Tag Archives: lily b

05-08-2019 – FAN

Hola amigos!

Well, after a couple of weeks away, it’s good to be back. Although not so good to be back at work. Obviously.

So, the big question was… can we remember how to play?

And the answer was… kinda…

Poor Ben had managed to somehow knacker his risk while we weren’t there to supervise him, and therefore spent much of Saturday night’s Cat & Wheel gig making pained expressions, poor bugger. And the rest of the time, like the rest of us, sweating like a rhino with Lhassa fever in a crowded sauna. It was damned hot in there – there was a large fan on the bar, but with a stern sign on it declaring that it was SPECIFICALLY for use of the bar staff ONLY, because it can get VERY HOT behind the bar, and it is NOT permitted to turn the fan round to point in any other direction. READ MORE

22-07-2019 – The Stark Horrors Of Reality

Ahoy there shipmates!

I’ll keep this one short and simple – a bit like Dopey the Dwarf, I suppose. But first, I’ll give you all just a moment to try and remember the names of the other six dwarves, okay? Ready? Off you go…

…Back now? Got them all? There, well done you!

And if anybody didn’t remember the last one – it was Doc. It’s always bloody Doc….

Anyway – I digress. Saturday’s trip to the Queen Vic was a bit of an odd night – for one thing, I got told to turn my guitar up several times. That doesn’t happen as often as you might expect. READ MORE

24-09-2018 – Let’s Go To Beer

Ahoy there shipmates!

Despite the stormy conditions this weekend, we managed to steer the good ship Angel Up Front safely through another couple of gigs. Poor Cap’n Emma was suffering from a nasty tropical disease (contracted in the equatorial paradise that is Wales), so the rest of the crew had to treat her rather more gently than usual. As a result, Friday’s gig at the Railway Tavern was slightly less raucous than expected – although we did well enough that the pub kindly gave us a crate of potatoes at the end of the night. And some money as well, which was nice.

Saturday at the Cider Press in Bishopston was a much more lively affair; despite me rolling up in a fairly advanced state of “Oh God, I’m so tired, can’t I just go home to bed now?”, I was immediately cheered by the lovely door staff, who insisted on unloading the van and hauling all the kit in for me. Bless ‘em! By the time everybody else arrived and the kit was set up, I was feeling rather chirpy. Just as well, since we were having a rare visit from both my sister, and brother, plus two lovely nieces, my beloved Dem and talented daughter Lil.

And, a mighty riotous night it turned out to be. As it’s quite a large place, we were able to turn everything up to “proper” volumes, which makes it much easier to enjoy ourselves. There was much singing along and dancing about, and I believe the audience rather enjoyed themselves as well. There were certainly some magnificent displays of Dad Dancing going on.

Em was pleased to be able to hand over some of the vocal duties to Lil, and we ended up carrying on until sometime past midnight, by which point I really was ready for bed beer.

Finally we got everything squashed into the soggy van, and careered off into the rainy night.

And so to bed beer.

Coming up next weekend – a private function, a birthday party in fact. Hopefully with beer.


Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of university, “And what starting salary are you looking for?”

The graduate replies, “In the region of £45,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.”

The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks paid holiday, full medical and dental insurance, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Porsche?”

The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

The interviewer replies, “Yes, but you started it.”

Square on

27-11-2017 – Super Horse

Hello chums!

My, that was an extremely bizarre weekend, even by our standards….

Friday night, and I rolled up slightly early to our gig the Air Balloon in Filton; went up to the bar, announced I was with the band and asked where they’d like us to play.

Barman points in a direction, “They’re over there, setting up”.

I look across. There is indeed a band setting up, but it’s not mine. Oh dear, looks like there’s been a double-booking. I go over and introduce myself. The guy putting up a PA looks, unsurprisingly, puzzled. “But the band that was booked here got cancelled, that’s why we were asked to play”.

I return to the bar to make further inquiries.

