Once upon a time this fine city of ours invested some of its citizens hard earned taxes into an airport, I can see the airport from here, my front window, I’ve lived within view of the airport for nearly all of my life, its an ok airport as airports go and until recently, as a city tax payer, I part owned it.
Then, a few years ago, the city fathers decided to sell the airport to a private company, and so they did and in doing so pocketed £40million which they promised to use for the benefit of the city.
After much soul searching, discussion, argument and tossing a coin they decided to invest the money into a concert arena for the city folk for this, the fourth largest city in the UK has never, I say NEVER, had an arena venue for concert events, we had the old Victorian Town Hall but they had to stop the rock gigs there when bits of plaster started to fall off the ceiling, we have smaller venues, but we have never had an arena style venue, NEVER.
Ok, we had the Queens Hall when I wor nobbut a lad but that was actually an old tram depot and had all the attributes of a huge open tram depot when trying to cater for music events, to say the acoustics were terrible is like saying that you can’t really hear the hotel disco very well when you’ve just fallen in the swimming pool.
And so they’ve been building our new arena for the last 18 months or so and now its nearly finished and today the tickets went on sale for its opening event – Bruce Springsteens Wrecking Ball tour is coming to town in July and 13,500 ticket sold out this morning in as quick a time as it takes to read the small print that says “Lowest Price Ticket £65”.
There will be those who will be nodding sagely and thinking, “Hmmm thats not bad £65 for a live gig” but you are diametrically opposed to my own musing which is muttering away to itself saying things like “Fuck…” and then pausing for a few seconds before saying it again.
But thats not the worst of it, I checked the Leeds Arena web site to see if there were other popular beat combos booked there that might be a little less stressful on the wallet of my wife for ’tis she who looks after these things and my chances of getting £65 out of my own wallet to pay for a Bruce Springsteen gig in my home city are somewhere down the bottom of the list of priorities along with other such imponderables as “Fill the car right up to the brim with petrol” and “Agree on a holiday destination this year, or next, or ever…”
Elton John, I could go and see Elton John in September for, wait for it, £78 per ticket.
The Kaiser Chiefs are only £32 a ticket (who?)
Andrea Bocelli in September, a snip at £131, each, per ticket.
I thought I owned part of this fookin arena, don’t I get a city shareholder discount or something ?
Frankly I wouldn’t walk to the church hall at the end of our street to listen to Elton John even if the tickets were free, The Kaiser Chiefs are no better than the modern equivalent of the Birdy Song with their jump-up-and-down and chant one line pop songs for the under 12’s and as for Andrea Bocelli, I’ve had two week long foreign holidays including flights and full board for less than two hours of his warbling.
My father would have done his bloody nut, and my father-in-law, for both my father and my father-in-law were committed committeemen, both steeped in the way of the CIU Working Mens Club organisation, both of them would religiously hand over their £6 every year to renew their CIU members card which granted them free access to tens of thousands of Working Mens Clubs across the country and the promise of a turn every Saturday night, and sometimes a turn on Sunday too.
And if one thing annoyed my father and my father-in-law more than anything it was when the turns who toured the clubs started to charge more for their services so that the clubs had to impose a cover charge on their concert room doors, “Sorry lads”, the concert secretary would say standing at the entrance to the concert room, “its a £2 cover charge tonight, popular beat combo on, they’re bloody good though”.
My father would do his bloody nut…
“£2 ?” he’d shout, “£2, TWO BLOODY POUNDS! Who the bloody hell have you booked, Roy Orbison ?”
To him, to them both, the issue of a cover charge on the concert room door was the greatest injustice ever done to the working man in his working mans club, you paid your £6 a year CIU fee and that should cover everything, I’ve even seen my father turn around and walk away, spoil his own evening out because he wouldn’t pay a £2 cover charge for “a bloody good turn”.
“It doesn’t stop there either” he’d explain in as logical a voice as he could muster, “they expect me to pay £2 for your bloody mother as well”
He had a point.
“£62 cover charge tonight lads, he is a bloody good turn though…”