Blog Posts – 2011

Date – 12/12/2011

Yo homeys!

And as the festering commercial blight that masquerades as a season of goodwill looms ever larger over the horizon of the more traditionally appropriate winter solstice festival, it’s time to draw a veil over the rawk’n’roll proceedings for another year.

The past weekend’s gigging had, I must say, only a few moments of note – a significant proportion of ‘clients’ staying home thanks, I suspect, to a combination of recession-bound finances, and (on the Sunday) truly diabolical weather, and (on the Saturday) the truly diabolical Simon Cowell.

However, we did get to enjoy Ben neatly sabotaging Suzi’s normally soulful and sensitive intro to the Patti Smith classic “Because the Night” by making the squeaky rubber chicken sing it along with her – to Suzi’s credit (and we all know we shouldn’t extend credit to vocalists, don’t we, children?) she didn’t miss a note; although Ben was treated to her special Death Glare, and I very nearly choked to death laughing….

And our Sunday duo gig in Highworth was highlighted by some rather fine audience participation in the form of some manic tambourine shape-throwing by a very hairy gentleman, and we also witnessed the invention of the Crisp Dance, which began as a straightforward dustpan-and-brush effort to tidy some spilt potato savouries from the floor, and ended up as a rhythmic attempt to stamp them down into sub-atomic matter. An effort which seemed reasonably successful.

Right, I suppose I should now, as tradition demands, do a quick round-up of This Year In Rock, and review the exciting highlights of the last twelve months…

Well, we started the year off extremely drunk at the Anchor in Warminster; since then things haven’t really gotten any more professional. We’ve met Ben’s identical twin, we’ve gotten into bad habits with inflatable guitars, squeaky rubber chickens, and numerous humorous (I like that) wigs, hats, stupid dressing-up costumes, etc.; we’ve closed down the dear Ol’ Fox in Bishopston, and probably driven a few more hostelries closer to bankruptcy as well… I’ve acquired a lovely new acoustic, and by the time I’ve gigged it enough to have paid for it, I may even have learned how to play it; we’ve made hundreds of innocent punters variously laugh, sing, dance, cry, and, on some occasions, throw up; we’ve played pubs, clubs, beer festivals, bike rallies, bike shows, birthday parties, entertaining youngsters, oldsters, children, childish adults, humans, lager drinkers, dogs, cats, and, one occasion, goats – all in all, we’ve had rather a lot of fun. And Suzi’s even bought a round in.

Not bad going, all in all – and next year we already have a few rather more spectacular things lined up. Who knows – Suzi may even get another round in…..

Anyroadup, we’ll keep ya posted next year of all the lovely things we’ll be doing, as well as some of the less savoury ones that will no doubt come up…in the meantime, we’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all our readers…

Peaceandgoodwilltoallmen out


Date – 05/12/2011

Buenos Aires, amigos!

Winter draws on… although I really don’t see what business it is of yours, vicar.

Well, a jolly fine weekend of rawk that was, starting with the Cat & Wheelie Bin down on Stokes Croft; I turned up feeling totally wiped out, but thanks to the healing powers of the Terpsichorean Muse, by the end of the gig I was feeling as bouncy as – er- a rather bouncy thing. Stuart, alas, seems to have fallen under the malign influence of Vlad the Rubber Chicken, and is insisting in being a little more than usually silly. Which is nice.

All in all fine night, lots of joining-in from the punters, and the fact that Suzi has taken to advertising Ben’s “tight little buns” to lady members of the audience has led to a marked increase in his quota of female attention. (And before anybody asks, mine are strictly for Display Purposes Only).

Saturday saw us roll up at the Village Tavern in Toothill (which is on the edge of Swindon, so I think we shall call it Tootpighill from now on); turns out to be a large roundish pub, with lots of lovely space for us to fool about in; I think everybody had a jolly good night, and it was luvverly to meet Anne & John from Ride Of Respect, which reminds me, I must check up on the date for that….

The locals seemed to take to us rather well – by the end of the night, the landlady was enthusiastically flogging Ben with the chicken – that has to count for something, by my reckoning.

Right then, coming up the last couple of gigs for this year unless something new pops out of the woodwork unexpectedly –

Saturday 10th – The Brunel, Bedminster
Big ol’pub, big ol’ stage, lots of space to be silly in… works for me.

Sunday 11th – Cellar Bar, Highworth, Swindon – Angel Under Cover
It’s been a while since we last did a duo gig, if I could find the set list I’d be able to tell you what to expect… but I can’t. Expect the unexpected. But then it wouldn’t be unexpected, would it… so expect the expected, and we’ll have to see if we meet your expectations, and if we don’t then you can safely say that it wasn’t what you expected. Or you can just cross your fingers and hope for the best, which is what we do. And I have to say it’s not easy playing guitar with your fingers crossed. 18:00 start.

So that’s it for now, and in the words of Abrahm Lincoln…

“Be excellent to each other. And…..Poultry On, dudes!”

Peace out


Date – 28/11/2011

Hi folks!

Another weird weekend in rawk’n’roll to report…

I arrived bright & early at the Kings Arms in Malmesbury, to find “our” end of the pub decked out with punters settling down to watch the rugby. The nice lad behind the bar asked if we’d be able to “set up during half time, and then start playing as soon as the game’s over”.

Well, er…no, it takes a bit longer than that. By way of compromise, I make him help me hump all the kit in through the window onto the little stage. It completely fills the stage all heaped up, but it does mean that the punters can watch the first half of the match whilst I busy myself with a three-dimensional game of Tetris-meets-Jenga with heavy amplifiers, so I can get all the kit in the right places on the stage, and even plug some of it in.

I’ve got about as far as I can with this, and am just wondering where the others have got to, when Ben calls to tell me that due to a minor navigational error they’ve gone to Swindon instead, and are frantically hoofing it back down the M4 as fast as they can. Nice work, boys…

Finally they roll up, we haul the rest of the kit in through the window, and wait for the match to finish. And wait… injury time…. wait a bit more…. more injury time…. finally the game is over, the four blokes left watching it leave (to unsympathetic looks from the rest of the pub), and we can finally haul the speakers up and get going.

It’s so late now that we decide to play straight through both sets to try and get in as much as we can before the midnight stop time. About half way through, however, Suzi calls a halt to announce to everyone that it was Stuart’s birthday the previous day, and on cue the bar staff wheel out the cake we’ve primed them with, complete with a roman candle fizzing away merrily, and we make the whole pub sing happy birthday to the navigationally-challenged one. Also, we give him his pressie – a squeaky rubber chicken, which he is suitably pleased with and from hereon in adorns his drum kit like the majestic figurehead of a four-masted tea clipper. It also, inevitably, plays a musical role at the end of several numbers… cue Big Rock Ending… and chicken solo.

Drum and chicken

Alas, Saturday’s Pighill gig had to be cancelled due to a family crisis in the Suzi department, so apologies to all and sundry, and particularly our poor Statey, who had to go and break the good news to the pub…

Things are more or less under control, now, so we should be firing on all four cylinders, plus rubber chicken, for this weekend…

Friday 2nd Dec – Cat & Wheel, Bristol
It’s a bit cramped, it’s a bit noisy, but then again so are we…

Saturday 3rd Dec – Village Tavern, Swindon
A new one for us, don’t tell ‘em what we’re like, don’t want to spoil the surprise, do we….

Right, that’s yer lot for now…


Date – 21/11/2011


Well, that was quite an entertaining evening we had on Friday down at the Kings Arms in Kingswood. Still slightly puzzled by the number of folks who were “doing their bit” for Children In Need by charitably drinking themselves into a coma all day long, but it does make for a gratifyingly easy-to-please audience. And happily they stopped at half-naked this time, which came as something of a relief…

Even better than the raffle, there was the Holy Grail of the gigging muso – free food!

I’m still quite full now.

Anyhoo, big thanks to disappointingly still-hirsute landlord Mike and his merry band of helpers, and even grudging respect to my eldest offspring who came along to roadie on promise of a free beer, and ended up playing in my place for one song so I could nip up to the bar and reload. Dat’s my boy!

Right then, coming up this week we have….

Fri 25th Kings Arms Malmesbury
Getting to like this one more and more, they have a pretty handy rock crowd, and it’s always fun unloading the kit out through the window and straight back into the van; rather to the bemusement of people innocently strolling down the high street, who can’t decide if we’re eccentric nocturnal furniture removal professionals, or simply bold shoplifters. (Although I understand it’s known as “urban scrumping” these days).

Sat 26th Woodland’s Edge, Peatmoor
They’re a mad bunch in here as well, then again arguably so are we… still, if all goes to plan and we actually get to rehearse this week, we may have some new experimental things to try out on them. Like playing in tune, for one…..

Right, that’ll do; meanwhile, here is some light music….


…. and here is some dark music. Cue Napalm Death…..

Date – 14/11/2011

Ahhh, there you are, Bond, take a seat.

Our agents report a jolly pleasant evening in the Queen’s Head in Box, possibly the most muso-tastic place on the local circuit; presided over by Dean, who despite his rather percussive tendencies, is a jolly fine fellow. Anybody who plays Stevie Ray Vaughan over the PA all night has to be fairly well sorted, in my opinion.

Anyways, after a fairly quiet start, we had the place jumping with young ladies playing inflatable guitars by the end of the night, and then settled in for a vastly entertaining natter with a few local locals; I had a lovely chat with the guy who taught Peter Gabriel how to work a Fairlight, while Stuart and Dean merrily rambled away, and to my delight, fulfilled the urban myth that when any two drummers are gathered together, yea, they shall talk about Neil Peart’s drumkit….

But on to the next mission: –

Friday 18th – King’s Arms, Kingswood
A charity fundraising bash, this, in aid of Children In Need – which is funnily enough why I have to go to work every day – although apparently the dosh from this is going to children that aren’t mine, at least as far as I know. If you’re about, though, come along, because landlord Mike has agreed to shave his beard off if they can raise a grand on the night. And, by his own admission, this will make him look “about twelve”. I just want to see some customers asking to see some ID before they’ll let him serve them.

Saturday 19th – Crown Inn, Moreton, Didcot – Angel Under Cover
Yes, Didcot. But why? Well, because when we used to regularly play the Spa Inn near Stroud, boss lady Sue got so fond of the duo’s impromptu shambolic meanderings, that now she’s got a new pub, she asked us to come over and show her new locals how proper acoustic rock should be played. So, we’re taking along a diagram.

Thass’ your lot for now, and in the words of the King himself,

Well, it’s a one for the money
Two for the show
Three to get ready
And four for Customer Services…

Peace out


Date – 07/11/2011

Allo darlin

Well, have to say that the Rolly in Swindon never disappoints – lots of fun, lots of gyrating people, lots of nice people and lots of silliness, and most entertaining of all, our special agent in Pighill, Statey, who once again by the end of the evening was massively incoherent, oh we do so love teasing her.

Serves her right really, I have no sympathy for anybody who keeps requesting the dreadful Journey number. We only stopped her nagging by agreeing to play it on condition that she came up and sang it; and up she jolly well shut. Ha!

Also there was fun to be had at the Rising Sun on Saturday, watching not-entirely-sober landlord Damon leaping around in silly wig clutching inflatable guitar while we tried to keep playing whilst crying with laughter, while his dear wife, the delicious Cath, watched him with that combination of amusement, embarrassment, and disappointment peculiar to the non-inebriated spouse on such occasions.

Still, a relatively quiet week coming up – just the one outing, but it is rather a fine little venue….

Saturday 12th – Queen’s Head, Box
A fine little pub, the back room contains a nice comfy stage, a mahoosive PA and desk, enough flashing lights for a UFO convention, and even some room for the punters. Lovely!

That’ll do for now, joke cupboard is bare, so I’ll leave you with this week’s random trivia factoid – Did you know that King Kong was Adolf Hitler’s favourite movie? Well, now you do.

Peace out


Date – 31/10/2011

The story so far: –

Having inveigled his way into probably the silliest pub rock band in the West of England (or any other gland, for that matter) on the pretext that he will one day stop messing about and learn to play the guitar properly, our hero has been surreptitiously trying to bring down the autocratic Galactic Empire through a subtle combination of appalling dress sense, and some extremely carefully placed flat notes.

However, special agents of the Imperial Intelligence Force are becoming suspicious, and it seems his cover may soon be blown. But even they cannot begin to guess at the true motives behind his devious master plan.

Now read on….

