Sunday 13 November 2022

Something And Nothing - a gig (of sorts)

I haven't really bothered with gig reviews this year (though I have still been keeping track of them), but on Thursday night, MrsRobster and I attended a special show by one of our all-time heroes, Mr David Lewis Gedge. The great man has just published the second volume of his autobiography 'Tales From The Wedding Present'. This one is subtitled 'Something And Nothing' and picks up where volume 1 ('Go Out And Get 'Em Boy') left off, covering the period around the release of the band's first album, the evergreen classic 'George Best'.

I've not had chance to read it yet, but in case you didn't know, it's not your normal autobiography. Gedge has always loved comics, and he has overseen the publication of a few Wedding Present comics over time, featuring different stories from the group's history. The books essentially tell Gedge's story in comic book form. Aided by the wonderful illustrator Lee Thacker, former Cinerama/Wedding Present (and Goya Dress) bassist Terry de Castro, and David's girlfriend Jessica McMillan, Gedge compiled some of the previously published tales along with brand new ones that he and family, friends, acquaintances and exes have recalled.

So a few nights ago, Gedge, Thacker and de Castro (along with current Weddoes bassist Melanie Howard) came to Cardiff on the second date of the book launch tour. The three - led by de Castro - fed us anecdotes covering not just some of the new book's content, but also some insight into how the project came together. There were some fascinating revelations.

(WARNING: If you're planning on going to one of the remaining dates, you might want to skip the next paragraph so as not to spoil things...)

Firstly, we learned that the Kevin in Give My Love To Kevin is not a real person. Like many of Gedge's songs, it was inspired by overhearing a conversation between strangers. When departing one stranger said to the other "Give my love to Kevin", and Gedge thought that would make a good song title! My favourite anecdote was related to the fact that Gedge is absolutely meticulous (read: geeky) in his record keeping to the point where he keeps spreadsheets on everything. Even back as far as the 80s, before he could enter anything onto a computer, he kept a record of which of his loud shirts he wore at which gig. This would ensure he never wore the same shirt twice in the same place on subsequent tours. "In fact, if I wore one shirt in Cardiff, I'd make sure the following year I wore that shirt as far away from Cardiff as I could!"

Following the interviews, the audience was invited to ask questions. I contemplated whether I should ask one. My initial idea was to ask Gedge about all the band members of the past and how some of the numerous sackings had taken place. Someone beat me to it however. So I managed to come up with the final question of the night:

"October 1988, Exeter University. My first ever gig - The Wedding Present. My mate and I were in the lobby just prior to the show and this guy walks right past us. 'That's David Gedge,' I said. 'Nah,' said my mate, 'he wouldn't be here mingling with the likes of us.' But it was you, mingling with the likes of us, and you've done it ever since. Do you think that's an important part of who you are and what you do?"

His response? "Not really no! It's just to stop the boredom of hanging around backstage waiting to go on." He did elaborate a bit though, and confirmed that he actually enjoys it.

After a short break, David, Terry and Melanie convened for a short semi-acoustic set of songs. It's interesting how well some of the material works in this stripped-back form, even those songs that are usually so fast and frantic. Something And Nothing sounded great, as did both Dare and Crushed. Along with some old crowd-pleasers (Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft, You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends, My Favourite Dress and Brassneck), there was also room for some proper deep cuts, such as Big Rat from the 'Watusi' album, Close Up, from the Cinerama album 'Torino', as well as Science Fiction, the new single due next week - the 11th monthly single of 2022.

All this in the wonderful setting of the Acapela Studios, a beautiful converted chapel in the village of Pentyrch, just a few miles outside Cardiff. MrsRobster and I booked a table so we could indulge in the venue's famous pizzas prior to showtime. It's this that helps raise the money for the venue to book its acts. It's a place you really should visit if you're in this neck of the woods.

So, food, drink, autographed books and David Gedge. Could it really get any better? I highly doubt it. If you get the chance to go along to one of these shows, I very much recommend it. Failing that, buy the book (or books, if you haven't got volume one already).

Here's a couple of tunes from the night someone I know managed to capture.


  1. Really wish I could make it to one of these, but sadly can't.

  2. Was able to catch this tour (?) at Dartington. Fantastic evening and although we didn't go for the pizzas, the beer/ Gedge combination was excellent!

  3. Absolutely wonderful!!! To my shame, I gave the Glasgow leg of this tour a miss. I had too many things to sort out that weekend just before going off on holiday. More fool me.