Date – 22/12/2008
And, having got this far through December without having to mention the C-word, let’s keep up the good work.
Saturday’s outing – the last of the year – to the Old Fox was a mighty fine evening. Suzi showed up with a couple of silly Santa hats, which set off her “hooker Barbie” outfit rather nicely. For me, it was an unalloyed delight to be able to play a gig without me knackers giving me any grief. Even Martin arrived in a good mood, having successfully moved house – although given his navigational expertise, there is some doubt as to whether he will ever find his way back there again. And it was great to see lots of old mates there as well, so the scene was set for a mighty fine evening.
Which we had. Not too many moments of musical disappointment, lots of people and jigging around, and only a few people passed out in the corners by the time we finally ran out of ideas at about half past twelve.
A big up to our pal Muddy for passing the bucket round not once but twice, it returned jangling with money and, rather to my relief, nobody had done anything untoward in it. Well, you never know…
We also received a plea from Muddy’s missus, the lovely Sarah, for Martin to grow his hair long again; apparently having it cut shorter rather diminishes his appeal to the fairer sex – although she was keen to make it clear that “…OI’d still do ‘im, moind, but oi do wish ‘ee still ‘ad ‘is long ‘air…”. Something (else) to grab onto, presumably.
So, Martin’s homework over the holidays is to stand barefoot in a grow bag and think of Sarah. Without Vicky finding out why…
Right that’s it for this year, next year we’re back to do it all over again – in fact, most of January, we’re doing it all over Swindon for some reason. We won’t tell you the dates just yet, because you’ll only forget. And I can’t be bothered to look them up.
In the meantime, have a lovely Winterval, don’t do anything (or anyone) we wouldn’t, and remember – a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. On the other hand, you get a couple of years, tops, out of a hamster, and then you should have enough for a nice little pie and a furry hat.
Date – 15/12/2008
And as it’s now entering the official Christmas season of good cheer, may I take this opportunity to say, “Lend us a tenner, mate”.
I’m happy to report a jolly successful gig on Saturday at the Queen Vic. I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as usual though, I was feeling a little fragile following a rather – er – delicate surgical procedure I underwent during the week.
See, my beloved Dem has finally decided she has enough children. We’re not sure exactly how many we’ve got, they keep moving around the house and it’s difficult to keep track of them, but they’re always getting underfoot and the fridge mysteriously empties itself overnight. So we decided it was about time to take permanent precautions to ensure that no more turn up.
If you’re squeamish, you may like to look away…now.
Thus it was that I spent Wednesday afternoon watching Dr No rummaging around inside me with sharp knives and a mysterious device that sounded like an tiny little arc-welder when he switched it on.
“That sounds just like a tiny little arc-welder” I said to him.
“Funnily enough”, he replied, “That’s almost exactly what it is”.
There can be few things more disturbing that the sight of a plume of smoke rising from your genitalia.
The accompanying smell of burning flesh is, however, one of them.
Suzi was most disappointed that they wouldn’t let her in to watch the process – let alone video it for YouTube. She had to content herself with driving me home via every pothole in Bristol, giggling helplessly…
Okay squeamish people, you can look back now.
Happily, by Saturday I was able to walk again (albeit like John Wayne), and by strenuously avoiding any heavy lifting, and concentrating very hard on keeping my guitar out of contact with the tender areas, I was able to finish the gig without having to use the ice bucket on the bar.
Anyhow, I should be back on regular form for next Saturday’s final outing of the year, the musicianship will be just as ropey, but at least I should be able to stand up straight without wincing.
Sat 20th Old Fox, Bishopston
There isn’t room to swing a cat on the stage, so we shan’t be bringing one. However, we might bring an assortment of stupid festive paraphernalia to muck about with… or we might forget. Either way, it’s the last day of term, and an ace little pub to spend it in…
Date – 08/12/2008
Buenos Dias amigos!
My, what a lively weekend that was in the merry world of Pub Rock. We started off with an interesting evening at the Windmill in Swindon – incidentally, Martin has pointed out that Swindon comes from Anglo Saxon for Pig Hill (= Swine Down, see?) – which is a much better name, so from now on we’ll use that. So, we started off with an interesting evening at the Windmill in Pighill (see how much better that sounds?), a great big pub with a huge stage, and immediately got on with the technical difficulties. Due to a vital cable which had undergone a mysterious Spontaneous Existence Failure, Martin couldn’t get his two speakers linked up, and despite much swearing and frantic soldering trying to cobble something together, he couldn’t get it sorted and had to make do with just one speaker, poor lad. Then Stuart’s gear needed some surgery to hold it together, but best of all, as soon as Suzi turned on the radio mike, a horrible screeching feedback blared out of every speaker in the pub. Aaah, they’ve got a wireless link for their jukebox, haven’t they?
Once we got all the hassles fixed, we had a fine night, and great fun with our old buddy Swindon Al (Pighill Al…? Not so sure about that one) and the rest of the Gorse Hill Mafia. Jack Daniels, mmmmm….
Saturday was my favourite gig of the week, not least because, having weaselled out of driving, I was able to go engage Proper Drinking Mode, and move up the Guitar Player Greatness scale.
0-2 pints – typical guitar player, makes the occasional mistake, but generally tolerable
2-4 pints – forgets when to come in for solos; attempts unusually tricky fret board manoeuvres, which occasionally actually come off
4-6 pints – forgets when to stop solos; relationship between key being played and the key of the song becomes a matter of pure chance
6-8 pints – Frequent “standing up” issues, may or may not be in tune, in time, or even plugged in 8-10 pints – GUITAR GOD!
Well, I enjoyed meself, anyway.
At least I didn’t break my snare drum skin (unlike some people), or cut my head open by carelessly head butting part of my kit (unlike some people), and have to have it gaffa taped up to staunch the blood flow…poor old Stuart…
Anyway, a luvverly night all round, we’ll be back there again just as soon as we can arrange it.
We rounded off a fine weekend with a jolly night at the Oak, although next time we’ll try and arrive on time so we don’t have to dash through the second set quite so fast, won’t we children? Won’t we…?
Right then, this week we have only one gig – but it’s a goody…
Saturday 13th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Oh, we love it here. It’s always busy, and they always go bonkers from the first number. And I’ll have a doctors note excusing me from any heavy lifting. If only I could get one excusing me from driving, I could maybe make it all the way to Guitar God this time…
Right, that’s your lot for now, I’m off for a quiet lie down…
Date – 01/12/2008
And after a weekend of relative peace and quiet, a busy week ahead in the glamorous world of pub rock. First, though, gotta say thanks to our pal Swindon Al for helping with Friday’s gig at the Bell in Swindon – a fine and friendly bikery pub as it turned out, was nice to see some old mates there as well.
However, the scariest thing that happened to us this week was discovering we have a doppelganger twin, who contacted us through our website…
Up in the frozen wastes of Yorkshire, there’s a band playing the pub circuit called Angel Of Sin… and they’re us! Go check out www.angelofsin.co.uk – they’re a four piece rock outfit, they play very similar stuff to us, they have a gobby blonde gurly singer, bonkers drummer, odd-looking bassist and, judging by the photos, a guitar player who occasionally performs sans trousers… Now, who does that remind us of…?
Somehow, we are going to have to go up and see them, or maybe find a way to get together and play a double-header gig somewhere in the middle. Or perhaps we could each pretend to be a tribute band for the other one, and stand in for each other’s gigs. Either way, one thing is for certain – We Are Not Alone.
Actually, I wonder how many more of us there might be out there…
Continuing with that Twilight Zone theme, this week sees three outings for the South-West regional representatives of Angel Enterprises International plc…
Fri 5th Dec – The Windmill, Swindon
Back in Swindon again, and another new place for us. Hopefully none of the punters will be sick outside the door this time, like they were last week. (You know who you are… Actually, possibly you don’t, come to think of it…)
Sat 6th Dec – The Barrell, Thornbury
Love this one to bits – the pub is run by the wonderful Gemma, who is very kind and gave us cheese last time. Also there was a parade of people coming through in fancy dress. At least, I think they were in fancy dress. This is Thornbury after all; they’re a little bit odd, some of them. Best of all though, Suzi has agreed to drive me there back, so’s I can get absolutely dribbling drunk. (Not that I enjoy it you understand, but I play so much better in that state. It’s a sacrifice I have to make for the benefit of the listening public. No, really).
Sun 7th Dec – Royal Oak, Thornbury
Aahh, the dear old Oak on a Sunday night. Perfect way to round off a weekend. If I ‘m still alive at this point, that is.
Right, that’s your lot for now. I’m off to strap on a guitar, stand in front of a big mirror, and practice prancing around like a big nancy. And remember – it’s the 99% of guitar players who give the rest a bad name….
Date – 24/11/2008
And as there’s a few new people on the distribution list this week, I’ll explain what this little gem is doing in your Inbox.
This is basically a public service announcement on behalf of Angel Up Front – probably the finest rock band ever to grace the seedy drinking establishments off the South West. Certainly the best looking, at least since I joined them.
The supposed intention of this email is to give advance warning of gigs, so you lucky people can keep away and don’t accidentally wander in to one and have to listen to us – although the phrase “vanity publishing” has also been mentioned once or twice.
Traditionally, we’ve found most people tend to read these emails, delete them and forget the contents, and then ask us where we’re playing next. At which point we roll our eyes in a “why do we bother” fashion, and direct them to www.angelupfront.co.uk. Where there’s also pictures and things, and a chance to win a telly*.
Normally, these emails start with an almost-entirely inaccurate description of what happened during the previous weekend’s gigs, followed by a bit of random rambling, depending on whether the caffeine or the alcohol got the upper hand at breakfast time. You might get a character assassination, or a knitting pattern, it all depends.
Then we tell you what gigs we’re playing over the next week or so, and we like to drop in a really awful joke at the end.
If you want us to stop sending you this garbage, simply send a return email with the title “Stop sending me this garbage”, and we’ll cheerfully ignore it (unless you’re, like, really big and scary or something).
So, on to this week’s news.
Unusually, we had no gigs whatsoever this weekend, so there’s that bit done. I also suspect I got the rambling bit covered already, so we can cut straight to the “upcoming gigs” section. Sadly, there’s only one – but next week there’s three, which is – er – two more!
Fri 28th – The Bell, Swindon Old Town
We’ve never played this one before, so I can’t really tell you much about it. It might be a converted opera house, with a 500-foot high domed ceiling, gold pillars, three-inch thick claret-coloured carpet, and with tasteful friezes adorning the walls. Or it might be a crappy old pub.
We’ll tell you next week.
As a special treat, there’s no rubbish joke, as I can’t think of one right now….
Oooh, yes I can.
Two cannibals are eating a clown.
One says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”
Thank you, no applause necessary.
*Not really, I made that bit up
Date – 17/11/2008
And what a brilliant rawk’n’roll weekend that was! After a promising start down at the Albert Inn, where we were entertained by the locals – as wide a cross-section of the drinking public as you could wish for, some were so wide they were having trouble fitting through doorways – and a good natter with some old mates afterwards, Saturday night saw us roll up bright-eyed and bushy-tongued at the dear old Farriers. We set up, and wait for Suzi. She breezes in on the dot of nine, not a problem as there aren’t many other people in yet. This looks like it’s going to be a quiet night.
Oh, hang on – over there I espy a familiar face – it’s a rather lively young lady of our acquaintance, known to one and all as Nutty, who will be familiar to our regular readers with long memories; it was she who enlivened our first ever visit to the Old Fox by leaping onstage and wrapping herself around me in rather intimate fashion just as I was getting to the tricky bit of a solo… I don’t think my whammy bar has been the same since. She’s even brought her dad in with her, and they appear to be having some kind of drinking contest.
Perhaps tonight won’t be so quiet after all…
Sho’ nuff, as we start playing, the place fills up rapidly, and there’s quite a lively crowd going on. Part way through the second set, I spot the lovely Queen Amy and Mark who run the Railway just down the road; they’ve left their own pub in the hands of their staff, and snuck off out to see us. Bless. So, a hugely entertaining evening unrolls, Suzi does a magnificent job of fending off wayward dancers so they don’t fall over us, Nutty and her dad present us with a delightful display of stereo mooning – which Martin only really half enjoyed – and we make it to the “gratuitous encores” section of the night. We joyfully canter through four or five, and get to the “Hmm, what shall we do now?” stage.
Nutty asks if she can sing something, and after promising that she won’t show Suzi up, is handed the mike. She then embarks on a heavily West Country-accented acapella rendition of “Oi beg your pardon, Oi never promised you a rose garden…”, sung in a variety of keys, but every one of them flat as an M4 hedgehog. Martin, musical perfectionist, is close to tears. We thought she’s sing just a verse, but oh no, she knows the entire song; it goes on and on and on…. Stuart and I exchange helpless bemused shrugs, we have no way to make it stop. As she continues – apparently genetically incapable of embarrassment – a remarkable thing happens. Somehow the entire audience gets caught up in whatever magic she is weaving, and starts singing along – by the time she eventually finishes, she gets a standing ovation. We are completely nonplussed.
There’s only one way out of this – crank up the distortion and wheel out the Black Sabbath cover! We can barely remember it, but at a time like this that doesn’t matter, the entire pub is bouncing around merrily. They still won’t let us stop, so we dredge through several more cheese rock classics that we don’t know, and eventually Suzi drags us down to Country & Western mode, and, on the grounds there simply is nothing worse, we stop there.
