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Linda A | all galleries >> Galleries >> it's my life - 2005 diary > 24th May 2005 - heartfelt thanks to Stuart Maconie
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24th May 2005 - heartfelt thanks to Stuart Maconie

I am here, in Seoul, safely tonight (which is lunchtime in the UK)….it’s just gone 9pm here. The journey was relatively pain free except for a dash to get my connecting flight because the flight from Heathrow was delayed at both ends of the journey – a tug that wouldn’t let go of the Jumbo on the runway at Heathrow started the journey badly, then traffic at Hong Kong meant we were delayed further. There was a Cathay Pacific Ground Attendant waiting for me as I got off the flight who whizzed me at fast walk or slow jog across Hong Kong airport and I was the last passenger onto the flight from there to Seoul.

This photo is an island, just off the shore of Hong Kong. It all looks a lot like a scene from ‘The Beach’, I kept expecting to see Leonardo DiCaprio (it was him wasn’t it?) emerging looking ever so slightly dishevelled!! I know it's a bit cack keeping posting snapshots from plane windows but it is all I seem to do these days so it's my best shot.

I left home yesterday at 3.45pm and walked into the reception of the hotel here at 8pm tonight so it feels like twenty-eight hours of travelling but of course the time difference means it’s really only taken twenty hours!

The trip has been made pain-free by the man name-checked above whose book ‘Cider with Roadies’ has been my travelling companion. I have to say this book has been a joy to read. I started it on my train journey the other night when we went to visit friends in Esher, but only got ten or twenty pages in so I’ve effectively read the whole thing in a day.

Why has it been so wonderful? Well, it’s the true story of an NME journalist and his love of music.

His home town is Wigan and of course my father comes from there so immediately, I felt an affection for the things and places that we visited as kids with my Mum and Dad, as well as hearing my Dad’s wonderful stories about the things he did as a boy. It may not surprise you to hear that my Dad is a fabulous story-teller and Jan and I used to beg him for stories – either a Lancashire Monologue or a tale from his past.

Stuart reckoned the only memorable things to come from Wigan were Wigan Rugby League – my Dad’s team, the ‘Latics – now for the first time in their history a Premiership Club though when we were growing up, nothing more than a non-league side, pies and Wigan Pier’s famous Northern Soul. I beg to differ with him on this point because I know that Wigan is also home to the world-famous ‘Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls’. Who could forget this delicious confection that really should be sampled by everyone at least once in their lifetime.

He even mentioned a place that we used to have a rhyme about – Cassinelli’s, an ice cream parlour. Dad taught us the ditty ‘Cassinelli broke his belly, slipping on a piece of jelly’ and we used to sing it (badly) often!

The early chapters of the book are an absolute parallel with my own youth – he is, I think, less than a year younger than me so the fashions of the day, the music and the experiences he has growing up in a working class environment mirror my own upbringing really closely.

We agree on many subjects, including punk – you were either on the Sex Pistols side of punk (assuming you were in to punk at all, which you may not have been….) or the Clash side – yep, me, I’m on the Clash side. I don’t care how unfashionable the view is that the Sex Pistols were basically crap, but it’s my view and I’m sticking to it. The Clash on the other hand were one of the greatest live bands of all time.

His musical taste also mirrored mine in the main, one or two exceptions to that, I could never stand the Smiths either yet he loved them. He and I both saw the Smiths on their first big tour of the UK when they were fresh out of the Tube ‘This Charming Man’ video, which I think many would agree helped to break them. He saw them at Edge Hill College in Liverpool on that tour, whereas I saw them at Essex University. He described the same experience I had, the strewn flowers, the short, punchy set, the debris of trampled flowers all over the room when they went off stage yet he loved it and I hated it. Ah well.

BUT his love of Elvis Costello, Aztec Camera, Orange Juice, Wham! and a whole host of other bands made me feel a kindred spirit was writing on my behalf. He’s also an excellent writer, which is a quality I hugely admire.

His writing is so good that he landed himself the job I would have died for as a young woman, a writer on the NME – the greatest rock newspaper that has ever graced the news stands of the UK and possibly the world. He writes about doing the singles reviews (my favourite page), editing the letters page, where he mistakenly lists all five types of letter they received….but MY type of letter wasn’t in his list, so in fact there were six types of letter.

I used to regularly get my letters published and it was something of a challenge for me to pick subjects and write in such a way that I knew it’d be published. I had many of my letters published there, as well as in Sounds, Record Mirror, the Face etc. They were always dead silly but as each one was slipped into the letter box on their way to Kings Reach Tower, I knew they would be selected and published just because they would make the editor laugh.

Strangely, he was writing about going to the home of Mark E Smith from the Fall and being offered a meal. When Mark emerged from his kitchen, he was clutching two crisp sandwiches. I was salivating at the thought then I saw this…..pure torture!

Finally, the book mentions the epitome of rock ligging....the Columbia Hotel in the Bayswater Road, I've had many a good evening in the bar there ligging with rock stars!

Anyway, this book has kept me sane over the last twenty four hours and stopped me from thinking about where I am and where I am going. Now I am going to read the last couple of chapters and go to bed, hopefully with the image of him interviewing Michael Hutchence firmly in my mind (taking up less space and emotion than DM of course).

Last year, I was saying 'cheerio' to Hilary and two years ago, rain was interfering with my horticultural activities!

Canon EOS 10D
1/500s f/8.0 at 24.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Teresa 25-May-2005 14:04
Very beautiful picture. I hope your trip goes good.
Gail Davison24-May-2005 20:13
the book sounds interesting. We are going to see Elvis Costello in July - he's playing at Kenwood (now I know I'm old!!).
Guest 24-May-2005 20:13
i hope korea goes well for you.
i had a run-in recently with elvis costello while on vacation in chicago. i was walking down michigan avenue and decided to stop into the massive borders books & music store there. i was making an inquiry about the availability of simon reynolds' new book "rip it up and start again," when i caught someone in the corner of my eye walking towards the magazines. i said, "hey, isn't that elvis costello over there?" the clerk said, "i dunno, but it sure looks like him." i was headed in that direction anyway, so i walked over to the music section. sure enough, there he is. i politely excused myself by him, standing next to him for several minutes, looking over the latest issue of "mojo". then he was off. i checked the concert listings when i got back to the hotel, discovered that elvis and his band were playing chicago that very night.
i kind of wish i'd said something to him now, but i didn't want to invade his privacy.
Eric Hewis24-May-2005 18:41
What a wonderful picture of 'Uncle Joe's' factory :-)
I hope you are more relaxed about your trip to Korea now.
northstar3724-May-2005 13:30
Much more exotic than my similar effort yesterday! Hope you aren't too jet-lagged.
Faye White24-May-2005 13:04
Faye White24-May-2005 13:01