Sunday, 25 September 2011

Barney Bubbles: 'Stiff Live Stiff' tour posters (1977)


(Occasional 'Exile' contributor TimN fires up a few of his remaining brain cells to remember a night 35 years ago...)
'The Night of the (Almost) Living (NI) Blockheads'
Gawdamn - the things I used to own...
Well not only did I have a complete set of these posters, I was also at the Glasgow Apollo gig in October 1977. 
I had arranged to catch up with my old mucker Allan Jones (now the ed at 'Uncut') who was up from London covering the gig for the Melody Maker. We met at his fave stopping off hotel in Glasgow opposite the Anderston X bus terminal and with an amazing stroke of psychic luck Mr Jones realised that some (obviously previous) occupant of the room had very carefully lodged a wrap of mysterious white powder behind one of the picture frames on the wall and never looking  a gift horse in the nose a few 'snifters' were partaken before we legged it up at a ridiculously fast pace to the Apollo for the concert.
The gig itself was a great if rather ramshackle affair held together by a sense of can do fun spirit that inhabited practically everything that Stiff did back in its early days best exemplified by the mass rendition of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' that closed the set every night.
After the gig I blagged my way backstage and using a (I thought discarded) 'tour manager's memo' for the next twenty four hours I proceeded to grab as many autographs of the performers as I could. 
A few memories: I was absolutely staggered at how small Ian Dury was in real life, how gorgeous Pippa (?) Thomas+ (Pete's sister doing the merchandise) was and how pleasant Dave Edmunds appeared to be. However unrepentant hippie Larry Wallis seemed to let the satorial side down and finally I was to find out what an absolute khunt a certain Mr McManus was. 
Elvis had decided that this kid shouldn't have this 'vitally top secret plan' of tomorrow's action - 'breakfast at 8/departure at 10 etc' - he actually snatched it off me and it was then that Nick Lowe said to him to sign it and give it back to me. (Thanx Mr Lowe.)
I  got it back and it remained my prized possession until it got knicked from my room a month or so later - I'm not a betting man but I would wager that was you Floyd (and you are NOT forgiven!)
Anyway if that was not enough excitement for the night Jones the journalist dragged me kicking and screaming to the after party at the band's hotel - I'm afraid that this is where my usual impeccable memory starts to let me down - I do recollect having a very interesting/intense conversation with a certain 'Welsh guitar wizard' who was 'allegedly' extolling the virtues of LSD and how it had played a very important part in his musical creations. I also recall what an absolute drunken twat a certain W. Eric was (dressed in a pair of kids pyjamas with a whistle around his neck.) 
After about the fiftieth person suggesting - with I thought admirable restraint - that perhaps he should retire to his quarters for the night, there was a collective sigh of relief as Mr Goulden set off down the corridors blowing his whistle which proceeded to get fainter and fainter. 
Unfortunately only minutes later there was a collective groan as we all realised that the sound of the whistle was getting ever closer again - and there I am afraid that this night's memory ends for me...luckily I didn't get caught pissing in the swimming pool* eh?
 +Pippa, you never probably realised how many visits I made to the Stiff HQ in Alexander St I made just to (awkwardly) luxuriate in your presence. *sigh*
*I made that bit up - there was no swimming pool in that particular hotel that for the love of me I cannot remember the name of.
Here is a link to the record that Stiff released of the tour and  the documentary of the tour can be watched below:

Continue watching after the jump...


  1. Hey Mona,
    I had one of those Costello posters back in the day. I think it was about 5 or 6 feet(?). Didn't last long, I remember that.

  2. 2Willard/
    Well mine wsn't that big...but I do believe I told you the story of my cardboard cut-outs and they were that big LOL!

  3. Yes, you did. I was jealous. I think my Costello was a tubeway poster, which is why it was so big. I remember it had a weird texture, like the ink was gritty, or something. He was the first guy I seriously collected after the Beatles and I tracked down all the sleeves and a slew of promotional items. Then came... Goodbye Cruel World.

  4. 2Willard/
    Yeah...but then came along 'King of America'!

  5. PSWillard/
    The hardest thing for me to track down was the Columbia orchestrated version of the 'Alison' 45...and then one night I stood on the bloody thing and left a crack on the last outer inch of the single.
    It was obvs a sign of things to come :(

  6. yer missing part 8
    great stuff / stiff here.. thanks for the post and yer fading memories on this one mona...
    previously had to survive on
    for my punk lessons... and here you are right under my snotty nose with a first hand account :)

  7. 2Chuck/
    Thanx fer tip re: last Stiff film clip. Can I recommend that you get hold of Heylin's 'From The Velvets To The Void-oids'...covers more of the first wave of US punk. For a complete(ish) history you shouls also get Jon Savage's 'England's Dreaming' for the UK side of things. 'Please Kill Me' by Legs McNeil is also good on the American perspective.

  8. I tend to grab books on a "happenstance" basis but your kind links for quality reads are graciously accepted :)
    I must dig out -
    for a walk down memory lane-had this one for a few decades now..
    Had a copy of
    on the "next to read" shelf for months now-- keeps getting buried by "next to listen" cd's :/

  9. 2Chuck/
    I have the Caroline Coon book right behind me...I love John Robb's writing and music (The Membranes/Three Johns) but have never read that book. On my wish list now...