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Sunday 1st May 05                                                                                                                                              

Received e-mail from Amanda in Scotland.. thus:

Had to drop a line just to say thanks for supporting the Scottish tourist industry by your appreciation of that wonderful documentary on Scottish rural life The Wicker Man. The tourist board now make glossy adverts trying to persuade people to holiday in Scotland but as a promotion of all that's best about the Scottish way of life I don't think it's ever been surpassed. Of course things aren't what they used to be. I grew up in the country and in those days all you had to do was turn up with your own matches and a few pork links for the barbecue. Now you have to supply your own virgin as well. There's a terrible shortage of them, it's a real problem for the rural communities. Is it any wonder we have to depend on the EU these days?
Glad to see you're looking after yourself.


As it is May Day, it seemed appropriate to show you some pics from our dabble into the world of cinema.  Just click the link and be transported into our pagan world.   Hail the Queen of the May!

This is a new regular feature of the blog, where we "kiss and tell" on the many famous faces we have encountered over the years.  
So... make yourself a coffee, or print out the page and take it with you when you go to get your hair done.  Either way, sit back, relax and read the shallow twitterings that have become so important to our society today!

1.  Joan Collins
|| Mandarin Oriental, London  :: March 2004
Regular blog readers may recall this incident from last year, but we thought we had to kick off this series with a bit of glamour, and Joan almost fits the bill.
The gig was a wedding in London, I dunno....maybe what they used to call a "society do".  As Roy would say  "I won't bore you with the details", but we had to move the instruments from one room to another during the function.   Now picture the scene...... Roy dressed as Roy....(Justin Timberlake hat, tight on....Adidas 'gazelle' trainers with green stripes.....beige chino type kecks......Marylin Manson T shirt, the really nasty one with the Babble babble bitch bitch slogan on.......and what we call his 'Greyhound Trainers' coat.....,   is walking up a long and elegant marble staircase carrying a large and sturdy Rickenbacker bass.

You can see it coming can't you??  (Duncan Thicket voice....   Roy will get this!!!!)

Joan is standing talking at the top of the stairs, and our hero is not paying attention to where he is going, he's just bungling up the flight. Joan is politely ushered to one side by a gentleman's hand round her curvaceous and supple waist.. her bosom heaved toward her rescuer...and their eyes met briefly, before she tossed her mane of 'chestnut' coloured hair over her shoulder and examined the piece of filth that was inches away from delivering a 4001 to an uninvited address.  Phew!...  I forgot to mention that sister Jackie was also there and offered some assistance with that last sentence.

Friday 13th May 05                                                                                                                                              

Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven.

I suggested setting off early today, thinking we could have a bit of a day out in the Lakes before the show.  Maybe we could stop for some lunch at Lake Windemere and just take advantage of the scenery.  As we wound our way through the twisty roads of Cumbria taking "the long way" round, there was a certain amount of dissention in the car.  It turns out, Roy and Eddie thought I was joking about the day out stuff and we had to leave that early anyway.  "No we really are having a day out!"  Roy was slightly cross, as his idea of a day out would have to include a tartan rug and a picnic hamper, and the mode of transport would certainly have to qualify for classic car insurance.
As it turned out, we found absolutely bugger all in the way of nice cafés or places to stop on the way up, and so we eventually found ourselves in Whitehaven in desperate need of food.  We settle ourselves in a café on Whitehaven's harbour, order our food and moan to each other about how pissed off we all are.  It was nice idea, but this day out malarky is not working!  We settle the bill and head off in search of the Rosehill.

The Rosehill Theatre has to be the quaintest place we have ever played.  At first we were a little taken aback with the size of the place, it's miniature.  When Ade and Dave arrived, they too agreed that they hadn't seen a theatre smaller than this.  There was not enough room to put the whole PA in, so we had to be content with about half the normal size.

Eddie's injury list has had another painful addition.  Last week, during a break from his rigorous physiotherapy sessions to put right the trapped nerve in his back, Ed decided to have a crack at his garden and get it in shape for the summer.  In spite of our many warnings about being careful with sharp objects, Eddie managed to slice the top off his left forefinger with a pair of secateurs. Roy who saw the injury about 40 minutes after the accident, likened the flap of skin to the size of a contact lens on the tip of his finger.  Painful enough, but when you have to use that tip to press down on a guitar string....  ouch!  Eddie never had any doubts about being able to do the show, but all the blue insulation tape in the world was not going to help him with some of the things he has to play.  In spite of the pain, Eddie did a grand job.

