Blog: Leeds Alarming 2000

I’m on merch duties at Leeds the Cockpit. I’ve been to more glamorous places
it has to be said 🙂 The band have just hit the stage just as the monitor
system decided to crash. This is a nightmare for the band as it becomes
such a struggle for the band to hear themselves on stage as they have to
rely on the ‘outfront’ sound.

I think we’re all feeling wasted today. It’s strange how a ‘day off’ can
disorientate everyone – it’s almost better to keep on trucking. Mike in
particular prefers to gig day after day as it keeps his voice juiced up.

I’ve met some great people tonight once again – the legendary A.D.J. Simpson
who is known in MPO quarters as being the ‘first’ to purchase almost
everything released on 21st Century Recordings, Gathering ticket etc. Nigel
Timmins, an MPO stalwart , Steve Woodhouse, an RE teacher and Alarm lover
and of course not forgetting the beloved MPO crew, Andy & Sam Greenley, Ian
Francis, Katrina Copping and Jackie Collins (real name, honest!)

Mike conducted an interview for BBC Radio just before he hit the stage. It
had been a long day for Mike with a 7.45 start (I had to KICK him out of
bed). Mike was meeting Johnny, remember, the personal trainer and a few
mountains were calling. Granted, last night, Mike had relaxed in front of
the telly, watching his beloved Reds (he never sees the season tickets these
days) with the rest of the band, who naturally being blokes, all share an
appreciation for footie. Whilst on the run, Mike had an embarrassing
experience when he realised half way up the mountain that one of my pairs of
knickers had become attached to the collar of his training jacket (Must have
happened during my laundry session last night when I experienced the joys of
washing Big Jim’s smalls – yeah, I know, glamorous life ). Johnny Marine had
to point it out (they were pink and hanging from his collar!!!! 🙂 Mike
defended himself by claiming to be the new Tom Jones and that all the girls
in Newcastle the previous night had thrown underwear at him on stage.

Newcastle was a great night. It’s always been a difficult territory for us
for some reason since Mike ‘went solo’. We’ve never quite captured the heady
days of The Alarm and to be honest the Northeast will always represent the
time we had to play a nightmare gig on the same day Mike had been diagnosed
with lymphoma. Thankfully, Mike was one of the lucky ones. The North east
still makes me feel uneasy (no offence to the MPO Geordies :))

Anyway, Newcastle turned out to be an excellent night and I met so many
‘new’ Alarm fans who hadn’t seen The Alarm since 1991. I spent most of the
night chatting with Kirk Brandon from Spear of Destiny much to the ribbing
of all my crew members who reckon I just have a ‘thing’ for ‘singers’ 🙂 I
was still wearing my pvc rock chick trousers and pink cowboy boots and have
decided that this has to be the uniform of the tour. Death to trainers.

Speaking of Newcastle I should make mention of Mark Slater who has supported
Mike faithfully through the years and of course Alan Pearson who keeps in
touch with the MPO hotline on a regular basis.

Back in Leeds the crowd were just loving it. Mike’s voice which often starts
a little rusty for the first few numbers had oiled up perfectly. The band
are sounding great. As I have said before, we are all really gelling as an
Alarm 2000 ( or whatever you want to call us) team. Mike played a
dedication, ‘Absolute Reality’ for a guy’s girlfriend I had met. The guy was
a Spear of Destiny fan. The girl was a huge Alarm fan. I hurtled back to the
dressing room (Mike wasn’t officially doing dedications on this tour after
much consideration). ‘I can’t do that’ complained Mike. ‘Oh shit’ thought I.
‘Please Mikey Boy Darling’ pleaded I. ‘But I want to crash straight in to
Absolute Reality’ persisted Mike; ‘Can’t I do ‘Walk Forever’ instead’….
‘Nooooo’, pleaded I, all wifely charm and perseverance… she’s a
huuuuuggggeee Alllaarrrmmm fan!!!!!!! ‘Oh okay’ says the guy who always
tried to do the right thing. You should have seen the look on the girl;s
face. She had no idea and was absolutely thrilled. It was all worth it.

It’s such a primal thing, being part of the throng, whilst Alarm songs are
attacking your senses. I so desperately wanted to submerge myself down at
the front, but had to content myself with bopping away at the merch stall.
Not quite the same as being perched on someone’s shoulders but the next best

Maybe in Wolves….