In the first part of this feature I wrote about how I first got into New Model Army, the early gigs that I went to, how I got to know the following and why I took these photographs.

The obvious starting point to take photographs was in the crowds during the gigs. This was firstly because it was easy access. No one really minded having their photo taken as they rocked out to 'Stupid Questions'. It made public what I was doing and of course it was where the most excitement took place, which always makes for a good photograph.

As time progressed, however, I felt I needed to show what happened in the build-up up to the gigs-the travelling and the hours of boredom while you travel, how we got about and the friendships that were made while we toured about.

Each of the photographs below have a particular story behind them. On their own they mean very little, but in essence they are snapshots of events and memories. Even now some fourteen years later I can still recall some of the conversations surrounding the photos. The photo of the mug sticker was taken because Aideen, yet again, didn’t buy a mug early enough into the tour and once more they had sold out after about four or five dates. In frustration she took the label and stuck it on to the glove compartment of her car as a reminder to herself to buy one earlier next time.

Hitching was the usual way that many New Model Army fans got about in the early years of the band. It was out of necessity as much as anything else. Some were really organised and had an A4 file with towns written on it, which saved time looking for cardboard at 1 a.m. at service stations which was never easy. It also avoided the inevitable dilemma of ‘Did I bring the black maker with me’? At that time many of us were students, while others were just starting out on a career or we were in badly paid jobs, all of which meant we were short of money.

There was a time when you would see people "ponsing" at gigs. This meant asking for spare change. I myself would only do this in Europe and only when I was a mature student, but it was commonplace for about ten years. By the mid 90's it had, however, all but died out, although you will still see the odd person at a gig still doing it. Most of us now earn more money and there isn’t the same need or desire to continue with it.

As time wore on and disposal cash increased, we were able to hire cars or group together to share a mate’s car. Eerything was a four way split including the ferry. These days, due to cheap flights, it is easier and less expensive to fly to a destination and hire a car from the airport and then drop it off at another airport on the other side of the country.

You also don't have to deal with remarks such as "It’s my car and I have the wear and tear on it so I should pay less in petrol that you three." In my view it was a fair point as car owners usually got the rough end of the stick. Costs that were never included were things like chipped headlights, flat tyres, shattered window screens, all of which were seen as the responsibility of the driver, and of course there was always those nights that you couldn’t drink as you were driving back to the hotel or to whereever you were staying if you had arranged to crash for the night.

Whereever we went, there were always some looks and finger pointing from people in pubs. They were usually in two camps, locals who didn’t know what the hell had landed on their doorstep and those gig goers who had heard of us but never encountered us before. Some of the local media would turn up on occasions to ask us questions on why we followed the band. I guess it gave them a different angle for their shows, but we always knew the questions they would ask us as we all had had to deal with the same questions from work colleagues or acquaintances. "Same set, same songs, same people ? So why bother ?" My answer was always "Why have a local ?" In essence it’s the same logic, same people, same décor, same music, same conversations. We really aren’t that dissimilar.

Travelling in Europe was always a pleasant experience for me; many others said the same thing. We found warm and welcoming people who would open their house and flats for us to stay in. If they couldn't give us a bed, they gave us floor space and sometimes it was a little cramped but we were always grateful for the offer. Morning was always my favourite time as we often sat at a table, got fed (we would often go to the local shop for bread, jam, and butter) and would tell stories of the night before and laugh or tut disapprovingly at the chaos we had caused or encountered. It really did put you in a good mood for the day. Occasionally someone would come back to where we were staying with the smile of a Cheshire cat. No points for guessing why.

As for me I still go to New Model Army gigs but not as much as I used to. Times move on and we have different responsibilities and commitments. I have made some great friends from these gigs and tours, many of whom I am still in touch with. Looking back at these photos I have fond memories of my time at these gigs despite the long hours on motorways and some of the arguments that I had, most of which I regret. I am glad I took the time and trouble to take these photographs as I suspect in many ways they are a unique document of a band following. My biggest regret ? I just wish I had taken some more photos and over a longer period of time.


19. Mug label in car, Germany, June 1995.

20. Preparing to leave festival, Zillo Fest, Russelheim, Germany, 10th June 1995.

21. On bus going to Wolvestock to see Justin Sullivan solo gig, 10th August 1996.

22. Killing time by playing cards on the ferry to France, 9th June 1996.

23. Catching up on sleep outside on the deck on the ferry to France, 9th June 1996.

24. Hitching guide shown on mini bus to Beavais, France, 9th June 1996.

















Related Links:


http://www.newmodelarmy.org/
https://twitter.com/officialnma
https://www.facebook.com/NewModelArmyOfficial


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