New Musical Express, September 5, 1981

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... Bibliography ...



Crocks out of time

Paul Morley

Paul Morley visits Newcastle for the Rock On The Tyne festival and returns with the festival report to end all festival reports (we hope). Peter Anderson went along for the suntan.


The Polecats dedicating a song to me.

The Polecats going berserk on stage.

The strawberry milkshake on sale at the site/sight.

Bono waving to me from the stage (I waved back, so did hundreds of other people. I was embarrassed. But Bono said he was waving to me "It's funny but I always spot you." It's my nose.)

U2 not being too rock 'n' roll.

The walk away from the stadium on Sunday night.

Three Tia Marias at the hotel on Sunday night after leaving Rory Gallagher to get on with whatever it was or may once have been.

Elvis Costello saying hello to me in the hotel bar on Saturday night.


Ian Dury talking about Jack De Manio at breakfast on Sunday, and anticipating appearing on Brian Matthews' Radio Two show the next day.

Tim of The Polecats telling me that I'm Jake Riviera's least favourite "journalist." Wind up or not, I blushed.

Missing all but three minutes of Dr Feelgood's set.

Missing all but ninety seconds of Rory Gallagher's game.

Not even knowing if Fist, Diamond Head, Huang Chuang and whoever replaced Pauline Murray actually played.

Spotting Brendan Foster.

Being mistaken for Ian Penman.

The Polecats' van breaking down as they tried to make a sensible getaway — the battery had gone flat because they'd been watching too many videos.

Leaving Newcastle.


Like all pudding mild mares, the rock on the Tyne just wouldn't hurry up and let me go. Lifelessness was in the air: my mind was numbed, my feet were jammed, the view was the same. You're acquainted with that whopping list of complaints: The Festival Review — a stiffening parody of such an event's deadlock. Tyne was, even with Saturday's gesture towards American New Wave/the play abandon of new pop, yet another show down of bald stability.

The Festival, any outdoor pop roll-up lull, has past the point of being a toothless saunter, a waste product of adjourned intentions and occasional enterprise. The Festival is Paralytic. Inert. Dried up, not to be spied on, cried over, lied about ... Festivals are the village fetes in the pop world; the traditional comfort, run by vicar-types, opened and shut by make-believe celebrities, attended by the village idiots.

Two habitual readers from Middlesboro wanted to know why I was there at all — they knew the sterile operation would find no favour EVER EVER EVER. Why didn't NME send someone who likes festivals/heavy metal?


The NME is bulging with sensitive, God or something fearing separates, not one of whom sees the point in aligning pop music to the great outdoors, bordered with hot dog vans, ice cream vans, baked potato stalls — the milkshake stall can stay where it is — padded with sleeping bags, riddled with passivity. The Festival is not even the minor riddle it once was.

It is just a baggy thing that lurks, hopelessly. Somewhere for the dunces to dance. Lots of people have a good time? These people are backward. THEY ENJOY PLAYING PANTOMIME GAMES WITH LINDISFARNE AT FIVE O'CLOCK ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON!

The Festival Fiend is the peter pan fan — change holds no attraction, but the greatest thing in the world is if a conga player who once sold Eric Clapton an anarchist pamphlet with the centre page torn out and the crossword puzzle three-quarters filled in forms a group that encores at a festival in forms a group that encores at a festival with "Sunshine Of Your Love." Ginger Baker's Nutters — take them away! — encored to a million mouselike screams with "Sunshine Of Your Love," and along with Lindisfarne parting the Tyne with their thousandth version of "Meet Me On The Corner" this decade, and the very appearance of the third chubbiest performer at the festival (Gallagher, beaten by the Feelgoods' drummer and horrifically, The Attractions' singer), this was the weekend's true festival highlight for the Festival Fiend.

The Festival Fiend needs his bearings: life's appeal lies inert as a combination of the obvious, the predictable, the discredited, the appeased, the ruined, the compliant. To the Festival Fiend, life is one act of being rooted to the spot. The Festival Fiend clings to the belief that loud noise, scruffy clothes, dirt, lethargy and 'Led Zeppelin 1, 2 and 3' are the ultimate in anti-parent propensity. Some of us older ones have been a trifle silly in our time, some of us were perhaps fond of something the Feelgoods did, or whatever Gallagher had once upon a time. A lot of us have had flirtations with silly musics. But we grew out of it. We recognised the con. We responded to change, to choice. There was this strange urge to completely reject the tranquil treat of annual repeats of emaciated standards.

For the Festival Fiend the only hope in life is the retreat supplied by the sound of 'Freebird' or a dickhead trying to resurrect Wally or the tell-tale skulking of a Rory Gallagher solo. Can I tell all this without even going to Reading? Easily. Saturday attracted a less mugged sort of correspondent; Sunday was the implicating last work in ROOTED TO THE SPOT. The Festival Fiend screams give me my bearings. The Festival Fiend demands repeats. It'll be back next year.


I went up to Newcastle for a restful weekend. I made a mistake. I won't have recovered by the time you read this.


Elvis Costello - watching and trying to listen to Costello in these sort of circumstances is like trying to read Dostoyevsky in a cold waiting room in Crewe surrounded by bored United supporters. He played some new songs. I wrote down the titles on a piece of paper, but lost the piece of paper. This is the sort of thing that makes my editors sick.

Ian Dury - it was very little use without four walls.


Ginger Baker.

Walking to the Stadium on Sunday morning knowing all that was going to happen was Baker, Feelgood and Gallagher.

Ginger's Nutters.

The music played between performers.

Ginger's dogs.

Doll by Doll's legs.

Ginger's beard.

The crowd leaping to their feet to greet Lindisfarne.

Ginger's jacket.

Doll by Doll's flakin' feedback.

Ginger's trousers.

The price of a bloody mary in the guests' bar.

Ginger's hair.

The ruthless organisation which suggests that despite the meagre attendance, Rock On The Tyne will be as regular as Reading. Brendan would make more money holding a jumble sale. Or preferably holding up a bank.

The peace!

Sunday's exceptional lack of excitement.

Ginger's memories.

Tags: Rock On The Tyne FestivalBonoU2Ian DuryJake RivieraDr. FeelgoodIan PenmanLindisfarneEric ClaptonThe Attractions

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New Musical Express, September 5, 1981

Paul Morley reports on the Rock On The Tyne Festival, Saturday, August 29, 1981, International Stadium, Gateshead, England.


1981-09-05 New Musical Express page 47.jpg
Page scan.

Photo by Peter Anderson.
1981-09-05 New Musical Express photo 01 pa.jpg

1981-09-05 New Musical Express cover.jpg


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