With The Specials at Number 1 in the Album chart again 40 years after releasing their eponymous titled debut, it is a time for celebration.
Their new album is pretty damn good for a bunch of sixtysomethings and with Encore at number 1, it speaks volumes for their popularity… at least amongst people of a certain age who still buy music!
Their first album only reached the giddy heights of number 4 in the charts, but it was a different landscape back then and it did contain the classic tune penned by J Dammers esq “The dawning of a new era”
Basically it’s the rude boys being acerbic about a new era not quite being what it’s cracked up to be with a thumping ska beat in the background.
The Specials would definitely be in my top three all-time bands and whilst they might not have been singing about Eastwood High Street when they were talking about new eras, I do love Britain for its entrepreneurial spirit.
Eastwood has a long and sprawling High Street and it’s a real throwback with no huge chainstores – a little bit of history and culture with the birthplace of DH Lawrence –
(not the name of a new Micro…yet)
along with lots of niche shops carving out a business in an era of internet shopping, which is no mean feat.
I reckon this could be the new Micropub capital of Britain with no less than 16 in a three mile radius taking in towns and suburbs such as Giltbrook, Langley Mill, Marlpool, Kimberley, Heanor, Underwood, Loscoe and Jacksdale.
Exotically named former shops such as Angry Bee, Crooked Cask, Ginger Giraffe Micro Pub & Gin Bar,
Poachers Ale House, Miners Return, Roots Emporium, The Tip Inn and Redemption Alehouse have all set up in the past two or three years.
There are five in Eastwood alone, along with some well-established boozers of course but there is a real feel of a town that enjoys itself and is sticking two fingers up to anyone who doesn’t think they’ll be a success.
Take 359 – The Gamekeeper’s NG16 3GD on the long Nottingham Road, which was formerly a shop selling mobility scooters. Therefore, as credentials for a boozer go, it’s got plenty.
It was Friday afternoon when I strolled in and the place wasn’t full but it was friendly and the beer Crazy Like A Fox (Totally Brewed) was excellent. Two old boys on the table near me had Nottingham accents that were so strong, it was almost impossible to tell what they were saying.
(proper East Mids dialect)
A bit like an East Midlands version of walking into somewhere like Dudley and listening to a couple of old boys going at it hammer and tongs in Black Country accents.
There were another couple of younger lads by the bar and the barmaid was chatty whilst there was a throng of people going by as half term was still upon us and the streets were busy.
I’m not sure that all of these new pubs are going to survive but they are definitely moving away from the strict early models and I reckon there’s scope for more in Eastwood on this road.
Anyway, some biting lyrics from Terry and Lynval to finish off with as there new single “Vote For Me” proves there is life post Dammers. As places like Eastwood are also proving, there is plenty of life post shop closures too if you just think outside the box.
“If we vote for you, do you promise
“To be upright, decent and honest
“To have our best interest at heart
“You understand why we don’t believe you
“You’re way too easy to see through
“Not the best place to start.”