The Wedding Band
Gerry Anderson always says he decided to give up playing bass guitar when he realised he was in grave danger of being in a band that played at weddings. Wise words from the man whose Fender Precision I borrowed when the Undertones reformed in 1999. Last night, I found myself playing at a wedding. Well, to be more accurate, it was a 'do' to mark a wedding anniversary, that of my fellow Undertone John O'Neill. The most civil man in rock and roll decided to celebrate his thirty years with Caroline by holding a party in a Donegal hotel. With the promise of a dinner and all the desserts you could eat, The Undertones found themselves as the night's entertainment. It was brilliant, if I say so myself. Projected behind us was the original wedding video from July 1980, so we felt like we were the Velvet Underground at the Factory. (No, Andy Warhol didn't do John's wedding video, but you know what I mean.) We were so inspired we did a couple of Velvets cover versions. We also had a stab at Gloria, as close to the original as we could. Allow me to get a bit misty eyed with nostalgia, but the whole evening brought me back to playing in the Casbah in 1977, albeit with better amps. The Casbah was a bar in Derry, where we played every weekend for eighteen months. Our Hamburg, if you forgive the comparison. I mention the Casbah because there's a row going over the future of another small music venue, the 100 club in London's Oxford Street. It's under threat, surprise surprise, like many other small music venues around the country. The Casbah closed in the early 1980s and is now buried under a shopping centre in Derry. Like The Harp in Belfast, there's nothing there to mark the spot. Should there be ? Or would that be missing the point ? Punk was all about the here and now, which was there and then. Blue plaques for punk wouldn't work. I'll stop now before someone points out the illogical stance of a presenter who refuses to play a punk record made after 1987.