Date – 21/12/2009
Aww, look at the pretty snow!
And for the gentleman who was in the large Audi in front of me this morning; yes, that is usually the pedal you need to push to make it go faster, but – actually – when there’s three inches of snow under your tyres – then if you don’t press it quite as hard as usual, you’ll find it’ll work a bit better for you. Although we did all enjoy the whizzy noise your wheels were making to accompany your amusing lack of forward progress…
Anyhoo, with the C-word nearly upon us, and shops reverberating with the merry jingle of cash tills, mixed with the festive strains of RATM, I can report a definitely slightly odd weekend in Rawk…
Friday saw all five of your favourite four-piece descend on the White Lion in Yate… Five? Yes, that’s right, we brought bassists both old and new with us – Martin played bass the first set, while Ben covered the second, with Martin joining in on rhythm guitar – because he can. And mighty fine fun it was, too.
Whereas on Saturday, we only needed three of us for the duo gig… Three? Yes, that’s because – having promised Queen Amy we’d play some acoustic stuff, and completely failed to learn any, Suzi and I took the easy way out and brought daughter Lily along to do an acoustic slot during the break. Actually, come to think of it, there were four of us – Ben appeared as well, and did sterling work on the carrying-heavy-things-and-even-buying-all-the-drinks front. What a magnificent chap he is!
In fact, I nearly didn’t let Lily go on, due to the presence of a large pack of drunken Santa-dressed twats, who in the course of twenty minutes had committed three falling-overs, five pint-spillages, one near-fight, and one bare-assed exposure offence. Happily, though, they left before anybody decided to get stuck into them on a major scale, and so Lily got to play to a very appreciative audience – so much so, that Suzi and I got booed when we came back on…
Still, we struggled through the second set (I did remembermostof it…) then knocked up a few dodgy acoustic renditions to round things off, and – as usual for duo gigs – somehow, we got away with it. Even if I did have to hand over most of my profit to Lily…and it was only as we were packing up that I discovered that one of the drunken Santas had nicked my gaffa tape…
Thurs 31st Queen Vic, Stroud
We’ll be out on New Year’s Eve, at the delightful Queen Vic in Stroud. Most pubs these days charge a few quid to get in on NYE, and I guess the Queen Vic will be no different – but whatever they’re charging, it’ll be worth it. Always brilliant fun in here, and for NYE the party animals will be out in force – and probably in fancy dress. Can’t wait…
…and that’s your lot for this year. It only remains to wish all our readers a Mary Christmas, and Harry New Year, and we’lll see y’all in January with an almighty hangover, thirteen pairs of socks, and a lovely jumper with reindeer on it… and, if I’ve been a very good boy, a new roll of gaffa tape… [editors note: I bet it’s stuck to the back of his head still, they probably tried to get it around the front over his mouth but were too drunk to complete the manoover (sorry, can’t spell that word, don’t want to either)]
Date – 14/12/2009
And I’m delighted to report that the Chaos Factor, so deplorably absent from recent AUF outings, is back up nudging the red line again. All was looking good for Friday’s trip to Swindon (recently twinned with Disneyland, what will they think of next), and despite the fact that we weren’t due to start until 10:00, we still managed to be late, courtesy of Suzi’s inability to find the right M4 junction. And the fact that I got slightly lost on the way.
But it wasn’t my fault.
We roll up, say hello to long-lost buddy Swindon Al, unload the gear, and then discover that the box ontaining the mikes, and my wireless system is nowhere to be seen… After a bit of hard thinking, we conclude that it is fifty miles away, still in idiot Alan’s garage.
But it wasn’t my fault.
After a fairly intense bout of swearing (largely directed at me, for some unaccountable reason), the day is saved by the lovely Cherry Poppin, who kindly lends Suzi a wireless mike rig for the night. I can make do using some spare leads, although this does make it harder to get out of the way of the savage-looking singer’s high kicks which keep coming unaccountably in my direction.
But it wasn’t my fault.
We get going, and the place fills up and becomes more lively. Suddenly we espy someone wearing a bizarre roast-chicken-shaped hat/mask thing. We manage not to stop in our tracks, and as soon as we finish the song, demand to know where they got it, we just have to get one for Stuart. They have some stashed behind the bar, and kindly donate one to the cause, so that he is able to fulfill that childhood dream of playing with a chicken on his head.
And that certainly isn’t my fault.
Right, this week, we have more potential for chaos coming up…
Fri 18th – White Lion, Yate
Nice and local (well, it is for me, anyway), and promises to be entertaining (chickens notwithstanding). Our mate Ally is supposed to be coming along, and if she can still remember her name by the end of the night, we shall be disappointed.
Sat 19th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds – Angel Undercover
Back in the court of Queen Amy for a rare duo gig. Now, we did promise Amy that we’d do an acoustic set, but due to circumstances beyond our control (it’s not my fault), Suzi and I have yet to actually sit down together with a guitar and work out what we’re doing (let alone actually learn it). And looking at my schedule for this week, I don’t think we’re going to, either. This means that we’ll have to either wheel out the old electric set, or go with the acoustic and make it up as we go along, or bribe my young Lily to come and cover for us…
I think I like Option Three best, even if it is going to cost me fortune in fizzy pop, crisps and sweeties. Whatever we do, I’m sure it’ll be entertaining … one way or another … but it won’t be my fault.
Date – 07/12/2009
And a fine and odd weekend that was in Planet Rawk(TM).
Friday’s trip to the Farriers was, I have to say, a little on the quiet side punter-wise – however, those that were there made a fine showing. Particular kudos to Morris the landlord, who decided to liven up events by trying to put Suzi off – repeatedly appearing behind the bar in a series of increasingly bizarre costumes. We all coped with the tramp outfit, the silly hat, the white platform shoes, and even the kinky boots; however, when he jumped out wearing a fur-trimmed red mini-dress and matching Santa hat, I lost it completely.
Also, sadly, this month we have to announce that Martin will be leaving us at the end of the year. Having spent the last five years desperately trying to pump some musical education and professional discipline into the three of us slapdash noise merchants, he’s finally realised that we’re a lost cause, and will be moving on to other (admittedly more shamelessly lucrative) projects – including bass duties with corporate disco fascists Ruby And The Reaction.
In Martin’s time with us, he’s done a lot to raise the technical standards in the band – not least by making me keep my axe in tune, and by almost teaching Stuart to count to four, and we are sorry to see him go. In the meantime, we have found a new victim to play bass for us – the very lovely Mr Ben Brook. Ben’s shaping up well with learning so much material in a short time (and thanks also to Martin for all his help in that direction), and he even sat in on Friday for a few of the numbers – just to break him in gently. We’ve already explained to him about never lending Suzi money, so his education is almost complete.
And, on Saturday, I’m very pleased to report that my pension plan is looking good – daughter Lily’s debut gig in The Barrel at Thornbury went very well, lots of people very impressed with her abilities, and they want her back in there again as soon as we can organise it. Apparently she “clearly doesn’t get her singing voice from her father”, whatever that may mean. So, well done to the Lilster, and big thanks to Martin & Stuart for coming along to assist, several old friends who we hadn’t seen for ages, and to Pete & Lyn for hosting such a jolly evening.
Right then, onto upcoming joys …
Friday 11th – The Mailcoach, Swindon
Swindon’s number one gay venue, so they say, and who am I to argue? They’re a lovely bunch in here, always a fine time to be had.
Right, that’s it for this week, I leave you with a nice fresh asparagus. Wash and chop the tender, sweet asparagus tips, steep in rose scented water for half an hour, then sautee gently for seven minutes with half a clove of garlic and a pinch of fresh thyme. Now throw it away, I hate bloody asparagus, it tastes like earwax. Bleurrgh. [Editors note] and how do you know what earwax tastes like then (you should see ‘im with artichoke stuffed up ‘is nose)?
Date – 01/12/2009
Anyways, with the news that there is now only one shopping day left before Christmas (actually, there’s only ever one shopping day left before Christmas, and it’s December 24th. I mean, how long does it take to buy a packet of Smarties for each of the kids and a new power drill for the missus?), it’s time for your regular weekly dose of rawk’n’roll action.
What with half of us not being around this weekend, it was pretty quiet as far as I know – unless Stuart and Martin decided to put their long-awaited Latvian folk/death metal fusion duo act plans into action – but coming up we have a jolly one to look forward to: –
Friday 4th – Farriers, Fishponds
A fine little pub, a cheerful and bouncy regular crowd, we always like this one. If you’re lucky, there might even be a comedy drunk. If I’m lucky, it’ll be me. I wonder if my generous, warm-hearted and talented vocalist fancies driving the van that night…?
Oh well, it was worth a try.
And, on the Saturday, a shameless plug for my lovely daughter’s debut gig.
Now I’m biased, but even Martin reckons she’s purty damn talented. And he’s never had anything good to say about my playing…so he knows what he’s talking about.
Saturday 5th – Lily B at the Barrel, Thornbury, 8pm
This’ll be a fairly early slot (well, we can’t go past her bed time – or mine), supporting local band Concrete Clowns, who Stevie reckons are a pretty fine act too. From Lil you can expect mostly acoustic stuff, with maybe some (even) noisier bits near the end. If you’re anywhere around the area, stop in and see a legend in the making.
I’ve been relegated to carrying equipment around, tuning guitars and buying drinks, sweets, snacks, taking all the blue smarties out of the bowl for her, etc etc.
Martin is so pleased by the notion of me being busted to roadie that he’s coming along to watch…
Anyways, should be an interesting night, especially for me – I’ve spent all weekend practising my “Excuse me, young lady, you’re not going out looking like that, are you?” routine…
Right, that’ll do for now. We’ll keep y’all posted…
Date – 24/11/2009
And another weekend in the world of rock’n’roll passes without major incident, although I should mention a small novel experience for me at the Cat and Wheel.
Never before have we had to delay the start of a gig while I wash the Marmite out of my singer’s microphone…Just don’t ask, folks, suffice to say she has been severely reprimanded about eating during rehearsals. And if that’s not how it got there… I don’t want to know, I can’t hear you. ..lahlahlahlahlahlahlahlahlahlah.
Otherwise, a relatively uneventful night, without too much in the way of unexpected musical moments … despite Stuart having been to see Gong the previous night, even he seemed reasonably coherent, and none of the punters actually got thrown out this week … although I have to say there were a couple of likely candidates that might have benefited from it.
And, sadly, that’s it for this episode … we have no gigs coming up this weekend, I’m off to London and Suzi’s off to Scotchland – but the week after, we’ll be back as usual with a Friday stint at the Farriers, and the following night I’ll start my new musical career, which I expect will be much more suited to my natural talent and abilities…
Yup, that’s right, I’ve been relegated to roadieying for my daughter, who’s landed a gig at the Barrel up in Thornbury. So, I’ll be carrying heavy things around, fetching drinks, driving the van, and generally being ordered around by a bossy female vocalist. Should make a nice change…
….Well, at least there’ll be no Marmite involved…
Date – 17/11/2009
Good day to you, gentle reader.
And, with a wild and stormy weekend behind us, a chance to relax in the relative calm of a Monday semi-trance, and just sit at work vaguely looking as though you’re doing something important, safe in the knowledge that everyone around you is doing exactly the same.
It’s what made this great nation what it is today, you know. That and brown sauce.
I seem to be rambling even more than usual today – probably sleep deprivation, but sadly this time due to having sat up most the night with sicking children, rather than the more traditional rock’n’roll excess I used to enjoy. Thought you might like to know that.
But I digress.
Friday night, and howling gales and lashing rain saw us descend on Wootton Bassett, to make a big ol’ noise again. It also turned out to be Barman Dave’s birthday, so there was much jollity and drinking, and, to Martin’s delight, cake too!
Unfortunately, as we all discovered, even when he has a kind volunteer feeding it to him while he plays, he still gets so distracted that his playing goes all over the shop – even worse than mine was…So remember, kids:- Cake – Just Say No.
It was also an alloyed delight to catch up with two of our very favouritest people ever, the lovely Lucy and our dear Gina, who joined us singing for a couple of songs, and had me in fits of laughter as I tried to keep playing while watching her antics – oh dearie me, she is such a naughty little thing…
Meantime, this week we have just the one outing…
Friday 20th – Cat and Wheel, Stokes Croft
Now, this place is quietly turning into one of our favourite venues, last time we were here was an absolute hoot. I’m hoping that this time Stuart’s Inebriated Fan Club doesn’t get thrown out after just a handful of songs…
Right, that’s about it for now, after that one we’re having a weekend off, but we’ll be back with a fun-packed calendar for December. Actually, we might even do these emails advent calendar stylee, so that each week when you get one it has a little window you can open with a disappointingly small chocolate behind it…
..And as the excitement mounts, and Christmas gets closer and closer, and you finally open the last, largest window on Christmas Eve, your little face flushed with excitement, only to find…
…that your big sister has been in there already and stolen it.
Au revoir de les poulets de l’amour…
Date – 09/11/2009
Yet more jollity to report from the exciting world of rawk’nroll but first I have to announce that Gus Lost The Cup – Saturday’s trip to the Trout in Keynsham rewarded us with a stunning display of mad dancing from their resident Bonkers Lady, and bonus points to Suzi for not falling over on the treacherously slippery floor. It also – for once – saw us get through the night without the usual array of technical and musical disasters that usually dog us when we play here.
Even our shiny new mixing desk behaved itself, and for once we managed to get a pretty good sound – in fact, I was complimented on this by a bloke at the far end of the pub, who told me that his band had never managed to get such a good clear sound in there.
“And,” he said, “I wish my guitar player played like you do.” (Why do people never say this stuff when Suzi & Martin are in earshot?)
“Buy him enough beer”, I told him, “and he probably will.”
Probably, as I write this, there’s a band still pouring beer through a funnel into their guitar player…
“How’s he doing now?”
“No, he’s still showing signs of playing with taste and restraint”
“Okay, let’s try another pint…”
Best of all, was the discovery that, when we play our mate Gus’s birthday party in January, in addition to having us play, he’ll also have a troupe of belly dancers coming. Belly dancers! Stuart visibly perks up at the thought.
A suspicion forms in my mind, and enquiries with Gus’s other half Sue quickly confirm that, yes, one of them is indeed my mother-in-law…
Sunday night at the Oak started off quietly enough, but come the end was as jolly and bouncy as you could wish. Afterwards we got chatting to a very amiable guy, Frank, who – after talking to Suzi for a full ten minutes – suddenly recognised Stuart as one of his oldest mates – “I’ve known this bugger since we was fifteen!”, he declares, “When he used to have long hair. We used to get up to all sorts of stuff”.
“At last”, Suzi and think, “A chance to finally fill in the blanks in his memory and find out what happened to Stuart in the seventies”.
“Sorry”, explains Frank, “Can’t help you there. I was as wrecked as he was”…
Right then, this week: – unlucky for some: –
Friday 13th – The Woodshaw Inn, Wootton Bassett
Oh, this one is always great fun, and we’re hoping our lovely mate Gina will be around to join in some of the ruder songs – they’re not usually rude, you understand, at least not until she gets hold of the mike…
Okay, that’s your lot for now, I’ll leave you with the Quite Interesting Statistic that the average person’s skin weighs twice as much as their brain.
