Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Beautiful Friend

I kept increasingly erratic hours as December progressed, arriving at work by 4am in a fruitless attempt to get ahead of the game before the doors opened and pausing only for a quick shower before hitting the sack as my eyes began to burn early in the evening. Food wasn't high on the list of priorities, though I did discover the revitalising powers (and convenience) of an instant porridge pot in lieu of lunch and more than once wondered if it'd be possible to have an intravenous drip of coffee surgically attached to my body in some fashion. Anyway, it was while in this slightly altered state that I glanced at my phone in the early hours of December 20th to find that Shirley Watts had passed away at the age of 84. It was sad news, but I allowed myself a brief bittersweet smile to know that she was now reunited with her beloved Charlie. With a mug of steaming black coffee in one hand I scrolled further through my Instagram feed and began to see multiple photos of Terry Hall appear. My semi-conscious mind reasoned that it must've been his birthday, but of course the truth was altogether more tragic. 

I've yet to begin trying to catch up with what's been going on around these parts in the period that I've been otherwise engaged, but I'm sure that blog tributes to Terry will have been fulsome and heartfelt across the board. His passing is one of those, not unlike that of Charlie Watts actually, that has hit unexpectedly hard. Terry Hall's music entered my life when I saw The Coventry Automatics supporting The Clash in 1978 and, well, he's kind of been there or thereabouts ever since. It was only at the end of November that I dug out The Specials' comeback album 'Encore' for a spin and marvelled once again at what a very good record it is. 

Somewhere in this flat there's a box of VHS videos, the remenents of the days when I recorded anything relating to music off the TV. I threw away bin-liners full of those tapes when I got rid of the telly in the early noughties, but somewhat illogically still hold onto a few particularly prized videos, even though all the contents are probably available on YouTube these days. One of the tapes that I kept contains Fun Boy Three's live cover of 'The End', the band's TV swansong, broadcast on the short-lived programme 'Switch'. It's a performance every bit as electrifying now as it was that evening back in 1983. Terry's hair is quite magnificent too.


Alyson said...

The tributes certainly were fulsome and heartfelt, and from all corners. Terry touched a lot of lives with his music and I don't think many of us realised by how much, until his premature death. Far, far too young.

John Medd said...

I would tell anyone who would listen that Laugh is probably the best album he ever made; with anyone.
I listened to it after he died and tried not to be sad. Failed miserably.

Swiss Adam said...

Really sad, such a presence in our cultural lives. Great clip btw

Khayem said...

I hope you're experiencing a gear change down at work, TS, however slight. Thanks for your words about Terry, it's been a sad time particularly with the further losses that have been reported. Terry's absence is keenly felt and will for some time.

I'd not seen the FB3 clip before, an unexpected and wonderful cover of The End and yes, Terry's coiffure is mightily impressive.

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