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the journey begins...

The band of my life since I was 18. This is a journey it started in a tiny club in Madrid in 1995 and has had the last chapter by now in Murcia two days ago. In the meantime, more than twenty shows, a lot of travels and encounters with friends and the absolute certainty this band will be with me to the very end. Thanks a lot for all these years making with your art a better world and see you in the next future…

25/09/1995 – Sala Revolver, Madrid, Spain setlist




eject to play other side (side b)

Top row L-R: 1st album Polish release. 1st album. 2nd album. 2nd album This Way Up promo.1st album Bar None promo.

2nd row L-R: Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre This Way Up promo. Nenette et Boni. Nenette et Boni This Way Up promo. Curtains. Curtains London Records US promo.

3rd row L-R: Curtains This Way Up promo. Curtains Mercury Germany promo. Donkeys. Simple Pleasure. US PolyGram KCRW 07/24/97 Interview & Album Tracks promo.

4th row L-R: Marbles Che/Tippy Toe promo. Kathleen This Way Up promo. No More Affairs This Way Up promo. Rented Rooms CD1 & 2 This Way Up promo.

Bottom Row L-R: Live At The Wherehouse Derby “4th January 1994. Live in Brussels 2nd February 1994. Live at La Salamande, Strasbourg 9th February 1994.



aula magna lisbon '95 - a love story begins

Presently, I’m on my way to Vienna for the first 2 concerts of the Tindersticks 30th anniversary tour.  I’ve watched many of the band’s live concerts in Portugal in the 90’s up to 2004. All of them exquisite and excellent. But I mostly cherish and remember the band’s first concert in a September evening at the Aula Magna, the auditorium of the Lisbon university. The venue was full, the audience was eager, excited and showed absolute respect to the band and broke down in applause at the end of each song. Ever since, Portugal and the Tindersticks developed a love affair. It’s one of Portugal’s favorite bands. 

I feel privileged for being present that evening. It was unforgettable. 

Hope in the future.



tindersticks: the beginning

It was 1993 and I was undertaking my A levels and the Mark and Lard night time show / graveyard shift was to introduce me to so much fantastic music new and old. Little did I know that the session on their very first night time show would be a band I still listen to so frequently today. It sounded so different to everything else out there at the time and as an 18 year old not wanting to follow what everyone else listened to it had that added quality. It also sounded so complete and  grown up.

Having heard the session the next day I went into Manchester to Piccadilly Records and purchased that first album with the postcards. I went into my sixth form college that afternoon with the record in a bag and do remember my Geography teacher being pretty impressed at the purchase. The postcards are now framed on a wall at home. Those postcards have followed and gone with me every time I’ve moved along with the records. That first Manchester gig upstairs at the Hop n Grape in Manchester University was, despite the feedback issues which I seem to recall, still so important to me. I made sure I purchased a copy of the Live in Berlin 7”.

The next 12 months saw me listen a lot to the album and I was at Reading 94 for the headline show in the tent. That show was emotional and incredible. I remember hugging strangers after it finished and so many of us looking and each other knowing we had witnessed something special we wouldn’t ever forget.

When I went to university a month later there were plenty I met in those unique first few weeks at university  who’d been to that Reading Festival and as you do when meeting new people in such a setting bands and festivals were discussed. People asked what I saw Sunday night and I proudly stated Tindersticks obviously, they are the greatest band and anyway the Chilli Peppers (headlining the main stage) are bobbins. It certainly set a marker…

Tindersticks were the first band I felt to be mine, which I know sounds selfish but hopefully you get what I mean, in that I felt I was there from the beginning and not playing catch up.

I’ve been buying, listening and seeing ever since.



postcard for the young at heart

 Action Man Retirement Home “Relaxing II”

Promotional postcard for “Songs for the Young at Heart.”



quite a surreal day

Reading David Boulter’s memories of 2001 and especially his recollection of the build up to the Berlin show reminded me of my own memories of that particular gig and what turned out to be quite a surreal day.

My wife (Hilary) and our son were en route to Poland but had decided to stop over in Berlin primarily so that I could attend the show at the Estrel Hotel and Convention Center where we stayed.

On the afternoon of the show we were having a wander through the hotel when I became aware of Tindersticks music playing somewhere within the vicinity. Following the sound we eventually stumbled upon its source which turned out to be Lucy Wilkins and the String Ensemble, positioned on a stairwell complete with a portable CD player, practising for the evening’s event. Then a couple of minutes later Dickon appeared. I asked him how things were and he replied rather unconvincingly “ yeah fine, everything’s cool”!