There’s something both quite satisfying, but also quite gross, about that, don’t you think?
Date – 02/11/2009
Hello again folks!
And once again, Planet Rock brought us a jolly weekend of silly fun. Friday’s trip to the Bell in Shepton started off very well and with it being Kabar’s (the guv’nor)’s birthday, we had to open the set with a rendition of Happy Birthday To The Landlord, at which point a fantastic cake, sparkling with some major indoor fireworks, appeared. Lovely.
Spirits were slightly dampened a few songs into the first set, as the PA died and after some rapid jiggling about, Suzi discovered she could keep it working by leaning really hard on the main fader; however, after a couple of numbers played like this, she decided enough was enough and so we had to bodge it properly and with our old friend gaffa tape.
Our spirits were lifted somewhat at the interval, when Kabar invited everyone to pitch in to the huge free curryfest he’d created. Free food, marvellous, and I’m pretty sure Martin went round twice…
Off we go into the second set, our gaffa tape held out the rest of the night, and all was going swimmingly until a couple of local novice drinkers got over-excited and had to be removed, then rather rudely started to fight outside. So it was that we played the last couple of numbers to a much reduced crowd, since the rest of ‘em had gone outside to watch / break up / join in the outdoor entertainment. Oh well. At least we get paid, whereas the fighters just get laughed at.
Saturday night and a big up, as we middle-aged dotards say, to our buddy Disco Dave for by saving the day with the loan of his very fine mixing desk, which we even managed not to break. If he’s lucky, then maybe we’ll give it back to him one day.
Halloween at the Queen Vic in Stroud, and a fine excuse to dress us up like a bunch of fools. Martin once again cheated by turning up wearing his usual outft, and claiming to have come as Johnny Cash; Stuart kept complaining that his makeup was running; Suzi discovered that very tall boots + pointy witches hat + low roof beam = disaster; and I remembered why going the whole silly wigs and hats and masks routine is a bad idea; you can’t see what you’re playing, you can’t hear things properly, and there is an unfortunate tendency to suffocate in the heat. Oh well, we all had a lovely time anyway. The locals didn’t let us down, either, lots of bonkers dressing up and leaping around, I was very impressed by the corpse bride and groom, but the prize goes to the party of Smurfs, with a special honourable mention for the young lady in the barely-legal I wouldn’t let my daughter go out dressed like that costume. My personal favourite, even though Suzi tells me I’ll go blind if I keep staring like that.
So, we played through the night and finished in the wee hours, then packed up and sat waiting for the crowds to thin out before hauling the gear out. To pass the time, Suzi and I engage in a spot of people-watching, and are delighted by the Illustrated Encyclopaedia Of The Various Stages Of Drunkenness, ranging from the glum duty driver, through the bloke just drunk enough to try and dance, but sober enough to be awkwardly self-conscious about it, and the look at me, I’m dancing round this pole,aren’t I outrageous, look at me, look at me, look at me, through to the Best In Show, the besuited 60-year old I AM Michael Jackson.
Anyways, what are we doing this week?
Er … what are we doing this week, Stuart? Oh, yes…
Saturday 7th – The Trout, Keynsham
Scene of many a musical disaster, and I suspect we’re about to add to the list and hope the gaffa tape holds out…
Sunday 8th – Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
Back on home turf, always good fun. Prize for the best Smurf outfit.
Till then, don’t so anything we wouldn’t do, and if you do, don’t get caught, and if you do get caught, blame somebody else. That’s what we do. (Actually, that’s not really true. A bigger boy told us to say that and then he ran away.) I’ll stop now.
Date – 26/10/2009
No gigs this weekend, but the Angel Up Front Posse (as we young people say) still managed to cause a bit of trouble out there, just to keep our hand in…
Saturday, we were told, was the birthday of our beloved Queen Amy at the Railway in Fishponds, and – since we actually had a weekend off – Stuart, Suzi, and I made a reasonable attempt at going along there to join in the fun. It was also an opportunity to watch another band working for once, and a jolly time we had listening to the very fine Limelight (although it did occur to me that if I were to sell off every last bit of my gear, I still couldn’t quite afford even just one of their guitars. “Why don’t you do it anyway?” inquires Suzi).
I can’t think of a suitably nasty reply – after all, she has just bought her second round in (that’s her second round in the four years I’ve known her, not the second round of the evening, by the way…)
Later on, as Limelight have packed up and the last few punters are stumbling out, our Suzi is comfortably ensconced at the bar with Queen Amy and a few mates. A little the worse for wear, she develops hiccups, so we procure a glass of water for her from landlord Mark. “What she really needs to cure ’em”, he confides , “is a little shock”.
Thus it is that as she is trying to work out how to “drink from the far side of the glass” as instructed, Mark leans over the bar and deftly dumps a pint of water over her. Instinctively, Suzi immediately throws her own pint backwards over her head – all over poor Amy, who has been innocently chatting away behind her, oblivious to proceedings.
A moment of slapstick comedy gold dust, and it is only after five minutes of the trio chasing each other round the pub that the rest of us can stop laughing long enough to explain to them what actually happened. Still, it certainly cured those hiccups. And I expect the pub will be dried out pretty soon.
The next morning, Suzi rang me up to fill in the memory blanks – e.g. How cross was Amy? Has she cancelled all our future gigs? Will we ever be allowed to set foot in there again? etc. After much chuckling I reassured Suzi that all is (proabably) well, but that she is not to stand close to any of my equipment next time we go there…
Right then, on to more immediate pleasures: –
Friday 30th – Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallett
Usually pretty lively in here – as they say in these parts – “Don’t be grumpy – drink more scrumpy”…
Saturday 31st Queen Vic, Stroud
Oh goody! It’s the Queen Vic, which means a lively night with lots of prancing of around like a pillock, and it’s Hallowe’en, which means dressing up like a complete buffoon while doing so. Marvellous. No idea what to go as, although there has been a rather fervent request that it be “something with trousers this time”…
Right, that’s it for now, I’m off to dry out my singer and try to find a suitably ridiculous dressing-up outfit… any ideas?
Date – 19/10/2009
That was an entertaining weekend in Planet RawkTM!
A visit to the Melksham never goes off without some minor incident, and this time we were entertained by the local drink-dancing formation display team, an eclectic mix of mid-life-crisis borne gentlemen, ladies of uncertain age and indeterminate toxicology, and a few young lads who thought that drinking five pints of chemical-based east European lager made them irresistible to women.
One of the latter was threatening to irritate Suzi before we’d even started, but she smiled sweetly at him and explained quietly in his ear, “Listen here, sunshine – you piss me off any more and you may just be lucky enough to live to regret it”. There was a pause of a full thirty seconds while he tried to decipher the sentence construction, then he suddenly paled and moved rapidly in the direction of Away, not to be seen again. She’s just a big ol’ softy, really.
The rest of the night passed without incident; Martin’s usual inability to get served at the bar meant I had to go and stand next to him pointing in order for the bar staff to be able to see him. The two ladies stood next to him could see him clearly enough, though, and having heard his French Canadian accent, demanded to know which part of Dublin he was from. He was too bemused to explain properly, and they were in quite a jolly mood, so I had to step in as interpreter.
“They say you look Irish, and they think you have nice eyes” I told him.
“He says he wants to take you both home with him” I told them, and smartly disappeared, leaving the three of them to sort out the resulting confusion.
Funnily enough, on Saturday at the Fire Engine we did meet someone from Dublin – Cousin Margaret, apparently, who was over for her birthday weekend. We know this because someone handed Suzi a scrawled-on beer mat to tell us so, and asking if we could play a request for her – Simply The Best, by ageing sixties strumpet Ms T Turner. Now, we all know vaguely what it sounds like, but we’ve never played it before – so, being irresponsible, we said we’d have a crack at it. We duly nipped outside between sets, Stuart downloaded it onto his phone from the Worldwide t’internert Googlething, and we all had a quick listen through it, while Martin and I tried to work out the chord changes and format.
Back indoors, and we give it a go, and – considering it’s a song we’ve never rehearsed or played through – it was…pretty bad, actually. Still, Margaret from Dublin seemed well pleased, and it was her birthday, so that’s all that counts. And the good news is that we will never ever need to play it again.
Right then, tweak the volume back up to 11 and it’s on with the rest of the night, a trundle through some rock classics, our now-obligatory Motorhead moment, and it’s time to pack up, go home, and see how many beers are left in the fridge.
Quite a few, as it turned out.
Coming up after the break, it’s a weekend off for your favourite pub rock band, so you should be safe. Except that apparently on Saturday, Suzi is going out “hunting firemen”. You have been warned…
Date – 12/10/2009
And welcome to this week’s edition of Angel UpDate, with all the news that’s fit to print from the exciting world of Pub Rawk, lightly dusted with cinammon, accompanied by hot buttered wholemeal toast and served with a fresh pot of steaming Earl Grey tea in finest bone china.
This is not just the ravings of an idiot…. This is the M & S ravings of an idiot.
And we have a merry evening’s entertainment to report from the mystical land of Fishponds, where we had a fine time at the court of Queen Amy, the fair and beloved ruler of the Railway Tavern. In an unusual break with tradition we all turned up on time, although just to keep the chaos level up, Martin has forgotten to bring some vital stuff – like all his guitar picks (no problem, I have plenty spare), his shirt (I offered to lend him mine, but apparently it was “too skanky”), and his ear plugs.
Yes, ear plugs. See, Martin, as a properly-schooled musician (unlike the rest of us hacks) has been trained to actually look after his hearing, so to save his eardrums from permanent damage due to the bone-crunching volume levels favoured by the rest of us, he wears ear plugs at every gig and rehearsal (in, fact, he kindly pointed out, if he hadn’t been wearing ear plugs the night I auditioned, I would never have gotten in to the band…).
Anyways, tonight will be the first time in four years Martin will get to actually hear what we sound like. We wish him luck and get cracking…
After a few numbers he seems to be bearing up well, or (more likely) has gone as deaf as the rest of us. The audience are also bearing up well – there is one couple who are particularly excitable, they look like they’re loving every second of it, and bursting with enthusiasm to the point where (having decided they’re not both totally spaced out on recreational narcotics), I conclude that perhaps they’ve either just got out of prison after ten years, or they’ve never actually seen live music before…
…As it turns out, when I chat to them afterwards, they’re just really nice, really enthusiastic, and not even noticeably drunk.
If only the same could be said for the irritating shortarse who stumbled onto Martin’s bass rig and killed his pedalboard off… Even Suzi, who is usually incredibly tolerant of wayward punters, is on the verge of “kicking the little pillock’s ass down the road”. Somehow the fool escapes unscathed, and we comfort ourselves with the notion that natural selection – in the shape of someone less patient than us, and with a penchant for GBH – will take care of him sooner or later.
That little episode aside, a mighty fine evening we had, and after a merry natter with Queen Amy, we head off somewhere in the wee hours…
…so, this week, we have a couple of outings to look forward to: –
Friday 16th – Parson’s Nose, Melksham
Yes, it’s out into the Wilds Of Wiltshire, for some more jumping-about noisy fun. This one doesn’t usually start until about half nine, which means I’ll get to stay up late! Good job it’s not a school night…but who’s going to tuck me in, that’s what I’d like to know…
Saturday 17th – Fire Engine, Redfield
And it’s back into Bristol for another episode of traffic-warden taunting; bring your own earplugs, drink as much as you like, dance away merrily, fall over if you want, but don’t be sick on the monitors, and if you break any of the gear then this time we’ll hurt you, oh yes we will…
In the meantime, here is some light music…
…tum tum ti tum, bing a bong, boodley boodley biddley bingle…
…Hang on, I feel a Eurovision winner coming on…..
Date – 05/10/2009
Welcome back my friends, to the show that never….er…..er…..
Anyoldhoo, thanks to everybody who came along to the Cat & Wheel on Friday for a jolly evening of bouncy fun. Before we’d even started, Stuart was accosted by an extremely cheerful lady who came up to chat to him, and then without warning put her arms around him and became rather – er – affectionate. Ever the gentleman, our hapless drummer stood there helplessly gasping for air, while Suzi and I rushed to his assistance.
Well, technically, we just curled up in hysterics, but deep down inside there was a little part of us that would have rushed to his assistance… eventually.
Once Stuart had freed himself, we were able to start, and his new friend treated us to a fine display of falling-over-dancing, with anybody who would come within reach, a table leg, a bar stool, and finally the bouncer as he gently but firmly steered her in the direction of Out. And I never even got a chance to give her Stuart’s number…
A mighty fine evening ensued, I was delighted to see a few old mates I’ve not bumped into for far too long, and to meet some new ones as well – how’s the head, Ali? Anyways, definitely a good giggle, must have been a full moon we reckon…
Finally we brought things to a halt at the end of the night, packed up and each set off in search of a big comfy bed, preferably with food in it.
And this week, we’re out again, at another old favourite venue
Saturday 10th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Oooh, the Railway, with dear ol’ Mark, and his beautiful Queen Amy, and little Kerry… they’re such a lovely bunch here, I can even forgive ’em for only having one plug socket. Whether they can forgive us for making such a godawful racket, we shall have to wait and see…
Finally, I leave you with a warning kindly passed on to me by my buddy Andy –
A warning for those of you who may be regular Tesco customers.
This one caught me by surprise. Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don’t be naive enough to think it couldn’t happen to you or your friends.
Here’s how the scam works: Two seriously good-looking 20-21 year-old girls come over to your car as you are loading your shopping in. They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and soapy water, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts. It is impossible not to look. When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say ‘No’ and instead ask you for a ride to McDonald’s. You agree and they get in the backseat.
On the way, they remove all of their clothes and start making out. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and starts crawling all over you. She then takes off your trousers and throws them into the backseat. While the one is keeping you distracted the other one steals your wallet.
I had my wallet stolen July 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, then again on the 17th, 20th, 24th & 29th. Also, August 1st, 7th, twice on the 8th, and again on the 16th, 23rd, 26th, 30th. Then on September 6th, 11th, 14th, three times last Saturday and very likely again this upcoming weekend.
So tell your friends to be careful.
P.S. Tesco sell wallets for £2.99 each
Be careful out there….
Date – 28/09/2009
What ho, old bean!
And a mighty fine weekend in the World Of Rawk that was; Friday’s jaunt to Weston to play the Back Bar was jolly entertaining (well, for me anyway). The best bit was the half-dozen or so young ladies who arrived dressed as pirates, and proceeded to stage a full-on cutlass fight right in front of the stage – to the merry strains of “American Idiot”, as I recall. Suzi is much impressed, but points out that National Talk Like A Pirate Day was in fact last weekend.
A thought strikes her, “…Unless you lot have been out ever since then, and haven’t actually been home yet. You’ve not been out drinking all week, have you?”
The reply is as brilliant as it is inevitable.
