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Pete Atkin >> Gigs >> The Maltings 20/10/2005
(Message started by: Secret Drinker on Today at 09:03)

Title: The Maltings 20/10/2005
Post by Secret Drinker on Today at 09:03
We managed to get down to The Maltings last night, and we weren't disappointed (well, OK, except for the venue's sound quality, which could have been better).

It was great to see Pete and Clive again, even though I was only able to spend a few minutes chatting afterwards, feeling conscious of the pressure of the queue behind me stretching right down the proverbial hall, mainly of folk carrying CJ books which seemed to be flying off the table in the foyer like custard pies (well, I don't think hot cakes often fly, do they?)

Apart from the stars, I didn't see anyone I knew there. Maybe the older generation of MVs is being supplanted by a new one? But that's as it should be. I guess there were a few MVs there though, as I noticed a few people clutching album covers and CDs for signature. So, hello to anyone else who was there, and I'm sorry we didn't get to meet.

I'm now the proud possessor of a signed photo of Mr Crock (thanks to Snoopy for his help with the pic!). Pete reckons I might get at least 99p on eBay for that - but I shall not be tempted by such riches ;-)

As for the show, the content was superb as ever, with (as Clive said) more or less completely different material from the last tour. But the usual mixture of good music, humour and some more serious items from Clive, some familiar and much else new, made it an evening to remember. So if you can, don't miss out on the last few gigs.

As for the two new songs, on this single hearing they are worthy additions to the esteemed repertoire. Is this tour the first time since the 1970s new songs have been premiered in public (as opposed to a private MV gathering)? I'm glad I didn't miss out on hearing those and look forward to hearing them in future (maybe on the next CD?).

Cheers to all


Not lying quite as low as previously

Title: Re: The Maltings 20/10/2005
Post by Richard Bleksley on 25.10.05 at 00:32
Yes, Paul, I was there - and very glad I am too, to have seen such a wonderful show. †Maybe Iím one of that new generation of MVs thoughÖ.

I apologise for the lateness of this posting, but ever since the gig Iíve been having to get up at about four in the morning to go to work, and itís been leaving me too shattered to think straight enough to write. †You try it sometime.

Our evening got off to a rather eventful start before the performance had even begun. †Having struggled through the Guildford rush-hour on the A3, my wife and I rushed back (at some danger to our digestion) from the nearby Indian restaurant where we had been fortifying ourselves and arrived at the Maltings (a charming converted - youíve guessed it - malthouse right by the River Wey) with a scant two or three minutes to spare before the show. †Presenting ourselves a little breathlessly at the box office, we received a surprise offer. †It seems that another couple attending had had an unfortunate mix-up in that each partner had bought two tickets as a surprise for the other, so that, always supposing we hadnít pre-booked (I hadnít, having phoned the box office and been told there were plenty of seats left) and we had the cash on us (I had), there were two prime tickets going spare. †The deal was swiftly clinched, and so it was that, with unnervingly precise timing, we found ourselves taking our seats near the middle of the front row just a second or two before Pete and Clive took the stage.

(It occurs to me to wonder if either or both of the mixed-up couple are Midnight Voices. †If so, rest assured that your spare tickets found a very appreciative home.)

Right from the outset it was obvious that Pete was in cracking form. †From my privileged vantage point I could see the Roland quivering on its stand, such was the gusto with which Pete was attacking the keys in a short but rollicking rendition of this tourís regular opener, Master of the Revels. †And I have to agree with Gerry Smith about ďthe increasing depth, maturity and sensitivity with which Pete endows the songs.Ē †I canít help thinking that weíre really lucky to have as the object of our enthusiasm a performer who, instead of losing his marbles as he gets older, just keeps getting better and better.

Highlights? †A definite one for me was The Last Hill That Shows You All the Valley - quite apart from the interest of hearing it performed first as a poem and then as a song. †Iíve always felt that - in live performance at least - Pete is more assured and accomplished on the keyboard than on the guitar, but this was wonderful, the best guitar part Iíve ever heard him play, miraculously recapturing much of the punch and drive of Chris Speddingís electric lead on the recording.

