Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New Model Army at Brixton Academy

NMA logoBack in 1990, I think it was (maybe 1989), I saw New Model Army at Brixton Academy. It was my first time in London. I was driving me and a few friends in my Astra van. We were supposed to be going to a friend's flat in Orpington, Kent, and then going to the Academy with him from there.

It took us about four hours to get to London, but we'd gone without a map. I thought once we got to London there'd be signposts to Orpington. How green was I?! We stopped at a petrol station to ask the way; they had no idea. We asked a policeman directing traffic (that was a bit scary, actually, since the van had only two seats and there were three people sat in the unseated back area; I thought we'd get nicked); he had no idea, either. So we headed directly to Brixton instead, having seen it signposted. We parked in the middle of a massive housing estate -- tower blocks, the lot. The trip had taken almost nine hours from leaving home!

As we left the van and walked in the direction of civilization, we passed a similar-looking vehicle. Or rather, the shell of one. It had been completely burnt out. This was all new and shocking to me, coming from a Conservative market town with a population of just 55,000. I feared for my van's safety.

We went to an off-licence to pick up some bits and pieces. The whole counter and all the shop's wares were behind fencing. Nothing could be taken off the shelf by a customer. Payment was made through a tiny hole. "So, not a great area," I thought. "Yay!"

We knew that a bunch of other people we knew were also going to the gig, some of whom wanted to kick my head in. It seems I'd stolen one of that gang's girlfriends. Whatever. I had my peeps with me, and I knew where they lived. Which is more than they could say about me. As it happens, we did see them. But they just muttered a hello. Damp squib. Perhaps thankfully.

The gig was good, although I remember very little about it all this time later, and we met up with some other guys and gals from our hometown while there. We also met up with Nigel, our Orpington buddy. After the gig, he directed us back to his gaff and we stayed the night, only to be awoken at some ungodly hour the next day and asked to move the car because workers needed to dig up the road.

Anyway, all this is leading up to this NMA song, which has been on my mind a lot recently. Wonder why...

Spirit of the Falklands

The natives are restless tonight, sir
Cooped up on estates with no hope in sight
They need some kind of distraction
We can give them that
'Cause they'd kill if they only had something to kill for
They'd die if they only had something to die for
They'd cheer if they only had something to cheer for
We can give them that
So it's off to war we go (I couldn't believe it)
Bring out all the flags (I never believed it)
Fight the good fight

It's working like a dream, sir
Half the nation are hooked on the bait
Waiting for the next victorious instalment
We can give them that
'Cause it's no surprise that young men are heroes
It's no surprise that young men are strong
It's no surprise that young men are foolish
We've known that all along
Exciting pictures on News at Ten (I couldn't believe it)
Read all the crap on all the front pages (I never believed it)
Fight the good fight

Dead men in the South Atlantic
It's meant to warm our hearts
They think that they died for you and me
Oh God, what a farce, what a farce

And now it's the repeats
Plugging the Falklands and the Falklands' spirit
Show the pictures again and again
Till the next war comes around
'Cause we'll kill if we only have something to kill for
We'll die if we only have something to die for
We'll cheer if we only have something to cheer for
That is worthy of the name
Oh yes the next war (I never believed it)
See the propaganda in TV fiction (I never believed it)
Enemies with horns and tails

There are dead men in the South Atlantic
It's meant to warm our hearts
They think that they died for you and me
Oh God, what a farce, what a farce

There's crippled men back home in England
Doesn't it warm your hearts
They think they fought for peace and freedom
Poor boys, what a farce, what a farce

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Anonymous the cappuccino kid. said...

51st state of america.

Look out of your windows, watch the skies
Read all the instructions with bright blue eyes
Were W.A.S.P.s, proud American sons
We know how to clean our teeth and how to strip down a gun
We're the 51st state of America

Our star-spangled Union Jack flutters so proud
Over the dancing heads of the merry patriotic crowd
Tip your hat to the Yankee conqueror
We've got no reds under the bed with guns under our pillows
We're the 51st state of America

Here in the land of opportunity
Watch US revel in our liberty
You can say what you like
But it doesn't change anything
'Cos the corridors of power
Are an ocean away
We're the 51st state of America

29 August, 2006 12:51  
Blogger Red said...

I saw NMA in 1994. I seem to remember a lot of clogs...

29 August, 2006 14:23  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

That story brought me inot the mood of going to see a show and with friends, strange places, being young.

What is the neighbourhood like now I wonder?

The burnt out car remeinds me of the lower east side in the 80's in NYC. Used to freak me out.

29 August, 2006 14:43  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: Yep, another good one that still resonates today. More so than ever, perhaps...

Red: Ah, there was a lot of clog wearing going on, and carrying huge fuck-off bags for camping out following the band's tour when I saw them.

Candy: I'm still not a huge fan of Brixton, I must say, but I've never had any particularly bad experiences there. NYC in old 70s movies looks real scary...

29 August, 2006 18:56  
Anonymous the cappuccino kid. said...

oops, put my comment on the wrong post. ah well, its 7:15 and i've just got in.

30 August, 2006 07:21  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

No worries, Cappy: I never understood the appeal of the Levellers, though...

30 August, 2006 09:35  
Anonymous the cappuccino kid. said...

it makes me laugh now. there they are singing the old songs about "life on the road", travellers etc, and off they go afterwards to count thier money in thier big houses!
slighty hippocritical.

31 August, 2006 08:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Yeah, but that's true of all big stars, isn't it? Even your old mates The Who, hoping they die before they get old. Ummm.... have they looked in the mirror lately?!

31 August, 2006 08:22  
Blogger Milla said...

Ah! I saw NMA for the first time in Brixton on Dec 19th, 1991. One of the life changing expiriences one has :) After that I have been going to most gigs in London and a few elsewhere.
I don't know all NMA members as people, but I have spoken to Justin and Joolz a few times and they are very nice persons, very warm and patient and always ready to help you and listen to you. And they certainly don't have big houses or big money, thank the gods.

ahahah maybe someone should remind Bono where he is from!

22 September, 2006 14:32  

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