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Charlie Don’t Surf, West Street.

Charlie Don’t Surf, West Street.

Well Charlie Don’t actually surf on West Street but were playing Live at the West Street in Sheffield. On my recent trip home to the good old Steel City I get the opportunity to use my camera for more than taking pictures of beers. Its been a while since I photographed Live Bands not since my student days. To get the opportunity to see my good buddy Mark (who has had the pleasure of knowing me since before infant school ) and Charlie Don’t Surf in action was something I was looking forward to, It seemed only reasonable to offer my services to take some photos. Having been a Professional Photographer for 12 years+ it seemed like the perfect idea.

And to be totally honest as ideas go one of my better ones, however this now requires me to actually put my money where my mouth is. How is this going to turn out? I had been hearing rumors of West Street its changed they say, we better warn you, you might be shocked. Well this was certainly a turn up for the books, I had spent many a year ploughing up and down West Street crawling from pub to pub. I moved in just off West Street ate at the Bombay 3 times a week ( Still don’t know what was in their curry) worked at the Job Center it was everything I knew. How crazy could it be? I remember Pajama Jumps  and other very dubious happenings.

I also remember early mornings walking down to the bakery and getting fresh Parkin in November, buying cheap Bavarian larger at the corner store, lunchtimes drinking in the “Frog and Parrot” just because. On a hot summer night just returned from Europe a case of Alsace white in my hands, being collected from the station by the usual suspects. That night it was hot,we went to see “Haze” upstairs at the Hallamshire, oh what glorious days. What ever happened to Gabadon?( Don’t trust my spelling) I have photos of it all, hang around a bit follow my blog, I am not as big an ass as you think. Well probably not.

Turns out they were warning me about the girls! Girls on West Street, I knew about meeting girls on West Street, well the ones hanging around the Hoover shop up near Glossop Road Baths. I mean a real one that requires Martini and Lemonade, not cash to function. Looking for god knows what but probably not me or anyone I know if form is anything to go by. I did meet one once (well I did but lets not talk about that, I will leave that to Jez to tell us all about) even the ones I took to West Street seemed to disappear by the bus ride home. So hearing comments like you will get an eyeful,you will be shocked, will your aging heart take it. All those young students. ( I was beginning to feel I was being accused of some sort of perverseness I did not know I possessed) I must admit not really into that sort of thing respectable Husband and Father me. But if scantily clad young girls want to traipse up and down West Street then so be it.

It’s not as if I would be drinking in any of those bars, I am sort of old school I dreamed of the old days and to be frank had crossed West Street a couple of times the Friday before on a trip with Mr Battle to a number of pubs. I was going to write a poem but I think a list will suffice in order for forms sake.

“The Brown Bear”

“The Sportsman”

” The Dog and Partridge”

“The Bath Hotel”

“The Red Deer”

As you can see weaving our way back and forth across West Street. I must admit I did not see much to worry me. So on the night of the gig I get dropped off early on West Street, all is quiet I arrived just before the band. Took  a hand full of shots of the set up had one small double Tanqueray and tonic at a remarkable 3 quid. Hung about a bit like a sad old Billy No-mates until rescued by Peter, this time fortunately not in his wife’s dressing-gown. Off to DADA, for just one small pint as I have the camera and respect it more than myself.

This is the bit where surfing and warnings come into play. On the trek back up the hill past the good old job center we are met by a flood of pee heading the other way, not so strange, I have slashed against the job center wall myself a couple of times in desperation and in protest. Glancing round the corner I am met with the rather surprising sight of a number of young what I will call ladies with their skirts up and knickers down hosing down the ally. Good job I had my boat shoes on, if you wish a clearer impression than that I am reliably informed there are a number of Web site dedicated to that sort of thing ( I didn’t have my camera out at the time so no pics) or I guess you could just take a trip down West Street on a Saturday night.

West Street Live  “Charlie Don’t Surf”  awesome gig place is packed lots of music fans turned out for two classic sets of Rock, you have to support local bands and venues or there won’t be any. Great to see so many old faces, like me looking older, slightly larger  than before and probably still non the wiser. Took shots all the way through the first set, apologized once on fear of getting a smack and decided to pack it in hoping I had enough shots in the bag. Cameras put to bed, we drank the night away with lots of Czechoslovakian Pilsner. Highlight, a dedication of a dubious nature and a Thin Lizzy track, it does not get any better. PA was spot on one of the best small venue sounds out there, for my money could have been a bit louder.

Only took a look at the photos this week and we have some reasonable results……






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