We pack up, put the kit away and settle down for a natter with the last few locals. Nutty has acquired a large pump-action water pistol (actually it transpires it has just been returned to her by Morris the landlord, having been confiscated during a previous visit), and is leaping around doing Angelina Jolie impersonations. She disappears for a few minutes, and to my complete lack of surprise, returns with it filled up, a mischievous glint in her eye, and starts soaking everybody in sight. This is great fun, until she squirts me in the earhole. Honour decrees that I cannot let this insult go unavenged. I spy a handy untouched pint of water, empty it deftly into her face at point-blank range, give her a quick affectionate hug goodbye, and we leg it as she is still sputtering for air, whilst being given a Good Telling Off by Morris for making his pub all soggy.
Ohh, that was fun! Sadly, we won’t be out again this week – but we’ll be back soon, once we’ve dried off a bit.
Nobody sent me any jokes this week, but somehow I don’t feel I need one. Still, Oi do beg your pardon….
Date – 10/11/2008
And a warm welcome for all our readers to this week’s exciting installment of Angel UpDate, with all the news that’s fit to print, all the oldies that’s fit enough to be wheeled around in a bath chair, and generally whatever happens to be floating through my addled mind, which is largely dependent on whether the caffeine or the fatigue toxins have the upper hand in my bloodstream.
As it happens, I’m writing this in a caffeine rush phase, so expect lots of typpos (see, there’s one already), a bit of random rubbish, and perhaps a sobbing fit somewhere near the end.
Saturday’s jaunt to the Fire Engine was marked by a fairly ropey sound for us due to the godawful acoustics of the place – Martin made the whole place sound like it was being swamped with mud, whereas I had to turn up so loud to be heard out front, that I was dreading actually touching the strings – every F# I hit made my fillings rattle. (Happily, I have no idea what an F# is, so it didn’t happen much). Out front though, apparently it sounded fine. Well, apart from the more obvious bloopers – like the one song, that we haven’t quite mastered yet, that had to be bump-started three times before we got it going. All my fault, I’m proud to say…although obviously at the time we all blamed Stuart.
Sunday was a wild and windy night, but (once we got inside the nice warm cosy Harrow Inn) lovely and welcoming. We all arrived in good time, using the simple trick of taking Martin’s car keys off him and making him have a lift with Stuart, while I took all his gear in the back of my van. It’s the only way to stop him getting lost, you see. And, despite the lousy weather, there was a pretty good turnout, even if some of the punters were a little on the cheeky side…
Stuart was publicly berating Suzi for talking too much between songs.
“I’m just being sociable, having a little chat with people”, she explains.
“That’s right, you leave her alone”, comes a voice from the back of the audience, “While she’s talking, at least she ain’t singing…”
Astonishingly, the gentleman in question is still alive, although probably by now chained to the leg of an oil rig somewhere in the North Atlantic… Anyhoo, great fun, and we didn’t have to play any Country & Western all weekend, which these days seems to be something of a result. (And was at least in part ‘cos I hid Suzi’s lyrics…) Hopefully we’ll be just as lucky this week, where we’ll be… Oooh, look! In Bristol. Twice, and at places I like. Coo-elll. (Sorry – caffeine again….)
Fri 14th Albert Inn, Bedminster
Great fun last time, and I for one intend to have great fun this time as well. Just hope I don’t get any more strange propositions…
Sat 15th Farriers, Fishponds
Always, always, always, a good crack in here. Oodles of fun. Whatever an oodle is. Maybe I should go and Google oodle and find out. I will..
I did. “Origin unknown, American English, circa 1865-1870”, it says.
So, a word that has mysteriously appeared from nowhere… anyone else find that suspicious? A word that just turns up unannounced and becomes part of everyday language… maybe it’s an alien word. There could be thousands of them, quietly arriving one at a time over the years, lurking hidden, biding their time, waiting for the right moment to launch their full-scale invasion of Planet Earth…
Beware The Oodles! Beware The Oodles! Beware The Oodles! Beware The Oodles!
They’re coming for you….
Sleep easy now
Oh look, my coffee’s all gone. Must be time for another one….
Date – 03/11/2008
Greetings, my lovelies!
And a wintry welcome to November, folks, and remember there’s only 73 shopping days left until my birthday…
Friday’s outing to Yate was a hoot – a Halloween gig, now should we take advantage of an excuse to dress up and look ridiculous, or should we be all sensible and professional….?
Thanks to our pal Disco Dave for providing the large bag of silly clothes, I think you’ll find the following pics speak for themselves…
Since boring Martin refused to dress up, Stuart had to cover for him by dressing up as Martin dressed up…
Anyways, we had a very jolly evening, and rather worryingly I found that I quite enjoyed playing wearing that outfit… despite being unable to see out properly, and not being able to drink my beer without epic messing about, it did mean that nobody could take offence at the stupid faces I (allegedly) tend to pull during guitar long solos.
Saturday saw the awesome Dotty & Totty rock machine descend on the Railway Tavern in Fishponds for a rare duo gig… Well, actually it saw me descend on it, and unload all the bloody gear on my own in the piddling rain, until finally my chanteuse accomplice breezed in just as all the hard work was finished.
I was so surprised you could have knocked me down with a feather – if it was wrapped round a baseball bat, anyway.
Despite not being in fancy dress this time (although we had each seriously considered it to surprise the other one..,) we had a fine evening, with plenty of mucking about and being rude to the section of the audience that deserved it (oh, I love it when pikeys try to be witty, it’s like watching a monkey trying to ride a unicycle), and the usual marvelous hospitality from the delightful Queen Amy & Mark who run the place. In fact, we had so much fun we didn’t have time to play half the second set – although there was still (unaccountably) time for Suzi to finish off with an impromptu version of “Jolene”, for the second time in two days…. Not a good trend.
Anyhoo, enough of all that, here’s this week’s jam-packed-but-hopefully-C&W-free schedule…
Saturday 8th Fire Engine, St George
Strange one this – last time we were here they’d turned the inside of the pub around, and we ended up playing to the punters through a tiny doorway (or so it seemed to me). May as well go dressed as a chicken.
Sunday Nov 9th Harrow Inn, Wanborough (near Swindon)
An 8:30 start, this one. Got that, Martin? 8:30. And the pub’s in the same place it used to be. So no need to go exploring the rest of Wiltshire this time, all right? Look, you’d better set off a bit early just to be sure. In fact, maybe you should start loading your car up …ooh, about now, I should think.
Til next time folks
Date – 27/10/2008
And a scary Halloween welcome to all our readers… My, what a busy week it’s been – Stuart has been busy hollowing out pumpkins – we haven’t had the courage to ask what he’s actually planning to do with them afterwards.
Thursday’s outing to BsB was fair to middling, we got bunny girls and French maids and (oddly) golf girls, but alas no cowgirls this time. Being a clumsy oaf, I managed to break a string (kindly fixed on the spot by our mate Rich) but this minor carelessness was completely eclipsed by the management’s oversight in leaving the premises without paying us. Beware the fury of a musician unpaid…
We managed to ear-bend the staff into giving us some dosh out of the tills, and were faithfully promised that we could collect the rest of our hard-earned pittance the following morning. We remained unconvinced…
The next morning dawned fair & bright, and Stuart duly set off muttering with low expectations, until he arrived there at the allotted hour, and they immediately and apologetically coughed up the dosh.
So, we had to take back all our nasty suspicious thoughts about them, and I have to say I was somewhat relieved. After all, it would been such a hassle going round there in the middle of the night, and it was never going to be easy pooing through that letterbox…
On a more cheerful note, Saturday’s outing to the Royal Oak was called off as they have been temporarily shut down by the Health & Safety Gestapo – dodgy electrics or something. Okay, it’s not particularly cheerful, but at least they didn’t have to clean their doormat.
Happy thoughts, think happy thoughts…
This week will be better; here’s the plan – now listen very carefully, I will say this only once….
Fri 31st White Lion, Yate
It’s always entertaining in here (for us, anyway) – and it’s Halloween! I reckon we should all come in fancy dress to cheer ourselves up – whaddaya reckon…?
Sat 1st Railway Tavern, Fishponds (duo gig)
Having now rehearsed (well, gigged, at any rate) the Dotty & Totty set a couple of weeks ago, we should be able to remember it for the dear old Railway. We always enjoy it here, love ’em to bits.
That’s your lot for now, in the meantime I leave you with the thought that peeling sticky tape of the roll can emit enough electromagnetic radiation to x-ray your finger. No, really. I found it on the Beeb website. Ask Google if you don’t believe me.
Date – 20/10/2008
And I’m delighted to report that the world of rawk’n’roll spent a hugely entertaining weekend, courtesy of the Lords Of Chaos And Unforeseen Happenings…
Friday dawned fair and bright, and we rolled up at the Red Lion in Staple Hill where we were introduced the delightful landlady, known henceforth as Lovely Martha, who was so welcoming and polite that we were made to feel like honoured guests & long-lost friends… Unused to such pleasantries, I churlishly began to suspect she was planning not to pay us…
We set up in the skittle alley as requested, a radiator valve was mended specially for us so they could turn it down to ensure our comfort, we were generally made to feel completely at home…
In return, we played a totally untogether set (well, I did, anyway); one of us (either me or Martin, we’re both denying it) kicked Stuart’s pint all over the place; in the second set we suffered a collapsing mike stand, flat wireless batteries, then I got caught on a guitar stand and dragged it around after me for half a song before Suzi freed me, then my wireless broke down and I had to switch to using a cable… oh dearie me.
Despite our slapstick performance, Lovely Martha continued to be so damned nice to us that we just had to promise to come back and try again another time. Well, the beer was good, too. Highly recommend the place if you’re round that neck of the woods.
Sunday – time for the first Dotty & Totty gig in four months. Rehearse? No, we’re far too professional for that. I wonder how much we’ll remember….
The day got off to a poor start for me, with oafish teenage son having flooded the lavatory… I was down in the kitchen trying to remember how to make coffee when I heard the unexpected sound of running water… dashing upstairs, I see a murky tide advancing across the bathroom carpet.
Oh, bugger, bugger, and double bugger!
Just as I manage to staunch the flow of effluvia, I hear a wail from ten-year-old daughter down in the kitchen…
“Daddy, there’s water dripping down on to me from the ceiling!”
“Er… That’s not water…” I point out informatively.
There is a pause, then a loud strangled squealing noise which is beyond my powers to describe.
Several hours later, (having eventually persuaded her to come out of the shower), daughter & I roll up at the Farriers. We haul in the gear (never underestimate the lifting power of little girls, folks!) and set it up. Five minutes to go, and a text informs me that Suzi is running late due to road closures…
Finally she rolls in, and off we go. Remarkably we remember most of the set, although Suzi hates the Oasis number so much that she asks if anyone else fancies singing it… Cue my old buddy Rich, who sang in bands with me for many a year, who jumps up and does such a fine job that Suzi is moved to point out that at least she actually looks rather better than him in a mini-skirt, thank you very much.
Not to be outdone, my diva daughter, who’s been singing along merrily throughout the first set, is given the mike and joins Suz for a spanking rendition of Bitch, which gets the loudest applause of the afternoon. The only downside is that afterwards I find the two of them gang up on me and I have to shell out for twice as much “Daddy buy me another drink, and I want some more crisps, and can I have some jelly beans, and some chocolate…” Daughter was nearly as bad.
Right then, what are we doing this week?
Thursday 23rd – BsB, Waterfront, Bristol
Aahh, back down the docks again! Expecting a good night, perhaps there’ll even be cowgirls….
Saturday 25th – Royal Oak, Swindon Old Town
I remember now, we played here back in August. They have a boxing machine, and between sets they queue up and take turns to hit it. Although probably while they’re queueing they discuss the finer points of quantum mechanics and the philosophies of Baudelaire. Probably.
Right, that’s your lot for now; if we don’t see you through the week, we’ll see you through the window. Unless we’re looking the other way. Or you’re not there. Or we’ve gone somewhere else. Or we’re asleep. Or something.
I’ll shut up now.
Date – 13/10/2008
Aaah, back to the rock’n’roll routine. Friday’s outing to Melksham was a jolly event – we played in the back bar, which was quite a clubby set up, with lots of pretty lights & lasers, murals all over the walls, and a smoke machine with a remote control – which they foolishly gave to Suzi… She was delighted with the ability to hide Martin in a cloud of dry ice whenever the fancy took her – I think by the end of the night it had unaccountably run out of fluid, though…
We also had great fun at the Brunel on Saturday – much silliness and jollity, and some cheery familiar faces – either some people actually quite like us, or they’re just incredibly unlucky…
Right then, this week we’re out one and a half times….
Sat 18th – Red Lion, Staple Hill
Now, I don’t remember having played here before – but that doesn’t necessarily mean we haven’t….
Sun 19th – Farriers, Fishponds – 2:00pm
Sunday afternoon, the dear old Farriers, and jus’ li’l ol’ Suz’n’me. I expect my dear daughter will come along too, and perhaps Suzi’s as well. Maybe we could get them to play half the set for us, it’s about time they did some work… Oh hang on though, they might do rather better than us…
Right, that’s you lot for now, I’ve got lots and lots of other stuff to do.
I wonder what it is…
Date – 07/10/2008
And a rip-roaring welcome back to the seedy underbelly of the local entertainment industry… Can an underbelly be seedy? How do you get seeds in your belly? And do they replace, or simply accompany, the blue-grey fluff that’s bound to be there? And why is the fluff always that colour? Sounds to me like a PhD thesis in the offing…
Anyhoo, with no gigs to report on this weekend, as you can see I’m floundering helplessly at the keyboard again, pouring out meaningless drivel waiting for something coherent to pop out of my brain…
Nope, nothing coming at the moment…..Gonna be a long wait….Naah, give it up.
Right then, this week there are two lovely gigs on offer, read on…
Fri 10th – The Bear, Melksham
They’re a bunch of loonies in Melksham. Nuff said. Great fun.
Sat 11th – The Brunel, Bedminster
Always a giggle here, there’s always that big stage to prance around on, sometimes there’s an all-female rugby team wearing sensible shoes, and once, so I’m told, there was special entertainment being laid on in the toilets. But don’t let that put you off….Oh, you hadn’t. See you there, then.
Right, that’s your lot for now,
This week’s Angel UpDate was brought to you by An Infinite Number Of Monkeys.
Date – 29/09/2008
And, as the Labrador puppy of time playfully unfurls the lavatory paper of history, and the shimmering morns of late summer give way to the breathy mistiness of autumn, the distant calls of a flock of crows wheeling high in the distant northerly sky which filter in through the open window are accompanied by a moist chill in the air, which foretells the promise of frosty mornings to come, and reminds me that I really should have put some pants on.
Wednesday’s outing to BsB was a bit quieter than expected; we usually play down there on a Thursday night – and whilst in Bristol centre, Thursday is the new Saturday, unfortunately it seems that Wednesday is the new last Tuesday. However, we had a few mates turn up to jolly us along, but I have to say Martin was a little disappointed at the low cowgirl count.
Although he was even more miffed later, when – as we were passing the time waiting for the bar manager to wrestle our money from the till – he was responding magnificently to this week’s Pointless Band Challenge “Bet you can’t name thirty French cheeses”.
There he was, listing his way fluently through a series of obscure French dairy-based delicacies, in his mellifluous rolling Montreal accent, when our pal Scally Andy rolls in, and with the debonair flair of the true culture aficionado, enquires thus:-
“Is he speakin’ fookin’ Klingon, or what?”
Having no gig booked for the Friday, we all went out for a nice curry together instead; this predictably ended up with myself somewhat the worse for wear, Suzi heroically and brilliantly drunk, and my beloved Dem bleary-eyed but giggling helplessly, while poor Stuart patiently waited for us to finish our buffoonery so he could drive us home. What a patient man he is.
Armed with a fine pair of hangovers, we rolled up the next night to the lovely old Crown & Horseshoe for a merry evening of rawk’n’roll fun, the highlight of which was a guest spot by the landlord Craig; he joined us for a unique interpretation of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – by the end of which, several punters were frantically Knockin On The Crown & Horseshoe’s Door, begging to be let out. Well, maybe by next time we’ll have learned it. Maybe.
Right, this weekend we suggest you make the most of the peace and quiet, and get out there drinking – we’ve actually got a weekend off.
However, don’t get too comfortable – we’ll be back soon.
Meanwhile, here is some light music…
Date – 22/09/2008
And welcome back to the glamorous world of pub rock! Not all that glamorous, though: – for Saturday’s outing to the Queen Vic, our poor Suzi was a little jaded following her over indulgences the previous evening.
See, this is why we don’t often give her a night off.
In fairness, though, she still turned in a moderately stunning performance, and – unlike the previous evening – managed to keep all her clothes on. (Footage of the whole sordid scene rumoured to be already circulating on the worldwideinterwebtinternet)
I have to admit that I myself was feeling a little less wonderful than usual; having spent the whole day on hardcore gardening and DIY, I’d managed to mash up my hand* when I fell off my stepladder**.
Nonetheless, a fine night was had by all – particularly by the gentleman who fell flat onto the stage not once, not twice, but three times, before being delicately removed by Suzi’s Big Boots Of Terror.
Now then, on to forthcoming delights…
Weds 24th – BsB, Bristol Waterfront
Yes, we’re back down at the Waterfront again. And with friendly staff, lively punters, free beer, and an endless supply of scantily-clad teen temptresses in the audience, why shouldn’t we be? Last time we were here, the racket could apparently be heard halfway across the city centre, oh dearie me. Ooh, and I must try and find some cowboy hats (to put on the temptresses for Martin’s sordid viewing pleasure. He’s not allowed to drink at the moment, so he has to take his fun where he can find it).
Sat 27th – Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common
Another royally entertaining venue – last time we were here, Stuart was accosted by a delightfully crude septuagenarian lady who wanted to take him home to perform unspeakable acts with. He may not get away this time…
That’s it for now, I can’t think of a dreadful pun to end on – so why not send us one of yours, we can add it to our collection for posterity.
Or, possibly, posteriority.
Er – that’s it.
*Don’t worry; it’s much better now, thanks for asking
**I don’t get on with my real ladder
Date – 15/09/2008
Hello, my little peccadilloes!
And this week’s report from the World Of RawkTM comes with a jolly blur of beer and cheese. Saturday’s jaunt to the Barrel in Thornbury was an unmitigated delight, especially for me – with Suzi stopping in at my place to get fed before the gig, I was able to persuade her to drive the van – which means I get to drink, hurray!
I always play much better after a few beers.
In my mind, anyway.
Despite being just up the road from my place, I’ve never actually set foot inside the Barrel – they don’t let me out much, you know – but it turns out to be a mighty fine pub. Best of all, it turns out to be run by the lovely Gemma, whose parents are old pals of mine…. This can’t be right, I remember Gemma, she’s about ten…
Oh dear. I’ve gotten old. Must be time for a consoling pint….
Anyhoo, we crack on, and a jolly fine evening it turns out to be, punctuated by the arrival of more familiar faces, some more beer, a psychedelically-clad hen night party, a bit more beer, and a chap dressed in a muscly-padded Power Ranger superhero costume.
No, really, I checked with Martin (who, unlike me, didn’t have an increasingly large collection of empty bottles on his amp) and there really was a Power Ranger.
We wind up the first set and head for the bar. Soon enough, they drag me away from it back for the second set. There’s much amusement and some wild dancing, there’s more beer (Cheers Pete!) and we eventually run out of things to play and have to resort to our clear-the-pub Britney number to wind things up.
After a long and merry natter – oh, another one? Go on, then – I finally get around to packing up, which makes me a bit thirsty…Oooh, ta, that’s very kind… and then we settle down to sit and chat with anyone who’ll listen. Gemma takes pity on Suzi, who is beginning to wear her “patient” expression – mm, this bottle tastes particularly nice – and very kindly cheers her up with a large slab of delicious cheese. I’m already cheerful enough.
Finally, there are fond farewells and Suzi drags me out the door, pours me into the van, and takes me away into the night.
What a lovely evening that was. We’ll be back in there again as soon as we can arrange it.
Right then, next weekend is looking promising too – we’re at another of my favourite venues:-
Sat 20th – The Queen Vic, Stroud
It’s great fun here, it’s always packed, and they’re – frankly – a bit mental. Excellent fun. Just a shame I’ll have to drive…
Hokay, that’s your lot for this week, I leave you with (courtesy of Yeovil Dave) my favourite Things To Pass The Time In A Supermarket While Your Girlfriend Is Shopping…
1. When an announcement comes over the loud speaker, assume the foetal position and scream “NO! NO! It’s those voices again….”
2. Go into a fitting room, shut the door, wait a while; then yell, very loudly, “There’s no toilet paper in here.”
3. Hide in a clothing rack and when people come to browse, yell, “PICK ME, PICK ME!”
Date – 08/09/2008
And a disappointment for me on Friday (no, not that sort…) – I didn’t get to go on the donkeys at Weston, as the venue had to cancel all their gigs following noise complaints. Honestly, these irresponsible noisy musicians…
On Saturday, we rolled up the Railway in Fishponds to find it jam-packed with people staring at the telly. Oh dear, it’s the footy again – England vs Andorra. “Where’s Andorra?” asks geographically-challenged Martin. “It’s where they make the rabbits” chuckles Stuart unhelpfully.
I explain that Andorra is a tiny little country in the Pyrenees, about the size of the pub. When challenged on this, I have to concede that if you flattened it out, it would be considerably larger, but that, significantly, the Andorran team don’t have their names emblazoned on the back of their shirts. “It’s cos they all have the same name, Andorra is only big enough to house one family” .
An impatient Martin complains as the clock on the telly screen ticks past the ninety-minute mark. “Why haven’t they finished yet?” he wants to know.
“Oh, they’ll carry on until their mum calls them in for their tea”, I tell him. The camera shows an angry Andorran team manager shouting and gesticulating at his charges. “And that’s their dad, telling them off about the mess they’ve made of his lawn”
Finally the game is over, the Andorrans go in for their tea, and we hurriedly set up the gear. Suzi has broken her radio mike – the battery case lid is jammed on, and it’s new battery time. We all try shifting it. Much faffing about, scrounging of tools, wrestling with the damned thing, but it won’t budge. Just as we give up, Suzi idly gives it a gentle tweak, and it comes apart in her hand. Stuart must have loosened it, we decide. Ahem. Finally, we can get on with things, and a jolly fine evening it turns out to be. Nice to see some old mates again, a hefty dose of encores and requests, and we toddle off happily home somewhere in the wee hours.
Right then, this week just one outing, it’s a new one for us, and it’s just up the road from me – oh goody.
Sat 13th – The Barrell, Thornbury
Never played here before, so not sure what to expect – I see that recent acts here have included a “Caribbean duo” (Er – white rum and big spliff?), “Michaela Truelove – solo vocal artiste” (I wonder if that’s her real name?), and a ten-piece ska band (so at least there must be a bit of room to set up in). Hmm, a pretty eclectic mix, I’ll be interested to see what the clientele look like. Confused, probably. Although right now they only think they’re confused, after Saturday they’ll realize what confused really means*.
Right then, that’s your lot for now
PS – In case you’re interested, It was 2-0 to “Ingerrland”, by the way – who go on to meet Lichenstein Under-12 Schoolgirls “B” Team in the final…
*Look it up yourself, lazybones!
Date – 01/09/2008
And a roight zunny foine marnin it do be thiz marnin, they mangelwurzels be roipenin in yon fields, that ruddy blackbird be up in iz tree again, and….no, I’m bored with this already.
Another busy weekend in the World Of Rawk, Thursday’s outing to Bristol Waterfront was good fun – apparently we could be heard halfway across town – and it was good to see Our Suzi back on form, dragging a punter up to join in a duet for one of the encores. It’ll be a while before anyone complains about Martin’s backing vocals…
Friday’s outing to Devizes was much quieter in comparison, but things picked up for Saturday’s jaunt to Southmead. For the first half, most the punters were sensibly concentrating on drinking heavily in the sunshine outside, whilst we played to a range of their offspring who dragged up a row of chairs and sat right in front of the stage, their little heads nodding in time. Ahhh, bless. This row of chairs formed a useful safety barrier for the second half, when the “adults” came back in for some spectacular dancing / falling over routines. I think all four of us were struggling to keep playing as we creased up with laughter. Eventually, though, we had to wind things up after half a dozen encores, as Martin was in dire need of food (“That bass sounds a bit rumbly there, Martin”. “That’s not the bass…”). Also, Suzi and I had designs on our supper, in the shape of a plastic bag full of appealing clinking-of-bottles sounds waiting patiently for us in the van.
So, we hoofed it back to my place and set about drinking our way through it and talking rubbish; we finally gave in just as my darling daughter got up early, so I never did actually make it to bed. Oh well.
Right then, this week sees us in a new place, and then an old place…
Fri 5th – Rock Gardens, Weston Super Mare
This place only opened up this year, we’ve not done it before, but I’m hoping it will live up to its name and be festooned with hardy perennials and perhaps a little lichen. As it’s Weston, I might go there early and have a go on the donkeys*.
Sat 6th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Always good fun here, a good fun crowd and we love the owners and staff too.
That’s your lot for now, and we’ll y’all soon real soon
*Apparently this year, as well as the donkeys giving people rides down on the beach at Weston, they’ve got some camels too.
And do you know what they get for lunch?
Half an hour, same as the donkeys…
Date – 27/09/2008
Hello yet again folks!
And once again we have a last-minute change of rawk’n’roll schedule.
Just had confirmation that, in addition to Friday and Saturday’s previously advertised gigs, tomorrow (i.e. Thursday) we will be back down at the waterfront in Bristol centre, at the Bar and Bistro.
We played there last Thursday, and they asked if we could “come back next week”, but I assumed they were joking… Obviously we are highly desirable, attractive, and talented… although it’s equally possible that all the other bands in Bristol are on holiday this week…
Anyhoo, we’ll be there, it’s a nice lively place, and Martin enjoyed looking at all the bronzed limbs that were on display there. (In a glass case behind the bar…).
Date – 26/08/2008
Well, we hope you all had a jolly exciting Bank Holiday Weekend, preferably spent in traditional fashion sitting on the M5 looking at a sea of brake lights. Personally, I opted for the good old-fashioned “watching the missus do the decorating” – well, somebody had to keep an eye on her, in case she misses a bit.
The doctors say I should be able to walk normally again in a few days.
Anyway, to business. Apologies to those who came to the Oak last Thursday to see us, as you found out, we weren’t there. We were instead, thanks to what the tabloids would doubtless call a “Bungled Band Booking Blunder” down at the Bar and Bistro on the Waterfront in the middle of Bristol. And, I have to say, a mighty fine night we had of it, a nice big space, lots of pretty lights, a lively audience and – the Holy Grail of the gigging musician – free beer! Hopefully we’ll be back there before long – possibly very soon indeed, we’ll keep y’all posted.
Saturday’s jaunt to the Arrow in Yeovil was going quite well when we decided to dig a number out of the archives which we haven’t done for a while. With consummate professionalism, Suzi completely forgot the words and stood there grinning helplessly. Rescue was at hand, however – a nice lady who we’d been chatting to in the break (but whose name we never did find out) leaped up, took the mike, and did a fantastic job finishing the number while Suz grabbed the opportunity to neck a few drinks. In fact, a cheeky punter actually offered Suzi money not to go back on….