“That’s right”, I’m told, by the suddenly worried-looking manageress, “You rang up about a week ago and cancelled, said that there was some problem with your bass player, he was giving up, and so you were all disbanding and cancelling all your bookings. I went round and took all the posters down myself, right after you called. I double-checked the band name as well, to make sure there was no confusion.”

I explain that this sounds very unlikely, as (a) we had never phoned the pub to cancel anything, and (b), I’d last seen everyone the previous night at rehearsal, and none of us have any intention of packing it in…

“Come to think of it”, says the manageress, “The guy who phoned up didn’t sound like you at all”.

Well, he wouldn’t. He wasn’t me.

It becomes apparent that some third party, for reasons unknown, has sabotaged the gig for us.

The others arrive, and I explain the situation. We are mighty vexed. Another quick chat with the band now setting up (alas, I have forgotten their name) – who are the only people who have benefited in any way from this debacle – convinces us this wasn’t their doing – they seem to be sound chaps. We wish them a pleasant gig (cheerfully pointing out that should we arrive at our next gig to find them setting up, our suspicions may be aroused), and head off to find a quiet pub from where to contact the venues for our upcoming gigs, just to check that no more have been “cancelled”.

Happily it seems this was a one-off – albeit a mighty annoying one – and since we have now agreed with our venues that if they should get any gig cancellation messages, to come back to us and check they’re genuine, it shouldn’t happen again.

Nonetheless, if we do find out who was responsible for this one, we shall be taking steps to ensure they are extremely sorry.

A close second for “biggest disappointment of the night” comes when, in the pub we have decamped to, we spot a sign advertising the pub’s upcoming events…

Super Horse

“Breakfast with Superhorse”…

First thought is that this would make a brilliant album title.

Second thought is – What’s all that about, then?

Do you come into the pub for a Full English, and there you find a pantomime horse waiting to keep you company as you eat?

Or do they have a REAL horse clomping about the place, wearing a blue shirt and a cute little red cape?

Or – and, worryingly, this occurs to Emma and myself at exactly the same moment – is this a promotion aimed at the ladies, and “Superhorse” is, in fact, a spectacularly well-endowed gentleman; if you can survive the night with Superhorse, you get to eat breakfast with him*…?

*you can insert your own “get your oats” pun here, if you like…

All of these thoughts have us rolling about crying with laughter.

Sadly, whilst waiting (an improbably long time) at the bar to get served, I spy what appears to be the massively disappointing answer to these questions…

Super horse

Sunday afternoon, at the Bulldog just down the road, was actually rather better than last time we played there; in any case, it was good to crank things up and blow the cobwebs away after a couple of weeks off; I, at any rate, thoroughly enjoyed myself once I’d found the perfect spot to stand, where I could hear my amp raging away in all its glory. Well, it makes me happy, anyway.

Anyways – coming up next weekend – and most definitely NOT cancelled…

Friday 1st December – Blue Lagoon, Bristol
Always a good night in here, the second set usually livens up a treat. Much looking forward to it.

Saturday 2nd – King Edward VII, Longlevens, Gloucester
It’s a pub. In Gloucester. Not played there before. Probability of Superhorse presence currently unknown.

Sunday 3rd 4pm – Queen Vic, Stroud
An unusual Sunday afternoon gig at the Queen Vic – it’s their 20th birthday bash, apparently. And for pretty much all that time, Stuart has been playing gigs there in various bands. For about fifteen of them, in this one. Now, that’s scary. We really should bring along a birthday cake for them.

And that, my friends – for this week, at least – is that.

Square on

20-11-2017 – Blessed Are The Bassoon Sayers

Hey gang!

Didja miss us? Didja? Didja?

Well, two whole weekends without any gigs; it’s been a long time, been a long time, been a… Oh, you see? That’s how much we miss it. Everything turns into a rawk cliché.

Although… I think that kind of thing happens all the time… at least, in my world it does.

Anyway – we’re back now, and rather excited to be out gigging again. Even though we’re – somewhat bizarrely playing two gigs – both in Filton – this weekend, Emma is more excited by the prospect of going out gigging again than she is by her new favourite breakfast cereal…

Unicorn Fruit Loops

Which she’s pretty damned excited about, I can tell you.

