Tag Archives: The Specials

54-46 (That’s My Number)

Still buzzing from Wednesday night’s Special’s concert. Not surprising though, I had been waiting 30 years to see them and I definitely had a smashing time at the show.

Just reliving the event for a few minutes via You Tube was a thrill. All I’ve been listening to for the past 48 hours have been the Specials in all their incarnations. Neighbors haven’t complained.

Below me is a vacant apartment and Mike & Nicole have been away for the past few months taking care of Mike’s mom. I will have to bide my time until August 22 when the Specials play Summerstage. If it’s a free show I will be inside the play field. If not, I will more than likely be on the rock.

Today is Alexander’s birthday. He’s now 2 years old. I just saw him and Stine in the hallway. He’s even more adorable than last time. A few high fives, a kiss and a few bye byes. I’m having dinner with Stine, Alexander and Julio in a little while.

I bought a soft globe for Alexander for his birthday at Big Fun on Washington Street. They were helpful. I asked for toys for 2 year old boys and they found a few that were nicely priced. I decided to go for a quiet toy rather than a noisy toy.

Best for all concerned I think.

It’s been a beautiful day today. Yesterday I did attempt to go play by the river but after playing Do Nothing by the Specials a few rain drops fell and I sought some cover. It did eventually relent but then everything was wet so I headed home. And that’s how it’s been.

There were a flurry of job listings last week, most of which I applied for. Lately, not so much. And of course, there’s been no responses. Even sent a ‘Hello’ email to Greg Stevens, just checking in to which no reply has been received yet. No worries yet. I’ll give him a call on Monday.

Now I’m just killing time before heading downstairs for dinner, enjoying a cigar while I am at it. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight so he won’t be back until tomorrow morning.

I’ve been sleeping better. Been taking melatonin at night before I sleep and I’m definitely more relaxed than I’ve been. Maybe it’s actually working, maybe it’s mind over matter. Either way I can sleep restfully.

Didn’t need to take it on Wednesday since I did walk up from 42nd and 8th Avenue to 56th Street and 12th Avenue, then standing around and dancing for a few hours, a ride to 34th and 9th from Miriam and a walk over to 32nd and 6th and finally a walk home did me in pretty much that night.

But last night I did take it and felt pretty good. Sometimes messages still get through my mind as I try to sleep but I don’t dwell on them.

Perhaps after I watch the Pacific & Treme on Sunday night I’ll be able to sleep without thinking about how hand grenades work or the catastrophe that Katrina wrought.

You can be sure I will let you know.



Hey Little Rich Girl

Well here I am about 24 hours later. I saw the Specials. After 30 years of waiting, seeing a different version of the Specials, seeing a version of their label mates The Selecter, I finally got it together, got a ticket and I was there.

I was anxious of course. After I wrote here, I slowly got myself together. Phat Farm suit with a few errant threads, a seed hole in the pants, wear and tear on the crotch area took it out of being an office suit and is now the rock and roll suit.

Played tag with Miriam on the cellphone as I waited for the bus, finishing up a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero 700. It had rained a bit and I brought my umbrella. There was no need since it never rained again last night. But still I didn’t want to arrive all soggy.

Texted Miriam as well as pseudonym as I was on the bus. Pleasantly uneventful sight. Couldn’t tell if I was being cruised by an Indian fellow or he was merely entranced by my thick and thin white over the calf socks.

I went all out with my Rude Boy look, but did not wear a pork pie hat. As I walked up 9th Avenue from the bus terminal I could spot a few other concert goers by the checkerboard patterns they were wearing. Miriam had an extra ticket and she was looking to sell it.

Pseudonym texted me that she was parking in a garage across the street from the venue, Terminal 5. I met up with Miriam and we drove around looking for a spot where we found one a few blocks away. I should have left the umbrella in the car but didn’t.

Pseudonym was inside already while Miriam scalped a scalper outside Terminal 5. He was about to make a sale, selling a ticket for $50.00 when Miriam undercut him and sold it for face value, $30.00.

