You find me today in a PARLOUS STATE, for LO! I have just got back from a delightful weekend in the 2010s and it was a) EXHAUSTING b) BRILLIANT.
The trip was brought about due to the wonderful and life-affiriming, though brief, return of Allo Darlin' to the ROCK FRAY. They are one of my all-time favourite bands EVER and as a result myself and Mr S Hewitt got A Little Bit Excited when they announced some dates and bought tickets for not ONE but TWO shows.
The first of these was at Ramsgate Music Hall on Friday afternoon - the evening show had sold out in 0.02 pico seconds so this extra one had been put in, and thus Steve and I met at lunchtime at Stratford International to ZOOM down to see them. We arrived with plenty of time to pop to THE PUB (NB that was its name) where it turned out that approx 95% of everybody there was ALSO going to the gig. We then got a MASSIVE bag of chips each from the next door chippy and waddled down to the venue where the SAYING OOH HELLO began. The first person so OOH HELLOed was Ms J Gilroy but there were MANY more to follow over the course of the weekend, including several people who I don't actually know but thought I did because they looked like the sort of person I might. I mean, they were people at an Allo Darlin' gig, so there was a good chance!
Inside the room was PACKED but also WELL AIR CONDITIONED so it was a very pleasant place for a GRATE gig. The band came on and looked pretty much as I remembered them, which is of course only logical because me and Steve look EXACTLY THE SAME too, obviously. There was some light trepidation for the first couple of songs, but then the muscle memory kicked in and they TOTALLY ROCKED. It was exactly and precisely like they had never been away, with the only exception being everyone looked if anything slightly MORE comfortable being there. It was a FAB set and looking around I did see quite a lot of people having THE FEELINGS, and this very much included ME.
We got some MERCH, said hello to some more people, said "see you tomorrow" to the same group, and then headed to a pub we had been recommended which turned out to be exactly like all pubs had been in 1989, with raised platforms, wooden staircases, and very clearly THE SAME CARPET still. It wasn't nice, but then when we got back to THE OLYMPICS we went for a couple of beers in my local - Mother Kelly's - where we were joined by The Pint In My Glass. That was MUCH nicer!
The next day's gig was in the evening in Islington, so I met Steve in a pub nearby which was chosen for VICINITY more than pleasantness - and had THE WORST PUB TABLE EVER with huge HOLES and LUMPS in it so BEER was liable to go everywhere, and did! - and so we quickly moved ourselves over to Islington Assembly Hall where even MORE saying OOH HELLO took place with all sorts of lovely people from all over the place who I used to see once a year at Indietracks. Cor, there really was an Indietracks VIBE going on, it was ACE. It is a MASSIVE venue which had loads of room for LOADS of lovely people, and to be honest it felt a bit impertinent when BANDS came on and interrupted our conversations. Still, the support bands - Fortitude Valley and Mammoth Penguins - were GRATE so I think they can be excused.
Anyway, then Allo Darlin' came on and it was even better than last night. That big stage really really suited them, with songs more than HUGE enough to get a thousand people singing and dancing along. I loved seeing them in tiny venues over the years, but as with their farewell gig back in 2016 it felt like this is where they should always be playing. If you have the ability to give JOY to that number of people all at once, and also have it still feel like the same COMMUNITY who could cram into a carriage at a steam engine centre, then it's probably a good idea to DO it.
Afterwards we staggered out bleary eyed and follwed Mr S Price round the corner to SOME PUB I can't remember the name of to sit around and be the versions of ourselves we had been 8 years ago i.e. QUITE DRUNK and SHOWING OFF. I for one do not approve of such behaviour hem hem but must admit it was fun. It's been a LONG time since I've had to hurry off for the last tube on a Saturday night tho!
Then the final section of the weekend was a trip to the revived HANGOVER LOUNGE at the Lexington, where I delighted in confusing Mr G Ware by attempting to have a conversation with him that we had very much had the night before. I was too polite to point out that one of us must have been too drunk to remember, but he definitely must have been as it is the only explanation.
A delightful parade of people wandered in and it was a gorgeous couple of hours rolling around in the loveliness of the Indietracks-related community. I staggered off to get my train home with a heart full of joy from a weekend well spent, as well as a feeling of incomprehension that I used to manage to do this EVERY weekend and also on days in between. It was KNACKERING, but also GRATE!