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Saturday 2nd July 05                                                                                                                                         

Theatre Royal, Wakefield.

Bloody, buggering, Bob Geldof!!     Not content with out-scruffying me on a regular basis, he has to try and save the world with the biggest ever series of free pop concerts on the day we are trying to put bums on seats in Yorkshire to save ourselves from poverty.
Actually, it's not something to joke about.  If you are reading this, then you can't possibly imagine what life is like for the people that Bob is trying to help. David Steel saying that Geldof was on an ego tip was
contemptible.  Someone had to emote populations in this way...take your fucking hat off to him!
Obviously, we were going to miss most of the "greatest show on earth", but we managed to catch bits on the radio in the car and some snippets on the telly in the Green Room.

It seems like a long time since we've done our own full show (actually it's 4 weeks) and you would think that we would be confident of remembering all the songs after such a gap!.  It was universally agreed that we could do with running through a few tunes during the sound check.  This more for the benefit of remembering certain parts than actually checking the quality of the sound.
This is a probably a sore point now.... but......Adrian!.....  you WILL see the funny side of this in a few months!!!..........
"Someone".....   had forgotten to pack the microphone box on the van!!!
Well......    "that's no big deal is it Ade?"    "Do we need 'em?"
By the grace of God, the theatre had a nifty supply...and there was no real problem, but even as the "cloth-ears" of the ensemble, I noticed a distinct difference in the vocal mics.
And so it came to pass that the sound check revolved more round the vocal mics than a rehearsal, but we did manage a few songs that came up in answer to the call:  "Anything you want to run through?"  The rest was left up to our "professional aptitude" and a few crossed fingers.

As we stood behind the iron, while the play on tape was turning, there was some confusion between us as to what the first song was.  For the sake of making things difficult for ourselves, the first song is not printed on the set list.  Dirk thinks we open the show with "Twist & Shout".  No!...  we don't!...  Roy thinks it's "Please Please Me", but I know for a fact that we had settled on "I Saw Her Standing There".  Everyone gets the message and nods you do when you can't remember the answer to a question in a quiz...the answer is given....and you go...  "Arh yeah... I knew that!"
So off we go again, bouncing through the show with it all coming flooding back.  Sometimes it's best not to think too much about it,  just let the auto-pilot take over.  Eddie was in a strange mood on stage, with his song introductions being more bizarre than ever.  I have no idea what he was talking about when he mentioned Wakefield Prison, but it was making me chuckle.  Anyway, the show was getting a great response from the Yorkshire crowd, and even the audience participation with the hand claps on Eight Days A Week, did not have to be dragged out of them.  As the interval came, we were sopping was incredibly hot on stage.

The second half got even better....until....     The first full band song after the costume change was "Don't Let Me Down".  As Roy hit the cymbal at the end of the intro to the song, he collapsed into his hyena laugh.  We all turned to see what was troubling our PVC clad percussionist.  Turns out, that Roy had forgotten to install his ear defenders in the change over.  For the last 18 months Roy hasn't hit a drum without these plugs in his ears. Consequently, the volume of the crash cymbal was disturbingly alarming to him and he completely lost the plot.  After a moment or two to settle himself, he counted in take-two and braced himself for the onslaught of noise.  One thing that has thus far not been mentioned in the blog is Roy and his "sudden noise issues".  This perhaps requires a more lengthy explanation, but I notice that we have some gigs coming up this month which involve firework displays.....  I believe that will be the right time to broach this sensitive topic.

At the encore, most of the audience (that we were able to see) were on their feet, and rockin' out.  We should definitely encourage more of this.  We seem to play better and certainly enjoy it more and the audience in turn seem to get off on the band more.  Good times!
A quick rub down with a paper towel (baby wipes in Roy's case) and we went out to the bar to meet some of the punters from the show.  This part of the evening was always referred to by John as  "them lot are in the bar gettin' their arses kissed"....   naturally,  there is an element of that involved, but the primary reason is draught shandy......devils that we are.