We made it inside and got on line for some beer when Pseudonym showed up and told us it was less crowded at the back bar. It was a bit less crowded as Miriam bought us all a drink. Pseudonym was a trip to be around. “I got tickets to see PiL and Buzzcocks” she remarked. I was nonplussed.

I remarked at how warm it was inside with me wearing a suit & tie and all the bodies that were filling in which caused her to call me, ‘Saporito’. Yes, anyone who sweats, any mammal will get that name in her eyes.

Pseudonym wandered off saying that she was going to stand by a wall where she usually stands and Miriam and I got another round. We headed in the direction of the wall that Pseudonym was talking about when midway we found an excellent spot.

The DJ was playing some old school roots reggae and Miriam were grooving on it when all of a sudden the lights went down and the Special logo appeared onstage, causing a lot of whooping and hollering.

They opened with Do The Dog and immediately went into Dawning of a New Era. Screaming and dancing all around.

I looked around and felt I was a part of something. Some of us in the crowd probably bought the albums when they first came out years ago and now here we all were, singing along to every song, dancing as much as space would allow.

These were my 2 Tone brothers and sisters. Skinheads, rude boys, wool hat types, mods, rockers, punks, hippies and average folk (including Miriam, mother of 2) all getting along and having fun.

Once in a while a behemoth of a skinhead would surge through the crowd, trying to get to the stage and I would sweep Miriam out of the way, making sure she wouldn’t get trampled. No harm intended just a big guy followed by littler guys but barreling through.

Song after song came out. Terry Hall lead singer who’s recently gone on record about his battles with depression and he didn’t look like he was having a good time. He never did before though. At one point, during the song Nite Klub he sang his parts behind a pillar and eventually sitting on the steps behind the pillar.

Then he went off stage and when he came back, had an armful of bottled water which he handed out to the thirsty punters up front.

Every song was a singalong. My friend Andy who went the night before was absolutely spot on when he said the crowd went apeshit. They certainly did.

I did keep an eye out for Pseudonym but she went missing in action. I asked her earlier if she would give me a ride back to Hoboken, just 15 minutes out of her way but she was determined to get out of there as soon as possible, out of Manhattan and onto the George Washington Bridge to Hackensack.

Miriam was kind enough to drive me close to the Path train before she headed up to Westchester. I can only guess Pseudonym got out alright since she was nowhere to be seen nor did she try to contact me on the cellphone.

Didn’t matter though, Miriam and I had a great time, singing and dancing, no negativity around. Even walking the streets looking to get some water after the show was nice, looking at the other concert goers with the same blissful faces that we had.

3000 people singing along to songs they hold dear. Truly a wonderful evening. Special indeed. Miss ya Jerry!

I will definitely be there on Sunday August 22 at Summerstage when the Specials are scheduled to do a free show.

much better pics at Brooklyn Vegan:

Neville, Horace, Terry, John, Lynval and Roddy (Missing Jerry)

Neville, Horace, Terry, John, Lynval and Roddy (Missing Jerry)



Behind that pillar, Terry Hall

Behind that pillar, Terry Hall

4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 002
4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 004
4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 005
4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 008
4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 012
4.21.10 Specials Night LFD DL 700 008
Roddy & Neville watching Terry hand out bottles of water to the crowd up front

Roddy & Neville watching Terry hand out bottles of water to the crowd up front

Touch 2 Feel

Well today’s the day I’ve been waiting for. Tonight’s the night. The Specials at Terminal 5. Never had a chance to see the original lineup 30 years ago.

Like with the Clash I always said, ‘I’ll see them next time.’ Then they broke up and then it was with regards to Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros ‘I’ll see them next time’ then Joe up and died.

Now technically it’s not the Specials since founding member Jerry Dammers has not been asked to join the group. Jerry who directed and wrote most of their songs did not want a Specials reunion to be a nostalgia trip.

