It’s been a surreal evening – not in a bad way, but more in a, “well I wasn’t expecting THAT!“ kind of way.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I made contact with a guitarist I used to play in a band with back in 1982. You know the sort of thing; look someone up on Facebook, discuss about getting in touch and see if it can really happen before life gets in the way. Well this time, things really did go the extra mile, thanks to a catalyst in the form of another blast from my musical past, Mr Gary Stewart Smith. Via a strange twist of fate, meeting up with Gary for the first time since the mid 1980’s was another chance scenario…
It’s 4pm on Christmas eve and I need an HDMI lead for my new TV. The SCART lead won’t do as it throws a horribly pixelated picture to the 42″ screen at a lousy resolution. I have two choices here:
- 1.) Go to Argos.
- 2.) Try my local electrical shop.
Well, Argos at this time of night on Christmas eve is a fools game for sure. Chances of my local shop being open are minimal at best, but for reasons unknown, I choose to turn my car in the direction of Hoylake, home to the most unlikely candidate. To my surprise, it’s open and can supply an idiot like me with goods at near closing time. But there’s a twist in the tale, because the shop assistant recognises me, introduces himself, and I realise it’s Gary Smith – friend of the Facebook ex-band member I’d been chatting to days before.
It’s a funny old world, that’s for sure, and convinced it must be fate, he invites me to a small gig he’s playing in a few days time at a local wine bar, which will be a chance for me to meet up with my Facebook discovery and another band member from the same era – which is where tonight comes in.
Turning up at ‘Slinky’s’ wine bar in West Kirby, I see Andy Kitchinson and Gaz Hill, both guitarists from my 1982/3 band, ‘Threshold’. I haven’t seen Gaz since another ex-band members wedding over a decade ago, but Kitch I haven’t seen since 1984. Turns out Gaz has switched to Bass guitar these days and both him and Kitch will be getting up with Gary later on for a few songs; and that’s where it gets surreal.
Squeezed into the micro-stage area somewhere at the back, is a small Cajon, tambourine and a couple of shakers. It seems I am expected to get up and play at what is to be, as near to a ‘Threshold’ reunion that we’ll ever see. Before I can take stock of the situation, I am up there doing my best to provide some sort of rhythmic accompaniment and it’s as though 30 years of being away never happened. I’ve often dreamed of a band reunions but dismissed them as impossible fantasy, considering how people change from their teenage persona’s. But this is real, wrapped up in a blanket of surreality that still envelopes me as I write.
As it happens, my ex-band mates don’t really play much any more; but after tonight’s proceedings, free from the teenage hang-ups that hindered us three decades ago, perhaps we may just get together again for the purposes of playing music, just for fun, like we did, before life snared us into inevitable adulthood.