So, thanks for that, Mystery Guest Vocalist, and good luck with that solo gig you got coming up. Actually, if you’re reading this, gissa shout, we probably owe you a drink or something.
Right, what’s coming up next, let’s have a look at me diary –
Fri 29th – Churchill, West Lavington, Devizes
Nice country pub, bit of a strange mix of punters – as I remember, last time they didn’t wake up until the last two songs, and then didn’t want to let us go. Oh well – guess there’s not too much else to do round there.
Sat 30th – Southmead RFC – 6:30pm start
Looking forward to this one, apparently it’s a big match tournament or something,so should be heaving – and they’re all bonkers there. Bring the ridiculous outfit of your choice – last time it was tropical beachwear, this time – who knows? Just remember though, ladies, you can’t go wrong with a cowboy hat…
Speaking of unusual attire, I think it’s about time to share this pic of a typical AUF gig-goer, taken at the Harley Rally a couple of weeks ago. Trinny and Susannah – pah!
Right then, ’til next time
Date – 18/08/2008
And with everyone safely back from Foreign Climes (Stuart did apparently attempt to sell Suzi to an Arab gentleman, but alas the camel he was offered in exchange was too large to fit in the overhead locker on the plane), it’s back to the rawk’n’roll treadmill …
Friday saw us roll up at the Royal Oak in Swindon, to be greeted by a beaming Swindon Al who helped us drag all the gear in and sorted us out (just as well, since we had a piano to move as well). I’ve never seen a boxing -themed pub before, and was delighted by the boxing machine next to the stage, sporting a punchball – the sign on it, pronouncing the “Rules of The Game”, offered the following instructions for the hard of thinking: –
1) Insert coin
2) Press ‘Start’
3) Hit punchball
Apparently if you hit it hard enough it makes pretty lights and sounds. Those long winter nights must just fly past… Still, the owners and staff were lovely, and we might even be back there again purty soon…
A touch nervous after two weeks off and no practicing, we managed to get through the night without too many musical disasters, although the technical glitches were a bit of a pain… Still, it was a good warm-up for Saturday’s jaunt to the dear old Farriers, where we met some dear old buddies, remembered the whole set with nary a mishap, and this time my dodgy soldering held all night.
Favourite part was the lad at the front, who had obviously been imbibing for quite some time, performing a solo – erm- “erotic” dance routine, oblivious to the fact that his trousers were teetering between being stylishly-very-low-slung-indeed, and falling down altogether.
Actually, come to think of it, my real favourite part was the face of the poor lady next to him, looking on in fascinated horror as he writhed about in a world of his own.
Right then, we’re back on the road, where to next…?
Thursday 21st Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
Oh goody, the dear old Oak again. Yum yum.
Friday 22nd Arrow, Yeovil
I went to Yeovil once, years and years ago, for a job interview. They never called me back. And it rained the whole day. I hope it’s stopped by the time we get there.
Although apparently the Arrow is just around the corner from where one of Suzi’s Young Gentlemen lives, and is reported to be a “damned fine pub”. If you can’t be bothered to go and find out for yourselves, we’ll let you know next week.
Right, that’s your lot for now
Til next time,
Carry On Follow That Camel
Date – 14/08/2008
And, with holidays over, and some of our merry troupe sporting suntans following a relaxing fortnight in the tropical sun – not me, I spent the last two weeks in a waterlogged muddy field – your favourite denizens of the murky world of rawk’n’roll are back in action.
Unfortunately, I for one have forgotten most of what’s in the set – let alone how to play it – so unless I get around to getting some serious homework in before the weekend, then no matter what the others are playing, I’ll be churning out Endless Blues Jam in E.
If I can remember where E is*.
Anyway, gigs: –
Fri 15th Royal Oak, Old Town, Swindon
Never been here before, but by a bizarre quirk of fate, we’ve always had good fun in Swindon – once we’ve found the venue….
Sat 16th Farriers, Fishponds
Aha, back home again! Looking forward to seeing some old mates here, and at least it doesn’t matter if I can’t remember the set – they all pick on me anyway.
Right then, either we’ll see you there, …or we won’t!
*Apparently it’s somewhere between D and F. Thanks for that.
Date – 28/07/2008
Hi again folks!
And now that summer has finally arrived (and probably will be packing its bags ready to leave again by teatime), this’ll be the last one of these ramblings for a little while. Yes, we’re all off on our summer holidays for a couple of weeks, leaving behind all our cares and troubles (actually, Stuart and I are taking ours with us), and a large untidy mess of broken drumsticks, guitar strings, and crumpled balls of used gaffa tape.
Still, we leave with happy memories of an excellent night’s entertainment down at Minehead, thanks to the lovely Harley Owner’s Club of Somerset. After a very pleasant drive down (Suzi and I even took a detour through 1952), we arrived to find a large hall with a big high stage, a bar at the far end, and a kitchen serving hot food. Martin was extremely excited by the last feature, it having been almost an hour since his last meal.
We set up, we played, and a fine time was had by all. A great fun night, despite my having ham-fistedly broken a string and spent most of the second set trying to remember how the switches on my spare guitar were wired up.
Still, we seem to have gone down rather well judging by the lovely comments we got, and the number of encores they made us play. Eventually, though, we were allowed to stop, on the promise of coming back next year. Looking forward to that one already.
Right then, I’m off now to start packing – we’ll be back in a couple of weeks, so make the most of the respite, ’cause when we get back we’ll be refreshed, relaxed, probably even louder – oh yes, and I for one am likely to have forgotten all the songs, so there could well be some jazz fusion improvisation going on.
Now then, where’s me bucket and spade…?
Date – 23/07/2008
And a very Merry Christmas to all our readers. This week, I’m happy to report that your favourite rawk ‘n’roll band, having temporarily savoured the delights of the social stratosphere at the upper echelons of polite society, have returned to earth with a report that apart from free bacon sarnies, a Hunt Ball really has nothing in particular to commend it.
Yes folks, in the grounds of a big posh house, in a large marquee which presumably cost a small fortune to hire, and with a breathtaking view of Hinckley Point power station a few hundred yards away, the scene was set for a perfect evening’s entertainment. For me, anyway.
We arrived bang on time half an hour late, and were led to a huge marquee where there is a stage and dance floor set up in front of it. There is another band playing too, who shall remain nameless – mostly because I can’t remember it – and they are a very musically accomplished soul-type outfit – they even have two horn players (imagine having to split gig money six ways, how complicated would that get?). And, much as I thoroughly enjoy the blues / R & B side of things, personally I couldn’t watch the Blues Brothers movie night after night after night.
Anyhoo, they seem a nice enough bunch, and kindly share their lighting rig with us, since being a pillock I had forgotten ours.
We set up, and sort out a running order – the wishes of the Nice Lady Running Things are that we should do an hour, then they’ll do an hour and a half, we’ll do an hour, then they’ll do an hour and a half.
We’d previously been told we were to do two one-and-a-quarter hour sets, so we’ve more than prepared for this. The other outfit’s drummer says, “Stuff that for a lark, we’re doing two one hour sets, that’s their bloody lot”.
It’s pretty much time to start now, Suzi is a little intimidated by all the dress suits, bow ties, and ball gowns around, but it’s too late to back down now. At the allotted hour, we start playing – to a deserted marquee. Pretty soon, people filter in, and by the end of the first set we’re doing okay.
As expected, the other band go down rather better than us; we’d already figured that the dirty-assed rock and roll wasn’t really going to be more than a minority interest with this crowd. What the hell, they booked us, they got us!
While the other outfit are playing, we find the free food. Martin gets covered in chocolate, and Suzi unnerves him with some fruit. Suddenly (it’s around midnight by now) they start serving cooked breakfast stuff, so I rapidly inhale a couple of bacon sarnies before we go back on. Oohh, I’ve lived with vegetarians too long!
The other band announce they’re “going to take a break now”, what a nice way to introduce us…karma will soon hit them.
Our second set goes rather better than the first, as per pub gigs everyone sings along and dances now that they’re half-p*ssed. We play through our allotted set, we’re about to throw in a couple more before we pack it in, but the other band are up and impatient to start so they can finish and go home earlier; we’ve done our bit, so Suzi announces them back on, and we quietly pack up our rig and go off in search of more bacon and some coffee.
After a while, they finish, start running some background music through their PA and begin packing up.
Nice Running Things Lady bustles over and asks them pointedly why they’ve stopped, seeing as there is still more than half an hour of the evening to run. There are few entertaining minutes of heated conversation, it is officially agreed that the Angel Up Front side of things has done all that it was supposed to, after which I am delighted to see the other band grumpily start unpacking their kit and setting it up again! Oh, what joy to see the looks on their little faces. That’ll teach ‘em to be rude to us.
Sadly I have to leave to take Martin back while they’re only half way through their first “contractual obligation encore”, but I remain amused all the way home.
Right then, this week we back down at a much more familiar stratum of society – there’s a biker’s do, hooray!
Friday 25th – Harley Davidson Owner’s Rally, Minehead
Oh, SO looking forward to a nice comfy bike rally, give me leather and beer over silk and champagne any day…and that’s not as kinky as it sounds. No, really.
Saturday 26th – Fire Engine, St George
Back in Bristol, and this time the question is – shall we try and upset the Aldi Parking Gestapo again, or shall we remain aloof and smug after our previous victory? He he he he…
Anyhoo, that’s it for this week, we’ll let you know how we get on.
Incidentally, is anybody else old enough to remember the kids’ TV cartoon series The Hair Bear Bunch? They had an invisible motorcycle. In readiness for Friday, Stuart has acquired one too.
Unfortunately, he forgot where he parked it and now he can’t find it anywhere…
Date – 13/07/2008
And I’m delighted to report another Big Fun Experience in the World Of Rawk. Friday’s outing to the lovely Lower Lode Inn for the Barfly Rally provided some mirthful moments – despite the lousy weather. We arrived, we set up, and for the first time in a long long time, got asked to soundcheck! This is all a bit new and professional for us…
There was another band playing before us, an outfit from Worcester called Fury – and, if you like a bit of speed-metal with your cornflakes, go see ’em. Excellent musicians, and a really good bunch of lads.
I think they were a leetle bit heavy for most of the punters, but Martin in particular loved ’em. So much so that he dragged his chair slap into the middle of the empty dance floor, plonked it down right in front of the stage and sat there with a big grin on his chops for their whole set.
Oh, apart from the bit where Suzi and I sneaked up from behind, pounced on him, and gaffa-taped his arms to the chair.
He took it rather well, I thought. (Mind you, there’s some people quite like that sort of thing….)
Anyhoo, we had a great time, and we gotta say thanks to Ian for doing the sound, to Russ for (partly for helping out with everything and mostly for being a Dancing God), and to the lovely Sue for doing all the organizing stuff so well.
Saturday saw us arrive at the Old Fox, where it was pretty quiet at first. No bad thing, as Suzi has developed a rather nasty cold-type thing, and Martin is also suffering from a wide range of ailments (probably now including gaffa tape rash). However, things livened up a bit later on, as our dear old mate Muddy and his lovely other half Sarah turned up… It turns out that it’s Sarah’s [censored]th birthday this week, so drink was rapidly flowing in all directions. Now, Sarah has a fairly…direct way of expressing herself, and in the past has waxed lyrical about our Martin’s burly good looks “Ooooo, ‘e’s so ‘andsome…” and “sexy ” accent, and how she has a special place in her heart (and indeed her underwear) for him…
So it was with particular joy that Suzi dragged her up to the front to announce her birthday, and let her choose somebody to sing “Happy Birthday” to her over the PA… and then deliver her a birthday kiss.
Bless him, I think he rather enjoys the attention.
The evening finally finished when we ran out of time, Suzi ran out of voice, and I forgot how to play a song we’ve been doing for three years… yup, that’ll be time to stop then.
This week, we have another new experience coming up – on Friday, we’re booked to play North Petherton Hunt Ball. I’m assuming this is a dance of some sort, rather than just an unsavoury party game.
We actually did consult our collective consciences before agreeing to do this one – I mean, should we really be condoning the bloodthirsty pastimes of the upper classes?
Stuart pointed out that actually most people who have a bash and describe it as a “Hunt Ball” are actually nothing to do with hunting at all, but either vaguely equestrian-inclined middle-class types who think it sounds posher, or Young Farmers trying to disguise themselves so that the venue will agree to let them in. So that’s all right then.
Martin, I suspect, has no problem with the idea of hunting down innocent animals, but thinks it’s a criminal waste not to eat them once you’ve caught ’em.
I decided that the opportunity to poke fun at a bunch of horsey retards, while taking their money for the privilege, was too good to miss.
Suzi just asked, “How much do we get?”
Anyhoo, we’ll let you know how we get on…
Q: Why do they always serve sandwiches at Hunt Balls?
A: Because they’re in bread as well…
Date – 07/07/2008
These past forty days and forty nights hath it rained, a torrent from the heavens to smite the wicked and purge the earth of sin. All around is endless ocean; the only sounds are the creaking of the timbers, the gentle lapping of the waters against the hull, and the soft breathing of the animals sleeping below in the hold.
The stench is awful.
Last night the one of the unicorns fell overboard – I hope God doesn’t notice.
I’m sure he won’t spot it – he’s a busy guy, got a lot on, etc etc. Oh, mind you, he is omniscient, isn’t he? Bugger. Then again, if he’s that clever. I mean, I can kind of understand this Ark business, birds of the air, beasts of the field, etc, but why did he want me to bring two of every kind of fish? Surely they’d be. Oh, never mind.