Jerry’s songs 30 years ago were topical, dealing with nuclear war, Margaret Thatcher and Racism and Jerry had hoped to continue moving in that direction with the band. The band decided not to go that way and decided to go the nostalgia route.

I’m of two minds on this.

I definitely agree with Jerry Dammers, but I have never seen most of the Specials live and this is my opportunity. They’re also scheduled for a free show at Summerstage on August 22 this summer but I found that out after I bought my ticket. Ideally, I would love it if Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra would make it to the states, but it seems unlikely.

I’m excited and I’m anxious for tonight. So much so that I almost didn’t leave the apartment at all today. I did eventually head out and it was beautiful. Sat by the river and read the paper and enjoyed a cigar.
Tonight at Terminal 5 I’m meeting two friends , Miriam and Susan.

I saw a version of the Specials in the 1990’s with Miriam and Susan at Roseland I think. No Terry Hall in the band, just a roomful of guys singing as close to the adenoidal tones as possible to recreate Terry Hall’s style. I doubt if Susan or Miriam remember each other. They’re arriving separately and hopefully I can get a ride home or to the Path train from one of them.

I even remember the day I bought the Specials first album. More specifically I remember being at the Bergen mall in 1979, waiting for the #44 bus headed home with three albums in the bag from Korvettes. The Pretenders first album, Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric and the Specials fist album.

A little old lady asked me about the music and I don’t remember what I told her. I was more familiar with Wreckless Eric and the Pretenders than I was with the Specials but all three were usually in heavy rotation on WPIX-FM.

And the Specials with their political views, fighting racism, demanding equality and fairness definitely struck a chord with me.

Oddly enough, I didn’t even see the Specials when they were on Saturday Night Live for some reason.

Tonight I am wearing a close approximation of a 2 Tone Rude Boy suit. I’m wearing my Phat Farm suit which has moved from business wear to rock and roll wear due to wear and tear. I also have a thin Ben Sherman tie with tiny Vespa scooters on it and more than likely will be wearing white socks.



But dudes- I’ve been wanting to do this for 30 bloody years.

Dark clouds are moving in so I’m hoping it won’t be too bad going in. Or let it rain now and get it over with.

Chaz’ pal Andy went last night and he said the band went on around 9:30. No opening act just a DJ which is fine. Andy said the people were super excited. Actually Andy wrote the crowd was absolutely apeshit.

Which will probably sum up how I will be feeling in a few hours.
Hoboken 4.21.10

and from SNL

and beyond…

Specials 2009

Touch Too Much

Today I don’t feel like writing. Mainly it’s from not sleeping well again last night. Cut down on coffee drinking considerably. I should have it together by Wednesday night, when I will go see the Specials.

Played guitar by the river for about 45 minutes. Hardly anyone around and once again it was cool and breezy which is sort of how I feel. You would think it would be a good fit, but no, not really.

Just couldn’t connect with the guitar which happens sometimes. Perhaps a day away from each other should do us both some good. I did relearn two Specials songs, Gangsters and Rat Race. Just the right amount of Norwegians involved.

Of course no one in Hoboken will understand or know the songs but they often don’t understand my covers or recognize them.

Gave up on More Tales of the City and returned it to the bibliothèque along with Gosford Park which I wanted Bill to see but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen anytime soon. Last night I watched the Pacific which left me laying in bed as I tried to sleep, thinking about grenades.

Not exactly the most relaxing thing to think of when you are trying to fall asleep. Also watched Treme, the new series about New Orleans post-Katrina. Also not the funny, relaxing type of entertainment that might help.

Right now I’m watching ‘In the Loop’ a British satire on the events leading up to the Iraq invasion. It’s pretty funny oddly enough.

An hour later I am back here in front of the computer.

Had a nap. No, the naps are not the reason why I can’t sleep at night. The naps are needed since I haven’t been sleeping correctly.

The volcano seem to be getting worse. Stine’s parents were supposed to fly in from Copenhagen this week but it now seems unlikely. According to the NY Daily News, NYC has lost $250 million from the canceled flights and minimal European tourists. And airports on both ends are filled with travelers trying to get home.

