Blog Posts – 2007

Date – 17/12/2007

Hello folks!

And welcome to this Christmas Special Angel UpDate, resplendent with tinsel, jingling with sleigh bells, and positively bilious with overeating and just a touch of alcohol poisoning.

Incidentally, if you’d like to know what happened to the dyslexic devil worshiper, you can zip right down to the bottom of the page; or you can read on and wait ’til you get there.

True to the festive spirit, our Suzi has taken to turning up at gigs apparently dressed as one of Santa’s lickle elves, complete with silly little woolly hat, although the whingeing about cold weather is a little out of character.

But you’ll be happy to hear that her little diva ego is still basking in its own sunny warmth: – when asked by one of the bar staff at Gorse Hill why she always turns up late – after all the gear has been lifted in and set up – she airily explained, “Oh, that’s because I’m the star, I bring all the talent, I expect this lot to do the manual work”.

They laughed merrily, as though she was joking….

We know better. Earlier that very night she “accidentally” bitch-slapped me across the stage after I upstaged her… “Ooops, sorry, that one wasn’t supposed to connect…”

In retrospect, I realise this was probably true; usually she’s careful not to leave any visible injuries.

Right then, what’s happening in the world of festive rawk? Let’s have a look…

Fri 21st The George, George Green, Slough
SLOUGH? That’s bloody miles away! I thought when Stuart booked it he said “Stroud”. They’d better be paying us well… Oh, they are. That’s okay then. Still…Slough. That’s nearly London, for chrissakes…

Fri 28th The Golden Lion, Frampton Cotterell (Duo gig)
Dotty and Totty trying to pay the bills again. Looks like me dear old long-lost sister from St Albans might be along to this one. Then again, she might as well come to the Slough gig too; it’s closer to her gaffe than mine…

Monday 31st Union Inn, Dolton, Devon
Looking forward to a proper drinking New Year’s Eve. No driving home, so it’s “keep playing until you fall over”. And then carry on until they unplug you, or start kicking. We’ll tell you all about it next year, if we can remember anything.

Right then, that’s it for now folks, have a spanktastic festive season and don’t do anything (or anyone) we wouldn’t.

Cheers now


Oh, yes. He sold his soul to Santa. Well, what did you expect?

Date – 10/12/2007

Ahoy there, me hearties!

And welcome to another week’s rawk’n’roll piracy on the high seas aboard the good ship Angel Up Front: – on Friday, we anchored in the picturesque port of Parson’s Nose in Melksham Bay. And a scurvy crew they were too, I can tell ‘ee. Alas, Cap’n Stuart, Able Seaman Martin and meself were all stricken with stonking head colds, so we had to rely on the ship’s cook to jolly everyone along. And a fine job she did too, although I have to say a little remiss on the deck-swabbing front. Kindly, we let her off with a verbal warning and a quick keelhauling.

On Saturday, we spliced the main brace and set sail for the Straits of Fishponds, where …. Oh stuff this, I’m bored with the pirate thing now.

I rolled up to the Railway Tav, unloaded just in time before the rain starts, and then happily watched a distressingly damp Stuart haul his drum kit in. He’s a little later than planned, and explains why thus: –

Just as he was about to leave home, the phone had rung.

“I’m not coming tonight”, says an unmistakeable irate Scottish voice.

“Wha….?” replies the confused lad.

“I can’t make the gig tonight, I’m not coming.”

“Errr… what’s up?”

“‘Cos my half-witted son has gone off with my car keys in his pocket so I’ve got no transport”.

“Oh… Can’t you….”

“…And I can’t get hold of him and there’s no in next door I can borrow a car from.”

“Ah. Oh…”

“…I know, maybe I could try…”

Click. Brrrrrr

Poor Stuart is left baffled, and wonders why everything appears to be his fault, and whether it’s worth finishing loading the car. A sensible man, he puts the kettle on and waits.

A little later, his phone rings again.

“Right, I’ve managed to borrow a car from someone.”

“Eh? Oh. Good. Er…”

“Look, I haven’t got time to stand here listening to you chatting all night or I’ll be late”

Click. Brrrrrr

He stoically finishes his tea and continues to load up.

As it turns out, Herself arrives on the dot of nine, and we get on with the gig in jolly fine fashion. Was lovely to see various old pals again, including Rachel and Lee who spent most of the evening indulging in what was once delightfully termed “spooning”. Happily they didn’t get as far as forking, at least whilst on the premises.

Right then, this weekend we’ve got two of our favourite venues to play with:

Friday 14th Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
A new stage, an excellent retro mural backdrop, fancy lighting rigs, and cheap beer. Bliss. In Swindon, no less.

Saturday 15th The Brunel, Bedminster
A huge big pub with a huge stage, oodles of prancing-about room… brilliant!

Right then, that’s it for now. I leave you with the interesting philosophical question

Why are pirates called pirates?




Because they Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……………


Date – 03/12/2007


And I’m happy to report we all had a fantastic time at the Queen Vic on Saturday. And a big up (as we young people say) to our mate Chubby who came all the way from Swindon to fly the flag, and also we gotta say another Happy Birthday to the delightful Tash, ‘cos we all think she’s absolutely lovely.

As well as being great fun, the evening was also very educational; Martin learned not to boast about being accosted by women wanting to kiss him, I learned to never again lick a drummer’s head, and after much discussion, the correct declination of the collective nouns for various-sized groups of Daisy Duke-alike cowgirls was agreed. For the uninitiated;

  • 2-5 cowgirls = a fancy of cowgirls
  • 6-9 cowgirls = a fantasy of cowgirls
  • 9-14 cowgirls = a posse of cowgirls
  • 15-20 cowgirls = a rodeo of cowgirls

So now you know. We did think about what you’d call a group of more than 20 cowgirls, but Martin thought about it a little too hard and had to go for a lie down. Anyway, from now on we shall be bringing cowboy hats along to gigs, just in case there are any suitable volunteers to wear them.

Alas, Martin & Stuart left before the amateur pole-dancing demonstration got underway, see what happens if you rush off home early guys? I tell ya, Suzi didn’t know where to look. I did, though. Oh dearie me, sometimes I can’t believe we get paid to have this much fun.

Anyhoo, this week’s fun happens twice; a bit like this:

Fri 7th Parson’s Nose, Melksham
Always a bit of a lively one, we probably won’t start until half nine or so, and we’ll probably carry on until the wee hours. Or until the need-a-wee hours, anyway.

Sat 8th Dec Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Always great fun here as well, they’re very hospitable, and I sometimes even manage to find my own way home afterwards as well.

Right, we’ll see you there, or there – or we won’t, but either way I leave you with the following item from the news, and cheers to Matt for providing it.

Apparently Greenpeace have managed to rescue a whale from somewhere, and have opened an internet poll to give a name to the lucky cetacean. Now, on the list are a number of fine and appropriate names, some of which include the Japanese for “Peace”, and similar charming organic-wholefood rainbow-hued tofu-munching options. (I was disappointed to find that the name “Mohammed” didn’t appear on the list, but there you go). Anyways, apparently one of the names sent in – and currently running as favourite, I understand – is the brilliant “Mr Splashypants”. I urge you all to Google it, find the poll site, and send your vote in now! The world needs a whale called Mr Splashypants!

Cheers now


Date – 26/11/2007

Good morning folks!

And, another fine weekend in the World Of RawkTM; we had a blast on Friday, my dear old mate Patti came along to join in the fun at the Golden Lion. And, true to form, she ended the evening as a little bundle of alcoholic love. Ah, bless. And big thanks to the lovely Sadie who did so well carting all the gear around for us, I think we might give her a permanent roadie job if she can grow the necessary beard-and-beer gut combo.

And, Sunday night saw us descend on the Royal Oak to round the weekend off with some more fun; after a quiet start, I soon had Suzi complaining about being deafened, as I’d cunningly pointed my amp straight at her instead of me. See, I’m not as daft as I look. No, really…

Anyhoo, we all had a fine time, and actually I thought Stuart got off rather lightly with some gentle taunting; despite him having a major birthday this weekend, Suzi was (if anything) rather less spiteful than usual to him. I do hope she’s not ill.

Finally, gotta say Ca va? to Alex, it was a real pleasure to meet someone who can speak French properly – so much better than the mangled version Martin comes out with in a desperate bid to impress us with his imaginary cosmopolitan / bohemian background.

Anyway, having now been rude to everyone in my band, I will either be up for sale in Trade-It by next Saturday, or I’ll be with the rest of ’em at: –

Sat 1st Dec Queen Vic, Stroud
Always have a huge fun time here, they’re always up for it big stylee, can’t wait. And it’s the only venue in Stroud I can actually find without doing numerous circuits of the town centre.

Anyways, I leave you with the worrying thought that there’s only one shopping day left before Christmas.

December 24th…

Toodle pip!


Date – 19/11/2007

Hey ho!

And, as my good buddies the Ramones used to say, let’s go!

Friday’s jaunt to Stroud was a bit different; after eight laps of the infernal one-way system, and by gently ignoring a few “Pedestrian Zone – No Entry” signs, I finally found the venue. Specifically, I found Stuart busily un-cancelling the gig. Transpires that as we hadn’t arrived by seven o’clock, the owner had assumed we weren’t coming…

So, once that was sorted out, we went into the deserted venue and set up. Interesting place, inside it looked like a seedy underground nightclub from the set of an Austin Powers movie. We were given a small shoebox-shaped (& sized) stage to play in, that even to my untrained eye screamed “dreadful acoustics”. Oh, well. Stuart and I set up, pausing only to vector the other two in, and by nine o’clock, we’re all present and ready to rock.

The audience aren’t – there are only about four people in. And it’s freezing cold; I wish we’d set the lights up, at least they keep you warm. Oh, well. Off we go, and after a bit of fiddling about with the amps, the acoustics aren’t as bad as we’d feared. A few more people roll in; they’re all extremely enthusiastic. One girl is stunned when she walks in the room; such is the professionalism of the sound, she had thought that there must be a disco going on. “I can’t believe you’re a real band”, she tells us in amazement. We proudly tell her that quite a lot of people say the same thing.

As the night continues, the place gets busier, and people are rather keen. By the end, there are a bevy of lads evolving some (hopefully) unique dance routines, and one poor chap who has his crutches confiscated by his mates so they can give it large with the air guitars. Bonkers. We finish up, pack the gear, take the money, and leg it into the cold rainy night.

This weekend, we’re back on home turf, things will be warmer, pubs will be busier, and we won’t all get lost on the way. Well, maybe Martin will. We’ll see.

Fri 23rd Golden Lion, Fishponds
I like it here lots. Rocky jukebox, nice sized stage, and if you hang around long enough afterwards drinking with the bar staff, someone eventually orders some food you can scrounge off ’em. Sometimes.

Sun 25th Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
An 8:30(ish) start, a fine venue, and this time Suz and I won’t be suffering the after-effects of staying up all the previous night drinking. Probably.

Right then, after that we’ll be all over the place, but I guess that’s nothing new. We’ll keep y’all posted.

Gabba gabba hey!


Date – 12/11/2007

Hello peeps!

Winter draws on, it’s a bit chilly out, so tuck it back in them…

Still, we’re basking in the warm glow of a fine weekend’s gigging; it was so-o nice to be back in the dear old Farriers, and fantastic to see some luvverly old mates again. Brilliant night, and even though we had a few musical improvisational moments, at the end there seemed to be more shirt-swapping amongst our fanbase than the end of a Cup Final. Lovetastic! And, it’s just occurred to me, we got through the whole night without any fights breaking out – bit of a first for the Farriers, really.

Sunday at Southmead RFC was also very entertaining, and thanks to all Muddy’s offspring who helped us load the van afterwards – I tell you folks, never underestimate the lifting power of little girls…

Right then, this weekend we’re taking it easy with just the one gig;

Saturday 16th 360s, Market Tavern, Stroud
Never played here before, so we’ll see what it’s like. The only other place I’ve ever been in Stroud – the Queen Vic – rocks big stylee, so I’m quietly optimistic about this one. There’s even a rumour that our buddy Disco Dave will finally show up to a gig here, although I for one have my doubts.

Mind you, anything is possible (unless you subscribe to the notion of a finite bounded universe as part of a four-dimensionally constrained Cartesian system, even if you postulate a certain amount of Heisenberg uncertainty associated with the latent assumptions which underlie indeterminate chaos theory). Yeah, right!

I leave you with the thought that an infinite number of rednecks, shooting their unlicensed firearms at an infinite number of road signs, would eventually write out the complete works of Shakespeare. So there you go.

Cheers now


Date – 06/11/2007

Hello funsters!

And another fine weekend in the local entertainment industry. With no gig booked for Friday, the whole band plus previous guitarist Greg and spouses went out together to stuff our piggy little faces with a curry. Inevitably, this was followed by too much drinking for Suzi and myself, and somewhere just before dawn we ran out of alcohol and crawled off to our beds. I managed to save my poor Dem from overindulgence by selflessly drinking all her beer whilst she was looking the other way – but was she grateful? Not a bit of it…

While I was asleep, somebody sneaked in and stole my brain, replacing it with one from a complete moron. They also apparently did something unspeakable in my mouth, and gave me a right good kicking while they were at it. Funnily enough, I received very little sympathy from spousal quarters when I woke up.

Suzi however, awoke bright and bouncy and cheerful as ever. It wasn’t until around eight the next evening – just as we arrived at our Weymouth gig – that she sobered up enough for her hangover to kick in, but after consuming her own body mass in Red Bull, she was able to play the gig in fine (although rather wired) style. I was a little less than impressed, though, when she started going round the crowd showing everyone photos from last week’s Halloween gig, then pointing at me and giggling … can’t see the fascination meself.

Anyhoo, we went down well, looks like we’ll be back there in New Year. Suzi was delighted to find a Goth dressing-up shop next door to the pub – I declined to comment, I was more taken with the “Fantastic Sausage Company” just across the road.

Right, this weekend sees us back on home turf:

Saturday 10th – Farriers, Fishponds
Really looking forward to seeing some old mates here, and a definite plus is that I don’t have to drive for hours peering through slitty sleep-deprived eyes to get home afterwards.

Sunday 11th – Southmead RFC
Another Sunday teatime gig for our pal Muddy, last time we were here they were all lovely. Might be a private do, I honestly can’t remember. I’m sure anyone brave enough to turn up will be welcome.

Right then, that’s it for now, and remember…absinthe makes the heart grow fonder, although it does also leave a nasty taste in your mouth…


Date – 30/10/2007

Good morning folks!

And I’m happy to report another successful and hugely entertaining weekend in the seedy world of rawk’n’roll… Suzi and I played an epic duo gig at the Golden Lion on Friday; we finally managed to get some acoustic numbers together and air them in public (just to show all those people who claim we just mime along to backing tracks!), and we eventually ran out of material and had to recycle a couple of encores.

We pack up, and sit yattering with the staff until the wee hours. The subject of the following night’s Halloween fancy dress gig comes up. Suz suggests I should go as “something out of the Rocky Horror Show, or something like that”. I laughingly point out that I’d never find a pair of size 9 stilettos, so we ought to pick something else. We end up agreeing that whatever costume she finds, I will wear.

Saturday afternoon, the phone rings. It’s Suzi, she’s sounding a little nervous. “Are you sure about this?” she says, “I found you an outfit, but it’s a bit extreme”

“It’ll be fine by me, whatever it is”, I reply airily.

“No, really, you might not wanna do this…”

I’ve known Suzi long enough to recognise a dare when I hear one. That leaves me no option. “Go for it”, I confidently pronounce.

So, this was us last Saturday, thanks to Dan for taking the piccies.

