Tag Archives: Queen Victoria

06-01-2020 – Health Y’all


Well, enormous apologies to anybody who came out to see us last week – we weren’t there, due to a particularly nasty medical complaint contracted by one of our number. Much as we hate having to cancel gigs, in this instance it really was for the better, there are some things that no audience should have to witness…

I shan’t say who our victim was – if you like, you can have a guess – after all, there’s only four of us to choose from (you can summarily discount our Chief Financial Officer, who is (a) not really needed at gigs, and indeed very rarely attends them, and (b) a cat). READ MORE

06-01-2020 – 1920 in 2020

Happy New Year to you all!

And, if you’re reading this, it means we all survived, which can only be a good thing.

Well, to round off 2019, we played what turned out to be a twenties-themed New Year Eve gig at the Three Brooks in Bradley Stoke – where I learned, whilst we were setting up, that the twenties music they were playing through the pub tannoy is exactly like ska, in that it sounds rather jolly and fun at first; but after a while you realise there are only actually three tunes, the incessant repetition of which slowly begins to alter your brain chemistry, leaving you in a fit of barely controllable suppressed rage. Or maybe it’s just me… 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

19-07-2019 – The Misunderstanding Of Sport

Well, good day to you all!

A mighty fine night at the Blue Lagoon on Friday; as our Em was rather wiped out after a long week in Amsterdam (apparently work can be very wearing, probably one of the reasons why I avoid it wherever possible), shiny daughter Lily kindly stepped in to cover for her this weekend.

And, as expected, a fantastic job she made of it, too. I was particularly touched by a comment from a young Ruby (previously unknown to us) who told us she was actually moved to tears by Lil’s performance. And then rather spoiled the compliment by adding, “I don’t normally drink, you know…”. READ MORE

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

09-02-2016 – Of Cupcakes And Nipples

Hey peeps!

Well, if you weren’t there on Saturday, you missed a mighty fine night up at the Queen Vic in Stroud – despite the foul weather, there was plenty of fun to be had, with lots of silliness and dancing around. We were especially pleased to see some ol’ chums show up, and I was quite touched by how many were concerned for my health, after having read last week’s little missive.

I think the highlight of the evening for me was when Rosa, by way of announcing our next song (which is a moderately dreadful number originally by Katy Perry, but which Ben and I have done our best to turn into a grunge metal slag heap), asks the audience to see if they can guess, “Who has previously performed with cupcakes on their nipples?”

That amused me greatly, but not as much as turning round to see Stuart with his hand up…

Of course, it was funny at the time, but there really are some mental images that a chap can do without; I personally expect to be waking up in a cold sweat at 3am for the next few weeks…

However, we can’t be too disparaging about our favourite percussionist; after all, did he not win last week’s Man Of The Match award, by revealing that he actually got propositioned by the nice birthday lady at our last gig…? I mean, she did say she was drunk, but I didn’t think she was that drunk…

I can only assume that she was impressed by his rather formidable alter ego and stage persona, Vlad the rubber chicken, as shown below…

Vlad the rubber chicken

I would normally open this one up as a caption competition, but I really can’t be bothered with the inevitable subsequent explanations to my work’s IT department why I have just received 120 emails with the title “Stuart gets his cock out”…

Anyway, on to happier things…

Friday 12th – The Trout, Keynsham
It’s nice, it’s local, they like to drink beer and spill it all over the floor, then slip over on it while dancing manically. It’s great fun from our point of view, and they all seem happy enough with it.

Saturday 13th – The Barley Mow, Bathwick St, Bath
Never been here before, but last time we played an obscure pub in Bath, we had a jolly fine time. I’m expecting at least that. And who knows, if Stuart continues to carry his “lucky piece of wood” in his trouser pocket (This is absolutely true; if you ask him, he’ll show it to you), he might even get propositioned again. Particularly if he goes back to wearing cupcakes on his nipples….

Square on

02-02-2016 – Valves

Yo homeys!

Well, that was fun; as it happened, we ended up playing 2 gigs this weekend, since we got a call to cover a cancellation on Friday at the Red Lion in Paulton, way down in deepest darkest Zummerzet. We were set up at one end of the pub, while the bar and all the punters were down half a flight of stairs; having played this kind of set up before, we knew that it was going to be hard work dragging the punters up the stairs to join us. As it turned out, it took us until nearly half way through the first set before Rosa succeeded in bullying them to come up and start enjoying themselves.

