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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, November 29, 2003
    The good folk of Liverpool were tonight holding a karaoke. It was in the form of a live floor show kindly hosted by Messrs McCulloch and Sergeant and their session men gathered for the event under the ancient respected banner of "Echo and the Bunnymen". All residents were invited; some opted for the fleshier venues this evening but enough turned out to fill the Royal Court with shoulder-to-shoulder leather jackets from the sloping downstairs free space right up to the traditionally damp seats in the gods.

    McCulloch stood stage centre, black suit, shades and back-spiked black spiked hair making him look all the way John Cooper Clarke; he shares that man's sass; but he lacks Clarke's clarity for it was impossible for audience members to understand Mac's mumbled instructions on most occasions except "This is one of our old songs which was so much better than all the other crap around at the time," an invitation for participants to join the celebratory Do it Clean, and "This is the best song ever written," which prompted a singalong to gentle Ocean Rain.

    Oh, how we sang, us ageing rock-and-rollers, mums and middle-managers, paunchy ex-punks, primary teachers and awol curates all reliving the alternative eighties, singing along to tunes which meant something thrilling then: "Spare us the Cutter" still has edge to those remembering singing it in 1983 not knowing whether they'd have a job to return to on Monday morning; "Crocodiles" still has bounce which most of us have lost. Like Paul said, it was just like the old days, except slower. The whole thing.

    Still, these songs were classy then and most retain that class. It means a lot to singalongaMac. Some gigs are escape mechanisms; some you go to out of curiosity. Others, full of music that hit you so strongly first time round that you retain it deep, deep, imperishably inside, ones like this, you go to rediscover yourself, reaffirm, reassert who you are.