It was, I believe, around the end of August 1984 when I learned that a number of my McDonald’s colleagues were going to Birmingham to see Depeche Mode play at the Odeon cinema there. I decided that I had to go along, too.
In truth, I am pretty sure that they didn’t deliberately plan the trip without me. I had taken several weeks off that summer to study for my O levels and the tickets were probably booked then. But, in a rare, show of initiative, I decided that this didn’t mean that I couldn’t go, too.
In those pre-internet days, the easiest way to get a concert ticket was to go to the venue and pay for it. So, when I had a day off, I took a train to Birmingham, walked to the Odeon, and astounded the guy in the ticket office by turning down a seat front and centre of the cinema in favour of one in the row in front of my friends. Having only been to one concert before, I wasn’t brave enough to sit entirely on my own.
All that then remained was to wait until the event was mentioned, announce that by happy coincidence, I too had a ticket for that show. I am not sure that I fooled anyone, but to their credit they allowed me to tag along with them.
And it was a wonderful show. I remember well the projected stained glass windows during ‘Blasphemous Rumours’, the runway down which the boyish Dave Gahan paraded from back to front of the stage, and Martin Gore singing ‘Somebody’ under a cold, stark, spotlight. But I also remember the excitement of the journey there, the buzz of the journey home, and the fact that the people I was with hardly seemed to stop talking and teasing me about what they saw as a burgeoning relationship between me and a female colleague. A subject upon which it turned out they knew far more than I did.