Saturday’s jaunt to the Old Fox was filled with merriment, lots of old friends there and much bouncing around to be had. Suzi ended up pinned back against the stage by the frenetic dancing of the assembled masses, and we even debuted a couple of new numbers. I think once we’ve learned them, we’ll probably keep them – but thanks to everyone else for singing along so Suzi could keep up with the words. Thanks also to the young lady who brought a great big smile to Stuart’s dear little face by writhing around in front of him in the middle of a particularly complicated drum part – and also to Sarah for kindly flashing her chest at me through the window. These little gestures of appreciation are highly valued by the gigging muso.
Right then, this weekend we’re just out the once: –
Friday October 2nd – Cat and Wheel, Bristol
Yup, back on the Gloucester Road again, slap in the middle of a fast-food outlet ghetto. Sex and drugs and sausage rolls. Mmm….
Right, that’s your lot for this week – bring on the dancing cowgirls…
Date – 21/09/2009
Hi again folks!
Well, autumn is pretty much here, the berries are ripening nicely on the trees, and the birds are limbering up in preparation for the long flight South. It remains a mystery to science how they manage to navigate thousands of miles across the globe, to successfully return to the same nesting location year after year. It remains a mystery to Martin as well….
Thursday night, and armed with only a postcode and a quick glance at Google maps before setting out, three out of four band members have successfully found the venue for tonight’s gig, a corporate charity fundraising do. That just leaves one…
We (mostly) rolled up simultaneously at The Grange, a rather swanky hotel in the wilds outside Winterbourne. Having been directed round to the back door, we start to haul in the gear whilst the Pub Quiz is in progress…
“What were Torville and Dean’s day jobs before they won their Olympic medals?” *
We begin to set up, trying not to cause too much disturbance.
“What are the ingredients of the cocktail called the Sidecar?”**
My phone rings, it’s Martin, he’s lost, and wants me to tell him where he is. Eh? I give him to Stuart for advice, and continue setting up.
“How many gold medals did Great Britain win in the 1988 Olympics?”***
My gear is all plugged in now, so I am sent to wait by the front gate on the road to stop Martin next time he drives past. I call him to let him know, and he tells me off as every time his phone rings his satnav switches off. I try to point out that this may be a good thing, but he hangs up. I wait patiently. And wait. And wait. Half an hour passes. Finally he hoves into view, and we can go in. By now they’ve finished the Pub Quiz, and we are on to The Raffle. We hurriedly finish setting up, wind Martin up a little more – my speculation that his emigration to the UK was never intentional, just a shopping trip in his native Montreal that went terribly wrong, was particularly well-received – and at last, off we go.
We manage to break one channel of the PA during the first set, bodge it back together during the break and survive the rest of the night without mishap. There’s a fantastic Dad Dancing Display, which amuses me so much that I completely forget how to play one song until long after we finished it…
“Hang on, I got it now” I proudly tell Suzi; she stops half way through the process of climbing into the van, gives me a rather odd look, and tells me how lucky she is to work with such a professional.
Saturday saw us back down the ‘Mead, in the rather busy Treble Chance – and a fine night’s entertainment it provided. Martin, I think, particularly enjoyed the Young Ladies’ Chest Comparison Competition (beats the hell out of meerkats, I can tell you). More of the same please, vicar.
So, what’s afoot this week, then? Let’s have a peer into the crystal ball and find out…
Friday 25th – Back Bar, Weston Super Mare
Oooh! Ooooh! Ooooohh! I like this one! Great fun, there’s plenty of stage to prance around on, they have a huge house PA, so no need to carry tons of stuff in, it’s as loud as you like, and last time the whole place was jumping. I’m all excited now. Oooooh!
Saturday 26th – Old Fox, Bishopston
A bit more cramped, and we’ll have to drag in our own PA, but still always a good night. All we need is a bit of Hot Cowgirl Action for Martin (You reading this, Sarah?)
Right, that’s your lot for now – I’m off to practice nancying about on a big stage.
PS – Pub Quiz Answers
*Don’t know, don’t care
** Last time I saw a sidecar, all it had in it was a huge big dog and a can of Castrol GTX.
***Oh, I don’t know. What’s with all the questions anyway? Don’t you people have Google?
Date – 15/09/2009
Ahoy there, me hearties!
My oh my, that was a fine and sunny weekend, wasn’t it? No gigs either, so a bit of a win for anybody who likes nice quiet peaceful sunny days.
Sadly, the idyllic rest is over, it’s a grey cloudy Monday – time to swing out of bed, pour myself a nice bowl of Credit Crunch, and get off back to work at the AUF noise factory…
Assuming that Suzi makes it back in time from Foreign Parts, we have a charity fundraiser gig to play on Thursday; I have no idea when, where, or – Actually, to be honest, I just have no idea in general. I’m sure someone will set me straight though.
But highlight of the week is set to be Saturday…
Saturday 19th – Treble Chance, Southmead
Last time we played here, despite our early misgivings, it was great fun – scantily-clad gurlies dancing all over Martin, lots of jolly singing along, punters being sick on the floor… marvellous! Best of all, Suzi drove the van so I could get trollied. We’re hoping for a repeat of most of those aspects, but much much more importantly, this will be National Talk Like A Pirate Day; so I figure a bit of dressing up might be in order, whaddaya reckon?
Not to mention the “specialised” set list…
Who Let The Scurvy Dogs Out?
First Cutlass Is The Deepest
Eyepatch Of The Tiger
Rum On Feel The Noize
Anything by Dr Hook…
You gets the idea, me hearties, now let’s ‘ave they suggestions a-floodin’ in, there’ll be a chest of gold doubloons for the lucky winner, yes there will…
… and final word from my little Jimi, his very own piratical comedic creation –
Why did the pirate cross the road?
To get to Arrrrrrrrgos.
Eye thank ewe, no applause necessary
Date – 06/09/2009
My, what a dull grey Monday it is today. Anybody else fancy sneaking out of work and going down to Weston for a quick ride on the donkeys? We could have candy floss in the rain (it’s bound to be raining by the time we get there), eat soggy chips dripping with vinegar, fat, and rainwater, and then have a great big ice cream. With a flake in it. And chocolate sauce, and nuts as well. And then still manage to get back home in time for tea.
“Hard day at the office, darling?”
Trouble is, that could turn into a bad habit, and after a while there could be searching questions from employers – searching questions like “Where the hell have you been for the last six months?”. Also there might be domestic interrogations as to why you’ve started coming home from work smelling faintly of vinegar and donkeys (“Darling, it’s not what you think…”)…
Anyways, seem to have wandered off the subject again, where are we?
Oh yes, gigs. Friday at the dear old Farriers started off pretty quietly, but got a bit more raucous as it went on, and we managed to achieve a reasonable amount of jumping around by the end. And on Saturday, we achieved the ambitions of many an aspiring rawk band, and we played a gig at the legendary Marquee.
Well, admittedly, not the Marquee, but certainly a marquee.
In a damp field in Wiltshire, just outside Mere. (In fact, I noticed with delight from the map they sent us, in a place called Great Bottom. Lovely).
This was Avon paragliding club’s annual Mere Bash, and despite having a couple of power trip-outs, it all went very smoothly. There was lots of jolly drunken dancing, a bit of falling over, the obligatory “bloke climbs up to top of tent pole”, and there were even quite a few dogs wandering around the place – although Suzi couldn’t decide which was her favourite one.
Alas, there were just dogs there, so she wasn’t able to compare the Mere cats.
Anyways, a lovely night and great fun.
This week, there’s no gigs as Suzi’s in Scotland – so it’s the ideal time to go and break into her house, and – well, actually, there’s nothing to steal, but you might like to tidy the place up a bit.
The following week, we’ll be back in action though – from sunny Bradley Stoke, to cuddly Southmead – we’ll keep y’all posted.
Til next time, take care, and we’ll see you on Weston beach.
Compare the Mere cats, he he he….
Date – 03/09/2009
Just a quickie this week (oooh, matron!)
We’ve finished playing holidays, the last couple of gigs were so long ago that I can’t remember much about them, except that we had a suitably gay time in Swindon, and big thanks to the guys from the Mailcoach for all the organising – big table of free food backstage, yummy (in case you were wondering where it all went); and I seem to recall the Welsh bike rally going down okay too, although all I can really remember is the sight of my five-year-old dancing all over the place, looking for all the world like a tiny little Robert Plant on amphetamines – aahhh. Must have a word with him about that…
Since then, I have spent my entire life up a ladder clutching a paintbrush, until yesterday when Dem told me I was allowed to come back down so I can go to work. Not happy. (Not like my mate Cowboy Joe, who really really really really loves his job).
Anyways, here is this week’s schedule – we’re a bit rusty, so I have a nasty feeling we’re going to have to practice this week – oo-er….
Friday 4th – Farriers, Fishponds
Lovely, the dear old Farriers on a Friday night. Now, where do I plug this in again…?
Saturday 5th – Avon Paragliding Club bash, Mere, Wiltshire
Whheeeeee…splat! A big marquee in a big field. I’ve borrowed some extra lights from my buddy Disco Dave for this one. Helpfully he blinded me this morning showing off his new laser at point-blank range, so I shall have to see if I can break his kit by way of revenge. Wheeee..splat!
That’s it for now, the joke cupboard is empty, so think of something that makes you laugh…
Well, it serves you right for marrying him.
Date – 10/08/2009
Actually, since the sun’s out, let’s have “Aloha!” instead, for that more exotic air..
Anyways, after a not-completely successful weekend on Planet Rock – apologies to everyone at the Elm Tree in Bishopsworth on Friday, we didn’t make it there due to a minor medical emergency. Even though we managed to get down to Portishead for Saturday’s episode, we were suffering from a quite ropey sound onstage – and it must have been quite ropey offstage too, as they kept asking us to turm it down (although the way I was playing this was probably no bad thing…)
Anyways, we made it through to the end of the night, they even paid us, so I guess that wasn’t too bad.
This weekend, we’re going for a bizarre two-gig Saturday, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it’s not going to be boring…
Saturday 15th – 2pm Swindon Gay Pride, Old Town Gardens
Apparently they got around 8,000 punters along to this bash last year, so it’s an opportunity to expose ourselve to lots of new people…Oh all right, I’ll stop now.
Saturday 15th – 9pm Eye Of Rah MCC rally, Hafodyrynys RFC, Gwent Bike rally – marvellellellous!
Now, how weird is this – this rally is 500 yards from where I used to live. Hoping to catch up with some old mates, if they can remember who they are…wonder if I can blag a sofa to sleep on, and lots and lots and lots of free intoxicants…?
Anyway, there you go, Saturday promises to be an interesting day out, one way or another.
After that, we’re taking a break for a couple of weeks, so you’ll just have to manage without us for a bit.
Hang on, the sun’s just gone in, and the rain’s started.
Cancel that Aloha, I’ll have a look in the greetings cupboard and see if I can find something a bit more northerly – maybe an “Eee Ooop”, I’m sure I had one around here somewhere… Oooh, look, here’s a “Kutaa”. That’s Inuit. Apparently. That’ll do for now.
Date – 03/08/2009
And after a successful weekend off – well, reasonably successful for me, anyway, I ended up in London putting a new fence up for me dear old mum. Ahh, the nostalgic whiff of creosote, it still has that lovely smell, but sadly the Health and Safety gestapo have removed all the noxious volatile organic compounds that used to make it such a joy to splash around everywhere…
Anyway, enough waxing lyrical on timber treatments of times gone by (Now, how would that be for a special interest magazine? “Timber Treatments Of Times Gone By – builds week by week into a fascinating encyclopaedia of wood preservatives of yesteryear. Relive the heady aroma of turpentine-fuelled sunny afternoons in your dad’s shed. Every issue complete with a scratch-and-sniff panel of a different now-illegal solvent-based timber preservative. Issue 1 on sale now, with free dry rot protection colour chart, yours for only £1.99. Normal price £6.99”)
But I digress. On to the world of contemporary pub rock. I’ve been very diligent and hard-working, I have. I’ve stripped down the PA and cleaned out all the dead batteries, stray peanuts, dust, dirt, fluff, broken bits of necklace / earring / actually I don’t want to know, and sticky gunge (ditto) that had made their home inside the power amp. I’ve got posh expensive new valves for my Marshall, I’m due to collect my Precious from Guitar Hospital tomorrow after a minor operation to make her all spanktastically playable again, and so we should all be fit and in tippy-top condition ready for this week’s outings.
What’s that? Practice? Oh no, we can’t have any of that, we don’t want to lose our natural spontaneity, do we…?
Friday 7th – Elm Tree, Bishopsworth
Never been here before. Well, I’ve been to Bishopsworth. Well, I drove through it once. Kept the windows wound up and the doors locked, just in case. I’m sure it’ll be a lovely night.
Saturday 8th – Portishead Working Men’s Club
I think we’ll probably wheel out some of the tuneful melodic stuff for this one, so it’ll be a sort-of Angel Sold Out gig. Until we get near the end, when I daresay we’ll revert to type and drag out the noisy rock stuff. Heh he he..
Right, that’s your lot for now, I’m off to find a piece of wood that’s just the right size to stir paint with…
Date – 27/07/2009
Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends…
And we have a lively weekend’s gigging to report – the dear old Queen Vic in Stroud never lets us down, dancing fools that they are… Mind you, my naughty guitar let me down, just into the second set one of the strings decided it could take no more abuse, and snapped. Fortunately, I always bring a spare axe with me to save ten minutes of embarrasment grovelling around trying to find the right replacement string. And (since the others won’t let me play it usually), that meant I got to wheel out my ludicrous pointy guitar for a bit of Hard Rock Action – Mr Spiky to the rescue! So, we played, we finished, we did some more, and some more again, and eventually we ran out of puff and called it a night. “It’s a night”, we said.
Saturday dawned fair and bright, and having spent the morning seeing off my beloved Dem and three of the offspring (they’ve gone camping in Wales for the week) and the afternoon sitting in the house listening to the glorious silence, it was off to Minehead for the Harley Davidson rally. We rolled up there uncharacteristically early, set up and had a good nose around all the bikes. Ooohh, I do miss my dear old Triumph, I’m gonna have to get another one day.
After a start with a bit of a dodgy guitar sound – which I eventually improved by the age-old method of turning it up some more – we soon had the place bopping about, we were treated to an impressive array of bonkers dancing, one guy in particular was all over the show. In between numbers, Suzi asks him,
“What’re you drinking?”
“Cider”, he yells.
His little face falls, he was fondly imagining he was about to be bought a drink. By Suzi. See, cider really does mess your mind up, doesn’t it?
We play on, I manage not to run out of strings, Stuart manages to not quite run out of drumsticks, and after a generous run of encores we are finally allowed to stop and pack up. Bless ’em, I think most of the punters ran out of energy before we did. Big thanks to Paul and everyone else there for such a jolly evening.
A sporty drive back saw Suzi and I get home just before half two, exactly the right time for thirsty musos to start drinking…suddenly it was six o’clock and time for bed. Oh dear…
Anyways, we’re now having a week off, I’m going to see about getting all the kit serviced and cleaned up, it’s getting so manky that none of us really want to touch it… and I’ve just got a text from my poor Dem saying that it’s been raining for a straight 48 hours, and the tent is leaking. Oh dearie me. I’d better get my sympathetic head on for when they get back.
