Tag Archives: blue lagoon

19-07-2019 – The Misunderstanding Of Sport

Well, good day to you all!

A mighty fine night at the Blue Lagoon on Friday; as our Em was rather wiped out after a long week in Amsterdam (apparently work can be very wearing, probably one of the reasons why I avoid it wherever possible), shiny daughter Lily kindly stepped in to cover for her this weekend.

And, as expected, a fantastic job she made of it, too. I was particularly touched by a comment from a young Ruby (previously unknown to us) who told us she was actually moved to tears by Lil’s performance. And then rather spoiled the compliment by adding, “I don’t normally drink, you know…”. READ MORE

08-07-2019 – Iambic Pentameter

Howdy pardners!

I did – until five minutes ago have written for you probably the best one of these blogs I’ve ever created – a masterpiece of witty prose and profound insights.

Unfortunately, just as I was signing off at the end, my laptop decided to choose that moment to randomly crash, and lost everything.

And, yes, smug IT geeks – I had been saving the file as I went along, but for some arcane software reason which I have no interest in understanding, the saved file was all naughtily corrupted. READ MORE

15-01-2019 – Told You So Special

Yo homeys

Well, that’s back to normality (or what passes for normality, at any rate). Friday night at the Blue Lagoon was gratifyingly busy considering it’s early January, and I managed to wangle just enough stage space to be able to use my pointy guitar for a change; something which makes me rather happy.

Guitar

If only because it gives me an excuse to show a picture of it… Ain’t she purty?

“Our clients” behaved just as expected, i.e. with much dancing around, spilling of drinks, and dropping of glasses. For entertainment value, Em and I mentally awarded the prize to a group of gyrating lads who had obviously had dancing described to them at some point, but had clearly never actually seen it done.

Saturday night, and a jaunt out to the very welcoming Golden Fleece in Bath, to wheel out some of the noisier side of the repertoire. And we had an absolute blast, with much messing about and tomfoolery going on. The crowd were lovely, and even the table of somewhat senior customers (and this is me saying that) right at the front seemed to being enjoying themselves. We were particularly impressed by the nice white-haired lady who was jigging around in her seat and singing along, pausing only occasionally to get up and hobble across to the bar to get herself another beer in. “I’m seventy nine next month”, she told me as she came past, “And I’m having a lovely time”. We’re considering adopting her as the band’s official mum.

Even a technical hitch, involving my lovely guitar sound disappearing and being replaced by an ominous rhythmic buzzing didn’t slow us down; Emma simply went out to harassed the “clients” individually, and sang some impromptu requests while I frantically tried to diagnose the problem, failed, dug out the necessary leads to plug in to my spare amp, set it up only to find the fault was still there, and only THEN eventually figured out the actual cause, disconnected the offending pedal and reconnected the main amp again before being rewarded with my beautiful restored guitar tone [Editor’s note: this was a told you so moment as yours truly said it was a pedal at the start of the problem]. Just in time to save Em from having to attempt an a capella version of the Oasis song she’d been requested to do.

So we were able to happily romp through the rest of the set, and play a couple of hugely fun encores, before slumping into a happy exhausted heap while we mustered the energy to pack everything up.

Hooray for rock & roll!

Coming up next weekend – two more rather fine outings…

Friday 18th – The Packhorse, Lawrence Hill
Lovely cosy and friendly biker’s pub. We played here a while before Christmas, and thoroughly enjoyed it. We think they did too, ‘cos they asked us back.

Sunday 20th – The Crown, Staple Hill
Next door to Ben’s gaffe, and a 6:30 start so we can all still be tucked up in beddy byes by ten*, ready for school in the morning. Rawk and roll, hey?

Right, that’ll do, I’m off to see the wizard, now.

The wonderful wizard of Beer…

Square on
A

*Contrary to popular belief, Angel Up Front do NOT in fact all sleep together in an oversized bed, each wearing a set of blue and white striped pyjamas and a nightcap. #thetruth.

