I've just got back from seeing The Wedding Present for the I-don't-know-how-many-th time and a very emotional experience it was too. 20 years ago, I travelled on a bus from my first college town of Plymouth to my hometown of Coventry to see them with a girl whose surname I can no longer remember; the rest I can recall vividly. Six hours or so on a National Express bus with a yellow underwater Walkman and one tape with George Best on one side and The House of Love on the other - a generation later and as soon as I hear Christine my immediate thought is Gloucester in the October dark seen through a wet window. A short stop at Bristol that made me feel homesick for the town in which I was born but had left at two.
The gig was at Coventry Poly, the girl a friend of my sister's with whom I had shamelessly played the cooler big brother card, but the band, well the band was the important part. George Best has kept me company my entire adult life, Bizarro live was about to acquaint me with tinnitus. No encores then, no encores now. Jumping for joy at eighteen has been replaced at nearly thirty eight by the ubiquitous gig-nod and tapping leg known and recognized by men old enough to know that the mosh pit promises nothing but a sprained ankle, a stitch and another futile promise to give up the gaspers.
What hadn't changed was the absolute, face-splitting pleasure of hearing the music. I cried for my dead friend, my old self and my old hopes, but mostly I just cried out of sheer bloody joy.