Tag Archives: guitars

24-06-2020 – Lockdown Special

Hey gang!

We thought we’d pop a little missive out just to check on how you’re all doing.

We hope everyone is coping well with the prevailing lockdown conditions, and trust you are all maintaining an adequate state of alertness, which I have informed by a duplicitous buffoon should suffice to prevent infection. (Just in case anybody takes offence at the phrase “duplicitous buffoon”, please note that it was very far from my first choice of words, but that I am aware there may be pre-school toys present). READ MORE

12-09-2016 – Goat And Frisky

Ahoy there shipmates!

Another busy weekend – Friday at the Royal Oak in Marlborough was not-exactly-jam-packed – in fact, for a considerable part of the evening we were playing specifically for the benefit of Ed and Josh (who Rosa promptly re-named Gerald, “ as it’s easier to remember” ) – oh, and Zak the barman as well.

So, we set about amusing ourselves by breaking out the dressing-up box, for some ZZ Top…

Dressing up

..and some other general silliness with a blue wig and some cat glasses…

Dressing up

…and things got frankly a little strange by the end…

Dressing up

Saturday at the Jolly Cobbler in Kingswood was a bit more normal, in that the crowd were at least as daft as us. Hats off to the three bearded chaps, all apparently called Amy, also to everybody else who got up and sung and danced and played tambourines, but mostly to our new favourite senior citizen couple Ted and Diane – full marks to Ted for playing air guitar on his knees at age 78!

Ted was apparently rather taken with Rosa –

“Oh, I tell you, love”, he says, “If I was ten years younger…”

“He’d still be forty years too old”, points out Diane.

Later on, she confides to me over the brim of her Sambuca shot glass,

“She’s got him all worked up, now. He’s going to be all frisky when he gets home…. …Ooooh, it’ll be lovely!”

Fair enough, sez I.

Right, coming up this week, we’re very excited…

Friday 16th – The Tern, Yate
Just about a year ago, Rosa played her very first gig with us here – and she still hasn’t run away. If she tries to now, she’ll have to give the t-shirt back…

Saturday 17th – GOATFEST!!!!!
Somewhere near Chippenham is a small village called Goatacre, where they put on a charity fund raising music festival, the rather marvellously named Goatfest. We didn’t need asking twice. We’ll be last on at 9:30, which means I’ll still have time in the afternoon to be down the Fleece for (brace yourselves for a shameless nepotism plug….)

Lily B, back at the Fleece!

After Lil’s successful bash down at the Fleece a few weeks ago, they’ve asked her back to play as part of an all-day charity fund raiser. Apart from Lil (who’s on at 3:00), there’s a bunch of other acoustic, electric, and possibly steam-powered singers, duos, bands, and even lions and tigers. I may have made the last bit up. It’s for a good cause – St Peter’s Hospice – and tickets for the whole day are only a fiver from us (and somewhat more on the door on the day). She even wrote a new song for the occasion yesterday. Annoyingly, it’s way better than any of mine.

But what the hell, afterwards I get to go and headline Goatfest!

So, really, everybody wins!

Square on

05-09-2016 – The Lamb Files

Well, we’re back, did you miss us?

After a week’s jolly holidays away in (occasionally) sunny North Wales – during which, due to an unfortunate incident involving lack of foresight and a sinking kayak*, my beloved Dem and I achieved the notable distinction of being the highest people in the land whilst not wearing any pants – it was back to the lovely Swan in Thornbury, to see if we can remember how any of the songs go.

The answer was a resounding “some of them”.

Still, it was an absolute pleasure to get back together and make a raucous racket again, and a delight to see our chums John, Anne & Adam, who’d rolled all the way down from Gloucester to see us. Bless. We were so touched, we got a little carried away and threw in a rather epic AC/DC encore, complete with rubber duck solos. I’d forgotten that we sometimes do that.

Saturday night, and over to Marlborough to the Lamb – which turns out to be a lovely little pub, with REAL CASK BEER straight out of wooden barrels. A whole barrel full of happiness. There was also a barrel of strawberry cider, which Ben ordered a pint of, and promptly inhaled it down in one go, pronouncing it, “quite drinkable, actually”.

The place soon filled up, and a lovely time was had by all. Disaster almost struck when a lovely dancing lady managed to knock over one of the PA speakers; she managed to grab it just in time to save it, but we did have to come to a halt mid-song to help set it back up.

At this point, while several of us are wrestling with the tripod trying to get the damn thing steady again, Stuart takes advantage of the halt in proceedings to scuttle off stage “for a quick piss”.

