U N E 2 0 0 5
1st June 05
evening flight from Liverpool to Milan was fairly
uneventful. Well uneventful for us perhaps, but
for Adrian Bryan, this was the start of a new
We have long suffered on fly out gigs from not having
someone on our side doing the front of house mix, it
is about time that that changed. Whatever he, or
anyone else thinks, Ade is a crucial member of our
team and we were all delighted that he would be with
us on this trip.
Ade showed none of the anxiety that one would expect
from a first time flier, on the contrary, he lapped up
the invitation to have the window seat. A privilege
usually reserved for Roy, who likes to keep a close
eye on the more technical aspects of the
aviation.....such as "is that fuel dripping
from the wing?" or "that flap could use a
bit of greasing!"
The Ryanair trolley dolly steward was less than useless when
taking our snack orders. I have never known an
airline to run out of sandwiches by row 3, and every
item we asked for was met with an invitation to
purchase an alternative.
"Galaxy muffin please"
"Non monsieur ... ow abowt aye petit pipe
of pringles?....we 'ave onlee chives & chutnee
flavour" (apologies for my poor French
arrived to meet us at the airport with a minibus large
enough for us not to have to sit next to each
other. Always a bonus on such trips, we
can stretch out and not have to fight over arm space.
flown into Italy, but our destination was across the
border into Switzerland, so we were looking at a 90
minute to 2 hour drive. After checking in at the
hotel and dumping our bags, Athos took us across the
piazza del sole, where we would be playing on Friday night,
in search of food. Most places were closed as it
was around midnight, but we did manage to find one
place open where we could get a pizza and some
beers. Ade got off to a poor start with the
locals by setting the menu on fire with the tea light,
but quickly improved as he got to grips with the
Italian language and managed to order a pizza that
looked suspiciously like penne pasta. No matter,
Ade assured us it was delicious.
All fully refueled,
we returned to the hotel. Dirk and Eddie sharing
a room, Roy, Ade and I in the other room. Our
room felt like we should go and get another beer
before bedtime. The others went to bed, but the
face on little Edward told of a deep desire to consume
lager. Dirk had sagely dissuaded him.....I think
this was probably for the best. It was odd that
the one who was most keen to find more alcohol was
Roy,.... perhaps there is a wind of change on
2nd June 05
In spite of getting to bed so late, we (well at least
our room) were woken quite early by the traffic noise
and the drone of a helicopter moving some trees
about. The room was so hot that we had to leave
the windows wide open, leaving no defence against the
volume. There was also a bit of thunderstorm
going on which we hoped would clear the air a
bit. Breakfast was the typical European
affair. i.e. croissants, jam, coffee, and plenty
of orange juice (which I always find essential for
keeping me regular when abroad).
the morning, Dirk and I headed over to the café
across the street, where we both enjoyed some coffee
and Dirk was to take his breakfast of ham and cheese
toastie. It seems that there is no word in
Italian for "toastie", but 5 minutes worth
of Una Stubbs and Lionel Blair impressions did the
trick. Never pooh pooh the value of
charades.....it saves you a fortune in Linguaphone
o'clock we were preparing ourselves for the arse
twitching part of our trip....The press call. We
never really know what to expect on these, but we
always try to get through them with some humour and
First up was an TV interview with Derek and I.
Against a backdrop of the John Lennon Bag One
Lithographs, and with smell of boiled eggs fresh in
our nostrils, we answered the usual questions about
what we do. Although usually keen to pass the
blame and look innocent whenever there is a "guffing"
incident, I, unfortunately, have to take
responsibility for the egg smell. (slightly over-did
the orange juice).
The film crew then moved on to Eddie, who was going to
give them a rendition of 'In My Life' for his
"piece to camera". Looking cool and
relaxed in a lemon blouse, round specs and my country
gent., Eddie leaned nonchalantly back into the
exhibit of Lennon photographs. Spatial awareness not
being one of Eddie's better qualities, he thinks they
are mounted on the wall...... not so....they are on
those exhibition screens, and they don't take much
weight. "oooh fuck!"....Eddie
wobbles, the large photographs fall to the
floor. In a major attempt to keep his balance, 'Lennon
circa '71' gets one of Eddie's sandals on his
In panic, Eddie steps backwards onto
one of the other fallen exhibits.
