Scritti Politti – Roundhouse, London – 5 February 2016
I arrived the day before the gig. Since i picked the cheapest way possible, a coach, which also took the longest time to get to London. Including the trip on the train – first time! – around 9 1/2 hours. It all went good, i knew how to get to the place i had booked through airbnb, a large sofa in Camden Town. Only a short five minutes walking away from the Roundhouse.
The next day i made a walk to Hampstead Heath, not too far away. I visited Kenwood House, had a soup for lunch and got back to the sofa around three. Time to get ready! A short shower, put on my new leggings, and i started to do my make-up. Nothing too much, basically what i wore for my new selfie. I also applied the Écorce Sanguine nail polish i took with me. Finally i put on my red dress. A great opportunity to wear it for the very first time! I used my hair straightener to try to fashion my bangs a bit. They do curl up really soon.
I had posted a small message on the facebook group that i was going to be at the Roundhouse around seven and was fine meeting anyone. Tschië replied she would be there.
The waiting began. I drank a gin and tonic, said a brief hi to Rhodri and Dicky from the band sitting in the main bar. I listened to a rap singer outside the room, chatted with Tschië about the upcoming gig. I felt ok. Sort of. A bit nervous.
I went inside. Supporting act Rory Butler was singing.
I had a great seat! A row or two up from the ground floor, looking straight at the stage. See the picture at the top of this post to see my view. The only picture i took. I didn’t want to record anything, i simply wanted to enjoy the show and not be distracted by it.
After a short break the lights went on and everybody got in to get to their seats. It was busier than i thought. Good thing!
The band came up. Green had some trouble getting the strap for his guitar on right. He got some help from someone from the back. I had to smile. They started to play. The “Sweetest Girl”. I love that song. Love love love it.
The set was a mixture of every stage, every decade Scritti has existed. Some new songs too! A day late and a dollar short i do have, but i haven’t listened to it that much. I liked it. Brushed with oil, Dusted with powder has grown for me over the years, great song. Jacques Derrida and Asylums in Jerusalem! Petrococadollar is one of my faves. And of course Wood Beez and Absolute. And, i have said it before, but will say it again, some new songs!
The audience got more enthusiastic over time. Some people even stood up and danced. The little stories Green told before each song were charming. I might have known half of them, but who cares about that. At the end, the band got a standing ovation. We knew they were coming back. I mean, i could see the pages with lyrics texts on his standing desk. They should come back!
Two new songs in the encore. Slow Deceit and Willard van Orman Quine.
And then it was over.
And now, yes …, pfff …, a bit of a wait. I bumped into Green’s wife Alys just outside of the venue. She actually recognized me. I did talk to her a bit when they performed in Amsterdam in 2006.
In case you don’t know, haven’t read any other articles on this website: i did want to give Green drawings i made thirty years ago, 8 February 1986. When i made these drawings, i was still studying at the Technical University in Delft. I only lived in my own apartment in Rotterdam for two months. I always felt i should give these drawings away. I had given them away twice before, to my then current best friend. They both gave them back, i’m sad to say. I remember talking with friends about giving these drawings to Green ten years ago. They adviced against it. I listened to them. I don’t think i was ready then, to be honest. But this year i do think i was ready, with me working again on lfs.nl and ellenpronk.com after that, almost unknowingly – just a tiny little knowing somewhere inside – preparing myself, going ahead with the things i want to do.
It was nerve wrecking. I could see the people flooding him and asking for him to sign albums, asking him for a picture. I could see a sort of unease in him. It was very hard for me to approach him. I did get another gin and tonic. I tried to get to Green, but he was sidetracked by other people. I was thinking to myself, i could walk out. This was too much. I hadn’t calculated in all the other people wanting something. I realized i wanted something too.
Green sort of stepped in my view and said something to me. To be honest, i don’t remember what he said. He looked a bit tired. But it did give me a lift. Of course straight after that other people confiscated him. But i felt a bit happier. Alys stood close by. I told her: “I want to give Green a present”. I took the box out of my bag. She looked at it.
And there he was again.
I said to him: “I have a present for you.”
I gave him the box.
“Should i open it?” That is what he said. I think i opened it for him. My mind is a bit blurry.
It is like, you have these dreams about what you want. Little dreams inside your mind, you can hide inside. Hide away from other people. Little dreams nobody knows about. All for yourself.
This moment, it was nothing like one of those little dreams. It was more. It was really happening. A bit uncomfortable. A bit out of it. A bit sidetracked. Real.
I could sense his surprise when he saw the first drawing. And the second. And the third. He then stopped looking. He asked for my e-mail address. I got a card from my bag. An old card.. On the back i had already written my new website url. I wrote my e-mail address above it. “Is that you?” he asked. I think i nodded. He talked about sending me some drawings he had made.
And then it was over. I walked up to the bar and ordered another gin and tonic. A double this time. I walked back and saw Tschië sitting at one of the tables on the side. I sat besides her. She had seen what had happened. There was a half bottle of white wine standing on the table, which i grabbed. Just before a bartender wanted to get it. He smiled. And we got a glass of champagne from Rhodri. And then the bar closed.
Mission accomplished. I have actually done it!
A little encore. Yes. When i got back to the place i was staying, there was a gate, closed. I was told about it. I tried to open the lock, but there was a metal plate before the keyhole. I went over it with my fingers, couldn’t feel anything. I shook the gate. Damn.
I walked back to the Roundhouse, thinking i could call Nana from there. I have no service on my phone in the UK. When i got close to it, i saw some people walking from it. Rhodri was there. I sort of hooked up. Not sure what i was thinking to be honest. We ended up in a cafe closer to Camden Town, where Green was already. He actually tried to talk to me, but i was a bit thrown by not being able to open up the gate. I think i scared him away. Sorry Green. When the bar closed, two girls went along with me. They couldn’t open up the gate either. One of the girls, Virginia, said i could sleep at her place in Highgate. So yes, that is what i did.
The next morning i walked back, it was only an hours walk, not that far. Of course, the gate was open now. I did check the lock. And now, in clear daylight, i saw there was a tiny flip which made the metal sheet move up.
- The “Sweetest Girl”
- A Day Late and a Dollar Short
- Die Alone
- The Word Girl
- The Boom Boom Bap
- Jacques Derrida
- Oh Patti
- Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder
- Asylums in Jerusalem (first ever live performance)
- Skank Bloc Bologna
- 28/8/78 (first ever live performance…)
- Medley [I Wrote This Song For Today, You Don’t Love, Hair Pull, Slyday Morning, Two Years Ago, Mother Succubus, I Wrote This Song For Today (Reprise)]
- Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)
- Encore: Slow Deceit
- Encore: “Willard Van Orman Quine”
The “Sweetest Girl”
The Word Girl
Oh Patti (Don’t feel sorry for loverboy)
slightly shambolic, wholly endearing
From freshly minted synthpop to punky B-sides from the 70s, Green Gartside celebrates his band’s eclectic repertoire in a gleefully ramshackle show
It was one of the happiest gigs I’ve attended in a long time.
What a treat #scrittipolitti were tonight. Opened with The Sweetest Girl and closed with a track nobody knew. And still had the place mesmerised. Green was hilarious and self-deprecating between each track. Songs from all incarnations of the 'band' played with gusto and a medley of snippets of about 6 new songs. I'm salivating for the new album at this rate and want to dive in to the back catalogue as well. A class act.