All My Friends

This is an attempt to try and get back into a more regular rhythm of writing..

It occurred to me, as I ripped through a 1,000 words in an attempt not to describe the Chemical Brothers Ally Pally show so much as how it felt, that I’d missed sharing these experiences. Selfishly, I guess, I missed committing them to memory. Yeah, I don’t write for you, I write for me and, if you’re reading, hopefully you get some pleasure out of what is essentially a brain dump.

A year on, then, the memories of LCD Soundsystem at Ally Pally and Depeche Mode at the O2 have faded, the strobing lights of both evenings have taken on a sepia tone. My main memory of the Depeche Mode gig is wondering how the excellent Spirit album Depeche Mode were ostensibly promoting was reduced to just three of the twenty odd tracks played that night (and Depeche were still brilliant, perhaps the best I’ve ever seen). The LCD Soundsystem gig? Bopping away, for various reasons, on my own as James Murphy spat out the wonderful, and ever more appropriate (for me and him), Losing My Edge.

My other memory from that night is how Jo, my lovely Jo had done two things for me. First, she’d purchased the tickets as a 40th birthday present- yeah, I’m a big boy now. She also did something that I will remember for the rest of my life, unless I end up old, senile, dribbling piss down my trousers and unable to remember my own name. She had arranged for three very good friends, brothers in music you might call them, to join us as a surprise.

You’ll think I’m making this up, but I would never tell lies, not here in my space. I was literally just saying to another friend, Sam the Aussie from Adelaide, how friends can just walk into your life when Jo asked me to turn around. And some friends had just walked into my life. Absolutely literally. Baxi I’ve known since I was 4 and he was at university with my mum, his mate Ray (with whom I share a real love for electronica) and Ads.

To tell the truth, Ray aside, I’d always felt a little like I was inflicting LCD Soundsystem on the rest of the boys at the music nights we hold on a sort of regular basis. So to be greeted by them in the pub just adjacent to Ally Pally was a hell of a shock. Jo tells me my face was an absolute picture and, just writing about it now, I can feel the face I was making and I sort of wish I could have seen it myself.

I recovered from the shock and we went off to join the queue, ending up halfway back round the other side of the building. Over a year later, it would be pointless to tell you about the gig and this isn’t really about that anyway. This is about the sort of friends, and life partner, I have and the pleasure they took in giving me a proper surprise, this is about how music can bond people of all ages. As I mentioned, Baxi was at uni with my mum, so both him and Ray are in a slightly different demographic to me, and Ads is in yet another demographic to me. It doesn’t matter when you have a night like this one, when you have the music.

One thing about that night, whilst we’re here. The gig finished and I remember Baxi being very taken with Losing My Edge, obviously. I also remember him telling us all about Yeah. Yeah, if you don’t know it, basically consists of James Murphy screaming “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” over and over again. I had played it (the live at Madison Square Garden version) at one of our music nights and… well, it cleared the room.


Now, I was listening to Baxi telling me how great this song was. Indignant, I was, but as my friend Luke always says, “Music comes to when it comes to you”. I suppose I should just be glad that, belatedly, it did.

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