What From Heaven to Heaven is… and what it isn't

 

The book is… a fly-on-the-wall, near-stream of consciousness account of what we, an at times big group of Bedford fans (we'll refer to them as the 'Bedford crew'), can remember of the years we hurtled around the country to catch New Order, for me, the best band on the planet. Whether it was a car or a transit load and 'Dec +1' or 'Dec +12' on the guest list, it was never a problem with Rob.

 

The body of From Heaven to Heaven covers the period from the Heaven, Feb '81 gig (the year and gig we bounded in, in numbers), to (that's handy) Heaven, Aug '84, in effect the period we gradually began drifting out and off to 'deal with life.' Some of us have caught New Order gigs along the way and up to the most recent, but the above years of 40 minute sets and when certain songs were known only as 'Little Dead,' 'Death Rattle,' 'Tiny Tim' and 'Cramp,' etc., were really 'our times.' Seeing a special band early in their life is a thrill that's hard to beat and what is in the book is a very small part of what happened and when it happened, errr… unless we haven’t got a clue… and the huge gaps say as much.

 

Retrieved from dark drawers and cupboards, this ramble has been aided by as much as we could throw at it, from our collective memories (fairly useless) through to the memorabilia (fairly reliable), and all bolstered slightly by the likes of my one-line-a-day diaries of the time - the 'work 6-2.30, into town, music papers, called Karl, down the Cross Keys with… watched Whistle Test, bed at…' type. To my mind, the tape transcriptions of soundcheck and dressing room chat included in the book are the real bonus. If we've forgotten most of the surrounding scenarios (and the piecing together of what with what did bring some confusion - rat-a-tat-a-tat-tat-hey!) at least the tapes, video stills and photos don't lie. The amount of alcohol, etc., back then and maybe more so the passage of time since, might have the occasional photo in the wrong place but… the sounds and visuals don't lie.

 

The more the Bedford crew did remember, however, the more we smiled. The tapes certainly helped, being now worth any stick I used to get from Hooky or Rob back then. "He's got that fookin' tape on again!" (Hooky, dressing room, Nottingham Rock City, April '81, I seem to remember), was not a one-off poke. Aaaahhh, happy days. I even laughed out loud a few times listening back to some of the offstage stuff those TDK tapes caught. It was usually something Rob said... wouldn't ya guess?

 

Hopefully the book brings a warm, 'knowing' smile or even the odd laugh and might fill in some little bits of the youthful lives of those who, in keeping with the time, we'll hereon refer to individually as Barney, Gillian, Hooky and Steve. As New Order, on a great night they were so far ahead of the rest it was breathtaking. On a good night? They were so far ahead... etc., and From Heaven to Heaven is a belated 'thank you' to the band and Rob for allowing us (fans through to fanatical followers) to catch it all, at close quarters.

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