Archive for January, 2013

It Was Cold

Anglesey is known for many things.  Copper, druids, the longest railway station name, a tunnel at both ends of the platform.  No, that’s Bangor railway station. Anyway, perhaps the  most celebrated claim to fame in the island’s long history is that it was once home to Paul Fox and Malcolm Owen.  In Paul Fox’s case, he lived there for 6 years, from 1971 to 1977.  In 1977, of course, he moved back down south with his friend Malcolm and formed The Ruts.

Paul and Malcolm lived in a commune near Cemaes Bay.  Like a lot of the pioneers of punk, in the early seventies they were vegetarian, long-haired and liked Jefferson Airplane.  I wonder what they did for a living?  Not to worry because in those days Unemployment Benefit represented 23% of the average weekly wage.  They certainly supplemented any income they had by playing live in a band named after someone in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  The lion I think.  They hired out The Beech Hotel in Trearddur Bay and all the young and not so young people would come from miles around.  They would dance to what became The Ruts and then go home and eat vegetarian mousakka.

I wish I’d known all this when I went on holiday to Anglesey in 2007.  That was a very wet summer.  Leeds Railway Station was flooded on my return  and I had to get on a bus with loads of people coming back from Glastonbury Festival.  They were sogged.  It wouldn’t have mattered so much to them if they’d just seen The Ruts playing.  But they hadn’t.  In fact, 2007 was the year Paul Fox died of lung cancer, following his friend Malcolm who died in 1980.

So yes, the holiday would have been better with a little extra research, the Glastonbury crowd will never see a band as good as The Ruts at that festival and life is long but too short.

To Paul and Malcolm: thank you for the music.  I mean it, man.