Tag Archives: caldicot

20-01-2020 – Chicken Man Exists

Ahoy there shipmates!

And, after a week of no gigs due to illness, it was deeply marvellous to be back out again making fools of ourselves in public.

A vastly entertaining Friday was had at the dear ol’ Railway Tav on Friday, we met a lovely couple who’d come over from Bath just to see li’l old us, which was rather sweet. I’d tell you their names, but I forgot to ask – I’m generally rubbish with social niceties.

In fact, I recall a while ago, when I was explaining to some of my colleagues at work how “I’m really not a people person”. READ MORE

06-01-2020 – Health Y’all


Well, enormous apologies to anybody who came out to see us last week – we weren’t there, due to a particularly nasty medical complaint contracted by one of our number. Much as we hate having to cancel gigs, in this instance it really was for the better, there are some things that no audience should have to witness…

I shan’t say who our victim was – if you like, you can have a guess – after all, there’s only four of us to choose from (you can summarily discount our Chief Financial Officer, who is (a) not really needed at gigs, and indeed very rarely attends them, and (b) a cat). READ MORE

06-01-2020 – 1920 in 2020

Happy New Year to you all!

And, if you’re reading this, it means we all survived, which can only be a good thing.

Well, to round off 2019, we played what turned out to be a twenties-themed New Year Eve gig at the Three Brooks in Bradley Stoke – where I learned, whilst we were setting up, that the twenties music they were playing through the pub tannoy is exactly like ska, in that it sounds rather jolly and fun at first; but after a while you realise there are only actually three tunes, the incessant repetition of which slowly begins to alter your brain chemistry, leaving you in a fit of barely controllable suppressed rage. Or maybe it’s just me… READ MORE

31-12-2019 – Thitherto

Ho ho, and, indeed ho.

We hope that Santa brought you everything you deserve – all I can say is that I must have been a very naughty boy indeed this year.

Anyways, just to catch up on a recent couple of hitherto (and what a magnificent word that is, I do so enjoy the archaic use of a spatial metaphor to describe a temporal condition – but whatever happened to its logical companion term, “thitherto”? – answers on a postcard, please) unreported gigs: – 

A full couple of weeks ago saw us in sunny Caldicot, for a most acceptable evening at the Cellar Bar, about which I can remember very little. READ MORE

09-12-2019 – Election Suggestion

Top o’ the mornin’ to ye!

And this week, we have to report on a rather quirky gig, up in Wotton Under Edge, a charming little town just south of the Vale of Gloucester, and a slightly east of the 18th century.

We were playing at the Star Inn’s Christmas bash; as we pulled up there, there is a brass band (I think) just packing down under a gazebo outside.

Emma looks at me in horror.

(There’s nothing unusual about that in itself, but this time she was looking at me in horror, wondering if we were supposed to playing outside in the cold). As it turned out, we were in fact appointed to be inside the nice warm cosy pub, in a space that looked a little cramped, but – considering it was indoors – we decided was entirely satisfactory. READ MORE

14-11-2016 – B Movie Western

Hi folks

Having played over in Wales this weekend, I’ve randomly decided that a Western theme might be appropriate for this week’s little oeuvre. Tether up your horse, grab yourself a bottle of moonshine, and settle down by the camp fire, nice and comfortable like, and I’ll begin.

It was a moonlit night in old Mexico; I walked alone between some old adobe haciendas.

Suddenly, I heard the plaintive cry of a young Mexican girl.

Now read on…

Howdy there, pardners.

The name’s Tex; oftentimes folks just call me The Man In Black. I been ridin’ out here on the range since I was knee-high to a Smith & Wesson, jus’ makin’ my way as best I can. You’ll know me when you see me – black leather hat, black shirt, black leather jeans, and black leather boots.

I used to dress all in brown paper, but had to change my outfit after I got thrown in jail for rustling.

Guess my way of life might seem a little wild to some of you swanky city folks, but I get by; six-gun in one hand, bottle of red-eye in my saddlebag, and Travel Scrabble in my pocket, for those long cold nights around the camp fire.

Lately I’ve been hanging out with a few like-minded vagabonds; my buddies and me have been drifting round some of these little Texas towns together, tryin’ to make a few dollars without catching the eye of the local sheriffs, if y’all catch my drift.

One of my pardners is Dead-Eye Ben – so-called because if you look into his eyes, he’s cold and dead inside. But to do that, you’ll probably need to stand on a whisky barrel – he’s a real big fella. Hard as nails, and a handy man to have around in a bar fight; he once dropped a charging steer with one punch. And then ate it, without even a glass of Beaujolais to wash it down.

