ufoHe’s back but not with his normal self-confidence – Self Made Man has been caught on the hop by the subject of this week’s column.

But having held his hands up there’s no denying our resident classic rocker’s excitement at the prospect of another UFO sighting on Tyneside.

Read Self Made Man exclusively right here every week. 


The conversation left me shamefaced.

“Well, have you got your ticket yet?” a mate of mine asked me over a beer a few days ago with his expression clearly anticipating an affirmative response.

“What ticket?” I replied, bemused, nonplussed and obviously in the dark about the subject he’d just brought up.

“UFO,” he blurted out. “They’re coming to Newcastle next year.”

It was an announcement he didn’t expect to be making. After all, wasn’t I the person who’d been to every UFO gig in the city since 1980?

And wasn’t I the so-called (but not, I hasten to add self-titled) music expert who wrote for a rock blog and was supposed to be up on these sort of things?

For years, it’s been ME telling HIM.

My emotions went into overdrive and looped the loop.

UFO back in the Toon? Great news. It’s been quite a while lads. Of course I’ll be there.

Not just that but it’s on a Saturday in April, a few days before my birthday. Should be quite a night.

But then introspection kicked in. It should have been me imparting such vital information. Why did I not know? Am I losing my touch?

Back in the day of Sounds, newspaper ads and hearsay, if you weren’t on the case within hours of an announcement being made public, then you could forget about buying tickets.

Demand comfortably exceeded supply whenever UFO toured. On a couple of tours, they played successive nights here and every concert sold out.

In 2014, there are numerous websites publicising forthcoming tours yet somehow the information had passed me by.

My aberration, fortunately, won’t have dire consequences. The guys will pull in a decent crowd at the O2 Academy next spring but I’d imagine the gig won’t sell out – though I’m taking no chances.

I’ll see a few familiar faces, Phil Mogg will compere the evening with the relaxed manner of someone playing fives and threes at his local boozer…

…and I’ll raise a glass to Ian H who broke the news that UFO are on the road again.

Ian Murtagh