07-01-2019 – Ice Say, It’s The End Of The Year

Well, a Merry New Year to all our readers, and possibly even our reindeers, come to think of it.

Sorry we didn’t manage to get one of these out last week – I nipped away for a few days; in fact, I’ve been to the land of the ice and snow (of the midnight sun where the hot springs flow), and mighty good fun it was, too – and only just got back.

We hope you all had a splendiferous festive season – I think we did, it was all a bit of a blur, really. I do recall that I had some very strange technical issues at the Farmhouse in Yate, in that my rig made a horrendous loud buzzing noise, but only when I stood in front of it – the noise went away completely if I stood to one side facing the wall; and since we could find no other solution, that’s exactly what had to do for most of the gig. So – apologies to anybody that was there, who just assumed I was being aloof and moody all night; I wasn’t (at least, not more than usual) – it was down to technical necessity.

Christmas Eve at the Sandringham in Downend featured no such technical difficulties, and a mighty fine audience of under-sevens, who thoroughly enjoyed themselves and made the most of playing with the various finger lights, tambourines, and inflatable guitars to be found in our toybox. We appear to have morphed into some kind of rock’n’roll daycare organisation – a situation not helped by Ben, the Uncle Chuckle-Trousers Of Rock, singing Sharp Dressed Man whilst sporting a woolly hat with elf ears and a full set of beard baubles.

If you have seen Angel Up Front’s credibility, please contact us via the website. A small reward is available.

A night at the Queen Vic up in Stroud didn’t disappoint either. Although it was lovely to see some old chums there again, once again our Ben seemed to be the centre of attention. During one particularly crunchy number, I found myself alone and unnoticed on one side of the stage, playing an intricate (and, I thought, rather artful) solo. Meanwhile, over on stage left, Ben is surrounded by an appreciative coterie of whooping and hollering middle-aged ladies who are transfixed by his “waving his long hair about” technique.

Emma and I have decided to get some business cards printed off to hand out on future occasions, bearing the legend, “Ben Brook – Entertainer Of Ladies – bass-player, vocalist, and mane-tosser”, with his phone number.

That should keep him busy for a while.

New Year’s Eve up at the Royal Oak in Chipping Sodbury was an unmitigated delight, we saw out 2018 with a pub-full jumping up and down to Blitzkrieg Bop, and a few minutes later brought 2019 in with Tenacious D’s “Tribute” – because we can. I mean, it’s not the greatest song in the world…. Except when sometimes it is.

Right then, coming up this weekend, a couple more doozies…

Friday 11th – Blue Lagoon, Bristol
You may not know (I didn’t) that Blue Lagoon is also the name of a famous outdoor geothermal spar pool in Iceland, where indeed I spent most of last Friday, neck deep in toasty warm water, clutching a cold beer and watching the sun set at 2pm over the mountains. That was nice. This one is also nice, but in a completely different way.

Saturday 12th – Golden Fleece, Bath
Lovely little bikery pub, but everyone’s welcome. Think we’ll probably dust off some of the rockier numbers for this one.

Right, that’s your lot for now, I have many real life things to try and catch up on. If anybody remembers real life, do stop by and feel free to give me a few hints…

Square on
A

26-06-2018 – The Gear Inspector

Ahoy there shipmates!

A beautiful sunny weekend, kicking off at the Glue Baboon down the Gloucester Road; as predicted, it got very lively, and it was nice to see some of Em’s lovely mates again. One of my favourite moments was before we started playing though; having set up, and wandered offstage for a refreshing drinky and a natter, a middle aged gentleman strolled up to the stage and began peering intently at our kit.

Regular musos will instantly recognise this behaviour as indicative of a Gear Inspector – one of breed who carefully appraises the quality of the band’s equipment, to see if he (and it’s always a “he”) should take them seriously or not. Marshall amplification, for example, once considered the height of desirability, is now considered merely acceptable by the cognoscenti; ideally you should have a more exclusive brand such as Cornford, or Matchless, or better still a hand-made boutique MJW amp.