Then we got Doc Stooie – an old-school sharpshooter, he used to be real wild and reckless in his younger days, but these days he’s calmed down some, and is more into the painting and decorating trade.

He once glossed a man in Reno, just to watch him dry.

And finally we got Miss Rosa, a real sweet gal who’s turned many a cowboy’s head – sometimes all the way round – until they agree to apologise, and then she lets them go.

So, it’s just the four of us, ridin’ out on the prairie together, making a few bucks as best we can.

One particular moonlit night, we rode through Caldicot City, we came across a little backstreet joint called the Cellar Bar Saloon, and figured we’d try our luck in there. As soon as Dead-Eye Ben walked in, the place fell silent – apart from the sound of crumbling plasterwork.

“Dammit, Dead-Eye”, yelled Doc, “Can’t you remember to use the door?”

“Sorry, boss”, mumbled the hulking cowboy, brushing the plaster dust from his hat.

The barkeeper looked up from the glass he’d been studiously polishing, and his scowl turned to toothless grin when he saw Miss Rosa.

“Well now, my purty thang”, he leered, “What can we get for you?”

“Four shots of red-eye and a packet of Jelly Tots”, she responded, fixing him with a steely gaze.

“And we’ll have the same”, added Doc.

Ben leaned menacingly over the bar. “And I’ll have a Curly Wurly, on the side”.

“S – s – sure thing, folks” replied the barkeep nervously. “We don’t want any kinda trouble in here, this is a nice respectable place”.

We leant against the bar, sipping our drinks, and surveyed the scene.

The piano player had quietly slipped away whilst we were ordering.

“Looks like you’re a little lacking in the pianist department”, observed Doc.

“That’s what my wife says”, replied the barkeep ruefully.

“So”, suggested Doc, “How’s about me and my buddies play a few tunes for these good folks here, in return for these drinks?”

“You may as well agree”, Rosa informed the barkeep, “We don’t have the money to pay for the drinks anyway”.

“Aww, shucks, well, I guess so, then”, replied the barkeep. “What kind of music do you folks play?”

“Oh, we play both kinds”, Doc reassured him. “Country and European hard house techno”.

In two shakes of a mustang’s tail, Miss Rosa had taken out her fiddle, I retrieved my trusty six-string from my saddlebag, and we soon had the bar a rockin’ and a stompin’ as we played the night away, suppin’ on cheap whiskey and knockin’ back Jelly Tots like there was no tomorrow.

As we were playing merrily away, and the bar was full of folks dancing and singing along, suddenly the door burst open – and there loomed a large burly figure in a black hat, filling the doorway with its ominous presence.

Silence fell; you could have heard a pin drop.

“Ben, you clumsy ass, pick up that pin”, hissed Doc.

The mysterious stranger strode into the room; I was surprised to see it was in fact a large Alsatian dog, wearing a full-length black leather coat; from the end of one sleeve protruded a grubby bandaged stump.

“I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw”, drawled the stranger menacingly.

“Well, there ain’t nobody in here lookin’ fer trouble”, said the barkeep nervously, “Why don’t you come on in, nice and peaceful like, and have a drink. On the house”.

The mysterious stranger settled himself at the bar, and we went back to playing.

By the end of the night, Dead-Eye had gotten through three bottles of red-eye, Miss Rosa had finished off seven packets of Jelly Tots, and the crowd had danced itself into exhaustion. I figured it was time to quit playin’, and headed up to the bar next to the mysterious stranger.

“Mighty fine playin’” he observed. “Where you folks headin’ off to next?”

“Well”, I told him, “Next Friday – the 18th, that is – we was plannin’ to visit the King William IV Saloon, way up in the hills in Coombe Down”.

“You mean that one just up outside Bath City?”, he enquired, just to make clear where our next gig was for the more geographically-challenged reader. “The one with the postcode BA2 5HY?”

“Yup”, I replied, anxious to reinforce my cowboy credentials.

“Nice place”, he said, “Reckon I might come up and join you if ain’t found any work before then”.

“But – you’re dog who can talk”, I pointed out. “That’s pretty unusual. Surely you could go and join a circus, or something?”

He looked at me, kinda puzzled.

“A circus? But what would a circus want with a plumber?”