Til next time, then
PS – Thought for the day – I used to be completely clueless, but I’ve turned that situation around 360 degrees…
Date – 20/07/2009
And we have quite a gentle weekend to report from the world of rawk’n’roll, Haydon Wick was an almost civilised affair; thanks to their enormously tall stage, the low ceiling, and the resultant array of lights being at just about eye level, we couldn’t see anyone out in theaudience. We couldn’t hear much either, as in deference to the crowd demographic we were playing rather below our usual “threshold of pain” volume levels, which some of us (mostly me, I suspect) found a little disorientating.
Anyway, if I start playing a number in 4/4 time, and then suddenly decide to switch to 17/63 half way through, I don’t see why the others shouldn’t be able to keep up, do you?
Still, our clientele seemed reasonably pleased, so that’s all right then.
This weekend promises to be a little louder, though, we should be back on full-throttle noisy form again 🙂
Friday 24th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely. We likes it here, we does.
Saturday 25th – Harley Davidson Somerset Rally – Barbarians RFC, Minehead
Yes, it’s off to sunny Minehead again for another bike rally. Last year there was beer, chips, load of bikes and a bloke in a dress. And it wasn’t even me. For once…
Right, that’s it for this week, as my joke cupboard is empty again you’ll have to amuse yourselves, or possibly each other. It’s a free country.
Date – 13/07/2009
My, that was a busy old weekend. Thursday’s run down to BsB on the Waterfront was entertaining; before we even started, Martin managed to tear one of the buttons off his shirt, and he then plonked himself on a chair outside and made Stuart sew it back on before we started playing, to the vast amusement of Suzi, myself, and a few dozen passers by. How rock and roll is that?*
Rather more rock and roll was the fight which started inside during the second set, and was quickly taken outside by the bouncers, giving us a grandstand view. Nobody got hurt though, except me – and I was only hurt because I was playing a particularly elegant and workmanlike solo, and nobody even noticed, ‘cos they were all watching the flying furniture outside.
On Saturday, we were up at the lovely Lower Lode Inn near Cheltenham, for the Barfly’s bike rally – and a brilliant night it was too. I was particularly pleased with Martin’s horrified reaction to my new Superman t-shirt (75p from a charity shop, bargain!), he wanted to send me home immediately to get changed…
Big love to Sue for the organising, Russ for his hard work, help and hospitality, and to Suzi for driving the van back, on account of me having drunk rather more than I should have – and only slightly less than I intended. I suspect somebody must have slipped some Kryptonite in that last Jack Daniels…
And, on to Saturday, to the HDMC rally in Mangotsfield. After a bit of a stressy start, where – due to some crossed wires and poor planning, we actually weren’t all on site until half an hour after we were due to begin – we apologetically got going, and once we settled in had a merry evening, and an appreciative audience. We packed up, and nipped in to the room next door to catch the next band on – Devious, “from the Rhondda” – and a mighty fine outfit they are. On the plus side, they were great fun and excellent musicians (with a massive PA that set me reminiscing about the days I used to use not one but two Marshall stacks at gigs, running them through a 10k rig… I expect they’re still packing the gear away now).
On the minus side, the mental image of a 15-stone Welshman in eyeliner and PVC trousers will haunt me for quite some time…
Right then, on the subject of the stuff of nightmares, where are we next….?
Saturday 18th – Haydon Wick WMC
Ahh, back to Pighill… For this one, I think we’ll be pulling some of the gentler numbers out of the hat, as they get a pretty wide age range of punters in here – usually from ages six to about ninety – and we don’t want to kill anyone. (Well, actually, I do have a list of names, but that’s not the point). So, this week’s homework will be to see if we can remember how to play anything without the volume knob jammed on to 11.
So, that’ll be a nice relaxing weekend, then. Nothing can possibly go wrong now…
Date – 06/07/2009
Hey hey, my my..
…as my old pal Neil Young used to say. Well, that was certainly a fun-filled weekend of Hot Rock Action. First we had a merry night down in Shepton Mallett; this time we escaped the attentions of the Parking Police, and had a fun little evening watching the locals do chicken dancing to the jolly strains of Metallica, whilst attempting to cop off with each other with varying degrees of success. (The locals, that is, not us. Obviously.)
Saturday dawned fair and bright, even if I didn’t; time for our l-o-n-g jaunt down to Weymouth, so I pick up Suzi from work and we trundle down through miles of beautiful sunny countryside, talking rubbish and scoffing ice creams. The roads are largely empty, and the views are so lovely I am moved to comment that there are probably quite large areas of Heaven that look like this.
And that we ought to make the most of it now, as there is little chance either of us will be allowed in.
For the next ten miles I am treated to a monologue on why in fact Suzi would be allowed in, on account of her generous and selfless nature, impeccable moral standards, and… my ears switch off after a while. Never mind, at least I can still enjoy the view. [Editors note: It’s so sad when a band member becomes delusional]
Finally, our destination hoves into view – the marvellous chip shop on Broad Wey, atop the hill just outside Weymouth, where we stuff our piggy little faces, and slump back contentedly in our seats. Oh well, now we’re here, I suppose we may as well nip down the road and play the gig, then.
We roll up at the pub, and look, here’s Martin and Stuart with our darling Gina and Lucy waiting for us. Big hugs all round [editors note: now I’m feeling sick], and soon the gear is all set up and eventually it’s time to start. We have a nice bouncy first set, with not too much in the way of musical confusion, and some spirited dancing around from the locals. We finish just before anybody falls over.
The second set is enlivened by a team of drinkers wearing neon wigs, led by a confused-looking gentleman in a rather fetching red dress. I hope it was a stag do, otherwise this place is a little more cosmopolitan than I’d imagined. Things are enlivened even more by the now delightfully-trollied Gina jumping up to join us for a couple of songs. Bless her, she is fantastic, but it’s hard work for me to keep playing; she is constantly bouncing all over the place, making rude microphone gestures, climbing all over Suzi and me, molesting members of the audience… I am creasing up with laughter trying to keep it together, but every time I take my eye off her she has reappeared somewhere else, a little whirlwind of naughtiness, like rude Taz on speed…
The punters keep demanding more, and it nearly one o’clock before we finally throw in the towel, and collapse in the cool air outside. That was fun. So, we pack up, and head off for home, just managing to stay awake all the way there, and it’s something past four when I finally get to drop into my bed.
No rest for the wicked though, Suzi and I have a duo gig in the afternoon, and we have yet to learn some of the songs. Thus it is that she turns up still half asleep at my door half an hour before it’s time to set off, and we have the quick hollow-eyed run-through a few numbers before we go.
On arrival, she sits herself down staring vacantly into space while I set up the gear, but wakes up enough to play the gig. We notice our favourite promoter, Status, is missing. Half way though she rolls up, dreadfully hung over. Every time we see her, she is dreadfully hung over. But always insists that she hardly ever drinks; it’s just this one time, honest, next time we see her she’ll be fine, no really…
Also missing is our old buddy Swindon Al. Near the end of the second set, my phone bleeps. It’s an apologetic text, explaining that he has recently met a very nice young lady, and is otherwise engaged at the moment, so won’t be joining us. Aww, bless, we are happy for him. Just in case there are any of his mates in, Suzi reads the text out over the mike. Share the joy.
She also announces she need some bits fitted to her car, and suggests if anybody would like to fit them for her, free of charge, she happens to have them with her. (Her exact words were, “Can somebody help me with me knob….”) Remarkably, somebody takes her up on the offer, and disappears off with the parts and her car keys. Even more remarkably, the car is still there after the gig, although this may have been something to do with her warning that “I wouldn’t try driving it off, the police are out looking for it at the moment”.
Alas, the car-fixing attempts were unsuccessful; so Suzi’s knob issues remain unresolved, but I’m sure some kind gentleman will step into the breach soon.
Moving swiftly on…
Thurs 9th – BsB, Bristol waterfront
Hope it’s a hot sunny evening; more chance of passing cowgirls, you see…
Fri 10th – Barfly Rally, Lower Lode Inn, Tewkesbury
Fantastic little bike rally, brilliant pub, and best of all it’s organised by the lovely Sue, who I once ran away to LA with.. but it didn’t work out, so we came back again. That was a busy day.
Sat 11th – HDMC Rally, Cleve Rugby Club, Bristol
When we were in Weymouth on Saturday, we actually met a couple who are coming to this one. Spooky, eh? Unfortunately don’t think we’ll be able to provide a bonkers spare singer for them this time, though. Unless you know different…
And finally, courtesy of Stevie Ray…
Three statisticians are out hunting, and a duck flaps up from the reeds in front of them.
The first statistician takes aim, fires, but his shot passes harmlessly wide fifty feet above the bird.
The second statistician shoots, but his shot goes fifty feet beneath it.
The third statstician shouts, “We hit it!”.
That’s your lot for now, then
Keep on rockin’ in the free world
Date – 29/06/2009
And, with the sun barely set on another Glastonbury, and the faint whiff of damp hippy slowly dissipates back around the country…
Actually, what am I talking about, these days it’s more like the aroma of stale cappucino as the once-a-year festival-goers carefully fold their Ikea tents neatly into the back of the Audi estate before heading back to the stockbroker belt… Not proper hippies like when I were a lad… grumble grumble…
As you can probably tell, I’m only jealous ‘cos I didn’t get to go, although we tried to replicate the experience; we got all the kids to sit out in the back garden watching the sun go down, drinking cocoa surrounded by them giant candle flare thingies. Which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is almost exactly the same thing. My eldest even offered to add to the festival vibe by playing acoustic guitar, but by using the magic of death threats, we managed to persuade him not to.
Anyroadup, back in the more mundane indoorsy World Of Pub Rawk, things are about to get busier again…
Friday 3rd July – The Bell, Shepton Mallett And I’m indebted to Disco Dave for the news that the planned new TV series, “CSI Shepton” has had to be cancelled after it was discovered that nobody there has any dental records, and everyone has the same DNA.
I’m hoping that we won’t get lynched for that one. Should be okay as long as nobody reads it out to ’em.
And then explains it to ’em.
Saturday 4th – Golden Lion, Weymouth
Weymouth? Yes, Weymouth, on the South Coast, far far far away. Luckily Suzi and I know an ace chippy on the way. Even more luckily, it seems that our wonderful pal Gena will be down there for a weekend at the seaside, so we’re looking forward to a mad night. We’re all hoping that Suzi will keep her top on this time.
Anyway, we can’t get too carried away, ‘cos some of us have to work the next day…
Sunday 5th – Fox and Hounds, Wroughton (near Pighill) – AUC gig, 4pm start
Yes, Suzi and I have to try and remember the duo set, which should be, erm, interesting…
They like their acoustic stuff in here, so I had planned to get my daughter in to do most of the hard work. Unfortunately (for us) she’s landed a part in a local musical and has to go rehearse with them, which means that Suzi and I are gonna have to sort some stuff out ourselves between now and then. Most likely on the day. Fasten your safety belts…
Q. How many novice guitarists does it take to play the riff from “Smoke On The Water”?
A. All of them, apparently…
Right, that’s your lot for now, I’m sure I have stuff I ought to be doing now, if only I could remember what it was…
Who are you?
You’re not my regular nurse, are you? Are you new here? They keep stealing my clothes, you know…
Date – 22/06/2009
Apologies we haven’t sent any of this rubbish out for the past couple of weeks – well, I say apologies; we did get a few complaints emailed in asking where the Monday rubbish was – but on the other hand, when we do send them out, we usually get about that same number of complaints about the poor standard of jokes – so on balance, it all works out about the same, I reckon.
Anyway, I’ll give you a quick trawl through the edited highlights of the last couple of weeks, so you don’t feel you’ve missed out.
We’ve been treated to a mad woman fondling Stuart’s drumkit in the Albert while he was trying to set up, until we shooed her away; we had an uninvited guest harmonica player, who thought that Metallica had foolishly left out a bit of R&B gob-iron when they mixed down Enter Sandman on the album, and set about rectifying the error with us onstage; and I’ve actually managed to get through the last four gigs in a row without accidentally getting dribbling drunk. I think I must be losing my touch.
The last couple of gigs were particularly jolly, though – at the White Lion in Yate, we had a fun crowd, particularly the lad who appeared to be on springs, bouncing merrily up and down – first with his shirt on, then with it off, then back on again – sadly we had to cut the evening a little short as Stuart was called away for a domestic crisis.
Happily, this was resolved by the next day, so we were all set for a good night at the Rolleston in Swindon. I was just about ready to set off, when the phone rings. It’s an agitated Scotswoman – yes, that one – who tells me that she’s stranded in Warminster with a dead car, can’t get to the gig, can’t get home, and has exhausted all possibilities of scrounging alternative transport. After a bit flapping, we negotiate a solution whereby the AA take her and her rubbish car back to Trowbridge, while I hotfoot it down to collect her for the gig, and with a bit of luck we won’t be too diabolically late.
So, I hastily pull on my boots, dash out to the car, and screech off on the unplanned detour. To my surprise, by the time I get to her place, she’s actually there – bonus prize to the unusually efficient AA people. Rather less to my surprise, she’s not quite ready yet. But, she soon is, and via a quick raid on a chippy and a brief getting-lost-in Swindon-town-centre episode, we arrive, haul the gear in, and set up.
And a very fine night it is; Martin discovers the perfect bass amplification set up (sadly it involves having two of everything, oh goody, more stuff to cart around); we catch up merrily with most of the Gorse Hill Mafia; we’re treated to a splendid display of freestyle dancing, which clears a quarter of the pub, since nobody knows where the next limb is going; we discover our favourite promoter Status is “mysteriously hungover after last night”, – as indeed she is every single time we see her; and we have a special guest guitarist, who, since it’s his birthday, is drunk enough to volunteer to step in on guitar for one number, which means I get to go down the front and polish off my pint. And I have to say the guitar sounds awesome from down there. Of course, it’s possible that it’s just him that sounds good, but I feel sure it’s my rig that’s doing all the work…
So, a jolly night all in all, and by the time we’ve packed up and I’ve driven all the way to bloody Trowbridge to drop Suzi off, and made my way home again, it seems I just have time to drop my head on the pillow before the alarm starts bleeping, and my dear Dem starts prodding me demanding cups of tea and reminding me that we’ve promised to get up early and do a five-mile charity fun run with all the kids this morning….
