P R I L 2 0 0 5
10th April 05
weeks since our last show and we all have reason to be
at least a bit grateful to be back on the road. We
have our ups and downs but we are like a little family
when we need to be. There didn't seem to be the
usual sense of dread at the long journey ahead and the
atmosphere in the car was quite serene, for want of a
better description. This was helped perhaps by the
soundtrack CD to one of our collective favourite films,
The Wicker Man. I'd found it in HMV last week,
knowing that it would meet with universal
approval. We nearly all joined in with "The
Landlord's Daughter" and were haunted with the
beauty of "Willow's Song".
The peace was broken with a loud bang as a stone hit the
windscreen. Of course, it couldn't be just a chip,
it had to be the full 6" crack that appeared in the
passenger side. A replacement and the 60 quid excess
is now inevitable!
the Palace shortly after Dave and Ade, but they hadn't
begun to unload the van yet so we crossed the road to
the Chip shop....... by the route that has become sacred
to our rite. (sorry!! Wicker Man
bollocks). Oldhams have evidently become
complacent as the cod was not up to its usual mediocre
standard. Forgot to tell Roy we were going to the
chippy and on return to the theatre he pretended not to
be narked about it, but he clearly held a
grudge. You can always tell.....The 12 year
old edition of Practical Classics comes out and Roy sits
in the dressing room reading the same description of the
Rover V8 engine. This is a pointless thing to do
as he already has enough knowledge to do a rebuild in
under half a day.
sound check, the bracket holding the snare in place on
the snare drum completely sheared off, rendering the
drum useless. Roy was about to make an attempt
at a repair using chewing gum and cigarette papers,
when Sam, one of the theatre technicians announced
that he was in fact a drummer himself and had a very
similar snare drum at home, just 10 minutes
away. Sam saved the day.
On the way out of the theatre to get the drum, Roy's
mood was much improved by bumping into a chap in the
foyer who was setting up a display all about a
motorcycle "Wall of Death". The bloke
in question was Ricky, a wall of death rider since the
early 60's who never so much as broke a nail during
his career. He let Roy and I hold his
"lucky boots". Roy muttered some shit
about 'never washing his hands again' and he had to be
gently coaxed away from his 2-stroke based
conversation with a reminder that we actually had a
job to do here.
break had done us good, I don't know, but it seemed
that we played a really good first set. Our only
concern was for Eddie, who had put his back out
turning off his shower tap this morning. Every
20 minutes on the way down in the car, we heard...
"Arrrrrhhh.....f**kin' 'ell" as either Ed
moved too quickly or we hit a cats-eye. We
pumped him full of Junior Disprin prior to the show in
the hope of relieving his suffering, but it was always
going to be hard with the guitar changes. For
the first time, Eddie worried more about the pain
rather than pulling his rug off. Dirk was on top
form and delivered a more amazing Long Tall Sally than
I can remember.
During the interval, it was time to try on the new
Shea jackets. In our typical fashion...the first
time these jackets come out of the cellophane, is five
minutes before we take to the stage for the second
half. Fortunately...... they fit. Dunno if
the jackets had anything to do with it, but the Shea
section was performed with more gusto than usual....
we all loved it. The audience, who incidentally
were double in number from the previous year, seemed
to enjoy it too.
show, we all popped next door to the Kebab Express for
a quick bite before the journey back. Eddie and
Roy shared a dogs breakfast of doner and chicken
kebab. Dirk went for the Chicken, but organised
his food in the paper in a much more aesthetically
pleasing fashion, and topped it off with just a
sprinkling of fresh lemon juice.......lovely!
could've knocked us over with a hairdryer on its
lowest setting at Hilton Park services; Dave and
Ade pulled in 10 minutes after us. One can now
see Spectrum's reluctance to let go of their van...it
must have a turbo or something. Proves a point
though...... they must be really crap at
map reading on some gigs!!!!
15th April 05
It's a 335
mile journey today, and I can't recall ever having a gig
this far South West. So it's an early start into
Unusually, by Stafford, 50% of the bands bladders are
requiring urgent evacuation, so we pull off into the
services which would otherwise never be considered for a
scheduled stop. We all get coffee except for Eddie
who announces that he won't bother "cos I'll only
spill it on me kecks". We point out to Eddie
that this is an entirely defeatist attitude to
have. Eddie shrugs, and selects a black Americano
from the machine and figures he may as well go the whole
hog and join us in a Ginsters as well. You can't
smoke in this garage so we retire to the car. On the
forecourt, Eddie slips on petrol and spills coffee on
his kecks, proving that you just can't upset the natural
order of things.