Angel Up Front halloween 2007

Suzi opened the gig by announcing that there was, “…no need to worry about the guitar player, he doesn’t usually dress like this, he’s actually got a wife and four kids at home”. She pauses for thought. “Well, maybe not any more. They’re probably all frantically packing their bags right now…”

I was delighted in particular with Martin’s response, which was a piquant combination of dismay and horror, for some reason he wouldn’t let me get anywhere near him. Can’t understand why – at one point I even started to quite fancy myself. Still, we did get a couple more gigs booked out of the evening, so maybe we should do this kind of thing more often. Then again, maybe not; those shoes were KILLING me by the end of the night…

And, maximum respect to the guy who came dressed as a sailing ship, complete with working lights, air horns, and even a working cannon that fired confetti! A true genius; we were crying with laughter at his “stormy seas” dance routine. We’re all coming back next year – even if they don’t ask us to play, we’re coming back just to join in.

Right then, onto the joys of the coming weekend…

Just the one gig this time, we’re off on Saturday down to sunny Weymouth, to yet another pub called the Golden Lion. It’s a long way to go, but it’ll be even further coming back. If you’ve never been to Weymouth (like me) and fancy a Wild Adventure Into The Unknown, we might see ya there.

And, for once, I am confident that no-one in the band will be complaining about leather trousers.

So, until next time…Let’s do the time warp again…

Dr Frank N Furter.

Date – 22/10/2007

Aye oop!

And another lively week on planet pubrock; Suzi and I had a strange time in Devon with the anglers, we marvelled at their urbane wit and genteel sophistication (shouldn’t be too harsh, I can still remember my first drink), we managed to play both sets despite half our gear breaking, and we even got to see the Beast Of Bodmin on the way home. (Well, the Wild Thing Of Winkleigh, anyway). Not bad for a school night!

We didn’t catch the actual Fishing Club Awards presentation part of the evening, although during the set we did identify several strong contenders in the Master Baiter category.

Friday at the Bell was notable for poor Stuart dropping a record-breaking four sticks in one song, and not much else.

Saturday at the Golden Lion was much better (a pub with a curry house attached, how great an idea is that?); after some crappy rugby game had finished on telly, we managed to play a decent couple of sets, and had a nice long natter afterwards with the owner Clive. I mentioned in passing that (with the band and duo work together) Suz and I were one gig short of having a hundred lined up for the year, and he promptly booked us a duo gig for next Friday!

So, next weekend we’ll be going out twice –

Friday 26th Golden Lion, Frampton Cotterell (AUC gig)
This’ll be an 8:00 start, so we’ll be playing 3 sets, which means a busy week for Dotty and Totty learning some more material. And about time, too. Maybe we’ll finally get that acoustic set together. Maybe…

Saturday 27th Mayors Arms, Redcliffe
Back here for Bristol MAG’s Halloween bash. Yeee-ha, fancy dress time again!

Now, what should I go as? I actually really need an answer for this one, as otherwise I’m likely to be railroaded into wearing Suzi’s witch’s costume from last year – and she’s bound to get all upset that I look better in it than she did. Suggestions welcome – but no more fish jokes, please…

Peace and Love and all that hippy nonsense


Oh yeah, and thanks again to the poor guy on Saturday who kindly gave me my keys back, after I stupidly left them hanging out of the van door… he promptly tripped over our lighting rig and cracked his head on the stone floor… According to the laws of karma, he should be due a lottery win any day now.

Date – 16/10/2007

Hello again peeps!

And, a very entertaining gig we had at the Mayor’s Arms last Friday, it’s always nice when the audience entertain us more than we entertain them; in fact, we liked it so much we’re going back there in a couple of weeks, all dressed up in silly clothes for Halloween suggestions for costumes are welcome (possibly)

Right then, upcoming gigs. Three this week, you lucky lot

Tues 16th – Union Inn, Dolton, Devon (Angel Under Cover)
The Glorious Fishing Club Awards Night Gig. Dotty and Totty go in search of piscine presentation pun pranks. Or something

Friday 19th – The Bell, Shepton Mallet
Starting around 9:30 -10:00, finishing somewhere in the wee hours, not too late as Martin likes to get up of a Saturday morning

Sat 20th – The Golden Lion, Frampton Cotterell
A new place for us. My mate Si reckons this is now an Indian restaurant. I think he’s confused. Bring your own poppadums just in case.

So, that’s it for this week. Till next time…

Th-th-th-that’s all folks!



Thanks to everyone who sent in rock’n’roll fish puns, they were dreadful, just like we hoped. Attached (it was on the email sent out) is a complete list of entries, so you can all suffer as much as we had to.

They were all so awful, it was very difficult to choose, but after much discussion the judges have declared two honourable mentions for runners up;

Disco Dave with Bruce Springsteen’s (Bruce Sardine’s?) chart-topping Prawn In The USA

Dave Two-Lunches for the innuendo-ridden disco hit, I Lost My Heart To A Starfish Trooper

And an outright win for my good buddy Little Ian, who provided the Led Zeppelin classic which was banned in Australia out of respect for the late Steve Irwin.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Stingray To Heaven.

Date – 08/10/2007


And may I be the first to wish everybody a Merry Christmas for 2008. Things are going a bit quiet on the rawk’n’roll front, with only one gig last weekend – at the Fire Engine in St George, which has now been redecorated and is a bright and shiny spanking gleaming place; although happily the locals are still tarnished as ever. Me, I had toothache and sulked all night, not that anybody cared, grumble, grumble

Anyway, we have only one gig next weekend as well – we must be getting old or something: –

Friday 12th: Mayor’s Arms in Redcliffe
9:00 start, usual terms and conditions apply.

However, we do have a rather more bizarre episode for next week.

By popular request, Suzi and I will be going down to Devon on Tuesday night to our “distant local”, the lovely Union Inn. We’ve been called in to be the entertainment at the Annual Prizegiving Night for the local fishing club. (I know this sounds like the buildup to one of my crap jokes, but thus far is absolutely true. The crap joke bit is just coming up now).

Of course, we have been frantically working on new material just for this event, songs that will appeal to this specialist angling audience. Look out for such rock classics as

Sprat Out Of Hell
Bass In Pocket
Sweet Chubb Of Mine
Smells Like Bream Spirit

If you have any other ideas for rock classics (that’s ROCK classics, folks, so sadly we’d have to disallow -for example – Sam and Dave’s brilliant Sole Man) that would appeal to a piscine-obsessed audience, we’d love to hear ‘em. There may or may not be a small prize for the most appalling pun. Or we may just give up and go and get drunk in a corner somewhere.

Anyhoo, I shan’t carp on about this any longer*

Till next time, may your Cod go with you


*it’s giving me a terrible haddock, maybe I should go and take a couple of Parrotfishcetamols

Date – 01/10/2007

Hello folks!

And welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends….

Another entertaining weekend in the relentless world of rock’n’roll started with Friday’s gig at the Gorse Hill Club in Swindon…now completely transformed, with a stage, house lights, and a fantastic seventies-ish mural all over the back wall…absolutely brilliant! It all looked so good that I wish I’d had a camera with me. I could have sold it and bought more beer….

Saturday’s duo outing to the once-notorious Royal Oak in Portishead was a blast, Suzi and I were royally amused by a lovely mad dancing woman, we wanted to take her home so we could bring her along to all future gigs to entertain us, but they said they wanted to keep her. And, I was lucky enough to avoid being shown some Big Drunken Fat Bloke’s scars, although Suz didn’t, ha ha. BDFB also demanded “a go at singing”, but we managed to put him off for long enough that he forgot and went off to have a go at falling over instead. An extremely lively place, great fun but probably not for the squeamish. Personally, I can’t wait to go back there.

And, Sunday brought us to the Harrow Inn in Wanborough. Eventually. The journey there proved to be a rather – wait for it – “Harrowinn'” experience. The M4 was in a right mess, and despite us all leaving in good time (for once), we arrived in dribs and drabs well past the allotted hour. Stuart was merely fashionably late; I got slightly lost and got there a little after him. Suzi also got lost, then had to negotiate her way past a truck with its wheels in the air blocking a roundabout before she rolled in, and Martin…

…Now, Martin has a reputation of being a little directionally challenged, and having eventually tired of his fellow musos taking the p*ss, has invested in a shiny new satnav. Once he’d finally escaped the crawling M4, he faithfully follows the directions from his gleaming little device, and with unerring accuracy it leads him into the middle of nowhere. Oh how we laughed. While we’re waiting for him, Stuart casually mentions that he’s just had a call from a booking agent, who wants to know why Suzi and I haven’t shown up for tonight’s duo gig in Gloucester. Eh? … Oh dear, there’s obviously been a bit of a mix up somewhere. Suzi wonders whether, since it’s not our fault, we can somehow get paid for the duo gig anyway…

Finally, finally, Stuart manages to talk Martin in, we set up his gear and off we go. And, a jolly fine time we have too. A luvverly little pub, great staff, and thanks again to Swindon Al for helping us lug all the gear about.

Right then, this week we’re just out the once, we’ll be at the Fire Engine in St George on Saturday. A nice, sensible drinking pub, and maybe – just maybe – I won’t have to get up in the morning….

So, we’ll see ya there, unless we don’t, but if we do, then we will, otherwise we probably won’t, unless you live next door to us or something, in which case we might see you anyway, but not there, but maybe somewhere else, although we will do if that’s where you happen to be.

Seems straightforward enough to me…


Date – 24/09/2007

Buenos Dias amigos!

And how are we all this lovely sunny day? Well, three more gigs this weekend, but not too much out of the ordinary to report; although the Zombie Trousers Of Death did claim another victim on Friday… a very nice lady who (admittedly under the influence of large quantities of alcohol) was so impressed by them that she was moved to help me carry all the gear in. Bless.

So, to pass the time, I’ll tell the tale of the RedNeck Inn… this is a place we’ve played quite a few times before, but always with mixed results. The crowd there always consisted of two diverse elements; one, a lovely appreciative crowd of interesting and entertaining people, and the other a bunch of lager-fuelled self-abusers with the intellectual abilities of chopped liver, and the charm and charisma of a bucket of cold sick. We’ve kept on coming back to play here because of the former, and because the owners and bar staff have been very pleasant and done their best to keep the less intellectually gifted elements under control.

Last time we went there, however, the place was “Under New Management”.. The new landlord is, he tells us, a rather senior ex-police and Customs and Excise Officer. “Aha!”, I thought, “(censored quote)”. He tells us he is keen to make sure the pub stays nice and respectable. We are interested to see how this change will affect the mix of punters.

Our first clue is that someone is trying to start a fight before we have even got the gear in. Clearly our host is doing a magnificent job already.

(censored paragraph)

We set up, and start playing. After a couple of numbers, Mr Happy – following a vigorous-looking “word in his ear” from his other half – tells us we’re “too loud” and asks us to turn down. No problem, we do. Another fight starts up while we’re playing, the landlord brings his years of senior constabulary experience to bear, and with confident mastery of the situation (censored fragment). It’s not too close to any of our gear, so we ignore it and carry on. (censored sentence)

We finish up, the punters seem well pleased, but we are told by our genial host that we are not to play an encore, so we don’t. He is visibly disappointed at not being able to criticise us for lack of talent. We pack up, and delegate Stuart to collect the money, as he is the one least likely to say what he is thinking. And is probably just thinking about sausages, or cotton wool, or ratchet screwdrivers or something.

So, we figure we won’t be playing there again for a while – although, as Stuart points out, (censored section)

Sunday’s Dotty and Totty outing was notable only for the fact that I brought my eldest lad along to help me cart the gear about, and that Suzi turned up with her daughter… there’s nothing quite so depressing as playing your hearts out whilst your teenage offspring lounge around, positively radiating “I’m so BORED, can we go HOME NOW? I mean, we’ve been here for HOURS, this is SO DULL….” Life-affirming stuff.

Anyhoo, this weekend promises to be much more inspiring: –

Fri 28th – Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
We love it here, great fun, cheap beer and apparently a new stage to prance around on.

Sat 29th – Royal Oak, Portishead
Dotty and Totty’s Seaside Special – well, almost…

Sun 30th – Harrow Inn, Wanborough, Swindon
No idea. Never played here before. Never even heard of the place. We’ll see. Two Swindon gigs in one weekend, how much fun can you handle?

Right that’s it for now, we’ll keep you posted soon with All the News That’s Fit To Print, and if we can’t think of any, we’ll just make some up. So there!


Date – 17/09/2007

Yo, homeys!

And, another breathless week in the world of local rawk’n’roll. We were all a bit vague and tired for Thursday’s gig, but a very kind gentleman boosted my reputation by asking for a go on my guitar during the interval, and then twiddled interminably and wouldn’t stop until we kicked him off to start the second set – prompting Martin to ask, “Does he not have a bedroom, then?”

Still, at least he made me look good – see, at least I can play the spaces in between the notes.

Friday at the Kinger in Bath was great fun, we got enthusiastically applauded by the Japanese and recorded by Cod – there must be a joke in there somewhere but I can’t be bothered to look for it – and on Saturday at the Old Fox we were delighted to see Martin’s Special Fan Club again; bless her, she just can’t put him down…

Martin tells me that my timing is getting all sloppy again, so he’s making us all practice properly this week – so we should be on tippy top form for our outings later on: –

Fri 21st – The Brunel, Bedminster
A lovely big stage to mess around on, and usually some kind of impromptu entertainment from the crowd as well. Excellent!

Sat 22nd – Red Post Inn, Peasedown St John
Lively locals, friendly staff, and a wooden duck – what more can you ask for?

Sun 23rd – The Grapes, Melksham, 6pm
Dotty and Totty, hopefully this time playing to a crowd with an average age of less than 75… well, hopefully playing to a crowd, anyway…actually, we don’t really care as long as they pay us….

Right, that’s it for now; please note that the following is definitely not for the squeamish. Those of a nervous disposition are advised to look away now….

Peace out


Note: The following item carries an “18” certificate, and is not considered suitable for younger readers.


In the words of the uncannily prescient Howard Philip Lovecraft,

“That which is not dead can eternal lie
And with untold eons even death may die”.

An Eldritch nightmare has arisen from the darkest sepulcher of cosmic fear – despite having been pronounced clinically dead over a month ago, Alan’s dodgy leather trousers have been brought back from the unhallowed world beyond the grave to an eldritch state of unholy vitality.

His beloved Dem has been up in the attic performing arcane experiments, and tampering with forces with which man was not meant to meddle; and last week, at the height of a freak thunderstorm, she apparently succeeded in breathing new life into the once defunct Trousers Of Destiny.

Striking terror into the local population, the horrific “Frankenstrides” have since been reported prowling the night at a number of AUF gigs over the past week. Local law enforcement offices and environmental health agencies have been alerted, but so far the blasphemy against nature that is The Trousers That Would Not Die has evaded capture.

Residents of the Bristol area are advised to avoid poorly-lit areas during the hours of darkness, and to keep small children and family pets indoors; the local constabulary has requested that any sightings should be reported to them immediately. Under no circumstances should members of the public attempt to approach the nefarious leg wear – police say they are considered to be extremely dangerous (although they are not believed to be armed, ha ha ha).

All those wishing to join the traditional riotous mob of local peasantry to storm Alan’s house are to assemble at Almondsbury Village Green at 7pm on Wednesday, weather permitting. Casual dress code. Flaming torches will be provided, please bring your own pitchfork. Meet at Thornbury Church Hall afterwards for tea and chocolate Hobnobs.

Date – 10/09/2007

Editors note: I think by now that it should be clear that anyone who desires a consistent routine in life should not take up entertainment as their hobby or career … read on …

Good mo-o-orning Vietnam!

And, indeed, good morning Chelten’am, which is where we spent a very interesting Saturday.

It all started normally enough, with Suzi running an hour late thanks to one of her bizarre domestic crises, but we managed to roll up just in time at the be-yoo-t-i-full Lower Lode Inn in Forthampton, a fantastic pub down by the river just outside Tewkesbury. Excellent place, go and find it to sink a quick pint if you’re ever up that way.

