Welcome to the latest Squire newsletter where we meet the fans and open the scrapbook!
The stage is set with Squire’s equipment laid out in front of From The Jam’s.
As school kids, the anticipation as we watched the choreography of roadies and technicians prepare the stage and lay everything out in measured symmetry, followed by the buzz of excitement as the lights went down and shadowy figures walked onto the stage has never left the memory.
The excitement of going to a concert and seeing the ritual of the whole event unfold, is part of the thrill of live music. We remain fans of the whole music experience!
Last weekend saw another fantastic Squire live show, alongside From The Jam at Scarborough Spa on Sunday 30th October. This was actually the 9th attempt for From The Jam to play this date, and our second, since it was called off by, of all people, the coastguard this time last year!
This story was recounted in the local Scarborough newspaper who also asked us if we had ever played in Scarborough. It immediately bought to mind our 1983 Get Smart 'in store' tour where we met the fans between school and bus home. We played at Scarborough's Studio One record shop on the tour.
The anecdote was picked up by the reporter and here we are in the local newspaper with photos!
This neat piece of 'scrapbook worthy' press reminds us of the early days when we would enthusiastically collect every scrap of press and keenly stick it the Squire scrapbook!
You can see an early page here. Coincidently, it records the first ever gig with The Jam at Guildford Civic Hall on 30th July 1978, and the Melody Maker review, alongside a handwritten note from John Peel complimenting us on Get Ready To Go, the first proper London date at Ronnie Scotts, and even the ad for the Rickenbacker 325!
As time went on and we travelled further afield, never in one place for more than a day , so it became harder to keep up with everything that was broadcast or printed, and so last week was a welcome surprise when we found the unseen Nationwide clip of Squire at The Bridge House from 1979, and last weekend when we were presented with a copy of the Scarborough newspaper at the gig!
The Squire / The Jam connection was bought to mind a few weeks ago when we took time out and visited the ‘This Is The Modern World’ exhibition that was next door and held concurrently to the ‘We Are The Mods’ concert in Brighton during August Bank Holiday weekend, where we played alongside Secret Affair et al.
Indeed, fandom is a vital if not the most important facet of musical story. This unofficial history that runs concurrently with the artists odyssey, reinterprets it and often provides a most interesting and socially accurate perspective on the historical significance, cutting through the mythologised ‘official’ version while, also keeping the memory going long after the band has moved on.
This interactive and immersive nature of celebrating the fans perspective and peeking behind the curtain is an important feature of connecting with the audience. Other recent events such as Secret Affairs recent 100 Club Q&A coinciding with the launch of their 'best of' recordings, the abundance of 'coffee table’ books on mod culture, (the Scarborough article also name checks Rick Buckers latest reminiscences in The Gift - surely the perfect title for The Jam fans Christmas stocking filler!), and the multitude of other self published reflections on growing up within a sub culture, all help provide a balanced perspective on past events, and often challenge the stereotype as seen from the outsiders perspective. Tony Beesleys catalogue of books, such as 'Away From The Numbers', is one of many that provides a valid and unique account of finding your own voice, and resonates with Squire's own D-I-Y ethos.
One final takeaway from the Scarborough gig was watching From The Jam’s opening number - ‘Away From The Numbers’. When Squire supported The Jam in 1978, they opened with unheard songs from the upcoming ‘All Mod Cons’ album and ‘Away From The Numbers’, from the first album, was song six in the set, and the first recognisable song for the audience. We stood at the side of the stage and watched the already impassioned audience explode!
Regardless of our proximity to the performers then and now, it is fascinating to watch Bruce Foxton perform the song again, and see the artefacts like the ‘Bruce Foxton’ emblazoned guitar case, and imagine the journey they had been on, and taken everyone on, and the fandom they had inspired.
Likewise, to get up close and scrutinise the bank of Rickenbackers, from front and back, at the ‘Modern World’ exhibition, and for as long as you wanted was also quite a memorable encounter. While others may recognise them from videos, or particular records, I'm looking at the scratches, the history embedded in the wear and tear, the unusual modifications and comparing to my own collection of similar guitars.
Although I had already seen some of them at the Rickenbacker Book launch exhibition earlier in the summer, this second look was a just as satisfying fan based experience! We are all fans!