There are things in this world that are lined with tragedy. The story of Alfie is one of them. But the great thing is that out of tragedy came for me friendship and love.
I cannot at all, sat on my floor now, racking my mind, think of a time before Alfie. I can neither pin-point my first encounter with them. I remember that they had a sound that distinctly grew on me. Became more immersed into my life. Songs that stuck out as striking memories of things that had happened. A long, lonely train journey to Manchester eased by the sounds of Alfie. Summer never officially starting until Alfie had been played in the blazing sunshine.
The friends I've made along the way in my life that have also had a strong affection for Alfie have always ended up being friends that have meant the world to me. Sitting in the break from county wind band rehersals, naughtily eating sweets that would then get our reeded instruments sticky but not caring for the intoxicating talk of Alfie. Meeting a very tall, twee and dazzling guy I couldn't even bring myself to talk to when I realised he was an Alfie fan, 'could he be cooler?!', and becoming great friends. And receiving a MySpace message out of the blue to be told I must be worth at least saying hello to because I liked Alfie by someone someone whose divine ability for words had us in deep conversation of personal gigs by the band.
My gorgeous summer, jangly indie band.
That I never got to see.
The artwork for A Word In Your Ear is also probably my favourite artwork of all time. It goes perfectly with the album and its glorious sound that is consistent throughout, but also the concept I always will think is genius. Andy Votel came up with it and it was done by Stan Chow and basically depicts the band Alfie in one of those old style 50's kids books that tries to build the vocabulary of children as they are learning to read. And today's word is 'Alfie'. Woo.
Alfie were not widely known. I personally think they just were not lucky enough to have that perfect timing or promotion that seems to nowadays catapult very undeserving, mediocre bands into astronomical success. So eventually, with four albums under their belt, Alfie split. I remember crying when I read the statement given..
"it's hard to keep faith that "everything'll be alright", (which has been my mantra from day one), when it feels, ultimately, like no-one's listening." (Lee Gorton, 27th October 2005)
Since then I'd always been devastated to think I never got to see them live. I was even vehement that they'd reform to play a gig in my room for my 21st last year. Yet hope is a strange thing and now I just adoringly hold onto my Alfie singles, t-shirts, badges and vinyl that I seek out.
So for those who are not familiar with the late Manchester band here is a few tracks to get you going.
Alfie - You Make No Bones [via zShare]
Alfie - Not Half [via zShare]
Alfie - Your Own Religion [via zShare]
And, a track that holds special signficance to me..
Alfie - James's Dream [via zShare]
Now if you download these and like then I beg you to invest in their albums. They will make your record collection instantly amazing just by owning them. Yes, honestly, they have that power! Click here and ignore all the Jude Law nonsense.
This is just one little post dedicated to a late friend of mine he is more sorely missed than he could have ever known. In loving memory of RN. I miss you. And I am sorry for everything and nothing.