Tag Archives: blue lagoon

21-10-2019 – The Vague Meanderings Of Mr Gormless

Hello listeners

And a warm welcome to this week’s edition of “Vague Meanderings” here on Radio 4. This week in the studio we have ex-BBC television presenter Mr Jack Hargreaves, who sadly died twelve years ago, and is here to promote his new book “Countryside Ramblings From My Shed”.

But first, we have a letter from a Mrs Trellis of North Wales, who writes to ask us if that nice Mrs Thatcher is still in charge of things…

<<We interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important announcement from the Rock Office>> READ MORE

14-10-2019 – The MOP That Needed A Mop

Right then, is everybody here?

You – you at the back there – yes, you, boy – are you chewing something?

What is it?

Really?

Ergh. Well, I hope you brought enough for the whole class…

So, if it’s quite all right, shall we continue with the lesson, then, if it’s not too much trouble?

Friday’s escapade to Marlborough was – well, a bit odd, frankly. This is the week, it seems, of the “Marlborough Mop Fair” – a quaint local tradition which seems to consist of closing off the entire high street to traffic, and erecting in it a large – and very much closed – funfair. READ MORE

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