Ex-’Housemartins’ front man Paul Heaton will make a suprise appearance in Derry this coming Tuesday, May 29, when he plays Peadar O’Donnell’s on Waterloo Street as part of his ambitious 50:50 Tour. Not only that - he’ll be cycling all the way here!
Heaton, who also fronted The Beautiful South, embarked upon this unusual tour to celebrate his 50th birthday. He’ll be peddling 2500 miles – 50 miles for each year he’s been on the planet – and supporting local boozers with a string of extra special shows to celebrate the art of cycling, and continue his support of our much-loved local pubs.
Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ earlier this week, Heaton said: “I just turned 50 the week before last and this tour is just to celebrate pub culture and bring life back into our pubs. Everywhere I go, I see pubs closing down and there’s very little we can do to stop it, but I thought I’d really like to do something about it - which I have! So I’m cycling there and back!”
Paul’s mammoth journey will span 40 days and take in 33 shows. “The whole idea is to give the local pubs a bit of a lift,” he goes on. “We play for our bed and board, basically! The pubs take the money made on the door and they put us up for the night and feed us, that’s all we need. It all works quite well really. We meet a lot of interesting people on our travels.”
So what can local music fans expect to hear when Paul Heaton arrives in Waterloo Street?
“I play a lot of my solo stuff, which people may or may not know, depending on how big a fan they might be. But, of course, I do play a few Beautiful South songs and a few Housemartins songs as they are still pretty popular. I want people to know what I do now too, so I don’t play too many old songs.”
It was while cycling around Cheshire and the Peak District that Heaton first noticed the rapidly declining pub trade. “I saw so many little pubs that had closed down and wanted to do something to help keep our surviving pubs going,” he says.
“I’m really happy to come to Derry again. I’ve played Northern Ireland before with the Housemartins and Beautiful South and always found both Derry and Belfast really enjoyable places to be so I’m looking forward to seeing Derry again. I’m actually cycling from Larne to Derry, and I’m sure I’ll be tired as a monkey, but I’ll still have enough energy left to put on a good show for everyone!
Tickets for the Heaton’s gig at Peadar O’Donnell’s on Waterloo Street are on sale now, priced £15.