Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death
10th December 2022 -Exactly, forty six years ago my band, Berlin played a gig at Eric’s, Liverpool. 46 years on I am on another night out with three of my oldest friends. The timing is coincidental however, the four of us were also together in Eric’s all those years ago.
What has changed?
We all still believe we are 21. We may be older but still no wiser? As it was all those years ago, tonight is Baltic cold! Snow and ice on the ground.
We are meeting for a few drinks and a meal then the England versus France World Cup Quarter final followed by a night of stand-up comedy at The Hot Water Comedy Club.
All those years ago we were the support act for a Manchester ‘punk’ band, Slaughter & The Dogs. The gig was a tense affair, Liverpool v Manchester but on this occasion even more so as both bands had been vying for a record contract with Decca Records and The Dogs had won. It was one band or the other, us being the other and the victors were more than a little smug when we arrived.
Razzer (drums), loaned their drummer his high-hat cymbals and he damaged one. There was an altercation as their drummer was full on denying blame. Jeff (our roadie) kicked their drummer up the arse and went straight in for the finale. Unfortunately, he did this right in front of the bouncer who literally lifted him off his feet and dumped him in the street outside.
46 years on the weather is difficult public transport disrupted. The missus , laid up due to a knee injury is unable to drive me. I have to catch a bus to the train station at 4.33pm for a 4.39pm train into the city centre. Tight but doable. Bus is a minute late and misses two sets of lights on the short, 3 stops journey. As I get off the bus into the station my train is pulling into Platform 2. I run thru the turnstiles, up the stairs and down the stairs to the platform just as the train doors close. I turn away in disgust, ‘fuck’!
I glance down the platform to the rear of the train where a guard is standing. He, silently, waves in my direction, ushering me towards the rear exit/entrance of the final carriage. I run the 50 yards or so and board, gratefully, thanking him thru deep gasps as I try to catch my breath. The train is chocker, full, I cannot see a spare seat. There are two teenagers sitting in the side seats close to the exit both on their phones. One glances up, hearing my laboured breathing. I am holding tightly onto a vertical pole. The teenager, appears concerned and says, ‘do you want to sit’? I glance to my side then I realise, he is talking to me!
This is the first time this has ever happened to me. A painful, realisation. I have become the old man that people give up their seats to on public transport.
I am still breathing heavily, it takes a stop or two (several minutes) for my breathing to settle. I am actually, fucked! This is a game-changer. Just the smallest amount of [strenuous] physical exercise now and I feel fucked?
I start thinking, why? What has [suddenly] changed? Yes, I haven’t been feeling too great of late? Yes, 23rd of December 2022 will be the 7-year anniversary of my cancer. However, it is the suddenness of this change that frightens me most, is this my now, my future, is this me from now on, the old man that people give up their seats to?
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