It’s 09 Jun 2012
This was the day that the Olympic torch, on its journey around the United Kingdom, toward the 2012 London Olympic Games, passed through Glasgow.
But this isn’t about those events. On this same day, Glasgow played host to a couple of events far more important to the legions of the cities Charlatans fans.
In 1997 the band released the highly acclaimed album Tellin Stories. Fifteen years later and the band have re-packaged and re-released the album. Following on from the success of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Some Friendly in 2010, the band are touring the Tellin Stories album, playing it in it’s entirety at a small series of gigs across the country. Glasgow’s Barrowlands Ballroom plays host to one of those gigs tonight.
The bands lead singer Tim Burgess has released his autobiography this year. It too is called Tellin Stories, it’s a best seller, and today he’s going to be reading from the book, answering questions and signing copies in Glasgow’s Stand Comedy Club.
The band may hail from Manchester, via Northwich and the West Midlands but there is no doubting the affinity that the band have had with Glasgow since early days.
Here’s what Tim had to say at the start of the day…
“Hey Glasgow, how’re you doing? It’s been a while. Going to be a big day x”
I believe in fate. I believe that we are all in control of our own destiny. I believe that what is for you, will not go by you and I also believe that everything happens for a reason.
I’ve also finally realised that there are no rules that we all must abide by in this life. The bottom line…the universe holds the answers to everything we need to know, including the choices we must make at all those different crossroads. The question is, how hard are we actually listening? Confused? OK, let’s get cracking!
I chat with one of the other people in the queue, attending the Tim Burgess Telling Stories event at The Stand Comedy Club. He is really impressed that Tim has chosen to do this kind of intimate event.
“I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do. I mean, I know he’s got a book out but he did a gig in London last night and he’s doing a sell out gig later on at the Barras. Pretty cool of him to do it. Really looking forward to this” he said.
I was pretty chuffed to hear someone else tell me, completely unprompted what I’ve thought for a while. Much like the idea behind Tim Peaks, amidst a busy schedule, Tim Burgess is taking time out to spend a little time up close and personal with his fans. For the book reading events though, there’s nothing metaphysical, this is the real deal.
And so we traversed the stairs, pass the till and in we go.
The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow is a quaint little venue, with circular tables arranged around a small stage as if a gathering of friends were coming round. It has a homely feel to it although the signs painted on the walls tell you in no uncertain terms, no phones, no talking, no moving the furniture. OK point taken. This is a comedy club… nothing about heckling I notice.
There’s a nice buzz in the club, in anticipation of event. It’s the first time Tim Burgess has done anything like this in Scotland. And you know when Glasgow crowds are concerned, anything can happen. If experience has taught me, it’s that in the second city of Scotland, it usually does. The queue to the bar adds strength to that belief. It’s a long long queue. The Glaswegians enjoy a tipple or two.
As I settle into my seat, our compere for the afternoon comes onto the stage. He gives us the format of the event and then we are off.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Tim Burgess.
Tim comes onto the stage dressed in black desert boots, black skinny jeans, black long t-shirt with jacket, round eye glasses and a black beret covering the bleach blond hair.
Before he starts his reading he apologises that his throat is still a little sore from last night. (London Hammersmith gig) He carries on and promises he’s going to try not to try and be funny. He proceeds to read an excerpt from the book which you can listen to here.
A few pieces of the reading go down very well with the Glasgow crowd, particularly the analogy of monkeys running an Argos shop. The detailed description of the military precision applied to ensuring the bands drug stash is hidden from customs comes to an amusing end as well. It all turns out to be for nothing, but the point being, this was kind of the norm of being in a rock n roll band.
Once the reading is finished we go into a Q& A session.
Tim’s interviewer sums this all up nicely in saying;
“In London they were asking La Di Da questions but in Glasgow Rrrr Dinosaurs”
The banter built up as the questions progressed and Tim appeared very relaxed in the company of the Glasgow crowd.
“Are you all coming tonight” he asked at one point.
“Oh sure, everyone is on the guest list” he joked.
Just a few of the questions asked.
Q Have any of the band read the book?
A No, John thinks its top shelf material.
Q With so many Clash mentions in the book, why are you trying to look like Captain Sensible from the Damned?
A I sat next to him on a plane, he was eating small bags of silica.
Q What’s your favourite Charlatans song?
A Today it’s Senses.
Q Given the numerous references to dinosaurs throughout Tellin Stories, the album and the book, what’s the link?
A Yeah, my first interest, fossils.
Tim is also questions about Transcendental Meditation, (or is that Transatlantic Levitation) Rob Collins becoming a destructive force in the band just prior to his death, aspirations and the benefits of being sober. All topics were thoughtfully answered openly.
As was the final question about whether there would be a follow up to the book.
No, well at least not for a while.No” smiles.
Just as it was winding up there was time for on last question from the bar..
“Oy Tim, what’s yer favourite cheese”
“hehe, Haloumi” replied Tim. “I have to go soundcheck, thanks for coming, see you later”.
Tim was off, but only as far as a signing table at the door. Here he sat and signed copies of his book, penning personal dedications, posing for pictures and chatting happily to the folks that had come out for the book reading. All in an afternoons work for Tim.
With the event a success and 150 happy fans happy with their signed books and memories of the afternoon, it was off to the Barrowland Ballroom.