This was a fundraising bike rally, very efficiently organised by the lovely Sue, and it was a real treat to have a stage and PA already set up for us… sling the amps up, plug in and play. Easy! Sadly we had to miss the other bands playing, as Martin had to get home to make some “sexy dinner” for his wife – don’t ask, I didn’t want to know either – and Suz and I had to hoof it off to our Dotty and Totty engagement just down the road, which was… different…

We arrive at the venue, and walk in to a large, well-furnished room with a bar at the back, there is a stage, a large dance floor, everything is very clean and well-appointed… anybody else picking up bad vibes here?

I am also suspicious of the rather generous terms in the contract that the agency has emailed to us, so I’ve brought a copy of it along with me, just to make sure we’re in the right place. We are greeted by Felix the extremely helpful barman, who sorts us out, shows where to plug in to bypass the sound limiting system, and we haul in the gear and set up. Suzi, who has played too many social clubs in her past solo days, is getting increasingly nervous about the likely clientele, and how well they’ll take to the lively racket we tend to make. Meanwhile she is guzzling Red Bull to try and make up for not having eaten all day, and is clearly on the verge of one of her hyper episodes.

“Can’t we just go home now?” she pleads

“Not until we get paid”, I tell her.

“I don’t think we’ll go down well here”, she insists.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine”, I lie through my teeth.

We set up, and catch up with the “organising bloke”. We’re expected to play three sets, not the two we’ve been told about. Oh, well, I’m sure we can stretch things out a bit. Somehow.

The punters start filing in. Look! There’s one under sixty! Oh no, sorry, that’s the cabbie helping one in through the door. The place ends up around three quarters full, not bad going, as it’s a pretty big room. We go around chatting to various punters, trying to make friends in advance so they won’t bottle us off and beat us to death with walking frames. It’s time to start, so off we go. And, much to my surprise, there’s enthusiastic applause at the end of each number. More people trundle in as we go along, and the age demographic widens a bit – in both directions. After a while, they even get up to dance. It’s quite bizarre watching eighty-year-old couples waltzing along to Green Day; I will mentally file this one away in the “I Saw It Myself But I Still Don’t Believe It” part of my brain.

More to fill out the time than anything, Suzi delivers a speech apologising in case what we’re playing isn’t quite what they’re used to, but that that’s what they’re stuck with tonight, so there! She also asks for people to write down suggesting what stuff they would like us to play for next time. She is rewarded with a generous round of applause from one corner of the room, and from the other, a small neatly written, but completely unhelpful note asking if we can play “some music that we like”.

Time for a quick break, and at the bar I am treated to a reassuring explanation that apparently there’s a small percentage of the regulars who complain about everyone who plays there, and that we’re actually going down very well. Meanwhile Suz is being treated to some enthusiastic adulation from the Friendly Corner. Feeling a bit more confident, we play merrily through the second set, Suzi earns my undying admiration for the way she handles the audience, and we are invited to do the raffle announcements in the second break. Not exactly the high water mark of our rock’n’roll career, but at least we know now there’s always a shining future as redcoats…

We get through the last set, there’s quite a lot of dancing going on, we even have to do an encore, and then Suz gets on with chatting to people – and thanks to Carol and Steve for their very kind comments – so that I can pack up the gear whilst keeping one eye on the guy who is supposed to be paying us.

Best bit for me was the tiny little lady, must have been at least eighty, who tottered up to us on her way out, grabbed us both by the arm and said “Ooooh, thank you dears, that was LOVELY”.

Bless. And she hadn’t even won the raffle.

So, a bizarre and scary night, but as ever our good looks and talent saw us safely through…

Right then, forwards into the future…

Thurs 13th- King’s Arms, Brislington
Excellent little pub; should be refurbished by now, which will mean more room for me to prance around in :o)

Fri 14th – King’s Arms, Bath
Another fine rock venue, and we always have fun here

Sat 15th – Old Fox, Bishopston
Grubby little biker’s pub. Home from home. Lovely.

That’s it for this time, I really must be getting on with something

Buenos Nochas


Date – 05/09/2007

Good morning campers!

Well, with the holiday season over, a large hole in my bank account, and raging toothache (which is giving me a new excuse to be horrible to everybody now that I’m getting over the nicotine withdrawl), it’s back on to the rawk’n’roll treadmill.

First though, best wishes to Sarah and Iain, who rather rashly invited us to play at their wedding in Cardiff last Saturday. Being miserly, we squeezed ourselves into two vehicles to save on Severn bridge toll fees. Martin was all excited about not driving, and thus being able to drink. He had a large glass of wine, and a whisky, and another…and then we reminded him that actually he would still have to drive back from Stuart’s to his own house. Oh, how his little face fell…

And congratulations to whoever laid out the buffet table so that it was j-u-s-t out of Martin’s reach. I’ve never seen a guitar cable stretched that tight before, and he still couldn’t quite reach the grub whilst playing. Get a wireless system, mate, I keep telling you….

Right then, this weekend sees us back in action, a bit like this…

Friday 7th – Cat and Wheel, Bristol
Down by the Arches on the Gloucester Road, and always good fun. I promise to keep my amps under control this time…

Saturday 8th – 4:30pm, Barfly Rally, Lower Lode Inn, Forthampton, Tewkesbury
A bike rally charity fundraiser, this one: – load of bands, loads of bikes, and, I trust, loads of beer. And we’ll be dedicating this set to my poor buddy Cowboy Joe, who is currently laid up in hospital in Carmarthen nursing a collection of broken legs, ribs, etc, having been swiped off his motorsickle. The things some people will do to get insurance money…

Saturday 8th – 8:30pm, Dowty Club, Cheltenham
Dotty and Totty venture into the seedy world of corporate entertainment. Promises to be interesting, I wonder what they’ll be expecting…I think our best hope is that the silly hat will carry us through…

Right then, that’s your lot for now, I can’t think of anything funny, my tooth is hurting too much. Still, that thought alone will probably cheer half of you rotten lot up, anyway. Is it time for my next batch of medication yet?



Date – 20/08/2007

Howdy pardners!

And how are things out on the prairie today? I’m happy to report another successful weekend’s cattle rustling on the local rock’n’roll scene. On Friday we trundled down to the Weston turnpike, and before we could even tie up the horses, we bumped into our old buddy Doogie from the rather fine acoustic rock outfit Steele Regression. He explains he used to live in Weston, and had come along to support us since he knows there are about five bands playing tonight within a hundred yard radius, and figured that punters would be spread pretty thin. What a sweet thought.

However, our Suz is still chafing a bit about the loss of income from tomorrow’s cancelled gig. To cheer her up, Doogie suggests we nip round the corner to The Imperial and talk to them about booking a gig sometime. So, just before we are due to go on, Stuart is dispatched along with Doogie and one of our T shirts (to prove we all really exist, and that Stuart isn’t just a passing lunatic off the street) to see what gives. Ten minutes later they return, and Stuart gleefully announces we have a gig there the very next night! Nice money too. Doogie is presented with the T shirt by way of commission, and we get on with tonight’s gig; pretty small crowd, but most of them want to come back tomorrow and see us again. Can’t say fairer than that.

Saturday night, and we roll into the Imperial. And a fine venue it is too, there is a lovely big stage to bicker over. We set up, and are waiting for the off, when in walk about a dozen tanned teen temptresses, all clad in matching checked shirts, cowboy hats, very short shorts, and cowboy boots. Martin and I are much impressed. He is grinning from ear to ear, whilst I tap Suzi on the shoulder to ask, “Mummy, can I have a cowgirl for Christmas?”

“Perverts”, she retorts, “Get back to work”. We try, but it is very difficult to concentrate under these conditions. Still, we manage to finish the gig without actually tripping over our tongues. Stuart seems unaffected, either he is immune to the charms of a dozen Daisy Dukes, or is in his Happy Place and hasn’t spotted ’em yet.

We finish the gig, pack up the gear, collect the dosh, and Martin sets off for home while the rest of us are still yattering in the street. Five minutes later he drives past, heading the other way. Five minutes after that he drives past again, and pulls over. “How the hell do you get out of this one way system?” he enquires in exasperation. It’s time to be off anyway, so we saddle up and lead him back to civilisation, or what passes for it these days.

Right then, it’s a quiet couple of weeks coming up; Suz is back off to Scotchland, and I’m off to darkest Devon next week, but when we get back we’ll be doing this:-

Fri 31st August – Parson’s Nose, Melksham
Usually pretty damned lively, and after nearly 2 weeks off, I daresay we will be as well.

Sat 1st September – Somewhere in Cardiff
We’re playing at a wedding, somewhere in Cardiff. I know it’s a long shot, but I’m hoping there’ll be cowgirl bridesmaids.

Sunday 2nd September – Boars Head, Berkeley, South Glos Sunday teatime
A nice country pub, Dotty and Totty, and a stuffed pig’s head nailed to the wall. What more can you ask?

‘Til next time: – Happy trails, pardners

Yeeeee Haaaaaaaaaaahhh!

Date – 14/08/2007

Editors Note: Be warned some of this almost made me laugh so you may titter!

Hello folks!

My, what a rip-roaring rock’n’roll weekend it’s been.

On Friday, Suzi and I descended on the Blue Boar in Frome for our second duo gig of the month. This was basically just a warm-up for Saturday night’s keenly anticipated Band Holiday Awayday In Devon. Yes, back at the dear old Union Inn in Dolton, we were chuffed to see our lovely hosts Rich and Vron again, plus of course the usual supporting cast of fast-talking handymen from North Of The Border. Was also a pleasant surprise to see our chums Rich and Matt, who had braved the journey all the way down from Bristol in an exhausted Mini, just to see us. Bless.

And, as expected, we had a big fun time, particularly after we discovered a delicious, treacly dark local brew by the name of Serpentine. Now, previously I have been told that organic beers (such as this one, which we immediately renamed Turpentine) possess the mythic combination of extreme alcoholic potency plus zero hangover-related after-effects. In the interests of science, I enthusiastically set out to test his theorem.

By four in the morning, I have satisfied myself that the first part of the theory is absolutely correct.

Alas, it transpires that the second is completely untrue.

Oh dearie me, what a cruel awakening. To my disappointment, I am not dead. I can just about lie on the bed without holding on, but when I let go, the walls start to oscillate in a quite disturbing fashion. Another quite disturbing thing is an irrepressibly jolly Suzi, who has woken bright and early and is clattering in and out of everyone’s rooms making them cups of tea they don’t want, chattering away nineteen to the dozen and generally being obnoxiously cheerful. At least she isn’t singing. Grudgingly I allow myself to be dragged into the twilight world of the living, mainly on the grounds that if I look too poorly she may try to cheer me up.

Eventually I am fit to travel and we set off for home, but my search for a lifesaving bacon butty on the way back is interrupted by an SOS from my poor other half. She has managed to do her back in, and is stuck at home lying on the floor in agony, surrounded by four maniacal offspring running riot. Neighbours, relatives, friends are all absent and not answering phones.

We zip back as fast as we can, and find her in exactly the same position, except that the neighbours have just arrived and are standing around laughing at the kids, who are happily driving toy cars over Dem’s helpless supine form and demanding to know why dinner is late.

Suz heroically takes charge both of feeding and terrorising the horrible children into submission, while I drag my poor Dem off for some emergency treatment. By six o’clock, Dem has been at least partly mended, stuffed full of painkillers, and can nearly walk again, and we are back at the house. A quick bite to eat, some death threats for any misbehaving children, and it’s back in the van for Suzi and me to the next gig.

Ahh, the dear Old Tavern. It’s been done up a treat since we were last here, and despite being a pretty quiet night, we have a great time. We start chatting to a family sat up near the front, and it turns out that having stumbled across our site “on t’internet” they have come down all the way from Preston just to see l’il old us. Unbelievable!

We are really impressed; they are such lovely people that Suz cannot bring herself to try and sell them t-shirts!

We have a long chat with them, pack up the kit, and trundle off home. As a fitting end to an excellent weekend, I treat myself to the last episode of a bottle of whiskey, and fall into bed with a happy smile on my chops, to sleep the deep untroubled sleep of a man with a clear conscience, a loving family, true friends, a blood alcohol level of around fifty percent, and who has been awake for sixty five of the previous seventy two hours.

And next week, we’ll be out and about again: –

Friday 17th Market Tavern, Weston Super Mud
Never been here before. I wonder if they serve Turpentine?

Saturday 18th Barrs Court, Bristol
Somewhere near Mangotsfield, apparently. I’m told they have a noise problem, and that if the band is too loud we may be told to stop. If we do, we plan to revert to the more genteel duo set instead. In which case, do we share the dosh with Martin and Stuart, or make them work as roadies for the night instead? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Right, that’s it for this episode, and I now have to wait four whole days for my next dose of gigging.



OBITUARY It is with deep regret that Angel Up Front report the death of Alan’s much-loved dodgy leather strides. After three years, and over two hundred gigs of faithful service in front-line rawk and roll action, the Trousers Of Destiny were found unconscious following Saturday night’s final encore. It appears that the zip had finally failed, after enduring so many years of restraining the mighty forces of Rock contained therein. Attempts to find someone prepared to deliver mouth-to-crotch resuscitation were unsuccessful, and the unfortunate garment was pronounced dead at the scene by a local vet.

This iconic legwear had become a mainstay of AUF’s live act, prompting frequent (unfounded) audience speculations as to its owner’s sexual orientation (not helped by Suzi’s “amusing” renditions of “YMCA”); and although in latter months it was banned from the family home due to the distressing odour, it remained something of a living leg-end. Members of the band are said to be too distressed to be available for comment.

A short memorial service will be held next week. No flowers by request.

Date – 06/08/2007

Hey gang!

Seems like ages since I wrote one of these, so much going on Our Gorse Hill gig was a hoot; they even had a carpenter using us to measure around for their new stage – so, that’ll be plenty of room for bass players, then :o)

Our jaunt to the Farriers was certainly lively – it had all the makings of a great gig already, and suddenly partway through the second set, our end of the pub was besieged by hordes of leaping bounding drunken young lads. Suz and I end up acting as a human crowd barrier to stop them from falling all over the gear, and we all have a hugely sweaty rock’n’roll fun time. Alas, we should have listened to the wise words of Karen, our resident guitar lingerie donor.

We eventually are allowed to finish playing, we manage to subdue the baying crowd, and start putting our toys away. As we finish packing up it transpires that Suzi’s coat is nowhere to be seen. A thorough search of all vehicles, the entire pub, and surrounding area reveals nothing, so it must have been taken by one of the drunken boys. Trouble is, Suzi’s car keys are in that coat.

Oh, if only we’d heeded the wisdom of our Karen, when she yelled at us earlier to Tell Those Chavs To F@*k Off…

Ever the pragmatist, Suzi cashes in on the kind sympathy from the bar, and (now she can’t drive home) starts chugging her way through a series of commiseratory free drinks. Now, Martin has already left, Stuart has received a summons home from his dear Aleida, so that leaves just me to volunteer to run my newly-pedestrianised and now slightly squiffy singer back to Trowbridge. Somewhere in the wee hours she declares herself full, and we trundle off into the night. By the time I get back home the sun is well up and I have just enough time to empty the van before reloading it to take the family off on holiday.

The following Saturday’s Dotty and Totty venture at the Railway was an altogether more civilised affair. Having completely forgotten most of the duo set, I spent a couple of hours beforehand in the afternoon running through it all this selfless act of dedicated professionalism is dismissed by my Caledonian cohort as “cheating”.

Despite (or because of?) this morally questionable preparation, we have a great time; and one very nice chap is moved to buy us drinks all night. He has bought himself rather more though, and when he is later spotted trying to get into his car, we have to dash out with the bar staff, take his keys away and drive him home. At least he doesn’t live in bloody Trowbridge.

Right then, what does next weekend hold? It holds this jam-packed with head-spinning, sock-soaking, wholesome three-gig goodness, free from artificial preservatives, colourings, and flavourings. May contain traces of nuts.

