Thursday, March 23, 2006

Back to Billy

Reading this article in the Chicago Tribune (requires registration, alas) about Billy Bragg and Richard Thompson (connection: both "veteran singer songwriters", both "fellow countrymen" and both have box sets out). I was a Billy Bragg freak for a time, but I must confess hadn't listened to him for years until a few weeks ago when an old track was included on an Uncut Cd. It sounds simplistic to say I drifted from Billy when I discovered Dylan but, uh, that's kinda exactly how it happened. But I loved hearing that song again (embarrassingly, I've gone blank on which one it was) and will dig out Talking to the Taxman ... again. I also had a bootleg tape of a gig he did at the Mean Fiddler in London on the night of the 1997 Labour election victory, with the and the crowd reacting to the results on a big screen. Stirring stuff at the time but, oh, seems so long ago now ....

I had a Billy tour shirt with the Woody picture right on it. I loved that shirt. I left it at Moscow's Sherementova-1 Airport in 2003 in circumstances too traumatic to recall here.

That concert incidentally was locally memorable for other reasons. I was inside the Enmore Theatre all night, preserving my place in the front row and so blocked off from the world. On the taxi home down Anzac Pde to Randwick I looked idly at the three foot of water we were travelling through and thought "Hmmm. Looked like I missed a bit of a shower." It was the night of The Hail Storm.

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