It was just as I feared. I went to the Etihad Stadium last night for Manchester City’s first home game of the season, and the typical bank holiday weather came into play. The usual sea of blue became, well, a sea.
I felt for the group performing in City Square.
With 45,000 attending the game, it was surely a great opportunity for the band to play before a large crowd and put themselves and their music out there. City Square, pre-match, is where I have first seen and heard great bands such as Bang Bang Romeo, The Struts, and Berlin. But last night City Square had been largely abandoned. It was a windswept, rain lashed void as supporters sought shelter within the stadium. But a few hardy, well wrapped up souls remained in scattered groups to listen to The Lottery Winners perform gamely on.
I’m sure that the band would have seen this as a great chance for exposure. But now they were at risk of, well, exposure.
My thoughts went back to another bank holiday Monday, a couple of decades ago, when another great chance of exposure fell by the wayside. In the town where I live there used to be a social club called The Northend Club, where a lot of the younger people used to gather every weekend evenings. Popular at night, this one afternoon there was hardly anybody in. Aside from two friends and I, there were about ten others, mainly standing at the bar.
Fuelled by the courage that alcohol gives, and emboldened by the fact that the place was dead, the three of us clambered up on stage to sing on the Karaoke. We decided to play it safe by singing A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles. The music started and we had only just reached the end of the first line:’It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog’ when the guys at the bar started fighting. Now, I’m sure it was purely coincidental, and had nothing to do with our singing, but it was almost as if they took their cue from us. Surely our dulcet tones hadn’t pushed them over the edge?
The music continued as I announced over the microphone “Look, it’s all going off at the bar!” I think that the otherwise oblivious doormen heard this booming, echoing announcement and came rushing in to sort out the melee. While all this was going on, my friends and I decided to ignore the lyrics and music that was playing and began to sing aloud, through the microphones, John Lennon’s “All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying….”
Our attempt to bring peace and harmony to the world ended when the DJ unplugged the machine. The fighting lads were swiftly ejected, which left just the three of us stood up there on the stage with no audience, no music, and no idea whose turn it was to get the next round in.
It was the sight of The Lottery Winners big chance going awry last night due purely to circumstance that reminded me of that afternoon all those years ago. Because I reckon, of the ten other people in the club that day, apart from the nine young fighters, the other one was an agent. A talent scout, no less. And our big opportunity to be discovered was blown due also to circumstance. Drunken, fist throwing circumstance.
So the chance to be snapped up and awarded a recording contract passed me right by. (I say me, because the other two were merely my backing singers.) But, never mind, I refuse to become bitter about it. I will just continue to express myself creatively here, on City Jackdaw. Sharing my stuff with you lot, my receptive audience.
“Look, it’s all going off in the Internet cafe! All we are saying…..”
I had the “pleasure” of playing at the Etihad last New Year’s Day before the match and I remember it being so cold we may as well have not even bothered to get dressed. I felt sorry for the bass players whose fingers had nearly frozen to their valves! Good game last night though, all the sweeter for the United score tonight. Oops…
Oh yes. On both counts 🙂
Oh my! And after you were brave enough to get up and sing! Did you try again at some other point?
Did you ever read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? He talked about how the Beatles played clubs in their early days. I’m sure they saw many a bar fight.
I’m sure they did- especially in those early days in Hamburg.
There was the odd time when we had another go. We never caused anybody to dance or thankfully, to fight.