Fri 10th August – Blue Boar, Frome
Dotty and Totty again, I’ve never played here before, but at least I should still remember the set. As long as I can find the pub

Saturday 11th August – Union Inn, Dolton, Devon
Yes! Oh, yes! Oh yes indeedy! Back here again, another overnight stay courtesy of this fantastic place, so another opportunity for me to get completely trashed by the middle of the second set :o) I just love this rock’n’roll thing.

centrifugal force

Sunday 12th August – Old Tavern, Fishponds
Hangovers permitting, this is our first time in the new(ish)ly refurbished dear Old Tav. Be there or – er – well, be somewhere else, I suppose. But we’ll be there. Shhh. Pass the painkillers.

Finally, thanks to my good buddy Matt for the attached; you will either cry with laughter like I did, or just shake your head in sorry disbelief like normal people. If you’re not a science wonk, you may struggle with it.

Toodle Pip!


Date – 27/07/2007

Hello again folks!

And here is next week’s news. As I’m off on jolly holidays next week (so, incidentally, an ideal opportunity for any budding housebreakers to go and nick all my furniture), I won’t be here to tell you about upcoming gigs; so I figured I’d do it now. How’s that for foresight? Sadly, my foresight doesn’t extend to telling you what’s going to happen at tonight’s gig in Swindon, nor at the Farriers on Saturday night. For that I’d need fivesight at least, and possibly even sixsight.

I can hazard a guess, though…

Tonight, three of us will arrive at the venue, set up the gear in good time, and settle down with a pint. At three minutes to nine, the doors will be flung open wide and the final member of our little troupe will arrive on a golden throne, carried shoulder-high by four burly attendants dressed in togas, preceded by a retinue of young maidens strewing rose petals in her path. Smiling and waving regally to the thronging crowds, she will be gently lowered into position centre stage, and, with majestic poise, will be assisted to her feet, and will demand to know why we haven’t got her a drink in already. Things will go downhill from there….

And tomorrow at the Farriers, we’ll have a fantastic gig, and get spotted by record company talent scouts. Fame, fortune, modelling contracts and Hollywood movie careers for all will follow, we’ll each buy a huge houses in LA (which will make commuting to Kingswood to practice a bit tricky, but hey…), we’ll develop an even more bizarre set of personality disorders, and eventually Stuart will have to check into the Priory to sort out his cheese addiction. Martin will open his own chain of designer shoe shops (which will flop disastrously), Suzi will buy out NASA so she can become the first Scotswoman on the moon, and I will prick my finger on a spinning wheel and fall asleep for a hundred years…

I bet you all a fiver that’s what happens…

Right then, next weekend’s gig (just the one): –

Saturday 4th August – Dotty and Totty at the Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Martin is away somewhere exotic, so Suz and I will be doing our duo thing at the dear old Railway. At least without the other two there we should have a bit more room to leap around. Now, where did I put that setlist….

Right, after that, things should be back to normal (ha ha) for a few weeks; we’ll keep ya posted…

Your Pal

Mystic Meg

Date – 23/07/2007

Good morning campers!

And the good news is that despite the inclement weather conditions, the magnificent Angel Up Front rawk n roll machine continues to bring joy and aural enlightenment to the drinking masses of the South West.

Friday’s outing to the Cat and Wheel was jolly fun; due to the smoking ban, the pub has completely rearranged itself, and we found ourselves playing at the opposite end of the bar to previous occasions. This had the effect of a better sound for everyone else, but meant less room for us, as a result of which I had to set up my rig with my Peavey just four inches from Stuart’s left earhole, and pointing right at him. Now, some drummers would be grateful to have their own personal stage monitor, wouldn’t they, but was he?

Not a bit of it. Whinge, whinge whinge! He even dared to complain that, “all the mistakes I was making kept on putting him off”.

I tried to explain that I have installed a special “digital error dynamic crossover” between my two amps, so all the bum notes get filtered through the Peavey, whilst the good ones come out through my Marshall for myself and everybody else to hear. I suspect he didn’t believe me.

Martin, on the other hand, said he couldn’t hear me properly, and asked if I could turn that Peavey up a bit more? My pleasure, heh heh heh… Poor old Stuart, by the end of the night he was casting around for a plastic bag to carry his brains home in.

Still, a good fun outing, and we managed to wheel out four (yes, FOUR) new tracks we haven’t attempted before. A couple of which sounded like it, but nevertheless went down a storm, so we’ll be keeping ’em in the set for a while – at least until we’ve learned ’em properly. Cheesetastic!

Saturday’s jaunt to the Queen Vic in Stroud was a total blast from start to finish as usual, despite the previous night’s flooding which had left a lot of the streets several inches thick in sticky brown goo – and also my own personal previous night’s flooding with several bottles of wine, which had left my brain and tongue in a similar condition. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the amazing range of dance routines from the masses, from the criminally suggestive to the simply criminal.

Speaking of criminally suggestive, here’s this weekend’s agenda…

Fri 27th July Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
We love it here! Always great fun, and tonight will be my 150th gig with the guys. Perhaps they’ll buy me a present.

Sat 28th Farriers, Fishponds
We love it here, too! Home from home. And, tonight will be my 151st gig with the guys. Perhaps they’ll buy me a present…

Finally, on the subject of statistics…according to Martin’s calculations, on the basis that for us a typical gig is powered by two bottles of Newcastle Brown each, and that we play around 25-30 numbers per gig, then given the average length of a song, with a typical speed of around 80bpm, and taking a rough estimate of the number of notes in each bar… that there are around 40,000 notes in every bottle of Newcastle Brown!

Amazing. And I absolutely refuse to comment on whether or not he should get out more.

Right, that’s it for now, I better get on with building this Ark….


Date – 16/07/2007

Peace be on you, brothers and sisters of the cosmos!

And, after nearly two weeks off, it was such a relief to get out the rock’n’roll armoury and make a big loud noise again. And, thanks to our lovely Martin, I can now make a bigger louder noise than before, courtesy of the pokey new Peavey valve amp that sits under my Marshall and makes all the glasses on top of the bar rattle. Obviously, being much louder is really an unavoidable side effect in my quest for a higher quality guitar tone and enhanced aural dynamic response, but one has to make these sacrifices for the sake of customer satisfaction, doesn’t one?

So, last Saturday at the Railway in Fishponds was every bit as much fun as we could wish for, thanks to everyone there for providing us with such great entertainment – some of the dancing was truly spectacular. A really excellent night, sometimes I can’t believe we actually get paid to have this much fun. (Oh, sorry, slight correction there – I meant to say I can’t believe how little we get paid, considering all the hard work we put in. Sorry. Don’t know what came over me.)

Meanwhile, we are proud to announce our latest foray into the world of retail merchandising – we have finally gotten around to producing some t-shirts! These highly desirable fashion items are available in a variety of colours – Black, Graphite, Coal, Jet, Charcoal, and Very Dark Grey Indeed – and S, M, or L sizes (Shortarse, More-or-less-normal, and Lordy Mama, So That’s Where All The Pies Went). All feature a rather fetching full-colour picture of lovely us, and are available for the laughably reasonable sum of twelve of your Earth pounds. You can get ‘em either via the website www.angelupfront.co.uk , or directly from us at gigs.

Which, this weekend, will be arranged as follows: – (Did you see how neatly I did that link between the two subjects? Did ya? Clever, eh? I’m great, aren’t I?)

Friday 20th July: Cat and Wheel, Bristol
Ace pub, down by the Arches on Gloucester Road, and there’s about seventeen fast food outlets within drooling distance Since giving up the fags, I seem to have become a right greedy bugger.

Oh, and extremely bad-tempered as well, or so I am told. Can’t think what they’re talking about, I have a naturally sunny and cheerful disposition; everybody says so, some of them even before I can get the pliers out.

Saturday 21st July, Queen Vic, Stroud
Oooh, yes please Matron! Fantastic venue. I wonder if I can persuade my mate Disco Dave to turn up. Suzi hasn’t met him yet, and I still owe him for vandalising my vehicle

Right then, that’s your lot for now. I’m off to find some small helpless woodland creatures to mindlessly slaughter.

Toodle Pip!


Date – 09/07/2007

Hello folks!

And after a weekend away from the rollercoaster of grass roots rock’n’roll mayhem, the mighty Angel Up Front luurve machine will be back in action. (Well, assuming that our Suz has survived her “drink Scotland dry” holiday).

In the meantime, for the rest of us, domestic pursuits have beckoned. I have been trying to reacquaint myself with my beaten up old acoustic – and as a result I can’t feel my hands any more. Dearie me, I must be getting all soft and wussy. Also, to pass the time, I’ve been trying to memorise my children’s proper names, so I don’t have to use their nicknames all the time (Stoppit, Putthatdown, OhwhathaveyoudoneNOW, and Haven’tyoulefthomeyet?). Meanwhile, Martin has been emailing me to gloat about his increasingly large collection of desirable guitar amplifiers (Jealous? Moi?), and Stuart has been getting his bike in and out of his shed. Possibly.

Anyway, gigs.

Sadly, our gig at Bar Celona planned for Weds 18th has been cancelled, so if you want to catch us while we’re still young and lovely, you better get yourselves to Fishponds on Saturday 14th. Specifically the Railway Tavern, where so far we’ve always had a hugely entertaining time, and I for one am started to get all excited about it already. Oh dear, I really am turning into a terrible gig junkie. (Now is that a terrible junkie for gigs, or a junkie for terrible gigs, I wonder?)

Answers on a postcard to the usual address www.angelupfront.co.uk please also send any surplus cheques, high-denomination currency notes, and pork scratchings


Date – 03/07/2007

Dear all

Welcome to this slightly extended newsletter from the world of rock’n’roll. Why extended? ‘Cause there’s a special report of What We Did On Our Holidays. Why confidential? ‘Cause the previously unsullied reputations of two of your favourite musicians have been cruelly maligned, and we don’t want that sort of thing to spread…

Anyway, seeing as it’s a very good place to start, let’s start at the very beginning….

Following Thursday’s very enjoyable outing to the West End Inn in Melksham, we loaded the van with the usual PA and guitar rig, plus all Martin’s gear, in preparation for Saturday’s outing to Deepest Devon, where we are to play and stop over. No driving home straight after the gig. That’ll be a proper drinking session, then…

Saturday morning dawned wet and horrible, and eventually a bedraggled Suzi arrives at my gaffe after a merry couple of hours playing with traffic. Restorative food and coffee are applied, and we clamber into my perilously-overloaded little van and set off into the rain. An hour and a half later we are in deepest Devon, navigating our way though endless miles of countryside.

It really is very rural in these parts. I begin to wish we had come dressed in Edwardian costume, so we could park up, walk into a village, and accost a local with the words, “Excuse me, my good man! What year is this?” and on being told, punch the air and triumphantly exclaim, “Yes!! It works!! My time machine works!!!”

This plan is foiled by the complete absence of villages. Eventually, we espy a house. Suzi is so excited that she texts Stuart to tell him.

I wonder what people (if there are any) do for entertainment around here. We round a corner and find out. Here are a bunch of youngsters by the side of the road; one is on the opposite side stood by a large puddle. A car passes, soaking the lad, to the delight of his chums. A brief argument over whose turn it is next, and then they swap places. Those long winter evenings must just fly by….

Finally, thanks to superlative navigation and driving skills, we arrive at our destination -the Union Inn, in the picturesque ickle village of Dolton. We shuffle in and are immediately given a warm welcome and a large drink. I feel like I’m holiday already. We like it here.

We are introduced to the pub’s general assistant / handyman with the words, “Have you met our gobby Jock?”

“Have you met ours?” I reply, neatly dodging a vicious backhander.

A quick explore shows the pub is a fantastic old place, with oddly-shaped doors, wobbly floors, walls at slightly strange angles, and stairs that rock like a Weeble in a hurricane. After a relaxing pint or so, Stuart, Martin and Vicky turn up, we set up the gear, we sound check (a first for us), and settle down for some pre-gig drinking and a huge big dinner. I’m grinning like a hippy with the keys to the drugs cabinet. We like it here. The witching hour of 9:30 approaches, we saddle up and get on with the gig.

As we play, the pub fills up more, and apart from a couple of minor but hysterical mishaps involving Martin’s collapsing mike stand, and my collapsing guitar solo (I had a complete Blondie moment, causing Suzi to point out – probably rightly – that even she could have played that better), all is well. Half time, more beer, the place gets even fuller, and off we go again. We like it here.

By now the place is literally jumping, and thanks to the ancient floorboards, the lighting rig is swaying about in a quite frightening fashion. I am starting to do the same. Eventually, after an unknown number of encores, we finish up and get on with the serious business of bickering over who is going to get up and get the next round in. Before we can reach a conclusion, the lovely Gobby Jock appears, takes an order, and brings it back. We really do like it here.

Prolonged drinking and amiable rambling sets in, and I am getting very nicely trollied. Soon, though, poor Vicky, who has had a very long week, clambers off towards their allotted four-poster bed, followed shortly afterwards by an ever-optimistic Martin.

And then there were three. As the clientele meanderingly filter out, we sit and chat away to our very hospitable hosts, and somewhere around the three o’clock mark, Stuart, who has been rambling increasingly incoherently, decides he is full and heads off to bed. Finally our hosts remember they have to get up in the morning, so Suzi and I are issued with a last drink from the bar and sent off to our rooms with it.

Now, I had been allocated to share a room with Stuart, leaving the other one for Suz, so rather than disturb the poor lad, we pile into hers and settle down for along rambling drunken natter (the subjects of which I forget, for some beer-related reason). Eventually, the soporific effects of the alcohol take over, and we clamber into bed to snuggle down for some kip. Suz puts the light out. “Why’s there a bright light just outside that window?” she wants to know. I look at my watch. 06:30. “That’s tomorrow” I explain.

A few hours later, we muzzily surface. If we can get up now, we just might make it downstairs in time for breakfast. No, the bed is just too warm and cosy, and besides, during the night someone has sneaked in and stolen my brain, and replaced it with one from a complete idiot. And done something horrible in my mouth while they were at it. What I need now is coffee.

I nudge Suzi. “Wanna coffee?”

“F&%k off” she mumbles happily. Fair enough. I drift off to sleep again.

Consciousness patchily returns. Eventually I manage to summon the enthusiasm to stumble across the room and work the kettle.

There’s some minor banging and clattering from the next room. “Probably Stuart filling out missing person’s report for ya” giggles Suzi.

“Oh, he’ll have figured out I’m in here with you”.

“Yeah, course he would”

“…. Err…He wouldn’t have got the wrong idea about that, would he?”

We look at each other.

“No, of course he wouldn’t. Would he?”


We look at each other.

“Occhh nooooooo….”

I get dressed, and stumble out. Upstairs is empty; they must all be down having brekky already. A quick shower to make myself lovely again, and down I go to greet the day. I find all the gear already packed up, and ready to load.

“Blimey, it’s the living dead at last” grins the chirpy landlord.

I enquire after the rest of our little entourage.

“Oh, they left about an hour ago. Said they “didn’t want to disturb” you. They did wait around for ages, though.”

This seems a little odd, why would they hang around for us, but not even think to knock on the door? Unless they thought we were in the middle of something…

Occhh nooooooo. There goes my reputation. And Suzi’s. And, possibly, she cheerfully points out, my marriage. Oh dearie dearie me. Suz tries to call Stuart, but of course there are no mobile signals in this part of the world. Oh dearie me.

We say big thankyous to our hosts, and are delighted to find we are to be invited back here to do more gigs later in the year. Excellent, even with our sore heads and our filthy suspicious-minded band mates, we like it here very much indeed.

Our drive home through the pouring rain is enlivened by Suzi finally managing to establish contact with Stuart, who emphatically denies having had any untoward suspicions about us, but rather destroys his credibility by giggling helplessly while doing so. Finally we get back to my gaffe to be mobbed by my offspring, stuff a big restorative meal down ourselves, and head off to our next gig at the Oak in Chipping Sodbury. It’s non-stop, this rock’n’roll business, you know.