Fortunately, in the audience is our lovely drumming buddy Sarina, down from Swindon – so we haul her up on stage, she counts us back in and so we play the second half of the song with a different drummer to the first. We have to fill in with her for another number before Stuart finally reappears to finish the set. I do hope he remembered to wash his hands.

So – another lovely evening, and whilst packing up, I felt a little disappointed that we weren’t due to be playing the following night as well. I mention this to Rosa, who suddenly goes white.

“What?!?!”, she says, panicking, “We’re not playing tomorrow, are we?”

“No, we’re not”, I explain, “I was just saying that it feels like we ought to be”.

“No it doesn’t”, she replies firmly.

Well, that told me, then.

However, we shall be having another crack at it this weekend…

Friday 9th – Royal Oak, Marlborough
The lovely lady who knocked over the speaker on Saturday was terribly upset and apologetic about it – almost in tears, in fact. We felt so sorry for her that we’ve decided to give her another go at it by playing at her local. (Actually, if you’re reading this, lovely lady – really, it’s fine, you can stop feeling bad about it – certainly Stuart was very grateful for the distraction…)

Saturday 10th – Jolly Cobbler, Kingswood
It’s a half-eight start, this one, on account of they have neighbours who complain if the noise goes on past eleven. Of course we could save time by playing everything faster. Or, by each band member playing a different song at the same time – rather as I was trying to do at one point last Friday…

Right, thas’ yer lot for now

Square on

*This is absolutely true. We hired a bunch of canoes to play around with for a couple of hours, and I got thoroughly soaked whilst engaging in an impromptu naval battle with #2 son (which I reluctantly conceded after being thwacked in the chops with a paddle). Meanwhile Dem’s vessel, it transpired, was holed beneath the waterline, and slowly filled up with water. It got her rather cold, apparently – conclusive proof that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

22-08-2016 – It’s A Bit Like The Archers – BUT ON ACID

Greetings, my little peccadillos!

Now, that was enough rawk’n’roll fun to last anybody a fortnight… which is just as well, since we’re not playing for a couple of weeks, since I’m running away to Exotic Foreign Parts.

Still, we’ll have plenty of fun to look back on – particularly last Wednesday’s outing to Priddy, hidden way down deep in the Mendips.

So – a midweek gig, in the middle of nowhere – we weren’t expecting a particularly exciting night, to be honest.

However, once we finally found the place (having driven through one village, which I swear bore the sign “Twinned with the 18th Century”) and we strolled in, our suspicions were aroused when we saw the pub was selling t-shirts, bearing the legend, “Priddy – It’s a bit like the Archers – BUT ON ACID”.

As requested, we set up outdoors under a marquee, just in time for the heavens to open – leading to a frantic race with the bar staff to get various bits of tarpaulin rigged up to avoid all our nice electrical kit getting wet. Ben was particularly proud of the electric macramé he created to keep all his mains-powered gubbins dangling from various parts of the marquee to keep them out of the nasty wet puddles. (Yes ladies, Ben has mains-powered gubbins. Be afraid, be very afraid…)

It seems the rain chased away the more sensible punters, but that didn’t matter because there was an ample supply of non-sensible ones, who gleefully danced, sang, and sillied the night away with us. An outstanding evening, I think the crowd had nearly as much fun as we did. Finally we ran out of encores, packed up all the damp kit, and then carefully hurtled homewards back through the Twilight Zone to dear ol’ Brizzle.

Friday, and the Black Castle; I manage to arrive late, but still in plenty of time – just was well, because setting up has to be done rather carefully. For some reason I seem to have lost my balance quite badly today – rather like being extremely drunk, but without having suddenly become witty, urbane, and irresistible to the opposite sex.

When this symptom first kicked in, since I had a computer in front of me, out of curiosity I Googled it, and found myself at a do-it-yourself NHS diagnosis website…

Apparently the first thing to do is to see if this is related to some kind of ear infection; you do this by lying down to see if it goes away.

Does the dizziness go away when you lie down?
No, it doesn’t, but other people in the office are looking at me funny.

Is it accompanied by loss of hearing or tinnitus?
Yes, but most of the past five years has been accompanied by loss of hearing and tinnitus…

Do you have low blood sugar level?
Not likely, considering the number of chocolate biscuits recently ingested…

Are you massively pissed?
No, I bloody well am not.
At this point, the website concluded that I am either whingeing about nothing and should man up, or have a very serious heart condition and should go and find a doctor. I figure that if it’s the former I’m all right, and if it’s the latter, I have better things to do with my few remaining hours of precious life than look at impertinent NHS websites, so I decide to carry on with my day, just being a little more careful than usual about not falling over.

