The wait to see The Stranglers has been a lot longer than Five Minutes - Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

No more hanging around as gigs get back on track
Mum's The WordMum's The Word
Mum's The Word

Finally, I make it to see The Stranglers. Talk about delayed gratification. After lockdown and Covid, which saw the death of keyboard player Dave Greenfield, and twice being rescheduled, the Final Full UK tour finally reached Glasgow’s O2 Academy. And so did we, despite a last-minute bid by Storm Malik to derail my travel plans.

Last time I saw the band maybe in the 20Teens and Dave Greenfield and Jet Black were still in the line-up and the audience was a roiling mass of testosterone and lager fuelled, leather-clad, mid-life crisis men, jostling and throwing pints. This time round, it was still as musically tight and JJ Burnel can still do that thing with his knees, but the audience was different.

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Looking across the crowd (my pal and I are wee and harmless so wriggle to a front bit and no-one minds - they can see over our heads and get somewhere to rest their pints and we have a perfect view) I expect a sea of bald heads like a colony of seals resting on a sandbank, but no, a good half of the hall is hirsute.

“People’s children?” I say to my pal, feeling a pang I haven’t brought mine.

“And grandchildren,” she says, and no, she and her husband haven’t brought theirs.

Well, they’re all at work.

All the hits are there, No More Heroes managing to still chime with the zeitgeist for a young audience wishing the politicians would Get A Grip, while Baz Warne and JJ Burnel’s acoustic The Lines struck a chord with those of us who can remember them live on Top of the Pops. It might feel like Five Minutes, but our faces bear testament to a life well lived. As they perched on stools, the audience fell quiet as they sang:

“If you were to chase

The lines on my face

This one was from drinkin'

These two are from smokin'

Those from my divorce

When everyone was fighting

There's no hiding place

For the lines on my face

These are for the laughter

I'll take to the hereafter

Crisis made by frowns

I had my ups and downs

Just try and find disgrace

In the lines on my face

These are from the smiles

When I look upon your face.”

“Aw.” I nudge my pal, as they spring up and tank on with another roof-lifter. “Glad they did that.”

“Yeah,” she says. “They’ll have needed a wee seat.”

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