Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Pet Shop Boys at Koko.

Last Friday I happened to visit the Pet Shop Boys website, and I noticed an offer for free tickets to see them perform a couple of songs for the Channel 4 'Album Chart Show' in Camden yesterday. There were only a couple of tickets available, so I sent an email, then got a confirmation a few minutes later. I was in.

Only then did I realise the problem. Yesterday was also my birthday, and I wanted to spend as much of it as possible around ┼×encan before she travels back to Turkey on Wednesday. We had a chat, and the lovely lady wanted me to go. What a star ;-)

It turned out that a friend, Neil, also had managed to get a ticket, so I drove up to his house in Purley yesterday afternoon, then travelled by train from there up to Camden.

Koko used to be called the Camden Palace, a nightclub that I used to spend a lot of time in when I first moved to London. Sadly, I had not been back to it in over seventeen years, during which time it had been through at least one refurbishment. In truth, I hardly recognised the place. It is funny how it appeared to have changed from how I remembered it - the whole building appeared to be taller, as though someone had added an extra floor on. The decoration was also very different, appearing far more baroque than it used to.

We got in with no problem - no-one even asked to see our tickets. The interior was packed - after dropping off our coats at the cloakroom (£2 each) we went up to the balcony on the second floor and watched as the run-up started.

As it was all being filmed for Channel 4, the show took on a certain theatrical and surreal feel. A presenter asked everyone to shout, yell and wave our arms in the air as though a band had just finished. These scenes would be merged in later and were, quite frankly, pants.

PSB were the first band on and ended up doing a short set - only two songs - 'Love, etc' and 'Always on my Mind'. Both excellent, of course, but I really wanted more.

There then followed a short period whilst Sarah Cox did some links, and again we were asked to wave our hands in the air for the background music. It was all very artificial.

Lady Sovereign was on next, performing three songs whilst wearing outrageously large white sunglasses. She made a few comments about drinking Red Stripe, then asked all the crowd to put their middle fingers in the air. Utterly tosserific - rage against the machine, girl! What followed were three very poor rap songs (although I am being unfair - I have just listened to some of her songs on YouTube and they are far better than the performance last night). Plus, she is undeniably cute.

We left soon after that, as we hadn't heard of the other bands following on. Also, the rather long lag between the bands was annoying and the beer was expensive (then again, it was a club). We got our coats, bought a Subway each, and then headed back to Neil's place.

I ended up crashing on Neil and Ina's couch for the night - the first time I have done that in years. I used to spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping on friends' sofas, but as I've got older it has become less and less necessary. It felt strangely pleasant, as though I was regressing nearly twenty years - going to the Camden Palace and then sleeping on someone's sofa.

All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend my birthday. It was quite cheap as well; about twenty quid for the fuel, five for the train ticket, and a tenner or so for the drinks. Not at all bad.

1 comment:

rfwitch said...

I'm so glad you had fun. Happy Birthday, love.