Stine was understandably disappointed but what can you do? She told me when we talked on the phone this morning. On the news just now they said the volcanic activity is getting worse and stronger than previously expected.

Which goes to show, no one really knows anything about anything.

Today is Bicycle Day which is named in honor of Albert Hoffman who discovered LSD and felt it’s effects from quite an eventful bicycle ride. I should have gotten the bicycle out and gone for a spin.

Perhaps I’ll do that tomorrow. It’s supposed to be a warmer day and I’ll simply take a day off from guitar playing. Perhaps even from writing.

This is the 1,616 post and I think I’ve earned a day off from writing. Of course I say that now. It’s so ingrained into my daily routine that I will probably find something missing in my life around 6:00.
You’ve been forewarned.
pier a

Big Yellow Taxi

Last night nothing special once again, though seeing Julio and Stine and Alexander was special indeed. After that it was all pretty boring. I edited the titles of tracks on some cd’s that Annemarie sent me last year. That was a painstaking labor of love, trying to figure out what was what since they all couldn’t be by Benny Goodman.

I watched Carole King who is a nice Jewish lady from Brooklyn. Oy. She’s a love that one. Then it was The Who live in London 1977. The concert where they got two clips for the movie, The Kids Are Alright- Baba O’Reilly and Won’t Get Fooled Again.

The rest of the show was ok. When they started doing Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues (which for some reason people think the Who’s version is great, I think it’s leaden and plodding) I threw in a DVD of The Specials called Too Much Too Young. A nice collection of video clips and some live footage but over all the narration was dreadful. Flat boring and monotonous.

It was like the filmmaker/Narrator Brian Zabawski was reading something off wikipedia and didn’t read the words. Properly. Gets an E for Effort though, especially since I never went about making a Specials DVD of my own.

After that some SNL repeat with Tina Fey then off to bed for me. Bill was at his mother’s so I had the big ass bed all for my big ass. Slept really well, woke up went out, got papers and bagels. After breakfast I sat by the computer and was reading the Daily News, the Voice of the People section, also known as the Letters to the Editor.

I usually enjoy it and as I read I noticed a letter from Hoboken, with a name that was awfully familiar. What are the odds, I thought, of someone having the exact same name as me? Then I realized that I had sent a letter to the editor courtesy of MoveOn.org the other day and today they published it. Ha!

Not the first time the Daily News published a letter of mine. I think this was the third time. They never publish my letters regarding cars running red lights though. The New York Post also published a letter a few years ago about the smoking ban in bars, which if I recall was also published in the Daily News. I thought it was pretty funny. Bill was thrilled when I texted him about it.

cut n’ paste

Today was a beautiful day especially after the deluge of yesterday. I got some new bike shorts and gloves the other day and it was a nice enough day to take a spin around Hoboken. Rode up to 16th Street and looked around. Summer vacation is over for most if not all residents of Hoboken since there was no parking anywhere.

Rode down Sinatra Drive on the Hudson River and forgot all about the Italian feast. Today’s the last day. Procession through town, big heavy of the Madonna, fireworks and feast bombs. I missed all that. Apparently they stopped right in front of my building.

I rode past my old apartments in Hoboken. 1st Street and Park avenue, the mosquito infested illegal loft where I lasted about a month after donating a gallon of blood to the mosquitoes, leaving my loft mates high and dry but not in the lurch since I found 2 other people (Doug and Kate) to take my space.

1st and Park. It DID NOT look like this in 1984.

Then I rode by 201 Madison Street which was my first ‘real’ apartment. Lived with Jet for a while. I think I was there for about 2 years, moving out when the rent hit the outrageous rate of $500.00.
201 Madison

Back view- top 2 windows on right. My kitchen

From there I went to 1124 Willow Ave. The basement apartment. Had a few wild parties there and it was also the party center after McSwells closed at night sometimes. I lived there with Jimmy Lee and then eventually Barbara Granite who turned out to be a little off in the head. I lived there from 1986-1989 or so. It was a hovel. Thought I would live there forever, though I think that with most every place I move to.

