Tag Archives: cheltenham

04-02-2019 – Guitar Madness And Ducks


…as nobody has said to me since about 1979 – surely about time for a comeback, dontcha think?

Anyhoo, last week we did promise to try and have twice as much fun as usual at Friday’s gig at the Swan – and indeed we did.

We weren’t expecting too many people in to be honest, given the somewhat snowy conditions – but the locals had obviously mustered their huskies, donned their snowshoes, and set out into the freezing night just to – well, just to drink too much and dance around like fools, really. All they needed was a loud and tolerably rhythmic noise to do it to. And that’s where we came in… READ MORE

29-01-2019 – Disco Dave, Japan And The Power Slide

Hola homeys!

It’s always nice to see old friends, particularly when they bring you an ultra-cool pressie :-).

Saturday’s jaunt to the Albion House Club in Cheltenham was graced by the presence of my dear and long-standing friend Disco Dave, whom we haven’t seen for a couple of years on account of him working on the wrong side of the world.

And a very pleasant evening we all had, despite a somewhat worrying start…

Our lovely Em was arriving separately to the rest of us, and a little later, and so we duly rolled up, set up the kit, and waited. Start time came and went, and there is still no sign of our sparkly chanteuse. A quick call reveals that although she is quite close, but “the police have shut the road off” – and this being Cheltenham, and a one-way labyrinth at the best of times, it’s not easy to find another way in. READ MORE

21-01-2019 – Plankocasters And The Wig

Good grief, Charlie Brown…

That was an exciting week and no mistake!

For one thing, I had a birthday in the middle of it – for the curious amongst you, I can reveal that my age is now officially “not dead yet”.

And I was particularly delighted to be sent a large and luxurious custom birthday card from my favourite Pighillians, featuring a stunning Triumph Bonneville with a fetching blonde lady (actually somewhat reminiscent of my dear Dem in her younger years) astride it, and – this had to be pointed out to me – a rather handsome chap lurking in the background. READ MORE

16-10-2018 – Dick Thunder And The One Way System

Aye oop

Not too much to report this week; after eventually finding our way to Saturday’s gig at the Albion House club in Cheltenham (it took Em and myself two satnavs and three laps of the one way system to actually find it), we rolled in to see Stuart and Ben already unloading.

Stuart, who used to live in the area, knows the road system, you see, and so was able to get straight there.

Unfortunately, as he discovered after the gig from the doorman, the one way system has recently been changed, and it seems that Stuart drove in on what are now heavily-camera’d bus lanes – meaning he can presumably expect a swingeing fine to arrive in the post over the next few days.

We have agreed that this will fall under the category of “business expenses”, and thus the bill will be paid out of band funds as supervised by our Chief Financial Officer, one Richard Thundercat (who is, of course, a cat).

The gig itself was pretty successful – Em and I achieved our goal for the night, which was to get the lady in her seventies in the rockabilly skirt up and dancing – not once, but three times – and the rest of the punters pronounced themselves well pleased with the night.

“You’re the best band we’ve had in here”, we are told by at least five different people, leading us to wonder how starved of musical entertainment Cheltenham actually is*.

As usual, I spend the entire drive home telling Emma how much I’m looking forward to a large whiskey or three once I get in – and as usual, by the time I actually get home, have a quick shower to wash off the worst of the glitter (occupational hazard for anybody sharing a stage with Emma), I actually end up retiring to bed with a mug of cocoa.

Which I only manage half of before falling asleep.

Rawk’n’fuckin’roll, eh?

More shennanigans coming up this weekend, a bit more local this time: –

Saturday 20th – The Huntsman, Westerleigh Rd
It always feels like the wrong kind of pub to have bands in – but they keep asking us back, and it always somehow seems to work out all right, so we keep coming back. Oh,and they give us money, which is always handy for paying off percussionist’s motoring infractions.

Right, thas’ it for now

Square on

*They’re certainly starved of entertainment. When we packed up afterwards, we discovered that some bugger had waltzed off with one of our flashy light-up tambourines. So – should you be at some time wandering the streets of Cheltenham, and happen across a buffoon wielding aforementioned item, please do feel free to hit them across the back of the head with a shovel, and retrieve the item. In fact, if you do that, you can actually keep it. It’s yours. No problem.