We were a little disappointed with the size of the audience, but they made up for it in enthusiasm, and we went down very well.

Took the quickest road home!!

"Get that feckin camera out of my face"
"local theatre"

Friday 20th May 05                                                                                                                                              

Springfields Exhibition Centre, Spalding.

It was just one of those days when the journey takes forever.  No one was particularly chatty or in a bright mood.  "Oh God!   are we only at Sandbach?"  There is no music on (Roy and Eddie are not going to appreciate Aimee Mann's new record) and not much fun.  We try to decide whether or not to include a "dating page" on the website, but get too bogged down in the details, laugh about it and decide....  'best not!'
At the services at the end of the A50, it is noted that now, about 25% of Eddies flesh is covered by some sort of patch to curb an addiction.  I had no idea that there were so many on the market nowadays.  The smoking one was obvious but I'd not heard of the anti-fast food patch.  It clearly doesn't do it's job properly, as Eddie was making very light work of a "KFC Spicy Tender Crisp Chicken Ridiculous"

Finally arriving at Springfields, we met hop-a-long Jean Herbaut and husband Mick who had kindly brought us  along some beautifully packaged DVD's of our show at South Hill Park a few weeks ago.
We had originally been led to believe that our show today was a public concert.  From the point of view that tickets for the event were on sale, it was, but not how we thought it was going to be.  This was a black tie ball.
The ball was a fundraising event for ex-goalie and TV soccer pundit Bob Wilson's charity.  He sadly lost his daughter to cancer 6 six years ago, and since has been working hard to raise money for cancer victims.  Bob makes a particular point of thanking everyone involved with his events personally, we were hanging about outside the back of the hall and he came to find us.  I was extremely impressed with this because he certainly didn't have to do it. A small thing, but it makes a difference.  There are many people in the world of entertainment that could learn a thing or two from him........a thoroughly top bloke.  (Small hands for a goalie though!)
Bob played a part of one of my earliest memories of disappointment.  Yes! he kept goal for Arsenal in the 1971 FA Cup Final against Liverpool.  What a day! My Grandma got a 'colour' set from DER specially for it, it was such a big deal.  Seeing Bob, had brought back the joy of Steve Heighway's goal and temporarily obliterated the last 34 years of hatred for Charlie George....  a loathing that only Liverpool supporters of a certain age will truly understand.  Bob delighted us for a few minutes with some personal stories about Bill Shankly, which went down very well with this diarist.
I asked official group photographer Jean to take a snap of me with Bob, which she did....  although the lazy cow couldn't even be bothered to get out of her car!

We still had 2 hours to kill before our stage time and frankly the dressing room was not an appealing place in which to spend them.  Roy, Ade and Dave found a chippy and a late shop...the rest of us responded to the discovery and set off after them.  When in Spalding, give Jack's Traditional Fish and Chips a miss...there is nothing traditional about cooking chips in margarine!   yuk!

Back at the gig as we are getting ready, the charity auction is in full swing.  Signed Thierry Henry photo, signed Elvis gold disc, 5 star holiday in Kenya, signatures of the '66 England World Cup Squad, tickets for the British GP and a Lotus Elise racing car being amongst the goodies going under the hammer.  Dave and Ade reckoned that they could possibly get the car in the van if they left all the gear here and tilted it at an angle, but were politely reminded that rather than bidding for this desirable vehicle, they would be better off getting that feckin' van sorted out.
No matter how many strips of thin material you drape from a ceiling, a warehouse sounds like a warehouse and that basically is what the centre is.....  a bloody big warehouse.  The on-stage sound was quite noisy and swirling, but we coped and got a good reaction from the audience, who in the main danced through the whole set.

Lincolnshire is not a great place to get to and from for us Liverpudlians.  Dirk, as chief navigator on these trips, struggled with the GPS technology.  The bitch of a woman barking instructions at us was getting it all wrong, determined to get us on the A1 and up to Pontefract.  She finally gave up the ghost 5 miles from Derby and accepted that we WERE going to use the A50 across to Stoke.  Whoever was right about the best way to go, we made the journey in two and a half hours.