Ahhh, Wells – the famous and historic premier cathedral city of Wiltshire [editors note: Somerset actually, cuh!], with a bugger of a one-way system… Still, once I’d ignored a few “No Entry” signs, I found the Kings Head easily enough.. and despite being a mite cosy, we all fitted in okay and actually got a pretty decent sound. At any rate, the punters seemed to be having a great time, and we got lots of very nice compliments afterwards.

I even pulled.

Well, sort of. As I was packing up afterwards, a young lad of about twenty minced up to me, and told me, “Oooh, if you was ten years younger, you’d be coming home with me.”

“That’s very kind”, I said, trying to work out if this was a compliment or an insult, “But I’m not sure that I would, actually”.

He grinned, and conspiratorially tapped the side of his nose with his finger. “Never underestimate the power of Rohypnol”.

Oh-kay, right, er… Ben, I think this chap wants a word with you….

Friday night, and our duo gig at the Jolly Cobbler turned out to be an elegant non-event. I arrived to find that the pub had changed hands a couple of weeks previously, so the new management had no knowledge of our coming; the guy who had booked us has disappeared, leaving a large pile of unpaid bills and no forwarding address.

Just as I was having this related to me, my phone rings; it’s Suzi calling to say her car has broken down in Trowbridge so there’s no way she can get to the gig in time tonight – can I apologise to the pub and sort it out with them. Actually, yes I can – so by 8:05, I’m back at home quaffing ale. Almost a result.

Saturday at the Railway in Fishponds, and lovely to see our dear Queen Amy actually in the bar, and better still off duty for once. She brought down new sprogling Prince Ryan at half time to show him off, then set about making up for not having been drinking for the last ten months or so… And a fine job she did too; she even tried singing, but found she actually enjoyed drumming rather more…

Queen Amy

We thought we’d finished playing by twelve. “Do another one”, yells Amy, wobbling precariously on her bar stool, “Or I won’t bloody pay you”. Yes, your majesty. This scenario is repeated several times until somebody thoughtfully distracts her at the end of a song so we can hurriedly start packing up. With everything safely loaded into the van, we settle down for a quick locked-in natter. Suddenly Amy glares at me. “Get your gee-tar back out”, she says. “I want some more”. So, after much futile protesting, eventually I haul out axe and amp, for Amy’s Acoustic Singalong Session. And a jolly fine hour or two we have, until Amy – completely unprovoked – hurls a glass of water over Suzi. Who, inevitably, empties her own glass over Amy. “Ouch”, complains Amy, “I’ve got wine stinging my eyes”. Helpfully, Suzi launches a pint of water straight into Amy’s face to “rinse it out”…They both collapse in a giggling damp heap, so I take the opportunity to pack the kit away again, and Suzi and I finally escape around 4am.

Anyways, on to this weekend’s silly rawk action: –

Friday 4th – Rolleston Arms, Swindon
Proper Swindon Rock pub, proper silly dancing fools, and maybe – just maybe – our pal Statey will be “shober” this time…

Saturday 5th – Rising Sun, Trowbridge
Run by our buddies Damon and the delectable Cath, apparently a whole fleet of Suzi’s mates are threatening to turn up too. Erk.

Thass your lot

Peace out


Date – 24/10/2011

Yo, homies!

Friday night, twenty past eight, and my little van is hurtling down the M5 en route to our gig at The Friendship in Nailsea. My phone rings, and I pass it to Suzi. As expected, it’s Stuart, asking where we’ve got to (editors note: Ben actually). “Don’t worry, we’re nearly there”, she reassures him, “We’ve just gone past Chippenham”. There’s a puzzled noise from the other end. “Well, it’s on the way to Swindon, isn’t it? Why, where are you?” There’s a louder noise from the other end. “What are you doing in Nailsea?” she grins evilly. “We’re playing Swindon tonight? Didn’t you get the email?”. Eventually her giggles give the game away and we admit that the boys are in the right place, and that we’re nearly there. Nasty mean woman.

They’ve rearranged the Friendship inside, and we have to pack ourselves into a very cosy little corner – but once in, we actually get a really good sound, at least from where I’m hunched. And this despite the fact that somebody forgot to put the speaker stands in the van…I still insist there wouldn’t have been room for ‘em anyway…

As expected, they’re a merry bunch in there, we’re particularly pleased by a very charming lady who is extremely happy (I estimate at least two bottles of wine), and who has taken a particular shine to Stuart… “Oooooh”, she confides to Suzi, “’E’s gorge, isn’t ‘e…. Is he Greek? He looks Greek. I’m sure he must be Greek”. Much as he protests his Anglo-Saxon origins, she is unconvinced. “Definitely Greek”, she pronounces. So there you go, we will be calling him Stavros from now on, or at least until we forget to…

Saturday dawned fair and bright, and several hours later and slightly hung over, so did Suzi and I, and set about a duo rehearsal ready for the evening set. Well, I say rehearsal, technically it was more of a “learning the songs” session.

Thus we rolled up in Wootton Bassett (on strict republican principles, I refuse to add the “Royal” moniker unless they at least drop one of the other names, I mean why should one place need three names? Even New York only has two, and that’s just because of the number of people that used to confuse the massive American throbbing metropolis with the slightly crappy rain soaked town on the way to Scotland. You can see how that would happen a lot. Anyway, where was I..) clutching Lily’s purple music stand and a big pile of lyrics to go with the usual gigging paraphernalia. All to no avail, as once we started and they switched off all the lights at our end of the pub, thanks to the magic of the sound-to-light system on our rig, every few moments it would momentarily pitch dark, which very effectively put paid to Suzi’s attempts to read the words as we went along.

It turns out that we somehow knew (or guessed correctly) most of the songs anyway, so that was lucky – or just ruthlessly professional, you decide. We even hauled up a lad out the audience to play along on tambourine for our legendary (well, it is now) acoustic rendition of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”…. oh, the Gods Of Rock must be so proud of me…

Anyhoo, suffice to say we not only got away with it, but everyone had a mighty fine evening too, which bodes well for this week…

Thursday 27th – Kings Head, Wells High Street
Never done this one before, but apparently it’s a ten o’clock start – on a school night as well. Oh, what naughty little rascals we are!

Friday 28th – Jolly Cobbler, Kingswood – Duo gig
Well, now we’ve learned the set, this should be a breeze. Unless we haven’t, and we just got lucky last time, and this one will be an unmitigated disaster… Well, it’ll be fun finding out…

Saturday 29th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Woo-hoo! Back in the court of our beloved Queen Amy, and it’s Halloween, so an excuse to wheel out lots of extra silliness and dressing up. Can’t wait…

Incidentally, did you hear on the local radio about the guy who’s been driving around Bristol on his tractor, telling everybody that the world is going to end…

…Farmer Geddon.

Peace out


Date – 19/10/2011

Buenos dias, amigos!

Well, that was certainly a bit of an odd weekend – playing Friday night, Saturday lunchtime, and Saturday night at a beer festival, so a total of six different sets over two days, by the end we were all a bit overtired, I think; “Right, let’s play that Bon Jovi one next.” “Didn’t we do that one half an hour ago…?” “Er, Oh God, I have no idea, did we…?” “Ben?” “Er… Dunno. Let’s do it anyway”.

Anyhoo, we played in a room with 150 different beers, to a total about a thousand different people, and we got neither horribly drunk, or bottled off. Actually, most people seemed to be really enjoying themselves; although thinking about it, if you can’t enjoy yourself at a beer festival, it’s probably about time to check in to either the Priory, a monastery, or a funeral parlour.

Great fun to play on a stage that was bigger than half the venues we normally play on – see how lost my poor little rig looks? (It’s the little blob on the right) And still we got told by the promoter to “turn it down a bit”. Rawk’n’roll!

Bath Pavilion

Particular respect goes to the horde of jolly Welsh folk (there were more than three of ‘em, that makes a horde) who led the silliness down on the floor, and who were huge fun – I was particularly impressed when they started taking the piss out of their own accents(?) – and we look forward to seeing the little hobbitses again, they were great.

Ben and I were also impressed by one of the beers, being called “99 Red Baboons”, soon to appear on a set list near you.

Anyways, back to more regular-sized venues this weekend

Fri 21st – The Friendship, Nailsea
We played here last Halloween, and had a brilliant time, they take their silliness quite seriously in here. If you’re around, get along, should be a hoot.

Sat 22nd – Waggon & Horses, Wootton Bassett – Duo gig
Yes, once again the mighty Angel Under Cover will be doing an impromptu public rehearsal in a bid to justify the purchase of, and continue paying off, my beautiful new acoustic. Actually, it’s quite nice to sit down and roll out some nice, gentle, melodic tunes for a change… it’s also nice to plug the electric back in and spank away like a maniac for the second set…

Peace out


Date – 10/10/2011

Hi folks…

No rawk’n’roll action to report on this time around, so a mercifully brief, and purely forward-looking, missive….

This weekend, we’re only playing one gig; but for good measure, we’re doing it three times… Or possibly six, it all depends on how you look at things. And there’s beer!

Friday 14th – Bath Beer Festival, Bath Pavilion
We’re starting (at least in theory) 8:30pm, and again at 10:00pm. Although this is a beer festival, so almost anything could happen.

Saturday 15th – Bath Beer Festival, Bath Pavilion
Saturday lunchtime sesh – playing at 1pm, and 3pm.

Saturday 15th – Bath Beer Festival…oh, you get the picture
Saturday night sesh – playing at 8:30pm and again at 10:00pm.

Obviously, that’s quite a lot of playing, so we’ll be rifling through our Cupboard Of Rock this week to dust off some numbers we haven’t done for a while, just to keep a bit of variety going. Although it doesn’t matter too much – as Ben pointed out, we could just play our regular set; most of the audience won’t be at all three sessions, and any that are won’t have the foggiest idea what we played before anyway. Just possibly, nor will I.

Actually, I do vaguely remember that I’ve played at Bath Pavilion before – a scary 25-odd years ago, as part of acid-prog-punk (translation, at least for my part of the charge sheet – stoned, pretentious, musically inept) outfit the All Night Chemists – at least a couple of whom may even read this and be able to remind me what it was like there. I seem to recall there were inflatable bananas, and dismal audience attendance, but I may be mistaken… that sort of thing seemed to happen quite a lot in those days…

Peace out


Date – 03/10/2011


I’ll keep this one short, since typing’s hard work ‘cos I knackered my hand on Saturday trying to carry a PA cabinet through a doorway that was actually wide enough for the cab… but not my fingers as well. So, I’m reduced to typing with a couple less digits than usual, although being a brave little soldier, I shan’t even mention it. Except that I just did. Oh well, feel free to send in flowers, chocolates, etc to make it better.

Firstly, apologies to anyone who showed up at the Parson’s Nose in Melksham to see us – we weren’t there, you’ll have got to see somebody else instead – seems the pub had accidentally booked two bands on the same night, which is the kind of thing that makes us look efficient and organised. And clearly that can’t be right.

Saturday at the Kings Arms in Bath was much more fun – we’ve not played there in ages, so it was good to catch up with a few famililililiar faces again, and we all had a jolly pleasant evening – right up to the point where I squished my poor little fingers (maybe a “Get Well Soon” card would be a nice touch, but really I’d prefer the chocolates). Still, after we’d packed up, lovely head honcho Debbie bought us all a nice restorative pint. I dipped my ailing fingers in mine to cool them off, and was a little disappointed it didn’t start bubbling.

Anyways, seeing as I’d be reduced to playing slide guitar for the next few days (and I’m lousy at it), perhaps it’s just as well we have no gigs this weekend… but to make up for it we’re playing the following weekend at Bath Beer Festival – on the Friday night, the Saturday afternoon, and the Saturday night. That’s a whole bunch of rock, people, and it’s also a whole bunch of time hanging around a beer festival.. now, if only there was something I could do there to pass the time… I’m sure the lovely Suzi will be happy to drive the van…

I leave you with a bizarre gem of evil genius-ness from my youngest; I caught him talking to his breakfast as he was making it the other day: –

So there he is, with a bowl full of Shredded Wheat, gleefully sprinkling sugar all over the top.

“Not so wholegrain now, are you…?”

I don’t know who writes his material, but it’s a whole lot better than mine…


Date – 26/09/2011

Salut, mes petits…

We seem to be getting back into the silly pub rock groove again now, with another weekend of barely-credible jollity. On Friday we debuted not one, not two, but three new numbers, and I think it’s fair to say that the strain of remembering them (which we did) obviously affected our ability to play the rest of the set (which was a little more improvisational than usual, at least for me). Still, I like to think what I lacked in musical ability I made up for in stupid dressing up and prancing around. Again.