He looks at my amp head – which has had the name badge replaced by an illuminated Polar Bear Cheese Pirate logo and some blue LEDs, and looks suitably puzzled; then he peers down to inspect my effects pedals – notably consisting of a homebuilt overdrive, emblazoned with a large Motorhead logo, the eyes of which light up when you turn it on. Subtlety and good taste are ever our watchwords.

Bemused, he turns his inspection to Ben’s rig. He is visibly relieved to see a “respectable” Gallein Kruger bass amp – then looks down to see Ben’s new pedal – which, regular readers may recall, is labelled entirely in the Klingon language. He does a lovely double-take, scratches his head, returns to his table, looking very confused.

Nonetheless, by the end of the night he is dancing away merrily with the rest of the pub, so obviously our shambolically quirky kit was deemed adequate. 🙂

Saturday afternoon, and a huge fun time at Fishponds Party in The Park; we got to play a very one-hour set in front of a lovely bunch of people; then, having scored some cool beer and food, sat on the grass and watched the next band do their thing. They got one over on us by having a Red Arrows flypast in the middle of their set, but other than that I think we gave a pretty good account of ourselves.

A trundle home, a quick repacking of the van, and there’s just time for me to lounge around in Dem’s pool for half an hour and eat some cheese, and then it’s off to Bailey’s Court Inn for the evening’s gig. To be fair, it didn’t quite live up to the previous two; in fact in the first set Stuart was forced to simulate the sound of applause to make up for the very quiet audience; nonetheless, by the end of the night they were jumping around merrily. Just some folks need a bit more work – and a rubber chicken – to warm them up, I guess.

Right, that’s it for now; no gigs next weekend, so some peace and quiet for us all.

However; we will – as my good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger* would say – be back….

Square on
A

*Not many people know that Mr Schwarzenegger is something of a philosopher. The following is a genuine example of his simple homespun wisdom.

“Money won’t make you happy. I know this for a fact, because I have $52 million dollars; but I’m no happier than I was when I only had $46 million dollars”.

18-06-2018 – Party In The Ponds

‘Allo, compadres…

Well, with no gigs to report on, this one will be mercifully short – although next weekend does promise to be something of a doozy…

Friday 22nd – Blue Lagoon, Gloucester Rd
This is turning into one of my favourite regular venues, always nice and lively, sometimes they even gets a bit carried away – by security – but we ‘likes a larf, doesn’t we…

Saturday 23rd – Fishponds Party In The Park, 2pm
This should be huge fun, hopefully a nice sunny day in Fishponds Park with ice cream vans in attendance; I’d recommend it even if we weren’t playing – but we are, so I recommend it even more!

Saturday 23rd – Bailey’s Court Inn, Bradley Stoke
And another nice local gig to round off the weekend – plus I get Sunday off. Happy days…

Square on
A

Oh, all right then.

Crap joke of the week: –

What’s the difference between a moose and a soul band?
Well, a moose has the horns at the front and the asshole at the back…

04-04-2018 – Easter, Was It?

Well hello, my little spring chickens!

We hope you had a pleasant Easter weekend, that time of year when we all reflect sombrely on how Our Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, and then came back from dead to hop around the countryside with a basket of chocolate eggs to distribute amongst the children. Or something like that, anyway – I didn’t really pay attention in school.

Well, it was certainly a busy weekend from the rawk’n’roll point of view; Friday’s jaunt to the Air Balloon in Filton turned out to be very lively indeed – so much so that at least some of the regulars have earned themselves the epithet “Air Balloonies”. They didn’t even seem to mind that at least some of us (okay, me) were playing in a particularly ham-fisted fashion. In my defence, I’d just driven up from deepest darkest Devon, had hardly slept, and was sporting a particularly nasty head cold… nonetheless, you’d think I’d know where at least some of the chords are wouldn’t you…

Saturday at the Sandringham in Downend was a rather less vigorous affair; possibly at least partly because they’d apparently forgotten we were coming. Nonetheless, we had an entertaining night, a few chums turned up, and a 21st birthday coterie kept the dancey side of things going rather well. You could tell they were too nice, though – when a glass dropped and smashed on the floor, they all stopped immediately to help pick up the pieces and mop up the mess before continuing. Most places we play, when that happens there’s a brief cheer, and everybody just carries on dancing in the beery shrapnel regardless.