Evening comes and I’m part of the queue waiting to gain entrance into the venue, the show start time comes and goes and we’re still not being allowed access, eventually a member of staff appears and announces that the show had been delayed and advised us to come back in an hour – alarm bells were now beginning to sound.

To kill time I went down to the hotel lounge and met up with Hilary, getting a drink from the bar I overheard a couple of members of the road crew discussing what was going on and I caught snippets of “do you think they’ll replace him?”, “what about the rest of the tour?” etc. etc. I asked one of the guys what was happening but he wasn’t revealing anything.

There was then the rather bizarre spectacle of staff members putting up posters advertising the show (now some 2 hours after the supposed start time), I asked one of them if it was possible for me to have one of the posters but my request was flatly refused.

Anyway, I go back down to the venue fully expecting to be informed that the show had been cancelled, but no, we were being allowed in. The band walk on stage, there’s a full drum kit assembled but no Al! Stuart announces that they’d be playing without a drummer and so the concert eventually started.

Even minus Al it turned out to be a great concert warmly received by all. I had arranged to meet Hilary at the bar after the show and guess what? There she was complete with a poster for me that she had somehow blagged!

As I said at the start – quite a surreal day. 



a night out

Exhausted, sweaty, yet somehow glowing and perfectly groomed, even his hair looks artfully bedraggled,  the new mother reaches for her infant and beams pure love. I’m not going to say that’s inaccurate, but the fact that this is the only reaction a new mom has. What it really feels like to meet your baby for the first time can, and usually is, a far cry from the me. By the 12th July did have a good delivery of our first son. Having the best of a warm summer together did we not forward to the cold and gloomy autumn. Out our new family horizon did we find out that our favorite band would play! 

We asked our self, could we leave him for a concert? Yes, said our friends and families, you need to go! And we did, thanks for all good music! The poster was stolen out side of the venue.



7 june 1995 - bataclan, paris

bataclan ticket

Flyer and ticket for the 7 June 1995 show at the Bataclan, Paris with full orchestra.



a snicker and a sneer

I came over to Pennsylvania as a student from the UK and had a college radio show on WIXQ. Loved the Tindersticks as soon as I discovered their first album. Made me miss England. I saw them play in Philadelphia in June 1994 at the tiny, and appropriately dingy, Kyber Pass Bar. I asked them to play City Sickness and was given a snicker and sneer in return. haha. It was a fantastic show. Then, I saw them at the CMJ festival in NYC (with Jeff Buckley supporting including a 15 minute cappella version of “Hallelujah” for better or worse). I probably have a photo of them from that night somewhere!  Moved to LA after college and was lucky enough to see them at the El Rey in ’97. I always took a new friend to see them.

I still look forward to every new release.

[photo from the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, 8 June 1994]



a night in

Back in the mid-1990’s, I heard a few Tindersticks songs from the first and the second albums here and there when they were played on a late-night radio show. I mentioned this potentially interesting band to a friend who had introduced me to a lot of new music over those years; needless to say he had already had the band on his radar. Then one July day in 1997, he told me that the host of that radio show, a mutual acquaintance, had spare tickets for a concert in Salzburg where Tindersticks would open for John Cale. Would I want to join them? But the event was happening the same day and since the drive would take more than 3 hours, I would have to make my decision quickly. It was summer, the exams period was over, I was free, so why not? I thought it would be a nice opportunity to finally see that interesting band live, but even if that turns out to be a disaster I would still get to see Cale. 

The concert took place at the city’s cathedral square. Tindersticks were scheduled to begin their set at 8pm and the moment they were about to start playing, the cathedral bells rang. Those bells went on for a ridiculously long while, eventually making Stuart look at his watch and smile at the audience, as if apologising for being unable to get on with his job. I did not yet know the material from Curtains but what I heard that evening was different from any of the bands that I had listened to until then. It was intoxicating. It made sense. Their set then ended, John Cale came on stage, it was good but it paled in comparison with the opening act! My memories of the rest of the evening are heady. While waiting for the radio show host to come back from his interview with Stuart, my friend and I briefly met the rest of the band backstage. Back on the square a little while later, it was now all dark except for a few of those old street lamps that emit yellowish light. The two of us sat on one of the benches and from there we could see Stuart and the radio show guy immersed in their conversation, sitting on their own bench, directly illuminated by a lamp. Other than the four of us, the square was empty and completely peaceful. It was like a painter had painted that scene.
On the Marbles mailing list, the Salzburg concert would later be referred to as “the one where Stuart smiled”. I became a lifelong Tindersticks fan at that concert. 



