I RECKON I have been to well over 1,500 gigs and can probably remember about a tenth of them.
When I wonder why I don’t have as much money as I should have, the answer is pretty clear.
You see others in big houses, living in nicer places, with flash cars, a couple of kids etc and you think — how?
Usually the answer is, however much they might deny it, they received a pretty big helping hand from their parents, though that doesn’t stop them proudly showing off their achievements on social media — “finally, after years of hard work and saving, our new house”.
Just admit that whatever your political claims, your parents took advantage of the system we live with/in and bought you everything you have.
The other reason is, of course, that I tended to spend my money. It was never on anything outrageous. I had not been outside Europe by the age of 30, had never owned a car that cost more than £1,000 or so and didn’t have a mortgage until 37.
The money largely went on going out and music and in many ways I am pleased it did.
I was not the sort who planned for life. You know, married by 27, house by 29, kid by 30 etc. I always assumed that led to a very unfulfilling existence and, in many cases, crushing disappointment.
Instead, I barely planned for the next day. My move from Yorkshire to Devon was secured with no forethought within two weeks of applying for a job in a county to which I had never been. In the five years following I probably attended between 800 and 1,000 gigs and on the nights I wasn’t watching a band I would have been in the pub. That’s where the money went. That and buying music by the bands I saw, though a lot of that came free (due to writing for a music magazine as well as a daily paper), to be fair, as did entrance to the gigs — it was what you spent when you were there that was the problem.
It’s scary when you add it up. It’s not like the drink was cheap down in the South West either. My father couldn’t believe the prices when he first visited, and was almost back on the M5 before he’d sampled a second sip of a flat pint.
Six pints of bitter or lager would have set you back £15 even back in the ‘90s in Exeter and you had to choose your pubs carefully if you weren’t going to run out of money before pay day, the relief when the bank account was topped up, your rent paid and the rest yours to spend being tremendous.
Almost all the reporters I hung out with were like that. We met up in the pub every night after what was at least a ten hour daily shift, some would just stay out for one or two, others would move on and three of us would head off in search of more entertainment.
It was an approach that cost a lot, but one that gave us plenty of memories, many of which could not be recalled here. And would I swap that for the nicer house and all the trappings? I don’t think so.