Electric Ballroom

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On one tour in Ireland we had the NME journalist Barbara Ellen in the van, and she had drunk a lot of beer. We were travelling up the road that went from Dublin in the south to Belfast in the north, there was a twenty mile stretch section where we had been advised it was unwise to stop, because it had been deputised as ‘bandit country’ by the driver, and we had been warned that if we stopped for any reason terrorists might board the vehicle with guns and place a bomb on it, with the aim of detonating it at the army check point in Belfast. Poor Barbara Ellen thought at first we were kidding her when we told her that under no circumstances could we stop for her to have a pee, and that she would have to wet herself if she couldn’t wait another twenty minutes until we were in Belfast to go to the toilet. Once we were in Belfast we found a toilet for her, but the place was full of  squaddies wielding semi-automatic rifles.

On that trip we stopped off in Dundalk, a very Republican town, and during the Troubles it was a bit unusual for British people to stop there. We parked the van up at a garage, which was next to a primary school and bought some Tato crisps. We were highly famous at that time to children because we had composed the theme tune to the Saturday morning kids show The 8.15 From Manchester. Within seconds the kids had spotted our psychedelic clothes and unmistakable bowlhead haircuts through the school windows, and all hundred of them streamed out of their lessons: it was like something out of the Bible, Moses parting the Red Sea maybe. A very dirty game of football ensued with the hundred of them playing us, with their small legs chopping away at us with tackles. Years later this event has taken on a mythic quality as the school children (now adults) recall one pre-famous Noel Gallagher being present and  playing on the Inspirals side.

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