Saturday at the Queen’s Tap in Swindon turned out to be great fun, with quite a keen crowd, including several who had just come out of the station opposite, heard the noise, and came along in to join the fun, as well as a hefty dose of punters who’d come along just to see l’il old us. Awwww.

Afterwards, I spotted on the bar a copy of a publication – new to me – called “Station Update”. Obviously trying to compete with our very own public information service, with the irresistible headline tag “Swindon Station Forecourt is Changing!” they probably sneak ahead of us; but then again they don’t have jokes at the end. So overall, we win. Possibly.

Right then, this week we got: –

Friday 30th Sept – Parson’s Nose, Melksham
Not been here for a little while, and they do like a drink…

Saturday 1st Oct – Kings Arms, Bath
Oh, the dear old Kinger, not been here for many, many a moon, but it’s always a jolly fine night, they’re up for a bit of silly jumping around action – definitely one to look forward to.

This week’s dreadful joke is actually a work of technical brilliance, and comes courtesy of my dangerously clever daughter-out-law, who steals cheese whilst quietly plotting the downfall of Western civilisation. You need to be up on scientific current affairs for this one…

And the barman says, “Get out, we don’t serve neutrinos in here…”

A faster-than-light neutrino walks into a bar…


Now that, my friends, is absolutely brilliant.

Peace out


Date – 19/09/2011

Ahoy there me hearties, and welcome to International Talk Loike A Poirate Day! Aharrr! Aharrr! Ahhharrr – cough – choke – arrr!!

Blimey, gives you a sore throat, that, after a bit, doesn’t it?

Anyol’how, no gigs to report on this weekend, although we did all go out for a rather lovely meal together on Friday, and some of us – mentioning no names, but I was one of them – accidentally strayed into the Barrel afterwards, and got rather unnecessarily drunk. However, it Wasn’t My Fault. I needed a stiff drink or seven to get over the shock, because – now, make sure you’re sitting down when you read this – Suzi bought a round in.

Now, I know it’s hard to believe, so just to prove it we took a photo. This, folks, is The Round That Suzi Bought….

Suzi Round

You may like to print this picture off, frame it, and hang it on your wall. It’s a long time before we shall see its like again…..

And it’s always nice to jump on top of complete strangers who are innocently lying on the floor of the pub – still not quite sure why they were there, but Dem and I both agreed it would have been rude not to. Still, it was a lovely time we all had, and great to catch up with some old buddies.

Ooh, that reminds me, I must get around to starting a Facebook campaign to get Martin to buy some new boots for his lovely wife… before it’s too late….

Anyhow, this week we’re back to normal…

Friday 23rd – White Lion, Yate
They like a bit of jumping around they do, in here. And we’ve decided we’re going to roll out a few new numbers for them as well. We’ve almost got as far as deciding what they’re going to be, then we just have to listen to them before Friday, and we’ll learn them – well, on Friday, probably….

Saturday 24th – Queen’s Tap, Swindon
A new one for us, but it’s been organised by our buddy Statey, so it’s bound to be all good, she’s never let us down yet. And we haven’t let her down too much either, she’s been lucky so far…

Right, that’s your lot, I have a lot to do today as it’s ITLAP Day, and apparently we have an Extremely Senior Manager visiting our office today, so we have been told we have to be professional and responsible, to make sure we convey the right impression – Ahaarrrrrrr!!!!!

Pieces of eight….


Date – 12/09/2011

Hello little ones!

For the benefit of all you Young People out there, here’s a text-speak edition of this week’s Angel UpDate, to save you valuable time…

Fri Kings Arms@Mlmsbry, quiet@1st but so busy l8r on hd 2 unld gear thr wndw 2gt it out in2 street ?

Sat Red Lion@Wtny, chrty bsh, mad bsy & loud. Playd on til Stuart’s ass wnt numb, rotfl. Then gst drmmr jamd on swt hm albma, lmao. Frd chkn @ way hom, yy.

So now you know. Now that just leaves me with a big pile of spare vowels – if anybody wants them, I’ll leave them at the bottom of this email, feel free to take ‘em away if they’re any good to you.

And while we’re at it – apparently a large number of apostrophes has gone missing from the official HM Government Punctuation Storage Facility in Ealing.

Police say that these are likely to find their way into general circulation, and can easily be identified by their being placed within simple plural words, rather than in correct grammatical context. Members of the public are advised that if they see any of these stolen apostrophes, they should not attempt to confront the individual who wrote the sentence. At least, not from the front; instead you are advised to approach them from behind, and vigorously apply a shovel to the back of their head. This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Anyway, after a bumper week in rock (two great fun gigs and a rehearsal(!)) we’re taking a little rest, and so we aren’t going out at all this weekend. Well, not to entertain the public anyway. We’re going out for a nice civilised band meal together instead, which as I recall ended up being rather messy last time…

Cheers now

A e o e e u o i u e a a e a i o u a e o a o i e e u

Date – 06/09/2011

Guten tag, lieblings!

I’m delighted to report an excellent weekend of rawk’n’roll silliness; Friday night up at the United Bikers’ Sodbury Bike Show was a lovely little rally; we got to see Hells Bells (I’m sure that bloke’s a bit too old for short trousers), and had a mooch around the bikes and the trade stalls; then we played our make-it-up-as-you-go-along set, with another special guest ten-year-old air guitarist joining us onstage for the last couple of numbers.

After that, I got to drink beer and watch the final band – Son of a Nun – who, despite their tender years, were absolutely stunningly fantastic. If you ever get a chance, go see em and let young Dan show you how guitar playing should be done. Suzi even went and got his phone number so he could give Ben and me lessons…

To keep herself warm while we were watching Son of a Nun, Suzi scrounged my recently-acquired (and I think rather fetching) German Army officer’s jacket off me – which was fine until she started goose-stepping around and trying to find a shiny peaked cap to go with it. Very naughty, she’s lucky I let her drive me home afterwards…

Saturday, and down to the Anchor in Warminster for another sweaty and packed jumping around session. Sadly, and for the first time ever, there was nobody there in fancy dress – well, except for me I guess. As Suzi was faffing around while the rest of us waited patiently to start the second set, a voice from the crowd yells out “’Urry up, darlin, ‘e’s left ‘is Panzer double-parked…”

I tell you, it’s not easy being a fashion icon.

Anyways, let’s see where we’ll be invading next…

Friday 9th – King’s Arms, Malmesbury
Good lively pub, this one, and last time we played here we had a great time. Although I can’t remember where Malmesbury is, I’ll have to ask my pal Google (known in some less salubrious quarters as Go Ogle…)

Saturday 10th – Red Lion, Witney
Far away up near Oxford direction, but massive fun. Big stage, big house PA & lighting rig, dancing young ladies for the viewing privilege of young Ben.. .what’s not to like? And this Saturday they’ve got some charity fundraiser bash on as well, so it’s likely to be even livelier than usual.

That’s about it for now, I would have scattered umlauts all over this email, but to be honest it was too much effort…

Still – German sausages – they’re the wurst, aren’t they….

Frieden heraus


Date – 30/08/2011

Yo homeys!

We’re back, after the usual lots of holiday breaks and disorganisation – that just about wraps it up for the silly season, so now we can get on with the regular – er – season of silliness.

Highlights from the last couple of weeks include a relatively smooth-running duo gig at the ‘Cullis; we actually learned the songs in advance this time (admittedly only just before we set off for the gig, but hey…). Also we were much entertained by Eric’s birthday party gig up in Nuneaton. I was initially puzzled to see Zippy from Rainbow drinking in the bar, but apparently this sort of thing goes on all the time in the Midlands. Oh, and also Suzi and I would like to hereby officially endorse Bedworth Fish Bar, for their impeccable service and superb grub that was as cheap as – er – chips, actually.

As for the Blank Holiday weekend, I took my little tribe up to the lovely Upton Festival, where we had a fantastic time, saw the mighty Hamsters, my pet favourites Wishbone Ash (okay, admittedly a minority sport, but I loved it, so there!), and an “eclectic mix” of other stuff – including the official World’s Worst Abba Impersonators, the real Wurzels, and even some pillock from the X factor – sadly I couldn’t get close enough to throw anything, but the thought was there. We even managed to get our softy pal Disco Dave out for the weekend; even though he brought a caravan, and could only hack one night, it was a brave effort from the little soldier. We’ll be back there next year…

Right, onto more Angel Up Affrontery: –

Friday 2nd Sep – UB’s Sodbury Bike Show, Wapley, Yate
Ahh, a local bike rally. Lovely. Apparently AC/DC cover act Hell’s Bells are earlier on the bill on Friday, so Suzi can get to trade vocal-lacerating tips with a fellow tonsil shredder. I better make sure I got my wireless rig fixed in time, don’t wanna be standing too close….

Saturday 3rd Sep – Anchor, Warminster
Oh, goody, I’d forgotten this was coming up. Presided over by the lovely Sadie and Jagermonster Paul, this one is always good for a giggle. You get dancing monks, Oompa Loompas, all sorts. I might even ask if my lovely Dem – inventor of the controversial beetrot-centre chocolate – fancies coming along for the ride, too.

Right, that’s it for this week; run along, now


Date – 15/08/2011


And, on this fine sunny morning, I kinda wish I’d gone to bed rather earlier last night – certainly before the last few beers snuck their way into my metabolism. Still, happily there is a cure for this somewhat jaded feeling, and later on I shall go to a pub and avail myself of it.

I’m starting to think that weekends without gigging are bad for me; because although prancing around like a big nancy whilst strapped to a guitar at bone-crushing volume until one in the morning may not initially seem holistically beneficial for mind/body/spirit, and probably does very little towards aligning a chap’s chi with the local lay lines or raising global consciousness, the fact that I have to drive home afterwards, and am too knackered to drink much when I get back, does tend to stop things getting out of hand.

I can’t remember too much from the last couple of gigs, now far in the distant past (a week is a long time in my world), but I remember that we played a very quiet set at the Bell in Shepton, and that the Brunel was pretty quiet too – although I do recall an inebriated young gentleman who climbed on a chair for some “hilarious” head banging, and promptly fell off, hit his head on the corner of a table, and got thrown out. Lovely.

Coming up this week, a rare duo gig in Bristol, plus we’re playing a birthday party up in the Midlands somewhere…

Friday 19th – Portcullis, Staple Hill – Angel Under Cover gig
We have actually done some homework this time. Sort of. We’ve got as far as picking out a whole new set full of acoustic songs to do. And I have actually listened to them all. I could probably recognise most of them if I heard them again. We might even try to get together to practice them again this week, if we get organised. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we don’t want to lose that raw spontaneous edge, do we… Anyhoo, it’s apparently a 9:30pm start this one – and as long as Suzi still thinks it’s a 9:00pm, we’ll probably be ready on time… Anyway, I’m looking forward to it, just cos it’s a chance to take my bee-yoo-ti-full new acoustic for an outing.

Saturday 20th – Birthday party bash, The Midlands
It’s Eric’s birthday. Up near Nuneaton. We’re playing. If the wind’s in the right direction, you may just hear us.

And, this week, I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite phobias, courtesy of my good friend Google, and – before anyone comments that I really should have better things to do – I’ll just point out that I do indeed have much better things to do – I’m just not doing them…

Peace out


Aulophophobia – fear of flutes (Disappointingly, I couldn’t find an equivalent phobia for fear of, say, trombones…)
Nostophobia – fear of going home (I get this sometimes…)
Pentheraphobia – fear of mothers-in-law
Lutraphobia – fear of otters (you’d have to go out of your way to develop this one, surely…?)
Atomosophobia – fear of atomic explosions (is this a phobia? Sounds quite sensible to me)
And, our favourite – Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – fear of the number 666

Date – 01/08/2011

Ah, there you are, Bond, take a seat…

Another amusing weekend in the World Of RawkTM, on Saturday we played a new one – the very fine Queen’s Head in rural picturesque Box. A great set up, their back room is replete with a high-spec PA, huge mixing desk, lighting rig, and, and, an enormous glitter ball above the stage… “I feel like I’m inside Barbie’s disco”, complains our ever-ungrateful vocalist.

And the amiable Dean, who runs the place turns out to be a fellow muso; although he says he doesn’t claim to be a drummer, but he does own a number of very nice drum kits. So, I wonder if that is actually worse – if they’re not for personal use, doesn’t that mean he could be charged with Percussion With Intent To Supply? Anyways, we all had a merry evening, and Ben got to play to of a bunch of his old local mates, as well as his mum. It’s a good job he’d brushed his hair and shined his shoes beforehand. Ahem.