We arrive at the Oak, and set about unloading the gear. Stuart is already there. We’re all obviously still a little jaded.

“I’m absolutely SHAGGED out,” comments Suzi, fixing Stuart with a steely glare.

“Me too”, I agree, “Completely F£%KED”.

Stuart opens his mouth to protest, then slams it shut again as he realises there is no way he can win. Oh, we can keep this one going for ages…

Editors note: I would like to point out that I (Stuart) did have the last word on this occasion with selected killer phrases … so there!

Just before we’re due to start playing, a gentleman introduces himself to us as a promoter, looking for bands to sign up. He’s heard about us, and has come along to check us out. Oh goody, just when we’re on tippy-top form. Not.

We kick off, and manage to be amazingly together for the first number. For the second, my sound is going strange. By the third, I have nearly disappeared. What’s going on? Idiot Alan has forgotten to put new batteries in his wireless transmitter, that’s what. And he’s forgotten to bring any spares.

I make do by grabbing a spare lead out my gig bag and using that, but I now can’t use my tuner either, and my amp tone is all wonky. We get to the end of the first set, and Stuart kindly volunteers to go hunt down more batteries for the idiot Alan. Martin is a bit quiet; unlike me he is taking the new smoking ban seriously.

Our new promoter friend claims to be very impressed, which tells me he’s either too polite or not fussy enough. Stuart arrives with batteries, and hurrah! I can now use my wireless, get a decent tone AND stay in tune AND ponce around again.

Second set is much more fun, we have a blast, and wind up the night successfully. And, bless ’em, the pub has had a whip round for us and extracted some extra cash from the punters.

A fitting end to hugely entertaining weekend.

And that’s your lot for now. Suzi’s gone off to Scotchland for a bit so there’s no gigs this week. A nice quiet few days in the offing.

Still, perhaps that’s just as well, eh?

Yours innocently


Date – 25/06/2007

Hello gang!

And good grief, how wet is it today? Spare a thought for all those poor souls up to their armpits in flooded Glastonbury eau de toilettes…

Well, we certainly had an entertaining weekend. Friday in the Brunel was a good giggle, but Martin and I were a little disappointed to have missed out on the rather more esoteric pleasures on offer – although I understand the young ladies in question were thrown out rather quickly.

Saturday morning shone bright and early, and so did Suzi, so we made it to our first appointment of the day in good time, set up, and waited for a harassed Stuart to arrive. Eventually he did, and we had a jolly time playing to the assembled masses. Thanks to Vicky and her cohorts for keeping the running supplies of beer and food coming. (Especially the food, for Martin’s benefit).

We finish, we pack up, and Suz and I head off for our next gig, a bike show hosted by the Brotherhood MC, who are absolutely fantastic, our gear is whisked out of the van and into the pub for us, we have an excellent afternoon (and cheers to Gary for the Gem!), and then they are queuing up to help us load the gear back in the van again. We ask if they’ll come to Swindon with us, but they all plead “too pissed to ride there”. Shame, it would have been fun to turn up with an escort of fifteen thundering Harleys.

So, off we go, a quick stop to inhale some food and some sorely-missed nicotine, and we arrive at our final destination for the day to be greeted by our old buddy Swindon Al, who drags all the gear in for us. Excellent!

Now, all day long our Suzi has been extremely chirpy, but by now the combination of sleepless night, chocolate poisoning, several coffees and a thousand Red Bulls has sent her as high as a kite. We start the first set, and it is difficult to fit the songs in between her hyperactive chattering. Still, everyone is enjoying themselves no end, although it is unusual for people to be building towers of glasses this early in the evening. We have a blast, and by the second set even a very respectable and staid looking lady is dancing on the table waving her chest at people. Suzi didn’t know where to look, but Swindon Al seemed to have a pretty good idea.

We finish up, load the van, and Suzi has discovered a fellow Scot, the vastly entertaining Tag – who, in all fairness, I can only describe as a hyperactive jabbering lunatic. I only understood half of what he was saying, and that had me in stitches. Suzi, who has a head start on the accent and had pure caffeine thundering through her veins, managed to keep up with him and was crying with laughter most of the way home. As Al remarked at the time, “This place is a bloody madhouse, isn’t it?”

So, three gigs in one day, and what a varied selection of venues: – Schoolhouse – roadhouse. Roadhouse – madhouse.

There’s a song in there somewhere….

Right then, what’s happening this week, I hear you cry.

Well, this is: –

Thursday 28th – West End Inn, Melksham
Last time we played here we emptied the place, but the landlord seemed well pleased and wanted us back, so here we are again!

Saturday 30th – Union Inn, Dolton, Devon.
It’s a bit of a trek this one, but the pub has offered to put us up for the night. So, no need to drive home! At last, I will be able to demonstrate proof of my theory that “I actually play much better when I’m smashed out of my face”. Looking forward to it no end.

Sunday 1st July – Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
As long as we survive the hangovers and the drive back, we’ll be here. Probably be starting about 8:30, as it’s a Sunday, and don’t forget this is the first day of the smoking ban in pubs, so there’ll be no smoke in the Oak! Suzi asked how a nicotine addict like me is going to cope. I just bought a wireless rig. Go figure.


Right then, that’s your lot for now, I’m going to get on with building my ark…

Cheers now


Date – 19/06/2007

Buenos Dias amigos!

Firstly, big consolation hugs for our Chloe and Jess, who came all the way across town to see us in the Kings Arms last Thursday, only to be refused entry ‘cos they forgot their ID… don’t know why you didn’t let Martin draw false moustaches on you with marker pen, that definitely would have fooled ’em…

Secondly, hello to all the jolly people in the Bell last Friday, I hope you all got home safely… oh dearie me, you do all like a drink, don’t you…

Thirdly, what are we doing this weekend?

Fri 22nd The Brunel, Bedminster
Lovely big pub, lovely big stage… lovely! And big.

Fri 23rd Luxembourg Tour
Did you know that this is National Day in Luxembourg? You didn’t? Well, that just goes to show how jolly clever I am for knowing it, then.

To celebrate, we’re playing a one-day tour of Luxembourg, albeit from the relevant comfort of the South West of England. Tour dates are as follows: –

1pm School Summer Fair, Pill
We played here last year, and Stuart collapsed from tonsillitis or something, and had to be virtually carried off stage. He won’t get away that easily this time though, as he’ll have to help load up the van as soon as we finish playing, so that Dotty and Totty can get to their next appointment in time; which is…

3pm Motorcycle Rally, Live and Let Live, Frampton Cotterell
Should be a hoot, trouble is with biker do’s is that I get all nostalgic for me dear old Bonneville, which I swapped for 4 kids many years ago…Still, there’ll be no time for sentimentality, as soon as the applause has died away we’ll have to pack up a bit sharpish and head for the hills, to be in time for…

8:30pm Queensfield, Swindon
Last time Dotty and Totty played here (once we found the place) it was full of ageing air guitar enthusiasts leaping around like hyperactive 5-year olds on amphetamines. Hope they save some for me…

Sunday 24th Bed
I’m not planning on getting out of bed today. Let’s just hope I don’t need the toilet….

On that happy note, a fond farewell until next time, and as they say in Baghdad,



Date – 11/06/2007

Editors note: Angel Up Front as a collective working unit absolve themselves from all responsibility in connection with the ramblings of “A”. All remarks below that could possibly be construed as offensive are to be qualified by the word “allegedly”!
Allo squire!

Well, we have an odd weekend’s gigging to report this week. On Friday, we played our quietest gig ever; in fact we spent most of the evening playing to just two people. In fairness this wasn’t our fault, the entire pub was pretty much deserted, so they weren’t all just hiding from us. We know this for sure ‘cos I took advantage of my spanktastic new wireless rig to go and explore the other bar with Suzi while we continued playing. Alas, the population of the other bar consisted of a half-dozen chavs (there must be a proper collective noun for chavs – if anyone knows, please tell us), who (thankfully) stayed there – apart from a small herd of dreadful female ones that came in for the sole purpose of asking if their mate could have a go at singing…

“Go on, let her, she’s like, really good, not just good but majorly good”.

“That’s right, I am, I’m really good, I got offered a job on a cruise ship and everyfin”

“You should have taken it” observes Stuart.

I privately speculate that I for one wouldn’t fancy the job of scraping barnacles off her, but for once I manage not to say anything.

Eventually they waddle off, and our audience of two is able to continue their evening with their own personal rock band without further disturbance, apart from the guy who comes on and insists on getting a drum lesson from Stuart in the break.

Saturday’s outing to Peasedown was at least busier, but rather spoilt by the drunk who obviously thought the world was entertained by repeated falling over. I stopped counting at around fifteen times, by which time it was all getting rather tiresome.

Now, Suz and I compared notes afterwards, and had both reached the conclusion that most of the falling over was in fact staged; so what in fact we had was a drunken ass, who was pretending to be even more of a drunken ass than he actually was – which, by our reckoning, makes him even more of an ass than the ass he was pretending to be.

Still, not all of his “accidents” were staged, as Suzi explained, “That was a right good kick across the floor I gave him, he’ll remember that one when he wakes up”.

Onto this week’s delights, then, we have

Thursday 14th: King’s Arms, Brislington
Love it here, really nice cosy rock pub, excellent atmosphere, the owners are great, and this was where we were shown the fantastic “headbanging for baldies” technique.

Friday 15th: Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallet
Well, if you know Shepton, you’ll know the Bell, it’s a late start here (usually 9:30 – 10:00), and Gawd knows when it’ll finish. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were all on something…

Finally, thanks are due to that august publication “Viz” magazine, for the following invaluable public information advice:-

Whilst in bed protect yourself from vampires and werewolves by hiding under the covers.

Foil pick pockets by placing a freshly toasted “Pop Tart” in each pocket. Would-be thieves will quickly rupture the fragile pastry and receive nasty finger burns from the steaming hot jam inside.

Avoid losing contact lenses by drilling a small hole in each one and attaching them with a length of nylon fishing line. This can then be worn around the neck.

Right then, that’s it for this episode.

Porky Pig!


Date – 04/06/2007

Hello folks!

Didja miss us? We did!

Well, I’m happy to report that we survived our holiday breakette, plus several gigs either side, without trauma.

Highlights for me included the young lady in Melksham who insisted on sitting on Stuart’s lap to have a go on his kit (oo-er), an impromptu jam with the excellent Daz at the Lampfest, watching Bazooka Joe and the mighty Peppercorns at our mate Lan’s wedding, our special “guest vocalist”, who insisted on getting up to sing a number with us whilst positively oozing pharmaceuticals, and, even better, watching Martin being attacked (quite successfully) by a six-year-old girl. We gave her a badge and a broken drumstick for her efforts, and she seemed well pleased with them.

Martin’s other admirer that evening was after rather more than such tawdry prizes, but alas for her, Martin remains chaste and innocent if only because he was in a hurry to get home for his dinner.

Right then, this weekend we have a mere two gigs to contend with

Fri 8th Mayor’s Arms, Bedminster
An excellent biker-y pub, I have promised to wear trousers this time, and fame beckons with this gig being advertised in the national press – the Grauniad’s Gig Guide, no less – as “female fronted rawk”. One day, we’ll get billed instead as “stunningly good looking, fantastically talented rock outfit – oh, and a girly singer as well”. One day.

Sat 9th Red Post Inn, Peasedown St John
Out in the wilds of Zummerzet, a dark and terrible secret lurks in the sepulchral gloom of the ancient woodlands Sorry, even I have no idea where that one is going. It’s a pub, they sell beer, we’re playing there, and they have a lumpy cobbled floor that makes your amp wobbly if you don’t get it in exactly the right spot. That’s all I can remember.

Right, that’s it for this episode; the good news for music lovers is that we’re actually going to have a practice this week, so we may either have some new material to gig this weekend, or may even properly learn the stuff we already do. Who can tell? Who will be able to tell the difference? Where am I? This isn’t my bedroom.


Date – 25/05/2007

Hello again folks!

Since I’m not here – in fact I’ve been sent on holiday for a few days – I can’t tell you all about the strange gig-related happenings over the weekend – so I won’t. Instead, on the assumption that we all survived them without succumbing to too much personal injury, I’ll cut straight to the Public Service Announcement part of the missive.

Another busy weekend coming up, we start with a Dotty and Totty jaunt and finish with two whole band outings…

Fri 1st June – Kings Arms, Kingswood
This is the place where we did our very first duo outing, where we once met Peter Pan, and where I had my first experience of trying to concentrate on playing a solo whilst having a gentleman’s genitalia waved at me. From a guitar player’s point of view, it’s a little distracting – it looked for all the world like I had an extra little finger…

Saturday 2nd June – Salutation Inn, Mangotsfield
As previously discovered (rather to my chagrin) – field yes, mangoes no. Can’t remember having played here before, but there are so many things I can’t remember these days. The nurses keep stealing my clothes, you know.

Sunday 3rd June
Oh yes, I’d forgotten about this one, we’ve been asked to play at someone’s birthday party. Looking forward to lots of jelly and ice cream, and maybe even some of those little Iced Gem biscuits that you can bite the icing off and leave the biscuit bit on the plate for someone else. Then again, perhaps it’ll be one of those decadent Freddie Mercury type parties where they have lots of dwarves walking around carrying trays of cocaine on their heads.

On balance, it’ll probably be something between the two. Lots of dwarves walking around with trays of Iced Gems on their heads with the icing bitten off.

Right then. That’s that. Either we’ll see you there – or we won’t. I’m just hoping my holiday won’t be such a letdown as the last one: –

“‘Alton Towers – Where the magic never ends”, said the commercial.

Imagine my disappointment when it closed at 7.30.

Noodle Soup


Date – 21/05/2007

Aye ooop!

And a special hello to all our regular readers currently being detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in various institutions across the nation. She must think an awful lot of you all, making sure that you don’t go home – just in case she decides to pop in and visit.

Now, if you’re all sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.

We had a splendid week of Dotty and Totty Go Wild In The Country, starting with the Rising Sun near Lacock. Lovely little pub, the beer was excellent, and apparently the view is amazing when it’s not dark and pissing down with rain. We had a fine time there, and were well chuffed to see our old pal Swindon Al rolling up on his gleaming Harley. And a big beer to him for doing all the photos, unfortunately I spoiled several of them by being in the frame, but he assures me I can be Photoshopped out, so that’s okay.

On Friday, Suz and I hightailed it up to Cirencester to the Golden Cross, where, as usual, my good buddy Disco Dave failed to show up – but we did instead meet Magic Dave, a guy who appeared at first to be a straightforward amiable rambling drunk – but who in fact turned out to be an amiable rambling drunk who does magic tricks! Brilliant! We want him at all our Cirencester gigs in future, to keep people entertained in the interval.

Eventually we crawled off home to bed, only to crawl out of it again shortly afterwards to Sodding Chipbury, where we were greeted by my brother (painted, unaccountably, as a psychedelic tiger), who rustled up a couple of burly lads to help us unload all the gear. We played, we had a chat to people, and we went home. Very civilised – we’re more used to playing to a pub full of rowdy drunks… …which is exactly what happened next.

The Wagon and Horses is a fine little pub, we shoehorned all the gear in, the very nice owners explained about the start and finish times, the noise problems they have with the neighbours…and the fact that they had accidentally arranged their local football club’s annual awards ceremony for tonight, so could they use the PA for doing the announcements, and would we like a drink?

Hmm, footy crowds at gigs, last time we had that there was the Unfortunate Incident With The Willies…

However, this time I have to say they were very well behaved, all things considered – a willy did nearly appear, but obviously some last glimmer of coherence in the owner’s mind made itself heard above the background roar of lager, and he stopped himself just in time to avoid public ridicule.