Back in the Green Room, Pink Floyd were in full flow at Hyde Park.  We all stood and crouched in awe at seeing Roger Waters back on stage after years of acrimony with the band.  The theatre crew wanted us out because they wanted to go home, but everyone just had to stay put until after "Comfortably Numb".  That song  choice tugged a few heart strings I'm sure!!

Floyds exit from the Hyde Park stage, signaled our exit from the theatre and meant that we would be listening to Radio 2's coverage of the finale in the car.  And here he was....old "thumbs aloft" back on stage at the end of the show, proving once again that a Liverpudlian is STILL the most universally respected musician on the planet.  As "The Long and Winding Road" faded into the outro of Hey Jude and the inevitable "na na na...  na na na nars", we were prompted into an age old discussion about that being the "best" way to finish off a set.  We all agreed that it most certainly works and whenever we do it, the audience loves it.  Eddie and I, still can't feel very comfortable with it though, and neither of us are articulate enough to explain why.

Earlier on tonight, my good friend Alex had left a message on my phone, suggesting that the best PR Macca could do, would be to sing Imagine.  Without speaking about it to him, I know exactly what he meant.  If Paul had finished the set by saying "here's a song written by a mate of mine who can't be with us tonight" and gone into Imagine, I think it would once and for all made a huge and poignant point.... Lennon and McCartney are as important as each other, no matter which way round the names are.  Imagine could have been written for this very event, it's lyric never had more significance and I can't think of a more powerful artistic statement finishing off such a day.  If that total fucking bastard hadn't pulled the trigger.....who knows?   Imagine!


Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too,
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one,
I hope some day you'll join us,
And the world will live as one.



It is amazing and wonderful and inspiring to see people stand up and say we want to change things, we want to make things better. I have always believed that when people work together there is very little that can't be done. Everywhere you turn though there's someone with a vested interest trying to wreck the party. Sometimes I wonder just how long greed, corruption, and arrogance can keep calling the shots. It feels like forever though I hope that's not true. And I hope when the cameras and the guitars and the wristbands are gone that people go on trying to make a difference, not just with the big things like fair trade and world poverty but with smaller things too. I regularly teach a creative movement class with a special needs group and I had a girl who loved the music and loved the dancing but thought it would be too hard for her to be able to do. I showed her that it wasn't, that she could even do it sitting down if she wanted to. By the end of the session she was up and dancing and she said to me 'I did it, and I wasn't scared.' I think it's probably the profoundest thing I ever heard. Imagine if everyone said that and meant it. That's real revolution for you and not a penny spent, not a bullet fired.

It's very strange here this week. On Saturday we had the biggest march ever in Scotland and no one suffered anything worse than sunburn. Yesterday we had pitched battles in Princes St which my friends narrowly missed getting caught up in on their way home from work. I have a friend in Lothian & Borders police. He's fine I'm glad to say but I will be glad when this week is over I think. Is it just me or is an 'organised anarchist' a bit of a failure? Surely if you organise anarchy you can't really be much good at it? Supposing you rip up and burn up the whole world just for the sake of it, what then? It takes seconds to break something, damage something, destruction is easy - and always ultimately pathetic. What's hard is to create things, to nurture and build things. That takes real patience and real work. It's a gift.


(Who is too wise to tidy shelves !!!!)

Wednesday 6th July 05                                                                                                                                      

Grosvenor House, London.

Corporate event for 1100 American and Canadians in the splendor of the Grosvenor House Great Room.  We've played this room many many times over the years, but it looked particularly magnificent tonight.
Very well received 60 minute set.  No dramas, no problems, and a gig that even Eddie enjoyed!

The day London won it's 2012 Olympic bid and the eve of the bombings that were to devastate the City.

