Tuesday, 27 August 2019

I Can't Help Myself

So, a couple of weeks ago I posted my pet theory concerning the increasingly frequent but wilfully obtuse social media posts from Martin Rossiter. Basically, despite the strength of his past opposition to reuniting Gene and unambiguous views on bands that have reunited, I dared to dream that the impossible might actually be happening - a Gene gig was on the cards, right?

Except slowly, ever so slowly, the wheels started to come off that wagon. Firstly, an even more plausible theory than mine surfaced on my corner of the Internet that Gene would be the "to be announced" act playing a classic album in full on this year's Star Shaped tour. This appeared at about the same time as the long-dormant Gene fan site Olympians Online sparked back into life, with a single lyric quote, "Oh, I've been waiting a long time...," followed by the date of Martin's announcement, 26th August. Fans everywhere, myself included, got very busy putting two and two together to make five. But closer inspection of a slightly-premature Star Shaped poster revealed that the "to be announced" act was, in fact, Dodgy, playing Homegrown. And then Rozzer himself, who had further stoked the fire by explicitly ruling out re-issues, posted a cropped close-up of his solo album cover, The Defenestration of St Martin... which rather put a spanner in the works of the Gene reunion theorists.

In a rare moment of optimism, I was still hopeful, right up to 9.59am yesterday. But then the announcement came. This announcement:

I've got to be honest, I have mixed emotions about this. We are promised a 2+ hour set covering Gene and his solo material, which will be wonderful... but career-closing? Farewell show? My God...

Of course there have been equally mixed reactions from other fans. Some (most?) seem happy just to have one more chance to hear the songs live, delivered by the lyricist in the voice that means so much to so many. But a fair proportion are not impressed. Now when Martin did some limited touring in support of his solo album, he played a few Gene songs too, but just accompanied by the piano. Now here he is, promising a career retrospective with full band... to which the immediate, and very understandable, response seems to be, "Why can't that full band be Matt, Steve and Kevin?" Indeed, the rest of Gene (who, until this point had maintained radio silence - and that was a clue in itself, in retrospect) have felt suitably moved to pen this statement on Facebook:

Ouch. Of course, Martin has responded.

All of which is a little unseemly, and a bit of a shame. And Olympians Online wasted no time updating their homepage...

And they are, of course, entitled to their view. I guess the bottom lines, for me at least, are these:

  • Would I have preferred a full Gene reunion? Yes, of course.
  • Is that ever going to happen? No, Martin is too principled and this little to-and-fro with his old band-mates would be too hard to come back from.
  • Am I gutted that this one-off show is billed as career-closing? Yes, indescribably.
  • Do I accept that Martin has valid reasons for wanting to retire on his own terms? Sniff... s'pose so.
  • Will I be going to this show anyway? Er... yeah! Do you want to ask me about the Pope's Catholicism, or bears' woods-based toilet habits, whilst you're at it? Because yes, I would not miss this for the world, and will be in the ticket queue as soon as it opens, earlier if I can wheedle my way onto a pre-sale list. And of course I'll be getting two tickets, because no Gene or Rozzer gig would be complete without the irreplaceable company of The Man Of Cheese.

Because you see, it's not just a neat segué into my favourite version of my favourite Gene track - I really can't help myself...

All things being well, see you there on the 13th of June...


  1. I've been thinking about this today and am finding it hard to believe that Mr R has not even made contact with the other three who all made Gene what they were,which to us was something very important. Clearly we don't know what's gone on between them so probably unfair to comment but wouldn't it have made sense(and been bloody brilliant) to have all 4 together for the final gig? All that time teasing on Twitter etc now looks a bit poor to me given what we know. However in a hugely hippocrytical fashion I shall of course be accompanying the author to said gig,impossible to miss it. You do have to think that if the band he has assembled don't do the Gene tracks justice he's made a huge error that will never be forgotten.

    1. Yes, agreed. He talks of wanting to move on, to try other things, and of arthritis (though that maybe in jest, it's hard to tell). As you say, why could he not have at least spoken to his former band-mates about his plans? Such a shame. And as you say, if the live band he assembles don't cut the mustard... Well, that would compound the matter. But we have to be there, ticket queue permitting. Maybe I'll blog a review. In the meantime, here's hoping all concerned kiss and make up...

  2. The Man Of Cheese.27 August 2019 at 23:22

    Above comment from The Man Of Cheese,not unknown. Have written this under the influence of ale....

    1. Of course... And good work, sir, have one for me!

  3. The Man Of Cheese28 August 2019 at 09:50

    Thank you,looks like I only managed to incorrectly spell hypocritical which isn't bad- was expecting to see a drunken ramble in the cold light of day!! Fingers crossed for the tickets....

    1. Not bad at all. Reckon you could chalk that down to dodgy predictive text anyway... Re tkts, all quiet on the pre-sale front but am hoping to hear something today.