And, on Sunday, we rolled along to the very posh Kingscote Barn for Sue & Sarah’s wedding bash. And huge fun it was too, a lovely bunch there, and all suitably up for a bit of leaping around action. Top marks go to the seven year old air guitar hero, who has clearly been practicing his power slides, and pulled all the right faces during the solos as well. As a bonus, we even gave my shiny new acoustic an airing for a bit of impromptu silliness at the end. Marvellous.

Right then, this weekend we got two more for ya…

Friday 5th – Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallet
Anything- literally anything – can happen here

Saturday 6th – The Brunel, Bedminster
Oooh, we haven’t been in here for ages – they have a lovely wide stage for prancing about on, not that we indulge ourselves in such silliness, of course, oh no…

Meanwhile, while I was dusting out the joke cupboard…

• Four fonts walk into a bar the barman says “Oi – get out! We don’t want your type in here”
• I’ll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.
• I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn’t find any.

Well, if you don’t like ‘em, send in some better ones….

Peace out


Date – 25/07/2011

Yo peeps

Well, after a couple of weeks off, it was gratifying to find that our finely honed musical skills haven’t deteriorated – although arguably, that’s not hard when the only way is up….

We arrived at the Woodlands Edge, in Peatmoor, to find posters advertising the evening’s entertainment as, “Angela Up Front”. Suzi was distinctly unimpressed, which of course made it even more amusing. Still, the punters seemed to be enjoying themselves – I particularly liked the “break dancing to AC/DC” effort; especially when he went flying over the monitors and landed at my feet, and even more so when I was packing up after the gig and found all the change that had fallen out of his pockets. I gave it to Ben, as he’s been a naughty boy this week, and Angela – sorry, Suzi – has stopped his pocket money. But now, we’ve got nearly enough for this week’s copy of the Beano.

Right, I could tell you about all the other exciting stuff I did this weekend while my lovely Dem was away in Cornwall with the kids – but I don’t want to shatter anyone’s illusions about my wild rock’n’roll lifestyle. Let’s just say that there’s only so much fun a chap can have with a soldering iron, an ancient 4-track Porta-studio, and a toilet brush, and leave it at that…

Right, onto next weekend, then…

Saturday 30th – Queens Head, Box
Not done this one before, but it says here “lights and PA provided”. Ooooh, goody, no heavy lifting. Well, okay, a bit less heavy lifting. And Box is one of Ben’s old hideouts, so we are likely to see a bunch of his previous acquaintances, assuming they let them out after dark.

Sunday 31st- Tetbury
We’re playing at a wedding, in a barn in Tetbury. I’m wondering if we should all capitalise on the barn theme, and all go dressed as yokel farmers. Or possibly farmyard animals. Yes, that’s it- Stuart can go as a chicken, Ben & I can be a pantomime horse (Bags front end!) and I guess we can let Suzi get away with that milkmaid costume I know she keeps under the bed, just in case any firemen carelessly wander into her bedroom…

As I haven’t seen my offspring all weekend, I have nobody to provide any dreadful jokes – so I’ll have to make it up to you next time, okay?

Peace out


Date – 19/07/2011

Hello, it’s us again!

After a weekend off, we should be all refreshed and raring to go – although it’s possible that we’ll just have forgotten everything, and may have to get a bit improvisational. We’ll see, doubtless our consummate professionalism will see us through. It says here.

In the meantime, we’ll be up in Pighill on Saturday night…

Sat 23rd – Woodland’s Edge, Peatmoor, Somewhere Near Swindon…
Last time we played here, we had an absolute hoot, thanks in no small part to the presence of our pal (and “special guest vocalist”) Gina and her merry troop of loonies. We’re not sure if they’ll be there this time, but we will…

And, in fact, it’s time for this week’s quiz. In the picture below – taken last time we played the Woodland’s Edge – only one of the people in the line-up is a real guitarist – but can you spot which one?

Woodlands Edge

Email your answers to “Angel Up Front Photo Competition, 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, Sutton, SM2 7AJ”. Calls cost £1.50 per minute from a BT line; calls from a mobile will cost considerably more as they are routed through a premium rate exchange in Somalia, via Belgrade and finally through a CIA-infiltrated call centre in North Korea before being transferred via satellite to the number of a random chip shop in Khazakstan.

Although we have yet to reach the dizzying heights of corporate efficiency I experienced yesterday; I phoned up a car spares shop to see if I could order a couple of parts; I inevitably got through to the wrong department, where the cheerful assistant helpfully said he’d transfer me across to the correct one – and, in a stroke of pure genius, immediately connected me to another customer who was also phoning in to try and get some bits. Best of all, my fellow customer refused to believe he couldn’t order his parts from me. In hindsight, I should really have taken his order and got his credit card number, I suppose….

Right, that’ll do for now – I leave you with a little conundrum courtesy of my nine-year old – who will be punished.

What has thirty two wheels and flies…?

…….A spider.
On roller skates.
With a packed lunch.

So now you know.

Peace out


Date – 12/07/2011


Well, after a fine weekend of rawk’n’roll excess, I must confess I’m rather pooped out. We had a great time on Friday at the Barrel in Thornbury – thanks to owners Pete & Lyn it’s turning into a jolly fine pub for rawk (even the mighty Hawklords will be coming here in October, how cool is that?), and we had a hoot – and thanks to young Nobby for helping me haul the kit in.

Saturday night, and up to Pighill for Kate’s <> 25th birthday bash – I think she enjoyed herself quite thoroughly, by the look of things. Carrying all the kit up 2 flights of stairs though, ouchie…

Then it was up early in the morning and off to Cheltenham for the open day bash at Re-Born To Be Wild, with lots of sunshine, gleaming shiny motorsickles, and a small quantity of altitude sickness thanks to the even-higher-than-last-time flatbed we were given as a stage. Great fun as always, and it was lovely to see Sam & John again; if you go find ‘em on Facebook, you can see some of the fantastic artwork Sam’s been doing lately. Suzi also seemed to enjoyed herself perching on a variety of gentlemen’s choppers… thanks to our pal Disco Dave for his kind indulgence with that, and also for his consummately professional MC-ing skills.

We actually have a weekend off now, so a chance for me to try and get the PA working properly (or maybe I should try to learn to play guitar instead; hmm…) Anyway, I’ll leave you with this little picture.

And remember – this woman is NOT a strumpet.

Suzi Bike

However, feel free to add your own “big chopper” captions, if it brings you joy…

Peace out


Date – 05/07/2011

Hi folks!

My, that was a busy weekend. We survived Thursday’s gig down at BsB on the waterfront in Bristol almost with aplomb; and despite Stuart having been up working since 3:30 am, driving to London, Brighton, Portsmouth, and a host of other destinations I’ve forgotten, he still managed to finish the gig – although he did seem a little tired by the end. Brave little soldier.

On Friday, I took a rare day off work, and sallied forth downtown with my beautiful better half Dem, to research affordable electro-acoustic guitars, after mine snuffed it at the last duo gig. Having spent several hours in various music emporia, we ended up actually returning triumphantly home with this lovely thing – a completely non-affordable electro-acoustic guitar.

Acoustic guitar

(Note: I do actually realise that most of you don’t care if I’ve got a new toy, or what it looks like, but I don’t care that you don’t care, ‘cos I like it anyway. So there.)

Anyway, it’s all Dem’s fault, because without her prompting I would never have dared spend so much dosh – more than our mate Disco Dave spends on a kitchen bin – but every time I pick it up, it brings a smile to my little chops, and joy abounds in my heart. I have now resolved to be a Better Person, and perhaps even to learn to play acoustic properly. And I love my wife very much indeed. Don’t know what the kids are going to eat this month, though.

(Actually, I did get in a small amount of trouble – after setting the above picture as the wallpaper on my phone, in place of the usual photo of my Dem, I got a Proper Telling Off, ”I’m not having another blonde take my place, change it back”. So I did.

In fact, because she sometimes reads these, just as a safety precaution, here is a photo of my lovely Dem as well.


See? That should get me off the hook, shouldn’t it?

Saturday, and we fetch up at Queen Amy’s Railway Tavern in Fishponds; sadly the flag is not flying, as Amy & Mark are away this weekend, but Young Jack does a great job of keeping the place running, and the necessary band fuel coming. Good work, that man! It’s lovely to see my old pal Patti again, and thanks to Stuart for driving her home, despite her protestations that “It’sh only eight miles. I can walk that, I can. I’ll be fiiiiine. No problem. Which way ish it? Ish it that way? Or ish it thish way?” Given that she is struggling to find where the door is to get out the pub, we figured it was best to have her chauffeured. And, since Suzi is stopping at my place tonight, I get chauffeured home too. I do like beer, I do.

Sunday morning dawns fair and bright, and after a while, so do I. But less fair, and not so bright.

A nice big restorative lunch, and it’s off to Redwood Lodge in Failand, where we’re playing a farewell party for a jolly family who are emigrating. We review the situation; there’s a bar, a barbeque going, a swimming pool, a bouncy castle (“You two can bloody well stay off that” Suzi tells Ben & I, the second that she claps eyes on it), and lots of folks having a fine time in the afternoon sunshine.

We set up outside on the little patio stagey thing there, and start playing; immediately a posse of six -year old girls cluster round at the front, gazing at Suzi in rapt adoration, and dance and sing along all through the first set. At half time, we get to meet Ben’s dad for the first time; meanwhile the “Suzettes” as they are instantly dubbed, have found the box of stupid hats, silly wigs, comedy sunglasses, etc that Ben and I occasionally mess about with at gigs to annoy Suzi; they’ve also located the box she keeps her goth props in. So, suddenly there are hundreds of small children milling around wearing top hats, lacy gloves, sunglasses, facemasks, etc.

Stuart is still tired; he finds a quiet patch of grass to lie down on, and happily dozes off in the warm sunshine. Once he is peacefully asleep, the Suzettes are commissioned to find a water pistol; then Suzi positions herself carefully ten yards away from the somnolent percussionist, takes a (worryingly expert) marksman’s stance, and gleefully empties the water pistol over his head. To be fair, once recovered from the initial shock, Stuart takes it very well; “I was in a really happy place just then”, he admits ruefully (and somewhat damply).

We start the second set, and soon we’re joined on stage by half a dozen Suzettes dancing away, swapping ridiculous headgear every song or two. By now the adults are drunk enough to join in, too; we have a guest drummer for a couple of numbers, and some impromptu vocal assistance; Suzi’s mike batteries die, but we find some spares. We finish the set, they still want more, so we do a few more numbers until Ben breaks a bass string. They still want more, so we go through some songs which we thought we’d forgotten; it’s still not enough, so we re-run a few we’d done earlier, accompanied by the Suzettes, and some chaps on air guitar, silly hats, and tambourine, and eventually – an hour after our planned stop time – we can go on no longer, but we leave the “adults” to play impromptu karaoke on the PA for a bit, while we nip to the bar.

So, marvellous fun – and this week looks to be even better;

Friday 8th – The Barrel, Thornbury
Ace pub, run by our pals Pete & Lyn – a few weeks ago, they even had Nik Turner play here – should be a blast. And Dem’s planning to come along, too. Can’t wait.

Saturday 9th – Birthday party, Swindon
It’s a birthday party. If you’re invited you’ll know where it is. If you’re not – you won’t. Although we were, and I don’t, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out in time. Probably.

Sunday 10th, 1pm – ReBorn To Be Wild Open Day, Alstone Lane Trading Estate, Cheltenham
Annual open day for the bestest custom paint shop in the country. John & Sam who run the place are fantastic, they did the awesome paintwork on my beloved Pandora, and so today I’ll get to take her to see her Mummy and Daddy again. Expect to see loads of custom bikes – I’ve seen some of the stuff Sam has been working on, and it’s gonna be amazing. Also – if it’s anything like last year – bring a bucket of sun cream, a bucket of ice cream, and a crate of beer. And a camera.



Date – 27/06/2011

Good evening, and welcome to This Week In Rock.

Local news first; the Cat & Wheel remains as small as ever a venue to try and shoehorn a band into – we just about managed to squish in there, but every time Suzi moved, the feedback started howling in protest, and – far more seriously – every time I moved, even slightly, I dinged my poor Pandora’s headstock on the corner of the mixing desk. Happily the bullet –proof lacquer that John put on laughs in the face of such abuse, but I do worry…

Anyways, the punters didn’t seem to mind too much, not even when the batteries on Suzi’s mike died mid-song; not even when my wireless batteries snuffed it halfway through the last number; and, not even when the fresh ones I hurriedly put in just in time for the solo also popped their clogs immediately, and we ended up having to start the whole bloody song again… curse those evil gremlins!