The Live8 stage



4.  Jayne Tunnicliffe
|| Theatre Royal, Wakefield  :: July 2005
Better known to millions of Coronation Street viewers as Cilla's slapper sidekick Yana Lumb, comedian Jayne has also appeared in That Peter Kay Thing, Phoenix Nights and was a regular on Lily Live.  A very old friend of Rick's and a newer friend of Dirk, Eddie and Roy, she has recently discovered the piss taking opportunities to be enjoyed at Cavern Beatles concerts.  Her celebrity status was firmly confirmed last year when she was attacked by an old woman wielding a handbag in Ethel Austin, for the heinous crime of holding Chesney's dog, Schmeicheal, hostage.

Saturday 9th July 05                                                                                                                                          

Mill Hotel, Bridgenorth.

We don't play a lot of weddings these days.
We arrived at the Mill Hotel to find Ade and Mark still setting up.  They weren't allowed access to the room until six o'clock and it took them almost an hour to get the equipment from the van to the room we were playing in, such was the strangled route they had to take.  Less than ideal!  The hotel were quite particular about how much space the gear could take up, so the area we actually had for playing in was cramped to say the least.  As for putting the whole PA in....forget it!  Still  the job got done with as little fuss as possible.  We were supposed to start playing at 8.45, but this was not going to have to be put back slightly because the set up still wasn't complete.

We had agreed to play two sets, which from experience we have found never works as well as one set at this sort of function.  However, this is what they wanted so we didn't argue.

John, the Brides brother, was very helpful to us all the way through, giving Derek his room to get shaved in and bringing us some food during the interval.  

All in all, I think it was a good gig!  An incredible rendition of 'No Reply' from Eddie had us gagging back the laughter.

Ducks...  you've gotta love 'em!

Sunday 10th July 05                                                                                                                                           

Roy Hitchen's Birthday

A selection of images to celebrate Roy's birth. 

"Piss off kids.....  it's mine... touch it, and I'll break your legs!"

Tuesday 12th July 05                                                                                                                                      

Grosvenor House, London.

In view of the events in London last Thursday, we were quite surprised to learn that this gig would be going ahead.  After 9/11, so many corporate jobs were cancelled, especially for American clients, and it seemed a nap that this series of functions would go the same way.  Fortunately this is not the case, and we found ourselves once again heading south for Park Lane and the grandeur of the Grosvenor House Great Room.

I've probably mentioned this before, but The Beatles played this room on 2 December 1963.  Of course, they only performed 7 songs ( I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You,  This Boy,  I Want To Hold Your Hand, 'Til There Was You,  She Loves You and Twist & Shout).  This was a charity cabaret event performed to a black tie audience.  Evidently, The Beatles were less than happy with this sort of thing and never accepted similar bookings ever again!
In contrast, we have accepted dozens of engagements at the Grosvenor.  Derek and I are, I suppose, quite indifferent to the venue.  Roy on the other hand loves it, and even goes as far as saying that it is his favourite gig (theatres excepted),  I think its the whole Mayfair thing for him....  Bentley's and Aston's aplenty!

The only difference between this show and the show last week was 200.  That is to say there were 200 more people in the room and therefore there was no room for the small dance floor that was in place at the previous function.  We enjoyed a great reception from the audience and even got a standing ovation at the end, which is a real rarity at corporate events...but hey!...  we're a good group!

Eddie had been given a pep talk about getting out of the hotel double quick tonight.  Last week we were waiting ages for him to come out of the shower and finish his pedicure.  Tonight we were able to get on the road for twenty to ten.....we should be home before half twelve!
Bastard M40!...long tailbacks.   Bastard M6....more of the same..... took us 4 hours!

Eddie and Roy play Tiddlywinks into Coffee Nation cups

Friday 15th July 05                                                                                                                                              

Festival Too, Kings Lynn.

