April 27, 2009 – 9:15 am
Owen proudly displays his ‘Other radio stations are shit’ bFM t-shirt
This weekend was quite a treat. A kiwi friend from mine who lives in Chicago came over to Birmingham, in large part to go and see The Specials play in Birmingham.
Owen Harris and I both worked at bFM in the late 80s, and know an awful lot of the same people, but it’s only been in the last year or so, through our mutual appreciation of the Humphreys and Keen record ‘The Overflow’ that we’ve really got to know each other at all – and that’s been all online.
Owen organised the release of the H&K vinyl, and I’m endeavouring to be helpful on the online strategy stuff, though his input has been infinitely more extensive and tangible to date.
He stayed at our place, and I did my best to show him around some of the nicer bits of Birmingham, before we headed off to the Specials (30th anniversary!) gig.
I hadn’t realised that he’d managed to get us both tickets despite the fact that they’d sold out within 4 minutes of release. It was a packed gig at the O2 Academy (3000 capacity, apparently), and everyone in the room knew all the words to all the songs.
While I was more of a Beat fan than a Specials fan back in the day, I was amazed at how many of their songs I knew. I had my Flip camera with me, and took a bit of video:
Enjoy Yourself / Do The Dog [excerpt]
A Message to You, Rudy
Friday Night, Saturday Morning
Hey Little Rich Girl
You’re Wondering Now / Ghost Town
Too Much Too Young
Brilliant gig. Took a few photos too.
The whole thing was like a great big party. What had started life as reflections of deprivation and expressions of defiance under the shadow of Thatcherism have matured into rousing victory anthems. All things considered, the bastards didn’t win.
Owen left to go and see some other friends down in London around the middle of Sunday, but it was great to spend that time with him and get to know him a bit better in person.
He also left me with a handful of Humphreys and Keen records to circulate as I see fit. And he also managed, at my prompting, to get a Bandcamp started for them. At the very least, go and get yourself a free mp3 of the first track. It is quite simply, my favourite NZ record of the past 5 years.
Really great to see Owen (@oharris69 on Twitter) and reminisce about NZ music and radio people from the past 25 years or so too.