Never had a door with a lock on it then….nor bars on the windows

But Barbara Granite moved out and I couldn’t find a roommate so I moved in with Kevin Craughn on Madison Street, across from where I originally lived. I don’t remember too much, it was 1990. That was a hovel too, only on the top floor. Kevin and I barely got along but it ended on a good note relatively speaking.
216 Madison Street

Definitely DID NOT look like his then

I moved out of there and into 710 Jefferson which was a nightmare. I had to be interviewed by the landlord in order to be a roommate. Barry’s roommate actually. He was on tour somewhere when I moved in and I had very little furniture, sleeping on a piece of foam.
710 Jefferson Street

the building in the middle

All the while Zed had been with me through most of these apartments, except for the loft. He had the run of the place most times, except when I lived with Kevin. Kevin’s cats intimidated Zed so much that he rarely came out from under my dresser for most of the year. Then when I lived at Barry’s place, Zed peed on his futon which Barry brought up soon after my mother’s funeral. I apologized but I obviously had other more important things in my life at that time.

I didn’t like living in that building. The landlady and her family were on the first two floors of the building and always kept an eye open on who was coming in and out through the door being slightly open on their apartments. After that I moved back to Lodi to live with my father for a few months despite a lot of people warning me not to.
Jane Street, last house on the right

From there it was to Weehawken with William where we had a love/hate relationship for 11 years. Then back to Hoboken where I am at now. Zed didn’t make it to Hoboken, he passed away when I was living in Weehawken. I buried him in the backyard there, which has probably been torn up and paved over.

And I didn’t miss the procession of the Italians and the Madonna. They just passed by.

Three Minute Hero

Ahh. A few years ago Bill and I saw a friend of mine have a recital. Dan Moore, the friend had rented out a studio space and had a pianist accompany him as he sang maybe a dozen songs with a couple of stories inter sped throughout. It was a good time, and similar to an idea I had, when I had ideas, that Bill and I dress up and cover Frank Sinatra and Count Basie’s album ‘It Might As Well Be Swing!’ I was to be the singer and Bill was to be the pianist.

I revisited that idea on the way home tonight listening to the forgotten Specials album, ‘In The Studio with the Special AKA’. I was listening to the song Break Down The Door and felt I could sing my own interpretation with Bill’s accompaniment. It could be fun, with a couple of shots under my belt perhaps. Break Down The Door was the B-side on the Specials single, Free Nelson Mandela.

I’ll always remember the night before Mandela was going to be released, I was spinning records at McSwells and I played Free Nelson Mandela. Martin Kelly came over to me and said it was the last time I would have to play that song. It’s still a good song, but a little dated. Oh the Specials have such a spot in my heart.

I found out in the latest issue of Mojo Magazine that the ‘We thought you were inferior’ header above my letter was part of a series of quotations from the movie, Planet of the Apes, not directed at me (see the post titled Ego Tripping Out) . So Mojo doesn’t think I’m inferior which is a weight off of my mind. Apparently that’s what they’re doing now, a line of dialog from a movie posted above each letter published, though that ‘inferior’ line didn’t do much for my self-esteem.

At work with the new people I am busy as ever and I don’t mind at all. It would have been great to have Juan in the office, but money is too tight. I’m doing all the work and finding some ways to get to do my own thing. For instance, I was in touch with the Roundabout Theater Company regarding Sunday in the Park with George and their volunteer usher program. I found out you have to go to the box office and inquire directly.

I planned to go to Studio 54 where it’s being performed at lunch time, but there was a file that needed to be delivered a few blocks away from there so I offered to save the company some money and deliver it myself, enabling me to check out the program at the box office. I go and talk to the proper people and found that all the volunteer slots are filled for the next two weeks, then the play closes.

Oh well.

