Michael J Sheehy, he of Miraculous Mule and in a previous life way before that, Dream City Film Club, has announced the release of a download-only stand-along single to benefit the Music Venue Trust.
Michael has recently released the acclaimed album Distance is the Soul of Beauty, his first solo album in over a decade, but that’s not what we’re here for today.
This Friday 4 December (today if you got here in time) he releases two new songs, ‘The Places We Used To Dance’, a lament to bygone days and long-closed venues, and ‘Baby, Baby, Baby (Can I Tell You Something?)’ through Lightning Archive Records.
“It was written a while ago…” says Sheehy about the A-side. “I had in mind The Bull and Gate in Kentish Town and the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street, two places that will always mean so much to me. Recent events have really driven home just how important these places are and the sad reality is, if we lose them they won’t be replaced. We have to fight tooth and nail. Like many, I’m struggling right now, music is such an important part of my life both as an artist and a punter. The absence of live music has been pretty hard to take and the fact that so many venues are in danger of closing their doors for good is quite frankly, terrifying.”
The single is released exclusively through Bandcamp, who are currently waiving their fees on the first Friday of every month, so all proceeds from sales on that day will go directly to the Music Venue Trust, who’ve been doing so much to support struggling venues throughout the UK. Running a venue or putting on gigs (or art galleries for that matter) was a thankless enough task before the virus struck and put an absolute stop to everything, we really are missing those palces we met and danced right now, so today (Organ’s 34th birthday actually, launched out the back of an old army ambulance at a Hawkwind gig back in the days of print and lots and lots of dancing) seems like a good day to be supporting those precious music venues.
The lead song itself, The Places We Used To Dance, is of course a piece of beautiful melancholic mourning, especially as most of us haven’t seen a live band for something like nine covid-struck months now and well even without the damn covid thing striking there’s been the strike of the money men, the culture-wrecking property developers and gone is the Marquee and standing in the line on Wardour Street or rushing up the road to the Astoria from later version on the Charring Cross Road, gone is the back room of the Bull and Gate or siting outside the Falcon in the summer, gone is the Robey (and the fights outside on a Friday night after the strange sights of Club Dog), Gone are the Standard and the Music Machine and the Lady Own Arms, gone is the Powerhaus and meet your mates outside the O or sticking to the filthy carpet in the Clarendon or the Stick of Rock and treasure the ones that are still just about standing and hanging on – you tore our world apart – well she tore his apart, but that’s the b-side, do we still have b-sides? Will we ever go to a gig again? These are two beautiful songs, haunting songs, heartfelt songs but you have ears and hopefully music still touches your heart and here there are, you don’t need our fractured words and never ending sentences, there’s the Bandcamp. Beautiful…
And it seems rather right to leave some of those paintings and some shots from the Royal Albert Hall show that the much missed Danny Pockets left us with on this page. Danny painted them so well, Danny danced with Michael but they probably don’t know that. Treasure those houses of the holy and the people you dance with, those places where once we all danced together, I;m sure Danny would mind his paintings being on this page today. (sw)
P.S I know others have done it, really must write a piece about those venues and the adventures…