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« Great bore of the week | Main | Wednesday night at the London Palladium »
Thursday
Apr182019

From the archive – Joe Jackson and David Hockney

I won't review Joe Jackson's concert at the London Palladium last night because I'm not very good at that sort of thing.

I’ll leave it to people like Neil McCormick, the Telegraph’s chief music critic - see Joe Jackson, The Palladium, review: 40 years on, Jackson still wins a standing ovation.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The band played an eclectic selection of songs from Joe’s 40 year career and the set was imaginatively crafted, beginning and ending with ‘Alchemy’, a track from the new album Fool.

They also covered the Beatles song ‘Rain’ which is one of my favourite Beatles’ tracks partly because it doesn’t suffer from over familiarisation.

The whole band was excellent but it’s worth mentioning the drummer who was magnificent throughout. On one song he repeatedly hit his kit so hard he broke several drum sticks, tossing them aside and replacing each one without missing a beat.

Joe played and sang with enormous passion and energy. Between songs however he was chatty and humorous.

The band is in Birmingham (tonight), Glasgow (Friday), Manchester (Sunday), Cork (Tuesday) and Dublin (Wednesday). Click here for details.

Meanwhile, for a forthcoming brochure to mark Forest’s 40th anniversary, I was searching for pictures of Joe and David Hockney at Forest events when I stumbled across the image above.

It was taken on September 28, 2005, and the photo agency has captioned it as follows:

David Hockney and Joe Jackson supporting Forest (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) at Labour party conf Brighton

It was taken, I think, at the Metropole Hotel shortly before a panel discussion that also featured Claire Fox (Academy of Ideas) and the late Sue Carroll, the much loved Daily Mirror columnist who died of cancer in 2011.

Earlier that day we had arranged a photo opp for Hockney at another hotel further along the promenade.

Images are still online and as well as pictures of Hockney lighting up and smoking, they include photos of the great man standing next to anti-tobacco protestor Stuart Holmes.

Let me explain.

Holmes is a well-known face at party conferences. He has two main beefs – tobacco and nuclear weapons.

On this occasion he was brandishing a large 'Ban Tobacco' poster outside the conference centre when a freelance photographer decided it would be a good idea to pair him with Hockney at the 'pro-smoking' photo opp up the road.

David took it in great good humour as the pair of them stood side by side with around 20 photographers snapping away. (Hockney was holding a much smaller poster that read, 'Death awaits you even if you do not smoke'.)

Anyway, events took a strange turn when the hotel management decided, with no encouragement from us, to 'protect' their VIP guest.

Grabbing Holmes by the arms members of staff attempted to escort him from the building via a nearby fire exit.

Not unreasonably Holmes took umbrage at being manhandled and there followed a brief scrap while we looked on in bemusement.

The photographers, naturally, kept taking pictures and I was thinking "Oh shit" because I thought our meticulously arranged PR stunt - the arrival of David Hockney for a smokers’ rights meeting - may have been hijacked by an even better story: 'Anti-tobacco activist assaulted at pro-smoking (sic) event'.

Anyway, eight years later Holmes was involved in another scuffle, this time with publisher and broadcaster Iain Dale, that led to Dale receiving a police caution for common assault.

To complete the circle, Iain was a guest speaker at a Forest reception at the 2016 Conservative party conference in Birmingham. It's a small world!

Below: anti-tobacco protestor Stuart Holmes is 'escorted' off the premises by hotel staff at a Forest photo opp in Brighton in 2005. Nothing to do with us, m'lud.

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