Tag Archives: oldland common

10-06-2019 – Hugs

Yowsa!

Well, there weren’t that many punters in at the Dolphin on Saturday, but those that were provided good value entertainment – starting before we’d even managed to play a note.

Just before we started, as I was returning to the stage from what we musical professionals refer to as a “tactical leak”, and Stuart was sitting head in hands waiting for the rest of us to come back, I heard on of the nice cheeky ladies at the bar ask him,

“Are you all right, love? Do you want a hug?” READ MORE

03-06-2019 – The Horny-Handed Sons Of Toil

Hello playmates

Well, another weekend, another gig, another few beers down the hatch, and a few more dB’s notched up on the tinnitus threshold…what’s not to like?

Friday’s jaunt to the Air Balloon in Filton was rather pleasant – it wasn’t until we soundchecked that we remembered how much they like joining in here. A couple of horny-handed sons of toil even joined in with the loading in – albeit mercifully briefly – after watching two of them puffing and panting, struggling to haul my small amp up a few steps, nearly dropping it in the process, I was quite relieved when they decided that was enough for them, and went back to their lager-quaffing. READ MORE

10-09-2018 – Changing Fortunes

Hello, my little ones.

Are you all sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Thursday night in Chipping Sodbury, and I roll up, somewhat knackered after a busy day, to find Ben and Stuart already there and loaded in. Stuart parks his car, then we set about emptying the van and setting up. A rather frazzled Emma appears, she has apparently had a “difficult” week at work, and “is ready for some serious jumping about and screaming”. Just, in fact, what we have in mind.

We’ve decided to play a high risk strategy tonight, lots of old rocky songs we haven’t played in a l-o-o-ng time, to see if we can remember them. Remarkably, by and large, we can. We’d also forgotten how much fun they are. Thus, by the time we’ve finished thumping out the Maiden and AC/DC covers at the end of the night, our Emma is feeling much cheered up. Ben is also pleased to find two fellow Yorkshiremen in the audience, who are huge fun. I’m tempted to ask them how they’re coping down here with such strange new things as electricity, and running water, but I settle instead for hiding my wallet, just in case.

After a jolly night, we pack up and Stuart goes off to fetch his car. We’ve nearly finished loading the van before he comes back, ruefully, on foot. It seems that he’d left his headlights on, and with not even enough juice to operate the central locking, he is locked out of his car. However, he has a manual key – hurrah! – which doesn’t fit the lock – boo!

So – we cram all his kit into Emma’s car, take it back to Stuart’s place to unload, where he can pick up his spare key. Then it’s back to Sodding Chipbury, where this time we managed to actually get into his car, and eventually persuade it to jump start.

Thus it is that we finally get home, somewhere in the wee wee hours of the morning.

Only two more gigs to go this weekend…

Friday night, and our keenly-anticipated gig at the Queen’s Tap on Swindon. We arrive, we load in and set up, looking forward a noisy night. It’s not too full yet, but still early days.

Come the witching hour, and off we go. Two songs in the landlady approaches, and asks very nicely if we can turn it down a notch – the council are lurking nearby with noise meters, thanks to some unsympathetic neighbours. We duly comply, but a couple of songs later she returns and asks if we can turn down a touch further. So we do, and for a while we’re struggling to play noisy full-on rawk n roll music in a polite fashion – it really just isn’t the same.

Nonetheless, after a few songs, with a boisterous crowd, we have to turn up just a little bit so we can hear ourselves, and by the end of the first set, there’s a right old party going on.

During the break, about a dozen of the punters break out into a drunken singlaong acapella version of Tenacious D’s “Tribute”. We are well pleased by this.

As we get ready to start again I plug in and do the usual guitarist thing – switch on the amp, and play a chord or two to check it’s all working. This time – presumably subconsciously prompted by having just heard it, I play the opening chords of “Tribute”…

A mighty cheer goes up from the crowd, who are then much disappointed as we explain that we don’t actually play that one.

After half a dozen songs, which all go down very well, they’re still bellowing for “Tribute” – a quick conference reveals that Ben and I might be able to remember the chords, Emma can look up the words, and Stuart has no real idea how it goes. Oh, all right then, we’ll have a crack at it.

Immediately the crowd takes over the stage, completely surrounding Emma and singing and dancing along, and together we not only get all the way through the song, but actually it’s somehow magnificent.

So – that’ll be going on the set list, then.

As we approach the midnight neighbour-noise curfew, there’s not quite time for one more song, but we decide to play it anyway. As I fire into the intro riff of Guns & Roses’ “Sweet Child”, the landlady rushes up and snatches the mike out of Emma’s hand.

Oh no, she’s going to tell us we have to stop…

…No she doesn’t, she starts singing it!

And, she’s bloody brilliant!

So we thunder through the rest of the song, with Em and landlady bellowing out a massive duet between them, and after we finish, the landlady demands we do some more.

“What about your neighbours?” I ask.

“Fuck ’em”, she answers. “It’s my pub. Play on”.

We manage to shoehorn another two or three encores before we really do have to stop.

It turns out that the landlady used to sing in bands years ago, and has been itching to have a go with us since halfway through the first set.

So, a vastly satisfying night, and we were really looking forward to Saturday night at the Queen Vic in Stroud.