I admit my ardor had cooled somewhat and I’ll have to be content with renting the dvd from Netflix of the original cast from 1984. I’m sure some volunteers will drop out between now and then, but I won’t have any way of knowing and they’ll have no way to contact me. Plus I don’t feel like lugging around black trousers and a white shirt, or wearing such an outfit, day in and day out for two weeks waiting for that call.

What am I? A stand by waiter?

Ego Tripping Out

It’s Thursday though last night I could have sworn it was Thursday which would make today Friday but it isn’t, it’s Thursday and that’s a drag. It happens from time to time, getting a little ahead of myself on occasion. Today was a day of fiasco’s. Bill asked me to drop off a power supply for his laptop at his office on my way to work this morning. That was no problem. The actual problem was I brought the wrong power supply. I thought he needed the one with the Apple logo on it but no. So I have to bring the one Bill actually needs which is no big deal, not even a hassle since it’s on the way.

I watched two documentaries on PBS last night, the first was a new documentary on Marvin Gaye. Great story, deserved more than an hour, though I guess that is where Jesse Martin comes in with his bio-pic of Marvin in the works. Should be an interesting scene of Marvin on the beach in Hawaii trying to kill himself by snorting many grams of cocaine. A troubled life for the trouble man. Great clips throughout the show of Marvin in his uneasy prime. What a sexy guy he was but couldn’t dance for shit.

The other documentary was about Aretha Franklin which had even better clips from the sixties, but it was a documentary from the late eighties it seemed. Keith Richards was in it for a minute or two and he looked still alive. Still there were some clips of Aretha live that sent chills up my spine. A friend of mine and I had a plan a few years ago to drive to Detroit just to hear Aretha sing in her church. Obviously it never came to fruition, never making it to Motown.

Work was ok. Nothing much to report. The bookkeeper was back after a bout with cancer which seems to be in remission and that was good to hear. She’s a buffer of sorts between me and Tom Chin. I was planning on trying to get Juan a summer job in my office, but as usual communication is up to me. A month ago I mentioned that there might not be a need for a receptionist and Vivek said there would be.

Today I mentioned it to Greg Stevens and he said there would be no need. So I figure I have to get a definite answer so in case it doesn’t go well Juan could figure out something else to do. Greg cited the cost, but it wouldn’t be much of a cost since it’s the same as we are paying Lydia presently. I’ll find out more about that tomorrow.

I also dealt with the insurance company and NYU dental school, who didn’t have me in their records. At least the first of several numbers I had dialed. Then the same thing with the insurance company. It turns out they did send a check for the scaling and planing they had done on my left side of my mouth. But they sent it to NYU and not me.

NYU does the work and collects money from me. That’s it. All insurance paperwork has to be done my me, not the dental school. They’ve already gotten my money, and now my check covering a little bit more than 50% of what I paid which is better than nothing.

Serenity now!

Oh forgot this nice little bit. I had a letter published in Mojo Magazine. It was actually the second time they’ve published a letter, or rather email that I’ve sent. This month’s issue, #175 with Slash on the cover. I don’t like Slash. In the UK it was Paul Weller on the cover. My letter was about the previous month’s switch of covers for a US readership. Instead of a great picture of one of my all time favorite bands ever, The Specials, they had Neil Young. Great songs, but let’s face it, he’s a geezer. The Specials, interracial, young and handsome with a great political slant are much more easy on the eyes.

My letter is under the heading “We thought you were inferior” and the letter goes as follows:

I love you MOJO, I really do. I buy your magazine every month. I was driving the newsagents crazy insisting MOJO 174 had the Specials on the cover. Then I saw Neil Young instead. I like Neil Young, but I got so much more from my beloved Specials. Just disappointed in the switch. I know you have to do it in the US since Neil is more famous that Jerry, Terry and co. And I still love you.

What do you think about that? I had to admit, I thought it was great as I laughed out loud.
But that headline…
What do you think it means?

Please check out this link from the wonderful Dan Savage. Cut n’ paste: