Tag Archives: golden fleece

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

01-07-2019 – The Tall And Short Of It


And, after a very busy Friday, we dragged ourselves over to Hanham to find the Cross Keys, which turned out to be a jovial little pub with such a low ceiling that even Emma had to forgo her usual bouncing around – although to be fair, it was so hot that there was little enough appetite for that – although the punters they did manage a spirited attempt at jigging about, bless ’em.

We even made one chap very happy by being the only band who’d ever been able respond to his “D’you lot know any Queens Of The Stone Age?” demand with a “Er.. mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble… Yes, we think we can still remember one…” and actually – rather to our surprise – we could. So that was one very happy camper. READ MORE

09-04-2018 – Blood!

Top o’ the mornin’ to ye!

Well, another three-gig weekend, there really is no rest for the wicked, and we have clearly been very naughty indeed…

Friday at the Back Bar in Weston was rather good fun – we were warned that apparently sometimes it gets really busy, sometimes it doesn’t – and this turned out to be one of the “doesn’t” nights – still, we had a good giggle, and everybody that was there seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, so that’s all right then.

And this despite clumsy Alan having sabotaged himself earlier in the day…

Unbeknownst to me, helpful daughter Lil had decided to sharpen all the knives in the kitchen on Friday. I found out, though, when making dinner – I pretty much sliced the end off a finger.

Happily it was on my right hand, so I figured it wouldn’t affect my playing – until I got to one of those right-handed Eddie-Van-Halen-style-showoff-hammer-on solos at which point I suddenly remembered. Ouchie.

It did make rather a mess, though – I have subsequently found blood spattered on my guitar, amp, leads, equipment cases, and – inexplicably, van windscreen. Although maybe I just ran somebody over and didn’t notice.

Saturday at the Golden Fleece was definitely a more vigorous affair; having spent an hour or so during the day applying my soldering iron to the wiring on Ben’s bass it was back up to full functionality; unfortunately I couldn’t do anything about his voice – which has almost completely disappeared due to the ongoing infestations currently plaguing most of the band.

I’m not saying I wasn’t prepared to have a go, but for some reason he seemed very much against the idea of me opening up his chest cavity to check for loose wiring.

Thus it was that had to rely on the crowd for her backing vocals, a task to which they rose admirably. We noticed one particularly enthusiastic, and rather attractive, young lady, whose dancing intruded onto the stage several times.

Mid-song, she bellows into Emma’s ear “I love you!”

“Well, that’s nice, sweetheart, and I love you too” replies Em diplomatically.

“No, you don’t understand”, replies the young lovely, gazing deep into Emma’s left ear. “I REALLY love you”.

“O-kay, well, thank you very much..” answers a slightly nonplussed Emma.

Five minutes later, the young lady in question – who we are beginning to suspect may have been drinking – suddenly collapses into a chair and passes out.

She manages to sleep right through the second half of “Sweet Child Of Mine” – which is no mean feat, it’s a bit noisy – and we become slightly concerned for her safety. Em captured the two sides of the scene rather well…

Golden Fleece

Golden Fleece

Dutifully, as we play the last few numbers, to check on her health, I make sure she’s still breathing by keeping a close eye on the rhythmic rising and falling of her breasts.

Between each song, I relay the health monitor status to Emma.

“They’re still rising and falling”

“Good stuff, keep watching”.

“Yup, still going”

“Excellent. By the way, have you named them yet?”

This thought had not occurred to me.

“Er… no. But I have chosen a favourite one”

“Which one?”

“The nearest one. Actually, I know, I’ll call them both Barbara, to avoid confusion”

“Good call. Are they still going up and down?”

“Oh, yes, no problem”

Finally we run out of encores to play, and the young lady’s friends finish dancing, and scoop her up to take her home. Fondly we wave her and the Barbaras goodbye.

As expected, Sunday afternoon at the Bulldog in Filton was a rather more subdued affair, enlivened only by a chap who kept on coming to stand right in front of the stage, sticking his fingers in his ears, and mouthing the words “It’s too loud” at us. At first I thought he was actually expressing an opinion, but after third time, when he stood right in front of the speakers for a full five minutes doing this, I realised that this was in fact what in his world passes for witty repartee – and having found something which amused him, he was reluctant to let it go; in fact, it seemed to keep him happy for a full two hours.

