We are emerging, the nights may be getting darker but our conversations are returning.
The ICTU biennial Congress took place in Belfast. No going back was their theme as we look to build a better world that is now emerging. Motions were discussed that will become the policy of the trade union movement over the next 2 years, it is an opportunity for us to look at his way have evolved and really question what is the best direction?
I went to 2 gigs last week. Billy No Mates sold out the Workman’s Club and it reminded me of some great evenings in that venue. Scroobius Pip is one that springs to mind. I feel like a grain of sand in the desert of an audience. I know no-one, I stand with mask on, mesmerised by the music and completely caught up in what’s going on. What was going on seemed special- is this because we have been starved or is it because of the brilliance of Billy. I put it down to the music.
TV Smith’s gig was moved to Whelans instead of the neighbouring Opium Rooms. Again a fluid situation in covid times. We don’t care as punters as it’s some music and a stage but It’s good to be back in Whelans. My first time there in 2 years. It doesn’t seem that long and while bodies weren’t flying in the sky there was a dance floor. I’m now a drop of water in the sea of the audience.
My comfort zone was slightly dented as my mask came off. Conversations were in full flow, old comrades had resurfaced and we were chatting. The conversation wasn’t about hospital numbers, or my new lexicon of words that have appeared since March of last year. Tonight was about music, politics, sport in words and after The Lee Harvey’s rocked the room TV Smith brought out his acoustic guitar. How nice was it to see that familiar face? How sweet was it to hear that familiar sound of Adverts songs and more from Tim’s huge repertoire ? I beamed from ear to ear.
Then some Paranoid Visions became his backing band for a small set. You could sense the trepidation on stage as these are now formidable musicians. Sure they can be caught up in the chaos onstage but this isn’t the Ivy Rooms of 1985 or the CIE Hall of 1987. These are people on the top of their game. One Chord Wonders was blasted out with all the energy of its 1977 release as Deko rasped alongside TV Smith. I looked on stage remembering how PA and Deko from the band have helped do many people and so many bands and see their journey like ours over the past while. Outsiders, isolated but also a certain contentment in the company of those closest to them.
They didn’t sing the good times are back but maybe, just maybe they are.