by Kevin Graham
The letters one by one illuminated the cold brooding bleak Glasgow sky. Adolescent habit had been changed. Instead of European floodlight football, witnessing Liam Brady’s lowest management moment, the ballroom and my underagedness was my opponent.
Huddled against the wall, from the frost and the stare of the bouncers on the door. No eye contact, look at your feet, see the gap and get in. It failed. No reasoning, just pleading and I’m sure there was tears. Ticket ripped, a gruff, “On you go son” was music to my ears.
Up the stairs and past wendy james with her unwelcoming glare, past the smell of the hot dogs that come with a warning of a week in bed, through the doors and into the hall, greeted by that giant mirror ball. No time to catch breath and drink it all in, live rock and roll was there, a blur of long sleeves, sideburns and hair. Nostalgia says the hall was rammed, experience says different. Down the middle, testing the famous wooden sprung floor, I had left any coolness at the front door. A sweaty set and it was gone. What the hell had just went on?
The following day, flicking frantically through the NME, pocket money handed over in Sleeves for the Seasonstream EP. Keepsakes, buttermouths, shires with island securing me and no roses at doors became part of my imagery. For a village boy, slight frayed and lost, this world was mine and at no cost.
Many years have passed and many bands seen, I often wonder what might have been if I hadn’t connected that cold November night with a band with no name. I learned the half way line runs both ways, Liam Brady never did.
A Formative Memory...
by Jon Morrison
I can remember exactly when and where I heard Thousand Yard Stare for the first time... These are formative memories: August 1991, I was 15. Despite feeling very ill, with what turned out to be severe tonsilitis, I had gone to my best friend's party; the summer evenings were long, his parents were away - the girl I was seeing was there and had got there before me, despite her not really knowing anyone (different schools and all that) - when I arrived, feeling rough, she was sitting on the lap of someone I had long thought to be a complete arsehead and looking very pleased about it too. So, that wasn't a great start. I tried to have some fun, tried to drink a can of Red Stripe, but felt awful, delirious, a thumping headache.
The girl was still on the arsehead's lap. 'Screw this' I thought. 'I don 't care whose party this is. You can keep your so-called party. I'm leaving'. I can't recall anyone actually noticing, but there you go. Problem was, I was too ill to walk home so I had to call my mum to come and pick me up... rock AND roll. I didn't tell anyone I was going. It was still daylight, I walked across the road to sit on a wall opposite the party house, head in hands. I could hear music pumping from the stereo in the front room - windows were open, I could hear it loud and clear along with the laughter and yelling and general fun sounds of a party I was too pissed off and ill to stay at... two chords being attacked, a bass drum keeping rhythm, a launch in to a guitar line that sounded like nothing I'd heard before.
Even in my delirium, I remember thinking... 'that sounds pretty fucking cool, whatever it is'... as the song was finishing, my mum pulled up to take me away to my bed where I stayed for three days, slowly recovering after the blissful relief of antibiotics.I did some detective work to find the song I couldn't get out of my head. I got hold of a copy of the cassette that may have been playing at the party, a compilation someone had made ( a different world!) and fast forwarded through every song in the hope of finding it, until that bass drum and hi-hat kicked in, those two chords started - I'd only gone and found it! After a bit more detective work (the songs weren't listed on the cassette inlay) I discovered the title of the song was 'Wonderment', which was pretty fitting really, and my love affair with Thousand Yard Stare was hands on...
With the money I got for my 16th birthday the following March I lorded it to Our Price in Southgate, North London, and bought 'Hands On' on vinyl. This band was different; from the interaction of the guitars, bass and drums to the rich imagery of the lyrics - a singer who wrote about 'books and clocks and ancient rocks' and hedgerows and shires; my dad and step-mum used to live in a little village called East Dean in East Sussex, and 'Hands On' was the perfect soundtrack to my wanderings around those lanes and woods. It all resonated deeply; things can get pretty interesting when you're 16: music, books, girls, boys... Thousand Yard Stare continued to get played at house parties, very loudly - I have good memories of jumping around to 'Wideshire' at a party, in the dark, a little drunk and very, very happy, falling over sofas and staying on the floor, laughing very, very hard... I, like many other folk, am very, very happy Thousand Yard Stare are back, and I can't wait for the 100 Club gig in June.
CHEERS! Jon Morrison