Arrive at Kings Lynn to find Ade on his own setting the stage.  Watching eagerly were about a dozen people sitting in fold out chairs just behind the barrier, clearly intent on bagsying the best spec.  The stage is actually a curtain-sided trailer, but seems a bit deeper than a normal 40 footer.
This will be the first time we have performed (more or less) the full show on an outside stage and we wondered how it would go down.
Clare had brought a pair of Beatle boots for Eddie to try.  Like Cinderella, Eddie struggled to get these size 7's on his feet.  Socks on..... socks off.....Vaseline down the sides....shoe horn......crow bar....  nothing seemed to work.  If only he had remembered he was a size 8, we would not have had to witness the slapstick performance.

At 8 o'clock, quite a crowd had gathered in the Market Place as we took to the stage.  The show was pretty good I think but nothing remarkable.  As we went out for the second half, the crowd seemed to be a bit bigger, maybe 5,000...dunno, I'm not too good at counting.
We went down very well, but as we returned to the dressing room, we had the thought that perhaps we had played too long for casual observers.  It might have been better if we had just played an hour or so.

The organisers of Festival Too, looked after us very well and we would like to thank them for that.

This weekends scheduling was not that clever.  We have to travel back to Liverpool and then up to Scotland in the morning, no one was much looking forward to the drive, but dems der breaks, we just have to get on with it.

eddie struggles to get into a pair of Beatle boots
Ade has been warned about that sunbed
Pic. Clare Ellis Pic. Clare Ellis Pic. Clare Ellis Pic. Clare Ellis

Thanks to Clare for sending this article.

Saturday 16th July 05                                                                                                                                         

Saltcoats Rock, Saltcoats, Ayrshire.

Everyone has spent the night at my house as we have to be on the road for 10am to be in Saltcoats for 2 and get a soundcheck.   Ade will not be coming up with our gear, it just isn't practical, so we have hired gear waiting for us in Ayrshire.

The M6 north today is clogged up with clowns who are simply shit drivers.  No one appears to like the inside lane, when the road widens to 4 lanes between Preston and the M55, they all move over one lane leaving 2 lanes unused.  It is SO frustrating.  The dozens of tossers pulling caravans heading for the Lakes, must have some secret agreement not to use their indicators, as they pull out on us randomly.  Let us not forget the git who braked in the outside lane to (eventually) move over to the middle lane.  Had to pull in at Tebay services to calm down.  Dirk got the last egg at the £5.95 (5 item) breakfast counter.  I was gutted, so settled for a coffee and decided to eat later.

A bit further north, and it seemed like most of the plebs had turned off to terrorise the roads of Lakeland, so our progress improved and my temples stopped throbbing.  Our conversation turns to the topic of death, and our individual funeral arrangements.  Roy refuses to discuss it, and attempts to turn the chat to the steam powered model truck he has acquired for his birthday.  Eddie and I are politely interested, but not really into these things.  Seemingly out of character, Dirk is remarkably wistful about Mamods.   I am shocked!

Bang on two o'clock we hit Royston Vasey, errr sorry, I mean Saltcoats.  We are not particularly pleased to learn that we have been tricked into arriving early.  We thought we were on stage at 3.30 but it turns out that we will not be on till at least 5........BUGGER! extra hour in bed would have been lovely.  It does, however, give us a chance to sample the delights of the town for an hour or so!
The café we settle on is, frankly, the best of a really, really bad bunch.  I have found my fried egg, and bits of someone else's by the looks of it.  Mainly dark brown to black in colour, this egg has been fried in oil that has seen a lot more action than is probably legal under food hygiene law... but hey!..  it's the first hot grub I've had in 48 hours so, for now......  fuck me cholesterol levels!
I wish I'd waited another 20 minutes......  I could have been having fish n chips in the Melbourne Fry, another fine eating establishment that we stumble on on the way back to the stage.  The clientele looked like extras from 'Midnight Express', but they were quite elderly so it must be assumed that the food must provide some nutrition.

