Kiss and Make Up

Well it happened and what a joy it did.

The ever smiling Harry Steen, arranger of gigs in far flung corners of Norway, purveyor of fresh Norwegian salmon at unexpected times, and general uplifter of the soul, sent me a text: “Is it alright if Honest John comes on the tour?”. “Is it alright?”  Bloody hell! Is it alright if all my birthdays come at once?  Is it alright if Cara Delevigne declares she’s gone off girls and would like to pop round tonight?

“Does he want to?” I replied. “He says yes”, was the short answer.

I didn’t think it would happen though.

Believe it or not, there were those who tried to stop it. To the incredulity of all in the know, there was an element (no member of The Boys I hasten to add) on the phone to John, many times a day, heaping pressure on him not to play with me. And John hates confrontation. A lover of the easy life he’ll shy away from anger rather than be the cause of trouble.

But good for him. A bang on the head and glimpse of the hereafter has given John a view of life a little above the rest of us. And: an ability he once didn’t have to ignore silliness.

I still didn’t think it would happen though.

But the week before, I was on the phone to our mutual mate Jim the vicar who mentioned with joy in his heart: “So John says he’s coming on tour with you next week”. “Did he say that?” I said.

I still didn’t think it would happen though.

But on Thursday 14 April 2016 we were in Oslo and so was John. Ready to play his classic “Where have all the Good Girls gone”, and an almighty cover of M.O.T.O.’s “I hate my fucking Job”, backed by the outstanding Oslo band, Hard Luck Street. And more importantly John was there to play “Box No.”, “Sick on You” and “First Time” with us.

I’ve spent the last 3/4 years with the Big Heads praising and promoting The Boys. In print, on the radio, and at every gig I laud their achievements and what they meant to the world. And especially John, author of so many classic songs. So what a thrill at the appointed hour as the big man stepped up, plugged in and launched into Box No. Oh how I’ve missed standing in front of that monster, world class chug. Even If you ignore all his other achievements John could take any other punk on in a rhythm guitar contest and wipe the floor with them.

Norway3 Norway7

The audience were a wall of cameras and phones. Word had got around Oslo through John’s many friends that this reunion was happening and the various gadgets couldn’t hide the mile wide smiles on faces as the familiar, iconic intro chords to “First Time” rang out.

As I looked up I felt a huge wave of relief that this had come to pass. We nearly lost the fella last year and I would never have had the chance again. There’s a lot of silliness in the world but we only live once. Let’s ban silliness and, like John, rise above it.

We’d all be happier and better off.

Some things never change though. On the last night of the tour I was at the bar ordering my customary pre-show water when a familiar Londonised Yorkshire voice cut across the room: “Duncan Reid LPs; half price for cash”! Yep. Someone had let him loose on the Merch stall!


Honest? You’ve gotta love him.







Honest John Plain has been fibbing again
Honest John Plain has been fibbing again


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4 thoughts on “Kiss and Make Up

  1. Loooooove it Duncan 👍👍👍

    1. Thanks Harry and thanks for putting on a great tour. What a bus!

  2. Sounds like a great tour. Good to see pics of you and HJP sharing a stage again. Sad that someone didn’t want it to happen. People are strange.

    1. People certainly are George. Still, all swell that ends well

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