Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Trip to Cork, Part 1a: Before Morrissey

Cork City is the southern capital of Ireland and was recently visited by the Queen of England… and by me! I was not there with the Queen but with my beloved, which is probably the next best thing. And unlike the Queen, we stayed overnight in the city, availing of a tempting mid-week accommodation-dinner offer in Café Paradiso, Ireland's premier restaurant*. We had come down to Cork not just to stuff our faces but also to see some music. In particular we were there for a concert by Morrissey, whose Dublin concerts had sold out before we had been able to buy tickets for them.

The Mancunian sensation was playing in the Savoy, which appeared to be a converted theatre venue on Patrick's Street that also seemed to double up as a shopping centre. On the way in we were frisked and had our bags searched – with rumours abounding that the security staff were not looking for knives, drøgs, or firearms, but for meat, as there was a fear that some wag would think it hilarious to throw a string of sausages at the vegetarian star. We had no such offending items and were granted admission.

The venue was appealing – big but not too big and with a nice wide stage. And not long after our arrival came the support act, Doll & the Kicks. They were an interesting enough outfit, with an impressive lady frontperson. By "impressive" I am not just referring to her leopard print cat suit and somewhat gothic make-up, but to her general air of theatricality and ability to inject meaning into the delivery of her vocals (without descending into "We mean it, maaaaan" territory). The rest of the band were entertainingly rough looking, like they had all been working as stevedores before being press ganged into the band with unconvincing promises of rock and roll stardom. The sound was I suppose a somewhat rocky gothy mixture. I am somewhat sorry that I did not pick up a copy of their album after the show (which I could have acquired from Cat Suit Lady herself), but I am trying to get out of the habit of buying a record every time I see a band live.

After the support act we decided that a little drink was in order, so I popped off to the bar to get in two pints of the local ale. There was, sadly, some kind of bar staff problem, which meant that getting served took forever. However, I was still able to hear and see (in a mirror) the film footage that was being projected onto a screen behind the stage. This was mostly TV footage of bands and artists that Morrissey would be expected to like, either playing live or being interviewed. They seemed to have gone a bit beyond what I think of as the usual suspects for this kind of thing, and so had an amazing performance on German TV (complete with intro from local announcer guy) by Morrissey-favourites The New York Dolls. The raw power the band were exhibiting, coupled with the Shangri-Las countdown of "When I say I'm in love you'd best believe I'm in love L-U-V", made me appreciate this band in a way I never have before. Only thirty-five years too late. They also had some great footage from Johnny Thunders, Sparks and a hilarious piece in which an uncooperative and clearly somewhat *tired* Lou Reed struggles with an Australian TV interview. And also Edith Sitwell. And did John Betjeman make an appearance?

* a controversial comment. Café Paradiso is probably not the premier restaurant in Ireland for people who like stuffing their face with bits of dead animal, though it is the vegetarian restaurant that even meat people like.

Hatful of Panda

An inuit panda production

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