I'm just stalling here a bit, because I'm finding it difficult to find the words to describe the next part of the day.  This is the bit where we suss out what equipment has been provided for us.  We get to the stage and Roy examines the drum kit.  It's a Hayman...ok it's not a Luddy.. but its good, very nice....even an oyster finish...  its a good kit......there is nothing wrong with the drum kit, as drum kits go, this is a good one.  We like the drum kit.
The Guitar Amplification:
Remember that scene in Spinal Tap, where the tiny Stonehenge comes down?  Well my amp. looks like an AC30 but....... built for a dwarf.    It's a fuckin practice amp!!!!!  "Jesus Titty Fuckin Christ!!!!"  Eddie has a similar scale model of a Marshall....
I'm looking around.......  where is Jeremy Beadle?  Is there a hidden camera?
We have 2 options..... throw a huge wobbler....   or get on with it!  After all they say a bad workman always blames his tools......   yeah?.... Well you try and do some basic DIY with one of those chocolate tool sets you used to get at Christmas.
Sound check?... there is no option for one of those.
"And here they are..........The Caverrrrrnnnnnn  Beatles!"
Derek:  "Rick...  turn your amp on"
Me:     "It IS fuckin on......FULL on"
Derek:  "Oh"
The gain produced by this piece of inadequacy, was barely enough for the PA to get a signal from it...I might as well have been miming.
We went down quite well.  I have no comment to make about that.

We travel home in relative silence.  I really don't care WHAT happened in "I Want To Hold Your Hand"...I'm wondering if McDonalds are hiring at the moment.

"The Bronze Hand"

Sunday 17th July 05                                                                                                                                           

Halton Show, Widnes.

Yesterday is 250 miles away,  Widnes is but 10 minutes from my house (8 minutes if the wind is right).  You know when you're in Widnes, because as you come over the Runcorn Bridge, someone in the car will always say..."Who's farted?"  This is due, in the main, to the amount of heavy chemical industry present in this part of the world.  However, I always find that it is a good time to stealthily "let one go" and have the luxury of a well known alibi.
Spike Island, (where the show ground is) doesn't actually smell, before I start offending my neighbours too much.

Ade is here with our gear, our lovely, lovely gear.  It is very comforting.   With there being about 8 acts on the bill and us being last on, the amps couldn't be set up until just before our show, so there was no sound check, just a couple of one twos, a wing...  and  a prayer.  The prayer came from Ade who was mixing from a van parked at the side of the stage.  We figure it took him a couple of songs to get the front of house sounding OK, but we were happy enough with the on stage sound and at least we were able to do our job.

I would say that this was probably the most enjoyable of our trio of al fresco performances this weekend.

We came off stage and the fireworks were about to start.  It was a great display.  Roy watched with his headphones firmly plugged in and "This is the New Shit" turned up to eleven!

This was the last night of Aimee Mann's UK tour, and we have been working on every date.  I'm pissed off!!  Oh well.... suppose she will be back in another 3 years!

Jenni Jaye Fiddlers Ferry.....  a wonderful power station "Right.....  now to put the shits up that drummer!"

Monday 18th July 05                                                                                                                                           

Grosvenor House, London.

Is that "I Got You Babe" I can hear on the wireless?

People keep telling me off for calling the radio a wireless, but I'm just like that!  
It's like I still say, "ten bob" in shops when I know full well that the young sales assistants will reply with..."Yer whaa?"  
To me, a Snickers is ...  and always will be a Marathon.  
McCartney/Lennon ?    No no no!   Only on Please Please Me LP.       I must fear change.  
I'm starting to wonder if there is a gene that makes me such a gobshite.

But there IS a difference about's raining.

1200 Californians in the Great Room tonight.  I think this third gig is the best yet, great reaction and another standing ovation.

On the way home in the car, we do a live "wireless" interview with Bruce from.....oh Gawd.... I can't remember the name of the station, but it is in Kings Lynn.  Using the air time to promote the Hunstanton show on 13 August.

