Everytime I hear the words "Pete Wylie
" I stop what I'm doing, I start to feel cold and get the shivers and then cringe for hours on end. This feeling only goes away after either a long sleep as by the morning I have forgotten all about the man or, alternatively, I get pissed to forget all about him. Don't get me wrong, it's not the man himself that brings this feeling on - I look back on his music with great affection and, while songs such as The Story of the Blues
was well schmaltzy, it was nevertheless a heartfelt condemnation of the results of capitalist economics in the early 1980s (i.e. massive unemployment).
No, it's not Pete Wylie himself which brings this feeling on, but rather it is the remembrance of one of those moments in my life that, firstly, wouldn't have happened had I not been pissed out of my head and, secondly, ... well, I don't think there is a secondly, let's just stick to fact that I was totally blootered.
So, anyway, this shivering, cold, cringing and embarrassing feeling washed right over me last Thursday as I innocently watched BBC2's excellent The Culture Show
. Having missed the show's introduction and not having read the listings to see what was going to be featured in the programme, I sat there enjoying Robert Hughes (I think that's his name) discuss the perilous state, according to him, of literature on art criticism, or some such stuff. A very interesting piece it was too, I may add, and very informative.
That ends and then the presenter announces the next item being Pete Wylie on Liverpool taking on the mantle of European City of Culture in 2008 and how he fears that working class Liverpudlians will be marginalised in the ongoing celebrations and events. This presenter has hardly said the words when Reidski goes into panic mode and remembers the time when........
.....early 1990s and the Trashcan Sinatras
are in town for one of their first ever gigs in the big city over in west London (I think the venue was the Subterranea, but I could me mistaken). Had a few pints before the gig and started ladling the pints down my throat once I got into the place. Band played a great set - or so my hazy memory tells me - and joined the crowd afterwards. Reidski gets in amongst them, playing the "look at me, I know the band" arsehole who always makes an appearance at such times.
Then one of the band mentions that he's been talking to Pete Wylie at the bar. Reidski thinks: "Aw, ah think he's pure brilliant and going over to have a chat." See another member of the band talking to "Pete Wylie" and I but in to the conversation. Being extremely pissed, I cannot make out what the fuck they are talking about, so after an extremely short period of time I blurt out: "Pete, some of the stuff you've put out over the years has been real class. Loved Seven Minutes To Midnight
and other stuff you've put out." Down in writing, this may have seemed coherent, but please be assured that it was garbled nonsense. I'm then banging on and on about how brilliant Wah were, how clever it was that they changed their name every year and all that shite. I am not far from saying the words: "I'm your number one fan." Then, someone whispers into my ear: "Reidski, that's no Pete Wylie" and he points down the bar to where the real Pete Wylie was standing. I then realise why the bloke I was saying all this guff to was staring at me in disbelief, eyes popping out, mouth wide open, with a look that wondered what the fuck I was talking about.
So, Reidski decided it's time to get his coat. The thing is that, although I thought Wah ( and all their various manifestations) were okay, I never ever thought them to be the brilliant band that I was making out them to be when in this particular conversation. I was just simply an arsehole.
There, that's my Pete Wylie story. And it's a story which is related to me every time I go and see the Trashcan Sinatras, related by a bloke who was there that night and who I only ever see at TCS gigs, although I've known him for around 20 years - we're both exiles from Irvine. And, every time he mentions it to me, I get the shivers, I go cold and I cringe with embarrassment.
* The Streets