Nonetheless, arriving at the gig I decide it’s best if I don’t have a beer tonight; and it is a full five minutes after we finish setting up before I reverse this decision.

Happily the beer seems to have a positive medical effect, and although I am still having a little trouble with vertical hold, I am soon once again witty, urbane, and irresistible to the opposite sex.

In case you were worried.

We round the weekend off with a trip to the Woodland’s Edge in sunny Swindon, where it seems the rain has chased away most of the punters – which simply means that Rosa picks on the ones that were there rather more than usual. Still, they do seem to rather enjoy it.

And so, a weekend off looms – but we’ll be back…

Friday 2nd September – The Swan, Thornbury
Nice comfy place with plenty of room to ponce about in, and usually a damned fine Friday crowd. And it’s just up the road from my gaffe. I wonder if I can get Dem to come along with me, and drive the van on the way back…?

Saturday 3rd September – The Lamb, Marlborough
Ahh, Marlborough country – where, as Neil Young pointed out, the Cancer Cowboy rides… Not played this one before, so they really don’t know what to expect.

To be fair, nor do we, most the time.

See y’all…

Square on

15-08-2016 – Beer, Cakes & Sweeties

Borag Thungg, Earthlets!

…and a mighty fine weekend of fun that was! Saturday saw us hoofing over to beautiful sunny Tintern, to play a wedding bash right outside the picturesque Abbey (it’ll be lovely when it’s finished).

Now, sometimes wedding gigs aren’t too much fun from our point of view; they are often rather subdued affairs where our main job is really to play quietly in the corner and not upset anybody.

Not so this one – it was a delightfully bonkers affair, with the field set up like a fete / funfair, with sack races, welly throwing competitions, a free sweeties stall, a free cake stall, and… Rosa, come back here! Too late, she has skipped merrily off, and soon comes back laden with several large bags of sweeties. Having set up, we sit happily in the sunshine sipping beer, eating barbecue, and watch the proceedings.

“Why”, asks Rosa through a mouthful of fruit salads and blackjacks, “don’t we do more wedding gigs…?”

It’s a lovely day, and a fine bunch of slightly bonkers and traditionally pissed wedding guests; once we start playing, there is dancing a-plenty until it’s time to stop for the speeches, the cake-cutting, and the fire eater.

Oh yes, you heard me.

Then we carry on, and – surprisingly for a wedding, the dance floor stays crowded right up until we finish. Clearly these are more seasoned drinkers than most.

However, the bride and groom have disappeared half way through the set, and are nowhere to be seen.

“Where do you think they went?” asks Rosa.

“It’s their wedding night”, explains Ben, delicately, “So – er – shagging?”

“Ah” says Rosa, pausing for thought. “I mean, I know it’s traditional and all that, but what percentage of people do you reckon actually do it on their wedding night?”

It’s an interesting question. I think back to the weddings I’ve previously attended, and contemplate the average state of intoxication of the happy couple by the end of the night.

“…I’d say about 50%”, I suggest.

“Although that’s mostly just the blokes”.

Anyway, there seems to be no sign of sordid goings on, so we pack up, and then sit around chatting with the merry stragglers whilst liberating as much leftover cake, cheese, sweets (and, in Rosa’s case, fairy lights too) as possible, and head off into the night.

Coming up – firstly, another plug for talented daughter Lily (not that I don’t have other talented daughters, oh no – it’s just that the other ones are boys) – she’s playing on Monday 15th at Mr Wolf’s down in the centre of Bristol. It’s going to be interesting night, as I for one know that she hasn’t picked up a guitar all week…

Friday 19th – The Black Castle, Brislington
We had a great time when we were here last. I think various of my offspring are hoping to come along too; possibly just because of the cookie dough pizzas they apparently sell here…

Saturday 20th – Woodland’s Edge, Peatmoor, Swindon
Lots of space to jump about, and a landlord who occasionally dons a wig, a guitar and comes to join in. What’s not to like?

Right, that’ll do for now, it’s a lovely sunny day so I’m going to spend it sat in an office reading savagely complicated dull technical reports about bits of aeroplane. Woop woop.

Square on

08-08-2016 – Not Posh

Yo homeys! (as we young people say).