some journey it has been

Ever since the Sunday evening in 1994 when I heard and saw City Sickness on MTV, tindersticks have been with me. Some journey it has been. In the early days I recall the Phorum, when a group of tinderfans exchanged a cassette with tindersticks rariities. Great memories from those optimistic times.
Have been to 10-20 concerts over the years, starting with the Bataclan show on 16/05/1995. Grown to accept and appreciate seated venues although there is always a moment that I need to stand or move. Next concert will be in Bochum later this year.
Favourite song: what are you fighting for? (the 45 rpm vinyl version).



falling through time

I left home, a rural working class house in West Kent in 1997 to study at Norwich School of Art & Design. I was 19 and I’d bought the Bathtime EP after hearing the song played by Steve Lamacq one spring evening. Later that year, a new friend made me a mix tape with My Sister on it, and I started to buy the albums, starting with the compilation Donkeys. I met a French exchange student from St Etienne in 1999. She sang Ne Me Quitte Pas by Brel at a open mic music night, I fell in love there and then, and for three months Tindersticks soundtracked our lives before she went home. I remember us smoking and drinking into first light listening to Cherry Blossoms, A Night In and Mistakes. It felt all so adult and romantic. Looking back, it was of course a couple of kids lost in a moment. 
I first saw Tindersticks at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill with James Yorkston supporting in 2002. We had driven down in a mate’s mini which broke down on the A21 just outside Tunbridge Wells. Four blokes stood on the hard shoulder with passing motorists shouting abuse at us. We were towed to a garage, fixed and sent on our way. We made it about 7pm. It was a beautiful summer evening and the band played My Oblivion for the first time. It haunted me until WFTM was finally released. 
I saw them three more times after that. Once at Latitude, then Greenman 2010 and then the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in 2016. I have tickets for the gig in London this May, just before my 45th birthday. So much life has happened, and my first book The Somnambulist Cookbook published in 2019 has subtle nods to Tindersticks, Quickspace and Pavement. All three of these bands are so important to what I have experienced. 
In 2014 I was staying in Athens. My children’s mother is Greek and we at an apartment of her friend. The radio was playing and Tonight (Are You Trying to Fall in Love Again) came on the radio. We were leaving for three weeks on Serifos with my baby daughter and I was humming that song for the whole time there. It felt so good to hear it so far from home. 
Thanks for the music. 



it was a horrible day

It was spring 1995, I was 26 years old and it was a horrible day. I had had a terrible argument with my girlfriend and it was completely my fault. But in the afternoon I went into a record store and there was the band’s first album waiting for me.

Since then, things have not changed too much; the girl is my wife , and tindersticks are still my favorite band. We got married and danced to Buried Bones in our wedding 22 years ago. Happy ending here. I hope we continue dancing for the next 22.



the best band in the world

It’s late 1992 and I’m listening (a lot) to REM’s Automatic For The People and a friend of my niece hands me a copy of a 7inch by this new English band I might like.  And I did. In fact, I liked it very much indeed thank you.  Early ’93, another strange and spectacular single and then the greatest album ever made and some more singles and some Peel Sessions and an astonishing gig at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea. Then in ’95, the second greatest album ever made.
I still like REM, and loads of other stuff. But tindersticks are the best band in the world.



a night in

Very much like the most exhilarating love stories, my passion for Tindersticks began as a love at first sight.
Back to 1995, I was at Keele University. May 20th, on a Saturday night, nothing much to do at the students’ union, I got back to my bedsit early. I walked into the living room, turned the telly on, went to the kitchen, put two slices of white bread in the toaster. Waited. Spread butter on toast, put slices on plate, walked back to living room, sat on low table in front of telly. I lifted a toast to take a bite, but stopped midway.

Something had happened. I sat there, awestruck, with my mouth wide open, staring at the screen and listening to the music that had me under its spell.
Tindersticks, No More Affairs, Later with Jools Holland.

At the time, I was a great fan of Prince, I even saw him play in Birmingham a couple of months earlier. But the feeling I got when I first heard those guys was something I had never felt before, it was like the song and the music was exactly what I had been wanting to hear, without knowing it. I responded to the song as if it knew what I wanted to hear.

I remember thinking I had to jot down the name of the band when Holland would say their name again, since I had missed the intro (busy cooking, in the kitchen…). Unfortunately, he moved directly onto the next artist, and I thought I had to wait for the end of the show to see the artists list.
But then, I was lucky, because they played a second song. 
A Night In. Tindersticks.

Once again, the magic happened. I knew the band was second to none; a ream class of its own. I decided I had to get their album, and the following Monday morning, I skived off the philosophy lecture to make sure I was at the opening of the local record shop!