Wednesday 25th May 05                                                                                                                                 

Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul. spirit anyway.
An amazing's all been said.


Friday 27th May 05                                                                                                                                              

Palace Theatre, Mansfield.

Over the Pennines on the 62 and down on the M1 we thought would be the most straight forward way of getting to this show, but we didn't figure on the crawling traffic of a Friday afternoon.  Maybe we should've done the tourist route after all.  Never mind, we were kept amused by rock 'n' roll stories about beef tomatoes.

Originally built in 1910, the Palace was given a facelift in the 1990's with a modern stage building put in place and evidently Ikea moved in some of it's more gordy coloured furniture into the Green Room.  Very nice though!

It was a good show tonight, I think.  Seemed more relaxed than usual, particularly between songs, where the banter was quite caustic at times.  The audience reaction was fabulous..... they are a good sort in Mansfield and we hope we get to play there again next year.

Have to give a special mention to the theatre crew who were all superb and probably the friendliest we have come across.  Bit of a family affair from what we could make out.

On the way home, Eddie produced a wireless from his bag with the most enormous pair of headphones we have seen in 20 years.  We still don't know why he had this equipment with him,... just to wind Dirk up I suspect.

As we have a flight out of Liverpool in the morning, Eddie and Dirk stay at Rick's.  Eddie has trouble after a couple of spring rolls I make for him seem to disagree with his infamously dodgy digestive system...Next time he'll have toast!

A quick check of the e-mails revealed the following message which we were all very pleased with:-

Many thanks for your latest newsletter.

I saw you recently for the very first time at the Palace Theatre Southend-on-Sea, and was completely blown away by your performance.

I was privileged to be working for EMI records in 1963 when the original Beatles started recording, and also saw them several times live.

Over recent years I have seen many Beatles tribute bands and yours is by far and away the closest to the original. On some renditions (because of technical advancements) I would say you are even better! In particular you are not afraid to sing some of the more intricate close harmonies associated with some of the slower numbers, and, like all Beatles songs, they will remain classics long after we have all gone.

Thank you once again for the wonderful entertainment. I will certainly be coming to your concerts as often as possible.

Stewart Hillman

Saturday 28th May 05                                                                                                                                         

Private Villa, Marbella.

We are off to sunny Spain to play a birthday party for an old friend of Dirk's.  It's been leaked that maybe Rod Stewart will be getting up with us, but we have heard stuff like this before and so we are not holding our breath. (although I do have the chords to Maggie May scribbled on a bit of paper, stuffed in me back pocket just in case)

The airlines are getting very arsey lately over baggage allowances and what they will let you take on as hand luggage.  Dirks Hofner in it's padded gig bag was always allowed on the plane as hand luggage to go in the overhead compartment.  The last couple of fly-outs we have done, the crew have confiscated the delicate instrument at the plane and it is amazing that it has come off the other end intact.  We decide to put the old bass in the hard case that I have for my Hofner, but realise that there is a problem.  Derek was never happy with the machine heads on his 40 year old instrument and replaced them with some sooper dooper modern ones years ago.  Unfortunately they are much larger than the proper Hofner machines, and the bass wouldn't fit in the case.  It was a pain, but two of the heads had to be removed to get it in.  I'll stop here because I'm beginning to bore myself stupid.

It's a quick breakfast at the airport.  There isn't time for the £6.95 "all day breakfast".  Dirk calculates that a sausage bap is better value, gram for gram than the bacon alternative, so plums for that.  Never one to get the economics of food right, Rick goes for the bacon, and Roy declined to have anything.  Eddie........had the all day breakfast, and still had bits of sausage and black pudding in the corner of his mouth as he raced to the tinsy winsy section of Liverpool John Lennon Airport where one is allowed to suck furiously on a fag before take off.  Just after the photo below was taken, Eddie stood up and knocked that massive and very full ashtray over.  A pissed off member of airport staff was heard to say "there's always one".  We scuttle Eddie away quickly to the next stressful test for him to negotiate........the airport security check.

Once in flight, and worried about potential turbulence causing him to spill coffee on himself, Eddie decided that the best thing to do would be to have a one or two cans of strong lager....   "Fuckin' love lager, me!"  An expression Roy attributes to Stan Boardman, but one which is totally applicable to Eddie.

