“I hate to tell you this, son, but no we didn’t, lad. No, we didn’t.”
“We saw A New Order. But not THE New Order.”

It’s a conversation between father and son that sadly is becoming more and more common in our Retropolis. In my case, this involves heated arguments with my offspring, such as, ‘No, we didn’t see The Stranglers at the wonderful Wickerman Festival in Scotland. We only saw a band vaguely resembling them, but without anchorman Hugh Cornwell, que pasa! Nor have we seen The Specials without the wondrously glum Terry Hall, or Take That without überclown Robbie Williams. (That last example was in fact a veiled attempt at humour and must never be used against me in a court of law.)

Of course, there are exceptions. Bands such as The Who and Led Zeppelin by virtue of the grim reaper could never be restored to their original line-ups – or could they? What about the idea of paying hard earned spondoolicks to watch a fucking hologram? Surely the stuff of nightmares.

What next? Prince without Prince? Bowie without Bowie? Not on my watch, young man.

Returning to the aforementioned king of the dark, Hugh Cornwell, some years ago I went to one of his solo shows at a smallish venue. Naturally, it was teeming with Stranglers fans in anticipation of a good dose of the good old stuff. After three or four examples of Hugh’s no doubt finely crafted new songs, a deathly hush descended and bemused onlookers wondered, ‘Wherefore art thou, ‘Peaches’?’

Hugh, being an obviously sensitive soul, picked up on this chagrin and promptly ‘did one’ off the stage and back to his dressing room, no doubt to continue crafting his new album.

Much hullabaloo and cries of “wanker” ensued and all was not well in the parish. Anyway, after a short interval and possibly being told payment would be withheld, the brave little soldier returned and treated his acolytes to a good old punk singalong. Fair play to him.

So, leave band line-ups alone or not? Discuss or don’t, to be honest I don’t really care. Now I must go as I’ve just seen something happening in other people’s lives and, I’ll be darned, now it’s happening in mine.

Brian Rooney