By the time we had a good bit of momentum going, disaster struck – in the form of a horrible squealing coming from my amp. Not the usual horrible screaming, either; this was truly awful, and Stuart (who had the amp perched right by his earhole) was wincing in pain. Nonetheless, I figured I’d better do something to remedy the situation.

Having kicked my pedals and rattled all the leads, I decided it must be down to a valve dying inside the amp – fortunately, I am prepared for such catastrophes, and always have a spare amp with me; and so after a few minutes of scrabbling around for cables etc (while Rosa and Ben desperately improvised a stand-up comedy routine), I was ready to play again. It was at this point that the jack socket fell out of my guitar. Fortunately, I am prepared for such catastrophes, and always have a spare guitar with me as well… Having run out of things that I could break, we were able to carry on and finish the gig without further mishap.

So, a cheery Saturday morning was spent disembowelling my rig, and trying to work out which of the 6 valves was being naughty, and which of the four spares I had lying around, (half of which are knackered, but I don’t know which half) to put in its place. I managed to guess which was bad, and replace it with that turned out to be good first time. I make that odds of 12 to one, so I was rather pleased with myself.

I was less pleased, when, hoiking the amp back into the van, an agonising pain shot across my spine, down through my leg and across the road to the bus stop. I had somehow managed to tear a muscle in my back, and it was a couple of minutes before I could breathe again, and even then I couldn’t really manage to swear satisfactorily. So, now my rig is working, but I’m not…

Saturday night, and buoyed up my massive doses of painkillers, it’s off into the night to the Jolly Cobbler in Kingswood. And, it did indeed turn to be jolly… er… jolly, and not at all cobblers.

When I rolled up, Stuart and Rosa were already there, setting up, so we (rather circumspectly, in my case) hauled the kit in and busied ourselves setting it up, tripping over cables, treading on each other’s toes, etc. We’re just about done, when Stuart notices that Ben is not present.

“Have you heard from him?” he asks me.

“Nope, since my house is the other side of his flat from here, he’s hardly going to come via mine. Have you got any messages from him?”

“Oh, let’s have a look”. …Ah, yes, here’s a message from half past six…”

It transpires that Ben has tired of waiting to see if Stuart was going to pick him up, and is making his own way over. I have to remind the grumpy sod when he arrives that the upside (not having to hump any heavy kit about) more than makes up for being forgotten about…

The place turns out to be quite lively, there are quite a few bikery types in, and we even get Jesus playing a guest spot on tambourine for us. However, he is soon eclipsed by seventy-odd year old Eddie, who jumps at the chance to play air guitar, and who leaps about in fine fashion.

All too soon we hit the noise curfew and have to pack it in, pack it up, and haul it out; then we decide that we’ve earned ourselves a cheeky beer before we go, and get chatting to one of our very nice dancing ladies for the evening.

As she’s chatting away, one of her pals brings her over a pint of lager.

“Oh, I don’t want that”, she pronounces airily, “This is the band. I’m talking with the band now. Bring me a Jack Daniels instead.”

It’s her birthday (she keeps telling us this) and she’s quite drunk (she keeps telling us this too), she doesn’t go out very often (she keeps telling us this as well), and she is rather taken with our Rosa.

“You have a lovely voice” she observes, “And you’re very young, aren’t you? How old are you?”

“Er..twenty three…”

“Yes, very young”, says our new friend, “Very young”, and then nods towards Stuart.

“Is he your granddad?”

Rosa is slightly nonplussed, Ben and I are collapsing with laughter. Stuart is a little bemused.

“Only twenty three…”, considers the birthday girl, and then suddenly waves an accusatory finger at Ben, Stuart and I.

“You lot keep your hands of her, do you hear? She’s too young for you, it’s not right. Leave her alone. Bloody perverts…”

Rosa’s nonplussed-edness is now total and complete, Stuart’s bemusement is enough to fill an entire arcade, and Ben and I can hardly breathe with laughter.

“I’m sorry” says our friend, “I’m a bit drunk, really. I don’t go out very often. It’s my birthday, you know…”

And finally it’s off home, to think pure thoughts, and to indulge in a small bottle of whiskey (for the pain, you understand).

Right then, coming up this week, just the one on Saturday – but it’s a bit of a doozy…

Saturday 6th February – Queen Vic, Stroud
Lovely lovely fun; assuming my back has repaired itself, and my rig doesn’t commit hara-kiri again, there’s oodles of scope for prancing around and silliness. Can’t wait…

Square on

And finally…

What do you call a Chinaman who refuses to wear slip-on shoes?


21-09-2015 – Pirate Princess

Ahoy there, shipmates!