Now onto sad news of national importance – the dear, lovable, friendly, biker-tastic and rock-centric Old Fox is closing down – after many, many years of being an oasis of proper pubness in a sea of shiny corporate whine bars, on Saturday night we had the sad honour of being the last band ever to play there. Still, with a hefty crowd in, including some of our favourite pals, and Muddy, our Extra Special Guest Amnesiac Vocalist (it’s only Ace of Spades, mate, it’s not like you have to memorise the entire works of Shakespeare), I think we gave the place an appropriate send-off.

And now, the headlines for the week ahead: –

Thursday 30th – BsB, Bristol Waterfront
Right down in the trendy Arnolfini / Watersheddy end of things, we’ll be the horrible loud noise putting people off their Bacardi Breezers. And quite right too. Actually, we like playing this one, there’s a big ol’ stage to prance around on, and we usually manage to keep ourselves – and everybody else around – suitably amused. Plus, if you’re lucky, you can feed the ducks at half-time.

Saturday 2nd – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Back in the Court Of Queen Amy, feels just like home. (Well, not my home, actually – for one thing, there aren’t a thousand children wandering about the place, making a horrible noise and leaving their toys lying around all over the place. We just have Ben. And for another thing, in my house there’s this bossy woman who stomps around telling everybody else what to do and complaining how useless they are. We just have … oh, never mind).

And finally:–

As we all grow inexorably older, when youth and vitality begin to fade away, when the once-abundant Rice Krispies packet of life seems to be down to the last few cardboardy ones that escaped the bag to rattle forlornly around inside the box, and the gathering gloom of twilight descends on the joyous days of bygone youth, it is well-known that one of the surer signs of incipient decrepitude is that policemen all begin to look much younger.

However – what does it mean when they all start to look manically insane? Does it mean that actually I’m getting more normal…?

Stuart Policeman

Good evening


Date – 21/06/2011

Buenos Dias, amigos!

…and one day, I’ll find out what that means.

You may recall that in last week’s missive, I was anticipating Saturday’s duo gig with some trepidation, and I had mused that whatever happens, it couldn’t be worse, than, say, Zombie Apocalypse…

Well, I can now award myself Official Qualified Psychic status, and set myself up as Mystic Dorothy, Queen Of The Crystal Ball.

The gig was exactly like a zombie apocalypse.

Lots of dead people stumbling around, mumbling incoherently, and clearly in need of more brains.

Things got off to a less-than-auspicious start when we arrived to find the pub had no idea we were coming; although the landlord did, after some prompting, eventually vaguely recall having arranged the gig with Stuart a few weeks ago. And, despite having spent several hours during the week tweaking amp & PA settings to get a half-decent electro-acoustic sound, and even sound checked thoroughly at the gig, the damned thing died on me half way through the first number…

By applying sophisticated diagnostic methodologies, coupled with traditional engineering percussive maintenance techniques, I managed to get it working again, but it then sounded quite unpleasant, so we switched to electric noisy rock mode a bit sooner than planned.

It made no difference to the undead punters – Suzi tried to engage them in conversation, initially with “cheeky”, ramping up through “cocky”, and eventually on to “spoiling for a fight” – but we still couldn’t get much noticeable reaction out of them.

Oh, well, We finished up, packed up the kit, and the landlord cheerfully paid us, gave us a free cheese roll, and told us we were much better than the acts he usually gets in there.


Anyway, this week’s outstanding tasks are to

Make a feeble attempt to sort out my electro-acoustic
Start explaining to my beloved Dem why I actually do need another guitar in the house
Try and work out which of my kids is going to have to move out to make room for it

Friday 24th June – Cat & Wheel, Cheltenham Rd, Bristol
It’s cramped, it’s crowded, it’s quite good fun really. Plus it’s surrounded by pizza joints, kebab shops, curry houses…

Saturday 25th – Old Fox, Bishopston
Oh, always a hoot in here. Bikery pub, and it’s never let us down yet. If only, if only, I didn’t have to drive….

Right, that’s your lot, except for this week’s horoscopes from Mystic Dorothy: –

Aries, you are naturally ambitious, strong-willed, and light-fingered. You have no sense of proprietal ownership, and think nothing of emptying charity boxes if you think nobody is watching. Everybody secretly hates and fears you.

Leos are outgoing, fun-loving, and are usually the life and soul of the party. Leos comprise 85% of the membership of Alcoholics Anonymous.

You should get out more.

Capricorns are born realists, devoid of imagination, artistic sensibilities, natural grace and charm. On the plus side, you don’t believe a word of this twaddle.

As a neutrino, you spend most of your life whizzing around at near-light speed. With almost zero mass, you can pass through ordinary matter with ease. Your grandmother left the will in a small wooden box on top of the wardrobe.

I’m bored now, make the rest up yourselves….

Peace out

Mystic D

Date – 13/06/2011

Hey folks!

My, that was a jelly-jolly weekend of rawk’n’roll antics. After three weeks off, we were interested to see whether our playing had been affected by the long break.

Well, like music lovers everywhere, you’ll probably be disappointed to hear that it was like we’d never been away.

Friday at the White Lion featured the usual bonkers bunch of jumpy-uppy-downy people – and quite a few of the audience joined in with us too. I was particularly pleased with my shiny brand new effects pedal, which makes the guitar sound both louder AND uglier – no mean feat – plus it’s got pretty lights on it too. Marvellous.

And, on Saturday, our keenly-anticipated trip the Rolleston in Swindon was mahooosive fun, it was great to see our regular Pighill buddies again – and deep appreciation to Swindon Al and Status for fearlessly getting the beers in for us. We loves you, yes we do. Even though Statey gave me a right telling-off for giving you lot the impression that she’s permanently drunk. She isn’t. Really. At the start of Saturday night, for example, she was definitely sober. Ish.

Anyways, a great night, thanks to everyone there who seemed to enjoyed themselves nearly as much as we did, and particularly to the very kind chaps who were queuing up to buy Ben and myself beers afterwards. Gentlemen, we salute you!

Right, now that things are back to what passes for normal, what do we have coming up this week…?

Oh. Ah.

Not actually back to normal, then. We’ve got a duo gig. This is at a place we haven’t played before, so they won’t know what to expect.

We don’t either. We haven’t even looked at the duo stuff since before Christmas. And, now I come to think of it, the last time Suzi and I actually managed to get together for an evening to rehearse it (sometime last year), it wasn’t devastatingly productive – we just sat up all night drinking instead.

Oh well. Either way, I’m hoping we can manage to squeeze another “rehearsal” in before Saturday…

Saturday 18th – The Leap, Badminton Road, Downend, Bristol
Angel Under Cover gig – you have been warned. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Er…Zombie Apocalypse….?

Although that may not actually be worse, come to think of it…

Right, that’ll do for now I reckon.


Date – 07/06/2011

Hey folks!

Good grief, what with one thing and another, it’s been a whole month since I sent one of these out. And you were just beginning to dare to hope that I’d given up, weren’t you…

Firstly, apologies to anybody who was hoping to come and see us last Saturday at the Anchor in Bishopston; our poor little Suzi had completely lost her voice. She rang me up to tell me she couldn’t make the gig, but because all I could hear was a rasping croaking noise on the other end, I naturally passed the phone straight to the missus.. “It’s for you, darling”.

So instead, Stuart, Ben and I nipped out to the pub – to the Court of Queen Amy, where we caught up with a couple of old mates, and even got to see another band doing their stuff, just for once. Oh, if only I didn’t need to keep my driving licence…

Anyways, Suzi has promised to be better by next weekend, so there’s absolutely nothing standing in the way of us actually getting out and making a proper racket again. Can’t wait to see if we can remember any of the songs – and also I have a new toy or two to I’m keen to play with…

Friday 10th- White Lion, Yate
The jumpiest-around audience in Yate. And that’s pretty jumpy-aroundy.

Saturday 11th – Rolleston Arms, Swindon
Swindon Rock Central. Always great fun here, plenty of fine, upstanding, and probably certifiable people, and another opportunity to see our favourite promoter slither off her bar stool into a puddle of beer with a big silly grin on her chops…

I can’t think of any humorous comments to close with… but I guess that’s nothing unusual.

Stuart – you got any amusing one-liners…?

Only stolen stuff like:
“The trouble with political jokes is they usually get elected”
and for the worker, specially our Ben and shockingly true for our Suzi … with consent:
“Do your best to keep me late. I adore this office and really have nowhere to go and nothing to do. I have no life beyond work.”

Peace out

Date – 16/05/2011

Yo homeys!

I’m happy to report another lively weekend in the World of RawkTM – opening up with Friday night at the Queen Vic in Stroud, and very nice to see our local posse were out in force there again, and giving the dance floor a darned good pummelling. Good work, girls!

Although we did get roundly chastised afterwards for not having played any Scorpions numbers… We did learn one a long time ago, and we gigged it a few times, but then we promptly forgot about it. On Friday, we only managed to escape alive by promising faithfully to have relearned it by next time we play the Vic.. if only we could remember when we are next due there.. or which Scorpions song it was… I even offered to play the guitar in a German accent next time… and apparently we were eventually forgiven, at least enough to be each given a farewell hug and a kiss.

“Oh, you can tell that Ben’s still a bit shy”, she says, “from the way he kisses”.

“Oh, it’s not that”, Stuart promptly tells her, “He’s gay”.

Ben looks understandably aggrieved, but doesn’t manage to come up with a suitable reply. Like me, he’s baffled as to how Stuart could possibly manage to say something like that before Suzi did. She must be losing her touch.

Saturday, and a trip out to the Red Lion in Witney… Ben wants to live here, so dense is the population of scantily-clad young ladies. Or maybe he’s just trying to make a point…

Anyway, a jolly old evening it is, after a bit of fiddling about in the sound check (including having to stuff the bass drum with comedy wigs for acoustic damping purposes – meaning I can now write them off as Legitimate Musical Equipment) there’s a bit of over-enthusiastic participation early on from the Young Gentlemen’s Learning To Drink Society, but predictably they don’t last very long, and soon make way for the more civilised portion of the audience, and we finish the night very merrily indeed.

Right then, we actually have no gigs for the next two weekends, so you’ll have to make your own entertainment for a bit. How’s about that needlework class you always meant to go to…?


PS I have recently noticed a number of unsavoury comments have been made on Facebook, concerning my professional working relationship with my favourite guitar. I would just like to make clear once and for all that these unsavoury rumours are completely unfounded.

I was just changing a string, and became entangled.

And this isn’t a dress, it is the robe of the High Priests of the Psychedelic Monks…

Date – 09/05/2011


Well, we have another oddball weekend in rock to report; Friday at the Bell in Shepton was enlivened by a horrifically drunk couple in their fifties attempting what I can only describe in polite company as “dirty dancing” right in front of the stage; still, they seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Saturday at the Anchor is Warminster was as much fun as anticipated; there’s always something bizarre going on, and this time, the pub was half full of monks. Curious, I accosted a couple of the less homicidally pissed looking ones.

“Explain yourselves” I demanded.
“Er… Stag night”
“Jolly good, carry on”.
“Er… thank you”.

Also, it was the night before Suzi’s birthday (in case you’re curious, she’s 27. But that’s in singer years, it’s like dog years but it works the other way around), I took my beautiful Dem along, armed with a birthday cake to embarrass Suzi at the start of the second set.

And I do mean armed with a cake – you see, we also brought along a special birthday candle –well, strictly speaking, it was really more of a firework than a candle… In order to avoid personal injury or blame, we handed it over to Sadie and her bar staff to present the cake to Suzi when the time came.

So, at the allotted moment, the unsuspecting bar staff lit the incendiary device to bring the cake out; there was a huge shower of sparks, I heard a muffled “Chuffin’ hell”, and then the pyrotechnic confection was carried out with a degree of undue haste to meet its recipient as the whole pub sang Happy Birthday to Suzi, while she tried to maintain a semblance of gratitude and dignity, whilst keeping ass far as possible from the fizzing fountain of fire.

Result! And it didn’t even set off the sprinkler system. Although admittedly there seemed to be enough beer flying around that there was no chance of a fire starting anyway.

So, we played through the second set merrily, and all too soon it was time to wrap up and get on with the serious business of watching Suzi neck all the shots that the staff had kindly lined up for her.

And as for next week…

Fri 13th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Oh, we really like it here. Very busy, very lively, they get dancing from the first couple of songs, and don’t stop until it’s time to go home. Just don’t lick Stuart’s head afterwards, that’s my advice.

