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Friday 2nd December 05                                                                                                                                   

Nord Als, Denmark.

I think we have all decided that travelling from southern airports is really crap.  Even though our flight from Stansted to Esjberg is not until 12.45, we just can't rely on being able to get there in time if we leave the north in the morning.....such is the state of Britain's roads.
As the guitars have to travel in flight cases and there are 5 of us, we need two cars or a MPV (we will have to look into this).  Ade gets sandwiched uncomfortably between 2 flight cases for 5 miles until we can meet up with Roy at Sandbach. The journey to our Cambridge travelodge is made less easy by the closure of part of the A14, and this puts at least another half hour on the journey.  A few extra minutes were put on the journey when we hit a roundabout that we couldn't find the exit for.  Derek was in the car with me, and we circled the roundabout twice with Roy in hot pursuit.  I put my foot down and started to go faster.....Derek and I howled as we circled the roundabout many times, eventually coming right up behind Roy and Eddie...I wish it was on would have looked great!
At the Travelodge check-in:
Staff member: " So you are a group!....What type of music do you play?"
Me:     "We are a Beatle look-a -like band."
Dirk:    "I really hate you sometimes."

Roy and I drop everyone and the gear off at the Stansted terminal in the morning and then drive the several miles to the long stay car-park which is somewhere near Colchester.  When we return to the terminal by bus, the others have checked in all the baggage and there is only the excess for me to pay.  This is ridiculous... we are travelling with the bare minimum of equipment and we are still charged 55 for being 10kg over the Ryanair allowance. (the woman in seat number 12C's left tit must have weighed at least twice that!)
Roy and I were convinced that the check in staff told us "Gate 14" were boarded the little shuttle train to take us to the terminal.  It turns out that the Ryanair woman had a speech impediment and had actually said "Gate 40".  We were in the wrong terminal...and there was no way back!!  Security are called, and we have to go through the ludicrous rigmarole of being taken to the other terminal by car.  So rather like that episode of Mary Mungo & Midge, where Midge accidentally gets put in a post box......we get to see the "back-stage" area of the airport.  Roy is in "apron-heaven"!  We make the flight.

The sun is going down as we touch down at Esjberg.  Eddie performs acrobatics on the luggage carousel, when he discovers one of the bags has fallen off on the other side of the belt.  Fleming is waiting patiently to meet us and informs us we have a 90 minute drive ahead of us to Nord Als, through the most unchanging countryside that Europe has to offer.  We are all really hungry, but there is no time to stop, we must grab something when we arrive.

The venue is a leisure centre and we are playing in a massive sports hall.  It turns out that this is the point of sale for tickets for the the Nord Als Festival in the summer. (We are playing it in June 2006).  The idea is, that we play while people queue for their tickets and get pissed, a popular Danish pastime.  Everything is all a bit rushed, but thankfully Ade is here, so we don't have to worry too much about the sound, he will take care of that.  Our hotel is adjacent to the leisure centre so we wig up in our rooms and march over to perform our 70 minutes set at 8 o'clock.
I would love to report that the gig was a real hoot and that everything was really rockin', but sadly I can't.  The 500 or so punters clung desperately to the walls, like shy teenagers at a school disco occasionally putting their brown beer down to applaud a valiant effort from the band.  Ade said the sound was really good and we were really doing the business for a while.  He then commented that it was apparent that we were losing a bit of interest in our performance.

It seemed that once the show was over, the leisure centre was not going to be the place to be.  Dirk and I sussed out that there was a place in town called "Pubben", where we could seek alcoholic refreshment and "come down" from the highs of the performance.  Fleming took us out in the van and we all eagerly started drinking lager.  Well....  we had a laugh, and Dirk, Eddie and I got quite pissed.  Roy and Ade, made tracks back to the Hotel after an hour.  There was just enough left in the coffers for us to get a taxi back to the hotel, fortunately we had the address written down.... we had no clue wherethefuckwewere!  A common lager induced problem.