Takes all sorts, I suppose…

Anyway – no gigs coming up this weekend, so with a bit of luck, by the time we get there, we might actually have everybody fit and well.

We shall see…

Square on

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.”


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

04-09-2017 – Goat Thing Beard

Howdy pardners

Well, that was a rootin’-tootin’ mighty fine weekend of rawk’n’roll, and…

…oh, bollocks to it, I’m bored with the cowboy voice already.

Suffice to say another spiffing pair of gigs at the weekend, with much jolly singing and dancing from the audiences, and much titting about, moments of sheer musical brilliance interspersed with episodes of titanic incompetence from the band, and a certain amount of dressing up.

Emma and I are still bemused as to why wearing a comedy false beard should make your sunglasses steam up. Although, to be fair, not as bemused as the innocent girl who walked into the pub to be greeted by the following sight (I promise, there IS a logical reason for it!) and let out an involuntary shriek of horror….

Emma & Beard

And another fine weekend looming;

Friday 8th – GOATFEST!!!
A brilliant local festival in the tiny village of Goatacre, near Calne, last year this was one of our favourite gigs to play. Lovely stage (not one, but TWO flatbed trailers), excellent PA superbly engineered by our old buddy Brian from Swindon, and an exceedingly jolly crowd. Last year Rosa had the whole field doing star jumps; I’m still not sure why – but they did it. Pressure’s on Emma to top that one…

Saturday 9th – Golf Club Private do
Last time we did a golf club bash, it was much more fun than we expected. So now we’re expecting this one to be even more fun than we expected, even though we’re expecting it to be more fun than we would have expected had we not been expecting it to be more fun.

Alles klar?

Right, I realise that was a bit shorter than usual, but I has a busy week ahead, trying to think of goat-related song puns to put in the setlist.

I may regret saying this, but – suggestions welcome…?

Square on

30-08-2017 – Rampant Pickle

Yo homeys!

Well, we hope you enjoyed the long weekend as much as we did – but we bet you didn’t!

We kicked off with a pleasant evening in the Assembly Inn in Bath; the Gods Of Parking smiled on us and we were able park right outside the door, in the last two parking spaces left in Bath. Setting up in the small space was easier than last time we were here, partly as I cunningly left a couple of speaker cabinets at home, but mostly because we knew already which bits of the floor were in fact treacherously unstable and hence not safe for putting anything heavy on. We played, they shouted for more, but we’d hit the neighbour noise curfew so we legged it off home for some beer. The night was also memorable for being the first time Emma realised what Ben and I are actually singing to the chorus of “I Love Rock and Roll”. Lucky she keeps an inhaler handy, really.

Saturday afternoon, and a last minute booking filling an outdoor gig slot at the Queen Vic’s Beer & Music Festival – a thoroughly delightful affair. I was particularly excited to see our lovely pals John & Anne there, with young Adam & his Emma (see – everybody wants one now); not just because they helped carry all the kit in, but because, since I had son #3 Joe, (the bass playing one) with me, we were finally able to pay off an old debt.

See, a few years ago we played John’s birthday party, and he’d requested we play a Deep Purple tune for him. As we couldn’t fit in a rehearsal in time, we never did – but now, with the song already in the Polar Bear Cheese Pirates set, and armed with Joe on bass, freeing up Ben to sing it, and Stuart masterfully blagging his way through thanks to a quick listen to the original track between sets, we were finally able to deliver the goods.

Better late than never, eh?

Saturday night, and off to the Messenger in Swindon, where there were no trousers removed this time, no fighting, and not even a hint of good-natured vomiting. However, to make up for my disappointment, they DID have a six-foot tall inflatable snowman, advising the clientele (I can’t help but feel somewhat prematurely) to “book early for Christmas dinner”.

Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of this, but I swear it’s true.

I did, however, get some photos of our kit all set up, ready for action, in front of the gigantic projector screen which the pub was using to entice its patrons to buy more food. There were a whole series of pictures of tasty-looking dishes, flashing up at random every few moments. This was my favourite – note how the “cheeky pickle” is artfully mirrored by the careful placement of Stuart’s cymbal…


Other items to note in this photo:-

1. Pickle Rampant
2. Terrifying carpet
3. Random flashing hairpiece applied to front of drumkit (now permanent fixture, at Emma’s insistence)
4. Pretty flowers wrapped round Ben’s mike stand (ditto)
5. Beauteous Musical Instrument
6. My amp stack is taller than Ben’s…

Sunday night, and it was back to Swindon for a bash at the Woodland’s Edge. A pretty quiet night, due to the locals all being exhausted having stayed up in the pub all the previous night to watch the boxing on telly – and then, apparently, to have a fight themselves out in the car park at 6:30 am. Silly boys…

Nonetheless, it was good to see some old chums turn up, and there was a pleasing amount of mad women dancing about, so we’ll call that one a result, I think.

