(The Beautiful South)

I am conscious that I have been somewhat remiss of late in updating this site, partly because I am wary and sceptical of the ‘noise’ generated by twitter and blogging in general, partly because I haven’t had much to say and partly because my life has been busy! As I type this I am working in Manchester which necessitates a semi-nomadic existence, travelling  two hundred miles north and spending three nights a week in hotels. But as Terry Pratchett famously observed (about journalism) “It’s indoor work, with no heavy lifting”.

As I have related to friends, I feel sure that when I get to the ‘Pearly Gates’, Saint Peter is going to tell me I’ve spent too much of my life living in cheap hotels. That said, I should be okay for a room upgrade!

Manchester - From the Holiday Inn Express

I have a strange relationship with the City of Manchester; until the April of this year I had been through Manchester many times, but rarely stopped. When I first met Val I had flown from Manchester airport, and Phill and I travelled home to Sheffield by train from Manchester Piccadilly. In the early days of my relationship with Val I  travelled through Manchester on many occasions, and then first saw Bruce Springsteenlive at Manchester Apollo in May of 1981.

I mention Springsteen because I will be seeing him live again in a couple of weeks; when we first saw him in 1981 it was his first visit for six years and we diehard fans could only dream of times when he would tour every couple of years. Indeed since 1981 I have seen ‘The Boss’ on six seven occasions, so it could hardly be described as frequently. When we saw him at The Emirates Stadium (in May 2008) Val observed that I was somewhat emotional when he played ‘Jungleland’, to which I replied that it had occurred to me that it might be the last time I see him play live. Little could I have dreamed that a year later, at Hyde Park, he would play a simply magical rendition of the song, just as the sun was setting. The gig was obviously important to him as well, as it was subsequently released on DVD. You can just make out my panama hat, in the crowd, bottom left of centre, after Clarence’s moving saxophone solo.

That’s not to say we’re complacent, Bruce has now lost two members of the band, and plays a three hour set that defies his sixty three years. My mate Tom and I have an agreement that we will endeavour to see Bruce whenever he visits London, because one day it will be his last tour.

Of course Bruce played Hyde Park again on July 14th 2012, when Westminster City Council officials ‘pulled the plug’ on Bruce playing with Paul McCartney.

“I’ve waited fifty years for this.”

And he’s playing again on June 15th 2013, this time at Wembley Stadium. Hopefully the authorities will be more tolerant.

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