Sunday afternoon, and Weston Ex-Services club turns out to be an absolute delight – there’s enough space for a bit of prancing around, and the crowd are lovely, and very appreciative – particularly in the drinks-buying department (which, incidentally, is always very well-received amongst the muso fraternity – so if you ever see band you rather enjoy, please offer to buy them a beer. Particularly if they’re us).

Coming up next week – busy again, and it looks like it’s going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride of excitement…

Friday 6th – Back Bar, Weston Super Mare
Love playing here, haven’t been for a while, but there’s a proper stage with a drum riser, a rather potent house PA (so we don’t have to worry about setting ours up), and generally it’s a great fun gig. Oh, and everybody there is usually pissed. One time we played here, in mid-September, there was a whole group dressed as pirates, having mock cutlass fights at the front of the stage. We asked them if they knew that they’d got the date wrong, and that Talk Like A Pirate Day had in fact been the previous weekend.

“We know”, they shouted back. “We haven’t been home yet.”

Genius.

Saturday 7th – Golden Fleece, Bath
Lovely little bikery pub, we might have to wheel out a healthy dose of the rocky stuff here. Oh dearie me, how will we cope…?  

Sunday 8th – Bulldog, Filton – 4pm start
They seem to like us in here, despite the fact that what we play seems rather at odds with their juke box selections – which seem to consist of a 50/50 mix of Johnny Cash and Benny Hill. Oh well, as long as they’re happy. And I haven’t listened to “Ernie” for ages…

Right, thas’ your lot for now

Square on
A

26-03-2018 – Rabbits In Your Pants

Hey gang

You’re receiving this missive a bit early this week, as I’m not here, so I’m sending it in advance of actually writing it, thanks to a basic misunderstanding of how time works.

Friday at the Queen’s Tap in Swindon was rather good fun, thanks largely to our pal and guest drummer Sarina and her bevy of bandmates. At half time we slumped down and stared at the big telly screen, which was showing a newsreader of some kind. We noticed that although she appeared to be calm and professional, her eyebrows were quite animated. Luckily, knowledgeable Alan has the explanation.

“She’s got rabbits her pants”.

This suggestion is met with a general sentiment of disbelief, so I have to explain further.

“It’s part of their training, see, to make sure they don’t get easily distracted by anything else going on the studio whilst they’re reading the news. Of course, the producers don’t start them off with rabbits; that would be silly. They start with gerbils, and work their way up.”

Such is the reasonableness of this explanation that it is immediately accepted; and the subsequent rambling conversation leads us finally to the ground breaking psychological personal profiling system known as the Rabbit Pant Hypothesis.

Obviously the scientific details are too complex to describe in full here, but the underlying premise postulated is that there three personality types into which human race can be subdivided.

The Rabbit Pant Hypothesis methodology may be summarised as follows.

The subject is asked a simple question, and their response shows which one of the three personality types they belong.

The question is simply as follows: –

“If I said to you that yesterday I found a rabbit in my pants, what picture does that bring to mind?

And a typical answer for each of the three classes of response is shown below: –

Type 1 personality: – Looks puzzled for a moment, and then mimes looking down, peering inside their pants, and looking surprised to find a lop-eared mammal in residence.

Type 2 personality: – Looks thoughtful, then describes themselves coming home from work, walking into their bedroom, to find a rabbit admiring itself in the mirror dressed up in their underwear.

Type 3 personality: – Looks very worried for several seconds, then hurries off quickly in the general direction of away.