Although she is yet more excited than that by the prospect of going to see Brian Blessed, who will shortly be out touring an “ Evening with…” show – which she and Ben have vowed to go to, for the sole purpose of seeing if they can get him to say the word “bassoon” at some point in the evening.

The very thought of this makes Emma curl up in hysterics; I really think she actually stopped breathing at one point.

I have promised to buy them a bottle of JD if they can pull off this extraordinary feat.

So – to help them with the Brian Blessed Bassoon Challenge – we’re looking for suggestions as to how they can get the great man to stray from his script in their chosen direction.
They are already planning to take along a large banner, bearing the favoured word, but recognise they might have to go along to several nights on the tour before curiosity gets the better of him.But we fear that even this may not be enough. Does anybody have a bassoon they can lend us? This, or any other suggestions, should be emailed back to us at Angel Up Front Towers, bearing the message title

“I can help with the Brian Blessed Bassoon Challenge”.

In the meantime – here’s this weekend’s gigs

Friday 24th – The Air Balloon, Filton
It’s just been refurbished, and I believe we are providing the rock angle for their opening festivities. We’ll probably have to make sure we wipe our feet when we come in so we don’t mess up their nice new carpet.

Sunday 26th – The Bulldog, Filton
Sunday afternoon (it’s a 4pm start) in beautiful downtown Filton – there’s actually a nice little stage area to set up on in here, and now we’ve figured out the unusual acoustics of the place, I’m rather looking forward to it.

And, that’s about it for this week.

We’ll let you know we get on – but in the meantime, please keep those bassoon ideas coming in….

Square on

30-10-2017 – Crutch Guitar

Hola, amigos,

Another jolly fine weekend; nice and local for a change. Friday night at the Swan in Thornbury was massively improved by the presence of some lovely old friends, who help us carry the kit in and out and buy us drinks. The rest of you take note – this is the kind of behaviour we like to see!

There are a also a couple of videos they kindly posted up on the Facebook page to commemorate the event, including some rather accomplished inflatable guitar action… Well, we like that kind of thing.

Saturday at the Trout in Keynsham was an equally lively event, particular kudos to young “Daniel” for the enthusiastic crutch air guitar – to clarify, this is a man with a shattered leg, held together by means of sophisticated medical scaffolding, who decided to hobble around on his remaining leg so he could use his walking aid to help him pretend to be Eddie Van Halen. That’s our kind of guy! (An opinion cemented when he revealed he’d injured himself by “trying to skateboard down the stairs”).

Happily, everybody made it through the night without injury – despite the proliferation of beer and broken glass sloshing about on the floor – although Stuart was nearly wiped out as he slumped exhausted in a chair after we’d finished packing the van, courtesy of a barman hoiking furniture about without due care and attention. Ben winced visibly at the near miss, although Stuart was totally oblivious to his narrow escape, and had to be informed; “You do realised you just almost got killed… in the face…”

For some reason this notion rather tickled us, as we all simultaneously pictured a Bond villain stroking his Persian cat… “Kill him. In the face.”

Anyways – a couple of weeks rest now, no gigs until nearly the end of the month. However, for those of you gagging for some rock action in the meantime, I can offer a rare chance to catch me and Stuart with our old hippy chums playing some original progtastic tunes (well, not properly progtastic, we don’t really have any songs about unicorns, or play anything in 17/56 time signatures, or anything). But, on the plus side, we don’t really have any songs about unicorns, or play anything in 17/56 time signatures…

Monday 6th – All Night Chemists, Mr Wolf’s, Bristol
We’re the second of three bands on, apparently at about 9:00; headliners claim to be a “glam punk” outfit, which should be interesting. Ben says that not only has he heard of them, but they’re rather good. Bet they don’t have any songs about unicorns, though…

Square on

30-10-2017 – Mostly Stupid

Hello my little ones,

Well, that was a weekend of Halloween fancy dress gigging silliness; earning an honorable mention for Stuart for latex face scars, and excellent cobwebby props for the kit (in particular, for “Wraith Charles” hanging from the PA); motion of censure for Ben for simply wearing two hats at once; obvious first prize to Emma for the truly terrifying “mad flesh-eating woman” look, and thanks to my Lily for making me look like quite a convincing dead person.