Sat 14th – Red Lion, Witney
We really like it here as well. Big rock club, mahoosive PA and lights, and they all jump around like loons. Especially (so Ben tells me) the scantily-clad young lady contingent. Can’t say I notice these things. (No, honestly, I really can’t say that I notice these things. After all, I could get into trouble. You never know, somebody might actually read this stuff…)

Right, that’s your lot for this week, I’m off back to bed now, but I’ll leave with the worst joke of the week so far, thanks to our pal Ian….

Went out to our local Indian last night, and had a pelican curry.

It wasn’t bad, but the bill was enormous…

Peace out


Date – 03/05/2011

Top o’ the mornin’ to ye!

And another busy weekend in the World Of Rawk…. all just a bit of a blur, really to be honest.

Friday at the Tap & Barrel, and there was a definite birthday party vibe in the air for one of the local biker ladies… banners, free food (we always assume any food floating around at gigs is meant for the band as well…), and a rather elaborately detailed and….exotically shaped birthday cake, which curiously none of us tried. “No thanks, love” says Suzi, when offered a slice, “I don’t like the taste of those things”.

Still, full marks for effort to whoever it was who spent hours doing all the little details in icing… I wonder if they actually based it on a real one, or if they were working from memory?

Best entertainment of the night was that one of the ladies there is such a big fan of our Stuart (we had no idea he had such a dedicated following) that she even had his picture tattooed on her arm!


Saturday at they Midland Spinner was enlivened (particularly for Ben) by two very nice mini-skirted young ladies who spent almost the entire night dancing right in front of us… Suzi did her best to “accidentally” stand in Ben’s line of vision as much as she could to save the poor lad from getting distracted, but with limited success. Stuart, of course, can’t see that far anyway these days, so he was safe. And as for me, my mind is on a higher spiritual plane, so the sight of young tanned bronze limbs writhing away, and the pert forms of those tight muscular thighs hold no fascination whatsoever…

Sunday saw us rolling up (after three nice cold showers) to the Packhorse in Chippenham – minus Ben, who was instead at work, roundly cursing his inflexible employers – but instead with dear ol’ Martin, who stepped out of the disco closet to help us out for the night. And I think he rather enjoyed himself, to be honest. Good work, that man!

Right, coming up this weekend, what do we have…?

Fri 6th – Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallet
Ahhh, Scrumpy Central… always something to write home about. Like “Help…”

Sat 7th – Anchor Hotel, Warminster
Ooooh, goody! The dear ol’ Anchor. They’re mad here, mad as a fish, mad as seven badgers in a handbag, proper bonkers, I expect they’ve got awards for it and everything. I might even take my dear Dem along, she fits right in…

That’s it for now,

Peace out


Date – 27/04/2011

Hello, my little Easter bunnies!

Well, we can only hope you had half as much fun this weekend as we did.

That way, we had twice as much fun as you, so we win!

First though, an apology – last time I sent one of these out, I mentioned that we’d recently played at the Anchor in Bishopston, but I couldn’t remember anything about it. Well, we got back a rather pointed email from our pal Muddy, wondering how I could possibly have forgotten his spot as guest vocalist on “Ace of Spades” that evening.

I can only offer my humblest apologies, and plead that a combination of a simple mind, advancing years and the beginnings of senility can sometimes make it difficult to remember things….

…Such as, oh, to pick a random example, the lyrics to Motorhead songs…

So, a three gig weekend, and lots of that silliness that we hold so dear; Friday in Melksham was a good warm-up, and by half way through the first set, we’d just about remembered how to play again. Excellent. Saturday saw us up in Peatmoor, at the Woodlands Edge – a gurt big pub, and when Suzi saw the oodles of space they gave us to play in, her little face clouded over…

“Oh no”, she says, glaring at me and Ben, “I prefer it when there’s no room for you to move about. This means youse two’ll be even more trouble than the usual pillocking about”.

We have no idea what she means, after all, Ben and I pride ourselves on our professionalism. We would never mess about behind our dear singer’s back, would we…?

Woodlands Edge

To add to the entertainment, who should breeze in but one of our favourite people; our dear ol’ pal Gina, who used to sing with Stuart, along with her lovely cohort Lucy and a bunch of other like-minded funaholics. Having got ourselves most of the way through the night, and pulled out the usual props – the silly sunglasses, the inflatable guitars for the more enthusiastic punters to play with, etc, the landlord suddenly emerges wearing a hippy wig and clutching his guitar, to join us for a couple of numbers, we have Gina up to duet with Suzi and then rip though a final encore or two with us before we all collapse in a giggling heap at the end. Marvellous!

Finally, Sunday night, and we trek out to Shrewton to the Royal Oak, to find Swindon Al (“Well, it’s a nice night to take the Harley out for a run”) waiting for us, along with the extremely amiable landlady, who shows us round the pub and offers us the choice of playing their nice little stage outside, or indoors. We can’t quite decide, until we spot the pubs two pet goats (Poppy and Judith, if you’re interested – I just wanted to be the first person ever to name check goats in a gig blog) wandering about. That settles it, we’ll play outside where the goats are at.

Inevitably, this leads to an evening of caprine humour (it means goat-related, and thank you Google for that!) – and so we play through the U2 classic “Vertigoat”, the Stereophonics anthem “Dagoata”, the Gary Moore number “Still Goat The Blues”, and… you get the idea. Only now do I realise we should have had a crack at the seventies novelty hit “Billy Don’t Be A Hero”, or the early Who song “The Kids Are All Right”. Oh well. Hindsight.

At one point between songs, we are waiting for Stuart to count us in, but he is gazing preoccupied at Judith and Poppy.

“What you doing?” asks Suzi.

“I’m just trying to decide which one is prettiest”, Stuart tells her.

“Don’t bother, mate”, she retorts. “You don’t stand a chance with either of ‘em, they’re both way out of your league”.

Ruefully, he chuckles and counts us in for the next number.

Still – we’ll let you decide. Poppy is the one on the right, apparently.

Royal Oak Shrewton

Coming up- another three-gig-long weekend. Oh, how I love rawk’n’roll…

Friday 29th – Tap & Barrel, Bedminster A good laugh. No-frills bikery pub, and more than enough room to jump around in. Alas, no goats.

Saturday 30th – Midland Spinner, Warmley Nice little pub with a countryish vibe (as in “rural”, rather than “reactionary interbred redneck”). Alas, no goats.

Sunday 1st May – Packhorse, Chippenham A new one for us, but we’ll have to do it without Ben – who has chosen instead to spend the day working, for some reason… Instead, we have coerced the previous incumbent of the AUF bass slot, Martin, to stand in for the night. If you can’t remember that far back, Martin comes from that fine heritage of Canadian bass players – Geddy Lee, Scott Pilgrim… Hopefully there won’t be any goats here, because Martin would probably want to eat them….

So, that’s that – and big thanks to our buddy Swindon Al for the piccies.

Until next time, as Dave Allen used to say – may your goat go with you.


Date – 18/04/2011

Yo Dudes (whatever)!

Seems like it’s been a-g-e-s since I sent one of these out, then again I expect it probably was.

Since then, we’ve very busy indeed, although mostly not with that rawk’n’roll nonsense we love so much – I’m sorry to say that Real Life raised its ugly little head for a bit, but we think we’ve gotten it beaten down back into its rightful place (in that dark corner next to the sofa, tucked behind the ancient pile of dusty Wishbone Ash albums…)

I’ll trawl through my addled memory, and see if I can remember anything that’s happened since I last sent one of these out… According to my diary, we played at the Anchor in Bishopston, but it’s a bit of a blank, really… I do recall we played the Furnace in Swindon, a fundraiser for the Samaritans; that was great fun, and they looked after us fantastically well – we got our own dressing room (although as it turned out, we arrived wearing clothes anyway), complete with a fridge full of beer – luvverly! And big thanks to our buddy Swindon Al for saving the gig by being Air Traffic Control…

As the support band start their final number (meaning we’re due on in about ten minutes), my phone rings; it’s my somewhat frazzled absentee vocal artiste..

“The directions you sent me were useless, I’ve been around the town centre three times already and I can’t find the place”, says a rather unhappy sounding voice.

“Well, we all got here okay”, I point out.

“Well, I can’t find the £$%^ place, I’m lost”, she says to me. “I’m going to give up and go home in a moment”.

“Well, where are you?” I ask.

“I don’t know. That’s what lost means”, she explains tartly. “Is there anyone else there I can talk to? But not Stuart, he’s as useless as you are.”

I run back inside, and find Swindon Al, who has infinite reserves of patience, and also knows his way around Swindon. He gives Suzi the exact same directions that I did, and five minutes later her little Nissan screeches round the corner and slithers to a halt. I drag her out the car and give her to Al. “I’ll park it for you” I volunteer, safe in the knowledge that the car at least won’t yell at me. Once safely inside, we feed her three cans of Red Bull and a packet of peanuts, and throw her up on stage to get on with things.

The next night, we played at my pal Carol’s wedding, in a proper real life castle in Wales – absolutely stunning place, and if only I hadn’t been quite so jetlagged, I might have managed to remember how the songs went… Still, definitely a memorable day, although I was rather disappointed to see how little stamina the weakling bikers had, they really were struggling to keep up with the pace.

Anyoldhoo, this weekend we have three, yes three, outings – marvellous, just like the old days…

Fri 22nd – Parson’s Nose, Melksham
We’ve not been here for a while, but we’re back here again. Usually a 9:30 start, and there’s usually a comedy drunk or two making a big ol’ fool of themselves… sometimes it’s not even me.

Sat 23rd – Woodland’s Edge, Peatmoor, Swindon
A new one for us, so I can’t tell you much about it. It may – or may not – be on the edge of a woodland somewhere. Perhaps near a moor with lots of peat. Near a hill covered in pigs.

Sun 24th – Royal Oak, Shrewton, Salisbury
Another new one, in a nice Wiltshire country pub, about an 8:30 start, apparently they have a big wooden stage thing outside, so if it’s a nice sunny day (and it is supposed to be), it ought to be a corker. Also, I notice it’s only a couple of miles from Stonehenge, maybe if there’s time I’ll go and revisit me old hippy festival days there… ahh, listening to Hawkwind play as the solstice sun came up over the stones… stumbling over someone during Roy Harper’s set who, when I looked down to apologise, turned out to be me dear little sister; and then sitting down together to share out our respective stashes of narcotics… happy daze. Oh, and Happy Birthday today, sis!

Right, I think that’s probably enough reminiscing about my misspent youth, I’d better get back to misspending my adulthood….

Peace & Love


Date – 29/03/2011

Hello folks!

And welcome back to the sunny world of Rawk’n’Roll(TM).

I was just about to apologise for not having sent on of these out last week, when I realised that most of you are probably actually quite grateful. Still, bad luck, here’s another one.

Since we had no gigs this past weekend, I ought to tell you about the ones from the weekend before – but I can’t remember anything much about them… Oh, except that we had a fine time at the Rolly in Swindon – it was lovely to see our pal Statey again.

She tells me off for having previously implied to you lot that every time we see her, she’s drunk.

“After all,” she points out, “I’m sober now, aren’t I?”.

Yes, indeed she is. And what is she about to do now?

“Off to a party. I’ll be back later.”



Two hours later, she rolls back into the pub to catch the last few numbers of the second set.

“Allo”, she cheerily announces. “I’m bollocksh’d”.

Indeed she is – game, set and match to me, I think.

Except that I’m sober – so, technically, I guess I lost again.

Anyways, what’s occurring this week, then?

Saturday 2nd April – Anchor, Bishopston
Gurt big pub on the Gloucester Road, if I can persuade someone else to drive the van then we could nip into the Fox afterwards for a cheeky few pints… any offers?

Thought not.

Right, after that, I’m away for work for yet another week, but will (volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, strikes, famines and intergalactic warfare permitting) be back in time for the following weekend’s gigging…

Friday 8th April – The Furnace, Swindon
This is a charity fundraising night for the Samaritans – three quid to get in (less than the price of a pint, these days), come early, stay late, drink as much as possible in between. It’s right next door to the Rolly, we snuck in last week to check the place out – it’s got a huge big stage, balconies, looks like a brilliant place to gig. Can’t wait. Get yourselves down there.

Saturday 9th April – Private gig
This is actually a biker’s wedding. In a real life proper castle in Wales. We are supposed to be taking it seriously; I’ve already had death threats from the bride if we mess about too much. As if….