Just watch out for somebody else coming up behind you with a shovel…

11-10-2018 – You Can Coil My Cables Anytime

Hola amigos!

Welcome back to the never-ending tour diaries of Angel Up Front – to my mind, the finest rawk’n’roll band in this blog. (Although I have to admit, the competition is somewhat limited on that front…)

Nonetheless, I must admit that, talented and lovely as we are, even we are not above the occasional mishap; for example, on Friday at the Giant Goram, one of our number (who shall remain nameless) forgot the words to Alice Cooper*’s classic anthem School’s Out – such that we started the song, we played round the first verse twice waiting for inspiration to strike, then stopped again.

We ask the punters if they’d like us to try again – they would, so after a quick reminder of the words, we successfully manage to get through it on the second attempt.

The rest of the night passes without mishap, and whilst we’re packing up, Emma (for it was indeed she who forgot the words) redeems herself magnificently.

Amongst the usual packing-away chaos of drum cases, lighting stands, etc, scattered everywhere, Em suddenly stops what she’s doing when she notices me just gazing at her from somewhere across the stage.

“What is it?” she asks.

“I was just watching you,” I explain. “Thing is…There’s something almost supernaturally sexy about a woman who can coil up mike cables properly”.

She is well pleased with this.

Funnily enough, the following night at the Crown in Staple Hill, between sets, a couple of the audience are telling Ben how very impressed they are with the evening’s entertainment, and in particular how talented Emma is. “

Yes, she certainly is”, he agrees, “But to tell the truth, when we did the auditions, the main reason she got the job was that she can coil up cables…”.

However, our favourite audience response comes after we finish the last set, and all slump down at a nearby table to catch our breath for a moment.

“Excuse me”, a nice lady enquires, “Can I just ask… Are you all related?”

We’re reduced to stunned silence for a moment.

We look round at each other, trying in vain to see some family resemblance.

“Er… not as far as we know…” we hazard, cautiously.

Emma eventually works out the logic behind the question.

“It’s because we’re all idiots, isn’t it…?”

Coming up next week – another dose of amnesiac idiocy…
Saturday 13th – Albion House Social Club, Cheltenham
Not one of your lower class social clubs, this is actually a proper nice place, with decent beer, massively helpful staff, and a friendly and enthusiastic crowd. And, as I recall from last time, a very impressive state-of-the-art smoke detector, which nobody knows how to switch off…

In the meantime, Emma is pleased to offer – at very reasonable rates – evening classes in cable-coiling, for the benefit of any single young ladies who may wish to attract a mate of the musician persuasion. Although, to be honest, my advice would be to simply run away while you still can.

Thas’ yer lot for this week

Square on

*My favourite quote from Alice Cooper comes from an interview when he was asked what he thought of Marilyn Manson: – “He wears make-up and he has a girl’s name. How original.”

23-07-2018 – The Minimalist Edition

Greetings, my children of the night…

Well, with no gigs to report on, this will be a nice short one – we’re going back to basics, I’m simply going to tell you where we’re playing this weekend, so’s you’ll know which venues to avoid…

Friday 27th – The Trout, Keynsham
A fine, energetic, boisterous – and, I have to say, a somewhat messy crowd in here means it will be a significantly entertaining evening. We’ve been working on a few new tunes lately, so you might well get to hear us play some of them for the first time.

Saturday 28th – Cat & Wheel, Gloucester Road Bristol
A fine, energetic, boisterous – and, I have to say, a somewhat messy crowd in here means it will be a significantly entertaining evening. We’ve been working on a few new tunes lately, so you might well get to hear us play some of them correctly for the first time.

And that, I think just about wraps it up. If the weather continues fair you might still find wearing our summer outfits – in my case, the redneck hobo look…

Hobo Alan

…and in Emma’s case, rocking a pair of cat’s ears…

Cat Emma

The less said about Ben and Stuart’s outfits, the better, I think…


Square on

16-07-2018 – Mr Smokey

Yo homeys

Well, that was definitely an interesting weekend…

Apologies to anybody who rocked up to Dursley Carnival on Friday expecting to see us; as you may have noticed, we weren’t there, unfortunately we had to bail out due to a temporary lack of bassist, with Ben being stuck in work and unable to escape. Sorry folks!

Still, we had a very entertaining night on Saturday, at the Albion Social Club up in Cheltenham. Once arrived, we were delighted to find a couple of friendly helpful staff who helped us load in all the kit, and then brought us some drinks. We like this very much.

