Thursday, March 05, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet: The Specials

A sad drama in two parts.

The Friday before last, The Guardian's Film & Music section met the reformed Specials, who denied that Jerry Dammers had been treated badly:

"I've read Jerry's statement and I just don't get it," says Hall, for once looking like someone who might be physically incapable of smiling. "'They're trying to kick me out of the band' - not at all mate, not at all."

No, they say, Dammers wasn't ex-communicated by the other members. Golding and Bradbury both claim they spent vast amounts of time trying to convince Dammers to take part and that it was his own intransigence that caused the split. "I spoke to Jerry night after night all the way through 2008," says Bradbury, "and at the end there just wasn't a meeting of the ways. A little more give and take, a few more people skills, it could definitely have worked out better." "He wanted to do one date, in Coventry, in front of 30,000 people, at the football stadium," says Hall. 'I thought that was a bit of a Take That thing. We wanted to play 2,000- to 3,000-sized venues. I don't think he likes the idea of touring, to be honest. I think he hid that a bit in his statement. But apart from that, I have no idea why Jerry isn't doing it."

Yesterday, the paper's Op-Ed pages gave its response column over to Dammers to insist that, actually, he was treated badly:
What I actually suggested to him (at a meeting where he finally agreed that we shouldn't be considering bookings until we had all rehearsed together) was that if rehearsals went well, we could consider a very big date or series of big dates in London, followed by a date at Coventry's Ricoh Arena to celebrate the 30th anniversary. What might happen after that I left open. It was not that I "don't [like] the idea of touring", as he so simply puts it. I was anxious to preserve the status, political effectiveness and legacy of the band for the long term, including recording, rather than risk the diminishing returns of setting out as a flawed nostalgia act in small venues.

Terry appeared to generally agree, but soon after our meeting he said he wouldn't want to play the Ricoh after all. I assumed it was the size of the arena, but on 5 June he sent me another email: "I wasn't complaining about the size of the Ricoh arena (I have played at much bigger), I will not perform at a Coventry festival of who/why/when/whatever. Speaking as someone who grew up there, I don't feel I owe it anything!"