Coming up this week – a mere two gigs…

Friday 1st Sep – Blue Lagoon, Gloucester Rd
Very lively in here. Very lively indeed.

Saturday 2nd – Golden Fleece, Bath
Nice little bikercentric pub. I think for this one we’ll probably serve up a night leaning heavily in the rockier direction. And quite right too!

And that, I think, my friends, is that.

Square on

14-03-2016 – Rambling On

[Editor’s note: Ok, ok, the picture has nothing to do with this week’s Angel UpDate but, hey everyone loves fluffy kittens … don’t they?]

Hello darkness, my old friend…

Well, hello to The Darkness, anyway – can’t beat a bit of OTT classic rock pastiche, can ya?

Another rock’n’roll rollercoaster ride this weekend – starting with a slightly bizarre episode in which a very dear and fabulous friend of mine, without warning, suddenly (and I feel, unnecessarily cheerfully) turns down my non-existent proposal of wedlock…

“No”, she says, “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to marry you”.

Puzzled, I carefully scan my short-term memory, just in case I’ve not being paying attention to the conversation up to this point – but no, there is absolutely nothing on this, or any related subject.

“Besides”, she smiles “You’re already happy being married to Dem, so you don’t need me as well.”

I am, for once, lost for words… although I actually couldn’t help feeling rather hurt, somehow…

We have ended up (I think) with an amicable compromise whereby I notionally remain married to my wonderful Dem, unless my lovely friend happens to be making something nicer for dinner that night…

You ever find yourself in conversations that suddenly bound away in random directions into some cosmic surreal wilderness, like a small puppy let loose in a spring meadow full of butterflies, that can’t decide which one to chase? Or is it just me?

Still, let’s get down to the serious business of rawk’n’roll, shall we?

Saturday night, and deep in the heart of a shiny new housing estate in Midsomer Norton, is tucked away Mardon’s Social Club, where they have a large room, nice little stage, their own in-house lighting rig, and bottles of Gem behind the bar.

Even better, they have lovely friendly welcoming staff, and a “free drinks for musicians” policy.

“We’ll be coming back here again” Ben informs Stuart, before being reminded that we do have to actually play some music while we’re here.

After the first set, we head up to the bar so they can be nice to us.

For Rosa, even better than free drinks, they have a wide range of sweeties behind the bar, and when she asks, it transpires that these too are available free of charge to performers (although I doubt if anybody has actually asked before). Rosa’s sparkly eyes light up like there are fireworks inside her head. Which, just at this moment, there probably are; she is, in a very literal sense, just like a little kid in a sweetshop. A sweetshop with free sweets.

“What can I get for you?” asks the smiling lady behind the bar.

Too excited to talk coherently, Rosa points at a box containing some strange bright red tube-like confectionery.

“You mean these ones?”

Rosa nods.

“And how many would you like?” smiles the nice lady

“…How many am I allowed?” asks Rosa coyly.

In the end, a large fistful of them changes hands, along with a big glass of fizzy pop, and we carefully escort Rosa to a comfy corner where she can bounce around without too much risk of damaging something expensive.

The locals seem well pleased with our musical efforts, but after finishing the second set we only have time for one encore before we hit the noise curfew, and stumble off to collapse in a cheerful heap and catch our breath.

As we’re starting to pack up, the lovely bar lady returns. Would we like some more beer?

Well, we’d love to, that’s very kind, but we have to drive, you see…

She returns, still smiling, two minutes later, with half a dozen bottles, with the tops thoughtfully still on, so we can take them home with us.

“Thank you, that’s very kind”, says Stuart

“Oooh, lovely, thanks”, says Ben

“Will you marry me?” says I, before I can stop myself…

Well, there you go, folks – that makes it two rejections in one weekend. A personal best, I think…

So, we load up the kit, peel Rosa off the ceiling and tuck her safely into the car, and head off into the night…

Coming up this week – oh, another dream gig…

Saturday 19th – Royal Oak, Horfield – Pie and Ale Festival
Pies? – Check
Ale? – Check
Festival? – Check

These are a few of my favourite things. Nuff said.

