambience for a chilled out walk or jog around. Secondly I could still hear the music when I got back to my house past Aigburth Vale and wouldnt want that on a regular basis. Lastly whilst the meadows is not massively used it’s a belter bit of green land and if the council want to save some dollar I suggest looking at the Liverpool Direct contract. Whooooshhhhhhh went of on one there. So to sum it up Sunday was a good day but not as good as Friday or Saturday.
The small matter of Soul II Soul and The Christians today. The sun is cracking the flags and the ale is on chill in my fridge. Mrs Fay and the kids home today and I am not off to clean everything away and lash foor days worth of dishes into the dishwasher, put the top back on the toothpaste and generally tidy the house up after a weekend of living like a single male slob. A quick picture of Stoney Browder Jnr and see you down there today.
Fay x x x x x
So Friday lunch time and Mrs Fay and my three daughters are leaving the house on a long weekend to London. A chance to relapse into single man slob mode. Leave things out where I want, dishes piled high and peace and quite from the demands of my girls (nearly 9, nearly 6 and 19 months) So what was I gonna do all weekend ? Well as if my magic there was only a four day music festival a short walk from ours. It would be rude not to go. So Friday tea time I head down to Sefton Park for the first night of The Liverpool International Music Festival. First up were The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with chief conductor Vasily Petrenko and support from Sense of Sound. So kicking it all off were Sense Of Sound who are a bunch of vocalists who sing A cappella. Highlight of their set was a great cover of “You are my world” By The Communards. By now I had found a space on the grass. I was however surrounded by people in chairs, mostly older than me who were getting stuck into their hampers and cracking open bottles of red wine. It all seemed very middle class to me and I had a quick check and I had rolled up in my Adidas trackie top and a four pack of Budwieser in my hamper case which was more commonly known as a Bargain Booze plazzy bag. So time for the main event and conductor Petrenko had the orchestra away and playing. Now not really being a classical musical expert I soon realised that this was going to be a more dumbed down classical musical event which was great as I knew most of the stuff that was played. Come the interval my four cans had been had and I decided to have a walk around the site and grab some pictures as I had come armed with my camera. I will post some below and at the Royal Phil continued in fine form I moved away from the front of the stage to head back as I knew there were going to be some fireworks and we all love a good fireworks photo. As if by chance two bizzies were watching the spectacular firework finale to the show so I crouched down unbeknown to them and sneaked a few pictures of them from behind watching the finale. It was only when I was walking home through the park that I looked at the pics and thought wow that shot doesnt look too bad. When I got home and banged the pics on my mac one shot stood out, possibly the best picture I have taken so far on my camera I got for chrimbo. I quickly posted it on my Twitter account and my alter ego dodgy weatherman @Liverpoolweath and started getting a few retweets. I then decided to tell @LIMFestival and @Classicfm who retweeted it and my picture got a decent reception. So below is my prized shot along with others from the night and a great start to The Liverpool International Music Festival. Click on picture for a better version.
So onto Saturday and day two. This time sadly the camera would be left at home as I was having a few bevvies and heading to Lark Lane for the match after and didnt fancy leaving my kit in a boozer when I was sozzled. So first up we headed to the It’s Liverpool now stage to see Natalie Mccool open things. Sadly only a handful of people there to see the start of things and Natalie kept her spirits up and performed well. A quick move over to the main stage and The Beatles years. The couple of bands we seen were tight enough but if you have seen one Beatles tribute act you have seen them all so it was back to the It’s Liverpool now stage via The Bandstand (pic below) We were very impressed with Clang Boom Steam who have made it onto my Spotify to listen to in work next week and last up were local band The Tea Street Band. By now there was a decent crowd and the first time I have seen The Tea Street band and I was very impressed and even though late to getting onto them the handled they last on spot very well and had the crowd moving about and played their know becoming more well known track “Disco Lights” Sadly now with my 40th year approaching I have long since ditched the disco lights of Creamfields and have moved into the classical music arena !! I spotted Liverpool music legend Henry Priestman earlier on at the It’s Liverpool now stage nice to see him supporting new artists. So with the music finishing at five which I thought was far too early but I assume the logic behind that is to stop everybody falling out of sevvy park later on worse for wear and as it happened fitted in perfectly with the match but we were still hungry for more music. So a few Desperado’s later and it was time to head home via Steves chippy and an early night in the end which has paid dividends as I feel fresh this morning and day three of the festival and heading down there on my own today (Billy no mates) Then there is the small matter of Monday with two of my fave bands ever The Christians and Soul II Soul playing 15 mins walk from my house for free !! I have never seen Soul II Soul live so cant wait for them.