Apparently this was “Quite easy, actually – most of the work’s already been done…”

Friday at the New Crown Inn in Bath was enlivened by the unexpected arrival of various parts of my extended family, also in fancy dress, so I think I am excused from not instantly recognising them – although when I did, I was sufficiently surprised as to completely forget what song we were in the middle of, resulting in a rather spectacular crash-and-burn…

Stars of the night on Saturday at the Old Neighbourhood Inn in Chalford were the two little girls jumping up and down enthusiastically for most of the night; I tried keeping up, but it was hopeless, I gave up after half a song when I started seeing the purple flashing lights before my eyes.

Joke of the night:-

Emma: “So, what’s your name then, little girl?”

“It’s Mia”.

“That’s a lovely name. I’m Emma”.

Ben: “Emma – Mia. Emma… Mia… …Is there a Figaro in the house…?”

Okay, maybe you had to be there.

We just about got to the end of the second set, when the clumsy prancing dancers knocked the lights over. We finished the song, and decided to call it a night before anything expensive happened.

Coming up next week (and Emma and I are still quietly considering whether we can get away with carrying on the fancy dress thing for just a few more weeks…

Friday 3rd – The Swan, Thornbury
Nice and local (for me at least), good fun and rather looking forward to it. Even if they won’t let us dress up.

Saturday 4th – The Trout, Keynsham
They’re mad in here. Mad, rather appropriately, as a fish. Unaccountably, we seem to fit in rather well.

Also – while you’re there – just a little heads-up that the alt-retro-prog-acid-rock originals combo that Stuart and I frequent – the All Night Chemists – are playing on Monday night (6th), down at Mr Wolfs in town. We’re on around 9:00, I believe. So, if you fancied it, you could amuse yourselves by coming along and trying to guess which songs were written by our singer Rich, and which by yours truly. Handy hint – some numbers feature lyrics with deep and insightful socio-political commentary; others feature lots of widdly guitar solos…

Square on

23-10-2017 – The Taxi Chronicles

Bienvenue, mes amis

A jolly fine night at the Railway in Fishponds, was lovely to see hosts Mark and Amy again, particularly as my lovely Dem came along, as did a veritable posse of Emma’s self-confessed “groupies”. Poor Emma was STILL suffering from her cold, as she may have mentioned fifteen or sixteen times during the evening. Nonetheless, she put in a cracking performance; but was eventually forced to lie on the floor and pretend to be dead before the audience would let us stop – a good half hour after time was called.

We even successfully nailed the Queen Of The Stone Age number, not bad considering (a) we’d not gigged it before with Em, and (b) we’ve never actually got it right in rehearsals. Emma was very proud, and said so.

Favourite moment, though, was when a young lad stood with his back to us at one side of the stage, staring at the telly to see footy results. Ben, noticing this, positioned himself right behind him, then Emma and I and a bunch of the crowd joined him in formation, so when we finished the song and Ben tapped him on the shoulder, he was greeted by a whole band and audience beaming inanely at him at point blank range. Surprisingly, he didn’t run away screaming into the night.

We finished up, packed the kit away, and then had to wait around for soft-hearted Stuart to return from taking a bunch of inebriated youngsters home, who had pleaded with him for a lift following non-arrival of their taxi. As he disappeared up the street, his parking space was immediately and inevitably taken by said taxi…

In his absence, we speculated as to the odds of him returning with a car full of vomit; he was lucky in this respect, but it was apparently a close thing.

“So, why did you go and do that, then?” asks Ben.

“They offered me twenty quid”, explains Stuart – although in fact he came actually away with a tenner and a pink umbrella.

Anyways – coming up – Halloween fancy dress gigs, oh yes, oh yes indeed…

Friday 27th – New Crown Inn, Bath
We played here last Halloween. By special request, I am looking around for a costume other than last year’s Rocky Horror one.