Well, well, well, a whole weekend off with no gigging. We hope you managed to amuse yourselves without us. Still, no rest for the although-perhaps-not-actually-wicked-certainly-of-a-rather-less-than-unblemished-reputation – this weekend we’re back out and about again…

Saturday afternoon will see us playing at a wedding over in sunny Tintern; this was a gig booked through an agency, so for a while we were initially concerned that we might have to dress up nicely and pretend to be proper respectable musicians. However we recently received an email from the happy couple, asking us not to turn up dressed up “too posh”; as seemingly they wanted a proper rock band experience. So, that’s good then – I wonder where we can find one… In the meantime, where’s that flame-throwing codpiece…?

Also we have coming up a (relatively) rare Sunday afternoon out: –

Sunday 14th, 4pm – The Horseshoe, Siston Common, Bristol
A new one for us, but according to Google it looks to be a rather nice large pub. I like pubs. So that should be fine, then.

Since the joke cupboard is still in need of a re-stock, and with deliberate intent to deflect any hate mail that may come as a result of the following, my thanks are due to my lovely, wonderful, and not-caught-up-with-for-far-too-long chum Caro, for the following rather lovely little item: –

We’ve got an aviary at home, but one of our birds of prey will only exercise at nights, to 80s music.
Our kestrel manoeuvres in the dark

Square on

01-08-2016 – Featuring Lily B

Now THAT, my friends, was a fun-packed weekend.

Friday night at the King William IV in Bath; it’s a fairly small place, but they make up for it in enthusiasm; before we’ve even finished setting up, we’ve received an offer from a lady who wants to be our groupie. I wonder if we can persuade her that the groupies are the ones who carry all the heavy kit out to the van after the gig.

It turns out to be a lively old night; and finally, somebody takes us up on the special offer currently printed on the back of the flyers we hand out…

Free Drink

So, congratulations to “Tom”; I have to say I was so impressed that I did actually buy him a drink – although looking back, I think he’d probably already had quite a few…

Saturday night, and Molloy’s is busy as usual; I think we were all struggling a bit to get a decent sound, but this situation was made a little more difficult buy the gentleman who I think can most charitably be described as “fat shortarsed wanker” (Stuart will probably edit this in the interests of diplomacy to something like “circumferentially challenged simpleton”) who invaded the stage, and in the five seconds before I hurled him off, had knocked Rosa’s drink flying over everything, trod on her sunglasses, nearly fell onto the drum kit and kicked my foot pedal settings around into infinity gain, so that for the rest of the song all I could get out of my guitar was banshee howling. Finally I managed to figure out what had happened and get the sound back under control, and we finished off the night with as many encores as we could remember (as I explained to Rosa, the longer we play, the less we have to listen to the mandatory dreadful dance anthems), then we gently packed up and waited for the crowds to thin enough to haul the kit out. Funnily enough, I think this is the first time we’ve played here where there wasn’t an ambulance in attendance as we loaded out; this was at least in part due to the fact that I couldn’t find the idiot stage invader form earlier on.

Finally, on Sunday, a night out to let somebody else do the work; unaccountably talented daughter Lily has a solo slot at the Fleece on one of their acoustic Sundays. And, with lots of fambly and friends in attendance, it was a fantastic night that made me very happy indeed.

Coming up this weekend – no gigs! Nothing, Not a sausage, Nada, Niet!

This could be my opportunity to find out what it is that normal people do at the weekends.

I’ll keep ya posted…

Square on

26-07-2016 – Roistering

Hello my lovelies!

Sorry this one is coming out a bit late this week – I’ve been fair mad busy. In fact, I still am, so I’ll keep this one pretty short, if that’s all right with you. We’ll make it up next week, we promise!

So – Saturday night, and it’s off to Queen Amy’s Railway Tavern in Fishponds, for a very jolly evening of roistering. After a week’s holiday away in the sunshine, our Rosa was slightly more tanned, and (if possible) even more excitable than usual. Bless!

To keep things amusing, we brought along my offspring to play a few numbers in the break between sets – and a mighty fine job they made of it, too. Rather better than I did, I suspect. Particular kudos to young Joe, who’s bass unexpectedly died, so he had to play the set with Ben’s borrowed spare (which currently sports a rather striking leopard skin fur finish) – in fact, it looked rather good on him. Somewhere there’s some photos, just to prove I’m not making this up.

All in all a lovely evening, nice to see some old mates there, and a jolly bouncy time was had by all.

