I know exactly where I was when I fell in love with music. I can’t date it but I know the exact spot where it happened. It was in a small run-down theatre on the southern edge of Derby’s city centre, Sacheverel Street to be exact. The band playing were Stiff Little Fingers and I was mesmerised by the fury and passion of Jake Burns with his Yamaha SG2000.
The venue had once been the Derby Playhouse which had fallen into disrepair, been converted into a specialist cinema for Derby’s Asian population and renamed The Ajanta. The houses around it had been demolished and were a mixture of unkempt grass and rubble. This was my CBGBs, 100 Club, Whisky-a-go-go and Marquee all rolled into one.
After that first SLF gig the great bands of the time just kept turning up. I’m sure I’m mis-remembering but it felt like every week there was somebody interesting to go and see and, over the following years, many turned into behemoths of the post-punk world, or at least cult icons. The Cramps, The Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Psychedelic Furs, UK Subs, Fatal Microbes, Crass, Slaughter and the Dogs, Throbbing Gristle, Robert Rental and the Normal, The Monochrome Set and Derby’s very own Anti-Pasti. These last ones were the boys that gave me an inkling that doing this sort of thing was not out of reach.
There were bands that played that, for one reason or another (probably lack of cash) I didn’t go and see. The Damned and Simple Minds in particular, but hey, I’ll just be thankful for the great times I did have.
I wish I’d kept hold of ticket stubs and other memorabilia but I’m not a hoarder and those things have been left behind over the intervening years. The one link I have is this picture of The Fatal Microbes with me in the front row.
I found these pictures on Johnny Vincent’s excellent blog about AN ALTERNATIVE DERBY. Used without permission but, in the spirit of the times, if he doesn’t like it he can bugger off. Only joking JV, give me a shout if you’d rather I didn’t use ’em.