Depeche Mode Fan Throws a Roll of Film on Stage and the Band Mails Photos Back to Him

How far would you go to get pictures of your favorite band? In 1983, Brian McDonnell went to a Depeche Mode concert and came up with an ingenious idea. At the time, cameras were not allowed into concerts, so fans couldn't capture their favorite musicians at a gig. McDonnell got around this by skipping the camera altogether, but he still had hopes for getting some pictures. He threw an empty roll of film onto the stage with a note attached asking the band to take photos of themselves and to send them to him.

Unbelievably, the band did just that. McDonnell attended the concert in Belfast, Northern Ireland, at the Ulster Hall. Sometime after that, he received a package in the mail from Depeche Mode that contained a bunch of photos of the band members fooling around in their downtime in what seems to be a dressing room or somebody's flat. McDonnell has since passed away, but his widow, Ann McDonnell Lawrence, recently shared these photos with the Facebook group Belfast Concert Photographs of the 1980s.

McDonnell's sister recalls the clever idea. “All I remember is him telling me he was at the concert and he had brought a film for a camera with him,” she says. “He wrapped his name and address around it and asked them to take photos and send them back to him. He never thought he would even get a response.”

According to Lawrence, her late husband was very proud of the photos and showed them to everyone while he was alive. “Brian loved being the center of attention, he loved to party, he loved to sing,” she recalls. Now, his memory lives on through the music. “It was his anniversary there in August. He was 20 years dead and we were all talking about how 20 years is a long time. Every time we hear a Depeche Mode song on the radio, we just think of him.”

Depeche Mode burst onto Britain's new wave scene of the 1980s with their debut album, Speak & Spell. The publication Q Magazine listed them as one of the 50 bands that changed the world, and it's no wonder; Depeche Mode have had 54 songs on the UK Singles Chart and 17 top 10 albums on the UK charts. They have sold more than 100 million records across the world.

Considering how proud he was of the photos while he was alive, McDonnell might be happy to know that his treasured pictures of this iconic band are going viral across the world.

Brian McDonnell threw an empty roll of film onstage at a Depeche Mode concert in 1983, and the band sent him pictures of themselves in the post.

Depeche Mode burst onto Britain's new wave scene of the 1980s. Here's one of their most famous singles, “Enjoy the Silence.”

h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Kirsten Miller

Kirsten Miller is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. As a writer from South Africa, she has authored a children’s book, a work of non-fiction, and four novels. She has an interest in creativity and neurodiversity, and has contributed to a number of art and writing projects, festivals, and workshops. Kirsten holds an M.A. in Writing and Representation, and when she's not writing, she enjoys painting, creating mosaics, swimming, and walking.
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