Then there was Me to Thank, one of the two new songs. †I like it so much after only two hearings that Iím sure itís set to become one of my all-time favourites. †One of the things that appeals to me about Cliveís recent lyrical output is the way it so often voices the concerns of older people - something very few songwriters ever do. †(See Mel Powellís review of Winter Spring on the website.) †At the age of f*fty-f*ve, the trials and tribulations of young love (or young lust), the staple subject of rock and pop music, no longer mean anything much to me, but this song speaks directly to me. † The other new song, Here We Stay, ainít at all bad either.

I thought the duet on Be Careful When They Offer You the Moon, with Pete taking the first line, Clive the second, and singing the rest of each verse together, was very effective, all the more so as I donít have a vinyl copy of the album and so donít get to hear the song very often. †And I very much like it, embodying as it does the effortless sounding, playful wittiness that characterises the best songs on that first album.

Clive was in good form too. †My favourites were Portrait of a Man Writing and the one about his childhood - one dealing with each end of life.

Nice to manage a few words with Pete before rushing off home. †Clive seemed a bit preoccupied with an apparently endless queue of people with books to sign, though he sat up a bit and took notice when I mentioned that I actually remember Red Line 7000, possibly the most obscure movie of the many mentioned in Screen Freak.

P.S. †I could have told you, Pete and Clive, that Biro was a brand name. The very first ballpoint I ever owned (a Christmas present at the age of about eight) was a gen-u-ine Biro - Biro being to ballpoints what Waterman is to fountain pens, the grand original.

Title: Re: The Maltings 20/10/2005
Post by Kevin Cryan on 25.10.05 at 12:39

Red Line 7000 is not all that obscure. In fact it probably is better known to British audiences than No Highway in the Sky . No Highway in the Sky , a James Stewart film about an engineer who predicts metal fatigue in a new British aircraft based on a Nevil Shute novel of the same name, was shown in the UK (but probably not Australia) as No Highway. It's just possible that people in the UK who did not know Shute's novel would not make the connection between the film they knew as No Highway  and the one James mentions in his lyric

Red Line 7000, while is was ideed relegated to the bottom half of a double bill when shown in the UK (probably because, apart from the  the young James Caan- then being touted by Paramount studios as the new Brando -, it had no stars at all)  is in fact directed by by one of Hollywood's most versatile and admired studio directors, Howard Hawks, whose own story, incidentally, was the basis of the screenplay.

Hawks, although he undoubtedly had his best work behind him, was not to be dismissed at this time. A year or two before Red Line 7000 he had directed Rock Hudson in one of his most enduring and best comedies, Man's Favourite Sport , and he would go on to make two westerns with John Wayne, El Dorado and Rio Lobo ,  both of which, although nowhere near as good as his  Red River and Rio Bravo,   are well above the average.

What let Red Line 7000 down at the time, and relegated it to its very minor place in the history of cinema, were the weak story-line, the lack of conviction which Caan,  looking awfully ill-at-ease, brings to playing  the conventional lead,  and, most of all, a  series of process shots of the car racing that were no better than had been seen  in, say,  the 1954 Tony Curtis racing picture Johnny Dark.

Kevin Cryan

Title: Re: The Maltings 20/10/2005
Post by Richard Bleksley on 25.10.05 at 16:23
Kevin, I bow to your superior knowledge.  I am the merest amateur at cinema history, in fact I know hardly anything at all, while you would appear to be a true screen freak - and that's meant as a compliment.

You have to admit, though, that Red Line 7000 is hardly up there with The Maltese Falcon or Queen Christina!

Incidentally, isn't it about time we had an annotated lyric for this song, on the lines of the one for Driving Through Mythical America, explaining all the references?  Could you be the man for the job?

Title: Re: The Maltings 20/10/2005
Post by Kevin Cryan on 26.10.05 at 14:23
I have posted a list of references as you suggested.  


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