It is a bit of a cliché to say Tindersticks has been the soundtrack to my life, but it is ever so true. When I met the young lady who was to become my wife, I had a tape of Tindersticks #2 in my Clio. It worked as a kind of litmus test, if she liked it, then it was worth going further. A few years later, we had Don’t Ever Get Tired to open the ball at our wedding.

The band was also an opportunity to meet like-minded people who have become very good friends, people who were familiar faces at gigs, some who once got in touch out of the blue, and have been among my best friends ever since, some I wanted to meet so much that they were the excuse to go to gigs abroad…

Little did I know back in 1995 that I would later be travelling hundreds of miles, on some occasions driving to London/Clermont/Brighton and back on the same nights, sometimes four or five times within a week, to see them play. Or that I would become good friends with them, to a point where I now cherish that friendship more than their music. I once said to Stuart that I was waiting for the day they would release an album and I would tell them ‘sorry, I don’t like this one’, but I would still travel for the sheer pleasure of seeing them, having a drink, talking about stuff. That day has not arrived!



let's not get lost in this

I first heard tindersticks in the spring of ‘95. A bartender friend at our neighborhood watering hole lent me the CD to the second album. He said give this a listen, I think you’ll like it. Well, from those first few bass notes on El Diablo en el Ojo, I was hooked. It’s hard to put into words the impact the band has had on me but needless to say their music is a life changer.

 Lucky for me, my wife is also a big fan, we used the instrumental to Let’s Pretend from the Marks Moods album for our wedding song.  The first tindergig I attended was in Pontiac, MI on the Curtains tour and I’ve been fortunate to see them about a dozen times in multiple countries over the years. One of the most memorable were the shows at St Ann’s in Brooklyn and by chance, a brief introduction and chat with the band on the streets of Greenwich Village that weekend. 

I’ve made some great friends over the years with fellow tinderfans and if all goes well and barring any Covid interruptions, some new memories will be made this spring.


it's that easy

October 1993. 

I was 18 and my taste in music, which had up to that point been for fairly traditional rock with U2’s ‘Actung Baby’ as alternative as it got, was undergoing something of a change.

A liking for REM had led me to Grant Lee Buffalo and then to Mazzy Star and then various American bands with very depressing lyrics and vocalists who were usually named Mark. So I started buying the NME and moving away from bands with long hair and tight jeans. I started watching MTV’s 120 Minutes with the aim of discovering other bands who fitted into what was admittedly a fairly narrow spectrum for me at that point. During one of these shows, where roughly 50% of the music I would still find unlistenable, I first heard ‘City Sickness’ by tindersticks. I was immediately drawn to the orchestral sound and the gloomy romanticism of the lyrics. As luck would have it, the presenter announced that the album was released the very next day.

A lunchtime excursion to Andy’s Records in Bedford secured me the cd. I rushed home to listen to it, straight upstairs to my bedroom and stereo, pressed play and… hang on… there was something wrong with the cd! The music sounded strangely muted, oddly recorded and the singer….well he was mumbling. There had to be something wrong with the cd. I took it downstairs to try it on my Mum and Dad’s stereo and there was no change. I decided to try listening to ‘City Sickness’ to see if it sounded the same as I’d heard on the TV and when it did I realised something strange was afoot. On listening to the entire album and trusting that the cd was actually meant to sound like this, I realised that what we had here was a kaleidoscope of sounds and styles, the like of which I had never heard before. It blew my mind. It was 20 tracks long and there was so much to discover.

And so I became a tindersticks fan. They changed the way I thought about music and the way I thought about life. Their cover of ‘Kathleen’ a year later was the first song ever to make me cry… the wait for the second album was too much but when it arrived somehow it was even better than the first.

It was funny that on the Saturday after buying the 1st album I got a phone call from a friend who was going to watch Luton Town play football that afternoon and asked if I would like to come. I was a Man U supporter who just watched the games on TV but going to Luton Town that afternoon changed all that. I became a LTFC fan and went to watch them each week. Two lifelong dedications in a week and somehow the two seemed so linked. Moving away from popular rock music and Man Utd to an outsider band who never fit into any fashion at all and a football club who were on a downward slide somehow felt completely appropriate. So many matchdays over the years I have listened to tindersticks on my way to the ground and back to the station afterwards and back in the 90s there would be three or four independent record shops between the station and the ground where I would try each week to find the rare, early tindersticks singles still missing from my collection.  One chapter of my life was ending and a new one was starting.

Every day for the past 29 years if I could have chosen one band to release new music or play a show it would have been tindersticks. For various reasons, I didn’t get into actually going to the concerts until 2000 which is a major regret now but I made up for it in the following years, seeing them more than 10 times between then and the split of the ‘first incarnation’ of the band in 2004 and many more times since.

