Irrational Encounters With The Modern World

Dubious Claims To Fame – 2

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I have decided to relate a few wee stories that are essentially really rubbish claims to fame. All are true, if not necessarily spectacular, and hopefully hold some entertainment value for you, the reader. If nothing else, it will keep me out of mischief to jot them down.

I was, for a very long time, a huge fan of Iron Maiden. They were the first band I saw live (Barrowland, 1998), and the first time I ever went to London, it was to see them (Shepherd’s Bush Empire, two Rock In Rio warm-up shows, January 2001). It made sense to me, going all that way to see them, to stick around and see them the next night too – inasmuch as it made any sense to travel 400 miles to see a band who tour reasonably regularly.

The same thing happened in 2002, when they announced two gigs at Brixton Academy in support of former drummer Clive Burr. I booked up, but by the time they added a third date I’d got my travel sorted and it wasn’t viable to reschedule it in order to see them three nights in a row – especially not as I was already due to see them twice in as many days anyway. They filmed the final night for broadcast on the internet, and it still exists online and as a bootleg.

I knew the setlist they’d be playing, and that they would play their Braveheart-inspired epic “The Clansman”. As a Scotsman in London (some might say a Stranger In A Strange Land…), I found a couple of cheap flags and took them down with me, to wave during that song. If you’re judging me at this point, fuck you. I’m not saying that was a good or bad idea, just that it happened. And it did. On the first night, Bruce asked if there were any Scots in. I bundled up the Saltire, and threw it onto the stage. Being a man of not inconsiderable learning, he recognised it. They played the song.

The next night, I took a Lion Rampant in with me. As I’ve explained previously, I often go to gigs alone, and this was no exception – partly because nobody was willing or dedicated enough to make the 800-mile round trip to see the same band twice. When Bruce asked if there were any Scots in, I threw the second flag onto the stage – prompting him to remark that “you’re the same mob that was in last night.” The affirmative cheer that I gave was drowned out by other, louder cheers from people not on their own, and so he dismissed the notion. Then they played the song.

This might be (it is) a crap claim to fame, but it is one that I can at least prove in part. All you have to do is play this video:

At the end of the night, I went to the front of the stage and asked the roadies to hand me my flag back – though, technically speaking, it was more of a tourist-targeted teatowel. I was told by one guy that they were keeping everything thrown on stage as mementos for Clive, the ill drummer, but then he just gave it back to me. I still have it, my Lion Rampant flag/teatowel that shared a stage with Iron Maiden one night in 2002. Had I thought further, I’d have written a message of support to him on it in permanent marker, some well-wishes, and left it there. Instead, I just have a distinctly grubby Scottish teatowel that has sat in a box for a decade, testament to a story that I have never previously told.

Shit claims to fame. 🙂


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