Video: What you get to see trackside at the Grand Prix

If you’ve never been to the Grand Prix (which is on today), here (from 2009 when I went for The Who concert) is what you get to see trackside.

Can’t say it appeals much to me.

Note what I assume are sonic booms.

One artist challenge

I’m only doing this ‘cos (a) Rae tagged me (a while back) and (b) I had a smartarse answer for the first question.

The ONE ARTIST Challenge !
Choosing only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Pick Your Artist:
The Who

Are you a male or female:
I’m a Boy

Describe yourself:
Helpless Dancer (maybe more hopeless, actually)

How do you feel:
Happy Jack

Describe where you currently live:
Tommy’s Holiday Camp

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

Your favorite form of transportation:
Magic Bus

Your best friend is:
Doctor Jimmy

You and your best friends are:
My Generation

What’s the weather like:
Summertime Blues

What’s your favorite time:
Blue, Red and Grey

If your life were a tv show, what would it be called:

What is life to you:
One Life’s Enough

Your current relationship:
Amazing Journey

Your fear:
Who Are You?

What is the best advice you have to give:
Baby, Don’t You Do It

Thought for the Day:
I’ve Had Enough

How I would like to die:
Shakin’ All Over

My soul’s present condition:
I Can’t Explain

My motto:
Won’t Get Fooled Again

Anybody else care to have a go?

Who are you?

When I was younger I used to focus on a fairly narrow range of music, heavily influenced by what my peers had introduced me to.

One day circa 1988 Raoul brought over a VHS tape of some band he liked called The Who. It was a compilation called Who’s Better Who’s Best. I remember I sat and watched and was particularly awestruck by the final song on the tape: Won’t Get Fooled Again.

At the end, the lasers swirl around, the keyboard goes mad, Moon goes crazy on the drums, Townshend leaps through the air with his guitar ready to play the final notes, and Daltrey lets out a guttural scream of rage before sounding the warning to all of us: “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

Those of us who are miffed at Rudd’s position on climate change would do well to remember that.

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
(Still from the multi-angle feature from the movie “The Kids Are Alright” Special Edition DVD)

I subsequently bought the CD of the same name, and it went on high rotation. At the time a lot of my meagre income went on CDs, and I started buying up their albums as I found them. At the time, many weren’t generally available… I ended up with an imported copies of some.

By about the mid-90s I had just about everything there was to be had, and knew most of the songs off-by-heart. I ended up writing a spoof of The Who’s rock opera Tommy, called Pommy for the then-fledgling Toxic Custard list, based on the pretend heavy metal band Megabogue, an idea of Raoul’s from years before.

I look around at the poverty-stricken nation
Take a walk to the Army of Salvation
Smile and grin at the free food all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like Brian May
Then I get on my knees and pray..
We don’t get soup again!

At uni, some of my friends had similarly one-track minds when it came to music: Brian S was (and still is) a rabid Church fan; Peter B was known for loving Queen. The other one in our tight-knit group, Stuart H, to his credit, seemed to have a much wider musical taste, as I recall it.

My tastes eventually got wider too, and while my CD collection has pretty much stopped growing these days, the music in it is much more diverse. But while some older CDs have been cleared out, all of those Who discs are still in it — towards the end of the A-Z sorted shelves, you’ll find an awful lot of Ws.

Given they’re a band that peaked in the early-70s, and two of the original quartet have passed on, one could certainly argue that they’re past it. Over the years I played the discs less and less.

Then came September 11th, 2001.

Out of the terrorist attacks, came the Concert for New York City. I caught some of it on late-night TV. The Who performed four songs to an emotional crowd of NYC police and fire-fighters and their families. It got me all enthused again. Okay, so they were past their peak, but still rocking.

To my surprise, those songs are still ingrained in my brain. Who Are You, Baba O’Riley, Behind Blue Eyes, and Won’t Get Fooled Again.

They did play here in 2004, but I didn’t feel inclined to go. It was after bassist John Entwistle had died, and as Raoul commented at the time, “Who’s left?”

But I still love the music.

In March this year however they’re playing the Grand Prix. And this time around, I thought bugger it, I’m going.

$99 for general admission, with Grand Prix admission included. Not that I’m that interested in car racing.

Then I saw premium tickets were available, at slightly exorbitant prices. And I thought bugger it, if I’m going, and realistically this may be the only time I’ll ever see them live, I’m going to do it properly.

So I splurged. $175 for a guaranteed spot near the front. A Christmas treat to myself.

It’s certainly the most expensive single concert ticket I’ve ever bought. I’m looking forward to it. I expect to go hoarse singing along.

Did we get fooled again?

Last night I found myself watching some of the Concert For NYC, in particular The Who’s performance. I’m still not going to splurge out on their forthcoming concert (dubbed rather cruelly by one friend as “Who’s left?”). But this four song performance from 2001 is great music. And remembering it in context, very moving, a gesture across the Atlantic, reaching out to a shattered city.

What I found fascinating is the set ends in the seminal protest song “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. If you’re familiar with the lyrics, you’ll know that many interpret it as a rallying cry against politicians of all sides pulling the wool over the populace’s eyes, justifying painful wars and revolutions for the same reasons as before.

Ring any bells?

And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

Sitting here in 2004, as what many would claim is an unjust war we should never have got involved in continues to stagger towards an ever-distant conclusion, the lyrics have more relevance today than in a long time.

Let’s just hope that last week’s handover of Iraq to the Iraqis can help bring a lasting peace.

PS. On a more superficial note, how come it’s only blokes who ever like The Who?