Suzi and I were both impressed with another young lad who obviously fancied himself – and Suzi – and tried to engage her in “cheeky banter”. Oh, they never learn… after being publicly humiliated for the third time, he actually had to leave the pub for half an hour to go and think of his next witty comeback – after which he reappeared, delivered his riposte – and of course was promptly shot down in flames again. Still, as Suzi pointed out, “Awww, bless, he must know he’s getting nowhere, but he keeps on trying, and it’s free entertainment for the rest of us… ”

An entertaining evening rounded off by huge amounts of free food left behind by the football club, and a long natter, and I manage to stay awake just long enough to get home.

Hokay then, what happens next? Well, according to my outboard brain, we’ve got a gig-tastic full band weekend – a bit like this…

Fri 25th May: Parson’s Nose. Melksham
Good fun last time we played here; should be even more fun this time. I suspect we won’t start playing until 9:30 or so.

Sat 26th May: Queen Vic, Stroud
Love it here, always a good gig, why do I always have to drive?

Sun 27th May: Lamplighters, Shirehampton
Ah, now this is a charity bash at a pub on the banks of the river Avon, we’re playing at 6:00 I’m told. And, in the words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that”.

I leave you with an interesting statistic: according to a survey carried out in 1995, just over 2% of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens at least once. That’s either an awful lot of lost revenue in landing fees and airport taxes, or a significant proportion of the population of The Most Powerful Nation On EarthTM is frankly a bit bonkers. Thank God they don’t have nuclear weapons, eh?

Sleep tight….


Date – 14/05/2007

Hey gang!

And another busy weekend for the international rock’n’roll phenomenon that is Angel Up Front; Friday’s outing to the Kings Arms in Bath was as good fun as ever, we tried out a couple of different numbers, and apart from me having to get Martin to sing the opening riff for me as I’d totally forgotten how it went, they seemed to go down purty well – rock goddess with an envelope on her head notwithstanding.

Saturday at the Crown and Horseshoe went even better, and thanks are due to the brother and sister impromptu road crew (combined age: 12) who carried gear in for us. They are mightily impressed with the skull and crossbones flag on Martin’s bass amp.

“Are you a real pirate, then?” the innocents ask Martin.

“Oh, yes, absolutely”

“Then why haven’t you got a wooden leg?”

“Prosthetics”, pronounces Martin airily, “This is the 21st century you know, medical science has moved on since the old days”

“And you have two real hands. One of them should just be a hook thingy”.

“Wait until you hear him play” I advise them.

“He’s not a real pirate at all, is he?” they ask me.

“Well, he does smell of fish a bit” I point out.

They seem well pleased with this explanation, and decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.

A fine evening is rounded off by an extended call from our local fanbase, the phone is passed around us in turn and, at least based on the bits I caught, we are treated to the sound of three cups of coffee being made and variously spilt, mislaid and knocked over, a fit of hiccups, several visits to the toilet and some repeated falling off a wet trampoline, ending up with a rather nice “being sick in a bucket” finale. Lovely!

Right then, this week there are no band gigs due to Martin and Stuart “having a social life” (whatever that may be), but Suzi and I (and our silly hat) are out and about with a vengeance:

Wednesday 16th May: Rising Sun, Bowden Hill, Lacock 9:00 start.
Somewhere near Chippenham is all I know…

Friday 18th May: Golden Cross, Cirencester
This one starts at twenty past eight (is says here) – and we are hoping not to run into the notorious Mr Milkshake, who apparently hails from these parts. Don’t ask, we ain’t telling.

Saturday 19th May: CMA Bike Show, Chipping Sodbury
This is a charity fundraising thingy, we’re starting around lunchtime and can’t go on too long ‘cos in the evening we have to go all the way to…

Saturday 19th May: Wagon and Horses, Wootton Bassett
…after which I, for one, will be going straight home to bed to sleep and sleep and sleep….

Right then, that’s your lot until next week, when there’s a band-tastic three gigs on offer, from Melksham to Stroud to Shirehampton. Oh, the jet-setting glamour of it all…

Til then, here’s a trivia question to keep you awake at night.

A relative of which sixties pop star invented Tipp-Ex?

I think I know the answer – correct me if I’m wrong…


Date – 08/05/2007

Hello folks!

Gosh, what a busy week it’s been on the rock’n’roll surprises front.

On Wednesday, just as I was loading the gear into the van to go to rehearsal (okay, just as I was exhorting my 13-year old to “put his back into it” while I watched), Stuart rang to say that we we’d been offered a gig that night at the Bar-Celona in Kingswood (200 yards from our rehearsal room). Getting paid to practice! We arrived at the (very classy-looking) place, and they have a big stage – hurrah! – a house PA – huzzah! – a sound engineer – woo-hoo! – and a very lovely smiling lass who kept on zooming up to us to bring free beer -mmm….

Anyhoo, we had a total blast, big thanks to the very hospitable Steve who runs the place, to Jay who did a fantastic job of engineering, and particularly to the Beer Angel, who we wanted to take home with us, but sadly weren’t allowed. We’re all hugely looking forward to playing there again, and can’t recommend the place too highly.

The following morning, Stuart rang again to say we’d been offered a cancellation gig for Friday at the Golden Lion in Fishponds. And an absolute hoot that was as well, we really seem to be getting the hang of this “gigging” thing.

On Saturday (as actually arranged in advance) we played the very fine Old Fox in Bishopston, a gig remarkable for Martin’s lucky escape from the lady who lusting after him so much she was actually drooling… and our collective lucky escape from a lynching… As we neared the end of the set, some wag in the audience shouted for us to play “Sweet Home Alabama”. I happen to know the first four bars of this, so for a giggle I played them. Martin picked it up and carried on. Stuart joined in. Suzi can remember the first verse…Suddenly we find ourselves playing a song none of us really know and have never played together, all the way through, to rapturous applause. Maybe this “practice ” thing is overrated…

And, on Sunday, I took my entire family down to visit Suzi in one of her locals for her birthday, and was gently blackmailed into playing a Dotty and Totty set. It was such a pleasure to see my dear Dem actually throwing gallons of beer down her throat (instead of painting ceilings as usual), although the Bouncy Castle Experiment looked a little hazardous to my mind…lucky I got all the kids out of the way first.

For the curious, I can now reveal that Suzi’s actual age is – and I quote – “Twenty-one, and if you don’t stop smirking like that I’ll break your fingers”.

I point out that this would be a silly thing to for her do, where would she find another guitar player like me?

She smiles sweetly. “Any f*cking gutter I care to look in”.

Fair enough. Onwards and upwards – this week’s pre-planned itinererererary goes like this –

Fri 11th – King’s Arms, Bath
Excellent rock pub, nice beer, suits me…

Sat 12th – Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common
Er actually – this is also excellent rock pub, nice beer – as it happens.

Finally, a big thank you to my pal Disco Dave, who kindly emblazoned the legend “Rock Knob” on the back of my van. Naturally, he will suffer for this in due course; dear readers, I look forward to describing the details of my vengeance (which will be comprehensive, final, and possibly terminal) in these pages in the near future.

‘Til next time

Toodle Pip!


Date – 30/04/2007

Felicitations, folks!

My, it’s been a busy old weekend in the world of pub rock. Friday’s outing to the Brunel in Bedminster was beset by technical problems – Martin’s rig died for a while, there was a horrible mains humming noise that wouldn’t stop, and I had trouble getting a decent tone out my amp. The latter at least was self-inflicted; I had borrowed a wireless rig so’s I could prance around the place like a great big ’80s hair-metal nancy-boy guitarist and really annoy Martin. Unfortunately, this set-up seemed to suck all the testosterone out of my guitar, so unless I can find the right amp settings to compensate, or acquire some Guitar Viagra, I’ll have to stay fettered by cables in future. 🙁

Apologies to anyone who turned up at the Golden Guinea in Bristol on Saturday to see Dotty and Totty; due a confused booking agent, we were instead playing in Paulton down in Zummerzet. Here we met my favourite psychologist, the grumpiest landlord in the world, the entertaining Hightower and his Magnificent Mohican, and a lovely chap who was so far down the road of scrumpy poisoning that he had to be gently led away half way through the evening. Although maybe he was just suffering from the shock of seeing Suzi being the first to arrive at a gig…

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, we all had a hoot playing in the beautiful sunshine at the Farriers, and it was great to see so many familiar faces. I particularly enjoyed the landlord’s cries of “Mediocre! Mediocre!” after several of the numbers. It wasn’t until I got home and looked in the dictionary… So that’s why Suzi made a point of announcing that “…just after we finish up here, there’s an excellent band playing in the pub just down the road…”

Right then; what’s up for this week, I hear you ask…

Oh – since Friday’s booking has apparently been moved, it means we’re only out one night – Saturday – but the good news is that we’re at the Old Fox in Bishopston. A nice, friendly lively pub with a row of bikes outside. Works for me!

That’s about it for this episode, except for wishing our Li’l Sister Chloe a Hicky Burpday for Tuesday; if she doesn’t manage to find her keys by then, she’ll be celebrating it in the gutter…

…well, that’s where I ended up celebrating most of mine, anyway….

Til next time


Date – 23/04/2007

Hello my little April showers!

And a warm welcome to those new recipients of this vaguely weekly nonsense who were introduced by our chum Colin The Clipboard at last Saturday’s outing at the Dursley Arms in Trowbridge. Remember, when you can’t stand the puns any more, email us and we’ll stop sending it. And, if you like this kind of thing, there’s more on www.angelupfront.co.uk .

Gotta also say Hi to old buddies Damon and the almost-prosecutably desirable Cath, new buddy Tammy NotWynette, and thanks to all those people with the consummate good taste to say how much they enjoyed the gig.

Now, the DA has a strange low sloping ceiling bit just behind where we set up, and all through the first set I was wondering why there seemed to be the occasional extra bass drum beat… All was revealed at half time as Stuart, rubbing the back of his head, and with eyes spinning in opposite directions, remarked, “You know, I think I’ll just move the kit forward a little bit.” Happily, the structure of the building still seems intact, and Stuart played the second set with his eyes revolving in the same direction as per usual.

Martin seems to have developed the unfortunate habit of writing on young ladies after gigs, so for all future outings he will be frisked for writing materials, and, as I believe is statutory for Canadians, will not be allowed anything more dangerous than a crayon.

Right then, we have a jolly exciting week coming up; it goes like this: –

Friday 27th – The Brunel, Bedminster, Bristol
Nice, friendly place, and a huge stage to ponce around on – fantastic!

Saturday 28th – Angel Under Cover at the Golden Guinea, Redcliffe
Me and Suz shaking our duo thing in the middle of Bristol, hopefully we won’t get arrested…

Sunday 29th – Farriers, Fishponds
A 2:00 start, this one, so I’ll probably bring my nine-year-old daughter, partly so she can remind Suzi of all the words, but mostly to carry all the heavy stuff in and out. And if Martin tries to write on her, he’ll have my missus to answer to….well, to correct the spellings, anyway.

Right then, that’s your lot for now, I’m off to watch my beloved Dem paint the ceilings… fantastic woman!



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Date – 16/04/2007

Hello, my little peccadilloes!

And how are we all this cheery morning? In this week’s episode, Martin returns from honeymoon, and is still the happiest man on the planet, and we play a rather jolly fine gig on Friday at Gorse Hill in Swindon (I love it when people request extra guitar solos!).

There was a little trepidation in the air for Saturday’s gig at Chequers in Hanham, though – some months ago, we played there (the very night after playing Gorse Hill, coincidentally), and experienced The Unfortunate Incident With The Chocolate And The Hormones, which required some rather delicate diplomacy to overcome.

However, this time there were no problems with intra-band bickerings, but we did have an unforeseen little difficulty.

We got there all right – but it turned out that the pub had been taken over a week before, the new owners denied all knowledge of any bands, and any previous owner’s booking arrangements, and probably would have denied the existence of the pub itself had we not been leaning against it. Oh dear.

We lurk outside for a while, apologising to all the people who have come along to see us (and apologies also to anyone who we missed on the night); I note with some satisfaction that none of them actually go in the place now that we’re not playing. Ha!

So, what to do? A couple of quick phone calls to various other venues reveals that nobody else wants us to give us money to play tonight, but cunning Alan has noticed that the pub next door (the rather lovely Old Lock and Weir) has a fine selection of beers available, so we try some out. They’re very nice. We try some more. They’re very nice as well. As the evening continues, they become even more amicable. By the end of the night, Chloe (the band’s now-officially adopted Rock and Roll Little Sister) declared the evening to be “the best gig you’ve ever done”. And then fell over.

It’s nice to be appreciated.

Right then, this weekend sees us down in Trowbridge, we’ll be at the Dursley Arms on Saturday night (assuming the pub hasn’t been abducted by aliens or something); and also assuming that Suzi survives her week in Scotland without succumbing to alcohol poisoning. I do hope she comes back safe and sound – I’ve just remembered that in a moment of weakness I lent her twenty quid on Saturday….

‘Til next time, then


Date – 10/04/2007

Hello my little Easter bunnies!

And a brilliant start to Last Week In Rock, we all had a fantastic time at Martin’s wedding, we were chuffed to bits to see him being the happiest man on the planet, and he was in such good humour that even Suzi was starting to like him. I trust he’ll make up for this when he gets back from honeymoon.

More good news, as Stuart (in response to some Caledonian bleating in his ear) managed to conjure up an extra Dotty and Totty booking for last Friday, at the Portcullis in Staple Hill. And an excellent night we had of it, I was particularly impressed with the rather senior gentleman who bought us both a drink (hurrah!), gave Suzi a rose (aaahh), and snuck up behind me and started massaging my shoulders (errrr…)

And, on Sunday afternoon, your favourite Dynamic Duo trotted off to Berkeley to the Boar’s Head (sure enough, they had one stuck on the wall; makes you wonder about the King’s Arms, don’t it?). Since it’s school hols, I brought along my eight-year old daughter so she could sit and worship her “Soooooozi” from the wings; she repaid this kindness by trying to choke to death on a bag of crisps in the middle of one of my solos. Taking the Hendrix tribute thing a bit far, in my opinion…

On the plus side, the pub had a whip-round for us to play on a bit longer; since we had requests to repeat a couple of the tracks we’d already done, (and thanks to a helpful drunk who disabled the PA mid-song by tripping over a cable), we managed to fill the extra time without having to make anything up on the spot.

By this weekend (if Martin isn’t too exhausted), the whole band will be back in action again (woo-hoo!), and things will be back to what passes for normal in these parts: –

Friday 13th April: Gorse Hill Club, Swindon
Always a good gig (gle), hope nobody’s superstitious….

Saturday 14th April: Chequers, Hanham
Last time we played here, it was f-r-e-e-zing cold, but if the weather stays nice you’ll be able to sit outside by the river, and watch the ducks going deaf. Martin will attempt to sink a swan by playing its resonant frequency with all his pedals switched on.

And then he’ll probably want to eat it….



Date – 02/04/2007

Good morning!

And what a bee-yoo-tiful sunny morning it is, too! I’m glad to report that the Angel Under Cover rock’n’roll circus is still packing ’em in; Saturday’s gig in Ebley was a giggle, and we were well entertained by the sloppy drunk who, in between falling over, very politely asks – via a helpful English/Drunk translator – if he could sing along with us on one number – it’s his birthday, apparently. Having secured a promise that he’ll be taken home straight afterwards, we are happy to oblige. So we give him a mike, and he stands there, grinning inanely and gently swaying in the breeze, making occasional odd noises to the vast amusement of the regulars. I almost wish we’d plugged the mike in.

Right then, back to the future; Stuart is back from holiday – jet-lagged, although in his case you can’t tell the difference – but since Martin is getting married today, and insists on going off on some “honeymoon” thingy, the band still won’t be out on the rampage this coming weekend – but patience, my lovelies, it won’t be long now.

Since Martin – unaccountably – refused point-blank to take me and Suz on honeymoon with him, we’re going to stay home and sulk, except for Sunday the 8th, when we’re doing our Dotty and Totty thing at the Boar’s Head in Berkeley, which is up the A38 somewhere towards Gloucester.

