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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… New Model Army October 15, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

The Summer of 1990 saw my first time on a plane as I went over to London to visit my then girlfriend (now wife) who was working over there. At the time one of the bands I was very much into was New Model Army and as a birthday gift I was given two tickets to a New Model Army gig that Autumn in London.
So I went back to college in Maynooth and made plans for the trip to London. Flights were booked and we would be staying in my friends Aunties house. Given that I’d just got a bank loan out for my fees, I felt it better not to be telling anyone at home my travel plans….

So the day came and I packed a small bag and announced that I’d be staying down in Maynooth that night. Met my friend , got a bus into town and one out to the airport and next of all we were in London. Checked into his aunties, went out for the night with him and his cousins. The next day we did a bit of sightseeing and on the way to the gig I figured I better ring home and tell them I was staying in Maynooth another night. There was no answer at home and there were no answering machines back then, so I rang the neighbour and asked her to pass on the message.
The concert itself was phenomenal. At the time there were a sizeable group of people who followed the band to every gig and standing on each others shoulders did movements in unison to each of the songs, a different pattern for each tune. As a spectacle it was unmatched.
(NMA had played McGonagles the year before which was excellent but due to the lowness of the ceiling the crowd choreography was somewhat limited)
Went back to my Friends Aunties and with another day left on the itinerary. At this stage I was a bit paranoid about being seen. This was due to a friend who had been seen in London the previous year…..

At the time a group of lads used to get the train up from Wicklow on a Sunday evening, one went to Trinity, some to UCD and two to Maynooth. This Sunday they had had a few jars and decided it would be gas if they went over and visited two of their pals over in London. They came back on the Friday, arrived home and mentioned the hard week they had had up in college. Six weeks later one of the lads (who was quite distinctive looking) was asked by his mother if he had been over in London recently? He replied ‘No’…. “That’s funny cos Mrs Kelly two doors down saw you there 6 weeks ago ……”

Anyway I rang home again to say I was in Maynooth when what goes off in the background only Big Ben. I was terrified I’d be found out from it!
We finally flew home only to find ourselves diverted to Shannon as there was fog in Dublin. My paranoia was getting worse as I kept hearing my name being called out over the PA in Shannon only to be reassured by my friend that it wasn’t me. Eventually we got a flight to Dublin and set off home.
“How did you get on in Maynooth this week?”
“Grand thanks”

Fast forward to my wedding in 1998 and my Friend is making a speech and mentions the secret trip to London to see New Model Army. My mothers jaw dropped and she asked around the top table if they knew anything about the trip and nobody did!

It was another 21 years before I visted London again … not for a concert but a football match:)

New Model Army , a brilliant band in their day (they are still on the go)

A Biography.


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