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Square on

07-11-2016 – Yeah, Stuff

Hey gang

Well, firstly apologies to anybody who fetched up to the Old Neighbourhood in Chalford hoping to catch us – as you’ll have already found out, we weren’t there. This was due to an unfortunate forgot-to-renew-their-music-licence episode from the pub’s head office management – it wasn’t our fault, honest it wasn’t! Still, it could have been worse – my pal Little Ian’s band had had to cancel their gig on Friday – for the second time in a row at the same venue – thanks to their drummer repeatedly falling off things and injuring himself.

And they wonder why there’s drummer jokes.

Still, we managed to turn up at the Locomotive in Swindon on Saturday intact, without having fallen off anything, and actually managed to play a gig. Well, just about, anyway. Ben’s been suffering from a chest infection (although I don’t think it can be too serious, because he refused my offer to rub it better). Stooie has been burning the candle at both ends for weeks now, and just about made it to the end of the gig without collapsing – as did our Rosa, who’s been running around manically with various projects, and so finished the night by uttering the words, “Thank you Swindon, you’ve been lovely”, switching off the mic and immediately running off into a corner; within three minutes she was collapsed on a table fast asleep. Aww, bless.

So – on the agenda this week, we’re going to try and take it a bit easier I think, in order to be on tippy top form for our sole gig for next weekend…

Saturday 12th – The Cellar Bar, Caldicot
Nice proper little Welsh club, this one, we usually have a jolly fine time – as long as Ben has remembered how to breathe, and Stooie and Rosa can stay awake for the duration. Oh, and maybe I should try to learn to play a bit less like a retarded baboon. That might help, too.

Although I understand that since last weekend’s Halloween fancy dress episode, my bandmates have adopted a new standard by which to judge how good a gig is – and it goes like this: –

“If Alan turns up wearing trousers, then that’s a good gig”.

Really, some people have no appreciation of style and panache*…

Square on
*I’m pretty sure the Ben thinks panache is a cake topping…

03-05-2016 – No Title

Hey gang

Well, a relatively quiet blank holiday weekend for us, just the one outing to Caldicot, to the rather nice Cellar Bar. Rosa’s opening gambit rather took the locals by surprise, though.

After whispering in my ear to check where we actually are tonight, she greets the audience by announcing us, and then asking them, “So, what is there to do on a Saturday night here in Caldicot, then…?”

There is a moment’s silent pause for reflection, before a number of them shout out simultaneously, “DRINK!!!”

And so they do. In fact, it is after only half a dozen songs that a somewhat portly middly-aged gentleman feels moved to enhance his dancing by dispensing with the upper half of his clothing; since he does this rather deftly, and whilst Rosa’s gaze is momentarily elsewhere, the look on her face when he suddenly appears, transformed into a half-naked vision of wobbliness right in front of her, was something of a picture.

We comfort her afterwards by explaining that we have seen worse things before… and the other three of us shake our heads that the horrific memory of That Saturday At The Treble Chance… by common consent, we shall not speak of it again.

The night ends as usual with much dancing and silliness, and me twisting my bloody knee again. Oh, bugger, as they say in these parts.

Hopefully it will be fully functional by next weekend, as we have a double-header of South Gloucestershire action to look forward to…

Friday 6th – The Tern, Yate
Amazing to think that just a few months ago, this is where we played our first gig with Rosa. Even more amazing to think that she still hasn’t run away screaming into the night, yet. Clearly we have not been silly enough just yet. Give us time…

Saturday 7th – Huntsman Taverner, Bristol
Somewhere in the no-man’s-land between Downend and Emerson’s Green, it’s a new one for us so we can only guess what it’ll be like. Of course, they have absolutely no idea what we’re like, either, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have booked us. Just in case someone from the pub is reading this – don’t worry, we’re quite friendly really. Although we do suggest you hide any sweeties and chocolate you may have, if there are any fragile ornaments you are particularly fond of it might be an idea to put them safely in a cupboard for the evening, and if a large Welsh gentleman arrives and starts to get undressed – well, he really is nothing to do with us…

Square on


This week – slug jokes!

I took the shell off my racing snail to make him go faster… but it just seemed to make him more sluggish…

What did the slug say to the snail?
“Big Issue…?”

Thank you, thank you, no applause necessary…

25-04-2016 – Limp Guitarist

Top o’ the mornin’ to ye!

