LONDON YOU’RE A LADY. AND ITALY LOVES YOU
by Eddie Murchy
When I was a child and my dad used to fetch me ’round with his car, the main rule was – and, actually, still is – ‘I drive, I choose the soundtrack’ (now that I drive, it applies to my car, too).
Bored in the first place, that rule, in the end, turned out to be a sort of blessing: thanks to my dad, since my early years, I started listening to great bands. Among them, obviously, The Pogues.
When, many years later, I made my first trip to Ireland and dived deep into Irish music, memories and melodies came back to the surface, and the unmistakable mark in Shane’s voice re-exploded in my mind as if I had never stopped listening to it. It was the very beginning of a love story that is still on and that, last december, brought me from the italian countryside to the O2 Academy in Brixton. ‘London Girl’, ‘Dark Streets Of London’, ‘Lullaby Of London’, ‘London You’re A lady’, I thought to myself, must have been more than a mere coincidence. So, without telling anybody, I bought the ticket, I booked the flight and chosed an hostel nearby the venue.
I arrived in London on 19th morning and, during the whole day, I was as excited as a 5-year old child on Christmas Eve. Well, actually, we were pretty close to that day (and, actually, I’m pretty close to a 5-year old child). ‘The Sick Bed Of Cuchulain’ was echoing in my head and really couldn’t wait to hear it live. For that reason, entering the O2 Academy was a kind of dream come true. Alright, ’twas not my first Pogues’ gig, but who tells I can only dream once, who tells I can only have one dream, who tells I can only dream alone?
Forgive my lines, this is not a review, I’m not technical at all; this is a sort of ’emotional’ report, a short list of the things that I, as a simple boy madly fond of music (specially live), liked and liked not.
First of all, I must say the side-band, Crowns from Cornwall, left me unsatisfied: nice tunes but, in my opinion, the guys were a bit too cold and posers, I would have definitely preferred somebody like Frank Turner, who indeed opened the act in 2012. Then, I was shocked by the ‘no stage-diving’ sign: c’mon, I made 2000 miles to attend a rock concert, I just wanted to have fun, you can’t tell me surfing over people’s heads is not allowed! At last, even though I generally loved the tracklist, where the hell had ‘If I should fall’ gone?
Apart from these little insignificant flaws, the night was amazing. ‘Rum Sodomy And The Lash’, a necklace of 13 pure gems, played in its entirety, the way I had always listened to it; creeps when ‘Thousands Are Sailing’ was played in loving memory of Phil; first time I heard ‘Fairytale of New York’ live, surely the best Christmas wishes ever; the people, the sweat, the pogo, the Italian friend I met just before the show, the random hugs, the drunken haze, the whole concert lived exactly where rock concerts are supposed to be lived, between the stage and the third row. At the end, I was soaking wet and totally knackered, and I considered it both a prize and the proof I lived the night up.
When the gig was over, I realised my legs were not making it, my voice was vanishing but, at the same time, my emotions were doomed to remain. I spent two more days in London, whistling Pogues’ tunes, having beers in dirty pubs, enjoying the good weather the City offered me. I must say, I was happy to stay right there, on the sunny side of the street.
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