In horror, the
curators are franticly trying to salvage something to
put on show for the public later that evening, Eddie
is beginning to perspire profusely and Derek and I are
trying to piss ourselves without appearing irreverent.
"I think now outside we make more
pictures" said the photographer.
We gratefully shuffle out of the room do some group
shots of the band, which were supposed to be sort of
informal....but with wigs.
"What have you got that on for...yer tit?"
was Dirks comment on my choice of attire; polo neck
and jacket. Sometimes, rhetoric is Derek's preferred
choice of communication.
We are two
thirds through the press call now and there is only
one more obstacle to negotiate........ They want
us to do the Abbey Road crossing shot. One still
photographer (well two if you count Ade), one TV
camera and four very self-conscious "tits in
wigs" are gathered next to a zebra crossing that
would only resemble St.Johns Wood if one were on
strong medication. With embarrassment flashbacks
that could only be matched by Judy Finnegan if she
ever gets to accept another award, we organised
ourselves into the necessary order for the march
across the street, determined to make this in one
take. It was written in the stars that we would
get it wrong, we are too far apart for the lens on the
camera to get us all in. Take 2 required us to
be more "friendly" in our spacing between
each other. Rapidly losing interest in
reproducing a good likeness of the album cover, we
'gave it legs' back to the exhibition room.
of the afternoon was spent in pleasant fashion,
sitting outside the cafe chewing fat. We had
been asked to attend the opening of the exhibition at
6.30 before going for dinner, so we cordially mosied
over for 6.35. We may have been a little
earlier, but Dirk had fallen asleep on his balcony.
The opening ceremony, for want of better expression,
had already begun and it was probably just as well we
missed the start and elected to wait outside, as the
whole thing was an oration in Italian. The
speakers lasted about half an hour after which there
was a little wine and twiglets affair for the
attendees. Eddie insisted on being photographed
doing his "Derek: after a few wines and
smoking" impression, which amused us immensely.
I'd had a few white wines myself at this point, and
this was going to set me up for a very strange evening
indeed. A casual comment from Derek was
beginning to blend rather uncomfortably with the
alcohol and by the time we set off for the restaurant
with all the organisers of the "Belinzona Beatles
Days" event, I was well on the way to being very,
Eddie tripped over and fell sprawling on the threshold
of the restaurant door and picked himself up with his
now stock reaction:- "Fer fucks sake!"
Settling at the long table for dinner, Derek and Rick
perused the wine list.
"Have you got any Chablis?"
"Well have you got ANY french wine?"
"No signor....just Italian piss"
"Oh!......well.. we'll have this one then"
said Derek pointing to the grape at the BOTTOM of the
Derek and I smiled, but mine was a shade more manic.
The first course of parma ham arrived. Eddie was
heard to say " I've never had raw meat
before..... I fuckin' love it", and with
that, a hand reached across Adrian who was sitting
next to me doing his best to take everything in, and
snatched the ham from my plate. The raw meat had
brought out the animal in young Edward.
I have absolutely no explanation why, but when the
main course arrived (pork chop, chips and beans), I
decided to throw my chips over Roy who was sitting
opposite me. I was feeling very strange and very
angry. This is not the place for me to go into
my emotional state, but I had to leave...there was a
bit of a scene developing. This, incidentally,
had nothing at all to do with Roy, he was a totally
innocent victim in the chip throwing incident.
Dirk followed me out the restaurant and tried to sort
me out, but this was futile... I'd just lost the plot
There we were, two emotional wrecks, two friends with
bonds deeper than we ever really realised.
returned to the restaurant, and I went on a bar crawl
to sort myself out.
Several hours and many beers later, I was walking
round the town and I heard the unmistakable sound of
Eddie's voice swirling round the streets. Eddie
was singing "In My Life" in some pub and I
followed the sound and slumped outside to
listen. I then heard the rest of the band had
got up to do Don't Let Me Down. It was by now,
about 1 in the morning and I decided to head off for
another bar before people started to throw me their
loose change. At 2, I got a text message from
Dirk, telling me to come back to the hotel....and I
was ready for it.
back at the Union, I was greeted warmly by my friends,
and Eddie was proudly showing me the make-over
he had carried out on Ade. We had all agreed
that Ade should get rid of the 'tache he has had since
his teens and Eddie had finally convinced him to take
up the razor. Everyone was now certain that this
was a good move, and it takes years off him.
3rd June 05
del Sole, Bellinzona, Switzerland.
