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Mike Scott – ‘Adventures of a Waterboy’ – book tour – 17 October 2012. Birmingham.

I like music and I like reading, so when the opportunity arises and the two get combined then I’m doubly interested.  When the person doing the reading is from one of my favourite bands then its a no brainer.
Mike Scott is a very charismatic, intelligent and interesting man.  He captivates the audience from the off  reading huge chunks from  his  ‘My Life as a Waterboy’  autobiography.  Like a rock n roll bedtime story, it’s contents are engaging, enthralling  and enrapturing .
From the beginning where he states that he saw himself as a ‘rock visionary’  at a ‘battle of the bands’ competition against a cabaret band called ‘Revival. He reveals his rebellious streak as he admits  the crowd just wanted him to play ‘Simple Simon says’ but instead played the gloomy rock of the Velvet Underground‘s  ‘I’m waiting for the man’ and finished their set with Patties Smith’s ‘Horses’ it is no surprise he says that they lost the battle of the bands and went off to no applause.
This story sets the scene for what is sometimes a gentle meander through Mike’s life, and splashed with tales of debauched punch ups and an insight of Mike as a music fan himself,  the thrilling tale about seeing Johnny Thunders coming out as a special guest of fellow New York Dolls bandmate Sylvain Sylvain.  As a New York Dolls fan myself  and only ever getting to see them long after Johnny had gone, I was on the edge of my seat at this recollection and when Mike stated that Sylvain introduced his friend  “the door to the dressing room opened …..and Rock and Roll walked out”, that was a definite goosebump moment for me.  I felt like I too had witnessed it such was vibrancy of the description.
More stories come  of how he first fell in love with the traditional Irish music whilst watching the reaction that this music had on his girlfriend Irene and that it didn’t take long to feel the same.  The energy from the music being the key  and this obviously has an influence on the ‘Fishermans Blues‘ album was completely shortly afterward.
The stories he told were numerous and are brought to life with Mike’s many impressions and different voices, clearly he has a future as an impressionist if it all goes awry musicwise ( which quite obviously due to his massive talent, it wont!)
These recollections have the crowd laughing along  and as a master wordsmith, Mike knows a good turn of phrase. The words to this book are as lyrical as any of the songs he has written .
Just when we thought the night was ending he introduces his ‘musical brother’, fiddle player Steve Wickham and they play a selection of songs such as ‘Savage Earth Heart’, ‘As Mad as the Mist and Snow’ still interjected with more stories including an hilarious one about them seeing a sign saying ‘Wickham – Please drive carefully’  in the village of the same name and staging a photo of Steve Wickham not obeying these instructions, feeling proud at their humorous photo their uplifted mood came crashing down to earth when they realised they were stuck into the ditch that they had “driven” into….
Crowd favourite ‘Fisherman’s Blues‘ follows and the crowd are clapping and singing along, and then there is even an encore including ‘The Pan Within’ –  we really have been spoilt tonight.
As this is the last night of their book tour, I feel lucky to have been able to catch them and I for one can’t wait to envelop myself in the rest of the book….put it on your Christmas list immediately.

Jackie Nutty

Editor of LLR since 2005

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