Last week was half term holidays, a blissful week off in the school schedule. I got lots done, including making some time to write for the blog, in a fictionalised writing about writing writey write write kind of way. Which I enjoyed, and there’ll be more of it soon… whether you enjoyed it or not, gentle reader, ha ha ha (Stephen King chuckle).

As well as that, two visits to the theatre – culcha, innit? – and several rounds of the second hand bookshops, comic shops… oh, and I went to see Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Watch this:

How’s about that then? Eh? EH? Well, whether you enjoyed it or not, gentle listener, I encountered ‘Sweet Tooth Bird’ on Nemone’s show on 6Music about four weeks ago and adored it at first hearing. I was getting woofs of ‘Hounds of Love’ and Dusty Springfield and 1970s disco harmonies and oh, all sorts… I was delighted to see she and the Hooves were playing in Leeds, so I had to go and get tickets. Actually, no, I went to some website and bought an eticket. And thereby hangs my tale.

Interlude: listening to some Year 10 girls wittering interminably about One Direction as we walked to assembly this morning, we got into music conversation. I made the mistake of knowing the One Direction’s names. Asked which one I thought was best, I countered by asking why all the lads wanted to be the lead singer. On closer consideration, I was probably thinking about JLS, who in one of their videos (my love J noticed, I have been told to add) had this irritating tic of all inhabiting their own world of emoting, like a moving version of one of those Anton Corbijn photos of Joshua Tree-era U2. “You can’t ALL be lead singer!” Not on the same song, at the same time, anyway.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I was only baiting the teenyboppers. Of course, I was baited back. One student asked me if I preferred Olly Murs. With curmudgeonly wit I suggested this was like being offered a choice between being smacked in the face or kicked up the backside. A poor move! “Well, do you like any modern music?”. I heard the distant circling of buzzards… I said, “I recently saw Beth Jeans Houghton and her band, the Hooves of Destiny.” Blank looks. “So, er, that was really good,” I added.

Blank looks. It wasn’t quite tumbleweed time, but getting there. “Beth Jean Hooves?” “She’s a bit like Florence and the Machine, only much more fun.” “I hate Florence and the Machine.” “She’s more fun.” “What, is she a stand up?” My collar tightened, and I sensed a suddenly widening gap, somewhere between Generation Y and Generation AG, or whatever ‘We’re going to need a bigger alphabet’ combination of letters is now being used. Context, as I was telling my Year 10 class only hours later, is everything. Here was a textbook example of how one man can, despite his finest efforts, be suddenly powerfully, bafflingly unhip, so unhip it’s a wonder his bum doesn’t fall off, as Zaphod Beeblebrox would of course have it.

Hip’s not the issue, obvs, daddio. It’s just pop, and life it ain’t real funky unless it’s got that pop. One Direction do their thing, the Hooves theirs, the proper avant weird stuff does its. For every Pixies there has always been a Brother Beyond, for every Hendrix a Monkees. And peace be unto Davy Jones, incidentally. “What number is this, Chip?” “7A!”

I indulge this lengthy skool digression because the same pupils are studying text messaging in class. Many of them are having an interesting time conceiving of a world in which teh internetz, and all mod. comms, were not normal, although most of them, interestingly, are also baffled by what the exam board think is contemporary text speak. For the record, this is all 2008-style ‘wld U lk 2 av a mone abt da decline of da englsh? LOL’ [Beat] “Sir, WTF is this rubbish?”.

Anyway, right, it made me think about buying this ticket online during the hols. I could see other tickets being handed over at the BJH gig, some of which looked like good old style *tickets*, like actual bits of product in their own right, nice printing, being bought across the bar for the same amount of money as I paid on the internet… and I know the point is the actual gig, and all that, but look, LOOK:

1 x Beth Jeans Houghton @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (23/02/2012 19:30)
Cost (per ticket): 8.00, Booking Fee (per ticket, if applicable): 1.30

Please bring your eTicket with ID to the event. Please bring a print out of this eTicket and a form of Identification to verify that you are the person named on this eTicket. Passport/ Driver’s License/ Student Card/ Validate Card/ Citizen Card/ Credit Card/ Bank Card, are all acceptable forms of ID. If you should lose or delete this email eTickets are available to download from …
Please read the terms and conditions regarding eTickets at …

PLEASE NOTE YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY TICKETS THROUGH THE POST. NO TICKETS WILL BE DELIVERED

Actually, the font on WordPress has made this look nicer than it was in the email. Horrid. “May your senses respond favorably to these electronic sound vibrations, Dave.” It’s all so functional! Would you want to carefully paste such a printout into a scrapbook – perhaps with your tongue protruding slightly in concentration? Would you want to draw a little heart round it, or a cloud? Some cryptic notes (“Stevie S. = Lime Cordial Saviour of the Universe!”)? Some partially forgotten imagined tryst allusion?

The emotional resonance of a credit card statement. “That thing I bought”, rather than that thing I lived at. Maybe not… maybe I’m just ossified, pressed into a little strata stratum of nostalgia, maybe etickets will be lovingly cherished as souvenirs in such ways. Or perhaps eticket companies will all collapse under the weight of their own preposterousness, as suggested by this article on Viagogo’s “non-discriminatory” ticket policy.

Still, in the absence of something suitable to add to my scrapbook of vintage gig tickets, I got a set list signed by lovely BJH and two of her lovely HOD. They were, actually, really funny, in a dry way. The gig was great. Dancing! Proper harmonies! Dolls! Silly clothes! Trumpets! Fun! Plus, the first support act, Pip Mountjoy, was really good as well. If I was trying to write for a local paper I would say ‘Late arrivals should have been kicking themselves for having missed Pip Mountjoy. The Richmond (Yorkshire)-based singer has a clear voice,accompanied simply on Joni-esque guitar, and shows remarkable emotional depths and lyrical acuity for a 17 year old. The lengthy queue of early-bird supporters wanting to chat and buy her EP suggested she may be able to make the transition to headlining in her own right in fairly short order.’ Lyrics about staying in and reading Sherlock Holmes are always going to sway it for me, although buying an actual CD from an actual human being was kind of nice too, especially a CD with a stitched sleeve.

Add in the lady from Jumbo records pressing A Hawk and A Hacksaw flyers onto the leaving crowd, taking time to talk about the artists, and suddenly the electronic convenience world seemed inconsequential and intangible and insufferable, and I got my usual post-good-gig hankering for hard copy and bits of paper. So I came straight here the moment I got some free time and e-published this account. Next time: should there be a hyphen after the e in eticket, mail, publishing? Discuss. Perhaps not with Year 10s, though. For they will destroy you.