Fay x x x x x
So as we edge towards September it can now be officially confirmed that September will be the month of the 40th Birthday celebrations. First up on September 5th is a weekend away in Benidorm. Birthday celebrations for the actual birthday will be on September 18th and also a trip to Edinburgh on the 27th September. Still to be confirmed in collaboration with Liverpool City Council is a free concert at the Pier Head on Saturday September 22nd and rounding the month off a firework extravaganza in Sefton Park on the 30th September. *All dates subject to change.
So we start with Benidorm which 11 of us will be going to in a joint celebration with a mate Joel who is 40 a week after me. Now you can’t mention Benidorm without “Sticky” Vicky being mentioned. Victoria is not an urban myth and I believe her daughter is now in on the act ! Let’s just say some of the props involved in the act are Coca Cola Bottles, giant candles, lightbulbs that glow and razor blades !! I have even heard whispers of christmas tree’s being used as a prop around chrimbo ???? So OK I can here you asking your not going to see that are you ? Well I can only liken it to going to Rome but then not going to see The Vatican !! No Doubt all will be revealed in a blog in September.
Edinburgh at the end of the month is with the same bunch of lads I go away with in February (Please read the now infamous cultural review blogs in Feb) So expect a cultural review of Edinburgh at the end of the month and Warsaw has already been pencilled in for the 2014 trip.
So onto this midlife crisis then. As I am hurtling to the grand age of 40 and being a lover of all things retro and also being a knob head I have decided to rekindle a hair style I had in 1994 in a poor attempt to grab some youth back. I have already noticed that there were a fair few less hairs to style and a few extra stone being carried since 1994. It seems a long time since I would sit in my nans back kitchen (why back we did not have a front kitchen ?? ) and she would apply half a bottle of born blonde and voila the blonde bombshell was born and all set for a friday night in the 051 for a level of fun that has never and will never be obtained again. So fast forward 19 years and here I was in the same kitchen with my current wife about to apply the aforementioned bottle of born blonde for the 2013 blonde bombshell or should that be blonde knob head. 25 mins later and I was off to the shower to apply some conditioner to my hair !!! This is the same hair that for the last 10 years has been washed with Lynx shower gel. So first up to test the new look were my kids who just raised a smile and were most probably thinking “well he is 40 next month so this was bound to happen at some point. Hope he doesn’t pick us up from school when we go back” Next up were a load of my friends as I was attending a cocktail party at a mates house. Yes a very middle-aged thing to do. But I turned up in my Adidas trabs and newly borned blonde hair armed with Desperado’s as my 39 years on this planet has learned me that cocktails get you pissed and hung over. A cunning plan that worked as I was OK today and Mrs Fay was a near write off. I have wasted far too much time in my life fighting hangovers and the likes. See original 051 fun for far too many “lost” days in the aftermath of a night out there. The hair was met with laughter and comments that it actually made me look less bald and was I using born blonde regain. I was even sensible and bailed at 2am so as not to ruin a rare night in the house without the delights of three daughters (8, 5 & 1 ) and a chilled Sunday morning hangover free was achieved.
So the blonde will stay for the whole of September as part of the 40th birthday celebrations and on October 1st I will be reduced to a balding skinhead once again. To keep this hairstyle going I am going to actually pay for a haircut at some point and a lucky barber in Aigburth will be rejoicing as I pay for a haircut possibly for the first time in 10 years plus ?? A final note to this blog is this week I decided (again) to bail from Facebook. My last attempt where I actually deactivated my account lasted two days as Mrs Thatcher dies and there was just too much fun to be had. This time I am on day seven and apart from a cheeky check for notifications on Mon/Tues I had not been on until tonight when I had to relink my blog to post automatically. I will miss all the great old photo’s of Liverpool on there and some good stuff from musicians I follow on there and the odd laugh with people. But far to many animal pictures, click like if you hate cancer ???? and general shite was finally persuaded me to jib it and I think this time I might actually be cured. So here we have the official announcement of the mid-life crisis. Next up a fast sports car and a young chick on the arm and it will be complete. The reality of that is a new 7 seater family car next year and Mrs Fay putting up with my “blonde” phase.
