Friday night’s here, what’s the scene? – 29th January 1982

Stiff Little Fingers
Flying Padovanis

Poole Arts Centre, Poole, Dorset

19th Oct 2021 – My very first concert. Mum dropped me and Rupert at the Arts Centre around 7pm and would come back around 10.30pm to pick us up again. There were people everywhere. This was still a time when entertainment was not at anyone’s fingertips and folks would save their money for events like this and make a night of it. We were rowdy 14-year-olds on what felt somewhat like unknown territory.

My only recollection of the Flying Padovani’s was a bald guy on stage. Their music passed me by like a familiar b-movie, anticipating the real deal.

Stiff Little Fingers had made a big impression on me back in 1980 with their ‘Nobody’s Heroes’ album and seeing them perform ‘At The Edge’ on Top of the Pops. Intelligent lyrics and rousing choruses, melodic guitars and galloping rhythms.

By 1982 they had already released their third album ‘Go For It’, another classic, and were touring around this new ‘Listen’ EP. Although the recording felt a lot more restrained than previously, they were still writing great songs and they translated perfectly for the live experience.

Our skinny bodies were adept at squeezing our way near the front and the hall was rammed with people. When SLF came on I learned something that many have noted since, that the floor at the Art Centre was sprung, or at least felt that way. Jammed side by side with other sweaty youthful punks and rockers, the whole front of the audience pogoed and bounced in rhythm with the songs. It was impossible to fall over, everyone was packed in so tight. It was so exhilarating.

I was rapt from start to finish and asked my mum to buy me an SLF silk scarf which I still have.

Rupert and I in celebratory mood