I don't know
how..... but I made it to breakfast, barefooted and
tramp-like. Uncle Roy is sympathetic.
Lunch is at
the same restaurant that I have disgraced myself in the
previous night. This afternoon, things are move
After lunch...we go through the papers, to look for any
stuff that had been printed from yesterday's
fiasco. We came across 'la Regione Ticino', which
is probably a bit like "Merseymart or "The
Bickerstaff Bugle". There.....taking pride of
place on page 15, column 1, row 8, and just underneath the advert
for "alpine stair-lifts" was the article
"I....Cavern Beatles are big in Shit"
Now, I don't pretend to you that my knowledge of the
Italian language is extensive, but it does say
"cover band numero uno", so.... it MUST be
true! Fuck! I hope we don't get mobbed on
the way back to the hotel!
business like soundcheck took place at 5.00, nothing much happened except the excitement of seeing
the guy who had the t-shirts. We'd been given the
events promo t-shirts earlier on and wanted to change
them cos we'd asked for extra large size. When
they were opened they were like, really really big. So
we were looking for a downsize. Derek, with his
ever ready eye to save a shilling, pointed out that we
could use them under the Shea Jackets and we wouldn't
have to buy black t-shirts...... yer tight
bugger!! Our t-shirt friend reminded us of Jeff,
from The League of Gentlemen.
Met up for
dinner with Athos, Susie, and our old friends Eliano
& Nelly. Oh there was no Eddie....was he
having a sleep? Can't remember.....possibly having
a shirt crisis. So a nice couple of hours with
good company till it was time to get ready for the
I must admit, although we staggered our departure from
the hotel to the stage, I didn't feel quite so much of a
git as I thought I would. We were fully suited and
rugged..... in public!!! Cringe cringe cringe!
A telephone call that Dirk made en-route to the stage,
was not a fun part of this trip. I need to remind
myself that there are priorities in life, and some
people have them shoved right up their arse!! If
anyone is interested in what it means to be a
professional... put your 'player cam' on Derek for 24
hours when we are working these days.
It was a large audience of maybe 5,000
(although.....someone told me 7). We played 75
minutes, quite well I think, and went down great.
Derek performed amazingly, and no one would have
slightly suspected he would rather not have been there.
Respect buddy! We love ya!
We get off
the stage and are about to head off back to the
hotel.....still fully costumed. They wont let us
go...it's the police. They group us up, and
escort us back to the Union. Now, we weren't
to sure why this was. Had we committed a
crime?... Was it that bad? Whatever the
reason...now we do feel like tits.
and then leg it over for drinkies. Regular readers
may not be surprised to learn that the first 2 to get
their lips round a cold one were Derek and Rick.
It's 1am and we have to leave for Geneva airport at
4.30. Eddie actually makes it to the bar in around 45
minutes, but strangely resists the temptation to have a
lager. We are aiming to get 2 hours sleep....you
know that's just not gonna happen. Not sure where
today ends and tomorrow starts, but I'll leave you with
Ade's last words before he slipped into slumber.
" I like it here"
4th June 05
Hall, Stoke on Trent.
out of hotel at 4.30........get in
minibus.........drive for 5 hours to
Geneva.........wait 2 hours in airport......bagsy next
best thing to business class, the emergency
exit..........meet Dave at Liverpool Airport......Ade
and Dave drive to Stoke.......we go to get clothes and
guitars from my house........crash for an
hour.......load up car........battery flat.....call
RAC......Terry gets us started.........arrive Victoria
Halls, which are a bugger to find, at
6.15............venue is really too big.....sound
check hurried and scary.......doors 7.00.....show very
good in spite of poor attendance....... audience
give great reception...... discover Elton John
is playing at the Britannia Stadium down the road
which wont have helped sales for our show.......pack
up........quick drink........chippy, first hot food
since pizza 28 hours ago......get home....hit
It takes it out of you when you get in your 30's
11th June 05
It must be
5 or 6 years since we have played at this event, a
fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Welfare
Society. Nice big tent, slightly precarious
stage and lovely people. Gig was perhaps most
memorable for Derek trying to sing with so much phlegm
on his chest. Having never typed,
"phlegm" before, I am delighted to have the
opportunity to use the most disgusting looking word in
the English language without having to travel to
Stunning sky at sundown.
12th June 05
Whitehall Place, London.
