Tag Archives: Friends

High Wind Advisory

13 Apr

Heading out in a few minutes for yet another Coachella. This is an annual tradition that has only been broken once when I skipped the festival in 2015 and went to Shaky Knees in Atlanta with a friend that really needed to stay a bit more local that year. I really love this weekend, it’s an amazing time with friends and most of us are seasoned veterans with excellent fest survival skills. The first time I went to Indio for this magic weekend was during the inaugural festival in 1999. We had all heard about this new thing happening in a city we had never heard of but I was on the fence about going. There were many reasons to go along with Morrissey being on the bill and one of our friends spinning in the DJ tent. That friend connected us with the guest list and we packed our bags and headed out picking up a $50 (with fees!) ticket for the friend we threw in the car that morning and with a belly full of Del Taco we stepped on to the polo field for the first time. That first year was a sparsely attended event, the polo field seemed massive and many parts of the field were completely dark. The grass was a perfect shade of green and felt wonderful beneath my feet, apartment dwellers miss things like having a lawn. Food vendors were a mix of local groups and some restaurants that made the trek to the desert, I chose to buy a cheeseburger from the Boy Scouts for my dinner that night. I took my burger and walked back across the field and found a quiet spot a few hundred feet back from the main stage and listened to Moz sing about meat being murder while the grease from this burger slid down my arm.

A lot has changed from that first festival, I’m now far out of the target demographic and I have to pay for my wristband now (big ups to Virgin Megastores for many years of free VIP wristbands).  The crowds are different, social media has come in and the Instagram Girls rule the field for the weekend but it all makes for some great people watching and you know you’ll get your view of the band back in a few minutes when they get the perfect selfie.

Gummy Bears

I’ve had some stellar experiences at the festival, the VIP years are far behind me and I’ll probably never get a photo pass again but I’ll always cherish those memories. Meeting bands wandering around the bars, having Robbie Williams buy me a gin and tonic, walking away from Stuart Murdoch mid interview for my radio show because I wanted to get a picture of Noel Gallagher, blagging a photo pass for Keith because he was wearing a CNN shirt he picked up in NYC and looked like a journalist enabling him to play rock photographer all weekend. What this year will bring besides the winds is unknown but I know we’ll have a great time.

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It all comes back to Manchester

20 Mar

This weekend I left sunny Los Angeles to visit my friend Darryl in Toronto. I met Darryl a few years ago while he was working on Pride in Travel (available on Amazon here and features yours truly in chapter 5). It was a chance to head to Opera Bob’s and meet the other members of the Toronto Supporters Club. The global City community can seem small at times and we all seem to know someone in every city. This feeling of camaraderie reminds me of the early 90s Morrissey crowd that followed those early solo tours around the states. There are a few worlds that overlap but this is one case when they did spectacularly. What follows is one of the greatest stories I’ve been a part of in the last few years.

In the fall of 1992 Morrissey came through Los Angeles with his Your Arsenal tour. That was also a monumental year in my life in which I turned 18, had left home to move in to the dorms at UCLA. My friends and I made plans to attend the Hollywood Bowl shows then follow the tour to the Del Mar show because it was a general admission show and you could get to the front if you arrived early enough. We camped out for two days in an unusually rainy Del Mar while rotating out trips for naps and showers at a nearby Motel 6 that we were sharing with no less than eight other fans.  Our efforts paid off and we were rewarded with a few hours smashed up against the barriers while Moz tore through his set. Somewhere during the show someone tossed a flag on stage that Morrissey whipped around for a few seconds before he threw it to the side of the stage. Any rabid fan knows that after the show your main goal is to get whatever you can from the Roadies tearing down the stage. I was the lucky one that grabbed the flag from the stage with a little help from my friends helping me plead to get it thrown down to us. It was a cross of St. George flag – a nice one as well that wasn’t just screen printed but stitched together pieces of nylon. I went skipping back to our car to head home with this new treasure firmly in my grasp.

I hung this flag in my dorm room for a few weeks until the morning I left for New York to catch the last few nights of the tour. I had a free ticket to fly anywhere in the US thanks to my newly acquired AmEx and I could think of no better destination. I traveled with two friends to the city where we had no hotel room booked or tickets to any of the shows! These were no ordinary shows on the tour they were three small club sized shows around New York City and ending the week in Philadelphia at the Tower theatre. That trip is a tale for another time but in the midst of these shows was Thanksgiving when no show would be played and we took our chance to try to meet Moz at his hotel to get a few things signed one of these items being my flag. After hours of waiting at The Mark we were rewarded with a few moments of his time and were told to wait in the lobby. Linder Sterling came back to the lobby to gather up what we had and took it to Morrissey’s room to get signed, she returned 20 minutes later with everything bagged up for us and we ran back though the cold streets to our derelict hotel off of Times Square giddy with our interaction.

I’ve held on to this flag and kept it as the ultimate Morrissey souvenir sure to win all arguments of who has the best object from the era. I haven’t displayed it in many years because I’ve been worried about the flag becoming worn and the autograph fading so it’s been tucked safely inside a box for the last 5 years. Flash to October of last year when I was selling my beloved Vespa LXV to my friend Andy to make room for my Primavera. Andy is also a City fan, member of the supporters club and a MASSIVE Morrissey fan. He had never been to my home and had a bit of a nose around at my memorabilia covering the walls. We got to talking about various items we had and I knew I had to bring out the flag. I couldn’t find it at first and just told him about how great it was. He asked some questions about where I got it and pretty specific details about the flag itself and quickly realized this was the flag he had thrown on stage that Halloween night! I knew I had to find it. A few moments of opening nearly every box in my office I found the folded flag and presented it to Andy. He marveled at seeing this flag he last had in his hands 25 years ago now with the oil crayon inscription of “Bernadette Hoist It High – Morrissey” in the distinctive Moz scrawl across a panel. I was a bit worried he would ask for it back but instead wanted a photo with it and put up a post about it.

Andy Flag 2

There are certain people in my life I feel I was always meant to be friends with but had never been brought together until recently. We all moved in the same circles, knew many of the same people and have shared experiences. It wasn’t until something like your team pulling an impossible victory out in overtime spawning the need to form an official club that you meet these people.