Mansfield was a desperate place to grow up for live music in the 1970s; there were no venues in the town and no late buses back from either of the places that did have them – Nottingham or Sheffield. That I remember seeing Zaine Griff in 1979 says much for the paucity of the live musical options. I only recall having seen one other band in the town – a bunch of Van der Graaf Generator wannabes, who vaguely knew Peter Hammill from Leicester, and wanted to emulate him. Sadly for them, they were playing terrible chart covers in a pub on one of those uncertain boundaries, between suburbia and council estate, to a handful of bored looking drinkers and me, drowning my sorrows after some set back or other. Putting their gear and squeezing their bodies into their van, to make the trip back down the M1, was probably a relief for them.
Zaine Griff, was New Zealand’s answer to Bowie, I had never heard of him and I suspect that was true of virtually all the audience at the Civic Theatre in 1979, but it didn’t matter mind, it was live music, music from London. I remember nothing of the evening apart from a band from Sutton-in-Ashfield, the neighbouring town, providing the support. They proclaimed that Mansfield was the ‘rock and roll capital of the universe,’ it was, but, only if your world only went as far as Huthwaite. Having done a number of rock standards, the guitarist used the opportunity of being on the ‘big stage’ of the Mansfield Civic Theatre (where I had performed on numerous occasions in my junior school class choir, more on that another day, maybe ….) to enact that classic rock and roll guitar extravaganza – smashing the ‘axe’ against the speaker stack. He obviously wasn’t that experienced in this – it took an age of pounding against the Marshalls to complete the task.
I can’t remember who I went to see them with it may well have been F (I have changed his initial to protect his identity), who had left my school at 16 to join the merchant navy who used to regale me with tales of the high seas, girls and VD clinics and buy me copious amounts of Hardy and Hanson’s bitter on his shore leave.
I have no idea whether Run was performed but it was certainly from that era of Zaine Griff’s career.
My next trip to the Civic (now Palace) Theatre was a couple of years later in 1981, a very different line-up – it was a rally of Tony Benn, as part of his Labour Deputy Leadership Campaign, and Arthur Scargill, who was standing for the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers. It was really inspiring and, I think, spurred me to join the Labour Party that year.