So do blondes have more fun ? I will report back.
Fay x x x x x
So he we are still mid holiday and enjoying everyday of the Menorcan sun. I managed to spoil myself on Thursday and went to watch the first session of the third Ashes test match at Old Trafford. The bar man at The Blarney Stone pub in the resort of Cala Blanca sorted me a TV of my own with the sound up and I had a few Desperado’s watching the cricket on my own. Previously we had been to the water park. The one we went to was the Aquacenter located in Ciutadella de Menorca. It was €20 for adults and €10 for kids over three. It had four water slides and a few other zones including kids zone and a nice swimming pool. The two more daring slides (Black Hole and Kamikaze) were exciting the first time for adults and fun to go down with the kids. Overall the slides will keep the kids entertained but if you were looking for adult thrills then this park might not be for you. That said we had 5 kids from ages 1 to 8 so got our value for money. There ends my tribute to the late Alan Whicker and a review of a world destination. OK a Menorcan aqua park is not quite the streets of Rio but it’s all you’re getting. By the last night of the holiday I was ready to come home. In truth there is only so much sun, beer and burgers I can take and with Cala Blanca only being a small resort the nights were becoming a bit repetitive. On the plus side you actually felt you were abroad rather than in a bit of Spain that has turned into a bit of Britain with the Brits abroad mentality. With everything going to plan on the way home including the baby being great on the plane before I knew it I was picking up some sausage rolls from Tesco’s and back in my own bed for a snooze. I had survived a week with the in-laws and they in turn had survived a week with me !!! No more lovely Menorcan sunsets.
Sunset at Cala Blanca in Menorca Spain.
Friday night and a trip to Bargain Booze and the streets of Aigburth once again were alive with the clinking of bottles as I walked back up to the house a sound not heard for a full seven days. I managed a few Desperado’s and was all set for a day at the cricket on Saturday. We arrived at Old Trafford around 10:15 and after a quick breakfast it was time for pint number one and settle down in our seats to watch day three of the Ashes test match at Old Trafford. Sadly this year I could only get four tickets (in the past I have taken a mini bus load to test matches) Time flew past and we were soon at the end of the day 8 pints plus better off. Highlight of the day were Kevin Pietersen getting 100 on a pretty uninspiring days cricket and fancy dress of the day went to the Cookie Monster suit. So post cricket before our cab came we had our traditional post cricket game of jingles and Neil Carlson regained his crown. We then braved the boozer opposite called “The Trafford” which was covered in Man United memorabilia. I put my best Wigan accent on and ordered the round. Ha ha nah I did not really but we did think asking if they had the Steven Gerrard testimonial on might be stretching it a bit. Would not dare go in there on a match day and on the way home my sisters fella who picked us up was telling us of tales of battles in the 70’s and 80’s outside that boozer. Quite predictably for anybody who knows me post cricket we ended up at The Kingsman pub and grabbed a chip barm from the Ko Sing chippy as I swayed home along Aigburth Road.
Day three of the third Ashes test at Old Trafford
So Sunday morning and not feeling too bad after at least 12 drinks I decided to score some brownie points and take all three kids out for a lovely walk down Otterspool Park and Prom onto my sisters and then a walk through Sudley field en route home thus ensuring I could watch some cricket in the afternoon and I watched as the weather kicked in and the game heads towards a draw. The dream of actually being there when England won the ashes on Saturday had been dashed. So Sunday evening and with some grog already in the fridge I just needed to grab some chocolate (and score more brownie points from the missus) and I headed to the shop in Aigburth Vale where there was a man outside dressed in a green army shirt with a German badge sewn on and some kind of neck garment that was not a swastika but more of a cross which on a bit of research I think is the Mantuan cross or Iron cross which Hitler sported ! If that wasn’t unnerving enough the fella had one eye ! I quickly scooted past him with my biscuit boost stashed in my pocket. Not wanting to make eye contact I did however keep a sneaky one eye on him just in case. I mean one eye each was a fair battle eh ? Ouch mocking a disability is a new low for this blog but if you’re gonna walk the streets of Aigburth in German war gear with possible Nazi/Fascist overtones I think your fair game for a bit of stick. If however you are that man and read this blog your attire was top notch and I did not notice anything else about you (please don’t kill my kids)
Fay x x x x x