Having formulated our scientific hypothesis, the next step is to conduct a larger scale survey to establish the relative distribution of the personality types. So – please write in and let us know which of the three groups you fall into so we can record the results, to help secure our Nobel Prize nomination. Because remember, kids, writing things down is what makes the difference between science and just mucking about…

If you don’t reply, we’ll put you down as a Type 3, i.e. a “Normal”, and nobody wants that.

Saturday’s gig at the Blue Lagoon was, as predicted, quite a frantically energetic affair, with so much dancing and leaping about going on that the security guys actually produced a barrier to stop over enthusiastic punters from jumping all over our expensive kit (not to mention our lovely selves). Quite a few wonderfully alluring friends and family turned up, and – without further explanation – we’ll just post this pic for the benefit of Em’s sister Polly.

Beautiful Bride

You had to be there, really.

Right then, coming up this week…

Friday 30th – Air Balloon, Filton
Last time we played here, it turned out that we were a different band altogether. This time, we’re pretty confident we’re going to be us.

Saturday 31st – Sandringham, Downend
Really nice place we discovered the first time we played on Christmas Eve; I’m guessing the tree will be gone by now, but there is probably still some turkey left…

Sunday 1st – Bath Ex-Servicemen’s Club
Don’t really know anything about this one, but it’s a Sunday afternoon, and we thought, what the hell…

Right, that’s your lot for now, if we don’t see you at one of the above gigs – well, we’ll just assume you’re at home busy stuffing rabbits down your pants.

Square on
A

21-03-2018 – Prancing n’ Stuff

Aloha!

Well, it seems that our fears that the Giant Goram pub in Lawrence Weston had gone all upmarket on us were mercifully unfounded…

In fact, it was just as pleasant and friendly as last time we were there, with two additional bonuses of there being a lot more customers present (that’ll be Friday night instead of Sunday afternoon, I reckon), and the fact that they had cleared out a bit more space for us before we arrived. The latter was particularly welcome, meaning we were able to set up without stumbling over each other – although we did a bit, just for appearances’ sake – and we had enough room to prance about comfortably without too much danger of knocking anything expensive over.

There were folks up dancing around pretty much as soon as we started, which always bodes well, even if it just means they were already pretty drunk before we arrived.

In fact, we were so pleased with the friendly atmosphere that, on the spot, we wrote a song just for them; we called it “Sweet Home Giant Goram”. It’s a catchy little tune, if I say so myself, although it did sound somehow familiar – almost as though it was similar to an existing number – although we racked our brains, we just couldn’t place it…

After several “just one more” encores, we finally called it a day. “It’s a day”, we said; and set about chatting with the regulars and packing up. All in all a very satisfactory evening, particularly considering we hadn’t actually played for a fortnight or so.

And this weekend, we’ll be wheeling out the old magic not once, but two times…

Friday 23rd Queen’s Tap, Swindon
Nice lively place near the railway station. It’s been a while since we played here, but as I recall they operate that very fine thing, a “free drinks for musicians” policy. Why do we not play here more often…?

Saturday 24th – Blue Lagoon, Bristol
On a quiet night, this place counts as “lively” – and on a lively night, it falls into the “a bit mental” category. Unaccountably, we seem to fit in rather well. Great fun, and usually a few pals of various stripes turn up here to amuse us as well. Rather looking forward to it…

And that, my little sarsaparillas, is that, for this week.

I leave you with this lexographical Fun Fact: –

Did you know that Eskimos have over a hundred different words to describe how crap Snow Patrol are?

Square on
A

04-12-2017 – The Battery, The Buffet And Other Stories

Ahoy there shipmates!

A mighty fine weekend’s rollicking on the Good Ship Angel Up Front, a three-gig voyage, and a fine haul of rawk’n’roll plunder.

Friday at the Blue Lagoon showed a good turnout of old chums, which was rather lovely – a wonderful surprise for me to see long-lost almost-daughter Sophie there; meanwhile, not-so-long-lost-actual-daughter Lily was drinking elsewhere in Bristol, and missed the reunion; only after being driven past the venue on her way home, and thinking, “That looks like my dad’s van”, did she check to see where we were gigging. I may have to demote her.

