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2023 Albums Thing #005 - The Adverts “Crossing The Red Sea With…”

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In the early 2000’s me, my wife Deb and our great friend Dawse found ourselves in the Moseley Arms in Birmingham thinking “this can’t be where TV Smith is playing”. The pub was full of “old” guys in their 40’s with beer bellies seemingly all dressed in distressed brown leather jackets. “Where are the Punk Rockers” we were thinking. Then it dawned on us, these WERE the Punk Rockers !

That night TV Smith, one man and his acoustic guitar, tore through a set of his songs running from his current album and stretching back to songs from this album, one of the great underrated albums, and songwriters, of the first wave of Punk. In the upstairs room of a pub in the backstreets of Brum a guy who should be lauded as a songwriter gave one of the most energetic performances I’ve ever seen.

You can feel Howard Pickup’s guitar slashing at you, bassist Gaye Advert’s parts may have been simple but hearing them played live by someone else (TV Smith & The Bored Teenagers at the 100 Club some 30 years later) proves they were integral to driving these songs along…and then there are TV’s lyrics. We’d argue this album has more quotable opening lines than many others, “Life’s short don’t make a mess of it”, “But I don't believe you have to be an idiot to get somewhere these days“, “We're talking into corners finding ways to fill the vacuum”, “The great British mistake was looking for a way out, Was getting complacent”…they just keep coming. There are 3 hit singles on here too.

TV Smith is still toting his acoustic around Europe playing with as much energy and conviction as a teenager. We were lucky enough to get to know him and when we still lived in Birmingham he would stay with us after gigs to save on hotel bills. He and The Adverts deserve to be hailed along with the best that the first wave of Punk delivered.

The Great British Mistake - https://youtu.be/klQH7k-5dEw

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