Still, we are the Chosen Ones, selected by Our Lord The Jolly Important, to build a gleaming new world (although I can’t help but suspect it’s going to be a bit muddy for a while), and to create a whole new human race free from sin and depravity. I assume that, being Supreme Being, He (or possibly She) has worked out all the details about gene pool sizes and biodiversity and the rest of it.
Anyway, I really hope this weather clears up by Friday – for is it not written that on the eleventh day of the seventh month, at the Lower Lode Inn at Forthampton near Tewkesbury, shall the mighty Angel Up Front play at the Barfly Bike Rally? And shall there not be fine ales and feasting, and verily shall they wax mightily with the powers of Rawk?
And is it not written also that on the twelfth day, shall they play again at the Old Fox in Bishopston? And shall not the women there lust voraciously after Martin as usual? And shall there not be rejoicing and dancing, yea, and perhaps some synchronised falling over?
Well – actually, yes it IS written. It’s written in this gig listing I found floating past in a bottle yesterday. So it must be true.
But soft! What is this I hear? A voice from afar! A stentorian voice from the heavens! It calls to me! A message from the Lord, calling unto his loyal servant!
“Come in Number Seven, your time is up”.
*Editor’s note – Alan got rained on this morning. There appears to have been some moistening effect on his cerebral cortex, leading to a temporary electrolytic imbalance which has manifested in delusional episodes, loosening his already tenuous grip on reality.
The effect is expected to be temporary – either he’ll get better or we’ll have him put down.
Date – 30/06/2008
Hello my lovelies!
Well, we hope you all had a spanktastic weekend. We had a fairly quiet time; although we did play on Saturday for our lovely mate Jackie’s 30th birthday party, and despite some dodgy Feng Shui, we all went home happy (well, with our pockets bulging with cake, which amounts to pretty much the same thing).
But we were outcooled by my transatlantic buddy George Wulf, (who actually lives in Rockford, Illinois – how cool is that?), and who does wonderful things with Stratocasters. This weekend, his band (the lovely Band Of The Lost) supported slide guitar legend Dickey Betts from the Allman Brothers (ask your Dad, kids, he’ll be impressed) at a festival over there.
See, it was around twenty years ago that I met George while I was over there for work for a coupla weeks, and he kindly invited me to sit in with Band Of The Lost at a local bar gig. And now, a mere two decades later, he’s playing festies with an all-time guitar hero.
I am glad to have played such a crucial – I think I can say inspirational – part in the development of this young man’s musical career. Obviously I’m too modest to take all the credit; I think I’ll just let the facts speak for themselves.
Right then, back to the fair shores of Blighty:-
Friday 4th July – Farmhouse, Yate
Oooh, I remember this one. Because of the layout of the place, Martin gets to play hidden behind a wall, with a huge mirror about two feet in front of him. Imagine playing a whole gig out of sight of everybody else, just looking at yourself in a mirror…
Maybe I’ll ask if he’s prepared to swap sides for the night.
Sat 5th July – Queen Vic, Stroud
Always a brilliant night in here; seems like ages since we’ve done this one. Can’t wait. Also keen to see if my morbidly obese motorcyclist chum Disco Dave, who has promised to come along, is actually man enough to last the whole night this time.
Right, hopefully we’ll see you at one of those places – possibly both, although (being realistic) that’s only likely if you’re a creditor…
Date – 23/06/2008
Top o’the morning to ye!
Well, it’s been a strange old week in Planet Rock. After (what I like to think of as) a triumphant headline slot at the SodburyRox festival, the only outing this weekend was a Dotty and Totty excursion to play at our dear friends Cath and Damon’s wedding “do”.
I arrive, squeeze myself into packed pub, and eventually find a beaming Suzi. She jumps up and gives me a big hug. “I’ve bin drinkin’ shince eleven o’clock thish mornin'” she says, and starts giggling. This could be interesting.
I go out to the van and come back in with the first armful of equipment. Suzi jumps up, gives me a big hug, and tells me that she’s “bin drinkin’ shince eleven o’clock thish mornin'”. I believe her.
Stuart has come along to be sociable; he’s even wearing a proper shirt (for perhaps the first time in a decade). Being sociable, he kindly helps me lug the gear in. Suzi tells him that she’s been drinking since eleven o’clock this morning.
Stuart and I get everything set up, Suzi goes off to get changed, and we’re ready to start. She switches on her mike and announces to the world at large, “I’ve been drinkin shince eleven o’clock thish morning, y’know…”
Ahh, bless, even in this advanced state of intoxication (shouldn’t that be “retarded state of intoxication”?) she’s a little bundle of fun. I can just about remember most of the set, but Suz clearly has only a very limited idea of the words. Happily, just in case, we have most of the lyrics printed out to jog her memory.
Unfortunately, in her present condition she can’t actually see properly, so she is having some challenges with actually reading them, and opts instead for being rude to the audience. Never mind, one way or another she is being vastly entertaining, and we make it through the first set without too many mishaps.
When it’s time to start again, it takes me ten minutes to finally track her down; she is holed up in a corner slamming back tequilas, and is most put out that she has to get back to work.
The evening continues on its merry way, I am particularly delighted when, half way through the second set, the lovely bride stumbles up and, announcing that she is “a bit tired”, gently lowers herself down on the floor at Suzi’s feet and curls up to sleep with a beatific smile on her face.
We eventually finish playing, being careful not to tread on Cath, and to my surprise we get several offers for future duo bookings. So, I pack up, sort out a few tentative dates, prise the shot glass out of Suzi’s hand and then carefully pour her into the back of the van to drop her off home safely.
“I think”, she confides, “I’m a bit pished”. She pauses for a moment’s reflection. “I’ve been drinking shince eleven o’clock, y’know…”
Right then, looking at the schedule, we actually have no public gigs this weekend – probably just as well, I’m not sure our lovely vocalist will be out of rehab in time.
So, until next time, kids – have fun*
*Please enjoy champagne, lager, dry cider, white rum, red wine, white wine, tequila, scrumpy and Sambuca… plus anything else which you may not be able to remember just at the moment…responsibly
Date – 16/06/2008
Blessings upon you, my chosen star-children.
Soon, the ships, which approach even now through the inky blackness of the interstellar void, will descend from the heavens to rescue us from the Armageddon that is to engulf the rest of this tiny planet and its Unbelievers. But first, let us meditate upon the vibrations of cosmic harmony which link us across the universe to our alien brothers and sisters in Galaxy Z-616.
…And I’m delighted to report an entertaining comedy weekend in the sunny world of Rawk’n’Roll.
Out first outing to the Rolleston on Swindon was vastly amusing. Having finally found the joint, we haul in and set up.
It’s next door to a Goth-y metal-y nightclub, and shares a lot of the clientele. Martin voices his opinion that girls dressed up in Goth outfits look fantastic; but the blokes all just succeed in looking really stupid. As he is saying this, an elfin vision of loveliness in black lace sashays elegantly past, followed by a pimply Coco the Clown apprentice in black studded leatheroid plastic. Hmm, he may have a point there.
Suzi unfortunately blows her “elegant Goth” credentials halfway through the first set when she takes off her long flowing lacy coat-thing to reveal…that she has her mini skirt accidentally tucked into the back of her pants. Martin and I are crying with laughter, but manage to keep playing; Stuart, of course, hasn’t noticed. Eventually Suz is rescued by a kind lady audience member who manages to attract her attention and tactfully point out her error in between verses.
Martin has brought his rather fetching new bass amp with him. It’s very nice. After the first number (in which I can hardly hear him), I ask him to turn it up. Now, I’ve forgotten that Martin, in addition to his bass-playing talents, is also a rather fine guitarist, and we all know what happens when you tell a guitar player to turn it up…
Oh dearie me, it is jolly powerful, isn’t it? Quite a few drinks vibrate their way across tables and smash on the floor, which is great fun to watch (but admittedly not much fun for the poor bar staff to clean up. Oh well.) Everyone makes him turn it down again, but I have already decided to turn up as well to compensate.
Afterwards, as we are packing up, the landlady informs us that she has had a call from Environmental Health about the noise levels… Apparently they were in another part of town investigating a noise complaint in another venue, when they heard the melodious strains of Martin and myself thrashing away at full pelt gently drifting across the evening air… Oopsie.
Saturday was much quieter. After a pleasant outing playing in the sunshine at my kids’ school fair in the afternoon, we piled on down to the Brunel. Martin opts to use both his old and his new bass amp together (wonder where he got that idea) – so we both set up with an amp each on each side of the stage. And it sounds…fantastic! We even manage not to upset the neighbours this time. I always said there’s no such thing as too much amplification.
Stuart was crippled with laughter by an overheard comment from one extremely fulsome young lady, who was painfully squeezed into some elephantine parody of a mini-dress; she asked her (equally expansive, and similarly-dressed) friend as they both waddled past, “Do you think oi looks fat?”
Alas, the answer was lost to history as Stuart collapsed in mirth.
Still, I guess at least that clears up the Mystery Of The Missing Pies.
Right then, this week we have coming up…
Tuesday 17th – SodburyRox festival
This should be great. They close off Chipping Sodbury High Street, park a flatbed trailer across the middle of the road and put a bunch of bands on it. All the pubs stay open, we’re headlining… How much fun can you handle on a school night? Starts at 7:15, we’re on about 9:30. Or so I’m told.
Saturday 21st – Hope and Anchor, Trowbridge
AUC GIG Dotty and Totty out again! Actually this is the day that our deliciously alluring mate Cath gets married, and so there’ll probably be lots of drinking involved.
And to think, she could have had me instead… Well, obviously, she’d have had to make some kind of timeshare arrangement with Dem first, but I’m sure they could have worked something out…
Citizens of Earth……Farewell.
Date – 10/06/2008
Yo sushi! Or something…
A quiet weekend in Rockville, Arizona – despite there being not-too-many Troutistic episodes, we didn’t really get things going in the Kinger last Friday until the second set. I was impressed, though, with the dancing efforts, which ranged from the jolly professional, to the jolly terrifying, to the simply – er – jolly.
This weekend, a that’s-more-like-it two and a half gigs…
Fri 13th Rolleston Arms, Swindon
New one for us, no idea where it is, and I hope it appears on Martin’s satnav. To be on the safe side, we’ll tell him to make sure he leaves home before 6:30…
Still, Friday 13th, what can go possibly wrong, eh…?
Sat 14th St Helen’s school, Alveston
Due to an unfortunate lack of Morris dancers (or something), we’ve been asked to step in and play a lunchtime set at my kids’ school. Apparently there’s a hot dog and a beer in it, which is good enough for me. Already my daughter has started trying to persuade me not to wear the leather strides, and not to do anything that might embarrass her in front of her mates. As if…. Now, where’s that dressing-up box….
Sat 14th The Brunel, Bedminster
Oh, I do like it here, there’s a huge big stage, and Martin and I can play our regular game of trying to take over all of it, leaving Suzi without any room to move.
Right, that’s it for now, it’s a lovely sunny day so I’d better get on with spoiling it for everybody else.
Date – 02/06/2008
Didja miss us? Didja? You did, didn’t you? Aaahhhh, bless.
Well, I can report an eventful few gigs since the last instalment… Suz and I rolled up at the Churchill in Devizes to find Stuart on the phone to a lost-yet-again Martin. Originally Stuart had been following him, apparently, but soon got bored thanks to Martin’s “myopic granny” driving style, overtook him, and then watched him in his mirror turn off down a random side turning, and hadn’t seen him since. We leisurely set up, and eventually Martin finds the place.
We help him unload his car.
“Where do I park?” he asks.
I point to the pub’s “Car Park” sign, which is ten yards in front of him.
“Would you like me to draw you a map?” I innocently enquire.
He says a naughty word.
The following night, we are due at the lovely Harrow Inn near Swindon. I arrive; Stuart arrives, and with the help of Swindon Al we set up. Suzi arrives. We’re due to start soon, but still no Martin. I phone him.
“What do you want?” he answers in customary grumpy fashion.
“Just wondered where you were.”
“I’m driving along past some fields”, is the informative response.
“Do you think you could be a little more specific? Only it must be getting late, Suzi’s here already.”
“My satnav says I’m 2.1 kilometres away” comes the smug reply.
“Okay, so I guess we’ll see you in about an hour, then”.
He says a naughty word and hangs up.
I tell the others he should be with us shortly. We wait. And wait…..
Half an hour later my phone rings again. It’s Martin.
“Now, don’t start taking the piss or anything…” he begins…
I am crying with laughter and have to pass him on to Stuart to talk to. It transpires that Martin began to suspect something was wrong when he saw the “Welcome to Oxfordshire” sign…
Eventually Stuart talks him in, we start the set late and play a whole bunch of encores at the end to make it up to the patient punters.
Finally, last weekend’s outing to the Crown and Horseshoe was notable partly for the thirty-something birthday boy, who was entertainingly drunk, but mostly for his brilliant mother, who took rather a shine to Stuart, and made no secret of the fact… oh dearie me, talk about earthy…
Anyhoo, this week we’re out just the once –
Friday 6th June – Kings Arms, Bath
Ahh, the dear old Kinger. Lovely. Best of all, we’ve played here loads of times, so there’s a fair chance that Martin will actually be able to find it. As long as he sets off in good time. Around Wednesday, I should think.
Right, that’s your lot for now. I shan’t leave you with a parting joke, as I had so many complaints from last time. I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for them meddling kids and their pesky dawg…..
Peace, love, and a nice cup of tea
Date – 19/05/2008
And, as a result of painstaking research, I can now tell you all what happens to weekends if you don’t fill them up with sex and drugs and rock’n’roll.
It’s just not the same.
