Chopped Liver – The Story Of My Life

The Story Of My Life – it’s a Pere Ubu song – if that means anything to you. They were/are a pre/post-punk/industrial/grunge/pre-grunge/alt-rock band from Cleveland Ohio who made a great sound from the mid-seventies to the present day. One of my all time favourite bands.

The lead singer David Thomas – a quirky, fat and bulbous roly-poly chap with eccentric movements, strange lyrics and an unusual vocal style. And very round.

So, on Friday, my brother treated me to a gig at this new hip cafe/venue in East London called Cafe Oto, where David Thomas was performing with Chris Cutler (drummer!!) and John Edwards (Bass!!).

Front row seats. Prior to the gig, this old man with a bushy grey beard – very tall, slow and rather ungainly figure was strolling around the stage – apparently looking for … probably nothing in particular. My bro says to me – you know, I could be mistaken, but… eh, I think that is David Thomas.

George had a hat but it wasn't where it wasn't at - Pere Ubu


Eh what? Roly Poly clean shaven man versus tall, bearded average build? No way!

Yes way. What a transformation. The man looked… a different man. Not particularly well if truth be told.

Prior to the show starting I was sat next to this woman who was a friend of my bro’s. She knew that I had had a liver transplant and told me that her brother had 2 transplanted kidneys!

And the conversation went thus…

Me: 2 Kidneys. Wow, that’s really amazing! And how is he now?
Her: Well, sadly he passed away.
Me: (Gulp… I’ve read about that particular couplet in comedy scripts – but never thought I’d fall foul myself) – Oh, I’m really sorry.
Her: Well, it wasn’t the transplant that killed him – it was the effects of the damned prednisolone tablets he was taking.
Me: Oh… eh…, I, eh – Prednisolone eh? Hmmm, eh, I take those.
Her: Well I hope you’re on a small dose!

During the interval, David Thomas sat outside the venue on the pavement seats, bumming cigarettes and alcohol. I mentioned to my bro that perhaps I should tell him the story of how Wee D loves one of his songs – The Story Of My Life – as it has a bit in it where David Thomas imitates his mum calling him as a kid by calling “David!”. Well, it was more “Daaaayyyyvviiiddd!” And that my son now calls me “Daaaayyyyvviiiddd!” as a result.

So I goes up to one of my rock’n’roll idols and says, “David – can I tell you a story?” “Is it short?” is his reply. He clearly was “in the zone” and not into talking to nobody’s and he listened intently to my story – before offering me a gratuitous smile at the end.

Never talk to your idols kids – it never pans out, believe me.

The band were very good on the night. A trifle odd – but that’s fine if you like odd.

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