The trolley with food, left for us at the hotel, was a most welcoming sight, and the three of us made wonderful sandwiches from Roy and Ades leftovers.  We went to bed, and I was drunkenly enthralled with the clock that projected the time onto the ceiling of my room.  Dirk caught Eddie tiptoeing downstairs to polish off the remains of the brown beer that was left in the jug.

Saturday morning......I feel like shit...Eddie is late getting out of the room..... Why would ANYONE want to drink lager?

Wednesday 7th December 05                                                                                                                          

Hilton Metropole Hotel, NEC, Birmingham.

It's hard to motivate myself to make a post a week after these gigs, but for the sake of keeping the blog complete, I may as well have a bash.  Eddie has been known to come out with the phrase "This fuckin' country!" once or twice over the last few months...and we all sort of feel the same way.  A few years ago, we could have done a gig here in Birmingham, traveled back home and then set off for London late afternoon the following day to easily make a 9 o'clock on stage in the city.  Not anymore.  Unless we want to spend hours on the motorway tomorrow, we will have to stay in this locale overnight.

We arrive at the Metropole and head for our usual parking place round the back of the function suites.  The off-hand security staff inform us that it is no longer permissible to park at the back of the hotel, we must off load and then park in the hotel car park.  Of course, the car park is full, but they graciously allow us access to the contractors car park.  By the time I get to the dressing room after parking, I am piss wet through.
Derek arrives shortly afterwards, but manages to escape the rain.

This is a Christmas party for a large stationery supplier.  500 people in the Kings Suite hell bent on a 60's themed piss up.  There is much interest in the ice sculpture of a flacid cock.  We will only ever be secondary entertainment...but one gets used to such things.  I am sure that some of the guests were impressed by our performance.  It was pretty painless for us, but were not coming off stage with any kind of euphoria.

We are staying at the Days Inn at Warwick Services.  Travelodge have a check out time of 12pm.  The Days Inn chain, which are slightly more expensive, but do provide you with a corby trouser press, insist on an 11am check-out.  However, for an extra 10, you can sleep an extra hour.  This is an example of everything that is wrong with "this fuckin' country".... greed!  I wonder how many people take up this "offer" and pay in advance for the little luxury.  We certainly were not going to.

Thursday 8th December 05                                                                                                                            

The Bridge, London.

Roy and I emerge from our room just before 12.....and give it legs to the services to meet Eddie and Derek before anyone has the chance to suss that we are 45 late checking out and tries to slap some sort of fine on us.
We decide to make the journey to London last 6 hours rather than pay the congestion charge.  No one is particularly bothered about walking round the city, so we will just kill time in the's all very very dull.
The congestion charge is not applicable after 6.30pm so we find ourselves skirting the zone until we can wander in and find the venue.  The Bridge itself looks fab the way it is laid out for this party, but we can't help but wonder who is going to be that interested in what we have to offer.  After a brief sound check, we all wander off for a walk round the London Bridge area.... it's very pretty at night.

Our 70 minute performance comes and goes as most of the corporate shows do these days and we find ourselves heading back north to the joys of M6 congestion in the early hours.

Friday 16th December 05                                                                                                                             

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

It's Christmas, so it's time for Nailcote and our cabaret show.  Nothing much new to report.  Sandwiches and the same loose board on the stage.
The evening finished with a pleasant discussion regarding "Hey Jude", although there would be more discussion regarding Adrians debit card a little later, to which we were not party to.

Saturday 17th December 05                                                                                                                             

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

Take 2.
More or less, exactly the same..........
The evening finished with another pleasant discussion about "Hey Jude"

Saturday 24th December 05                                                                                                                             

The Robin 2, Bilston.

Our last show of 2005 and one which I believe we all enjoy.  The band plays very well tonight and is received with the Robin's usual enthusiasm.
It's not been a great month and we all seem a little jaded.  It is a relief that we can still put on a good show, but give us an audience, and we will usually deliver the goods.
Happy Christmas!

Pic: Lou Russell Pic: Lou Russell Pic: Lou Russell Pic: Lou Russell


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