Right, that’s it, I’m off to raid the fancy dress shops and see if I can find a wimple the right size for Ben…

Peace out


Date – 14/03/2011

{engage Leslie Phillips mode}

Well, hellllooooo…


That’s enough of that, I think….

My, that was a fun weekend. Friday night, and a gig at RAF Lyneham; a leaving “do” for a couple of excellent fellows, Tipsy and Wurzel, after many years stirling service in the defence of this fine nation. And, having seen the state they get themselves into, frankly, I suspect we can all sleep slightly safer in our beds now.

I think everyone there had a huge fun night, though, we certainly did, and a big thank you to Jan who did a great job of all the running around and organising stuff. A great bunch, and hopefully we can get some more gigs up there later in the year.

Saturday saw us roll up at the Cross Keys in Fishponds, a new venue for us and a strong contender for the coveted “smallest area for the band to set up in” trophy. However, by carefully placing equipment in the exact optimum locations, we managed to just about get in – although Ben had to forsake Lois, and I had to give up Pandora for our slightly-smaller spare guitars – we also had to leave out our spanky new lights (meaning Stuart & Suzi had to find other things to bicker about), one of my effects pedals, and –worst of all – I had to play with my face about half an inch from Suzi’s left earhole (instead of the fifty yards or so we both normally prefer).

Happily, though, there was room for our increasingly large collection of silly hats and dressing-up items, and so half way through the first set saw Suzi with her rather fetching feathered top hat, me wearing a huge pirate hat borrowed from my kids, Ben in a Big Bird mask, and Stuart modelling a plastic horned Viking helmet, looking for all the world like Noggin the Nog. (Award yourself ten Old Person Bonus Points here if you didn’t have to Google that.)

We didn’t have the biggest crowd, but they made up for it in enthusiasm; particularly the Birthday Boy, who started off trying to be cheeky to Suzi, and ended up joining us onstage for the last few numbers wearing the pirate hat, and happily playing the pink inflatable guitar we keep for such occasions, whilst virtually everybody else in the pub filmed him for posteriority. Aww, bless, I think he had a lovely time, it’s probably all on YouTube already…

And I think we have two more gigs coming up this weekend, let’s have a look… Ahh yes, here we are…

Fri 18th – Rising Sun, Trowbridge
Ace little pub run by our mates Damon and the delicious Cath, and it’s just round the corner from Suzi’s house so she’ll have to try really hard to come up with an excuse for being late….

Sat 19th – Rolleston Arms, Swindon
The Rolly, currently Swindon’s Headquarters Of Live Rock’n’Roll, ably presided over by our pal Statey; the only question is, will she be drunk, or will she be hungover… or will she be both….?

Disappointingly, nobody sent me any jokes in last week. As punishment, you get this one: –

Why did the Mexican try to poison his wife? .

Thank you, thank you, no applause necessary…..


Date – 08/03/2011

Allo you lot,

And, did you know – according to my dear daughter, who keeps track of such things – that there’s only 294 days left until Christmas? Thought not.

Well, this week in rawk was mainly memorable for the fact that, having been saving up our spare money for an unconscionably long time, we finally managed to scrape enough together to buy some shiny new lights. And mighty fine they are too, they don’t melt you like sunlamps the way the nasty old clanky ones did, and they do these pretty multicoloured flashy clever things…

Of course, there were the inevitable side effects; one, of course, was that sitting all night in front of them sent Stuart into a flashback trance to those old seventies Hawkwind gigs, and after Friday night’s gig we had to sit him down for a while to calm down until he looked safe to drive home.

The other side effect was that discussions about which lighting programme to select, and where to position the lights for maximum effect without blinding anyone, rapidly deteriorate into an enthusiastic bicker between Stuart and Suzi.

“Mum and Dad are fighting again”, Ben informs me.

“Excellent”, I tell him, “We can turn them against each other and see if we can get any more pocket money out of ‘em”.

Ben chuckles and agrees this is an excellent idea. “Mummy”, he asks Suzi, “If you and Dad split up, who gets custody of us two?”

Suzi turns and scowls at him; “Well, I don’t friggin’ want either of you”, she retorts, “I’ll put you both in care”.

She pauses for thought… “And him…”

Another, happier, side effect of the spanky new lights is that, apparently, from out in the audience, they work magic on the cunning silver-underlaid candy apple paint job on my lovely Pandora, so it looks for all the world as if I have a magical colour-changing illuminated axe swinging around my neck. Marvellous – I wish I could see it…

Anyways, on to the garden of sensual delights that is the upcoming weekend…

Friday 11th – Birthday Bash, on an RAF Airbase Somewhere In Wiltshire
Now, I can’t tell you where this is, it’s obviously Top Secret, but Ben & I are hoping that if we get there a bit early they’ll let us have a go on one of their jet fighters. If we ask nicely. They can’t be that hard to drive, they’ve probably got satnavs these days, Ben already has a driving licence from Legoland, and we promise to be careful with it…

Saturday 12th – Cross Keys, Fishponds
Oooh, a new one. We’ve not played here before, and quite possibly, after this, they won’t let us play again…

That’s your lot for now, my joke cupboard is bare, so please help by completing the following and emailing it back to us: –

“Two {insert item of choice} walk into a bar, and… “

Peace out


Date – 28/02/2011

Hi gang, and welcome to another fascinating episode in the ever-stranger world of rawk’n’roll…

This week, we had a fine time in the court of Queen Amy, although our Ben seemed a little overexcited at the prospect of going out for a Big Drink afterwards – so much so , that he apparently forgot how to play the bass a few times.

Needless to say, Our Suzi had a quiet word with him, and gently reminded him that he could, If Necessary, Be Replaced…

I was just glad that my cock-ups coincided with a lot of his, so I managed to get away with ‘em. Teamwork!

Saturday was a jolly fine hoot as well, we were down at the Reckless Engineer where (from my side of the stage, at any rate) you get such a fine view of thousands of mini-skirt clad young ladies, tottering out of the station and on into town, that I was moved to ask Ben what the collective noun for strumpets was.

We still don’t know, but apparently it’s not a bushel.

Lovely to see some old mates again, and we even had a moment of high excitement when clever Stuart broke his snare drum skin half way through the first set. Ever well-prepared, he has brought a spare, and asks me to fetch it out for him while he frantically dismantles the broken one. Where is the spare? It’s inside a drum case – which is inside another drum case – which is inside another drum case, inside yet another drum case, which is under a drum case, inside another drum case, with the great big heavy PA box perched on top of it. Oh goody.

We hurriedly fish it out and rebuild everything, and then Suzi and I dash off a quick unaccompanied quasi-acoustic number whilst Stuart frantically reassembles himself. Then off we go again – there’s some fine Drunken Dad Dancing action, a small but satisfying air guitar competition – and we’re sorted.

Everyone is most amused / bemused tonight however, by the uncanny resemblance between our Ben and one of the bar staff – in fact, when they finally met face to face, and discovered that they also talk and behave exactly the same, it got a bit spooky. “So”, asks the barman, “What’s your name then, mate?”

“Ben”, says our Ben.

“Oh, for f*&^’s sake”, says the barman, turning away in mock horror… “Not that, too.”

I think it’s fair to say that our Ben was, quite literally, beside himself…

Ben Ben

“…See?”, says Suzi to our Ben, “I told you last night – you can be replaced…”

We’ve not seen him since, although I suspect he may be making pointed enquiries with his mother at this very moment….

So, this weekend we have two gigs, and possibly two bassists –although the presence of doppelgangers does make me worry that somewhere out there may be another Stuart wandering around, mumbling happily to itself….

Friday 4th March – Full Moon, Fishponds
Bikery pub, and funnily enough the old rock stuff seems to go down rather well in here…

Saturday 5th – Ship Inn, Alveston
This is someone’s birthday bash, and it’s just up the road from me… anybody wanna drive?

Note: – It has been postulated that there could possibly be another Suzi out there somewhere as well – in the interests of scientific accuracy, we would just like to point out that, given that the entire financial system of the world has not yet collapsed completely, this is considered to be unlikely.

Sleep well


Date – 22/02/2011

Buenos dias, amigos!

Another busy weekend’s gigging, and I for one am plum tuckered out. Although maybe spending yesterday evening in the company of one Mr James Beam isn’t helping too much…

Friday night saw us back down the dear ol’ Queen Vic, where Stuart set the evening off to a fine start by falling headlong over the monitors in spectacular style (actually, quite the reverse of spectacular – if he’d been wearing his glasses, he might have actually seen the monitors…).

Still, the gig went fine, there seemed to be an acceptable amount of jiggling about from the punters (in fact, Ben seemed to be a little distracted by some of the jiggling) and I noticed one lady actually crying during the long Gary Moore solo at the end. Awwww. Suzi kindly said that my playing often makes her feel like crying, too.

Saturday dawned fair and bright, I successfully mended Ben’s bass after the previous night’s annoying cutting-out shennanigans, and all was going well until my back folded up on me again… Bugger! Still, with the application of huge quantities of tranquilisers (thanks Doc!) and a radioactive truss, I managed to get both myself and my beloved Dem down to Westbury Country Park for the evening’s “200th birthday party” gig – a joint birthday bash for four fifty-year-olds.

Westbury Country Park, it transpires, is a gigantic concrete air raid shelter, although they do have a spanky full-sized stage, and lots of flashy lights. They also, on this occasion, have a pair of rent-boy retard DJs, who, apart from their excrable taste in music, have inadequate equipment and no understanding of acoustics… thus it is the the entire hall is filled with the deafening sound of muffled shite, as their poky little rig runs at full volume from one corner of the room, distorting everything into a muffled blur and making conversation impossible, while at the same time you can’t even hear the music clearly as it reverberates off walls, floor, and arched ceiling before ashamedly slinking out the back door to escape into the night.

Finally it’s time for us to start, we tell the DJ, who says he’ll play “just two more numbers”, and so we clamber up onstage to get ourselves sorted. We stand there like pillocks for a full fifteen minutes, the idiot DJ has wandered off for a smoke and a chat and has completely disappeared, leaving his PA pumping out an endless loop of Hard House Horseshit… he has an assistant though, so we ask him to turn off the “music” so we can start. Alas, the mouth-breather “doesn’t know how to turn it off”… Suzi patiently explains he has two minutes to find his technically-qualified superior and turn it off, or we’ll just rip the power out the wall…she then has to slowly explain that this is likely to damage their equipment before he gets the message and scuttles off in search of his double-digit IQ chum.

Finally, the halfwit (i.e. the smart one) appears, and we’re able to get going. And actually, we manage to play a pretty good set without any major mishaps, even Stuart doesn’t fall over anything this time.

As we’re playing, the “smart” DJ provides me with much amusement by attempting to “surreptitiously” video Suzi on his phone from the side of the stage, whilst trying to look nonchalantly in the Other Direction – meanwhile, his pal is busy downing several bottles of a shiny blue alcopop which, as Ben points out, “no self-respecting thirteen-year-old girl would want to be seen drinking”.

We finished up the second set with my spine still intact, and managed to haul the gear safely away through the barrage of muffled thumping from the DJ corner which, even at the far end of the room, makes conversation impossible.

“I think I must be getting too old”, Suzi yells in my ear.
“No”, I yell back, “The’re just complete twats”.
“Oh. That’s all right, then” comes the reply.

In fact, the only real tragedy of the evening is that the shiny red balloon we have given Ben to take home bursts before he can even get it into the car… poor little lad was inconsolable, until we found a shiny piece of silver paper for him to play with…

Right then, coming up in this week in the world of Proper Music – two gigs, both in Bristol, and no DJs – nothing can possibly go wrong now…

Fri 25th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Oh, yes! Back in the Court Of Queen Amy, at the dear ol’ RT, looking forward to seeing our old chums again there, and hopefully without falling over anything this time…

Sat 26th – Reckless Engineer, Bristol
Ooh, now this is a new one for us – right opposite Temple Meads station, last time I played here was with a previous band, where they stopped me from driving the van because being sober adversely affected my playing… Happy days… although I can’t remember too much about them, except that Dem used to get quite cross with me… [editors note: it’s not new, we have played here before, brain cell death I reckon]

So, that’s your lot for now – although while I’m on the subject of DJs…

Two DJs meet in a pub, and one asks his pal

“Do you fancy going to the cinema tomorrow night?”

The other one replies – “Dunno – who’s the projectionist?”

If you’re not laughing, go find a musician to explain it to you, v-e-r-y slowly…

Peace out


PS Contrary to what you might infer from the above, I do actually believe there is a time and a place for DJs and repetitive, unimaginative, relentless and painfully loud hardcore dance music.