Square on

08-03-2016 – The Fluffy Saga Gone Bet Lynch

Well, good morning, my little shenanigans…

This is starting to get repetitive – another weekend, another pair of gigs – although, to be fair, Friday’s was quite a good turnaround, starting off in appalling fashion – thanks partly to the strange acoustics in the room, but mostly to my general ineptitude (particularly compounded by my seemingly astronomical inability to count to four), we had to throw in the towel on the first number after eight bars, and start it over again – but by the end of the night was huge jolly fun for everyone, due in no small part I suspect to those that enthusiastically joined in Rosa’s Drinking Game. It’s just a little disappointing that Ben and I had our hands full, so we couldn’t actually play along.

Sunday afternoon, and we all roll up at the Swan in Thornbury for another gig featuring my offspring between sets – I’ve been rather looking forward to this.

The pub’s not as busy on Sundays (funnily enough) but since there’s our lovely mates John & Anne in, we have plenty of scope to amuse ourselves.

I have decided to give my new leopard skin furry guitar another outing, having picked a winner from last week’s “Name That Axe” competition – so in honour of the brassy-but-classy barmaid Coronation Street character Bet Lynch, henceforth shall this beauteous instrument be known as “Betsy”.

A small prize will be winging its way to the winner.

Towards the end of the first set, Rosa and I are cheerfully bouncing around oblivious to each other, when she accidentally bumps into Betsy, which causes her to spontaneously emit a horrified shriek, and renders her unable to sing (or, indeed breathe) for most of the next verse. When she has recovered enough to be able to speak, all she can say is, “That took me by surprise! It was really, really fluffy…”

I think that on the strength of that alone, Betsy has earned her keep already.

Next, we wheel up Lily and the boys for a quick Polar Bear Cheese Pirates From Outer Space set, the highlight of which occurs when I hand over guitar duties to Ben so I can sit down with a beer and watch Lil and Rosa duetting through some AC/DC together… Marvellous stuff.

Finally we pile back on and play through the second set, to what I think we can describe as a small but select audience, who vigorously demand more AC/DC encores until we run out of them. The only interruption comes when Stuart announces he has to disappear off stage to go and take an emergency leak half way through.

“Is there a drummer in the house?” announces Rosa, as she does on such occasions.

Wait a minute! There actually is one tonight – my youngest Jimi has put his hand up. Rosa drags him up on stage, and a quick conflab reveals that we all know Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”. That’ll do nicely.

All aboard…

Apparently Stuart’s face as he comes back in to find us running at full throttle was something of a picture…

Right then, coming up this week…

Saturday 12th – Mardon’s Social Club, Midsomer Norton
A social club… in Midsomer Norton. New to us and open to the public!

Square on

29-02-2016 – Furry

Yo homeys! [Editor’s note: I think he means “Hello”]

Well, more mad fun in the world of rawk’n’roll. Friday night, and the King William IV in Bath turns out to be a small pub, with only-just-enough-room to set up in, provided that Ben and I don’t mind both each playing hidden behind a PA speaker, and provided that they’re not actually using the pool table which is right next to where I have to go.

They are (inevitably) using the pool table all night, so I find myself trying to play solos whilst ducking under the back of a pool cue, simultaneously making sure the bumblewit poolies aren’t treading all over my pedals every time they try to take a shot.

Nonetheless, we end up having a fine time – we are offered more free beers than we can cope with, and as more locals roll in, they all get very enthusiastic, and finally we’re quite sad when it’s time to stop for the noise curfew.

I’m also quite pleased to give my new project guitar an airing; to while away the long winter evenings, I have assembled an axe out of various spare parts laying around the house, and, lacking paint shop facilities, I had to find an alternative means of finishing it.

All I need now is a name for the new beastie – all suggestions are welcome, as Rosa has deemed the temporary moniker – “Mr Fluffy” to be an inadequate reflection of its obvious class and good taste…

Name that axe

Saturday night, and the Tap & Barrel in the heart of Swindon beckons. Usually when I’ve played here with Lily it’s been quiet, but it is definitely rather livelier tonight – in fact, we count a record three fights in one evening. It could have been four, as one young lass, after she fell over the monitors for the third time whilst drunkenly dancing away, seemed unsure as to whether the much-coveted official band “Dancin’ Fool” sticker that Rosa awarded her was intended as an insult.

