Hello, we are The Wasting Land.
Most of you will recognise that as a Mike Peter’s song from his album Rise – which is where this little group of Alarm fans take our name.
We’ve not always been known as The Wasting Land but started our days as Distant Warning. Back in 2000 a few folks met via thealarm.com forum page and found that not only did we have a love for The Alarm in common, but a wider appreciation of music and a mad sense of humour. The first meet up of our core members was at The Gathering in 2003 quickly followed by lots of little meet ups at gigs where ever we could get to.
Later that year, Distant Warning the website was set up to promote up and coming bands and subsequently we set up our own forum where we could keep in touch and invite other, non-Alarm fans, into the mix. The website fell by the wayside but the forum and community continues to this day. As Mike himself said in Sheffield last week, ‘You’ve had nearly as many name-changes as me’. From Distant Warning to the Hack and currently The Wasting Land – here we are and all because of a little band called The Alarm.
It’s amazing to think that after 30 years, Alarm fans are still as passionate as ever. The band, in the early days and also in more recent incarnations have been so accessible to their fans. There is no feeling of ‘them and us’ between band members and fans, but an equality that you don’t often find in the music business. That has to be one of the reasons why there is still such a strong following today. Mike and the MPO have always been very supportive of us, agreeing to many and varied requests that come their way. Within our group alone we have had the privilege of Mike reading out a wedding proposal at a gig, he has sent music to be played at a funeral and a dedication to members of the group on their marriage. Jules has dug out sheet music for aspiring musicians, we’ve had birthday cards, mid-song mentions, shout-outs and always, always a welcoming smile at meet and greets. We know this doesn’t make us special as Alarm fans, we know this is typical of Mike and the MPO and there are hundreds of fans throughout the Alarm community who will each have such a story to tell. Rather this is what makes Mike Peters and The Alarm, special.
As individuals we all have our own personal Alarm stories, but as a group it’s been phenomenal. There’s not many Mike-related gigs you can go to without finding one or two Wasters there. Whether in the audience, doing merch, taking photos, or on the Love Hope Strength stall – there will be a Waster there somewhere!!
We’ve travelled the length and breadth of the country to follow the music and meet up with fellow Wasters and other Alarm fans. We’ve had Waster meet ups at the Scala Reunion Gig, Mike Peters solo gigs, Dead Men Walking, The Alarm, Los Mondos Bongo and Big Country gigs in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and beyond. We have Wasters in the US who have supported the music both here, across the pond and further afield, some of whom must hold the record for the most mileage travelled for the Alarm cause.
The Alarm have given us all so much. We decided as a group that we wanted to give something back. One bright and sunny but very cold January morning in 2004, ten brave souls did a sponsored swim in the sea at Llandudno. We raised a few hundred pounds for a cause close to Mike’s heart. This set a tradition for subsequent years, in fact until Love Hope Strength was formed. Like other Alarm fans, our members have taken up the baton of LHS and ran with it. The first ascent of Snowdon was a blast, popping Waster champagne at the summit in thick fog and drizzle was very surreal. Treasure hunts, sponsored walks, raffles, charity nights, collections and sponsored onesies, the sickeningly brave cadbury creme egg challenge that was streamed live on the internet from Ireland – we’ve done it all. Heck we’ve even donned glam rock wigs, pirate attire and cowboy and indian outfits for the gathering aftershows and it’s been great to see so many others join in.
2013 sees the 10 year anniversary of The Wasting Land – an unbelievable mile stone. Who would have thought we would still be going as a group of friends? In part that has to do with the longevity of The Alarm. We have formed some deep friendships – stayed at each other’s homes, met each other’s families and shared the high and low points of life, the universe and everything. One thing is for sure, none of this would have happened without the Alarm. How different our lives would have been if The Alarm had never existed. Maybe none of our paths would ever have crossed, and we wouldn’t have the lovely group of friends that we have today.
So thank you Mr Peters, for keeping on keeping on, and giving us not just the gift of music but of genuine friendships also. We don’t just want to say thank you in word, but would like to say thank you in deed also. On Saturday 26 January we will be revisiting the sponsored dip in the sea – this time at Prestatyn. All money raised will be going to Love Hope Strength. If you would like to add your thank you to Mike and The Alarm, then please sponsor us here: http://www.justgiving.com/the-wasting-land