Okay, after last week’s rather epic offering, I think I’m entitled to keep this week’s missive nice and short. Well, short anyway…

Friday’s jaunt up the North Face of the Rum Bar in Chepstow, despite a pretty slow start, ended up being very lively by the end of the night; unfortunately I fell foul of the dreaded stairs on the descent afterwards – manhandling my amp down the wet cast-iron fire escape, I slipped, and although I managed to save my amp from expensive harm, I twisted my knee good and proper. Bugger! That’ll see me hobbling around whingeing for a few days, then…

So, on Saturday, when we rolled up at Widcombe Social club in Bath, I was horrified to see that the gig was upstairs, and thus especially delighted when Stuart pointed out the lovely shiny lift. There were quite a few bands on during the night, but the outstanding one was local young upstart three-piece Stone Cold Fiction – awesome dirty rawk stuff, really good, go catch them if you can. I was so impressed I bought one of their CDs, and was only slightly aggrieved the following morning to find that it didn’t play… I will have to enact some suitably evil rock’n’roll revenge at some point.

Rosa brought along for company her lovely little sister Rainbow Alice, introduced (absolutely accurately, as it turned out) as, “You’ll like her – she’s mental” – along with her pal Jess, who between them provided some suitably entertaining dancing for us until the other punters relented and joined in.

Right then, a few days peace and quiet and limping about, and then it’s… oh look, it’s back over the bridge to Welsh Wales again…

Saturday 30th – The Cellar Bar, Caldicot
It’s always nice and lively in here, but best of all – from my point of view – despite being called the Cellar Bar, it’s not actually underground, and so there are no stairs to contend with.

Come to think of it, given my currently difficulties with non-level surfaces – Stuart, how’s about booking a tour of Holland* sometime soon?

Square on

*Not many people know that I used to go out with a Dutch girl; she always wore these strange inflatable shoes. Sadly one day she popped her clogs….

[Editor’s note: I couldn’t find a suitable picture for this blog today, maybe I’m lazy, instead, some art courtesy of @kapka on Ello.co.]

13-07-2015 – In The Court of Queen Amie

Yo homeys!

Well, what can I say? Although we’ve had a lot of fun at various wedding and party gigs lately, it was luvverly to get back to the dear ol’ Railway Tav, court of Her Imperial Majesty Queen Amy of Fishponds, for a bit of pubby rock. In fact, Her Majesty was a little put out that we hadn’t played her favourite song (Alanis Morissette’s Bitch), and when Lou protested that she didn’t know it, she was met with a straightforward “Well, if you ain’t playin’ it, I ain’t payin’ you then.”

After a hasty muttering discussion, we settled on a compromise, whereby we played it, and Queen Amy sang it. Worked remarkably well, actually.

More entertainment on Saturday night over at the Cellar bar in Caldicot, where we got ‘em up and leaping about and singing along quite early, and kept ‘em up there most of the night, until eventually we were told by the landlady (who’d been one of the more lively jumper-abouters) that we had to stop because her music licence had run out about fifteen minutes before…

Right, coming up this week – no gigs, actually. Lou’s off to Italy, I’m off to Dorset (or somewhere like that, anyway – I wasn’t really paying attention); but we will be back with a vengeance, oh yes we will, the weekend after…

Friday 24th – Blue Lagoon, Gloucester Rd, Bristol
Just up from the Arches, this place goes jumping bonkers, we had a huge blast last time we were here, so we’re definitely looking forward to it…

Saturday 25th – Somewhere in Tenby
I don’t actually remember what the place we’re playing is – but that’s a mere detail compared to the fact that I don’t actually remember where Tenby is, either. Somewhere far-flung in Welsh Wales, as I recall. Oh well, as long as one of knows, we’ll probably make it…

Sunday 26th – Inspire, Warminster Town Park
The rather fantastic annual Inspire event – a Sunday afternoon charity bash to help encourage youngsters to pick up musical instruments and learn to play them. I’m fully behind this idea, because I think other parents should have to suffer like I do. In fact, last year this is where my offspring – the mighty Polar Bear Cheese Pirates From Outer Space, “entertaining for all the wrong reasons” – played their first ever time in public, doing a guest spot of a few songs as part of AUF’s slot. This year, they’ve been invited back to play a full set, second on the bill to only to AUF (although to be honest this is at least partly because the planned headliners had to bail out at the last minute). Jimi’s keen to get a Who song or two into the set – I did try explaining that just because Keith Moon used to blow up his kit, it doesn’t mean that Jimi can – but I have a nasty feeling he’d stopped listening to me by that point, (Actually, I suspect he stopped listening to me about three years ago…) Anyroadup, should be huge fun, and a worthwhile cause. And I’ll make sure I get Jimi to sign something ensuring that he pays for any damage… using his own name, this time, I think.

Right that’s your lot for this week – actually, that’s your lot for the next two weeks, isn’t it?

Square on
(no, let’s make that last a bit longer…)
Oblong on