A teardrop explodes ... and I missed it

The Liquid Rooms
The Liquid Rooms

By Paul McCabe

Keys...wallet...phone...anything else...?

Tickets! Imagine if I’d gone without them!

So there I was, setting off for a gig in Edinburgh, last minute checks all done and dusted I was looking forward to a great Friday night out.

The gig in question was taking place at the Liquid Rooms in Victoria Street and performing that night was Julian Cope.

For the uninitiated - the name certainly got a few blank stares in FFP Towers - he first emerged at the beginning of the 80s with his fellow drug-fuelled band mates in the Teardrop Explodes who packed in after just two albums, before Cope headed out on his own fabulously eccentric, wildly varied and, as he has put it, “chemically informed” solo career. Ahem.

Sitting on the train I reckoned that, including gigs and book signings this would be my 16th or 17th time seeing the Cope live since the first gig of his I went to at the Calton Studios in Edinburgh in 1991; way more than any other act.

Actually it would be the 17th or 18th if you include the time he walked past me in the street outside Charing Cross Station in London and I was too starstruck to stop him.

It had been a good five or six years since I’d last seen him play. The plan was to meet my fellow Cope-loving friend in a pub in the Grassmarket which meant I’d walk past the venue on the way.

Getting closer I thought it looked strangely quiet outside the Liquid Room’s doors. As I got closer I realised the doors were shut. What’s up? Is it cancelled? It must be, I thought as I reached in to my pocket to check the date on the ticket, I mean, it’s not like I would come on the wrong night, is it?

I had come on the wrong night.

The gig had actually happened two nights before.

How I got it into my head that it was Friday and not Wednesday I haven’t a clue.

The same friend and I had a previous gig catastrophe when we went to see Sparks at the Arches in Glasgow a couple of years ago.

Happily blabbing away and enjoying a couple of pre-gig drinks, we then lazily meandered along to the venue to discover that Sparks had already been onstage for 40 minutes or so. That was bad enough, but this takes it to the next level.

I’m still a bit concerned about it as I’m not usually the scatter-brained type.

Is it the beginning of me starting to lose my marbles? Am I going to forget my pin number next?

Or, and I suspect this is the most likely scenario, my idiot brain thought it would be good to go out and have a few drinks before and after the gig which I probably wouldn’t have done what with Wednesday being a school night.

Well, maybe just a couple.

Anyway my next attempt at turning up at a gig on the correct night is in August when I go to see the Franz Ferdinand and Sparks collaboration, FFS at the Festival Theatre. It’s on Monday 24th. Feel free to Tweet me a reminder on the day.

I might even get it tattooed on my stupid gig-forgetting face. It’s definitely going to be my mantra from now until then - chant along with me; FFS Monday 24th, FFS Monday 24th, FFS Monday 24th...