Friday, 23 February 2018

30 years ago, I went to London to buy records and saw Erasure Live

It was not exactly 30 years ago, it was the 7th of May 1988. I did indeed go to London to buy records. All those rare 7'' and 12'' singles (and the new - at the time - CD singles) that I could not find in Greece. From Heathrow, I went straight to my hotel in Paddington and from then straight on to Virgin Megastore on the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street. From then I moved further west down Oxford Street to HMV. And it was there that I noticed a box office stand. I looked to see if there were any gigs that night. I noticed that Erasure were playing Hammersmith Odeon. "Have you got any tickets for Erasure tonight?" I asked. "No, I don't have any here, you have to go to the venue" the guy answered. "Where's that?" I asked. "Er... Hammersmith" (stupid question). Thankfully, it was just outside Hammersmith Tube station, I went there, got my ticket, went back to the West End to buy more records and later that night I went to see Erasure. It was the time of the "Innocents" tour (their 3rd album). Andy was amazing on stage but what has stayed with me ever since was the way he introduced "A Little Respect" (that was the first time I heard that song)
"When I was a little... girl,
I asked my mother what will I be...
Will I be homosexual?
Will I be heterosexual?
Or will I be bisexual?
And mu mother said
The next day was Sunday, the shops were closed (it was, after all 1988), my flight was later in the afternoon and so I went for a little sightseeing to Big Ben and Tower Bridge.
In 2009 Erasure released a 21st aniversary edition of "The Innocents" which featured a DVD of a gig from that tour (It was Birningham NEC later that year). But the bonus CD also featured a few tracks from Hammersmith Odeon. What had happened was this: The gig I went to was on Saturday the 7th of May. They had also played there on Friday the 6th and Sunday the 8th. The Sunday gig was broadcast by the BBC, so that's where these tracks came from.

20 years later, in 2008,  I saw a Vince Clarke band again! It was Yazoo this time at the Manchester Apollo on their Reconnected tour. It seems that on almost every tear ending in 8 I see Vince Clarke. Because, now, in 2018, 30 years after my first Erasure gig, I'm going to see them again, at exactly the same place, Hammersmith Odeon (which is now called Eventim Apollo).
See you there!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Mary you are a Goddess!

Ten years ago, we were living in the "MySpace" era. For example, when I first discovered Marsheaux, I went to their MySpace page to find out more information about them. Later that summer, a friend of mine recommended that I check another band from MySpace: "Mary And The Boy". They described their music as "piano punk" and that's probably exactly what it was. And on top of that I was immediately mesmerized by the haunting sound of Mary's voice.
So, when they announced a gig at An Club in Athens, I immediately called my friend up insisting that we go to that one. And there I was once again mesmerized by Mary's stage presence. Mary And The Boy were exactly what their name described: Mary on vocals and The Boy on synths and various keyboards. On stage they were joined by a female dancer and another guy which ten years later, I can't exactly remember what it was that he was doing.
The gig took place exactly ten years ago. I decided to revisit it as I usually do with gigs on their tenth anniversary. To my surprise, while searching through my hard disks I realized that I did not have much material from that night. A few dark photos and only a couple of short clips. It's no wonder since it was dark in there that night, very dark. An appropriate environment for the band's music. And they played for many hours well into the night. And what I most remember about it was the girl who was constantly shouting to Mary "You are a goddess!".

Mary And The Boy disbanded a year later, having released two albums. In the meantime Mary secured a major role in the Academy Award nominated Greek film "Dogtooth". The Boy continued as a solo artist.
Unfortunately, this 10th anniversary is not a pleasant one. Mary left this world last year at the age of 30.
Goodnight Mary. To paraphrase somebody else "this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you". You will be a Goddess forever...