See, I signed up for sex’n’drugs’n’rock’n’roll, I don’t recall seeing anything about “being-an-all-night-taxi-service’n’getting-up-early’n’doing-five-mile-runs” in the small print…
Oh, well. No gigs this weekend, but let’s face it, I need the kip. After that, it’s going to get a bit hectic, we’ve got a busy ol’ month coming up, so I need my beauty sleep…
Date – 01/06/2009
And a sticky warm welcome to all our readers, even those who just look at the pictures. We hope you all had a lovely weekend, and didn’t get too sunburned, or get too much hot fat from the barbie splashed on your bellies. As for us, we had a mighty fine weekend of rawk’n’roll, despite a rather worrying start…
Friday night; I rolled up bang on time ten minutes late at the Portcullis, to find I’m the first one there. Damn, that means I’ll have to start unloading the van all on my own. A couple of armfuls of equipment later, Martin and Stuart arrive and join in. As we’re dragging the kit in through the back yard, Stuart starts complaining of some difficulty breathing. “It feels like there’s something stuck in my throat, but there isn’t anything there”, he says. He starts to go a grey colour, and hold his chest, so we make him sit down. He wonders aloud if he might be suffering some kind of allergic reaction to something he’s eaten, which is causing his windpipe to close up.
Martin and I are sharing the same unspoken thought, “I hope the old duffer isn’t having a heart attack”.
After a couple of worrying minutes, Stuart suddenly lets out a horrific belch, jumps up, saying, “That’s better!”, and starts bustling around carrying stuff again. Martin and I feel somehow cheated, all that concern and sympathy wasted. We content ourselves with telling him off and threatening to make Suzi put him over her shoulder to burp him before gigs in future.
The gig itself goes without major incident, although looking at the posters on the wall for upcoming attractions (they get a lot of solo and duo acts in here), Suzi and I espy a picture of a “vocal artiste” in a spangly shirt, who bears an uncanny resemblance to our Martin. Has he been secretly moonlighting? We call him over, and show him. Obstinately, he refuses to recognise any likeness between himself and his identical twin on the poster. Admittedly, the guy in the picture has less grey hairs than Martin, but you can do wonders with Photoshop (or indeed, boot polish).
“He looks nothing like me”, protests Martin, getting annoyed, “That guy looks fat.”
There is an unconscionably long pause as Suzi and I avoid each other’s gaze while desperately trying not to be the one to say it. Martin finally breaks the silence by muttering, “Oh, f^%$ off”, and stomps off while we collapse in hysterics.
Saturday saw us descend on the Old Fox in Bishopston, for a hot, sticky and fantastic evening of rock’n’roll fun, with some excellent examples of drunken epileptic dancing. A big up to our mate Muddy, who afterwards told me a whole string of jokes intended to inclusion for this missive – sadly, I can remember none of them now, only that most were probably a little too risqué for the more sensitive members of our readership.
And huge respect to young Ryan for heroically not quite being sick all over the back of the van – well played, that man! Finally, we amused ourselves by showing Martin’s most enthusiastic fan base – Muddy’s wife, young Sarah – the picture of Martin’s doppelganger; “Oooh, that’s definitely ‘im!”, she exclaims, “Oooh, ‘e’s lovely…” We can’t quite persuade her to go and jump in Martin’s car with him before he pulls away, but she’s clearly tempted.
Anyways, on to this week’s upcoming delights, let me just consult my dairy (yes, my dairy, I now keep all my future appointments written on the side of a small herd of Friesian cows for easy reference)…
Friday 5th – The Albert Inn, Bedminster
Good fun in here, it’s always a bit of a giggle. And they have big stone monkeys over the doorways. What more can you ask? [editors note: I think they are wood but what can you expect from a bloke with an engine in his ear]
Saturday 6th – Pinkerton MCC, Greenbridge Rugby Club, Swindon Bike rally, Rugby Club, Swindon
Any questions? Thought not. Should be a hoot. Actually, I seem to remember that we’ve played this one before, and that we actually got to sit down afterwards and watch another band; a rare treat. Although it is possible that I imagined it all. I wonder if I can get Suzi to drive me back…?
Okay then, time for this week’s closing joke; from what I can remember from what Muddy told me on Saturday night: –
There’s these two Irishmen. And they want a drink. And, er, they can’t afford one. But they have a sausage. And somehow they use the sausage to get free drinks. Until they lose it. And, er, then I suppose they can’t get any more drinks. But they must have had enough, really, if they’ve managed to misplace their sausage. Probably it had gone cold by the end of the joke anyway. So maybe it’s all for the best.
Or maybe, after all the drink, they wanted a kebab, but they still didn’t have any money, and the sausage only worked for getting drinks, and not kebabs; so, probably, they would have eaten the sausage. That must be it. Right, then: –
These two Irishmen wanted a drink, but they didn’t have any money, so they used a sausage to get some, and then… they must have eaten it.
Eye thank ewe.
Well, it sounded funny when I heard it. Must be the way I tell ’em….
Date – 26/05/2009
Well, we hope everybody had a fine sunny Blank Holiday weekend.
Even though it’s a fading memory now, we certainly had an interesting night last Thursday down at BsB on Bristol’s waterfront. Throughout the evening, the clientele varied considerably – there was a large party of Bright Young Things clad in fluorescent neon sports gear and tutus – I have to say this looked rather better on the girls amongst them than the boys – and Martin seemed particularly taken with a pair of scantily-clad young ladies who were orbiting the place selling trays of some poisonous cocktail or other. In fact, Martin was taking such a keen paternal interest in them, that I nearly tripped over his tongue a couple of times…
Even I was gently attacked by a winsome young thing, who jumped up onto the front of the stage during the second half and started thrashing away on my G string (not quite as painful as it sounds) before being forcibly removed by the bouncers (again, not quite as painful as it sounds).
Little did they realise, the girl was an unsung musical genius; she actually yanked my guitar back into tune for the first time since the start of the set – I could see the tear of gratitude in Martins eyes.
Or possibly he was just glazing over again, dreaming of chocolate-coated cowgirls…
So, we finish up the encores, pack away, and in a fitting end to the evening, I somehow manage to split my head open on the van door. I stumble back inside, blood pouring down my face.
Suzi spots my plight, and, having made sure I haven’t been mugged and that all the gear is safe, sympathetically jabs a finger at me and tells me off, “You’re getting worse, I can’t take my eyes off you for five minutes without you doing something daft. You’re getting just as stoopid as Stuart”.
Ahh, bless, it’s nice to know they care.
So, a merry evening; and this week, we have two more coming up: –
Fri 29th – Portcullis, Staple Hill
Haven’t played here for ages – this is us filling in for our mates in Crossfire, who are having their hair done, or something…
Sat 30th – Old Fox, Gloucester Road
Aahh, the dear Old Fox. Always a hoot, even though it’s a bit too cramped for any serious poncing about, we usually have a great time, and the crowd are always entertaining.
Finally, Joke Of The Day;
Two lions are walking through a shopping centre.
One says to the other, “Bit quiet in here today, isn’t it?”
Nobody said it was going to be a good day for jokes…
Date – 18/05/2009
Well, that was an interesting weekend in the world of pub rock. Yes guys, we’re back, we actually survived our little jaunt to the ‘Mead – in fact, we all rather enjoyed it, and we’re looking forward to going back (eh?).
First off, though, Friday’s gig at the Trout in Keynsham went off almost without incident; we didn’t break anything, we saw some luvverly old pals, and only Martin succumbed to Troutism (an affliction which plagues musicians in this particular pub, characterised by temporary loss of hand-eye coordination and all but the most basic motor functions, resulting in loss of ability to play one’s instrument, but without actually forgetting to breathe). We played as many encores as the management would let us, packed up, and even dropped a few drinkers home on the way back. Aren’t we nice?
So – Saturday at the Treble Chance. We’d never played here before, but fearsome rumours about the place abounded, so much so that I caught Dem looking through the insurance policies earlier in the day, “just seeing how much you’re worth dead, darling”.
As it turned out the place was extremely friendly, and very lively. Right from the start, we were treated to an enthusiastic response, and after a couple of numbers, there was a sizeable contingent of young ladies dancing away in spectacular style. Martin was particularly taken, I think, with the lissome young Jess, who jumped onstage to writhe all over him – oh, the bronzed limbs – and we actually had difficulty getting him out the pub afterwards, on account of his smug grin being too wide to get through the doorway.
Funnily enough, a few weeks ago when an inebriated gentleman started stumbling about too close to him, Martin got all grumpy. I think he must have mellowed out a little since then.
In fact, Suzi had substantial difficulty getting me out the pub afterwards too, but this was due to her having offered to drive me back, and the seemingly endless supply of Newcastle Brown… She keeps doing this to me, you know.
So, we had a merry old natter with the locals (well, what I can remember of it); we were introduced to a gentleman who insisted the band call him Uncle Melvin, and another amusing chap (a Dave, possibly?) who demonstrated his physical prowess by lifting up Suzi and her chair high in the air – and then putting her back down with the chair leg on his foot, which caused a stifled yelp of pain, and a quiet little hobble back to his seat. Oh, how we laughed. We stayed until people started being sick on the floor, at which point Suzi dragged me out – mind that puddle – and took me home, and then emptied my fridge before disappearing into the night. Bless her.
Right then, this week we’re out just on the Thursday:-
Thursday 21st – BsB, Waterfront, Bristol
Yes, we’re back down at the BsB again, down in the centre of the throbbing metropolis; if it’s a warm night, there might even be cowgirls – ohh, the bronzed limbs…
Then Suzi’s away for the weekend, which may give my liver a chance to recover – that girl is a bad influence, you know….
Date – 12/05/2009
And a jolly Monday welcome to everyone, and with the palm trees swaying gently in the trees overhead, the gentle sussuration of waves crashing onto the golden beach beside me, and the aroma of exotic orchids sweet in the air as the waiter brings the fourth pina colada over to my hammock, it seems such a shame to actually wake up and realise I’m at home, the alarm is bleeping, and I have to go to work now.
Oh well, at least I woke up before I had to pay the hotel bill…
Saturday’s trip to the Queen Vic was as entertaining as ever; it was in fact the day after Suzi’s birthday (she’s 25, I’m told, but that is of course in Singer Years. A bit like dog years, but – apparently – counting the other way).
I managed to get away with giving her a home-made card from my daughter, and some cheese. A rubbish pressie, you might think, and you’d be right – but as I was the only one to remember, I got away with it.
The gig itself was great fun, despite me forgetting how to play a few things we’ve been doing for years, and Stuart – somehow – breaking one his toms off the stand completely. “I’ve never done that before”, he ruefully observes. I was impressed – it can’t have been easy snapping a ¾” solid steel bar, armed with nothing more than a couple of drumsticks. Still, he finished the gig without trouble – maybe having less choice of things to hit made it easier for him.
Finally, somewhere in the wee hours, they let us stop and pack up. Suzi has to send out for some chips to give greedy Martin, to keep him off her cheese.
Right then, this week, we’ve got…. Let’s see… Ooh, this could be interesting…
Friday 15th – The Trout, Keynsham
Last time we played here was (musically) disastrous – I played so badly that Suzi actually took pity on me, rather than showering me with abuse as usual. Hopefully, though we’ve seen the last of these “Troutistic episodes”. Just to be on the safe side though, I think we won’t be attempting any songs with more than three chords on the night.
Saturday 16th – Treble Chance, Southmead
I’ve never actually set foot in this place before – it did used to have something of a reputation, though. I remember years ago, my beloved Dem telling me how she once got lost wandering around Bristol, and went in there to get directions. She phoned a mate up, said where she was, and was told, “You’re where? The TREBLE CHANCE? In SOUTHMEAD? Get out of there NOW. Put the phone down, walk out of the pub, I’m on my way to collect you, get out of there NOW, don’t speak to ANYBODY, don’t even make eye contact with anybody, and you just might get out of there alive. Put the phone down and GO NOW.”
I’m sure these days it’s a lovely place. Anyway, I’ve got Suzi between me and any potential crowd trouble, and we also have a drummer who can snap a solid steel bar like a twig. Besides, even if I can’t run faster than any potential assailants, at least I can run faster than Martin….
That’s your lot for now, we’ll see you around, maybe asquare, or perhaps even a dodecahedron (hang on though, they’re extinct, aren’t they…?)
Date – 05/05/2009
[Engage Leslie Phillips mode]
Well, hello there…
And I trust everyone enjoyed themselves this weekend in traditional Bank Holiday stylee, i.e. stuck in a long queue of cars waiting to get into the local recycling centre to dump a load of hedge trimmings, trying to get a damp barbecue to light, or wandering aimlessly for the whole three days through the retail labyrinthine hell of Ikea while the girlfriend tries to choose which type of curtain rod is truly, deep down, the right one for her.
Well, we didn’t, we went out gigging instead. Three times. Hah!
Thursday’s outing was to Trowbridge, to the excellent Peewee’s place; a nice venue and a fine gentleman, and a small but enthusiastic crowd; we’ll be back there as soon as we can manage it.
Friday’s jaunt to the Cat and Wheel was enlivened by the presence of some old mates, some new mates, and a lavish coffee-table book devoted to chickens, which I’d spotted in a shop earlier that day and which we presented to Stuart just before the gig. He was (lamentably) quite excited by this, and kept on jumping up in between songs to try and show choice pictures to the audience. By the end of the night, they were equally keen – whilst we’ve often heard calls at the end of a gig for “More!”, “Encore!”, and “Get yer t*ts out!”, this time we were also treated to calls of “Chicken Solo!” – which pleased me no end.
Finally, Saturday saw us in the dear old Railway, nice to see some more pals, also the young lad who bounced around enthusiastically before passing out on a table – then miraculously came back from the dead for some more bouncing, before mistaking a cupboard for the exit door and having to be gently steered out. Marvellous. Thanks again to lovely owners Mark and Queen Amy for a long goodbye which saw Suzi and myself finally stroll out the door somewhere the wrong side of three am, having been entertained, fed, and harangued for not having brought an acoustic with us. Next time…
Finally, the cheese pun results are in – too many to list them all, but here are a few highlights of the Homage To The Fromage…
A few tasty Beatles tracks, from “Let It Brie” to “While My Gruyere Gently Weeps”, then Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Danish Blue”…
…Procul Harum’s “Nights In White Stilton”… [editors note] It was the Moody Blues actually but we’ll “Blame it on the Burgos”!
…into the Eighties with Lionel Richie’s “Halloumi, Is It Me You’re Looking For?”…
…anything by Terence Sage Derby…
…two entries for Guns’n’Toasties, we have both “Parmesan City”, and “Sweet Cheddar Of Mine”…
…then the seasonal Wizzard classic “I Wish It Could Be Cheshire Every Day”…
…from M People (I think), “Things Are Going To Get Feta”…
…and my personal favourite, thanks to Disco Dave for Cameo’s “Curd Up”.
Next week, just one gig, but a beauty…
Saturday 9th May – Queen Vic, Stroud
Always great fun. Be there. There might even be a chicken solo.
Right, that’s yer lot for now
Date – 27/04/2009
My, that was an interesting weekend. Having decided to sell our rock’n’roll souls in pursuit of filthy lucre – may Lemmy forgive us – we arrived all smartly dressed – and even quite clean – at Saturday’s debut “nice and unthreatening music” gig, dragged in the gear, and surveyed the scene.
Hmm; quite a few punters are in already, but still the game of “spot the non-pensioner” is a bit of a challenge. Suzi is worried in case we make too loud a noise and one of them dies; as usual in these circumstances, she circulates chatting to people so they won’t hate us quite so much once we start playing. She comes back to report the comment, “Oh, don’t worry dear, as long as you play a few waltzes, you’ll go down fine”.
