Tag Archives: cellar bar

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…

05-08-2015 – Rory The Tiger

Hey gang

Sorry we’re a bit late with the news this week, it’s all been a bit hectic really…

Saturday night at the Lansdowne in Calne was a fairly quiet affair, the place wasn’t exactly packed to the rafters – although there was a lovely bunch of Austrians there on holiday, who provided us with some very fine socks-and-sandals dad-dancing entertainment, and seemed extremely appreciative – even though they couldn’t really understand all of Lou’s deft repartee…and (fortunately) didn’t appear to understand any of Stuart’s. Not that that’s unusual…

Sunday dawned, and a Grand Day Out all the way down to Cornwall, for an unusual (for us) gig at a holiday park…

Having thought ahead a little bit, we’d realised driving down there, playing a gig, and then driving all the way back again was a sure fire recipe for death-by-falling-asleep-at-the-wheel, so we took up a very kind offer of free local accommodation from Paul and Mary, a couple of Stuart’s old pals from the dawn of time, who I have to say were absolutely wonderful company and extremely hospitable.

So, we rolled up down there late afternoon to settle in a bit, then headed off to the labyrinthine Perran Sands Holiday Park – a kind of pop-up estate of static caravans sprawled over several square miles of sand dune. Dem tells me that I’ve actually been there before, where years ago we took the wee kiddies for a week – I have no real recollection of this, apart from their giant furry mascot “Rory the Tiger”, who I remember sent Lily into an absolute panic of terror every time he came within fifty yards of her.

We eventually found our way to the reception-y place, and Stuart and Lou, in their “Mum and Dad” roles, sallied forth to find out where we were supposed to go, whilst Ben and I waited outside.

And waited.

And waited.

After about twenty minutes watching windswept holidaymakers wandering about, Ben opines that perhaps our band mates “have been eaten by Rory the Tiger”, and suggests that maybe we should go and hand ourselves in at Lost Children.

Just at this point they reappear, and we are led round the back of the aircraft hangar-sized “entertainment complex”, to a smaller and rather civilised-looking bar, which we are told is our home for the evening.

We set up, and manage to have most the kit in place before “the bingo” starts – I bet Metallica never get to have bingo on their gigs – but at least it gives us time to sneak off and stuff our piggy faces with chips before it’s time to play. And, rather to our surprise, we go own a storm, we end up playing past the allotted hour, and the place is roaring with applause. Eventually it’s time to pack it in, pack it up, and make our way back to Paul and Mary’s nice comfy gaffe (I got to sleep in a room with 12 guitars and a drum kit, it was just like being at home) and collapse in a heap.

Then it was up in the morning, a quick message to work to tell ‘em I’m not coming, and a relaxed tea and toast session with our host before trundling back home again. Luvverly!

Coming up this weekend – we’re not straying quite so far…
Saturday 8th – The Jolly Cobbler, Kingswood
A nice little local pub, run by our old pal Mike. The good news is that there is no bingo, only a slim chance of Austrian fashion faux-pas, and no risk whatsoever of encountering Rory The Tiger…

I’ll leave you with this one, courtesy of my now-suddenly-disinherited eldest offspring.

I’m really good friends with twenty five letters of the alphabet.

I don’t know why…

Square on

27-07-2015 – Rain

Ahoy there shipmates!

And, after what I like to think was a well-earned week’s jollidays, it was back into rainy Bristol for a Friday night at the Blue Lagoon. After a quiet start (thanks probably to the deluge bombarding the area), the place soon busied up, and it was quite a nice surprise to find that even after a week without touching a guitar, I could actually almost remember how to play the songs… remarkable, particularly considering that I couldn’t before.

Better still, my insanely complicated guitar rewiring job (installing a four-pole five-way switch plus two double-pole double-throw ones, since you ask) actually worked a treat, so now I can slap several pickups on at the same time – even more loudness than before! 🙂

I reckon it will all stop working within about a week…

Anyways, a fine old time was had by all and we ended up playing about four encores past the stop time, before we finally gave in. Jolly good fun, and very nice to see some old pals getting themselves into their usual Friday night state.

Sadly, our planned slot on Sunday at Warminster’s Inspire event was called off, as was the entire day, on account of the extremely unpleasant weather – to be fair, I can understand why, the Health and Safety issues would have ranged from hapless musicians getting electrocuted on stage, to smaller members of the audience being in danger of drowning…

Oh well, perhaps next year, then, we’ll try again. If all else fails, the Ark I started building in the garden should be finished by then.

Coming up this weekend, a bit more rawkn’roll silliness…

Saturday 1st August – The Lansdowne Hotel, Calne
We rather enjoyed this one last time we played it; it’s a nice little venue, looks a bit posh but actually they’re very friendly and quite tolerant of silly musicians.

Sunday 2nd – Perran Sands Holiday Park, Cornwall
Yes, it’s a day at the seaside, so if you happen to be down at the pointy end of the country on Sunday, you’ll know where to find us. I’ll be the one in the “Kiss Me Quick” hat…

That’s yer lot for this week,

Square on

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

06-07-2015 – Classy Duck

Why, hello there, stranger…

Firstly, apologies for not having pushed one of these tatty little things into your Inbox for the past couple of weeks; but although we were out gigging the past two weekends, it was all rather posh swanky weddings, to which you grubby lot weren’t invited, and as I was pushed for time by a lot of other things I had to get done, I’m afraid that the email fell of the bottom of my list of things to do.

That said, I did actually only receive one complaint from somebody who’d missed receiving his weekly dose of drivel; and seeing as I usually receive significantly more complaints from folks after reading this stuff, I think that, on balance, missing them out has probably contributed in some small way to increasing the sum total of happiness in the world.

Aren’t I nice?

Anyway, for your information (apart from the one or two of you who were actually classy enough to have been invited to the aforementioned matrimonials), had you been there, you probably would have lowered the tone – although you would I’m sure have marvelled at the granny dancing, the toddler dancing, the five-year-old little girl’s bass solo, and – best of all – thirty or so gentlemen insisting on singing the theme song from “Home and Away” acapella, and in – well, actually, I think it was in thirty-part harmony – but it was a rare and beautiful experience.

However, now we have managed to tear ourselves away from the magic social whirl of high society, and this weekend we shall be back to playing lovable pubs again…

Friday 10th July – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Ahh, it’s seems like forever since we were last in the hallowed Court Of Queen Amy, beloved monarch of the realm of Fishponds. We always have a majorly entertaining time in here, and hardly ever have to come back again the morning after to clean up the mess…

Saturday 11th July – Cellar Bar, Caldicot
We played here a few months ago, and – once we’d found it – had a rather lovely time; they do like their rocky stuff over in sunny South Wales; and come to that, so do I. So that should work out quite nicely, then, shouldn’t it?

Err… … and that’s it.

Unfortunately (or possibly otherwise, depending on your point of view) after two weeks of neglect, the door to the joke cupboard appears to have become jammed shut. It’s probably something to with the weather.

So – I know – instead, we’ll have a competition. You send me suggestions for which classic song would sound best sung by Daffy Duck; and next week, I’ll pick a winner and see if I can persuade the rest of the band to actually do it. This is funnier if you actually run all the way through the song doing the voice in your head (or, even better, do it out loud in your crowded workplace).

My starter for ten (because I actually found a cartoon version of this on the interweb, and it made me oh-so-very-happy), is the creaky old Beatles classic “Yeththththterday”

But I’m sure there must be some even better offerings out there, and I reckon that you lot will be the ideal bunch to find them……because you’re dithththtthpicable…

Thththquare On