When I get
me book published, "The Anoraks Guide to Movie
Locations", then One Whitehall Place will defo.
be in there. Formerly The Liberal Club and now a
Thistle Hotel, the magnificent staircase features in
one of my all time favourite films....Terry Gilliam's
The universe is indeed a strange place. As fate
would have it, my mate Pete was on the job with Ade
today. Now Pete has worked with Spectrum many
times, but this is the first time he has been on one
of our jobs. It is a big co-incidence that it
should be this particular job, as Pete is the one who
introduced me to the film Brazil, and he is also a big
fan of it.
Services, Eddie and I had an amazing stroke of
luck. We both won ice creams with the scratch
card that came with our Burger King meals. Eddie
and I have never won anything in our lives, so perhaps
the planets are moving into a better position for us.
I expect that there will be a lot more prize
crosswords being done in the back of the car from now
stop, Dirk got all upset because the Scissor Sisters
CD was playing in the car. The toilet roll came
out and was duly stuck in his ears, Dirks own Juke Box
Jury was in session.
my (and Pete's) childish excitement at seeing the
staircase, the gig was going to be just another
corporate function, with nothing particular to report
Arriving at Whitehall Place we found a very cross
Adrian examining the wheel clamp that had been
attached to the van. The street was virtually
empty, but these traffic vultures are ruthless and
will clamp anything for a few quid. In fairness,
Ade was told to park where he did, but the sign
clearly stated "resident permits
only". Being one of those people who can
take tops off bottles with their teeth, and having
some history in the biting department, Eddie tried to
chew the clamp off. It was useless so my credit
card had to be used as an alternative.
Hotel duty manager, Dena, was very helpful in sorting
out the payment to the clamp bandits. If the
payment wasn't made at the right time, the van would have
ended up being clamped again such is the pettiness of
Back in the hotel the police were looking for the
owner of the van parked outside. Ade asked me to
accompany him as he was concerned that he was going to
be arrested for tampering with the clamp. An act
which he was surely innocent of. It turns out
that the rather disheveled appearance of the Spectrum
vehicle had attracted the attention of the
anti-terrorism squad, who by now were crawling all
over the van looking for a suspect device. The
police were all very nice about it and agreed that Ade
was doing doing a fine restoration job on the Transit.
gig was for an American pharmaceutical firm and was
received very well. We had to perform very
quietly, so we switched to our Val & the Valtones
mode. Dirk even played some lovely cheesy
basslines that he had picked up from listening to
another Beatle tribute band....well it made me laugh.
On the way
home Dirk was christened
with the new nickname of Pat Mustard, for reasons
which shall remain a closely guarded secret.
18th June 05
Festival, Haderslev, Denmark.
early morning flight to Esjberg from Luton, we had
decided to travel down on Friday night so we could be
fresh and perky for dealing with the increasingly
ludicrous performance of getting the guitars checked
in. Toddington Travelodge, our base for the
night, had been hot and really unpleasant. After
knocking back half a bottle of cognac before bed,
Eddie was a touch sluggish and feeling a little out of
sorts as we made our way over to the airport.
Apart from a slight buttock clenching episode that
Dirk provided at the check-in counter, everything was
on the plane in the middle seat, Ade fell victim to
Derek's no nonsense approach to personal hygiene
Dirk: "Eddie....could you lend me your deodorant?"
Eddie fiddles in the overhead locker and chucks a can
of Right Guard at Dirk.
Dirk: " 'ere y'are Ade.... have
a go of that.... I think you've got a bit of
I hasten to add here that Ade does not have a problem
in that department, and I didn't notice it myself, but
Dirk's delivery of the punch line was superb and so
was worthy of a mention.
On that topic though,
Derek and I did make a pact some years ago that we
would make it very clear to anyone who had personal hygiene
issues on an aircraft. We have all been on
planes and had to sit behind some bugger who's armpit
aroma has wafted constantly under our noses. It
is frankly unacceptable. Once we asked a
stewardess to move us to another seat, quite loudly
citing the rather overweight gentleman in the seat in
front as the reason. So what if he was embarrassed!....
maybe he'll get a fuckin wash in future and not
subject the passengers around him to feeling sick for
the duration of the flight.
airport at Esjberg was more like a bus station and so
much more user friendly than small town sized ones that
are everywhere these days. Here we meet Fleming,
the guy that has booked us and is going to drive us
the hours journey to Haderslev. We all took an
instant liking to Fleming, he was a no-bullshit
promoter with a very nice VW van.