This one is a 6pm start, and since it’s Easter Day, maybe one of us will dress up as a bunny rabbit for the occasion. And perhaps the other one should wear a pretty bonnet, and carry a basket of flowers, and skip merrily through the forest to the gig, with our hair in bunches, wearing a gingham dress.

Of course, it’ll have to be Suz in the rabbit outfit – don’t want to look stupid now, do I?

Cheery Bye


PS Someone has kindly just pointed out that these emails were supposed to encourage people to come to gigs, not to frighten them off. Can’t think what he means….

Date – 26/03/2007

Hello peepsters!

Gosh, this “only-one-gig-a-week” thing is a bit disorientating. Still, it’s better than none, I guess. Sunday saw Dotty and Totty hit Melksham, and having successfully remembered that the clocks had changed (well, actually I found out when me mum rang me in the morning, and Suz found out when she turned up an hour late for work…), we were actually both there in good time, and had a jolly pleasant evening there.

Suzi spent ages afterwards catching up with some old pals, whilst our own dear cuddle addict Chloe muzzily explained to me at some length that she “…only drinksh when she comesh out to shee Shuzhi and me play gigsh…”

She does make up for lost time rather efficiently, I thought…

I can see where this one is heading – “I only drink when I come out to see you lot” => “It’s all your fault that I drink” => “You’ll have to pay for all my drinks”. I’ll hand that one over to our Scottish financial management department to deal with.

Okay then, this weekend (according to Chris, who keeps track of these things) we’re playing on Saturday 31st at the Old Crown in Ebley, near Stroud. Wherever that is. Sounds like another getting lost opportunity to me. It’s supposed to be a 9:00 start, and (except for the map reading errors) there’s every chance that it will be.

Also, the good news is that Stuart will be back from holiday this week, so proper band gigs can’t be far away!

Highlight of the month, though, is that Martin and his beloved Vicky are getting married on Monday. Imagine the hordes of weeping nymphettes at the next few gigs, as they espy the ring on his finger and realise that our ruggedly handsome bass player is now well and truly unavailable.

(I suspect that Martin may have to imagine them as well, but I’m far too polite to say so).

Right, that’s it for this episode – if anyone knows where Ebley is, do drop me a line, won’t you…

Big hugs


PS Thanks to my mate Andy for the following…

DIY Scam Warning I’m not usually one for posting nonsense about potential scams but I had a close escape yesterday. I went in to B&Q on my way home from work, as I came through the door some old guy dressed in orange asked me if I wanted decking. Fortunately, I got the first punch in and that was the end of that. Those less suspecting might not be so lucky. Be careful out there.

Date – 19/03/2007

Oh dearie me!

I was getting so carried away writing the epic rambling drivel, that there was one teensy little detail – okay, it was actually the only possible piece of useful information in the whole of the email – that I got ever-so-slightly not-exactly-correct.

The more perspicacious amongst you (i.e. the sweatiest) will have spotted that next weekend’s Dotty and Totty gig is in fact on SUNDAY the 25th in Melksham, NOT Friday as some IDIOT guitarist seems to have thought. That seems to make more sense of the 6:00 start time, now he comes to think of it.

Sorry ’bout that, folks – I would say that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible – except that this is, sadly, normal service.

So, the only question is – do we tell Suzi not to show up there on Friday, or shall we treat it as an initiative test for her?

Answers on a postcard to the usual address!

Cheers now


Date – 19/03/2007

Howdy pardners!

And what an interesting weekend it’s been on the local music trail. With Stuart off on hols, and Martin busy organising his upcoming nuptials, it was left to Dotty and Totty – the awesome Angel Undercover rock machine – to ride the lonesome rock’n’roll prairie. These were our first “proper” duo gigs, so with our usual professionalism and forethought, we scrabbled together a setlist and a couple of rehearsals and went for it. There was one song I hadn’t even figured out how to play until the afternoon of the first gig. Nervous? Worried? Us? You betcha…. As it turned out, everything went rather well on Friday. I met up with our beloved official stalkers Chris and Chloe on the way, we found the pub on the second attempt, set up, and all went fine. Nice venue, healthy mix of punters, lots of jolly singing along, and afterwards, an unmistakeable air of relief for Suzi and me.

Saturday was a bit trickier, I had too little kip and too mad a day, and set off for the gig half an hour late, almost asleep at the wheel, but figured I could just about get to Swindon in time. I did, too. The wrong part of Swindon, unfortunately. Lots of frantic asking-for-directions-following-the-first-three-then-forgetting-the-rest-and-stopping-to-ask-for-more later, I finally screech to a halt outside the venue with 15 minutes to spare before we’re due to start. It takes at least 40 mins to drag the gear in and set it up… I burst in through the door, and am so relieved see our good buddy Swindon Al standing there, I almost kiss him. Hello mate, how are you, how’s it going, put that beer down, come and carry some gear in…. Bless him, we drag everything in, get it all put together, only 5 minutes late, all we need now is a Suzi… I check my phone, she has gotten lost much better than I did and resorted to flagging down innocent motorists and demanding to be told how to get here. A quick soundcheck (kerran-g-g-g! – yup, it’s working), and off we go. And all is well, again there are lots of people dancing around, I am particularly pleased to see some frantic air guitar going on, it’s not just me for once… Half way through the second set, I spy Chloe and Chris, who have only just arrived; they have managed to get lost even better than Suzi, and spent the last hour exploring Swindon’s roundabout collection. Such persistence and dedication cannot go unrewarded – me, I’d have stopped at the next pub I saw and settled in there for the night instead – and Suzi buys a round in! I have to fan Swindon Al back to consciousness before we set off for home.

So now, back to our usual cocky frame of mind, we’re looking forward to our next duo outing: –

Friday 25th – the Grapes, Bank St, Melksham
And – ooh, it says here we start playing at 6:00, blimey, I’ll miss me tea, where’s my agent…?

Right, that’s your lot for now, if you’re in Melksham on Friday we’ll see you there, if you’re not, you’ll wish you had been….

Happy Trails


Date – 12/03/2007

Buenos Dias, amigos!

Well, it’s been another busy weekend in the alternative reality of rock’n’roll. Friday night in Shepton Mallet was a little tarnished for me by a parking fine – I was only unloading, I was going to move it in a minute, honest – but buffed up again by the other three kindly chipping in towards it. Ahh, bless their little hearts.

Sunday at Peasedown had a less than promising start – Stuart announces that, having spent the whole day breaking up concrete with a pickaxe, he’s knackered his hands, and isn’t sure how well he’ll play tonight. Within the nanosecond, he is being subjected to a Proper Telling Off from our sympathetic vocalist, who offers a few choice opinions on the subjects of Professionalism, The Importance Of Thinking Ahead, and Why Are All Men So Stupid. We start up, and by the end of the first song poor Stuart’s face is a picture of agony, as both sticks go flying out of his lifeless paws. Oh dear, we may not make it through another song. We try our luck anyway, and get through it passably well.

Slowly the life comes back to his abused little mitts, even as the crowd slowly seeps away to sample the delights of late-night clubbing in Bath, leaving us with only a half full pub to play to, and with a little judicious set list juggling, we manage to get through the night. A happy ending – the pub seems to have paid us significantly more than expected, which will just about offset the rest of yesterday’s parking fine. Good, this means I can go home now that I’m back in credit.

Was also lovely to see Stuart’s other half Aleida again – and you thought Suzi was hard on him – and of course regulars Chris and our dear Chloe, who – due to lack of phone signal – had to actually listen to us for once, ha ha.

Right, as previously advertised, Stuart’s away for a few weeks now, but – fear not – we can still make you miserable.

Yup, the dreaded Angel Undercover duo is going out on the prowl again, we really have been rehearsing properly this time, and we’re almost looking forward to it. I’ve dug out Suzi’s old and much-abused lighting rig to renovate; last night I spent a merry couple of hours in the garage tinkering with it. Noticing the thick grey mist rolling out the door, Dem remarked, “I didn’t know she had a smoke machine”. “She doesn’t”, I replied, grabbing the fire extinguisher. So, that’ll be a rewiring job, then.

Anyway, once I get all the gear working again, we’ll be out on…

Friday 16th March – Black Horse, New Road, Chippenham
According to my grubby little scrap of paper, we’re starting at 10:15, and won’t finish until half twelve. Way past bedtime. Who’s going to tuck me in, that’s what I’d like to know.

Saturday 17th March – Queensfield, Upper Stratton, Swindon
Now this one is an 8:30 start, so I stand a reasonable chance of getting up in the morning in time for Teletubbies.

If you want to come along to either gig – or even both – we’ll be glad to see a friendly face or two.

Finally, if you happened to be listening to GWR on Friday night around 2am, you’d have heard our darling Chloe on the way back from Shepton, phoning in to tell the world how lovely and talented we are. What a sweetheart, we never even put her up to it.

I reckon this could herald a new era of popularity for us; maybe it’s time we got some band T-shirts made up.

Tie-dyed ones…

Big Love


Date – 05/03/2007

Boragg Thungg, Earthlets!

And what an exciting weekend’s gigging we’ve had. Thursday’s outing to the King’s Arms was an unqualified success – a fantastic little pub, Bath Ales Gem – and everybody else was buying :o); and an excellent jukebox of Old Rock Tosh that I hadn’t heard for years. Highly recommended if ever you’re thirsty in Brislington. Was great to see my long-lost brother come along, plus a gaggle of old chums (and some young ones too), and we had an absolute hoot. The only slight disappointment was for Suzi – despite somebody having thoughtfully set alight to the derelict pub across the road (so we got a free blue flashing lighting effects backdrop), she wasn’t quick enough to catch herself a fireman to take home. Never mind love; better luck next time, eh?

Saturday at the Railway Tavern in Fishponds was also a fine jolly jaunt; with another unexpected appearance, this time from venerable father-in-law, who reminded me to go out and have a peer at the lunar eclipse during the break. I had to explain to the confused lad stood next to me how they work. “Look, if you wave your arm, and watch really carefully, you can see your shadow moving on the moon”.

I think he’s still there…

Sunday in the Litten Tree was definitely a weird one. Martin and I both went for the Free Food Option, which is perhaps why we were in much better mood than the other two – and although I played like a ham-fisted numpty amnesiac, at least I was a happily well-fed ham-fisted numpty amnesiac. Although my guitar does now have bruises on it…

Now, I’d always thought that Bath was a city of culture and refinement, but in fact the punters ranged from (apart from our beloved travelling fanbase) a gaggle of footy-chanting imbeciles – sharing a brain cell, but otherwise devoid of charm; a forty-something hopeless drunk who invaded the stage and then wasn’t quite sure what to do when he got there; – and, best of all, the eccentric who insisted on handing Suzi an unfeasibly large sum of Her Majesty’s Currency after the gig “to buy a drink with”. Since it wouldn’t be possible to drink that much and live – let alone drive home – she very decently handed the wedge to Stuart to divide up. So, a happy ending – although somehow we still had to scrounge change off our favourite punters for the parking machine…

Anyhoo, this weekend sees a couple of outings into Somerset, which will go a bit like this: –

Fri 9th March – Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallet
A late start, this one – we probably won’t get going until 10:00 or so, as we don’t usually finish ’til gone midnight, when Martin will have to dash off, leaving his glass slipper behind, before his underwear turns back into white mice…

Sat 10th March – Red Post Inn, Peasedown St John
Somewhere between Bath and Radstock, and just round the corner from my dear friend “G”. If her life isn’t spinning too far out of control this week, I’ll see if I can get her along so we can all enjoy some of the impromptu theatrical “happenings” that go on around her all the time.

Right then, either we’ll see you there, or we won’t!

Peace, love, and a special big sticky baboon-armed hug for Our Chloe


Note: This email may be recorded by Angel Up Front for training purposes; and also by Florida Sea Life Centre for training porpoises.

Date – 27/02/2007

‘Allo treacle…

…And how are we this lovely sunny Monday? Blimey, a whole weekend with no gigs. Did you miss us?

Not to worry, we have a fun-packed week in store.

Starting off with a new one, on Thursday (apparently Thursday night is the new Friday night; also, I’m told that Very Dark Grey Indeed is the new black, and giraffe earwax is the new tofu):-

Thurs 1st March: King’s Arms, Brislington, Bristol
The King’s Arms is right on the A4, and very easy to find. Apparently. Let’s hope so, eh?

Saturday 3rd March: Railway Tavern, Fishponds, Bristol
It’s back to a venue I vaguely remember as The One I Didn’t Have To Drive To And Had A Terrible Headache The Next Morning. Well, I certainly enjoyed meself there last time. I wonder what it’s like?

Sunday 4th March: Litton Tree, in Bath
I don’t know too much about this place, except that they said they’d feed us big roast dinners! Likely to be my favourite gig of the week. Oh, and it’s an 8:30 start, so we’d better eat fast. Not a problem.

Now, you’d better make the most of us while we’re around, ‘cos the following weekend we’re playing a mini-tour of Zummerset, and then there are no more Angel Up Front gigs until April! – Actually, I think that’s worth more than one exclamation mark, don’t you? …. There are no more Angel Up Front gigs until April!!!!! – That’s more like it.

Yup, that’s right, Stuart is off on holiday, so there’ll be three whole weeks without us making a horrible noise….

…Well, not entirely. You see, Suzi and I kinda blackmailed him into booking some duo gigs for us… think of our poor little children starving without any gig money to buy them food… their innocent little tear-stained faces….we’ll send ’em round to your house…. That did it.

And, bless him; Stuart came up trumps with a whole bunch of gigs for our hardly-motivated-by-financial-gain-at-all Suzi And The Banned Cheese project to keep us solvent while he’s away. Now, we just need to learn some of the songs, and we’ll be fine…

So, best catch the band before we take a break, and the other two have to be re-trained again…

Cheers now,


Date – 19/02/2007

Howdy pardners!

Did you know it’s George Washington’s birthday today? You didn’t? Well it is, so there. It’s also my beloved Dem’s birthday; she claims to be “21 plus VAT”, which is probably a damning indictment of this fine country’s tax legislation.

Although, as I pointed out this morning as I left for work, such a high tax rate would explain why I couldn’t afford to buy her a present.

Judging by the noise, it was one of the larger items of furniture which crashed into the front door as I slammed it behind me and sprinted away.

Anyways, I’m happy to report an excellent weekend’s gigging; highlights for me were watching the landlord of the Queen Vic in Stroud doing the Time Warp in warped time; and being repeatedly told by an incredibly enthusiastic drunk that he thought my guitar playing was “utterly spastic, man”. Suzi kindly said that she often thought that as well.

And, we gotta hand it to our pals Chloe, Mark, and Chris, who made it out to both our “away” gigs this weekend, despite getting horribly lost and confused on the way, and almost being refused entry to the Melksham one – where incidentally, Martin had a dispute with the local constabulary over his right to unload his kit in the middle of the High Street. Now, if only he’d followed my example, and left a sign in the windscreen saying “Rock God On Call”, he could park wherever he likes, enjoy diplomatic immunity, and have strangers stop and point him out in the street.

Anyways, we now have coming up a WHOLE WEEKEND OFF. We don’t normally like to do this sort of thing, but alas there are a few real-life things we gotta get done. We’ll try to make it up to y’all by playing three gigs next week instead, okay?

Peace and Love, and Jelly and Ice Cream


Date – 12/02/2007

Hello chums!

Well, it looks like the long bitter winter (both days of it) is finally over, and no doubt you’ll be glad to hear that the mighty Angel Up Front rock machine managed to carry on regardless. (Unlike my buddy Disco Dave, who missed work last week ‘cos he got attacked by a gang of hoodie-wearing penguins in Cheltenham High Street).

