Steve Colman: Good times at the Sunderland Empire

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HALF way through October and no snow yet!

I suppose this adds to the false promises of a baking Summer forecast and then the stories of barmy Barby weather for an Indian Summer - the best we got was about the five days as September turned to October.

And then they told us a big freeze was coming soon.

Well I hope, trust and dare I say it, pray that it doesn’t come.

I’m seriously thinking of becoming a hamster if this year does make it three bad ones in a row.

Not sure about shoving nuts in my pouches to get myself ready for it yet though.

YOU are in for a treat if you are going to party at the Sunderland Empire during the week.

“Rock n Roll Heaven’s” arrival has given me the chance to play a few records on air that we don’t usually get to play.

Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon everybody” and “Something Else” sounded great and the latter reminded me of the Sex Pistol’s version which I hadn’t heard or been reminded of in years.

Also as I was preparing for the 25th Anniversary broadcast of the Metrocentre, I was looking through the potential music that I could play to get us in the mood of 1986 and recalled Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s “Love Missile f1-11” - I saw them do that live at the old Mayfair in Newcastle. All this reminded me of days gone by.

Will there ever be a similar sort of feeling for our youngsters with anarchic music giving them the buzz that those records reminded me that I’d had at the time? I doubt it.

ON a totally different tack, I have Gilbert O’Sullivan on the show next week. He’s coming to do a gig at the end of November and I must admit to loving his early music with the clever lyrics that he penned. Forget “Claire” and “Get Down” - “Alone again naturally” and “Matrimony” were very sombre, melanchony songs which made you think about your life and how it could all go wrong.

He’d obviously been through the mill and it will be great chatting to him after all this time and the fact that he’s still here to celebrate his 65 birthday on December 1. Mind you, he’s been living on the Island of Jersey for quite a few of those years now and that’s probably helped him get over his melanchony moments. It’s hard to believe he’s still here after all the murders that featured on Bergerac, there was one there every week on the tv, and I think the show actually finished as they’d run out of people!

THE Sunderland Empire also features someone else who I’ll be chatting to soon. The lovely Sue Pollard will be returning to the region in “Annie” and I always look forward to a inspiring chat with her. Bonkers. Love it.

Someone who appears to have been partially bonkers for one reason and another was Judy Garland.

Tracie Bennett had two lots of sessions on Coronation Street and then appeared on Stars in Their Eyes as Judy Garland in 2000.

Six years later a show began in Australia which depicted Judy’s last few weeks on earth before following the yellow brick road to the sky.

It has been at the Theatre Royal Newcastle this week and has to be one of the most amazing performances ever seen on stage.

Tracie IS Judy Garland and with her manic drug infused ups and downs, makes “End of the Rainbow” a really testing time for our emotions. Should we really be laughing at the state she gets in?

Can we feel all right in ourselves when she’s threatening to jump out of the hotel window and splatter herself on the red carpet whilst delivering a funny line.

And telling us how that as opposed to skipping down the Yellow Brick Road she should have been flying down it with all the pills she’d popped.

Comedy with pathos. Oh blimey I’m getting back to melancholy stuff with Gilbert again. Well I did start off with weather warnings of deep snow again for us this winter.