Fairies Wear Boots – Welcome to the God’s of Heavy Metal…….. Black Sabbath, Birmingham, England

Woolly says – Spontaneity isn’t something that usually happens with Jo around, she’s a planner and likes to check and double check before committing to anything. So, imagine my surprize at her announcement on a Friday that she has booked tickets for an exhibition the following day!  Having checked all of her vital signs, kicked her in knee caps and asked if she needed a doctor, it appeared that my usually organised carer was serious.

Unlike me I know, but having missed out on a previous exhibition at Birmingham’s Natural History Museum I didn’t want to find us in the same situation and face disappointment.

Woolly says – Never one to argue….well rarely, I spent the next couple of hours searching for my autograph book in preparation for the morning.  With a mini heatwave covering the UK, we clambered into the oven like qualities of the bus and sat back to watch the world go past, an ideal opportunity to fill Jo in on the famous people we would be meeting. 

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Sabbath are often known as the pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes over the years, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history. Just to make my research more memorable I also had a song to sing her, strangely this didn’t seem to impress her one iota.

I hadn’t got the heart to tell him that I was quite a fan of the Birmingham band and had seen them in concert many decades ago, the singing however had to be stopped before complaints from fellow passengers reached the bus driver.

Woolly says – ‘Yeah, fairies wear boots and you gotta believe me, Yeah I saw it, I saw it, I tell you no lies…..’ was rudely stopped as Jo choose that moment to adjust my bandana stopping me from breathing.  By the time I had bitten the hand that feeds me and provided a few painful kicks we had arrived in the centre of the city.  It doesn’t matter how many times I go into Birmingham I am still overwhelmed by the wonderful buildings on display and the museum has to be one of the best. 

Gripping onto my autograph book I trotted behind the nasty women hoping that we would find the right entrance before I burnt to death in the raging sunshine.  Having showed our tickets, we entered the throbbing depths of the exhibition, music pounded out of speakers and it would have been rude not to join in with the lyrics.

Luckily for all around us the volume was such that my small friends screeching blended in.

Woolly says – Huge pictures of the band were everywhere reminding me that Ozzy had once been blonde.

The first section gave us some wonderful black and white photo’s of Birmingham in the 60’s as screen interviews with the band told the story of how they had met, how Tony had lost two of his fingers and where there name had come from. 

Black Sabbath came from seeing the name Black Sabbath on a film bill board which stared Boris Karloff, which the band had seen on their way into a venue when they had been called Earth, the name suited their views on horror and the occult. The band’s first show as Black Sabbath took place on 30 August 1969, in Workington.  With displays of tickets from begone years and costumes that had been worn on stage, I started to wonder where the band were so that I could add their autographs to my collection.  A black curtain shrouded an area that had an area dedicated to each of the band members with some of their own memorabilia on display, still no sign of the men themselves I moved into a stage set up.

The stage had the instruments lying ready with a large screen of Sabbath in concert, my only criticism was the volume of music, I mean there a metal band and need to be played at the loudest setting possible not at an easy listening volume.

Woolly says – Having bounced along to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and sang along to the full version of Fairies wear Boots, I was happy to check out the rest of the displays.  A set up of Tony’s home recording studio looked very simple in comparison to what is used to produce music today but the basic room had hosted a huge number of musicians in its time from Bev Bevan and Brian May to the comedian Jasper Carrot, a legend if I may say so and one that is well worth a YouTube search for Biffer the Dog, a sketch that renders me helpless with laughter.

A further area informed us about the albums they had recorded, many of which I once had.

Woolly says – She’s showing her age now!  Denim cut-offs, album and single covers as well as some rather cute knitted replicas of the band allowed us to realise the extent of their merchandising over the years.  A large display of band t shirts were incredible although none were in mammoth size and worse still it appeared that my autograph book wasn’t going to be getting any fatter. I sighed and looked up at Jo, ‘Never Mind Wool’s’ she said, ‘How about lunch instead’, I considered my options, wiped the moisture from my furry brow and raced towards the exit.