I’ve ordered Midlake’s first album, Bamnan and Silvercork, from Amazon and await its delivery with refreshing keenness. I admire The Trials of Van Occupanther because it takes me to another place; its evocation of a kind of frugal nineteenth century backwater community resonates very deeply to the extent that I can almost imagine living there. It is a melancholic recording and one can almost feel the hunger pangs, despair at leaking roofs, the need to hunt, to marry, to survive. It is very clever, a concept album I suppose. The lead singer of Midlake is called Tim Smith and I appreciate this too as his namesake remains probably my all-time favourite Gloucester full back. It can’t be the same Tim Smith, can it?
This reminds me of another Gloucester RFC/North American popular music crossover. D, confident, no doubt, that I was now off the dentist’s chair, texted me last week to inform me, with zest, that the man in front of him at the John Fogerty concert was the spitting image of Phil Blakeway. I had promised D my own fond thoughts of the affable Blakeway as the formidable and burly prop had entered my mind recently too. The other week at Oxfam I discovered in the cavernous and cool warehouse that exists, TARDIS-like ‘out the back’, a signed copy of the tome, Rubbing Shoulders, Blakeway’s autobiography. With eyes misting over a touch, I constructed a small hand written sign which I attached to the cover before displaying both in the glass cabinet set aside for special items. My sign read, ‘Gloucester Rugby Legend. Signed Copy’. A week later it had been bought. I hope the vendor appreciated my sign and sensed that a kindred spirit had been at work.