I mean, I tried playing a hedge trimmer solo, but it was something of a let-down. And playing Air Strimmer was equally disappointing. Lacking the finances to drive a Rolls Royce into a swimming pool, I tried pushing the lawn mower into a large puddle, but even that didn’t do anything for me.
Just as well we’re off out twice next weekend – into the wilds of Wiltshire, no less: –
Friday 23rd May The Churchill, Devizes
Never been here before, but after Friday we will have been. Question is, will they let us back…?
Sunday 25th May Harrow Inn, Wanborough
A luvverly little pub, out in the countryside outside Swindon. Nice beer, and nice peoples. Fantastic!
After that, I’m off on hols for a week, but will be back in time for
Saturday 31st May Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common
Always an ace gig, I wonder how much of the set I’ll remember this time?
That’s your lot for now, and if (like me) you have a nasty bad pun habit, you will appreciate the following little gem kindly supplied by my mate Dave in Yeovil. If, on the other hand, you have a nervous disposition, or even a proper sense of humour, look away now….
A man is stranded in the desert and has not eaten or drunk anything for nearly 36 hours. He is about to die. Amazingly, as he stumbles through the sand he comes to three market stalls. The man (half thinking he must be hallucinating) approaches the first stall and demands: “I need water, sell me some water”.
“Sorry Sir” replies the stall owner “I only sell custard”.
The man, visibly taken aback goes up to the second stall and again asks for water.
“I’m afraid I only sell sponge cake and cream” replies the second stall owner.
The man turns in disbelief to the final stall and begs “Please, I need water now or I’ll die”.
“Sorry Sir, I only sell hundreds and thousands” replies the final stall owner.
His fatigue momentarily forgotten, the man demands: “You mean to tell me that the three of you all own market stalls in the middle of the desert and none of you sell water?!?!?”
“I know Sir” says the first stall owner “it’s a trifle bazaar.”
[editors note] apologies to all, I shall be having words about this kind of joke later.
Date – 13/05/2008
And with the sun shining down from a cloudless sky, I’m happy to report an excellent weekend’s gigging in the Pub Rock area, with a sunny outlook, and an unprecedented high in the Scottish regions. (I’m practicing to be a weather girl, in case the whole engineering day job thing doesn’t work out).
Friday’s outing to the Albert Inn was excellent fun, and thanks are due to the deity of your choice for the brilliant thunder and lightning backdrop we had for the entire first set. With impeccable timing, it started bucketing down just before we take our half-time break, effectively trapping all the punters in ’til closing time. Still, we all had a jolly evening, and special hugs to our mates Matt, Helen and Angie who rolled up to support us. Not for Scally Andy though, who didn’t show up as he was busy “furthering international diplomatic relations”.
And also not for the very drunk young lady who first amused me with her (admittedly quite impressive) air guitar solo (played from down on her knees right at my feet), who then affronted me by accosting me to declare… “Ooooohh, if you was thirty years younger…”.
I’m rather puzzled. “…I’d be fourteen….” I point out.
“Oh, that’s okay, I’ve had my Criminal Records Bureau check, they’d let me take you home…” she says.
I’m now amused, affronted, puzzled, and rather worried.
I go off in search of someone less weird to talk to, and for once find that Stuart fits the bill. We espy a rather fine pair of winged monkey demon gargoyles perched over the pub doors. They’re brilliant, each one is about five feet high, and I want them. I wonder if the pub will give them to us instead of the arranged fee. Stuart wants to know what on earth we would do with them; I explain that I haven’t thought that far ahead, but he has to agree that it would be really cool to get paid in winged monkeys.
Sadly, the management won’t do it, and just give us boring old-fashioned money and beer instead. Oh well, never mind. Great fun, and we’ll be back there later in the year.
Saturday’s jaunt to Weymouth was a hoot as well. A nice gentle sunny drive down, fish and chips, a leisurely set up, a pleasantly fruitless search for cowgirls, and then we play a jolly fine couple of sets and a large pile of encores. Excellent!
Rather to my relief, there’s no sign of the “forty or so sailors” which we’ve been told have hoved into port tonight, as – although Suzi would doubtless keep most of them busy – I fear the lure of the shiny leather Trousers Of Destiny may have proved hard to resist for some of the more inebriated gentlemen of the nautical persuasion.
Still, there are no unsavoury incidents, everyone keeps their clothes on, and we have a hoot. On the way back, I comment to Suz that I still can’t believe how we can manage to get paid to go out and have such great fun.
She responds by casually mentioning something about a road sign that says “15mph max”, as suddenly the road disappears off at right angles, and our poor little van slithers inelegantly around the corner. Frantically wrestling with the wheel, I manage to keep it on the tarmac, and just about upright, we end up in completely the wrong gear but mercifully still on the road and pointing vaguely the right way. As I try to gulp my heart back down from my mouth to its more usual resting place, she calmly observes, “Well, that went about as well as could be expected”.
As a special treat, I pay careful attention to driving all the way home, and finally fall safely into my nice soft bed just as the birds are beginning their pre-dawn-chorus warm-up exercises. So that’ll be a full two hours kip before I have to get up and sort out bickering children. I just love this rock’n’roll thing.
Right, there’s no gigs this coming weekend, instead we’re off out having big drinkies to celebrate this year’s Suzi’s 21st birthday. I don’t think anyone is going to ask me to drive.
Til next time
Date – 06/05/2008
Well, it’s been a wild and woolly time on the pub rock circuit this week. Friday’s expedition to Wootton Bassett got off to a good start – before we’d even set up, we’d been paid (and rather more than we’d expected!!). Martin wanted to leave immediately, but we outvoted him. And a fine time we had, hugely enlivened by Stuart’s dear old mate Gina – who used to sing in a band with him years ago – and who couldn’t resist joining in for a few numbers, and fantastic stuff it was too. Afterwards (sadly Gina snuck away quietly under the influence of about a gallon of cheap wine), we sat and nattered for ages with the hugely entertaining landlord Jeff. So, a great fun place, highly recommended, and we’re looking forward to going back there as soon as we can manage. Hopefully without having to drive afterwards…
Right then, this week, we have the following delights coming up: –
Friday 9th Albert Inn, Bedminster
Never played the “Albert Hole” before, but last time I was in there they sold a fine pint of Gem. Mmmm..
Saturday 10th Golden Lion, Weymouth
Yes, Weymouth, bloody miles away, but it is by the seaside, and the pub is directly opposite the “Fantastic Sausage Company”. If we can get down there early enough then it may still be open…
Finally, my mate Pete has asked me to give a mention to his band Voice Of The Bomb, who are playing a headline slot at The Fleece on Tuesday (13th) – free entry, cheap beer. I shan’t attempt to categorise their musical style, but I can tell you that they write songs about serial killers and ice cream. You can find out more at www.voiceofthebomb.com. Meanwhile, this should tell you all you need to know about them… Well, if that doesn’t entice you along, I can’t imagine what will.
Date – 28/04/2008
And welcome to this week’s episode of rawk’n’roll mayhem from the cheap (and rather sticky) seats of local drinking culture.
And a fine weekend we had of it. Friday’s outing to the Cat and Wheel was as much fun as ever, nice to see some familiar faces, even if it’s only the Lure Of The Kinky Boots that brings ’em along…
The duo gig the next night at the Pilot in Melksham was interesting – a nice big ol’ pub, but due to an incautiously timed football match of some sort, not many punters. A few local pals, and what turned out to be the local chapter of the All Men Are Bastards Women’s Binge Drinking Team more than made up for this, however.
This little cadre of formidable young ladies were – as they detailed to me at not inconsiderable length – all having “boyfriend issues”, and had brought a male acquaintance of theirs along with them, apparently for the sole purpose of acting as a scapegoat for all wrongdoings perpetrated by the male gender since the dawn of time. The poor bloke kept on trying to graciously make his escape – he was concerned that at any minute one of them would produce from her handbag a stake and a hammer – but they wouldn’t let him go, until he eventually got up to “nip to the bar” and then suddenly the doors were swinging shut behind the sound of his footsteps disappearing rapidly into the night.
They were, I have to say, absolutely charming to myself and Suzi (who, I surreptitiously told them – in an attempt to diffuse any surplus hatred that might be spilling over in my direction – used to be a man).
Oh, and in fairness I ought to report that we (okay, I) have clearly forgotten a lot of the duo set; although in my defence, I had more-or-less remembered each song by the time we got to the end of it.
Bolstered by this live rehearsal, we rolled up at the Farriers the next afternoon to deliver a slightly less shoddy performance, and I was delighted to see our smiling buddy Swindon Al waiting for us as we arrived. He immediately set about helping drag the gear in. What a star! To pass the time between songs (while I struggle to remember what key they were in last night), and to throw any passing Inland Revenue inspectors off the scent, Suzi tries to persuade the audience that we aren’t actually ourselves, but merely imposters; i.e. that we are the world’s only Angel Up Front tribute act. This brilliant subterfuge is so successful that someone actually asks me which one I’m supposed to be.
Anyway, the real deal is back in action this week –
Thurs 1st May – West End Inn, Melksham
All I remember about this pub is that I have to set my amps up actually inside the fireplace, and that RJ never did buy us that drink he promised last time…
Fri 2nd May – Woodshaw Inn, Wootton Bassett
I’ve heard two reports of this place – one says it’s a very classy food joint, the other says it’s a good ol’ grubby rock pub. With a bit of luck they’re both right, and three of us can get the rafters rattling, while Martin calmly sits down to a five course cordon bleu extravaganza accompanied by fine wines and choice from the sweets trolley.
Right, that’s it for now. I leave you with this week’s challenge – wait til you see someone innocently waiting at a red traffic light, dash up and rip open their car door and give ’em a great big soppy wet kiss. Now run back to the kerb and enjoy their expression of startled confusion until the lights change and they disappear in a cloud of tyre smoke…
Axxx (Oh, and an XXX for Helen. Look, they’ve changed to green, you’re supposed to drive off now. There’s a queue behind you…Handbrake. Don’t forget the handbrake…there you go. Byeeeee.)
Date – 21/04/2008
And, after a week without us sending you any of this rubbish to read, you probably though we’d forgotten about you. No such luck. I’ve been gone, but now I’m back.
The nurses keep stealing my clothes, you know…
Now then, let me trawl the remains of my addled memory… The Kings in Brislington was just as much fun as usual, although I did get a complaint about my slagging off the guitar player in these missives, apparently “he’s not really as bad as I make him out to be”.
I think that’s a compliment…
Anyway, just to set the record straight, I have officially been told that Stacey sez I’m a guitar hero! Which is high praise indeed, my mate Dan tells me she is very hard to please. He should know…
The Farmhouse in Yate was good fun, although thanks to a strategically placed wall, Martin had to play the entire gig hidden from the vulgar gaze of the public. On the plus side, he had a huge mirror two feet in front of him. Like some giant bass-playing budgie…Who’s a pretty boy, then?
The following night in the Railway was an absolute hoot, particularly the three gentlemen who insisted on showing us their genitalia half way through the set.
One of them bought me a drink afterwards.
I felt quite cheap and used.
But hey, it’s a free drink.
Southmead Rugby Club was a great laugh – I turned up still very shabbily hung over from the night before, as (by pure coincidence) did Suzi, but the place was heaving and the mad dancers made us feel right at home, so by the end of the night when they were all prancing around on tables, chairs, and even each other, I felt almost ready to touch a pint again.
So, we sloped off to the Old Fox to catch the end of Live Zeppelin’s set – and very fine they were too. Well recommended.
Right then, this week we have an extremely busy time coming up: –
Fri 25th Cat and Wheel
Friday night, in a pub that sells beer. Suits me.
Sat 26th Pilot, Bowerhill, Melksham
Angel Under Cover
Aha, a Dotty and Totty gig! And it’s relatively close to Suzi’s house – that means if I pick her up on the way, I can make her carry all the gear in with me. That’ll be cheaper for her than going to the gym. I’m all heart, me.
Sun 27th Farriers, Fishponds
Angel Under Cover
3pm start Blimey, we’ll be sick of the sight of each other by the end of this one. But at least we’ll be home in time for tea.
Right then, til next time
Date – 07/04/2008
And, as the nation’s transport system struggles manfully to cope with the devastating effects of a teaspoon full of snowfall, you’ll be delighted to hear that your favourite local rawk’n’roll band has been ploughing on regardless.
Friday’s jaunt to Gorse Hill was as much fun as we expected, although there was one musical disaster – part way through one song I completely forgot what I was doing, and the resulting carnage was so bad that Stuart made us start the whole track all over again.
Now, I should really have felt ashamed when the next day I got a text from our buddy Swindon Al asking me “what was the name of that song that Stuart screwed up last night?” but somehow I just didn’t have the heart to set him straight.
Saturday dawned fair and bright, and it was with high spirits and a song in my heart that I rolled up to the Old Fox – and oooh look, there’s actually somewhere to park right outside. Marvellous.
Tonight is actually to be my 200th gig with the band, and I am recklessly considering actually buying a round – but let’s not get carried away here. Still – 200 gigs with what amounts to Bristol’s very own Pub Rock Royalty. Those three are just so-o-o lucky.
We set up the gear, and who should roll up but my pal Disco Dave (on his thunderously large gay icon motorcycle), with his accomplice Scally Andy. I am much impressed by this; Dave has been putting off coming to see us for over two years, because he’s “heard the stories and is scared that Suzi might pick on him”. Imagine that, our sweet little innocent Suzi scaring a hulking great biker. As it turns out, she’s having too much fun picking on the rest of the audience of hulking great bikers, so he gets away with it. This time…
Unfortunately, he sneaks off before the second set gets really going, so he misses all the really exciting and funny stuff – and just to teach him a lesson I shan’t document it here, so he’ll never ever know what he missed. And everyone else in attendance has been sworn to secrecy. That’ll learn him.