Saturday 28th – The Old Neighbourhood, Chalford Hill
Lovely little pub, up in the hills outside Stroud. If we can find it…

Suggestions for Halloween costumes welcome, by the way….

Square on

16-10-2017 – Agoon

Well, hello there, my little sarsaparillas…

A weekend with no gigs to report on, so you’ll probably be quite pleased to hear that this will be a rather short little missive.

It’s probably just as well that we didn’t have any booked, though, as we would probably have had to cancel them anyway – our poor Emma has been Proper Poorly. She’s been stuck at home feeling sorry for herself for several days, with barely enough strength left to update our social media…

In a spirit of “Well, if I can’t sing this week, maybe I should at least update the band’s profile page on Facebook”, she painstakingly cropped some photos of each of the four of us, and assembled them together into a suitably rawk’n’roll collage, which she duly published on aforementioned social media site.

Indeed, if you are so minded, you can go and take a look. What you won’t see, however, is her first effort.

The picture of me was taken from a PR photo at our recent gig at the Blue Lagoon in Bristol, and had their logo neatly printed at the top.

By the time Emma had cropped the photo to fit, it unwittingly showed the handsome visage of yours truly, beneath the legend “A GOON”.

Brilliant. I was quite disappointed when, after I pointed out this feature, she amended it. But not immediately, as she first spent about twenty minutes sobbing with laughter, and – I like to think – making more wounded chaffinch noises.

With a bit of luck, we’ll be back to full fighting strength this weekend, as we have one of our favourite venues to play…

Friday 20th – Railway Tavern, Fishponds
Ahh, after a long break, back in the Court of Her Majesty Queen Amy of Fishponds – always great fun here, there’s usually a lovely bunch of folks in, and of course our delightful hosts Amy and Mark. Can’t wait. I may even bring my lovely other half along, it’s been a while since she was allowed out.

You have been warned.

Square on

09-10-2017 – The Laughing Chaffinch

Aye oop!

Well, we had a rather spiffing Saturday evening at the Swan up in Thornbury; a chance to give my “official gigging amp head” a rant after several weeks in hospital; it’s like having a new amp, at least in that I can’t quite remember what all the foot switch controls do, which led to one or two rather interesting moments, when I cut into what should have been a screaming rawk solo, but accidentally tried to play it with an gentle acoustic timbre…

Still, I wasn’t the only one struggling a bit; in the very first number, there’s a moment where the whole band stop, and there’s a vocal cue that we all come back in after. Somebody in the crowd was singing along, but massively out of time, and Stuart, momentarily distracted, decided to go with them rather than with Emma. Oopsie. He made up for it later on, though, by simply totally forgetting what to play midway through a song, settling instead for banging a few drums at random, with a delightfully nonplussed expression on his little chops.

Our poor Em is still suffering from a horrible throat infection cold-y thing, but bravely struggled on through the gig doing a magnificent job. Despite our insistence that she shouldn’t push her poorly voice too hard, she gave it some serious stick, even opting to play the loud-and-screamy-epic-that-we-haven’t-quite-finished-learning-yet which I’d mischievously added to the set list, and by the time we finished the last song, she couldn’t even talk.

We found at this point that if we made her laugh, she was only capable of making a rather wonderful feeble squeaking noise, reminiscent of a sickly chaffinch.

Inevitably, we set about trying to send her into hysterics (mainly by means of Ben impersonating Brian Blessed saying the word “bassoon”, since you ask), and were rewarded with a helpless, breathless giggling wreck, trying to harangue us – “ You – squeak – bunch of – squeak – bastards”, whilst sounding like a nest full of baby finches at feeding time.

As we have next weekend off, she should have time to recover – and, possibly, to find another, less cruel and unusual band to join.

That said, I think she rather likes it…

But, that’s enough about us – what have you lot been up to this weekend?

Write in and tell us – best tale will be reproduced here next week for everybody to enjoy.

And it might save me having to think up something to write about, too…

Square on