We all had single rooms at the Harmonion Hotel, which
is a bit of a rarity these days. A few years ago
we would really be pissed off if we had to room share,
but these days we don't mind so much. Fleming
told us that the Festival was 'just round the corner'
and we could walk over, get some food and drink and
have a look round. We had 5 hours to kill before
the sound check, so we all trotted off. Round
the corner to a Dane, is clearly NOT an expression
that they should use to merely amateur pedestrians
like ourselves. There was the odd...
"Arh fuck this...I'm going back!"
exclamation to be heard, but eventually, after some 15
minutes, we found ourselves being tagged up like sheep
with festival wristbands. Then it was only
"a short hike" through the woods to the food
tent. I, for one, really liked the whole
festivally thing.... this is a good job to
have.......this puttin' wigs on lark....don't be
blasé about it!
After lunch in the fly infested, but very ambient food
tent, we strolled back to the hotel to relax and
prepare ourselves mentally for the
Over a beer and a coffee at the hotel, Ade, Dirk and I
met another festival band from Vancouver called The
Paperboys. We tried hard to fence questions
about the identity of our band. It's just not
something that we are really comfortable bringing up.
So, a short kip and a shower later we are driving back
to the sound check in Fleming's van.
all my years in this vital industry"...... I
can't remember having our back line spec. being so
precisely adhered to!...it was pretty faultless.
Dirk had a bit of a problem with the monitors but we
certainly could not complain that we hadn't got what
we asked for. The tent we were playing in was
empty...we were on in 20 minutes. Up to this
point we had not even considered that we may be
playing to just Ade and the bloke with the false-looking
beard at the back.
At 8.30 we're dragging Eddie to the stage after a bizarre
post tuning conversation about heated hair rollers.
We walked onto the stage to a tent that was completely
full of cheering Danes. It's a good feeling and
I thoroughly recommend it.
The show was really good I think, and it went down a
seconds of me arriving at the main stage, Ray Davies
started the opening guitar chords of "Lola".
This was a bit spooky for me cos it was what was on
the TV when my son was born, and so the song always conjures
up a moment. I'm smiling.
Sometimes tunes make the best photo albums!
Who can forget that summer when you first heard Voodoo
Lady by Cremé Bruleé ??? (or even The BCR's Summer
Love Sensation!) You old
My vantage point for Ray Davies was less than ideal so
I wandered back to the other stage where Beth
Hart was performing. I confess I'd not heard
of her, but I heard her last 2 songs and really liked
Met up with Dirk and Ade and had some more of the very
nice lager that had been put in our dressing room.
Eddie and Roy had buggered off back to the hotel for
their own little adventure involving a sandwich,
several lagers, and a fine old cigar. It will
have been impressions and stories aplenty.
the Festival, more tops were being popped off lager
bottles as we watched Blue Foundation in the tent, an
amazing firework display and some even more amazing
Fleming picked us up at midnight right on cue, and
took us back to the hotel before introducing us to a
nice bar in the town where an Dublin bloke called Tom
was playing. This guy was a great act and did a
mighty fine rendition of Carrickfergus, one of Dirks'
all time favourite tunes. After another beer and
having finished off all the Starmix and pretzels that
were on the Festival rider, we were feeling a bit
peckish, so set off in search of a kebab. We
settled for a pizza! Tomorrow we would be back
to the blistering heat of the English summer...phew!
what a scorcher!
3. Ed Bishop
Moat House Hotel, Glasgow ::
I was saddened to learn today of the death on June
8 of Ed Bishop. Perhaps most famous to a certain
generation for playing the part of Commander Straker
in Gerry Anderson's "UFO" and providing the
voice for Captain Blue in "Captain Scarlet",
Ed also featured in dozens of movies including 2001: A
We were playing a corporate in Glasgow when we met
him. Ed had nothing to do with the function, he just happened to be there.
He was a lovely fella who made the time to stop for a
chat and was gracious
enough to sign an autograph as "Captain
21st June 05
the time gone to? We have reached the half-way point
in the year and before we know it, we will be checking
the anti-freeze in the car again.
Not a lot to say about this gig really...it came and
it went. An enthusiastic response from the Summer Ball revelers
just after midnight in the Great Hall of the Castle.