Right then, moving swiftly on…

Friday 29th – King William IV, Bath
A little pub up on Combe Down – they’re a bit different in here, and this is me saying that. And, I think they’d be rather pleased with that description. Great fun!

Saturday 30th – Molloy’s, Bristol
I love this gig, it’s always busy and always lively. I also hate it, because we have to carry the kit up loads of stairs, and the stage is cramped. And because afterwards it’s impossible to get the kit out through the crowd until the DJ has finished playing S Club 7 dance anthems. So – earplugs and Travel Scrabble it is then!

Finally – a shameless plug for daughter Lily B, who is playing an acoustic all-dayer (she’s on around 7:30pm) at the Fleece on Sunday 31st. After some time away from gigging due to academic distractions, she’s kicking off her acoustic live originals stuff again. Music’s on all day from midday, sprogs are apparently welcome, if you want a cheapie advance ticket for a fiver, give me a shout.

And that, as they say

Is that.

Square on

18-07-2016 – Inflatables

Good morning campers!

My, that was an interesting Saturday night. We rolled up at the Locomotive in Swindon, to find a mob in fancy dress, largely – but by no means entirely – Scottish themed, the reason for this never quite becoming clear over the course of the evening. What was clear was that they weren’t a shy, retiring bunch. I have to say that I have never in my life seen so many giant inflatable willies in one place. In retrospect, something I’m probably quite glad about.

Poor Ben didn’t have the best of nights; he’s brought along his new shiny wireless system – but alas, because it has an oddball stereo jack on it, his complex high-tech active bass refuses to work with it – basically the act of plugging the wireless in switches the bass off.

Undeterred, he swaps over to his backup bass, which is less technologically advanced, and so works just fine; and then we discover his wireless is set to the same frequency as mine, resulting in some horrible Dalek noises from both our amps. Happily, after a quick channel-changing tweak, it’s all good to go.

Until – just two seconds before we start the first set (quite literally – Stuart had got as far as counting in, “One, two…”) disaster strikes! There is a massive booming crash, and I spin round to see Ben’s bass has slipped off its straplock, plummeted down and hit the stage like a piano thrown out of a tenth storey window.

We allow ourselves five seconds for triage – there’s probably some nasty dings, and he’s killed a machine head, so it’s unusable for now, but it doesn’t look like the neck or body have split – and then it’s on with the show, using his regular bass, and not the wireless.

Despite this upset, the gig goes rather well; the mob are quite keen on dancing and singing along and joining in with the silliness; indeed, at one point Rosa is moved to make the observation,

”Do you know, I’ve never before had a giant inflatable cock thrown at me while I’m on stage…”

At this, Ben chimes in. “You’ll notice that she had to qualify that statement with, ‘While I’m on stage…’”

“Shut up, Ben”, he is curtly admonished.

Well, the evening gaily continues, we play up until the allotted finish time, do a couple more, and pack it in. And – with the obvious exception of Ben’s bass – a fine time was had by all, I think.

Coming up – another one of our favourites…

Saturday 23rd – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Back in the court of her beloved Majesty Queen Amy of Fishponds, where wondrous and magical occurrences are the order of the day… Oh, and I guess we’ll have to go through the usual routine of her threatening not to pay us unless we play her favourite song. I wonder if any of us can remember it….

Right, that’ll do for now

Square on

Meanwhile, for no good reason, this is a classic from the chuckle archives…



Top o’ the mornin’ to ye, begorrah, and similar nonsense.

As I’m a bit pushed for time today, I’ll keep this short – just the edited highlights.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

Best moment from Saturday night’s traditionally lively gig at the Queen Vic in Stroud; Rosa’s rather bizarre request to the audience between songs, somewhere in the second set…

“Right everybody, what I want you to do now is to look at the person on your left… and lick their face!!”.

This was immediately followed by another announcement,


Rosa had forgotten that Ben was standing to her right.

We don’t think she’ll be asking the audience to do that again in a hurry. As I write this, she is probably still scrubbing her face with wire wool and bleach.

Sunday afternoon, and we saunter over to the Duke of Edinburgh in sunny Swindon for a gentle couple of hours fun with the locals – star of the show was the cheery nine-year-old girl who bounced up on stage and boogied away the second set with us. Luvverly!

Right then, coming up next…

Saturday 16th – The Locomotive, Swindon
A new one for us, and unusually it’s a 10pm start (although apparently they want us to finish by midnight, so we may well start a little before then to cram a bit more in). We’ll let yáll know how it goes…

Right, time’s up, I gotta go…

Square on