This week, we’re blogging in accordance with our new inclusiveness policy, so there’s lots of Subtitles For The Hard Of Thinking – in short, less words, and more pictures. A bit like, “Where’s Spot?”*.

Now read on…

We had an absolutely fantastic evening up at the dear ol’ Queen Vic up in Stroud on Saturday – only the second gig we’ve played with young Miss Rosa at the helm, and of course, being International Talk Like A Pirate Day, a perfect excuse to dress up like a bunch of silly buggers.

So we did; there was much eyepatchery and “Aharr”-ing before we even set off, and when we arrived we were delighted to find our old pals John and Anne grinning and waiting for us.

My beloved Dem came along for the night too, ostensibly to take a few pictures, but mainly I suspect to wear the captain’s hat…


…and once we were set up and soundchecked, she tried to get us to pose for a team photo – this was the best she could manage…

Pirate Angel Up Front

Rosa, you’ll note, is the attractive one who isn’t me.

I enquired whether she’d bought the “pirate princess” outfit especially for this evening.

“No-o-o-o”, she admits, “I – er – I already had one anyway…”

I think she’s going to fit right in.

So, with the stage, drumkit – and anything else that couldn’t get out of the way fast enough – suitably draped in flags and assorted piracy regalia, it was time to start making a noise – but not before Dem took this photo specifically to quell the ugly rumours currently circulating that I never tune up before a gig.

Alan tuning up

See? That’s me, tuning up, that is.

Clear evidence that I DO actually tune up; It’s just that the way I play, it doesn’t make any difference, that’s all.

So, off we went – and a vastly entertaining evening of it we had…

Rosa & Ben

Unfortunately, no photographs have survived of the stuffed parrot we’d hastily gaffa-taped to Rosa’s shoulder…

Parrot missing

…but she did pull off a convincing hornpipe…


(that last phrase sounded rather more dodgy than I intended)

…Still, towards the end of the evening, we were joined onstage by a chorus of lovely air guitar ladies…

Guitar Ladys

…one of whom was kind enough to give me a few tips…

Tips for Alan

…and we ended the evening with the almost inevitable rubber-duck-enhanced speed guitar duel (you can see in this shot that the fingers are actually on fire)…

Duck solo

…which (it is my firm belief) I won. Because I had a rubber duck on my side.

So, all in all, that was huge fun. Coming up this week – a kinda sad moment, as it’s our last gig with Lou…

Friday 25th – The Trident, Downend
A nice little local pub, this one, and the last time in the foreseeable future that we’ll be causing Lou the regular exasperation that we do so well. We’ve had a great time with her over the past two and a half years, and we’re all wishing her the very best of luck with her other projects. I’m sure she’s looking forward to the prospect of not having to spend her Saturday nights with the same bunch of idiots every week.

In the meantime, we’re also looking forward to hitting up the streets with Rosa; who, in addition to her undisputable musical talents, is an unstoppable bundle of fun, and appears to actually be ahead of the rest of us in the playing sillybuggers game – in fact, I’m beginning to wonder how long we’ll be able to keep up with her…we’re not used to looking like the normal ones.

Thas’ your lot for now…

Square on

*He’s in his basket.

14-09-2015 – Arrrrr

Ahoy there, me hearties!

Well, a mighty fine weekend of it that was an’ all, aboard the good ship Angel Up Front. And shiver me timbers, if the maiden voyage under our new Cap’n Rosa didn’t bring us safely home to shore with our pockets a bulgin’ with plunder, and barely a cannon shot to the mizzen mast. Although to keep the rest of the crew in order, she did have to give deckhand Stuart fifty lashes with the cat, just to make an example of him.

He’s fully recovered now, but the cat’s still off its milk….

So, the winds look set fair for the next weekend’s voyages, when we’ll be raiding the rich pickings of Stroud Bay, fleecing a few merchantmen whilst keeping a watchful eye (the one not under the patch) out for the Revenue.

First off, there be a little scouting expedition in the lifeboat, to spy out the territory..

Friday 18th – Lily B at the Clothier’s Arms, Stroud
The bosun’s daughter back out on the high seas, with a little raid on the dear ol’ ClothEars, where they be friendly folk, who sometimes even help us carry the treasure chests out afterwards.

Saturday 19th – Queen Vic, Stroud
Yaaarrrr! A mighty fine place it be here, there be always a-roistering and a-quaffing aplenty, and I might even bring along my very own Pirate Queen, Dem, just to keep the scurvy dog landlubbers in order. Even better, this date be the annual International Talk Like A Pirate Day. In case you hadn’t guessed…


Pieces of Eight