21-03-2016 – Mister Stiffy

Good morning campers!

And it’s been a busy week of things breaking down, being mended, and in some cases even being replaced by a newer flashier model – and, surprisingly, none of these things was me…

Things started to look ominous when one of our PA speakers blew on Tuesday night; by fortunate coincidence, a pal had just put her shiny barely-used PA speakers up for sale on Facebook the day before, prompting Stuart and I to have a brief discussion about how nice it would be if we bought them, but concluding that we can’t really justify the expense.

Well, suddenly we can; and so we did. Inevitably, they can’t use our existing stands or cables, but that was just another small problem easily beaten to death with a bag of money.

Thus it was; we were all set to give them a good run on Saturday at the Royal Oak’s Pie and Ale festival, when Stuart phones me twenty minutes before I’m due to set off, to say that Ben’s car has died and we now have a bijou transport problemette. But, after a bit of mad dashing around, we manage to get all of us and all of the kit to the venue just in time… Just in time to wait for them while they start clearing a space for us to load in.

But, they are very nice, and give us beer, so we don’t mind.

The gig is rather good fun – a little before we start, one of Stuart’s old mates from years back arrives – his name is Max, and he is a lovely fellow. So, what did he and Stuart used to get up to, back in the day?

“Well, you know, we were a lot younger, then, and sometimes me and Stiffy here would…”

“Hold on”, says I. “Stiffy?”

“Yes, we used to call him Stiffy. Can’t really remember why…”

“What?” chuckles Ben, who has suddenly lasered in on the conversation. “Really? His nickname was Stiffy?”

“That’s MISTER Stiffy, to you, sonny”. I admonish him.

Three of us can now no longer contain our giggling. Stuart just stands there ruefully, with his head in his hands. He just knows that tonight’s gig – and probably every other gig until the end of time – will feature the announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, give it up please, for Mr Stiffy on the drums!”

And so it does. We play a couple of sets with a quick break in between, just long enough to bag some more beer, as we need to finish sharp on time in order that everyone can enjoy watching England whup the French at rugby. Not that I’m any kind of sports fan, just that I like the idea of the French getting whupped.

Coming up this week –

Saturday 26th – Red Lion, Staple Hill
Not played here for quite a while, but last time we did, the locals’ efforts at breakdancing had us in stitches. And, I suspect, a couple of them were featuring at A & E in the morning, too…

Sunday 27th – All Night Chemists at the Exchange, Bristol
Not an AUF gig, this is a boy band I’m now in… This is in fact a reunion gig, after a break of some twenty six years, of the acid-rock originals band that I toured in South America with – featuring good buddies Little Ian on bass, Rich on vox, keys and occasional guitar, with “Mr Stiffy” Stuart on drums (since our original percussionists long since fled the country and / or the drum kit). We’ve spent a bit of time dusting off the old songs we wrote all those years ago, and were surprised to find that several of them are actually rather good. Some of them are probably less so, but since they’re damned good fun, we’re going to play them anyway. We’re also going to throw in just one cover tune – a treatise on Mr Robert Calvert’s dissatisfaction with the procurement policy of the Federal German Air Force during the 1960’s. If that means anything to you, then you need to come to this gig. If it doesn’t – well, basically, it’s a bunch of old hippies doing their rock thang. The more serious-minded may also enjoy the headline act, progsters Antimatter, who by all accounts are rather accomplished – although I bet they don’t have a rubber chicken.

Now, where did I put that wah pedal and the Echoplex…?

Square on

[Editor’s note: Ok, the picture is a bit naff but “Mr Stiffy”, I mean, come on …]

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