Circle of Strife

I’d like to say this gig was the most momentous thing that happened on May 1st 1997.

However, elsewhere, the country was making a seismic shift even as The Charlatans were hitting the Royal Court stage.

The date of the gig was also the same as that year’s General Election which saw Tony Blair sweep in with a landslide victory and end 18 years of Tory rule.


I’d worked for the Labour Party in the previous General Election, stood as a Labour candidate for our local council and remained a party member, so later in the evening I celebrated royally with our newly-elected MP.

It was a wonderful night as every Tory defeat was cheered to the echo and the beer flowed into the early hours.

It’s also the reason I remember the day with some affection, as opposed to this gig.

Not that I’ve got anything against The Charlatans. Quite the opposite in fact. Great band, solid career, clutch of marvellous tunes that grace any set list.

However, on this occasion I had given my money to someone else to get tickets and while I was running my Beaver colony (long story) they stuck their head round the church hall door and said ‘we’re going now, here’s your ticket, see you there…’ or words to that effect.

‘Cheers,’  I replied, pocketing the ticket and got back to the kids who were, by now, climbing the curtains after being left unsupervised for all of 30 seconds.

I next looked at the ticket when I presented it at the door and the security guy motioned to the stairs.

Now, at this time, I hated sitting at gigs and when I got to my seat the two lads I was going with were nowhere to be seen. Turns out they had bought stalls tickets before taking my money and on returning to the theatre found there were only circle seats left.

So I sat with a face on waiting for the band and cheered up only when they started playing.

Now I didn’t realise the ramifications this would have until several years later when a student on work experience with the newspaper I worked for said she recognised me.

‘You were sat next to me at The Charlatans and looked in a really bad mood,’ she said.

Coincidence or what!?



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