The hours pass and the distance is taking its toll...we
are becoming bored and we have run out of insults for
each other as we hit the A30. Fortunately, lady
luck is smiling on us and we come up behind the Spectrum
van. Four pairs of sleeves get rolled up as we
prepare for some serious piss taking. The van easily
does 70 on level ground....over 80 downhill, but a
leisurely 50 as it struggles up the Cornish tors.
The cat and mouse game wears very thin after a few
switchback sections of road and when we see a sign for
services we decide that we have plenty of time to take
another stop. "Services" was a rather
misleading description. A breeze block toilet and
a trailer proudly branded "Anthea's Country
Kitchen" was all that this particular retreat had
to offer. Stewed tea, sugar in an old ice cream
carton (plastic spoon with hardened sugar stuck to it) and bits of cake wrapped in cling film...
you get the drift.
As we arrive
at the Hall, we find four of the theatre crew pushing
the van the final few yards to the load in. The
arduous journey had dislodged the starter motor by all
accounts. There was no Adrian on this job as he
was overseeing the Spectrum installation of a gazillion
watt PA system in Pontins, Ainsdale. We, however,
now suspect a more nefarious reason for our chief sound
The lucrative Billy Butler contract can't be denied as a
motive, but when brother Dave let it slip that Ade has
gone through a major image change this week involving a
razor and a pair of scissors, it occurred to us he may
be trying to avoid us. Filling in
for Ade was young Chris, who has his own PA company and
After such a
long day, the show itself seemed to pass very quickly
and before we knew it we were back in the car on the way
to Taunton which would be our base for the night.
16th April 05
normally arrive much later for a gig at Nailcote Hall,
in fact it is very rare that we see it by
daylight. A stroll round the golf course was very
pleasant, although Eddie proved the kind of irreverent
scum we are by shouting "ooww me feckin head"
in response to an anxious golfers cry of
"FORE!!" Roy, childishly hid in a bush
with tears rolling down his face.
in size between the stage last night in Truro and the
postage stamp proportions of Nailcotes Lant Suite was
difficult to reconcile. So often we have played
this stage, but tonight it seemed smaller than
ever. God knows how many time Rick and Derek have
to exchange "sorry"'s over the 90 minute
set. On paper, joining the first half of the
theatre show together with the Shea section seems to
work fine. In practice, we might have been better
off making some alterations.
22nd April 05
readers only, here is a Real Player file of Long
Tall Sally. Not exactly sure when it was recorded.
Click the link just once, the file should play within
a few seconds. Audio quality is compromised with
the compression used for these files. You will
need Real Player on your computer to play them.
Download it for free HERE!
23rd April 05
under 100 miles we consider to be a local gig, there is
not enough time in the car to get bored and there won't
be any stops on the way. Normally, Dirk would have
gone to this show on his own, but today it's the four of
us piled into the car, with the usual struggle of
packing the boot with our stuff which only just fits.
It's years since we've played in Shrewsbury, and the
first time we've played at The Music Hall. The
Beatles played here on 26 April 1963 so it was nice to
notch up another venue for the list of ones we've also
played. I'd forgotten
what a beautiful town this is and I promise myself to
return and explore its history.
Dave and Ade
were very familiar with this venue, having put PA's in
many times. By the time we arrived, they were almost
completely set up and ready to go.... so what did we
do?... darted out to the chippy and stuffed our
faces before the sound check.
It's a near
sell out show tonight and we all enjoyed it. maybe
Eddie enjoyed it slightly less as his back is still
giving him grief.
29th April 05
Hill Park, Bracknell.
A bright and
beautiful day which I'll wager is the warmest so far
this year, a slight heat haze on the road and the cars'
A/C will get its first proper testing. It's not
the kind of day to be sad........but I can't help it!!
Roy can't help it either, but for different
reasons. As I have explained before, Roy doesn't
exactly resemble the Man from Atlantis in the body hair
department, and the hairs act as a thermal shroud.