Suffice to say we all had a damned fine time, we finally ran out of encores to play somewhere in the wee hours, and I finally crawled off to bed with a great big smile on me little chops.
I just love this game, even without the cowgirls!
Right then, what’s up next? Ooh, goody, it looks like there’s three (three!) outings this week. Excellent!
Thurs 10th Kings Arms, Brislington
Ace little pub, and the locals are always hugely entertaining. Last time they showed us the “headbanging for baldies” technique. Can’t wait to see what they come up with this week.
Fri 11th Farmhouse, Yate
Never played here before, but we “did” Yate a few weeks back and had lots of fun, so we’re ready for ’em…but are they ready for us?
Sat 12th Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Gotta love it here, the staff are great, the punters are great, and you never know, we might be all right as well.
I’ve been informed by a reliable source at home that on Sunday morning I’ll have to get up early to go on holiday for a few days’ rest, because “otherwise you’ll get all burned out and up even more of a basket case than you already are”.
Ho hum. No rest for the wickered…
Date – 01/04/2008
Hello me little darlins
Good grief, what a busy weekend that was!
Friday night at the White Lion in Yate proved to be very entertaining, although a little trying for me – what with Stuart accidentally knocking my poor Precious flying off her stand, and Martin clumsily kicking my tuner apart, it took me most of the first set to get everything at least vaguely back in tune and sorted out. That just left me the small issue of being unable to play very well… Still, we had a blast with the six-foot tall stuffed rabbit, and the lovely Margaret (seventy if she was a day) playing air guitar with her hubbie’s walking stick.
Saturday at Haydon Wick was little smoother, although Suzi’s choice of six-inch platform kinky boots on a stage that was already four foot high was a little ill-advised. Oh well. It was more than made up for by the five year-old Milky Bar Kid lookalike, who managed to pull the two most attractive women on the place with his charm, good looks, and stunning dance routines.
Sunday dawned fair and bright – although I didn’t – whose idea was it to book a Sunday afternoon gig the day after the clocks change?
Somehow I managed to arrive in good time for the 2:00 start, to find Stuart on the phone calling the other two to advise them it is in fact a 3:00 start today. Suzi, however, is already en route, and thus it is that – for the first time since the earliest proto-amphibians emerged from the primordial slime onto the beaches of the Cenozoic era – she actually arrives at a gig in good time. All this is wasted however, as she continues to merrily natter away until five past three, before switching on the PA and deciding to that various bits of it want rearranging.
This provokes some – reasonably justified – grumbling from Stuart about not being organised and keeping the audience hanging around; however, this stops abruptly when he has to jump up after three numbers to scuttle off for a leak. Curiously, Suzi finds this quite funny. So, when after three more numbers he has to go again, she is absolutely merciless.
Normally I would pitch in in Stuart’s defence at a time like this – but already today I have heard Suzi twice mention the word “hormones”, and so – just as discretion is the better part of valour, cowardice is the better part of discretion – I leave them to it.
We plough on through the rest of the gig, it’s great fun and very lively, and – once we have managed to arrange to retrieve Suzi’s poor stranded daughter from the airport – completely angst-free.
Well, until we finish packing up and find that the errant child has carelessly lost Suzi’s car keys. Then there’s an extremely angsty episode, until it transpires they have been picked up and stashed safely behind the bar by the lovely staff. Oh good, I hate the sight of blood.
I’d like to award myself fifty points for restraint here, for managing not making the obvious comment about singers not being able to find the key…
So, unless anyone manages to lose anything vital again during the week, then we’ll be out and about again –
Fri 4th April – Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
Always great fun, there’s plenty of room to prance about in, and it’s a big room so I get to stretch my Marshall’s legs a little and crank it up to 11 :o)
Sat 5th April – Old Fox, Bishopston
Great little bikery pub, but they do have neighbours, so I hope I remember to turn the amps back down after last night – naaah, what the hell….
Date – 25/03/2008
Hello my little Easter bunnies!
My, what a long strange trip it’s been this week. You may recall that last time I reported playing at the Trout in Keynsham, and that I was struck down with a terrible incapacitating disease which left me without any motor co-ordination, so that I played “like an arthritic baboon with Alzheimer’s” – and thanks are due to my dear bandmates for that vivid description.
The good news is that since then, medical science has formally recognised this condition – now known as Troutism – and that bouts of this disease (“Troutistic episodes”) are mercifully short-lived. The bad news is that appears to be catching, and Stuart had a very nasty case of it on Thursday at the Royal Oak.
Happily the punters there are very forgiving, but it was with some trepidation that we rolled up to Gloucester MAG’s bike rally on Friday…
Gale force winds, freezing cold, driving rain, sleet, lots and lots of mud in a field in the middle of nowhere… Martin was not a happy bunny as our heavily overloaded little van creaked through the blackness of the Forest of Dean. Still, we found the place okay, and to Martin’s amazement there are actually rather a lot of people who are insane enough to come out camping in this weather. Even I was impressed. Soon, Stuart and Suzi turn up and join in complaining about wet feet – I don’t know how Suzi can have wet feet, her boots are keeping her at least six inches clear of the ground.
I could go on about the incredibly enthusiastic (i.e. mental) crowd, the entire marquee full of lunatic dancing, the three guys on the sofa plonked down incongruously in the mud, or the guy who had brought along a stuffed Flying V to play along with us… but to save space I’ll just say that we all had a fantastic time, and thanks to everyone there. I promise to fix all my gear before the next gig.
We packed up, very grateful that we have nice warm houses to go to and not freezing cold tents – I tell ya, these guys are made of sterner stuff than I am – and finally slithered off through the mud in search of civilisation.
Right, this week we have a new place to go: –
Fri 28th – White Lion, Yate
Yate – that’s pronounced “Yah-tay”, dahling, to rhyme with “latte”. Dead posh. Or possibly not.
..and two old places: –
Sat 29th – Haydon Wick Working Men’s Club
Huge big place, huge tall stage, huge big fun, last time we played here it was rammed, fingers crossed for another good night :o)
Sun 30th – Farrier’s Arms, Fishponds
Aahh, the dear old Farriers – under new management, but I for one am hoping that nothing else has changed. If you’re reading this, our Chloe – attendance and drunkenness are both mandatory. You have been told.
Right, that’s it for this week, apart from the attached from Swindon Al, which will be either self-explanatory or completely baffling, depending on whether you read the local rags or not.
Either way – Brilliant!
Date – 16/03/2008
Well, we have quite an interesting Friday evening at the Trout to report. We arrived, and as we set up the place rapidly got busier, until, by the time we were ready to start, it was absolutely heaving. Of course, we haven’t played here for years, and nobody’s warned them. Still, they instinctively got one thing right – the “drink as much as you possibly can before they start playing” tactic that has served our audiences so well over the years.
Suzi arrives, she’s wearing her “exotic” outfit tonight, which tends to have an inflammatory effect on alcoholically uninhibited young gentlemen, and I have to agree with Stuart’s comment that we are “likely to be in for an interesting evening”.
Actually, though, everyone was very well behaved, there was one oaf who had to keep being shuffled in the direction of Away, but he was more than made up for by the fantastically enthusiastic guy who excelled himself with some frantic air guitar, which had us all in stitches as he slid about the beer-sodden floor.
For my part, I should have stuck to air guitar as well that night. It would be fair game to say that for most of the evening I played like a complete twat; in fact I was so bad that Suzi didn’t even have a go at me, and instead offered a sympathetic, “Not to worry, we all have the occasional off night. I’m sure nobody else noticed”.
A comment that would have been a little more reassuring had it not been immediately followed by Stuart’s enquiry as to “What the f*&% is wrong with you tonight? That was f&^%ing AWFUL!”.
Oh well. I’ll get the hang of it one day.
Hopefully by Thursday, actually…
Thurs 20th Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
Always a jolly little place, inexplicably busy on Thursdays, and – nobody has to get up in the morning! If I can learn to play in the next couple of days, this one should be a hoot!
Fri 21st MAG “Slippit Inn” Rally, Severn View Farm, Blakeney, Forest Of Dean
Don’t know if this is going to be in a pub, a barn, a tent, or just a muddy field. I don’t care, either. It’s a biker do. Good enough for me!
Right then, that’s your lot for now. I’m off to practice eating chocolate ready for next weekend. Mmmmm…
Date – 10/03/2008
And a warm sunny welcome to all our readers this week, with a relaxing weekend’s duo gigging to report. As I rolled into the Railway in Fishponds and carted all the gear in, I was accosted by a very merry young lady who triumphantly announced, “I know who you are…You’re Elvish, aren’t you?”
“Elvish….? Oh, you mean Elvis? Isn’t he dead?”
“Oh yeah, sho he ish…you must be hish son, then!”
“Er…So Elvis was my dad?”
“Yesh! That’sh it! He wash, washn’t he! Washn’t he?”
I give in at this point, and whisper conspiratorially, “Actually, you’re right, but don’t tell anyone, I get loads of hassle from the press about it, I’m trying to keep a low profile…”.
She seems well pleased. “I knew it!” she grins triumphantly. “Don’t worry, your shecret’s shafe with me” she says, tapping her nose and missing, then stumbles off in search of her next drink while I get back to setting up.
Presently Suzi shows up, we finally get all the gear working, and off we go.
Sadly (or, possibly, shadly) my new friend doesn’t make it all the way through the night, and half way through the second set, after some enthusiastic but unstable dancing, she falls over the monitors, and is taken home by her friends before she hurts herself.
As she is half-led, half-carried out the door, she turns and beams at me, and raises a finger to her lips with a theatrical “Ssssssssshhhhhhhh” as she disappears from view. Marvellous.
The evening ends with Suz and I nattering away until the wee, wee hours with the delightful staff and regulars, and finally totter dottily off into the night.
This week, we’re back to full band again, and a new venue for us: –
Friday 14th March – the Trout, Keynsham
This used to be quite a notorious venue, but it’s apparently changed hands since The Old Days, so we’re not quite sure what to expect. Suzi has threatened to come in her “Gothic” (read S & M) outfit, if she can find someone to strap her into it. I assume Stuart will come dressed as a tramp as usual; Martin will probably wear his regular vaguely grungy attire – although I doubt he will risk the full Neil Young impersonator outfit again – and, unaccountably, I rather fancy a white sequined jump suit…
So until then, I’ll just say
Elvish has left the building.
Date – 03/03/2008
And after our first three-gig weekend for quite some time, I’m glad to report we all got through it without major mishap or injury (well, I did rip the knee out of my poor old leather strides during an ill-advised power slide across the floor of the Fire Engine, but apart from that we all made it).
Although there nearly was a casualty earlier in the evening… Having arrived, Stuart and I were less than delighted to find a vast array of cast iron tables & chairs which we had to move to make enough space to set up in. Thus knackered, we set about carting the gear in.
As per usual, we prop the doors open, grab stuff from the van, stagger back in, and…someone has taken the prop away. After this has happened three times, we find the culprit – a weaselly-looking little drunk, whose general appearance and bearing make it clear that someone, somewhere, has been pissing in the gene pool. The buffoon is wearing shorts (presumably to show off his – bizarrely – shaved legs).
We ask him to stop, explain (just in case he’s as stupid as he looks) that we need the door wedged open for five minutes to get the kit in. He mumbles something about not wanting to catch pneumonia. We repeat that we need the door wedged open for five minutes to get the kit in. We re-prop the door, come back with the next load, and…he’s done it again.
“Tell you what”, Stuart says to him, “YOU carry the f****ing gear in, and WE’LL hold the door open, all right?” “MMMmm…shclciggnmmplzz…Frampton Cotterell” replies the idiot.
Now, I like to think that I’m reasonably well-tempered and tolerant, and I know that Stuart is, but something about this pillock’s face would look so much better with a fist rammed through it… We take a deep breath, and get back to work. By now, the cretin’s mates have caught on and are diplomatically opening the door for us every time we come through.
Just as we finish loading in, his pals take him away, hopefully to somewhere where people are less patient than we are, and where he’ll get a free amateur rhinoplasty.
We finish setting up, and are restored to our usual good humour by a lovely lady who politely asks if she can have a go on Stuart’s kit, because “…she wishes she could have a drumkit, drumming makes her so happy…”.
This sounds a bizarre claim, but we give her a go, she hits a few things at random and is beaming with delight. She wasn’t kidding, drumming really DOES make her very happy indeed. We tell her if she can count to four, she can have Stuart’s job.
All through the set she is enthusiastically miming drums, her gaze locked on Stuart copying his every move, with a huge smile on her face. As we finish the last number, I drag her over, give her a spare stick and point her at the cymbals and she joins us for the cheesy “big long last chord that goes on for ages and ages and ages”.
Ah, bless. It’s so nice to see people enjoying themselves.
Right then, next weekend is a bit quiet – all we have is one Dotty and Totty outing: –
Saturday 8th March – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Should be good fun, this one. If you get there before us, and see a bloke with shaved legs who obviously can’t hold his beer – kill him. It’ll save time later.
Date – 25/02/2008
And, after a nearly a month without proper band gigs, it was almost a relief to be back out again at the Brunel last Friday. I say “almost”…. As we walked on, there came a burly baritone bellow from the audience of “Get yer kit off!”. Ah, it’s Suzi’s sensible-shoe-wearing fanbase again. And, grand entertainment it was that they provided us with throughout the entire evening.