The time is now, and the place is at the bottom of the ocean…

Date – 14/02/2011

Hi folks!

And you’ll be delighted to know that the mighty Angel Up Front rawk machine(TM) is back up to full fighting strength, so we have a full weekend’s hot gig action to report.

So, Friday down in deepest darkest Zummerzet, at the merrie olde Bell in Shepton Mallett, and the usual mix colourful locals, including Eccentric Dancing Gentleman, and The Two Deaf Ones, who kept on calling for the guitar to be turned up louder. I rather liked them.

Ben has a spanky new bass amp – well, in truth, it’s a skanky old bass amp – but it is very satisfactorily loud, and even better, he’s got his beloved Thunderbird, Lois, back from the guitar doctor at last, so he was a very happy little bunny.

Unfortunately, the pub had several requests from the neighbours to turn it down, so Ben had to mitigate his joy a little. I did the sensible thing and only turned myself up a little bit.

However, the most remarkable thing that happened this week was that we had a rehearsal – the first I can remember since about November – and as a result, we had four new songs to try out on the unsuspecting punters. It turned out that we actually only knew three of ‘em. Oh, well, better luck tomorrow…

And, the tomorrow in question, all the way over in Witney (Oxfordshire, not Houston) we had a very interesting evening. Over at the Red Lion there, they have a mahoosive house PA, and for the first set, we had – I think it’s fair to say – and absolutely marvellous sound, and judging by the way the punters were jumping around, it wasn’t too shabby out the front, either.

However, after half-time, disaster struck – the house engineer, who had disappeared off just after we finished the first set to “catch the last bus home”, must have switched off all the stage monitors, plus half the power amps before he left, and nobody there knew how to turn it all back on. We struggled through the first couple of numbers, unable to hear ourselves, fell apart on the third one as Stuart couldn’t hear where everybody was in the song, and then Suzi and I did an impromptu acoustic-y number while Stuart went to try and fathom out the mysteries of the 48-channel desk, sixteen various power amps and effects units, and tangled spaghetti of wiring…

He failed.

So, we carried on as best we could, and we even managed to get the place jumping around merrily again by the time we finished, even though each of us thought we must have gone deaf ‘cos we couldn’t hear anything properly…

Afterwards, Ben got accosted by a chap who spent ten minutes congratulating him on his god-like abilities on the guitar, and then turned to me and that he hadn’t noticed what it was I played in the band. Was I the drummer…? At this point Ben caved in and ‘fessed up that it was my playing which had been the object of the chap’s effulgent praise, and that Ben was, in fact “…..just the bass player.” Oh, the bloke looked so disappointed in him.

“Just the bass player…” I’ll keep that one…

Right then, we may even rehearse again this week, learn that pesky fourth new number, and perhaps even an extra one or two…

Fri 18th Queen Vic, Stroud
Brilliant. Rocktastic place, they’re always up for a laugh, and that’s just as well, as I may have one up my sleeve if all goes to plan this week…

Sat 19th Er – don’t know, actually
This is a gig for someone’s birthday party, I can’t remember who, I do know it’s somewhere in Trowbridge, but if you’ve been invited, then you’ll know all about it already. And if you haven’t, well, you haven’t. So there.

Right, that’s your lot for now, I’m off for a pint or three…

Peace out


Date – 07/02/2011

Yup, it’s one of these again!

Just when you thought I might have given up writing this drivel, two weeks without any of this nonsense clogging up your Inbox, you were beginning to hope we’d forgotten all about you, weren’t you… No such luck.

Still, it’s not all been fun. After a week away for work, and a couple of very jolly gigs, I failed to heed my beloved Dem’s warnings that “You’re getting too old for this s&*t”, and managed to put my back out. So, I spent most of the last week either lying flat on a floor, swearing heavily, lumbering around in Quasimodo-stylee positions, or, on extreme occasions, all three simultaneously. Lucky we had no gigs last weekend, ‘cos I couldn’t have done ‘em.

Happily, however, fortified by some turbo-strength painkillers and a radioactive truss, I’m back to some approximation of normal operation, and should be fighting (well, hobbling) fit for not one, but a full two rawk’n’roll outings this weekend…

Friday 11th – Bell Hotel, Shepton Mallet
Deep in the heart of scrumpy country, you never know quite what to expect at this one… mind you, not having played for a couple of weeks, we don’t know what to expect anyway…

Saturday 12th – Red Lion, Witney
Now, we do like it here, even though last time the smoke machine nearly suffocated Ben – and, worse still, obscured his view of gyrating young ladies. I’m trying to locate a gas mask and a pair of infra-red night-vision Perv-o-matic binoculars for him, so if anybody has any such items… you should be ashamed of yourself.

Right, that’s your lot for now, but in the interests of medical well-being, if anybody has the number of a blonde* twenty-five-year-old** Swedish*** osteopath / masseuse****, please let me know.

Cheers now


*Actually, come to think of it, a brunette would do just as well.
**Really, I guess as long as she’s in her twenties, that would be fine.
***Norwegian, Danish, would also do.
****Or harlot / hussy.

Date – 17/01/2011

Hello my little wunderkinds!

And a bright and breezy Monday to you all. Unless you’re reading this on Tuesday, in which case – er – you missed it. But it was bright. Ish. And definitely breezy. And rather damp at first, clearing later in the day as high pressures sweep across the country from the Urals, bringing sunny intervals to up-lying regions of higher ground, with sporadic outbursts of religious uncertainty to those of a quizzical disposition, and possibly even all-consuming nihilistic despair to post-Jungian modernists with materialist diversionary tendencies.

See? If only I’d got the breaks (and the surgery), I could have been the world’s first existentialist weather girl.

Another busy weekend in the World of RawkTM – we played Cathy’s Birthday Bash (worthy of the capitals, if you were there) down in Nailsea on Friday, and despite numerous transport mishaps and experimental navigational techniques, we all actually managed to arrive present and correct bang on time ready to start at 9pm. So we did. A good fun bunch, and oodles of food in the break (yes, oodles, 7.5 oodles, in fact – the oodle is the new SI unit of all-you-can-eat-and-then-some); the only sad thing was we forgot to bring a balloon home for Ben.

Saturday night, and the Tap & Barrel down in Bemy, and – despite Suzi’s broken car having scuttled my pre-birthday plans to avoid driving and get Proper Pissed – we all had huge fun. Lovely to see some old pals there, plus a surprise visit from the in-laws (although I still really think of them as out-laws). Anyhoo, it’s always good to see a bit of belly-dancing action, I reckon.

Ben and I seem to have perfected our naughty children routine, so now when Suzi gets sufficiently exasperated at our childish antics, she bellows at Stuart to tell us off… “Dad –the twins are playing up again – fetch your belt…”.

Anyways, this weekend we have just the one gig coming up, although Ben and I aren’t exactly sure where – no matter, I’m sure Mum & Dad will tell us in good time. Or maybe they’ll drive, and we can just sit in the back, eating sweeties, bickering, and asking if we’re nearly there yet.

After that, I’m away again for work, and so you won’t see one of these next week – unless we decide to hand this rubbish-writing over to Ben. I think his training is nearly complete. Anyways, just in case he isn’t allowed to, or can’t be bothered, or can’t find his crayons, the following week we’ll be gigging like this: –

Friday 28th – Bunch of Grapes, Bristol
Not been here for ages, but it always used to be good fun. And, being right by the city centre, it’s handy for buses, kebab shops, the fighting, etc.

Saturday 29th – Anchor Hotel, Warminster
Ohhh, brilliant! As long as we didn’t disgrace ourselves too badly on New Year’s Eve (I don’t think we did, but the memory is a bit patchy), and they let us back on the premises, this should be marvellous fun. Sadie and Paul, who run the place, are brilliant – you can expect Oompah Loompahs, blue-painted buttocks, and many kinds of inspired madness. I think I’ll bring Dem along to this one. After all, somebody has to be in charge… and these days, Stuart’s management approach is to just say “chicken” all the time.

Curiously, it seems to work rather well.

So there ya go.

Love and hugs all that gurly stuff


Date – 11/01/2011

Yo homeys!

As we young people say.

Anyhoo, a fine night’s rock’n’roll action in Witney to report, and despite my shameful inability to actually play anything properly (again), we seemed to go down rather well with the locals. At any rate, there was much jigging around from the Witney party animals. And indeed from our Ben, who got rather carried away during the Metallica number, to the point where he actually collapsed in a heap on the stage afterwards, and it was a couple of minutes before we could get him started again. Pace yourself, lad…

I’m also beginning to finally realise I’m getting too old now –confronted with a particularly wanton-looking scantily-clad young lady, my first thought was “Oooh, she’ll catch her death in that…”

Happily Ben was still able to maintain some credibility by offering to “warm her up a bit, if she wants….”, although I suspect that if he’d tried it after the Metallica episode, it might have killed him.

Still, there’s worse ways to go.

I was less impressed by the lady who apparently picked up the wrong signal from my guitar strap (furry fake leopardskin, and why not?), and was prompted to ask Suzi “Is your guitar player gay?”

Predictably, Suzi rushes to my defence. “Oh, God, yes” she says, gleefully. “As gay as they come.”

Ratbag, I’ll get her at playtime.

Anyways, speaking of playtime….

Fri 14th – Nailsea somewhere
This is a birthday bash for a lovely lass we met when we played Halloween at the Friendship. I don’t know exactly where it is, but I’m sure that if you’re invited, we’ll see you there.

Sat 15th – Tap & Barrel, Bedminster
Aaaah, a nice cosy bikers pub, we had a blast last time we played here. And, as it’s my birthday the next day, all I have to do is persuade somebody else to drive the van down there, and I can have even more fun than usual. Not only that , but I believe it’s our pal Gus’s birthday too, so if you’re reading this matey, and haven’t already got something planned…

Right, that’s your lot for this week, next time you read one of these, I’ll be even older than I am now. Of course, so will you.

So will everyone.

Except, apparently, Suzi, who is still apparently in her “late twenties”.

And who, I’m sure, would like me to point out that she did NOT used to be a man.

Just to be clear, in case anybody was wondering.

So… Any volunteers to drive the van on Saturday…? Suzi……?

Peace out


Date – 04/01/2011

Happy Noo Year, folks, and we hope you’re looking forward to another year of hot rawk’n’roll action to help counter the current nippy atmospherics…

Well, we’re happy to report a generally successful festive season (at Suzi’s request, we avoid the C-word); unaccountably this year, lots of people gave me beer.. which was nice. Also particularly nice was not having to get up and go to w*rk for a couple of weeks. Well, nice for me, anyway. Poor ol’ Suzi & Ben spent most of their time at work, see what happens when you study Psychology?

However, we did manage to drag them both away from the retail industry for long enough to have an absolutely fantastic New Year’s Eve down at the Anchor in Warminster, courtesy of Paul & Sadie, who ran a brilliant night. One lady fell over the monitors three times… during the first song. An impressive achievement. Great bunch of lunatics, much silly dressing up, oodles of beer, Paul firing Jagermeisters down us if we ever looked like flagging – alas, poor Stuart had to stay sober and drive home, but because we didn’t, we got my beloved Dem to take his shots for him – good girl!

I think we finished playing somewhere around 01:30, I know we got to bed around 05:30, and in between a lot of people got painted blue… Somehow we were all up and running again in time for Sadie to feed us all a massive fry-up… and then we got paid, too! Ben & I were still giggling as we loaded the van up…

Oh, and apparently somewhere in the second set I biffed Suzi in the face with my guitar and gave her a fat lip (Suzi that is, not the guitar)…oopsie. And I didn’t even notice. I asked if I could have another go as I missed it the first time, but I was – rather rudely, I thought – advised against it.

Anyways, a superb start to the year, and more to come…

Saturday 8th – Red Lion, Witney, near Oxford
Witney’s a pretty little market town, all very posh.. so how they manage to have such a great rock venue is beyond me, but it is brilliant fun. Big powerful house PA, lots of lights, roomy stage… luvverly. There’s even lots of nice young ladies for Ben to ogle at. Well, he’s single, he’s allowed. Stuart can’t see ‘em that well anyway, and I daren’t look, ‘cos I know Suzi would tell on me. Pretty much a perfect gig, apart from the long drive home, but hey, you can’t have everything I guess.

Or so Dem tells me.

Right, that’s your lot, although just in case you’re thinking it was only idiot musicians that do silly dressing up… the drum kit did too… apparently as some bizarre alien Octopus Of Light…

Xmas drumkit

Peace out


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