Friday saw a jaunt through the frozen wastes down to Weston, to play the rather pleasant Scally’s, where – despite Stuart’s misgivings – we conclusively proved mine and Martin’s theory that Bikers Actually Really Dig Cheesy Disco. Also we were pleased to see our pals Mark and the fantastic Chloe, who had booked a B&B and stayed overnight in Weston just to see little old us! Ahh bless, such dedication cannot go unrewarded.

On Sunday, we arrived a little late at the Oak in Chipping Sodbury, but not to worry, so did everybody else. We had a fine night in the end, though, and are pleased to announce the first step in our shameless self-promotion campaign. Yes folks, as promised a couple of weeks ago, the very efficient Aly turned up with a box full of AUF badges. Not badgers, as I had previously been led to believe – apparently the RSCPA take a dim view of that sort of thing. So, these lovely items – as shown in the attached photo, which I guess now constitutes our merchandising catalogue – are available while stocks last, for a very reasonable price directly from us at gigs; or via the website for a very reasonable sum plus an outrageous swingeing punitive fee for postage, packing, and lining Martin’s pocket. So – now you can’t afford not to come to gigs!

AUF badge

As Suzi pointed out last night to potential wearers of these desirable Objets d’Art, “We’ll be able to get on your t*ts all the time, instead of just at gigs”.

Right then, on to next weekend’s entertainment: –

Friday 16th February Parson’s Nose, Melksham
Back in Melksham for the second time in a month. What a lucky little town it is! To be fair, they got away without us all last year, so it’s about time they took their share of the punishment.

Saturday 17th February Queen Vic, Stroud
Aha, always a great gig, this one. Always lively, always fun, always wish somebody else was driving…

And now, I’ll attempt to catch up on some of the sleep I’ve not been getting enough of lately



Date – 05/02/2007

Hey gang!

I’m happy to report a spanktastic gig last Saturday at the Old Fox, and we all had big jolly fun – despite the fact that my head cold had left me completely deaf, so I couldn’t hear what I was playing. Have to say though, hearing only the guitar solos that were inside my head, instead of the awful racket that comes out of my amps, was a vast improvement.

For me, anyway.

Anyhoo, great fun, and it was a particular pleasure to catch up with some old pals I haven’t seen for far too long. My dear old friend Patti was rather taken with our Martin, and wants to have his children. Sadly, he doesn’t have any, so I offered to send mine round to her in the morning; apparently, this wasn’t quite what she had in mind.

Later, when Martin and I were approached by a couple of very nice young ladies who came to chat to us, I was a little startled to hear a menacing voice “Back off, bitch!” from behind me. I turned around to see a beaming Patti, radiating innocence with just a hint of one-false-move-and-you’re-dead malevolence in her eye…

Also on Saturday, Stuart’s shameful extracurricular activities came to light; he went out gigging with some fellow hippies last week and played in public – amongst other things – a Kylie number. Oooccchhhhh nnnooooooo!!! The shame!!!! Suzi had no choice but to tell everybody in the pub, so they could all help castigate the naughty percussionist.

Not that we gave him a hard time about it, oh no – but it’s such an embarrassing thought that I Just Can’t Get It Out Of My Head. I’d like to forget all about it, but I Should Be So Lucky… oh, stop it. As we packed up, I was vastly amused to see that someone had appended our poster with the words “Kylie Tribute Night”….

Right then, where are we next weekend…?

Okay, it says here we’re at Scally’s in Weston-Super-Mud on Friday 9th. Hopefully we can guarantee a Kylie-free zone, and stick to our regular diet of thoughtfully selected music of great taste and impeccable credibility. Okay, with maybe just a little disco cheese-metal thrown in at the end…

Then, on Sunday 11th, we’re up in Chipping Sodbury at the Royal Oak, this I guess will be an 8:30 start (unless someone tells me different), and we seem to have more fun every time we play here.

Right then, I’m off now to continue my search for the Best Ever Cold Remedy. I’ll start with a bottle of whiskey, a warm comfy bed, and some nubile wenches to rub in soothing balm. I’ll let you know how I get on…..

Love, hugs, and snot


Date – 29/01/2007

Top o’the mornin’ to ye!

Aahh, the ups and downs of the rock’n’roll lifestyle. Thursday’s jaunt to Melksham was a bit strange, but it was good to see my local buddy Steve, and also to meet Suzi’s chum Ray The Peckham Axe God.

It was Ray who sabotaged things by offering to buy us all a drink in the middle of the second set – Suzi was put off her Ozzy Osbourne impersonation by Martin shouting in her ear demanding pork scratchings, and I was so confused by her frantic “what do you want to drink?” gesturing, that I screwed up as well. In retrospect, I think it was the unfamiliar concept of Suzi offering drinks that threw me. And, despite all the chaos it caused, the promised round never arrived anyway…

Having broken two strings in one gig (again), I realise I shall have to give in to Martin’s persistent badgering, and actually fit some decent ones; mind you, he also wants me to buy an amp that he likes better, stop dressing like a twat and playing cheesy widdly guitar solos, and develop a taste for 80’s alt-rock miserabilia.

Let’s start with the strings, eh? (Especially since he already gave me a couple of sets…)

Saturday’s outing to Pilton was an altogether different can of tuna. With a gleaming, re-strung Precious, I eventually found the place (thanks to directions from the local village idiot), and it turned out to be a clean, well-appointed and roomy place – nothing like the sleazy dives we’re used to. We’re still setting the PA up when the guy comes out and pays us for the night! We’re tempted to pack up again and leg it on the spot, but can’t face lugging all the gear back down the stairs just yet…

We set up, and a shoddily hung over Suzi arrives, berating us for not having answered her calls asking how to find the place. We check our phones, and realise that there is no mobile signal in this part of town. She complains that we should have phoned to tell her there was no signal…

Apparently she spent the previous night having a stand-up fight with the staff in her local pub. Funny – she normally picks on us. Anyway, off we go – the place is far from jam-packed, apparently the locals can’t cope with being out two nights in a row. The set is free from disasters; we even wheel out our new cheesetactically dodgy number, which goes down a storm – meaning we’ll have to keep it in the set, ha ha! – and the guy rebooks us for a night when they’ll have the place full. Can’t say fairer than that. My only complaint was that there is no pie shop in Pilton, so I shall have to bring me own grub next time – I fair near starved to death on the way home.

Right, this weekend we’re back on more familiar territory; on Saturday we’re at the Old Fox in Bishopston, right on the Gloucester Road; it’s small, it’s grubby, and it’s right around the corner from my mate Ian; who is also small and grubby, and – as everyone now knows – plays with Billy In The Lowground. I may even break with tradition and buy him a pint if he drags himself out for the night…

‘Til next time – Abyssinia!


Date – 22/01/2007

Ey oop, lads and lasses!

Well, we have another busy weekend to report from the World Of RawkTM. Friday wasn’t the smoothest-running of nights; Martin, Stuart and I duly arrived and were mid-way through setting up when the landlord comes in to check we’ll be “ready to start at 8:30”. Puzzlement sets in, as we aren’t due to start until 9:00, as per normal arrangements. My watch tells me it’s currently 8:27. A quick glance at the chaotic sea of equipment cases strewn about the room, the labyrinthine tangle of cables, and Suzi count of zero makes an 8:30 start look a little on the unlikely side. This is confirmed by a call from the poor girl, who informs us that her car wouldn’t start, so she has had to find a replacement and is now finally on her way. Stuart explains the revised starting time arrangements to her, and then hands me the phone and walks away, leaving me to deal with the irate explosion on the other end.

We debate whether we should each take a guess at her actual arrival time, and chalk them up on the blackboard hanging conveniently on the wall…but chicken out.

A surprisingly short – but nonetheless seemingly interminable – time later, a red Fiat slithers to a halt outside, and whilst the engine makes worrying “pink pink” cooling-off noises, I lead a shivering frazzled vocalist inside (she has procured a car with no heating, as well as no tax, apparently), and we get underway. The gig goes okay, the landlord is somewhat appeased, and it is only afterwards that Stuart admits to the possibility that perhaps he had in fact agreed an early start with the pub, but hadn’t remembered to tell the rest of us….

Saturday at the Crown and Horseshoe was much more fun, everyone arrived without incident, and we had a blast, and was nice to see a few familiar faces. Stuart also tells us that we’ve been offered a cancellation gig the following night if we want it… Now, Suzi has a load of college work to catch up on, Martin has a whole bunch of marking to be done before Monday morning, I am knackered out….of course we’ll do it.

So, Sunday sees us rolling up at the Royal Oak in Chipping Sodbury for a very entertaining evening, improved for me by a visit from the Beer Fairy, and a conversation afterwards with our mate Ally who it turns out can help with the band’s PR initiative by providing us with (if I understand correctly) a large number of badgers, on very reasonable terms.

Apparently we can have whatever we want written on them, although how they persuade them to stand still whilst being painted is a bit of a mystery to me…

Anyways, this week we’re off to Melksham on Thursday 25th (going out on a school night, tsk tsk). We’re at the West End Inn, where they don’t normally put bands on, but they’re going to give it a go and see what happens. Promises to be interesting, one way or another….

And, on Saturday 27th, we’re off down to Zummerset, to Pilton Working Men’s Club, which according to my mate Ian (who plays in the rather superb rock / folk outfit The Brew Band) is an excellent gig. So, particularly looking forward to that one.

Right then, that’s your lot ’til next time, normally I put a rubbish pun in around now but I can’t think of one, so tell you what: think of your favourite crappy joke; now go and tell it to somebody, and watch ’em groan.

Then you can feel better all day, content in the knowledge that you have spread a little despair; by making the world on average a slightly more miserable place, you have made me – in relative terms – a little happier. Which is nice, isn’t it?


PS Hang on – just thought of an idea – we should definitely go with the idea of marketing those Angel Up Front badgers – we could have about a dozen different sorts to sell at gigs, and then we could encourage people to “collect the entire set”…

Hello again folks!

I’ve just been roundly chastised for an error in the last missive.

My good buddy Ian has pointed out that his (very wonderful) rock / folk outfit, which I mistakenly referred to as The Brew Band, has in fact been known as “Billy In The Lowground” since at least three years ago. You can check this for yourself by going to http://www.billyinthelowground.com.

I knew that, but anything that happened in the last five years is a bit hit-and-miss in the old memory department.

Anyway, apparently they are all not only marvellous and talented musicians, but are also irresistably attractive to the opposite sex, and are wonderful, kind sagacious people, and it is well worth buying them all a pint just to have the chance to get to know them better.

All right?

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa………..

Date – 15/01/2007

Hello again folks!

And welcome again to the ever-exciting world of Angel Up Front, your favourite aspect of Bristol’s thriving underground rock’n’roll subculture.

We had a pleasant start to the year at the King’s Arms in Bath, for once none of us was ill, nothing broke down, and we even managed to play in a reasonably coherent fashion. To keep things interesting, we threw in a few new numbers, plus some old ones that everyone hoped we’d forgotten about (well, Martin obviously had), and we’re working on learning a bunch more new stuff we’ll be wheeling out in the next few weeks.

We also had a good giggle last Friday at the Golden Lion in Fishponds, was great to see some old pals again, although the evening was slightly tarnished by a sordid incident which the tabloid press would doubtless relate under the banner headline, “GROPING GRANNY GRASPS GUITARIST’S GOOLIES”. So, in addition to the Mangotsfield Groper, I have now become a victim of the Fishponds Fiddler. I didn’t cheer up until the landlord spent several hours pressing free beer and food on us…(Yes Martin, free food, see what you miss out on by going home early?)

Actually, I’ll have to start being nicer to Martin – it was his birthday this week, Stuart gave him a rather fine bottle of wine, whereas cheapskates Suzi and I each bought him a t-shirt – all things considered, I think he hid his disappointment rather well…

Anyways, coming up this week…

Friday 19th January: Prince of Orange, Yatton
This is a new gig for us, so it’s Boldly Into The Unknown. To be on the safe side, I’ll be bringing a retinue of native bearers, trackers, a full inoculation kit in case of infection, a box of bandages in case of accidental injury, a large bottle of brandy in case of snake bite, and a small snake.

Saturday 20th January: Crown and Horseshoe, Oldland Common,
Bristol Always enjoy this one; even though this is the place where, last time, Stuart’s bass drum pedal was killed in action… maybe we’ll have a minute’s silence for it. If everyone asks nicely, we might even have five minutes silence. This idea could catch on – maybe eventually we could get venues to pay us not to play at all. This could be fantastic – we could get paid for not playing several venues on the same night. I wonder how much we’d get paid for not playing Wembley Arena? Pasadena Rose Bowl? Carnegie Hall? We could do an entire World Tour, without having to leave home…

Finally, whatever else you do this month, go see (on a night we’re not gigging, obviously) the fantastic Tenacious D film “Pick Of Destiny”, a copy of which was kindly supplied by my good buddy and notorious erotic arsonist “Disco Inferno” Dave, and which is guaranteed to bring a smile to your little chops.

Right then, we’ll either see you in Yatton, or Oldland Common, or…we won’t. Either way, we’ll be there, pushing back the frontiers of rock’n’roll, heroically traversing hitherto uncharted territories of musical entertainment, and generally making a nuisance of ourselves as usual. As ever, details, directions, and other stuff is on www.angelupfront.co.uk , and, as ever, if you want us to stop sending you this tosh, just send us cash…

Cheers now!


Date – 02/01/2007

Happy Noo Year, folks!

Hope y’all had a spanktastic Christmas, we had a rollercoaster ride of fun and excitement, we did a short-notice gig at the Brunel just before Christmas, played a slightly-messy-but-not-too-bad Dotty and Totty set the next night, and played a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Wiltshire) on Boxing Day, with a bucket of snot thrown in for good measure. Yes, our festive gigging was somewhat blighted by the Dread Seasonal Lurgy, which caught all of us except Stuart, and our poor Suz was so ill we actually had to cancel the Kings Arms in Brislington – so, sorry to all concerned, we’ll be back there in March instead.

Happily, though, she was just about well enough to get through the next night’s set at Gorse Hill in Swindon. A fitting end to the year’s gigging, we had a great night, despite a not-so-promising start… I actually managed to leave home on time (for once), merrily stonked onto the motorway…and promptly ground to a halt at the back of a sea of traffic. An hour later, and a mile further on, I managed to escape, get back on to a clear motorway, and floored it. It was a wild and windy night, howling gales and rain hammering down, and my poor little van was bouncing around all over the place. Absolutely nobody overtook me all the way there, either because I was travelling at near-light speed, or because they were all too scared to try and get past ‘cos I was using all three lanes at once. Anyroadup, we made it to Swindon in record time (only an hour late), got set up and ready to roll in a record fifteen minutes, and still had time to swallow a quick beer-and-nicotine cocktail before starting. And a fine night we had too, although by the end we were all about ready to drop.

Suzi was particularly pleased with the compliments about her voice being all sexy and husky that night, but I feel I should respectfully remind her of the much more important comments we got after the gig, that there “should have been more guitar solos” in the set, as they were “the best bit”.

Actually, I do think my playing benefited from my having been unable to sleep most of the previous night, so to pass the time I’d spent a merry few hours actually playing scales and stuff until it got light …

“See?” I say to my gravel-voiced band mate, “It does make a difference. I was up all night practicing”.

“Practicing what?” she asks, straight-faced.

With rapier wit worthy of the late Oscar Wilde, I respond by throwing everything within reach at the snot-ridden rat bag.

Right then, in typical rawk and roll fashion, we’ll be hitting 2007 running. Well, okay, staggering slightly. All right, then, stumbling around incoherently as usual.

We’re opening hostilities this year at the King’s Arms in Bath this Saturday, a fine venue, and hopefully we’ll all be disease-free by then.

And, the following Friday (12th), we’re at the Golden Lion in Fishponds, another personal favourite of mine.

Later in the month, we’re all over the show, from Yatton to Bristol to Pilton down in Zummerset…but don’t worry, we’ll tell you all about it nearer the time…

‘Til then, folks…

Toodle Pip!


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