There were, of course, a whole bunch of other people there too, including the inevitable bunch of noisy energetic lads, who provided some early entertainment (the noisiest was actually awarded one of Emma’s coveted “M*th*rf*ck*r” stickers for his efforts), but as the evening went on they became a bit spilly and droppy-pinty, so at the end of the first set there was a full ten-minute operation to clear up the broken glass. We didn’t see them after that, but it’s a fair bet most of them went outside to be sick in the bins.

Saturday night dawned fair and clear (or something), and Emma and I arrived at the King Edward VII in Gloucester to be greeted by smiling local chums Adam, John, Anne & Emma, and a grumpy -looking Ben. The reason for the latter’s displeasure is apparent when we go inside and are shown where to set up – a tiny little alcove, scarcely wide enough for a drum kit, but nothing else. After a bit of negotiation with the staff, we are allowed to expand out a little, and eventually manage to shoehorn ourselves in. In fact, I end up with quite a nice sound – but then, I’m standing right in front of my amp, so while standing there I’m able to drown out the other noisy buggers.

At least, that is, until the batteries in my wireless die, two songs into the second set. It’s a bit annoying, since they were fully charged when I put them in two songs previously… I hastily swap back to the previous ones, which keep me going right until half way through the final encore, Paradise City, before giving up, leaving by guitar suddenly totally silent. I leave the rest of the band to keep a singalong going round the final chorus while I scrummage around the back of the drum kit trying to find my emergency backup spare spare batteries, frenziedly slot them in without dropping anything, and rush back out front just in time to fire into the Big Outro Solo, complete with rubber duck. (Well, if Jimmy Page can play a solo with a violin bow, I can play one with a duck, is my view).

So, a jolly fine night in the end, and we collapse in a cheery heap and wait for the kit to reload itself into the van. It doesn’t, so we have to do it ourselves. I’m beginning to think that that Musical Equipment Self-Loading Magical Powder that I bought off ebay was a waste of £12.99…

Sunday afternoon, and we’re playing at one of our favourite regular venues, the Queen Vic in Stroud. It’s the 20th anniversary of owners Rob and Pam running the place, and they asked us to come and play. That’s really sweet (we were careful not to ask how many other bands they asked first, though…), so we took them along a cake.

Because then we get to eat cake.

We arrive to find John and Anne waiting for us again – two nights in a row! What’s going on here, I wonder, before remembering that I owe John a drink… We also find a large table groaning with food…At last, someone has got our rider right!

Buffet rider

…Oh…no, apparently, it’s supposed to be for everybody.

We set up, we play, we have great fun. There’s a cheery amount of good natured dancing around, although at least one of the “local wobblies” (credit to Anne for that phraseology) appears to have overindulged to such an extent that he actually dozes off during Sweet Home Alabama. Happily, we are all equipped with wireless systems, so we are able to go over and check he is still actually breathing…

The sleeper

A little later, he wakes up, and comes up between songs to ask us, bafflingly, if we know any “ordinary music…you know, like they have on Top Of The Pops…”

Emma smiles sweetly at him, and reassures him that he’ll like the next song, which turns out to be by renowned teen pop idols Queens Of The Stone Age…

At the end of the night, Emma, Ben and I make use of our wireless freedom to go down the far end of the bar and harass landlord Rob, who is rocking out to AC/DC with an inflatable guitar, blissfully unaware of our presence behind him… once he clocks us, he promptly dashes up to the stage, grabs the sticks from Stuart and takes over the drumming to finish the song with us. Sheer genius!

All in all, a mighty fine way to spend a Sunday, we reckon.

Coming up next weekend – oh, actually it’s a weekend off.

Seeing that the main reason for me writing these is to promote our upcoming gigs, it looks like I’ve just wasted half an hour typing…ah well!

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