Mrs. Irk The Purists got a bit cross recently when she prevaricated for too long getting tickets for The Specials reunion shows, only to find they'd quickly sold out. I tried to cheer her up by pointing out that Jerry Dammers had declined to join them/been barred from appearing (depending upon who you believe). With their major song-writer and prime mover not joining them on stage, this purported reunion was a hollow sham, I ventured. Strangely enough, this didn't make her any happier.
It seems that for most people, The Specials were Terry Hall and A.N. Others. That's certainly the case in the comments in the YouTube vid below, some of which ask "who's singing here?" (answer: "only the person who put the group together and wrote most of their songs, you ignoramus"). But as long as Dammers isn't joining them then I, for one, won't be going to see The Specials gigs this year.
In any case, Jerry's going to be busy this year with the Spatial AKA Orchestra. But if he did want to get back out on the road and re-create the 2Tone days, as well as getting one over on his erstwhile colleagues, then the answer is staring him in the face (and I don't think anyone else has picked up on this yet). Surely, 2009 is the time for him to call up Stan Campbell, Rhoda Dakar, Dick Cuthell et al, and reform the Special AKA in direct competition with The Specials reunion. They could play Racist Friend, War Crimes, The Boiler and Free Nelson Mandela. They'd be playing in smaller venues, probably. But for my money, they'd be more authentic, simply by virtue of having Jerry Dammers. And I know which version of the group I'd rather see.