Wonderful in winter, but a downright pain in the
summer. I had a physics teacher at school who was
arguably more hairy than Roy, but his was apparently due
to an accident while he was working at the Windscale
power station in Cumbria. Perhaps Roy's loathing
of the warm weather was best explained by Mrs.
H. "I don't know why you don't like the
summer Roy!....When you were a baby you were always
sitting out in the sun strapped in your pushchair.....
you'd be as brown as a berry!"
The very dense M6 traffic due to the bank holiday at
least kept moving today and we managed to catch the van
on the A404, about 20 miles from our destination.
Eddie had brought his mouth organ with him and was
serenading us from the back seat......the three of us
had previously predicted Derek's reaction to this, and
he did not disappoint.... his scowl was venomous!
Arriving at the venue simultaneously with the van, Rick,
Derek and Eddie decided to scarper up the road to the
local Starbucks and watch the world go by over a
coffee. Eddie managed to spill some on his shoes
and we must now believe that this is some sort of
deliberate ritual act because nobody could be this
consistently clumsy...mind you, with Ed, you never
know. My whole life, I have taken silly amounts of
sugar in my tea and coffee. For the last week now,
I have been totally sugar-free with these beverages and
I am yet to taste one that really satisfies without the
calories. I suppose when one gives anything up,
you have to expect that it will take time to adjust.
check was marred by a hideous misunderstanding between
myself and Ade. Ade got in a bit of a twist over a
conversation he overheard me having with Derek. We
were flummoxed when Ade was recounting after the show
and we did our best to reassure him that we were not
talking about him at all.
blow our own trumpets very often, but we all felt that
our performance tonight was particularly good. We
were therefore quite bemused that we had the collective
thought that we were not going down very well with the
audience. In the interval we did a bit of wig
scratching to try to work out what we were doing
wrong. No one could recall anyone making a
balls-up of anything. The sound was really good,
we were as tight as a hamsters arse, and everything
seemed to have a good feel about it. So why did we
feel so down?
Speaking to people after the show, we were reassured
that in fact we had impressed everyone and it was very
well received. Our mate Tracy from Essential who
lives just up the road and had (yet again!) blagged some
freebie tickets said "That was amazing....the best
I have ever seen you.....quite magnificent.....you are
without doubt the best group I have ever seen in my
life....etc etc." Of course, Tracy is
30th April 05
Robin 2, Bilston.
difference a day makes! So sang Esther Phillips
and d'you know what? There is nothing so apt to
describe this appearance at the Robin.
We haven't been here since the alterations were made and
the capacity doubled. It was quite pleasing to
find that the stage hadn't changed and it was basically
the same venue. Brand new dressing rooms, a new restaurant,
a new Noddy's Bar, new green room, but this is still the
best rock'n'roll venue in the country. Cheffy is
still here serving up the cottage pie, it's pretty much
business as usual.
Dave and Ade have opted to use the clubs own monitor
desk instead of the desk we normally use. Dirk
winces a bit at the sound check and can be heard
muttering numbers to Ade.... a code that only they seem
to understand. It's all 250K this and 400K
that. Ade nods knowingly and fiddles with some
knobs. After adjusting the decibels on the
imbalance, (or some such shite) Dirk declares
"I can live with that".
seconds after striking up on stage in front of 700
people, Derek realises that it would be easier to live
with hemorrhoids. The onstage sound is atrocious,
it's all one big noise. On top of the sound
difficulties, we are soaking wet within three songs, the
band are playing like cabbages and although Dirk is
playing and singing all the right notes, it is by his
own interval admission, probably the worst performance
he can recall giving. Something had to be
done. The desk was brought out from the van and
wired up in time for the second half. Perhaps this
helped mentally, as the set was much more enthusiastic
if still smattered with the odd fluff. The on
stage sound was certainly an improvement. A broken
telecaster B string during the Sgt. Pepper reprise,
provided a Les Dawson moment as I tried to transpose the
lick onto another string, and Derek just couldn't let it
lie.....spluttering through the second verse with barely
On the plus
side..... The Robin audience was fantastic, as
ever, and they gave us a brilliant reception. The
chants of "Ringo Ringo" really thrilled Roy,
but of course he can't display it on stage for fear of
losing 'tache adhesion. Thanks to everyone who
turned out to support us...we love ya! Special
thanks to Lou for the live pics.