Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Hammersmith Odeon, 27 March 1981

I did a holiday job at Newman Harris that first Easter holidays of my Keele life.

My motivation for working was purely financial. I was enjoying/wanted to enjoy my time at Keele. The student grant only went so far. There was no bank of mum and dad (BOMAD) for me. Getting into debt was anathema.

I hadn’t worked for Newman Harris since 1978 – that first experience being a subject I shall most certainly Ogblog in time. (I had worked full time during the summer of 1980, for BBYO – which should be another rich seam of Ogblogging once I get my head into that topic.)

The Easter 1981 vacation was the first time I worked for Stanley Bloom; he wasn’t at the firm in 1978. Yes, that’s right pop-pickers:

I got a job with Stanley, he said I’d come in handy.

Anyway, here is my diary from the first couple of weeks of that experience.

Graham in this instance must be Graham Greenglass. We were going through a process of swapping music on cassette at that time. Coincidentally, Graham furnished me with a fair smattering of Elvis Costello material, including rare groove such as Hoover Factory.

Jimmy (Bateman) was a friend from Alleyn’s. I wonder what has become of him? We met up a lot when working the University holidays those first couple of years at least.

David Robbins is Wendy Robbins kid brother. No longer a kid of course.

Caroline Freeman and I lunched and dined a lot in the holidays back then.

In fact, if my older adult self might be so bold as to observe my young adult self, according to that diary page, there seems to have been a heck of a lot of lunching, dining and going out generally. As a result, I’m not sure that the bank balance replenishment exercise could possibly have gone as well as I had intended. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t work Easter holidays again after that first year. But heck, I was having a good time.

On Friday 27th, a meal at Borshtch N Tears (posher and pricier now, I’d guess) followed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions at the Hammersmith Odeon, with Anil Biltoo (my friend from school, with whom I went to Mauritius in 1979), Caroline Freeman and Simon Jacobs, who I met through BBYO but with whom (and indeed through whom) I went to Keele.

Simon always claims not to remember anything from those days, although he might make an exception for Elvis Costello. Example: which tracks did Elvis play that night, Simon…

…and before you say, “don’t be ridiculous, I don’t remember stuff like that”, actually we don’t need your help with that question; Mr Google came up with the answer for us – click here…

…or if that link fails, I have scraped the answer to here.

Much of the material in that gig came from Trust, which was the latest Elvis Costello album at the time…

…and before Simon claims that he cannot remember exactly what he thought of Trust at that time, here is a link to Simon’s whole page review of Trust in Concourse, the Keele SU newspaper.

How Simon got allocated a whole page for an album review is anyone’s guess, but let’s just note here that the Concourse editors were sacked before the next edition went to press. That edition had to be cobbled together at the last minute by me and Dave Lee, with predictably hilarious results, which I shall write up soon enough. Simon got a regular-sized column that time.

Anyway, we must have really enjoyed the gig because we went back for more Elvis that summer; at least I know I went back with Simon for a second go and I think Caroline also joined us in the summer.

Anil, I think, was less sure about the gig. I’m not sure he had recovered from our evening watching his big sister Bi perform in The Sound the previous year.

Here is a great vid of Clubland (from Trust) to give you a taster of the gig, although the Hammersmith Odeon didn’t look like the vid as far as I can recall…

…Simon will simply claim that he can’t remember:

One thought on “Elvis Costello And The Attractions, Hammersmith Odeon, 27 March 1981”

  1. Actually I misrepresented Simon’s memory in this piece. He subsequently wrote on my Facebook posting of this article:

    “While it’s true that there’s so much that seems to have slipped through the sieve of my memory down the plug-hole of time, I absolutely remember this gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. Why? Because of all the many times I saw Elvis Costello with and without the Attractions back in the day, this was my absolute favourite. I still talk – to this day – about how he unexpectedly segued into a version of Randy Crawford’s ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’… Blissful x”

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