Sitting here with a mild outbreak of lonely-and-pissed-off-with-life caused some eccentric connection to occur and a memory surfaced… The rock ‘n’ roll time machine is taking me back three decades…
I spent a lot of my time going to gigs at Hammersmith. It was a long train journey and the last train back to the South Coast meant you could just about see the whole gig, encore/s and catch the train if you left quick and got lucky.
Anyone who’s heaved out of a gig in London will remember the roiling crowd. In my case, it was a moving mass of leather, denim and attitude, with side orders of chips and loud. Getting into the tube station could be a problem, let alone getting a train.
After that herculean task was achieved, most folk changed at Earl’s Court to head for Victoria. But an old gig-going companion introduced me to a cheat: rather than fight the hordes, ride the line to Green Park and change onto the Victoria line. No crowds, more room to get a move on.
But getting a move on is where the ‘last blast of the night’ came in. To go from Piccadilly Line to Victoria Line at Green Park, you had to traipse down a long, straight corridor. We didn’t have time to walk if we wanted to avoid kipping on the platform at Vic for a night. You had to run. Flat out, just short of a sprint, hair flying, cutdown and leathers blowing back, ‘normal’ people heading for the walls as the pack stormed through.
It was a rush. The momentary power of mob-induced fear giving us a grandiose coda to the gig. Heady but harmless, I thought. Until one of the last times: I had linked up with a different crew to blow through the corridor on the ‘Green Park Hop’.
As we hollered and ran, an old lady loudly commented: “Bloody hooligans running wild!”.
One of the gents with me pulled up and turned to her with a smile: “We’re not runnin’ wild, missus. We’re runnin’ fer the bloody train.”
Her indignation vanished and with a smile she said: “Thanks yer for stopping. Now yer better bugger off sharpish.”
We did, chuckling – and we made the train.
That running with the pack feeling was superb. But what I remember most is the relief in that old lady’s eyes when she realised that we weren’t a threat.
Leather and denim and respect.
No matter what your tribe, have courtesy towards everyone until they prove unworthy.