Ever wonder what a Telstra dial tone sounds like?
It has been a while since the last time I saw the Ruts. 1978, to be precise. It was a party held in Hayes Labour Hall and the Ruts were supported by the Desks and the Brain Surgeons.
Fast forward almost 40 years. When I saw that Ruts DC were going to tour Australia this year and play in Brisbane I mentioned it to Lisa and she snapped up two tickets as a birthday present. Brisbane is a long way from us; It’s a round trip of about 3200 km (2000 miles). That’s a lot of petrol, four long days on the road and two nights in a hotel. Once the Ruts hit the stage we knew it was time and money well spent.
They were playing their first – and hopefully not last – Australia/New Zealand tour and this show was part of the Punkfest at the New Globe Theatre in the heart of the Fortitude Valley area of Brisbane.
There were two support bands: Kingston Stompers and Spike City. Both bands were pretty good and played a fine mixture of ska, reggae and punk.
Spike City reminded me of a 21st century version of Madness and even have a small brass section. The trumpet player sported a rocking mohican too.
Then the Ruts came on. A bit of banter with the audience and they blasted straight into Surprise.
As good as the support bands were, this was a lesson in how to play a gig. When a band has known each other for nearly 40 years they are going to be tight. When I first saw the Ruts at the Southall Centre playing with Misty In Roots in early 1978 they were really very good. They haven’t lost any of their edge or energy in that time despite only two of the original four members still being alive.
The set was well thought out with a great mix of old and new songs. There was more good-natured banter between Segs, Ruffy and the audience. The latter was a mix of kids who were born after the loss of Malcolm Owen and people the same age as the band. No matter what their age everyone knew the songs and sang along with them.
The traditional faux encore was amusing. Leigh and Segs left the stage but Dave Ruffy stood and chatted with the audience. He told them about his dicky hip and that he couldn’t be arsed to get off stage only to have to climb back up a few minutes later. If you heard his high hat and kick drum pedal work during the show you wouldn’t think there was anything amiss. Ruffy is probably the best drummer to come out of the punk era and this gig just proved it again.
All too soon – actually after almost two hours of music – and the gig was over. I hope they come back again.
We scored some merch, as the kids say, and came away with a poster, a t-shirt and two CDs by the Ruts. Also bought a t-shirt from Spike City.
All in all a great night out and it brought back lots of memories of days gone by and people no longer with us: Malcolm Owen, Paul Fox and Lizzie Cook.
Lisa has been using her holiday time wisely doing some genealogy research on my side of the family. Some interesting snippets have surfaced.
Nan and grandad lived in Acton before they moved to Dagenham. The 1901 census says grandad was an electrician. The 1911 census record shows he was employed fitting arc lighting to early London black cabs. There was a taxi manufacturer, Du Cros Cars, in Acton that was founded in 1908. The owner, William Harvey du Cros, was MP for Hastings, which was grandad’s place of birth so that fits in quite nicely.
Once upon a time in a land far away I owned this. It’s a Land Rover 101 Forward Control.
The vehicle was previously owned by the British Army and I picked it up from a dealer in Leeds. It was then given a spring clean, including converting it from left- to right-hand drive and 24V to 12V electrics. New fittings included Bostrom suspension seats and Sparco five point racing harnesses.
The steering was heavy. Very heavy. Reverse parking it was a bitch in London but at least other traffic always gave way. Even taxi drivers.
The 101 was designed to be air-portable so all the body panels only took a couple of minutes to remove. The tilt and frame also came off leaving not much more than the floor and front panel. Possibly the ultimate convertible.
Some owners went a bit further when customising their 101s. This beauty is from the film Judge Dredd
I’ve only recently discovered these old photos. If I find any more I shall add them to this post. As always, high resolution images are available if you click on the thumbnail images above.
Desktop customisation: openSUSE13.2 vs Windows 7 Starter edition
The starter edition has little in the way of options. You can move the taskbar and that’s about it. You can’t even change the desktop wallpaper.
The openSUSE desktop is endlessly tweakable. Here’ a grab of the same cheap netbook computer running openSUSE 13.2
Click the thumbnail images for a full size view.