We set up, and started playing to the half-dozen cheery punters who were sat with us in the room. Once we started playing, the room started filling up, and by the time we’d finished the first set, all was going swimmingly. It was partway through the second set that disaster struck…

For most of the past year, our little smoke machine Mr Smokey (a gift from our excellent chum Disco Dave) has been accompanying us to gigs, to add a little “stadium rock” frisson of excitement to proceedings, always with excellent results and never a problem. However, this time, I heard a strange warbling sound in the middle of a song; I was trying to figure out how we’d managed to fit a keyboard solo in, when it finally dawned on me that this was a fire alarm.

We decided to take a short break, open the door and let it clear; however, after ten minutes, despite the air in the room being as clear as a bell, the alarm was still going, and the staff put all the house lights on, and turfed everybody out of the building.

We all sat around for another twenty minutes as they attempted to reset the alarm, and eventually they managed it and we were all let back in to finish the night. It was a nice warm night, and nobody seemed to mind at all.

Rather to my surprise, once we were allowed back in and started again, the crowd just picked up where they left off, and once again the floor was filled with gyrating (and, in some cases, sinuously writhing) bodies. Lovely!

Having lost half an hour to Mr Smoky’s mischievous interruption, we played on straight through until midnight, when after a quick couple of encores, we finished – and immediately the lights came up, and the punters were rapidly shooed out of the building. I suspect we may have run past our allotted finishing time, whatever that may have been.

Shortly afterwards, the manager came up to us, looking somewhat stern, and we were expecting some kind of severe telling off… turned out he wanted to rebook us for some more gigs.

Which was nice.

I did have another brief concern; after we finished, a chap came up to me and told me how he’d really enjoyed the evening.

“I have to say, though, if you don’t mind… You guitar solos…”



“Well, thanks, I… …What?”

“Bollocks. That guitar sound really had bollocks. I mean, most bands, when the guy takes a solo, the guitar sounds goes really thin and weedy, but yours really had…erm…


“Yeah, exactly, bollocks!”

“Well – er – thank you very much…”

So – we have no gigs coming up this weekend, but I can assure that the following one, we’ll be out in action again, ready for some more smoke and – er – bollocks…?

Square on

09-07-2018 – The Intransigent Employer

Hola, mes amigos!

After a whole two weeks of peace and quiet with no giggery, I’m rather looking forward to this weekend. Not that we’ve been idle, oh no…

…Oh all right, yes, we have, actually.

We did all have a rather fine night out on Friday, though, featuring band members old and new, and there was much quaffing and hilarity. I am somewhat hazy on some of the details, though. But it was definitely a marvellous night – I’d pretty much forgotten what it’s like to go to a pub without having to (a) drive, (b) hump loads of heavy kit about, and (c) jump around like a twat for two hours.

Friday 13th – Dursley Carnival ,5pm –OOPS CANCELLED FOR US
We’ve been asked to open proceedings at Dursley carnival this year; we’re due to start playing at 5:00. Ben, however, will still be at work – in Bristol – until 4:30. And it’s Friday 13th. What could possibly go wrong? [Editor’s Note: We had to pull out due to employer intransigence]

Saturday 14th – Albion House Social Club, Cheltenham
Should you happen to be in the environs of Cheltenham, you might like to pop in for this one. We have actually played here once before, many years ago, with our original singer, Suzi, and our previous bassist Martin.

Square on

PS in case anybody is concerned that I have failed to comment on the ongoing Nancyball tournament in Russia, I should point out that I have nothing against the game; it is simply that spending ninety minutes of my life watching twenty-two millionaires chasing a pig’s bladder around the park in their underwear seems to me to be a terrible waste of time.

Nonetheless, please may I offer a couple of points of clarification, just to prevent any confusion in the minds of the less agile-minded among us: –

1) The unusual current success of the “In-ger-lund” nancyball team is in no way a result of you having foolishly voted for Brexit.
2) This does not prove that Nigel Farage was “right all along”
3) You shouldn’t actually be drinking lager; it’s unpatriotic – remember, it was invented by the Hun. Maybe it’s time to try “Adult beer”.
4) Oh, and if you learn to drive properly, you’ll be allowed to remove those red and white warning flags from your car.

You’re welcome