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2023/4 Albums Thing 319 - TV Smith “Useless: The Very Best Of…”

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In the late 90’s me and Deb and our great friend Dawse trooped off to a grotty back street boozer on the edge of Moseley in Birmingham. The reason for this was the advertised performance of TV Smith, former singer with The Adverts and genuine Punk Rock legend. I’d seen him play before, in 1990 in Camden Town with his then band Cheap and then one night at Ronnie Scott’s in Birmingham when he opened for Tom Robinson. The chance to see him up close and personal in a pub was too good to pass up.

As we all stood at the bar perusing what wasn’t an exactly overpopulated room I was seeing a lot of sizeable, balding gentlemen in what felt like uniform distressed, brown leather jackets and got to thinking to myself “where are all the old Punk Rockers ?”. Then it struck me, these are the old Punk Rockers! Anyways that night we got to have a chat with TV and either me or Deb said in the course of that conversation “If you ever need somewhere to stay in Birmingham give us a call” and numbers were swapped. A few months later my phone rang and it was TV Smith (yes I nearly collapsed in shock !). He was coming back to Brum and if he put us on the guest list could we put him up for the night, I almost panicked at the thought of having a genuine Punk Rock legend under my roof. Over the next few years Teev (I always struggle with what to call him. TV seems too formal, Teev too familiar and I don’t feel I know him well enough to call him by his actual name Tim) stayed with us 3 or 4 times, always a perfect guest, just feed him toast, Marmite and tea in the morning, point him to a train station and he’s on his way.

I’d had this album on CD since it was first released in 2001 but the last time we saw TV, in 2017 in Stourbridge, he had this version on Pink vinyl so I had to have it. It is indeed the best of the man covering songs by The Adverts, Cheap and his solo songs but they have all been re-recorded with the help of his friends from German Punx Die Toten Hosen (the Dead Trousers !) and now sound more modern day Punk than the originals. It’s one for hardened TV Smith fans but also a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with what he does.

I’m still in touch with TV, in fact we’re promoting him in Shrewsbury in June this year (tickets available from https://www.seetickets.com/event/tv-smith/alberts-shed/2989754 BTW), a day when I will no doubt wrestle with whether to call him TV, Teev or Tim all day.

Expensive Being Poor - https://youtu.be/pZz7mOXDu0g?si=Ot6K6WnHtW9cvjxL

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