It’s time to start, so with everything turned down as low as we can manage, off we go. We get through the first number without too much difficulty; but for the second, we find Suzi can’t actually hear her cues properly, so there are several gaps in the vocals until she manages to catch up. This does little to dissipate her nervousness, but we make it to the end of the first set without major incident. At least no-one has keeled over yet.
Second set, and three songs in we start before Suzi’s ready. Back up, we’ll try that again. Ready? One, two, three… This time she is ready; but unfortunately what she’s ready for is the song we just finished, and not this one. Third time lucky? Excellent, this time we all start the same number at the same time. Hang on, what’s happened to the bass? Oh look, Martin’s pedal board has fainted. He hastily re-wires himself as we carry on without him (having finally got the song started, we’re not going back again), and by the end we’re all actually playing the same number at the same time. We get a round of applause for this.
As the second set continues, the frequency of glaring musical cock-ups, if anything, increases; I forget the solo in a song we’ve played every gig for the last two years; Stuart forgets the format of a track we’ve played for even longer than that; we stumble over some numbers thast we obviously haven’t quite finished learning yet; still, punters are up and dancing around, so as long as nobody drops dead we may get away with it.
At last, it’s time for the final set – the old cheesy rock stuff that we (mostly) actually know, the sure-fire numbers that always get people up and dancing around – and, sho’ nuff, they don’t let us down.
We do manage to let one of the numbers down, though. One that we’ve played hundreds and hundreds of times before.
The track in question is the corny old Robert Palmer number, Bad Case Of Loving You. (You know, “Doctor, doctor, give me the news… etc etc).
Well, ever since we started playing it – because I have the sense of humour of retarded four-year-old – I have always referred this song as Suitcase Of Doggy Poo. And that is how I have always written it on the setlists, because it amuses me, and because I cherished the notion that after years of this subconscious conditioning, just maybe one day Suzi would sing those words by mistake.
However, on this occasion, for some reason, I have put the song’s real title on the setlist without noticing.
Thus it is that we finish the track before, Stuart fires us into the intro, and Suzi turns to us in bewilderment.
“What are you lot doing?” she demands.
“Bad Case Of Loving You”, I tell her, as the three of us continue playing.
“What?” she yells, as the point where the vocals are supposed to start slips past us.
“Next on one the list. Bad Case Of Loving You”.
“What? We don’t do that. When did we start doing that? We’ve never rehearsed that. What are you all playing at?”
We’re now approaching the end of the first verse, still no vocals; the punters probably think we’re doing an instrumental version.
“We always play it. It’s on the regular set list”.
“What the hell are you on about?” We’re into the chorus section now.
“You know it. Suitcase Of Doggy Poo”.
“Oh….. crap”. Her face falls as realisation dawns. Meanwhile, bereft of vocals, and because I am doubling up with laughter, the music crashes to a halt like an ugly five-car pile-up falling down three flights of concrete stairs.
I attempt to compose myself, while Suzi tries to explain to the crowd what has just happened. I don’t think they understand. Finally we get a grip on ourselves and actually manage to play the song through.
Oh well, since nothing else can go wrong, it doesn’t, we finish off the set without major incident (except a few fits of the giggles) and actually get called back for a couple of encores.
Stuart sums up the evening succinctly. “I fink”, he says, “we got away wiv it.”
By way of an antidote, we’ll be out three times this week in Full-On No-Holds-Barred Down’n’Dirty Rock’n’Roll Mode, and I personally will be jamming the volume knob up to eleven… and ripping it off.
Thursday 30th – Peewee’s, Trowbridge
One of Suzi’s many locals, apparently a bunch of her mates will be there…should be a hoot.
Friday 1st May – Cat and Wheel, Bristol
Down by the Arches on Gloucester Road, surrounded by pizza and kebab joints, curry houses, a chippy, a Chinese – Mmmm…
Saturday 2nd May – The Railway, Fishponds Luvverly!
Always an entertaining evening, and we loves the owners, Mark and Queen Amy, yes we does.
Er…. That’s all, folks!
Oooh – except that a thought just struck me.
Knowing the sophisticated sense of humour of our regular readership, it occurs to me that maybe we should ask y’all for suggestions for cheesy rock numbers to play for future corporate sellout events. Remember, cheese is the key, so we’re looking for ideas along the lines of…
Pomp-rock classic Brie Out Of Hell… …Slade’s glam oldie Camembert The Noise… …Joan Jett’s I Love Roquefort… …anything by Simply Red Leicester… …or Edam And The Ants…
…oh, you get the picture….
Date – 20/04/2009
And a happy birthday to our mate Adrian, who is now officially in his twenties (albeit with a couple of decades’ extra experience…) Thoughtfully he’d hired a hotel bar for his celebratory bash, but rather rashly he asked us and our buddy Disco Dave to provide the entertainment. Will they never learn…
As it was just up the road from me, Dave and I nipped up early to set up the kit, then I went back home to await Suzi and Martin. “There’ll be a buffet about eight”, Adrian had previously told us, “Help yourselves”.
Two minutes to eight, Martin arrived on my doorstep. “Let’s go” he says, unusually keen to get on with things.
“No rush”, I tell him, “I’ve already set most of it up. Anyway, Suzi’s not here yet.”
He is visibly impatient, and as the minutes tick by, becomes increasingly agitated. I realise what the matter is.
“You’re worried about missing out on the free grub, aren’t you?”
He doesn’t even attempt to look abashed. “I haven’t eaten anything since six o’clock”, he complains…
Presently Suzi arrives, and on being told she is keeping poor waif-like Martin from eating, slows right down and faffs about about rather more than usual – no mean feat – before we are finally ready to set off.
Basking in Disco Dave’s psychedelic light show, we start the gig. The acoustics of the room are a bit dodgy, poor Stuart is tucked back into a corner and struggling to hear everything amidst a swirling wash of churning reverberation, but Suzi and I don’t care as the dancefloor is immediately taken over by half a dozen young lads (average age, about six) who spend the entire evening playing frantic air guitar, and writhing around on the floor Angus Young-stylee. Fantastic!
In the break, I carefully watch Dave’s DJ-ing technique, and I have to admit that my formerly held view – that “All you do is just push a button” – was unjustified, prejudiced, and unfair.
At one point I clearly saw him slide a fader up as well.
We play on through the second set, accompanied by our Junior Rock Army, and just as we’re getting near the end, the management politely asks us to Stop That Infernal Racket, as they’re getting complaints not just from the neighbours, but the neighbours’ neighbours as well. So, one more number, and we hand over to Disco Dave to round the night off. And, in a traditional end to the evening, Suzi borrows all my money off me, plus a tenner from the hapless Dave, before driving me home to drink some more…
Right, then. This week, we’ll be betraying our rawk’n’roll heritage by playing our first proper corporate sellout gig. Yes, we’re going to turn down, dress up, and play an evening of cheesy beige music for the benefit of the aspirant bourgeoisie.
Sat 25th – Albion House Social Club, Cheltenham
At least, that’s the plan. I have a suspicion that just maybe we’ll get half way through the night before reverting to type, ripping our fancy clothes off and yelling “Sod this, let’s RAWK!!! Onetwofreefawr…”
Of course, if it’s just me, I may look a little foolish…
Anyways, we’ll keep y’all posted.
PS Cheers Kelly, see ya soon!
Date – 14/04/2009
And a fine springtime welcome to this week’s slice of vicarious rawk’n’roll lifestyle experience.
The more astute among you will have noticed we didn’t do anything last week; this was on account of me being “en vacances” (as we cosmopolitan types say) in Northern France* with my large collection of offspring, who showed their appreciation by being violently unwell. Bless ’em.
At least it stopped raining for a couple of days, so we actually made it to the beach for a bit.
So, that was nice – I’ve always wanted to see Brittany’s piers….
Anyhoo, we was home and recovered in time for a Saturday night muddy field bear tent experience, at Gloucester MAG’s annual “Slippit Inn” rally deep in the Forest Of Dean; and, as usual, a mighty fine crowd they were. We had a little technical issue, with Stuart breaking his bass drum pedal after two songs (clumsy boy); but Suzi heroically saved the day by starting the next number accapella; Martin and I discreetly joined in while Stuart frantically wrestled with his equipment, and he managed to get himself all working again in time for the last chorus. Couldn’t have planned it better, really. (Although maybe that says something about the way we plan stuff…)
Thanks to Dan, Meaty From Brum, and everyone else who fed me beer during the evening, I had a lovely time – in fact at one point I was enjoying myself so much jumping up and down with the rest of the crowd that I actually forgot I was supposed to be playing… It was only when I heard a big gap where the main riff was supposed to come in that I looked down, saw the guitar round my neck, and realised my mistake. Such professionalism…
I think we finally stopped playing somewhere around one in the morning, although I was a little hazy by this point, and Suzi eventually threw me into the van and drove me home. I think I’m getting the hang of things…
Right then, this weekend we’re playing our mate Adrian’s birthday party, with supporting entertainment from our mate Disco Dave And His Amazing Lighting Rig, so we’ll let you know how that goes – then the weekend after, we’ll be up in Cheltenham (details to follow), for our first proper venture into the commercial sell-out market… Now, where did I put that soap…?
*Don’t bother going, folks, the exchange rate is crippling at the moment, so everything is outrageously expensive. The only bargain we saw was in one of the markets; they were selling live ducklings and little fluffy chicks for three Euros apiece. I want one! Immediately I started trying to work out how I might be able to smuggle a duck back home, and how we could keep one in the back garden.
It took Dem ten minutes to persuade me I couldn’t have one, even though – all together now – they were going cheep…
Date – 30/03/2009
And this week’s missive from the World Of RawkTM is sponsored by Pedigree Chum; apparently it promotes long healthy life and a glossy coat, and it’s delicious on toast. So now you know.
And we can report a fine weekend’s gigging action; Friday’s trip to Yate rewarded us with the sight of a few old pals and a very pleasant evening, and Saturday’s sortie to Weston-Super-Mud was an absolute hoot.
Having finally located the venue in Weston’s labyrinth of fiddly one way streets, by the usual method of staring mystified at maps, swearing at street signs for not being there, and bickering heatedly between the pair of us, Suzi and I finally, by pure chance, rolled to a halt outside the door.
“Told you so”, she says triumphantly.
Stuart appears out of the door, apparently we have to go and load in around the back of the place, so we follow him on another little jaunt around the asphalt wonderland, nip the wrong way down a one way street or two, and finally locate a suitably seedy-looking back door, with a smug-looking Martin next to it. Thank God he caught a lift with Stuart, otherwise he’d still be looking for the place next Tuesday…
We start dragging the kit in, and – joy of joys! – there is not just a hefty-looking house PA, not just a good fixed lighting rig, not just a big stage in the corner, but a big two-tier stage, meaning that Stuart and his kit can be perched high up in the corner, and Suzi can get the full benefit of him thrashing away right in her lug’oles.
It also means he gets a prime view of the back of Suzi’s head, which will make nice change from his usual outlook…
Best of all it means I get plenty of room to prance about in without having to worry about tripping over aimless drunks, with only Martin and Suzi to worry about.. So, we set up, the sound guy mikes everything up, and we do a proper soundcheck(!), which just makes Suzi complain that everything’s too loud.
I remind her of seventies’ rockmonster Ted Nugent’s adage that “If it’s too loud, you’re too old”, before having to concede that these days what he actually says is, “Eh? Whassat? Speak up…”
Anyways, the place rapidly fills up, and it’s time to start. With Stuart thundering away in my right ear, I have to keep reminding myself not to turn my amp up to compensate, as there’s another few thousand watts of PA hooked up to it. Heh he he…
And to our delight the crowd is well up for it, very lively and bouncing around all over the place from the moment we start to the moment we stop for our quick half-time break. Just time to grab a quick cold one, find a spot with some cool air circulating and catch our breath, then it’s back to the fun.
We blast on through the second set, a couple of encores and decide to call it day before any of us drop with heat exhaustion. Marvellous fun! So, there you go – the Back Bar in Weston – definitely the best rock place around those parts, we liked it a lot.
After a natter with some locals and a bit of an unwind, I set off in search of wherever I parked the van, and we pack up and drive off into the night.
I’m still not familiar with the details of Weston’s one way system. “Turn next left”, says Suzi confidently. Twenty minutes and about nine miles later, we arrive back at the venue. Well, that was interesting. I decide to turn right this time, and we’re soon on our way home. Lovely.
Right, due to a preponderance of holidays and other things, we’re not going out next weekend at all, there’ll be none of this email malarkey next week, but our next gig will be: –
April 11th – MAG Rally, the “Slippitt Inn”, Blakeney, Forest of Dean
Muddy field full of bikers, big beer tent, sheer madness. Absolutely love it.
Right that’s your lot for now, and make sure you pop out tonight and buy some Pedigree Chum. You know it makes sense…
Date – 23/03/2009
Hello folks, and as it’s a nice day for it, I’ve decided to go down with – Fluffy Kittens! – a hitherto unknown medical condition called Nice And Friendly Tourette’s Syndrome.
By now, you’ve probably -Sweet Little Puppy Dogs! – figured out the more obvious symptoms. So, without further ado, it’s on to a report of this week’s rawk’n’roll antics.
A landmark week for us, we actually all managed to get together for a practice on Wednesday. We even all showed up on time, and efficiently set up the gear in our grubby rehearsal room. Martin surveys the scene, says a rude word, and stomps out. He returns 45 minutes later, clutching a bass guitar, and pronounces himself “ready to start now”.
And they make drummer jokes.
So, Thursday night, and a jaunt to the Mail Coach in Swindon – self-proclaimed as “Swindon’s No.1 Gay Bar” – and my attempt to – Little Fluffy Baby Chicks! – document our evening without constant childish innuendo is immediately foiled by its location in a pedestrianised precinct, which means that it is only accessible from the rear.
All in all, we had a very – Bambi! – entertaining evening, the guys who run the place are great, and we all agree we’ll have to come back and do it again. I particularly enjoyed the way they kept giving me beer, Martin said he liked playing gay bars “‘cos they’re all better dressed”, and Suzi was given her first taste of Pussy (It’s a fizzy drink, calm down at the back, there). I presume that its marketing is targetted at people who prefer immature innuendo to the actual beverage experience. (Not like sensible old me. For your information, I can report that it’s completely different from drinking Coke – it tastes nothing like the Real Thing, and I didn’t like it very much…).
However, it does give me an excuse to wheel out my dear friend Caroline’s Cocktail Joke: –
Man walks into a cocktail bar, and says “I’d like an Entendre, please”.
“Very good, sir”, says the barman, “Will that be a single or a double?”
“Er.. Make it a double entendre, please”.
“Certainly, sir. That’ll be a large one, then.”
Anyways, a fine night, and big thanks to Swindon Al for his enthusiastic help with the humping (of the equipment. Honestly, you lot…)
Right then, onto this week’s joyful outings…
Friday 27th – White Lion, Yate
Even for Yate, the’re a bit odd in here. So, we’re looking forward to the punters entertaining us as much as we entertain them.