After being reassured that no offence was intended, and went away smiling happily. She came back ten minutes later and asked again if we were trying to be rude, with the same result. After the third occurrence, we just made sure there were no sharp objects around, and ignored her.

Mostly though, the evening was good fun – lots of dancing around, we even saw our ol’ pal Statey, (upright and fairly sober for once!), plus our lovely chum Sarina, who came up and guested on drums for a couple of numbers.

In fact for the first one, (AC/DC noise classic “Highway To Hell”), which does not require the services of a bassist until the first chorus, Ben sneaked off for a tactical leak. I waited for a full thirty seconds before I decided to start playing, letting the riff go round an extra time or two to give Ben a chance… then I nodded at Rosa to start singing.

Tension mounts as we play through the first verse; all eyes are on the door to the gents, and we are just one bar before the chorus is due to start when it suddenly bursts open; a large hairy bassist erupts out of it, charges up to the stage, and in one bound grabs his bass, slings it over his shoulder and seamlessly fires into playing and singing the chorus dead on cue.

He spends the rest of the song grinning smugly at us, unaware of the damp patch on the front of his trousers…

Right then, coming up this weekend, another mini-tour of the South West’s finest rawk establishments…

Saturday 5th March – Golden Fleece, Bath
Lovely little bikery pub, they like their rocky stuff here, so there is a chance we may be able to cut back on the Britney Spears* covers, and fire up the Sabbath stuff… I’m rather looking forward to that.

Sunday 6th March – The Swan, Thornbury
Oh, it’s really nice in here, and a Sunday afternoon means it’s not too late to invite along our special guest artistes, who have school in the morning – yep, we’ll be handing over the gap between sets to my offspring, the rather noisy Polar Bear Cheese Pirates From Outer Space – simply because we can.

Right, that’s your lot for this week

Square on
*We don’t actually play any Britney Spears covers. Just to be clear. [Editor’s note: Soon!]

09-10-2014 – Sheep Farmer

Hey gang

Well, we had no gig on Friday, which gave me a chance to re-rebuild my amp, this time with all the right bits, possibly even in the right places; and, so, bright and early (just in case they weren’t in the right places), it was down to the lovely Golden Fleece in Bath on Saturday for a touch of biker pub rawk action. It’s quite a cosy little end they have to set up a band in, and so my usual playing position here is tucked behind a speaker and a wall, with no view of any punters unless they’re right up at the front.

As happens quite often, for most of the first set the punters concentrated sensibly on drinking as much as possible, so that once they were ready to appear in front of us for some dancing action, they were pretty well oiled. One particularly enthusiastic leaper-abouter explained herself thus to me, shouting out between songs, “Oi’m a sheep farmer, see! Oi don’t get very much, so oi loikes to make the most of it when oi do!”

Indeed. It’s funny, you know, that people always assume Bath to be such a genteel city.

Somewhere near the end of the first set, our ovine husbandry specialist, who’s been lent one of our tambourines to keep her amused, manages to hit it so hard that little bits of it are left raining down over the crowd for several seconds (it’s just at this point that I remember that this is the pub where we previously had a tambo spontaneously explode in the crowd in remarkably similar circumstances).

“Oi’m really sorry!” she giggles, “Oi said Oi don’t get out much…”

We’re feeling lucky, so we round off the first set with a classic cheese number which we only started working on at Thursday’s rehearsal. Despite being played “a bit lumpy”, as Ben aptly described it, it goes down a storm; so, guess we better finish learning it then, for next time.

We take a break, during which Ben and I attempt to recreate the movie Jaws using only a couple of beer bottles (and, I might add, with some considerable success); and then it’s into the second set, which includes mass audience participation, leaping about, falling over, and one or two attempts at erotic dancing which really should have been performed in private.

A few well-chosen encores, and then it’s time to pack up, and once the van is loaded we chase Stuart around the pub until he is cornered and forced to hand over the dosh.

And, it seems we’ll have to make it last – with no gigs coming up this weekend, it looks as though the Rock’n’roll cashpoint is closed for refurbishment.

And there you have it – basically, all things considered, Oi don’t get out much…

Square on