I'd like to mention that one of our regular supporters from "down sowf" is going through a bit of shite time lately, having been diagnosed with cancer.  She is about to undergo a course of chemo and is typically good humoured about the whole thing, in spite of the cruel effects this treatment will have.
You will make it through Barbara!  Everybody's routing for you.

Who's got the wet boxers?


5.  Norman Wisdom
|| Warwick Services, Warwick  :: May 1999
A really peculiar scenario this one.   I think it was just me and the last Lennon, Paul Mac, on our way to a gig in my Toyota Supra.  As we pulled up at the garage, there was a similar, Nissan sports car at the pumps with a woman filling the tank.  We got out the car and then Mr. Wisdom got out of the drivers door of the Nissan.  He walked over to us, wearing a pair of plaid slippers, and proceeded to chat about Japanese sports cars and his love of them.  He was actually rather taken with my 'black beauty'.  Funny...he couldn't be arsed to get out and fill the tank, and made his wife do it, but he spent several minutes with us chatting about BHP's.  We resisted the temptation to ask him to scream "Mr. Grimsdale!!!"

Saturday 23rd July 05                                                                                                                                        

Wellington Country Park, Berkshire.

There were a few technical problems which had put all the sound check times back.  Our slot of 4pm was looking very unrealistic as Voulez Vous were still line checking their gear.  The guys from Voulez, were really helpful by dragging their drum riser out for us to use.  Thanks for that fellas, we really appreciated it!!

We were first on tonight, which we would normally be thrilled about, but this time I think we would have preferred to be on later.  At 6.30 it was obviously still daylight, the stage lighting had little effect and the atmosphere in the crowd had not had chance to build up.  Having said that, we got a tremendous response from the audience and we did a good show.

Derek and Roy wanted to go back to the travelodge, so we watched most of Voulez Vous' set and then I drove the pair of them to Reading and darted back to catch The Counterfeits show.
We've been on the same bill as The Counterfeits many times, and they are always a great and entertaining band to watch.  Tonight they were better than ever!  The atmosphere was brilliant, the lights looked ace and Steve was hilarious.  Really enjoyed them.

Eddie had disappeared, and I hadn't seem him since I left to take Dirk and Roy.  Sent him a text to tell him to meet me backstage.  He turned up about ten minutes later, clearly enjoying the effects of the beer tent.  He had not seen the Stones before and was enthusiastic about their performance.  Barging into their changing tent doing a fair old Jagger impression repeating "' 'ere.....  Charlie's good tonight".
I was eventually able to drag Eddie away from the tent and back to the travelodge, where he inadvertently nearly set fire to the petrol station with his ciggie.
The room was a much safer place for him to be and within 20 seconds of his head hitting the pillow he was asleep...dreaming of lager! 

Voulez Vous.....a ha
Rock a bye baby...... full of la..ger!!

Sunday 24th July 05                                                                                                                                           

Grosvenor House, London.

It's pissing down when we crawl over to the services in the morning.  We hope that the rain won't completely ruin the day for the Festival, which was carrying on today with 3 other tribute acts.

While Ade and Mark are setting the stage in the Grosvenor for our forth and final show of this "residency", we all traipse off to Soho in search of coffee and pornography.  We encourage Eddie to have "the hair of the dog" and soon bore of the porn, so march back to the tropical heat of the Grosvenor Green Room.
Security being what it is in London these days, we have to prove who we are before being allowed back into the hotel.  We couldn't remember the name of the function, but with the help of the digital camera, we were at least able to prove that we were a band.  Fortunately, the bow tie asking the questions was aware that it was a Beatles ensemble that had been booked to play at the function.   Technology to the rescue once again.

The show was pretty much exactly as the other three had been.  There were however, some members of the audience close to the
stage, who seemed especially delighted at our performance.  This is always good to see.  Makes the whole thing so much more worthwhile when we look down and see happy smiling faces.

Well that's it for a few weeks now!!......summer holidays just around the corner.   Be back in mid August....  see you then I hope!!!


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