My showbiz pal Chris is over visiting this week, which meant a brief return to my murky rock’n’roll past last night. As well as being a sports reporter Chris does some music writing too and was interviewing Gaslight Anthem and Frank Turner for Sky before their gig at the Dublin Academy last night, for which yours truly was roped in as lighting engineer. Ha! Lighting engineer indeed – it was a case of holding a spotlight in such a way as to not sear off the retinas of the interviewees but also to give the camera enough light so as not to conduct the interview in apparent darkness.
All of which was apparently enough to allow me to swank around the place with an Access All Areas pass, which I’ve not done since my far-off days as a ham-fisted but enthusiastic musician. What thoroughly nice lads both acts were. Brian, the singer from the Gaslights, was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, with this quiet, reedy, New Jersey voice that is the polar opposite to the throaty roar he emits on stage; a singing voice that makes Bruce Springsteen sound like Alan Bennett.
Frank Turner is a terrifically talented singer-songwriter with the attitude of Billy Bragg channelled into everyday issues rather than politics. ‘Campfire punk rock’ is probably the most accurate description there’s been. He pulled off a riproaring support set that tore the roof off the place armed with just an acoustic guitar; an extraordinary achievement for any support act, let alone one supporting a New Jersey garage punk band with such apparently non-punk appareil.
In other news, well, there’s not much to tell. I’ve actually written a hefty chunk of the new book already. As it’s essentially a chronicle of a year my usual routine of sign contract, procrastinate, research, travel and then cram the actual writing into as little time as possible has been entirely disrupted. I’ve got to deliver the manuscript at the end of December; an immovable deadline whose lack of elasticity, it’s been drummed into me, is entirely non-negotiable. Its actually quite a nice feeling not to think, ulp, I should have written about 50,000 words by now and I’ve got as far as typing ‘Chapter One’, looking at a flashing cursor for a while, then going back to the music and football messageboards. I feel quite pleased with myself. 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