IN the voice of that famous film trailer man: "Chris Beckett is... THE TICKETMASTER". Seems the artist formerly known as Becks has a new string to his bow, according to sources close to the talented one. The news reaches me from two of my most reliable sources, Rosey and Withers.
It appears Becks is prone to invite his close friends to join him for an evening out, watching rubbish bands and such like.
Those pals, not wishing to hurt the sensitive designer's feelings, generally say, "Yes, I'll think about it" believing that by the time the gig comes around their words will have exited his memory. But Becks is far too clever for that. His plan, hence the new nickname, is to actually go and BUY the tickets, then invite erstwhile friends to part with their hard-earned dosh and spend an evening watching, say, Dartz. "Absolute garbage," as Withers put it, and I don't think he was talking about another band appearing on stage at the Barfly. Having done this twice now, the cohorts are wary. In future they will just be saying "No thanks, mate, no hard feelings."
Talking of bands the highly influential Nathan, a kind of modern Tony Wilson of Hacienda and crap telly show fame, managed to wangle me two tickets for the Kaiser Chiefs at the students' union. Now the last time I was at Cardiff Uni to see a gig was The Jam in 1979, so I was viewing the evening with as much trepidation as anticipation. I decided to ask along Scooby as I needed a fellow "oldest swinger in town" to bolster my confidence.
Turned out it wasn't too bad after all, a nice mix of people, some decent cheap beer at student prices and a cracking performance by the Chiefs, so much so that even I was chanting "Chiefs, Chiefs, Chief" like some American baseball-loving bozo by the time it came to calling for an encore.
A little gaggle of student girls were stood next to me and I decided to impress them with my psychic powers. "You can join in the chorus to this one - you only have to know five words," said whatsisname, the lead singer (got to remember their names they are going to be a huge band over the next couple of years). Turning to the little fresher next to me I whispered: "Na, Na, Na, Na, Na". Wow, was she impressed, looking all starry eyed when the Chiefs blasted into the song. Genius or what? Well, what? really. It was blindingly obvious. Either students these days are even thicker than they used to be, or the girls were just along for the ride and had never heard the Chiefs before.
All in all an eventful night, with Scooby helping a girl to her feet who appeared to collapse from heat exhaustion and, I hate to suggest it, but maybe too much alcohol or even a funny tablet or two. I also managed to squeeze my plastic glass due to an involuntary tic (that's old age for you) spilling three quarters of my pint over the floor and getting stares from all around as if I was a drunk. How very dare they! Crowned it with a nice pint of 5 per cent Heineken in the Tut (now known by its old name of PCs but it will always be the Tut to me) before going to bed.
Woke up bleary eyed for a full day at the office on Saturday, plonked the post outside Scooby's door and left him to sleep it off.
Quite a busy day, Wales lost another match and blamed another referee, this time for not allowing them enough extra time at the end of the game to turn defeat into victory. Our sister paper the Western Mail had already used Clock-Gate, and every other Gate imaginable, so the headline writers were no doubt struggling on Sunday. Can't wait for controversy to strike at the local Market Garden so they can have "Garden-Gate" blazened across the front page.
An eery feeling crept over me when I reached home late that night. The Alarm was off, the door unlocked, the post still outside Scooby's door. Had he failed to recover from our night out? From what I remember he was fairly sober - not that I remember much.
Decided that maybe he had just popped out before me, but when he hadn't returned on Sunday morning I thought I had better send a text. "U ok, Scoob?" was the gist.
Turns out he had received a phone call at home in the early hours of Saturday morning inviting him around to a mate's for an impromptu party. Not ready to call it a night he set off at about 2 in the morning.
Nice to know some of us old 'uns can still hack it.
Sunday I went to visit my folks who are a month away from selling their house and moving into a smaller flat. Enjoyed a beautiful roast lamb dinner so much I had second helpings.
They had finally found a big bloke to get up the loft after my miserable failures, and my Dad was waiting with a box of old Gashead programmes. "You can have these," he said. They date back to 1972.
It's been a very nostalgic weekend.