I was particularly amused by the special erotic dance routines, although Suzi did start to look a little worried on a few occasions, and I can’t really blame her – if this had been an episode of Prisoner Cell Block H, there would have been a veritable queue to operate the steam iron…
Still, we managed to get through the night without too many personal or musical crises, so on the whole a bit of a result.
Saturday saw us roll up to the Crown and Horseshoe, rammed to the rafters with people watching the rugby. We snuck in and set up the gear at half-time, then started playing as the echoes of the final whistle were still fading away.
Unfortunately the shock of England actually beating the French was too much for many of the punters, and a lot of them had to stumble off home in merry disbelief, so they missed the rare sight of me getting through a gig without any major screw-ups. At least, any screw-ups obvious enough for Suzi to notice.
Speaking of which…
Fri 29th Feb King’s Arms, Bath
Hee hee, always have a good time in here. Nice place, nice peeps, nice beer. Nice.
Sat 1st March Fire Engine, St George
Since they’ve done it up, this place is a bit more roomy than it used to be. I still have to move over a bit when people want to get past to go to the toilet, though.
Sun 2nd March Old Tavern, Fishponds
Ahh, the dear Old Tav. Now bright and shiny and almost posh inside. I wonder if they’ll let us in? If they do, I wonder if they’ll let us out again?
Right, that’s your lot for now.
Date – 28/01/2008
Only a brief missive this week – sadly I can’t give you a report on the past weekend’s rawk’n’roll antics, as there weren’t any – unfortunately our Martin has been taken a bit poorly so we had to cancel Sunday’s gig. We’re hoping he’ll be well enough for the upcoming weekend’s festivities…
Friday 1st Feb – The Churchill, West Ladington, Devizes
Never been here before, so we don’t know what to expect. Mind you, nor do they. Heh heh heh..
Saturday 2nd Feb – Royal Oak, Portishead (Angel Under Cover)
Aha, a Dotty and Totty outing as Stuart’s off on holiday. Always a lively place, not really for the faint-hearted though. I like this one a lot, actually.
Right that’s it, then. We’ll send on everyone’s best wishes to poor sickly Martin, we’re expecting he’ll be back up to fighting strength for Friday (if not, we may have to send in Nurse Suzi with her special syringe), but if anything changes we’ll keep y’all posted.
PS – As a special treat, next week’s email will be in Cheese’n’Onion flavour. Don’t miss it…..
Date – 21/01/2008
And did you know that apparently this day is statistically the most miserable one of the year? Well now you do. So stop smirking at the back there, you’re making the others feel even worse.
Of course, we in the groovy technicolour world of Rawk’n’Roll are immune to such national mood swings, so we have to find our own ways of making people miserable.
Saturday dawned fair and bright (well, apart from the godawful weather) and we rolled up at the Reckless Engineer in good time for Saturday’s gig. This turns out to be quite fortunate, as when unpacking I find that my tuner pedal has a nasty hole where the footswitch ought to be, with a few electrical and mechanical bits and bobs hanging out for comedic effect. A quick scour through my gig bag reveals some more escaped components, but after twenty minutes of concentrated fiddling with the aid of the emergency toolkit, I have actually managed to fix the damn thing. Clever me!
I notice there is something different about Suzi. Specifically, she seems to be taller than usual. Ah, yes, new kinky boots. She’s very proud of them, and is now taller than both Martin and Stuart. (But not me, I refuse on principle to let her look down on me). “From up here, I can see Stuart’s bald patch” she tells me. I am unimpressed, and point out that Stuart’s bald patch can actually be seen from space…
Oh look, it’s time to start. Off we go, and we actually manage to play through the entire night without any major disasters, traumas, or cock-ups. This is probably a first for us. A few encores, we graciously allow some nice people to buy us drinks, and we pack up. I say “we”. Three of us pack up, whilst the other (who shall remain nameless) teeters around idly chatting to punters and bar staff, clearly beginning to suffer the early stages of anoxia.
It must be nearly time for my accident. Ah, there it is! Hoisting a PA cab off its stand, I somehow manage to mash my left hand under it. Ow, ow, ow, ow! Oh well, at least I did that after we finished playing. Now reduced to one useful hand, I am reaching round the back of an amp to unplug it when there is a nasty graunching noise and an agonising pain shoots up my shoulder, across my back, then down my leg and scurries off to hide under a table. Right, that’ll be a torn muscle then. As I am hopping around grimacing with pain, Miss High Altitude asks me what I’m doing. Through clenched teeth, I explain my misfortunes. “Twat”, she tells me sympathetically. I scowl off to sulk in a corner with my friend Mr Beer, and let Stuart finish packing up without me.
So, I now have until next weekend to get my hand working again…
Sunday 27th Harrow Inn, Wanborough
A lovely little country pub, excellent beer, the only downer is an 8:30 start, which could prove tricky for Martin as this part of the world apparently doesn’t appear on his Satnav. Possibly it’s in another dimension, due to a rift in the fabric of the space-time continuum. I’ll have a word with Dem, she’s pretty handy with a needle, and we’ll see if we can’t get it fixed by Sunday.
Finally, this week’s snippet from the world of international government-funded espionage agencies.
In 1996, M.I.5. for the first time made available a confidential telephone number for members of the public to call if they had any concerns or information which could relate to national security.
After its first year of operation, it was admitted that 60% of the calls they had received were enquiries concerning flat-pack furniture.
So there you go. On average, tomorrow will be happier. Chin up!
Date – 14/01/2008
Buenos Dias, amigos!
Well, now that winter is over (two hours of snow, that’s your lot), the days are getting longer, which means the nights are getting shorter, which must be why I had so much trouble getting out of bed this morning…
Anyways, in the absence of a volunteer coach driver, I had to drive myself up to Haydon Wick last Saturday, and ably assisted by the ever-helpful Swindon Al, dragged all the gear into the club. It’s huge. There’s a nice-sized stage, which comes up to waist-height, there’s oodles of power sockets, and, best of all, it’s heaving with people. We set up the equipment, and I realise there’s something missing. It’s the rest of the band. Finally they all roll up in convoy; with three navigators, two satnavs, and a stop to ask directions, they have finally managed to find the place.
Poor Suzi can hardly breathe. She’s sporting a new outfit, which I surmise she must have got from a rather specialist supplier, and it’s quite restrictive; apparently it took two people half an hour to strap her into it. “Does it look okay?” she asks huskily. I reassure her that it looks very nice, and set off to find a teaspoon to pop Martin’s eyeballs back in with. “I was a bit worried I might be falling out of the top a bit”, she confides, “But look, it’s fine”, and she jumps up and down to show us. Behind me I hear a muffled choking sound from Martin.
Enough of this, it’s time to get to work. We start the set, and soon the place is hopping around merrily. There’s a wide range of punters, aged from five to eighty-five, and right at the front is a row of young girls, average age about seven, who rather scarily know ALL the words to EVERYTHING we play. They’re starting to make me a bit nervous, maybe they can all play guitar as well, and will jump onstage in a minute to start pointing out mistakes.
Suzi is asked to stop for a moment and read out one of the classic club messages, “Can the owner of Honda Civic registration number blah blah blah please move it as it’s blocking another car in the car park….”
At this, Stuart jumps up from his drum stool, grabs his keys, and scurries guiltily out the door. We crease up with laughter. Well, except for Suzi, she can’t actually crease at the moment.
We finish up the gig, a few obligatory encores, and everyone goes away happy. Especially Suz, who has changed into “something more comfortable”, and is revelling in her new-found ability to breathe in.
Right, then. What are we doing this week?
Friday 18th Jan Westbury Park somewhere
It says here on my scrap of paper “PTA do”. I guess this means it’s some kind of school fundraiser, so with a bit of luck we’ll be treated to some drunken mums and hopefully a bit of fantastic Dad-dancing action! Can’t wait to see a bunch of forty-year-old blokes leaping around like epileptics at a Hawkwind gig. And before anyone points out that I’m probably older than most of them will be, I’ll steal Suzi’s line and point out that I’m actually still in my teens…but with a couple of decades’ extra experience…
Saturday 19th Jan Reckless Engineer, Bristol
Just opposite Temple Meads. First time we’ve played here – I did play here a few times with a previous band several years ago, but hopefully they’ve cleaned it since. If not, maybe I’ll find that guitar lead I left there back in 2003…
Right then, that’s you lot for now, stop reading this drivel and get back to whatever it was you were supposed to be doing.
Date – 07/01/2008
Hello again people!
And I’m glad to report our first weekend of the year has gone off with only one significant fight – and as that was between Martin and my nine-year-old daughter, it doesn’t really count, as it wasn’t a fair one. He never stood a chance.
Actually we were pleasantly surprised to see so many people out on Saturday at the Old Fox, and it was gratifying to see quite a few of them back again on Sunday in the Lion. It was also great to catch up with a few old pals again. Most of all it was lovely to see how many people offered to buy us drinks, although rather upsetting that we had to turn most of them down due to driving commitments.
So, if there’s anybody out there who owns (say) a large coach, who would be happy to collect us on gig nights from our respective houses, load all the gear in, drive us to the venue, unload and set up, and take us all back home again afterwards, in return for free entry to gigs: – please let us know where you’ve been hiding for the past two years.
Your first opportunity to perform this outstanding public service will be on Saturday, when you can drive us to somewhere we’ve never been before –
Saturday 12th Haydon Wick Working Men’s Club
Apparently this is somewhere near Swindon, so there’s a fair chance we’ll get lost on the way, arrive at the last minute, frantically set up the gear in a mad rush. and then settle down to wait for Suzi to breeze in half an hour later.
Unless that mystery tour bus owner wants to make themselves known to us before Saturday.
I leave you with a rather scary statistic from the Most Powerful Nation On EarthTM: –
Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day. And that’s without even going into the whole creationist bit..
So there you go. All together now, “Don’t wanna be an American idiot…
Date – 02/01/2008
Yo, dudes and dudettes!
And a Happy Noo Year to all our readers. We hope y’all had a fab and groovy Christmas, and that you’re looking forward to a whole new twelve-month rollercoaster ride of excitement.
Apparently, folklore has it that what you are doing when the New Year starts foretells how the entire year will go. Now, since we all went down to the lovely Union Inn in Devon to play an epic three-set rock’n’roll’n’drinking extravaganza, it should be pretty good fun – although not entirely straightforward….
It all started off well enough; we managed to ram all our gear – plus ourselves and other halves – into two vehicles, and didn’t even get lost on the way. Setting up, I find that one of my amps is dead. Curses! A quick investigation, some deft work with the soldering iron, and hurrah! Clever Alan has fixed it. There’s still time for a couple of beers, we steal some food from the buffet, and we’re ready to start. Everything is nice, things are jumping around nicely, and the first set goes very well without incident.
As we’re starting the second set, I notice that the jack socket on my guitar has worked loose. While fixing this, I manage to tread on part of my wireless gear and rip one of the cables out. I have no spare. Curses again! Oh well, I’ll have to use nasty old-fashioned cables instead. Martin throws me a spare. It’s duff. He throws me another. It’s duff too. Finally we get enough working components in a line to get a guitar sound working, and off we go.
At ten to twelve we stop so people can watch New Year on telly (eh??), and thus it is that I see in 2008 on my knees, with a soldering iron in one hand, an ailing wireless rig in the other, and a pair of pliers in my teeth. These heroic efforts pay off, and by the time we start again I have everything working nicely.
We play on, things get even livelier. The rickety wooden floor is bouncing up and down, causing the lighting rig to sway like a galleon’s mast in a Force Ten gale; people are falling over themselves, each other, the furniture, and various parts of the PA system. One particularly enthusiastic drunk is knocking everyone and everything over, he’s already been thrown out twice and sneaked back in, but he is bouncing around so erratically that the staff can’t catch him amidst the throng of heaving bodies. By the time that Martin stops us mid-song, enabling the errant lad to be caught and removed, he’s done for one of the monitors. Hey ho. We finish off the set, bung in some encores, and now my guitar strap snaps, so I have to finish the song on my knees. A few more numbers and we stop so we can do some proper drinking. Mmmm…
After a while, a young lady come up and asks very politely if she can have a go on my guitar. I tell her the rig is all unplugged now, but we’ve brought an acoustic that she’s welcome to use. She gleefully scurries off to fetch it, sits down with her mates, and begins to play. Then she starts singing along. It immediately reminds me how fond I am of Suzi.
After what seems like a very long time, my acoustic is handed back, and Suz and I are cajoled into interrupting our alcohol consumption to run through a few numbers together. Then, back to the beer. It’s now so late it’s getting early, but Suzi discovers the karaoke machine, and which keeps her happy for a while until, somewhere around half seven, we give in and stumble off to beddy-byes.
Not much later, it’s time to get up; I put the kettle on, and wander into the bathroom. Oooh look, there’s a corpse in the mirror. I have a shower to wake myself up. Oooh look, there’s a clean corpse in the mirror. I feed my dear Dem a cup of tea and some industrial-strength painkillers, and shamble downstairs to start packing up the gear. Just as Stuart and I are putting the last couple of items in the van, a lazy bass player, who wussed out and went to bed way before we did, makes an appearance, gleefully announces that he “timed that one just right”, and sits down “for a rest”. Finally we are all assembled and just make it home without anyone falling asleep at the wheel.
So, a great start to the year, and I have only a few things still to mend before Saturday…
Saturday 5th Jan The Old Fox, Bishopston
A fine bikery pub, I hope they have some beer money left after NYE… come to that, I hope we do as well.
Sunday 6th The Golden Lion, Fishponds 5pm
Late in this one.
Right, that’s it for now, and it’s time to announce my New Year Resolution…but I can’t think of one. (Printable) suggestions on a postcard to the usual address…
Ho, ho, and, indeed, ho