Many individual songs and performances have meant a lot to me personally. tindersticks have always been a somewhat lyrically ambiguous band but as someone who has suffered from severe anxiety for many years, Stuart has written lyrics that seem to touch on this subject and have become massively important to me and almost a guiding inspiration through life:

If I could find the words to explain this feeling then I would shout them out

If I could find out honestly what’s inside it, I would shout it out

and most of all, from a time when I really needed to hear this:

Such a silly boy, sat underneath a tree

Can’t go to his own party, it’s so easy…

Like standing up and not falling down

nothing to do, nothing to figure out

Just put your feet firmly on the ground

It’s that easy

Other songs, bits of lyrics, I know will come to mean a lot more to me in the future. It is like they are sitting there waiting for their moment.

I think everyone really has a band who act as the soundtrack to their life. Always there, regardless of changes in taste and mood. tindersticks are that band for me. So many times over the years people I’ve met have asked me what sort of music I listen to, as I’m so often seen attached to a pair of headphones. I’ve never known how to describe tindersticks. They don’t really fit into a genre and they can’t easily be pigeon-holed. I guess the best way of putting it is that they sound to me like your favourite band would hopefully sound to you. I listened to the first album again this morning and remembered 18 year old me, sitting confused by my stereo, wondering what on earth this was that I was experiencing. I never dreamed then that they would be with me every step of the way for the next thirty years. Thank you tindersticks.



across these years...

I consider my self a “middle schooler” in terms of being a fan. I only discovered the band in 1999 when they released Simple Pleasure thanks to MTV (seems so strange now) that used to air Can We Start Again. That kind of music was not my type (i am a big Nirvana fan) and when i listen to the entire Simple Pleasure cd i was in love with the band already. Then i bought the first 3 cd and it was unbelievable! The fist album and Curtains were masterpieces but it was the second album that really hit me. The opening with El Diablo still brings back the memory of the first time i listened to it… It’s definitely my favourite album, a true masterpiece! 

It took me 2 years until i see them live in a memorable gig at Lisbon with the Lisbon Orquestra. I felt so lucky with the immortalization of that moment when a live album was released with that gig. 23 years have passed now and i have attended to a lot of concerts and have quite a nice collection of cd, vinyl, cassete, vhs, posters and other memorabilia (special mention to the Marbles collection has i love the song and love the different records), although i still miss some rare versions. And i’m still waiting for that live DVD :-). 

Across these years i have to highlight the day that i took a flight to London to be at the release of The Waiting Room at Rough Trade East. It was the first time i met the band and other fans that i only knew virtually. I had the chance to spoke with Stuart and thank him form all the songs and lyrics that he wrote all these years. Another highlight was at Berlin, the only time i watch a concert outside Portugal and in the end i had the opportunity to talk with Neil about guitars and ask him for advice. I felt like a teenager both times talking to them. I was able to attend to 2 concerts in Portugal in 2020 just before the pandemic and i’m really hopping to watch the live again at the 30th anniversary tour!



how they entered

CMJ October 1995 - best new music
CMJ, October 1995

I was working at a record store in 1995. Not a rough around the edges, play-what-you-want, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em kind of place. No, this was all corporate, with signage and front of store planograms coming in from headquarters, along with a reminder that all employees needed to wear a tie. But that never stopped the PR folks. Our backroom overflowed with posters, flats, promos, and the occasional free tickets and listening parties.

I was reading the most recent CMJ, whose “RIYL” reviews provided a welcome respite from the smooth jazz my boss and the clientele fancied. I remember reading a review for the second album, thinking “yeah, I think I’ll like this,” and seeing Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen pop up in the RIYL. That sealed the deal. I promptly riffled through our stack of promos, and found someone staring back at me. Little did I know that this album, and by extension, this band and their music, would become such a large part of my life.



my donkeys

Three framed (old) donkey couples from the Can Our Love album shooting (2001) joining the signed donkey lithography (TWR tour 2016) on the wall.

from Top (right side):
the original Can our Love Artwork from Phil Nicholls Archive (scanned for the album artwork & promo releases) – Trouble Every Day / Can Our Love (Sweet Release) promo cardboard CD – the positive b&w transfer-photo print, used to make the colored original. (10 – 2017)



eject to play other side

left to right: first album promo, first album, second album, second album (turkey), second album promo, curtains (turkey), curtains promo, donkeys (turkey), simple pleasure (turkey), bathtime promo, rented rooms promo, travelling light promo, no more affairs promo, simple pleasure demos, bloomsbury promo, bcc sessions promo, nenette et boni promo