Alas, it was not to be. A few minutes after setting off, Em and I receive a call from Ben to say that Stuart is really not well, and can’t play tonight, so we have to cancel.

So apologies to anybody who was up in Stroud hoping to catch us, we really are sorry, but believe me, for Stuart to accept that he’s too ill to play, it’s really serious.

I’ve previously seen him insisting on playing gigs when a lesser man would be on his way to hospital.

Good news is that he’s now feeling rather better – which is just as well, as although we have no AUF gigs planned this weekend, Stuart and I do have an appointment with our somewhat proggy originals outfit.

Hoarse

On a lighter note, it’s not the only illness in the band this week. Yesterday, Emma did admit to feeling a little hoarse…

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03-09-2018 – Oooh, Look, Dolphins!

Well, we’re back!

After a week away, variously climbing up Snowdon, watching dolphins frolicking off the coast of Kent, drinking excellent beer in my favourite Brighton pub – which I found completely unchanged after 30 years away – hurrah! – and doing whatever it is that Ben and Stuart get up to when left to their own devices, it was time to get back together to make a loud noise again up at the dear ol’ Swan in Thornbury.

Having literally just got home after a seven hour drive with a spakky shoulder, swapping vehicles and come straight to the gig, yours truly had his excuses neatly lined up for playing like a retarded chimp in boxing gloves. So that’s pretty much what I did.

I’m not sure what excuses the others had, but actually we seemed to get away with it – helped no doubt by a quick restoarative dose of free beer, we managed to get to the end of the night without too many musical trainwrecks. Although, to be fair, one was probably enough.

Saturday night, and a nice easy gig at the Dolphin in Oldland Common; we were able to revel in our musical loveliness, and I rather enjoyed being awake this time.

Coming up this week – three gigs in a row, haven’t had this much fun for quite a while…

Thursday 6th – Royal Oak, Chipping Sodbury
We believe this one to be an 8:30 start, and although it’s a bit cosy, once we’ve actually shoehorned all the kit in, it’s jolly good fun in here – the only catch being we all have to get up stupidly early the next morning for work. I bet Jimmy Page doesn’t have this trouble.

Friday 7th – Queen’s Tap, Swindon
Lively pub just opposite the station in sunny Pighill, they likes their rock in here. Which is just as well, ‘cos that’s what they’re going to be getting. 🙂

Saturday 8th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Brilliant fun in here, we may even be bringing a small entourage with us just to liven things up even further. Also a good chance to catch up with the lovely Clothears Massive, so I’m looking forward to this one even more than usual.

Er – that’s it, having been off duty for a week I can’t think of any jokes this time.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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20-08-2018 – The Difficult Week

Good morning peeps!

Well, it’s been a – shall we say – “difficult” week in rock…

Our poor Em’s spakky knee is starting to get better, but slowly, so the poor darling is still having to resort to using what we know call The Apparatus to hold her leg together during gigs; Ben managed to cut his thumb in half, whilst engaging in the unfamiliar practice of cleaning his flat – but I trumped them both; whilst I was innocently waiting at a red traffic light, some <> drove into the back of the van, and then drove off before I could get his number. <>

Apart from a bit of whiplash stiff neck-type stuff, I’m okay, but my poor little van will have to be written off – it’s exactly two inches shorter than it used to be. I know this, ‘cause there used to be two inches to spare when it was fully loaded with all the kit – and now there isn’t. My local garage managed to hammer it out enough to be able to open the rear doors so I can still use it for now, but it’s not going to last; and it’s now impossible to drop the spare wheel out, ‘cause there’s some chassis in the way where there didn’t used to be…

Still, after a fractious week arguing with insurance companies and modifying bits of van so I could actually lock the doors once they were open, we were able to fulfil our gigging destiny.

The birthday party gig on Saturday went rather well; although the nice big stage to prance about on was rather wasted as Em was not really prancing fit, and I was somewhat restricted by having to try and play the entire set without moving my right shoulder… nonetheless, they all seemed to enjoy it, and Em did a magnificent job of diplomatically shepherding a teetering drunk lady off the stage, back to the safety of the floor, without damage. We’re going to get her a hi-vis to wear for such occasions in future.

Sunday afternoon at the Sandringham was rather quieter, shoehorned as we were between the Sunday lunch crowd and the mid-evening pub quiz; one of those gigs where it’s best to adopt a philosophical attitude, and think of it as being paid to practice.

Right then, we’re off on various holidays for a bit, so you’ll just have to do without any rawk’n’roll malarkey for a while. As I’m not here, you won’t be getting one of these missives next week, so I’ll tell you know about what’s coming up in a fortnight’s time…

Friday 31st August – The Swan, Thornbury
This is actually the very day I come back from my hols, so I’ll probably be arriving breathless and slightly late, with sand between my toes, and no idea how to play the guitar. So – apart from the sand, business as usual, then!

Saturday 1st September – Dolphin, Oldland Common
It’s been ages since we played here, so much so that I can’t really remember anything about it. Like so much of my life.

Right, that’s your lot for now, I’m off to pack my bucket and spade.

In the meantime, if anybody does want to buy a recently customised, particularly short-wheelbase Renault Kangoo, do get in touch, won’t you….

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