Saturday 28th – Back Bar, Weston-Super-Mare
Nice little rock club, this – we sneaked in to watch another band during our break last time we were playing across the road. Should be a good ‘un.
Right then, that’s about your lot for this week – Little Baby Lambs! – so I’m off to see the psychologist (to get some more jokes, if nothing else…)
Whiskers On Kittens
Date – 16/03/2009
Well, that was an unusually quiet weekend. With only one appointment in the pub rock calendar, Dem instructed me to spend the rest of my waking hours working my backside off clearing rubble and various other blokey buildery things.
So I was fair knackered out before we even started at Saturday’s gig, and because of this I dragged eldest son along to the Railway to help drag all the gear in and set it up.
By way of revenge, he insisted on making his stage debut by picking up my spare axe and joining in on one of the numbers. Doubtless he was encouraged by Suzi’s kindly comment, “Oh God, now there’s two of them…”
Welcome, my son, to the thankless world of rock and roll.
Still, even though the place wasn’t too busy, and even though landlord Mark had selfishly sneaked off fishing and left poor Queen Amy to supervise proceedings through her cheery haze of alcohol, we had an entertaining evening, we even remembered most of the set, and threw in a few acoustic ones at the end of the night.
Well, we had to; “If you two don’t play “Jolene” right now”, squawks Queen Amy, teetering atop of her bar stool, “I’m not paying you.”
Oh well, in that case, fair enough. One, two, three, four…
Hopefully we can put that kind of unsavoury thing behind us. After all, there’s plenty more unsavoury things coming up…
Never the most glamorous of locations; we know some nice people there, and they have too many roundabouts and no speed cameras, but I’d never really considered it to be the most cosmopolitan of towns; and I’ve never really noticed what I believe they call a “metrosexual” vibe about the place.
So it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that Swindon has its very own gay bar.
Once I’d found out that it does, however, it came as no surprise at all to find out we’ve been booked to play there…
Thursday 19th The Mail Coach, Swindon
‘Nuff said. Now, what shall I wear…?
Right, that’s your lot for now. Incidentally, if anybody wants about four tons of rubble, broken glass, lumps of concrete, bits of Land Rover chassis and festering bits of wood, do let me know.
Date – 09/03/2009
And, having survived a week in Italy’s fair capital city (I must say, that Colosseum will be lovely when it”s finished), I finally managed to get home – no thanks to Alitalia’s lackadaisical timekeeping – to find my poor sickly Dem lying on the sofa at Death’s door, with no food in the cupboards, and bickering children wandering aimlessly around the house – which looked like the results of some bizarre experiment involving the contents of a major domestic furnishings department, a crate of whiskey, and several gorillas.
So, a burst of effort to rectify the domestic situation (well at least partly, I did fail to find a buyer for the kids), it was onto a weekend of rawk’n’roll delights. On Saturday evening, Suzi rolled up at my door bang on time, ignored my immediate question “Who are you, and what have you done with my singer?” and we trundled off into the night, bound for magical Swindon.
We soon found the pub, and (not especially to my disappointment) it wasn’t actually rammed to the rafters with a drunken footy crowd. True, there were a few of ’em there, but since there was also our good pal Swindon Al and a few of his regular mates, it had the makings of a reasonably relaxed evening. Since Suzi offered to drive back (oh, that girl is turning into a bad influence…) I set about getting quite relaxed myself. About half way through the first set, the jolly footy japesters started with the climbing on tables, and each other, dismantling chairs, and getting on with some serious lager-spilling.
Thus the evening continued, I managed to set up a useful semaphore system with the helpful guys behind the bar so my personal beer supply could continue uninterrupted without having to stop playing. Eventually we ran out of encores, packed up before any of the drunks turned too ugly, and settled down for a natter with the staff – and several more beers for me. Thirsty work, this rock’n’roll business.
Eventually, Suzi coaxed me out, poured me into the passenger seat and took me home so she could raid my fridge. Somehow it was nearly four o’clock before I stumbled off to bed, giggling quietly to myself.
Well, I thought I was being quiet, but Dem informed me in the morning that this had in fact not been the case, and the only thing that saved me from being strangled was that she didn’t feel up to it at the time. Oopsie.
After a rather unaccountably slow start on Sunday, it was back to the dear old Oak in Chipping Sodbury for an evening’s merry gigging. And a fine night it was too, watching the locals’ domestic dramas unfolding before our very eyes, and with lots of jolly jigging around. We do seem to b getting the hang of this band thing. Excellent fun.
This weekend coming up, though, we aren’t doing the band thing.
Instead, Suzi and I are going to have a crack at the duo thing, to see if we can remember how to do it…
Sat 14th Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Ah, the lovely old Railway. Presided over by the ever-charming Mark and his Queen Amy, this is always a jolly night. If you’re around Fishponds, definitely worth dropping in. Even this Saturday, when we’re there. I might even remember to drag an acoustic along for a bit of mucking about at the end. You have been warned…
Right, that seems to be it for this episode, I leave you with a thought courtesy of my five-year-old (who, incidentally, makes the other three look quite calm and well-balanced): –
Where do pirates do their shopping?
No need for applause, thank you and good night.
Date – 02/03/2009
We hope you all had a pleasant and relaxing weekend; at least it will have been a bit quieter than usual, without any racket from the Angel Up Front corner. This week’s email is a bit shorter than usual (who shouted “hooray” at the back there?) as I’m busy packing my bags for a works outing to sunny Rome for a few days. Actually I’ve just checked the weather and it’s going to be piddling down… my ice cream’s going to get all soggy.
Anyhoo, assuming I make it back safely, this weekend, we have a couple of interesting outings to look forward to:
Saturday 7th – County Ground Hotel, Swindon
Viewing this one with a little trepidation after our budddy Swindon Al filled us in on the details; “It’s right by the footy ground, and will be absolutely heaving with people, ‘cos it’s match day.” Lots of people, sounds fine to me. “But don’t worry” he continued, “I’ve checked, and it’s a friendly game that day, so you probably won’t come out to find your burning van lying on its roof”. Oh goody. I loved the “probably” bit…
Sunday 8th – Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
Assuming we survive the Saturday, this will be a jolly cosy little one at one of our regular haunts, even if we may still be beating out the last of the flames on the smouldering equipment. And it’s Sunday, so it’s a half eight start, ‘cos we have to finish earlier. You hearing this, fellow band members, who were late last time? Hang on, Martin’s got his earplugs in again. THAT’S A HALF EIGHT START, ALL RIGHT?? HALF EIGHT, GOT IT?
Honestly, it’s like working in an old people’s home, sometimes…
Date – 24/02/2009
Well, what a brilliant fun weekend of rawk’n’roll antics that was! Friday’s jaunt to the Queen Vic in Stroud was an absolute hoot. Seeing as we hadn’t gigged for a couple of weeks, and hadn’t practiced for as long as I can remember, we were a little unsure of how rusty we might be. In the event – apart from an issue with Martin’s habit of soundchecking, then putting his earplugs in, and then turning himself way up as he mysteriously sounds quieter – we needn’t have worried, things all went rather well.
I brought my beloved Dem along – it was her birthday the day before, and I wanted to see if she was now too old to enjoy herself. Also along was our good buddy Disco Dave, who was supposed to be acting as her minder / chaperone – but, as expected, she didn’t really need one.
A few numbers in, and we’re settling in quite nicely, people are up and dancing, and Dem has attracted the attention of a rather portly and somewhat follicly-challenged gentleman, with a quite unique dancing – erm – style. He is clearly very taken with her, and spends the rest of the evening gyrating all around her, much to my amusement, and to Martin’s irritation (but only because he kept obscuring Martin’s view of some rather picturesque young ladies). Eventually her new dancing partner professes (a little rashly) his undying love for her, at which point she feels duty-bound to point out that she is, in fact, already married. “Aha!” replies the chap, as if completing a deft syllogism, “So why isn’t your husband here, then?”
She points over his shoulder at me, prancing around merrily about the stage two feet behind him. “That one there with the guitar” she tells him. “Ah.” he says. And continues.
The evening continues on its merry way, the whole place is jumping, we finally stop in the wee hours when we run out of encores, having played pretty much everything we think we can remember, and a few more that we didn’t think we could.
Finally we pack up, and toddle off home. Thanks to a sudden unexpected attack of roadworks, we can’t get to the M5 and end up going via every small town in Gloucestershire (and, much to my amusement, also via a stop at a secluded roadside spot so Dem can let some beer out); we eventually get back to relieve the jaded babysitters by about half past two. They’ve saved me half a bottle of wine, lovely! – and I can have it all to myself, Dem is apparently not thirsty any more – and soon we crawl off to giggle ourselves to sleep. Lovely.
Saturday’s outing to the Fox and Hounds in Wroughton was also a jolly event. Having just dragged all the gear in, I am squeezing my way through people to get to the toilet, when I am accosted by a rather buxom lady who points her fulsome chest at my face.
“‘Ere”, she says, staring intensely at me, “What do you think of my boobs?”
I wonder if this is a trick question. I study them carefully; I don’t want to get the answer wrong, in case there’s a forfeit of some kind.
I really can’t decide which one is nicer, so after careful thought I tell her, “I think they’re both lovely”.
She beams widely; clearly this was the right answer, and I’m allowed to continue on my way.
This has the makings of an interesting evening.
We set up, have a pint and a natter with people until it’s time to start. We meet a couple who had literally just got married, and who are off on their honeymoon in the morning, but have come out to see us tonight because they saw Suzi and I do our duo thing here a while back (Aww, bless), and ask if we’re going to “sit down afterwards and do some acoustic stuff like last time”. Er…no, sorry… but we have got some Metallica in the set tonight, if that’s any help…
It’s time to start, so off we go. The crowd is quite friendly and appreciative, but suddenly two members of the local constabulary walk in. Suzi instinctively tries to hide (a little tricky while you’re fronting a band, but she makes a game effort), wondering whether they’re making enquiries in connection with the Inland Revenue, her impressive collection of unpaid parking tickets, sundry traffic offences, or whether somebody has finally found the bodies…
As it turns out, they’re just here to sort out some silly little fight outside, so we can carry on regardless. We finish the first set, and just as Suzi turns to Stuart to complain about how hot she’s getting under the lights, he drops his pint and manages to completely soak her with it. He compounds this offence by chortling delightedly that he hasn’t spilt a drop on himself, and is so amused by Suzi’s piqued ire that he isn’t even upset about the loss of his beer.
Talking of beer, it occurs to me that since Suzi came along with me in the van, if she doesn’t mind driving it back, then I could have a few more pints myself….
…I’m sure she won’t mind…
…Landlord! Over here, please…
Off we go into the second set, the place is very lively now, and our mate Swindon Al kindly keeps the beers coming for me. I’m having a simply brilliant time, either we’re all playing very well or I’m just not noticing anything any more. Sometimes I can’t believe I get to have this much fun with some wonderful mates, make a big noisy fool of myself, and even get paid to do it. Marvellous!
Eventually it’s time to stop and pack up, I plonk the keys to the van into Suzi’s reluctant but unresisting hand, and we head off into the night, with me jabbering away merrily all the way home – just occasionally stopping to be told that if I don’t shut up I’ll be walking the rest of the way… and then carrying on regardless.
So, a fine weekend in the world of pub rock, as it happens we’re not gigging next week since Suzi’s away – but we’ll be back. I wonder if I can persuade her to drive again next time…?
Date – 16/02/2009
And a very good evening to all you folks out there in Televisionland.
Before we go to tonight’s Big Movie, Indiana Jones Goes To The Toilet Only To Discover Too Late That There’s No Paper In There (sponsored by Shake’n’Vac), here’s our Entertainment News 60-second Celebrity Update…
…Er..blah blah…Kylie…yadda yadda yadda…Winehouse….blah blah…Robbie…wiffle wiffle…..J-Lo…. Nope, there doesn’t seem to be anything there at all worth talking about. Oh, although apparently Michael Jackson has been behaving a little oddly lately. Perhaps he’s been working too hard.
Anyway, that leaves us time for our 30-second Obscurity Update…
Last weekend’s gig at Haydon Wick was, I have to say, a little untidy in places. It was all Suzi’s fault, she selfishly developed a terrible cold and was really suffering, poor little soul. This infection had also spread to her car, so that I had to ship down to Trowbridge mid-afternoon to collect her for the gig, and then halfway through the second set Martin’s bass rig caught it too, meaning that in the course of one song he had to try three different wiring connections, and swap basses twice, before he finally got it all working properly in time for the end of the number. Shortly afterwards, the dread virus spread to my left hand, causing me to play like a retarded baboon on tranquilisers (instead of my customary “retarded baboon on amphetamines” vibe).
Hopefully we’ll all be better and mended by this weekend, though, as we have a rocktastic schedule lined up…
Friday 20th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Fantastic place, really looking forward to this one, always a blast. And this time, since it’s the day after my beloved Demi’s birthday, she’ll be actually old enough to be allowed in pubs now. So, I’ve booked up hapless grandparents to mind the kids, and she’s coming along for a night of drunken debauchery. If she can remember how. To be on the safe side, our buddy Disco Dave is coming along too as her minder, to make sure she doesn’t start any fights. (Although we might let her finish a couple if she’s good).
Saturday 21st – Fox and Hounds, Wroughton, nr Swindon
Suzi and I did a duo gig here the other Sunday, and we had a jolly fine time. Apparently it’s quite a rock crowd on a Saturday night, so this should round the weekend’s gigging off nicely. On the way home I’ll probably pop into Stroud with the bail money and take Dem home.
Right, I’ll leave you with that, so now it’s on to Tonight’s Big Movie, IJGTTTOTDTLTTNPIT!
And don’t miss next week, when we’re screening the sequel, Indiana Jones And The Toilet Brush Of Doom…
Date – 02/02/2009
And, welcome to the white wonderland of wintry weather, and other things that begin with “w”. Like – er… Wagon Wheels. Not as big as they used to be when we were kids, are they?
Mind you, everything used to look bigger when when we were only little. Only yesterday, for example, I stole a CurlyWurly off my seven-year-old, and when I saw how small they are these days, I gave it back in disgust.
Well, that and the fact that he had me in a headlock…
Right then, with absolutely no hot gig action to report on, we can cut straight to the chase, and the upcoming weekend’s delights: –
Sat 7th Feb – Haydon Wick Working Men’s Club (weather permitting)*
Back to PigHill! We like it in this place, there’s a huge big tall stage, so tall in fact that not only does Suzi have to worry about naughty men trying to peer up her skirt, but Martin has to worry about naughty women trying to peer up his trouser leg. I don’t worry about such things, but then again I have the good sense to wear pants… Since there tends to be quite a mixed audience in this place, I suspect we might wheel out some of our Non-Threatening Cheesy Pop Stuff to see if we can get away with it. Of course, there’s also a fair chance that we’ll follow it up with a bit of Slayer or something, just to see what happens.
