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Mike Randle


York 28/06/04 By Lizzy B
July 3, 2004

Old man, young woman, Fiona, Keith, Tina, and Jim

I got to York OK from work then took an unconventional route to our hotel (some would say I was lost, but I felt I was absorbing the atmosphere). With help from Tina, found the car park (secure 7pm to 7am – I was impressed) and the hotel, which leaves the hot drinks machine on all night – very impressed.

We planned to meet in the lobby and after a detour when a Nice Young Man leaning out of his room fooled me into thinking it was the lift (thought it was Jim, Tina’s lad)- honest. Fortunately, Jim knew the way and swiftly swept us through the streets of York to Fibbers.

Tiny venue, nice people, Because this was the Most Northern Show and because the East Coast Mainline is so wonderful, there were people from Afar North. Old Man and his daughter Young Woman, and Fiona and Billy we’d met at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh – they had said next time come and stay with us…… Scottish Keith greeted us – he was getting the 12.45 train back which seemed very decent compared with recent London Stories. Chris Jones was there to take photos. I hadn’t realised he lived near York – thought he was one of them southerners.

We were followed in by Paul Harrison and friend (coops) who decided, on the strength of the Jacket that we were groupies and pointed out Mike R as the guitarist – fair game for any true groupie (sorry, mike, that’s what they said). Mike started the night in an England shirt, Progressed (?) to Scotland, wore a more conventional one on stage, then a red teeshirt on and off later. We couldn’t find The Man to check out about the video, so we stowed the tripods under the merchandise table. Mike said he’d check for us.

Chris Helms was excellent, that’s all, just excellent. Troels and Kose started setting up. Then Mike came out to confirm that Arthur did want the show recording – hurray and hurry, we got the tripods and Tina went to the spot she’d pre-determined was the best, stage side left and we were off, so close it was impossible to zoom out far enough to get all of Arthur’s body in. Does this band ever stop improving? The stage was tiny so we didn’t get much athleticism, but everyone was great, though looking a little tired, presumably after a long drive from Wales. I’ve put my setlist in A Safe Place, but when I find it I’ll pass it on.

Tina the disco queen in full DQ mode with Kose

After the show, we hung around for a while with the Scottish Contingent. Billy wanted Fiona to leave but I told him about how this is how it is… my old man tolerates my Arthur Lee obsession pretty well – drove me 400 miles once. We went outside, saw a tired-looking Arthur briefly then Jim led us to The Evil Eye. It was an interesting walk – past whip ma wop ma gate and shops. That Coops was licking shop windows on the way (could’ve been the display of intimate apparel). A secret knock on the door and we were in. We had a lot of fun – Fiona was so happy she’d hung round and was taking to the Lifestyle pretty well. Young Woman was the centre of much photo-taking and hugs from Older Men. Tina got up to dance when the disco tracks came on, so we joined in: (Disco inferno, Superstitious, and Billericay Dickie) and there was a bit of shirt throwing, but all very good natured. Jim disappeared (well when yer ma gets up and boogies it can be challenging) One of those nights you just don’t want to end, but since we had to get up early for work the following day we took off in search of a kebab and the hotel.

Tina and I ended up in the kebab shop opposite the hotel. A young man of York introduced himself – said he felt an affinity with our tripods.. whereas his pal couldn’t. We stuck with the pal who wouldn’t believe any Rock Legends ever came to York, much less American ones. He was regaling us with tales of his visit to LA when Rusty walked in followed by Other Usual Suspects. Well he had to believe us then.

Our cars were locked up so we couldn’t offer anyone a lift. We rolled across the road for a short night’s sleep. Looking out of my window I could see the troupe leaving the kebab house. Goodnight York. Highlight of my night was Arthur knows my name – unfortunately he used it on Tina but hey it’s a start. Next stop Bilston and the Robin2.

Mike Randle


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