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Monday, December 02, 2013

I'm not saying we're slow, but two months after Amelie's birthday, we discovered on Saturday that the camera we bought her came with some free downloads from the 'Vtech Learning Lodge'. Which, as the name suggests, is an educational resource for those who like beavering away with technology. It meant we were able to expand Amelie's mind by downloading an effect which makes her brain look bigger. Hence yesterday's photos. There's another one which is meant to make you look like a goggle-eyed monster, but I think it must be faulty. I tried it on Lisa, and it didn't seem to make any difference.

Anyhoo, two months might seem like a long time to wait for the full birthday experience, but I've waited twice as long for this...


That's my 40th birthday present from Lisa. So it's just a stage I'm going through. But on that stage are the mighty Deacon Blue, pictured there 25 years after I bought their first album. Which makes me feel old, so I've no idea what it does to them. Although I definitely caught a whiff of Werther's Originals at one point.

Thanks to my mother, who kindly volunteered to be locked up with our children for six hours, Lisa and I were able to turn Sunday evening into date night. So in addition to a concert at the Brighton Centre, we also had a slap-up meal in town. Obviously when you're taking a beautiful woman out on a romantic date, it's important to spare no expense. But personally I prefer to spend as little as possible in case she refuses to see me again. So we rejected Jamie Oliver's restaurant in favour of Donatello's, where you can get a two-course meal for £7.25.

To be honest, it wasn't the quality of food which made the evening (clearly - we only spent £7.25), it was the company. Since our second child was born, I've had more stress-related headaches than I've had hot dinners with Lisa in restaurants, so simply having the chance to spend an evening alone with my wife was a blissful experience.

And it was only made more blissful by the music. I did have a slight moment of panic as we approached the back entrance of The Brighton Centre, only to pass Dougie Vipond and Gregor Philp, drummer and guitarist of Deacon Blue, heading in the other direction. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to stop and ask them to pose for a photo with me, but when you're arriving to see a band, and are passed on the pavement by two of them leaving the venue, you're more concerned about whether the show's going ahead, or whether they're off down the pub to get pissed.

Fortunately, I needn't have worried. The concert kicked off on time with support band The Hazey Janes, which is what Tarzan sees when he's drunk. They sounded a bit like this...


... and were actually very good. I was only saying to Lisa before the show that I can't think of anything I want for Christmas (as I clearly have it all), but I'll now be asking for a couple of their albums. They've actually released four. And, as Lisa put it, "they still haven't given up".

Our seats were in the second row of the balcony, immediately behind a middle-aged couple (to be honest, we all were), and oddly, having sat through The Hazey Janes, they walked off during the interval and never came back. Lisa thinks they were Janes' relatives, and had no interest in Deacon Blue, but I prefer to think that the audience were all of an age where bad eyesight combines with easy confusion to produce people who think the support band is the main act, and promptly go home.

It was good news for us though, as it meant we had an unobstructed view of the stage. And Deacon Blue were well worth seeing. This is the fifth time I've seen them play live, and almost certainly the best so far. Here's Dougie playing an old speaker while Lorraine examines a lemon...


I took that photo during their performance of 'Starstruck', a gorgeous little song which forms part of Deacon Blue's first ever Christmas single, which is released in a fortnight's time. After a quarter of a century, the urge to create a pension plan in the form of a festive hit was clearly too great a temptation, and Ricky Ross has come up with this little number...


That's 'You'll Know It's Christmas', and personally I think it's the new Fairytale of New York. Drunk people all over the country will be singing that in a few years time. Admittedly, Ricky's face doesn't really do cheery, and is more suited to tragedy and hardship, but I think that's got Christmas hit written all over it. They've even filmed some arbitrary snow. And it has sleigh bells, goddammit. Although the best thing is that the YouTube play button makes Ricky Ross look like Rudolph.

Anyhoo, suffice it to say that the concert was great, and the evening was better. And I have my wife to thank for both. Although having been woken up early this morning by Amelie slapping me in the face, pulling off the duvet and turning all the lights on, I'm not sure I could do it very often.

9 comments:

Phil's Mum said...

Well, you ARE 40! I was intrigued by the bike rider in Hazey Janes. Did she ride round & round the stage, or was it an exercise bike?

Phil said...

I think she was on her menstrual cycle. She looked a bit tense to me.

Jon the Bassist said...

The singist in the Hazeys Janes was wearing my tash from when I was 13

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