*Actually, even if the glaciers return and the next Ice Age starts early, even if we have to battle through eight-foot snowdrifts, fight bare-knuckled with ravenous polar bears, and dodge our way through the territories of several rival gangs of vicious penguins wearing hoodies and carrying flick knives, we’ll be there. It’s because of our selfless dedication to our art. Besides, it’s a paying gig, and we need the dosh.
Right, that’s it for now, and you will all doubtless be terribly disappointed to hear that my pun cupboard is empty – so, that means no crappy joke this week.
If you have any rubbish jokes you don’t want any more, please send them in to Angel Up Front, although regretfully due to Trading Standards laws we are unable to accept any which are racist, sexist, offensive to minorities*, or – and this is something we are really fussy about – actually funny.
*Although jokes about drummers or bassists are always welcome. Particularly jokes about drummers AND bassists.
For example – A drummer and a bassist fall off a cliff. Which one hits the ground first?
a) The drummer. The bassist gets lost half way down, and has to stop for directions.
b) Who cares? I just love happy endings.
See how desperate we are for new material?
Send your used unwanted jokes in NOW. We need your help.
A part-worn pun can bring a smile to the chops of a simpleton in Fishponds.
A used anecdote can cheer up a miserable sod in Totterdown A pre-owned double-entendre can keep an idiot in Filton happy for a week.
Have a look around your attics, rummage around in the backs of your cupboards, look on top of the wardrobe, dig out your old unwanted humour, and send it to us, where it can enjoy a new lease of life bringing joy to many like-minded retards who really should have better things to be doing than reading this crap….
Date – 26/01/2009
Top o’the mornin’ to ye!
My, what an entertaining evening we had at the Woodshaw Inn last Friday. I tell ya, anybody who wasn’t in Wootton Bassett missed out – and it’s not often you get a chance to say things like that.
Now, I set off there full of good intentions – Suzi even offered in advance to drive the van back, so I could have a few beers – but in the interests of gentlemanly restraint – last time, it gave me a terrible headache* the next morning – I politely declined her kind offer.
*I should point out that it was the drinking that gave me a headache, not the gentlemanly restraint – I have no need of such devices.
We arrived, we set up, and sat down for a natter. Poor Martin immediately fell asleep. Having just moved house, he’d hung up a picture during the week, and the poor lamb was obviously exhausted. As he fitfully dozed in his chair, who should roll in but the delightfully outrageous Gina and Mel. Now, Gina used to sing in bands with Stuart a while back, but nowadays she and Mel are a hilarious duo act, and they’re two of our favouritest people ever. So, big hugs all round, we swap rubbish jokes, Gina offers us all a beer – not for me thanks, I’m being good tonight – and we all yatter away over our recumbent bassist.
Look, it’s time to start. Myself and Stuart were all for starting without Martin, just to see the look of panic on his face as he is roused from his slumbers by the opening chords of the first number… Disappointingly, Suzi wakes him up.
About three songs in, somebody kindly offers me another beer – Not for me thanks, I’m driving. A few minutes later, somebody else offers me one, oh dear, I don’t want to appear rude… I hand Suzi the van keys and remind her what a lovely person she is. She accepts them, but also points out out that it’s a long walk home for cheeky guitarists who miss too many chords tonight…
No danger of that, I’m brilliant when I’ve been drinking. Even when Gina drops to her knees in front of me and starts playing air guitar with her crutch (well, technically not her crutch, but one she’d borrowed from a local with a broken leg), I don’t miss a note.
I do miss one when I am distracted by somebody else putting another pint for me on top of my amp… but I decide I’m prepared to forgive myself in this instance. And the next one…and the next one.
We finish the first set, yet another beer appears, and soon it’s time to start playing again. This time, Mel joins us a guest drummer, with Stuart conducting from the wings. Despite this, she keeps time rather well. More tunes, more beers, and inevitably Gina can’t contain herself any more and has to sing a number with us.
Then it’s just a jolly blur of even more beer, lots of buffoonery duetting between Suzi and Gina – there was some straddling deemed necessary, although I can’t really remember why – oh yes, and Mel sang one as well – and generally we all had a fantastic time, until eventually Martin started yawning again, so we reluctantly packed up and I set about seeing how many more pints I could sink before Suzi got bored and dragged me out of there.
Quite a few, as it turned out…
So, there you go – I got paid to spend an evening having the best fun you can with your trousers on, with a bunch of fantastic mates, drank loads of free beer and got taken home afterwards. Plus Suzi put a bottle of JD in the van for me as a belated birthday present. Brilliant!
Funnily enough, I had a banging headache the next morning. Maybe I should get me one of them Gentlemanly Restraints after all…
Anyway, my advice kids, is get out there and join yourselves a rock’n’roll band as soon as you can.
If you do it before next weekend, there should be some gigs available – we’re taking a weekend off – but you’ll have to be quick; our Comeback Tour starts the following Saturday…
And tell your parents not to worry about you getting into a sex and drink and drugs lifestyle – remember, it’s the 99% of musicians who give the rest a bad name….
Date – 19/01/2009
Gosh, what a wild and windy weekend that was! No more curried eggs for me…
So, on Saturday night, we battled heroically through the adverse weather conditions to the exotic environs of Portishead Working Men’s Club. Now this, unlike the biker-infested Gorse Hill Club, or the exotically glamorous Haydon Wick Club, turned out to be a proper Old School Working Men’s Club, all beige and square and faded and slightly shabby. A bit like being transported back through a time warp to the fifties. Or like being in Wales. Still, the management (the effusively pleasant Jonathan and his wife) were incredibly helpful and polite, and made sure everything ran smoothly despite our own somewhat undisciplined approach to things. Jonathan explained that they’d booked us because they were in the process of trying to attract a younger clientele into the place, since their regulars were – well, to put it bluntly, dying out.
In the event, despite the lousy weather, the crowd there was reasonably sized and fairly well mixed, and I was quite glad that we got to the end of the night without anyone keeling over – well, apart from the gentleman who fell backwards over the monitors, but that was probably more to do with his inability to drink than his age… It was lovely to see our pal Angie there, she was very kind and bought me a drink. Since I’d earlier persuaded Suzi to drive, and several other people also bought me drinks, and I even bought myself a few more for good luck, it was a rather jolly evening from my point of view.
They’ve asked us back to play again, so hopefully we won’t kill anyone next time either*.
On to exciting upcoming delights – just one this weekend (there would have been two, but the other one obviously realised their decor wasn’t up to the sartorial high standards Martin expects, so they’ve closed down for refurbishment): –
Friday 23rd – Woodshaw Inn, Wootton Bassett
Played here last year. Absolutely bonkers, they are; we had a brilliant time. Looking forward to it already.
*Actually, with the “not scaring delicate people to death” kind of thing in mind, we’ve decided to branch out into the exciting world of playing Boring Old Stuff to people who don’t know any better – in return for lots of money, of course.
Now, don’t go complaining that we’ve sold out – obviously we have – but in a week where I saw not just Johnny Rotten on telly advertising butter (Johnny Rotten, for Chrissakes), I swear blind I also saw Iggy Pop selling insurance – then I think we can be forgiven a little deviation on the moral compass, don’t you?
Obviously, we will also continue to play noisy down’n’dirty rawk most of the time, so in order to avoid any confusion, we’ll be going out under an assumed name when we’re playing the Cheesy Lightweight Rubbish.
Now, this is where we need your help. The subject of band names is always a tricky one, and we’ve found ourselves unable to come up with anything satisfactory to call ourselves. Given that we’re looking at playing relatively bland corporate events, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc, the name has to be inoffensive – so there go most of my ideas – and not have been used too many times before. My only non-offensive suggestion – Trixie Glitterjugs And The Spanglepants – was, remarkably, dismissed out of hand.
Anyhows, we really do need some suggestions, so please write in with any ideas you have – and if you can come up with a decent moniker, we’ll use it, and be eternally grateful, and probably buy you a pint. We might even make you a cake or something.
We’ll let you know next week what suggestions we got in. Ready? Turn your papers over. Your time starts…..now.
Date – 12/01/2009
My, what a busy rock’n’roll weekend that one was! Friday’s jaunt to the Cricketers in Pighill was approached with no little trepidation – partly because, after two weeks off, there was a fair chance we’d forget everything; and partly because someone said to us in the week “Oh, the Cricketers – you do realise that’s the biggest gay pub in Swindon, don’t you….?” And we never did get around to learning YMCA…
Happily, it turns out that the place has been taken over by new owners, and it no longer echoes to the sounds of the Communards. Instead it echoed to the sounds of our dear old friends the Gorse Hill Mafia, who turned up in force to watch Suzi forget lots of lyrics and make them up on the spot, Martin and I have a few key change memory lapses, and Stuart helplessly drumming away with a look of panic on his face after he forgot to stop at the right moment…
All in all though, we didn’t do too bad, and once the Local Boisterous Drunken Dancing Oaf was removed (keep your clothes on and they won’t throw you out the pub next time), all was very jolly. In fact, even our “clear the pub special” Britney number couldn’t get rid of of ’em – they just sat and glared at us. “Very bloody funny, now play some more Guns & Roses”, they said. So we did. When we finally were allowed to stop, the lovely owners tried to overpay us, so pleased were they with our efforts.
And my heart went out to the local lass who, in an alcohol-induced emotional state, begged us to let her stow away in the back of the van – “I was born in f*&^$in Swindon, I grew up in f*&^$in Swindon, and I f*&^$in hate f*&^$in Swindon, please take me away with you…”
I couldn’t decide which impressed me more – her romantic view of the rock’n’roll gypsy lifestyle she obviously imagined we lead, or her ability to pronounce the shift characters on the top row of a keyboard.
Saturday’s venture to Trowbridge was also cause for apprehension – the first duo gig in Lord knows how long, and have we rehearsed? No, of course not, we like to keep that raw spontaneous edge…
I’m proud to announce we found yet another obscure new use for gaffa tape. Suzi, silly girly that she is, has washed her nice white coat, so when she takes it off, her little black goth outfit is covered in white bits – so much so, that even I notice. When I tell her, she refuses to start the gig until its sorted – and after asking me if I have a lint roller in my possession, and actually managing to look surprised that I don’t, the pub is treated to the sight of me having to repeatedly apply and remove strips of gaffa to her outfit until she declares herself happy. So there you go – gaffa is excellent for de-fluffing your singer’s butt. They don’t put that in the adverts.
Gigwise, the Anchor was full of people who were all full of alcohol, so we had a pretty easy ride. And happy birthday to our mate Damon, unfortunately he’s a bit rubbish at drinking, so the delicious Cath had to escort him home early. Still, we carried on without them until the wee hours, and then when we ran out of material, we made some more up. Some nights we get away with murder…
And finally, a Sunday afternoon spin out to the rather lovely Fox and Hounds in Wroughton. Despite playing the first set to the backs of a lot of heads (the curse of Footie On The Big Telly), we eventually engaged everyone’s attention and were treated to some fine examples of small mad children dancing, while their dad tried to keep up with them. I nearly called an ambulance at one point.
In the break, we have a long natter with our mate Statey, who books us gigs around Swindon, and – bless her – has turned out to see us, despite being painfully hungover after last night’s birthday celebrations. She mentions in passing that she often gets asked to book non-rock bands in some places, just for a change. Suzi and I secretly decide, just for spite, to improvise some Country and Western for her later on…
We played through the second set as planned – until three quarters of the way through our final number, all our power fails, so we have to come to an abrupt halt. Oh, this won’t do at all. What are we going to do now?
Luckily, cunning Alan has brought an acoustic guitar* with him…
We bound over to where a bemused Statey is sitting, and to her huge embarrassment, serenade her with an impromptu acoustic version of the dreadful Dolly Parton classic “Jolene”. I look up from my fretboard, and virtually the whole pub has gathered around and is joining in the choruses… Tears of laughter as I notice that half the women in the place have acquired a variety of pairs of melon, grapefruit, and in one case, pint-glass shaped objects to stuff down their tops and enhance their cleavages…
Oh dearie me. We finish to roars of applause and have to bluff our way through another four or five numbers and promise to come back another time before they finally let us go home, still giggling merrily.
Next week, things should be a little more – ahem – normal; just the one outing…
Saturday 17th – Portishead Working Men’s Club
Never played here before, but they sound like very nice people. And they got us an article printed in the “Clevedon Mercury”. Fame at last. (Even if they did use the wrong photo. That’s not me.)
Right then, til next time…
*£5 per gig from Lily’s Guitar Hire. “Yes Daddy, you can borrow it, but it’ll cost you, and if you break it you have to replace it, AND give me all your guitars AND buy me lots of clothes and stuff…” Then she charged Suzi a fiver for washing her car while we were out. Dat’s my girl….
PS – We are proud to announce that Swindon Al has been named as Angel Up Front’s Rawk’n’Roll Lifestyle Employee Of The Month for achievements that – er – we aren’t allowed to mention. Good work, that man!
Date – 05/01/2009
Happy Noo Year, folks!
And, with Santa’s jingling bells just a fading memory, the kids have broken at least half of their new toys whilst their parents look through the credit card statements and ruefully survey the financial damage, with a sigh of relief we can all bid farewell to the season of Peace On Earth And Goodwill To All Men – until next September anyway, when Tesco’s start putting mince pies on the shelves again.
So, put a cheerful smile on your little faces, you lot can all get back to work now and get on with what passes for real life.
Speaking of getting back to work, if you listen carefully, you can hear the siren song of the grubby pub rock scene, calling your favourite bunch of disreputable musos back to the stages of the South West’s less salubrious drinking establishments.
Shush, listen… “You need the money, you need the money…”
Right then, seeing as I spent several hours yesterday in my freezing cold garage patching up various bits of PA, and trying to remember how the duo set goes, we might be reasonably prepared for next weekend. In theory at least, it goes a bit like this: –
Fri 9th – Cricketers Arms, Swindon
A new one for us, but Swindon (sorry, Pighill) always seems to be good fun – and a big up to the Gorse Hill Massive, as we young people say.
Sat 10th – Anchor and Hope, Trowbridge
AUC gig First duo gig of the year, this one is in honour of our mate Damon’s birthday. Last time we played here, Suzi was smashed out of her little face, and spent the night haranguing the audience for not remembering the words; I’m quietly hoping for a repeat performance (as long as I’m not buying ’em in), ‘cos it means my job will be mainly to stop her falling over the monitors – I hardly have to play guitar at all. Sheer professionalism.
Sun 11th – Fox and Hounds, Wroughton, Swindon
AUC gig, 4pm start More Dotty and Totty! Assuming “we” have recovered from our hangover, this should be a reasonably civilised affair – a pleasant Sunday afternoon in a nice warm pub – what more can you ask?
Well, you could ask us to keep the noise down, I s’pose…
Right, that’s your lot for now, I’ll leave you with… Actually, I can’t think of anything to leave you with.
I could leave you with a flourish.
I could leave you with alacrity.
I could leave you with a selection of unpleasant diseases and a Crackerjack pencil.
I could run away and join the circus and leave you with the house and the kids and a pile of unpaid bills, how would that be?
Tell you what, I’ll leave you alone for a few days, fair enough?