Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly

Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly


I’m not even at Night & Day, and yet I somehow seem to have implicated myself in a drink with the cast of the kids’ TV show The 4 O’ Clock Club.  The reasons are too convoluted to go into, but it gets even more twisted from there because I was once – and completely coincidentally – an extra on the show, playing an angry dad.  And that’s even weirder because that is essentially what I have become in these days of ISAs and ISIS.

A tangent, of course, but perhaps not so far removed as you might think.  Lest we forget, Sam Duckworth, AKA Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, once ended up playing a gig in an episode of Hollyoaks.  Life takes you on these strange tangential journeys.

And that has very much been the story of Sam’s career:  A decade spent on the road and in the recording studio; a tally of what Sam describes as “four and a half albums”; a pub altercation with some delightful members of the BNP leading to an allegiance with the good side of the galaxy – Love Music, Hate Racism and the song ‘Glasshouses’.  Then there were the collaborations with Kate Nash, Billy Bragg, Nitin Sawney and Shy FX.  And back on the down tip, the illness he describes between songs, that incapacitated him for months during 2012, and yet lead to further good music.

It’s a journey that started in this sonic superhero’s hometown of Southend-on-Sea and which carried into many nooks and crannies; many stages and festivals; many kooky adventures.  And yet it appears the road has come to and end.  Seemingly battered by the buffeting impulses of the music industry (warm up Sean McGowan describes Duckworth as the “hardest working man in the music business) and by the work it takes just to get music out there these days, Get Cape, Wear Cape Fly have taken flight for a final time.

And Night & Day is proper packed – a chunky Manc crowd withstanding the buffeting pressures of the Northern Quarter’s own rather perverse new take on bar prices – to join Duckworth for the opening night of his farewell tour, to see him off in style.

And he seems hugely, and honestly, appreciative, with some warm words for our city, and the support it has shown him over the years.  And that honesty matches his stripped-down, basic aesthetic: a programmed backdrop of electronic drum & bass beats and synth stabs, which lays the foundation for Sam to supply the live organics – his voice and guitar.  Shaggy of hair and thin of buttock, Duckworth occupies the stage, dancing to the music, vibing and riffing with the crowd, recognising how warm human beings can be.  And not only because of the sweat.

The voice from those four and a bit albums touches on international voices like Billy Caldwell and Vampire Weekend.. to those closer to home like Badly Drawn and Liam Frost.  And the songs are really, really… pretty.  Which ain’t a bad thing.  From 2010’s eponymous album – and the one I know best – we get ‘Collapsing Cities’ and ‘Where Will You Stand’, through to  ‘War of the Worlds’ from his first long player ‘The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’.  But the set list include cuts from the early days right up until his most recent composition (which he describes, cryptically, as the long song he’ll write) and the encore ‘Time to Time’.  Throughout, the new stuff is as good as the old.  And tragically, he’s still only 28.

A “final performance” will take place on September 12th at The Forum in Kentish Town with Shy Fx amongst others.  And then… who knows.  Is it a tour bus?  Is it a private plane?  Is it a band?   After all the hard work and miles on the roads of this country and others, was it all worth it?  Last word to Sam, who remarks, during a between-tune monologue:  “It was absolutely worth every fucking second”.

So… he got his cape and then he wore his cape.

And now he’s flown.

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Simon is a writer, broadcaster and countercultural investigator. Over the last 15 years he has written for everyone from The Guardian to Loaded magazine, presented television for Rapture TV and hosted radio programs for the likes of Galaxy. He has also found time to earn a Masters Degree in Novel Writing and write three books (a collection of journalism, a guidebook to Ibiza and one on financial planning for young people – the most varied publishing career it’s possible to have) and establish and run a PR company, Pad Communications, looking after a range of leisure and lifestyle clients.He currently splits his time between researching his PhD at Leeds University, looking into various countercultural movements; consulting freelance for PR clients; writing for the likes of Marie Claire in Australia, The Big Issue and the Manchester Evening News, where he reviews concerts, theatre and is their Pub & Bar Editor. He is also broadcaster, appearing regularly on Tony Livesey’s late night 5Live show for the BBC, and also for BBC Radio Manchester Gourmet Night food and drink show.Simon’s main focus has been music and travel. His career has included editing Ministry of Sound’s magazine in Ibiza for two summers and also writing two long-running columns for DJmagazine – ”Around The World in 80 Clubs” (which took him everywhere from Beijing to Brazil, Moscow to Marrakech) and “Dispatches From The Wrong Side”. A collection of the latter was published in the UK and US as the book Discombobulated, including tales as varied as gatecrashing Kylie Minogue’s birthday party, getting deported from Russia, having a gun held to his head by celebrity gangster Dave Courtney and going raving in Ibiza with Judith Chalmers. He has recently written for the likes of Red magazine, Hotline, Clash, Tilllate, Shortlist and the Manchester Evening News. Pad Communications has recently consulted for clients as varied as Manchester nightclubs and New Zealand toy companies.On a personal note, Simon is a Londoner who left the capital at the age of 18 and never looked back. He sees himself as a citizen of the global dancefloor having lived in Sydney, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Amsterdam. However his life is now rather more sedentary. After all his adventures he bumped into and subsequently married his highschool sweetheart from their North London Grammar. They now live in Stockport with their four children and four chickens, trying to live the good life. Simon recently turned 40 and is steadfastly refusing to have a midlife crisis – as in, growing a ponytail and buying a shiny red sports car.OK, maybe he’ll buy the sports car…