We've arrived quite late at the villa and the guests are due to start arriving in about an hour and a half.  We've hired all the gear from a guy based out in Marbella called Paul, who turns out to be a lovely English bloke with equipment that actually all works (this is a first for Spain!).   We get the sound check out of the way and then have about an hour to go through the rigmarole of picking a set before we have to entertain the revelers. 
At first it all looks promising... we are being watched, clapped and generally appreciated.  John, the birthday boy, comes to the front of the stage by the pool and is dancing with four deliciously smooth skinned girls wearing the smallest bikinis imaginable.  We have fallen foul of this sort of cabaret in the past and from here on, there is much less interest in the group of tatty heads on the stage who are fighting a losing battle with the breeze in the 'Irish jig' department.
After an hour we bid a retreat to our dressing quarters, where we fill up on a plate of hors-d'oeuvres.  It's been decided that we are going to go out and perform another shorter set, but this time without any costume or artificial headwear.....yea....we've been dying to do this!!   We are joined on stage, not by Rod Stewart but by John who belts out a few Rock n Roll standards.  This is fun and we are having a good time.  Dirk throws us all a curve ball by shouting out "Bad Boy", which this line up has never played before and the ones that have can't remember for the life of them, so it turns into rather more of a busk than our usual renditions of such tunes.

After putting 'the bats' down, it was great to relax with a few drinks in a very pleasant environment.  Eddie relaxed rather too much at one point and completely missed the chair he was aiming at sitting on.  Poor Eddie hurt his arse rather badly, and needed a few more lagers to ease the pain.
Dirk had a room to himself!!  (were we shocked lads??) and Rick and Roy shared a "tyrannical dictator" size bed.  At about 4.30am, I decided to investigate the possibility that there may be some birthday cake left over, as the munchies had set in.  Tip toeing out of our room across the marble floor toward the dining area (why would I tip toe across marble.....  I must have been pissed!), I came across Eddie....almost certainly VERY pissed.....waving a glass of lager above his head...... racing toward me like a dervish shouting "Richard!  Richard!!... and giggling stupidly.
Me:  "I'm just gonna get some cake"
Eddie:  "yeah!!!.....   cake!..he he he"
Eddie got a huge portion of cake........  and shoved the whole lot in his face......and did that stupid grin that he does so well.
I guess you really had to be there, but I'm still laughing at the image of Eddie plastered with chocolate cake, he looked like a commando at Wonka's Chocolate factory.

We have to get up at 7.30

Dirk wakes me up.   I don't want to get up.  We all feel like shit.  Dirk hasn't slept at all!  Dirk has to take the bastard machine heads off the Hofner.  This is no fun at all.
Where's Eddie?
Feeling like we felt, we really did not want to have face the problem of finding him.  The embarrassment of having to open all those doors in that house was not a pleasant solution to our predicament.............We've got a plane to catch! and we are far too mean to pay for ticket changes.


It was Dirk who was given the task of opening all the bedroom doors to look for Eddie.  Roy and I waited in the hall with our bags and our breakfast of a bottle of coke.  When Derek returns alone, we all begin to worry.  Dare we check the swimming pool?  Is this another rock 'n' roll casualty?
"What about the basement?"  This is the only place we haven't looked, and sure enough after descending the stairs, we find the basement is actually a home cinema..(wow!!! well impressed!).  Stretched out on a very comfy looking couch is our Edward, in state of major disrepair.
Our ride to the airport should have arrived by now.  We've managed to get Eddie on his feet, but there is no sign of the MPV which was arranged to pick us up.  John has got up by now and tells he will take us if the lift doesn't arrive.  10 minutes later we are piling into a Merc 4x4 with John, grateful that we are not going to miss the flight.

With typical airline inconsistency, the Hofner is allowed on board as hand luggage.  Airport security though, have a major problem with the screwdriver that is in the case ready to put the bloody thing back together.  The handy phillips driver is confiscated to the pocket of the guard with the Aviator Ray-Bans..... bet he's got a massive tool set! 

2.  Anthea Turner
|| Abbey Road, London  :: August 1999
We were doing a photo shoot for Planet Pledge to raise awareness of re-cycling to benefit the environment.  The idea was that we would re-create the Abbey Road cover on the crossing, while Anthea stood in the middle with a lollipop stick.  About 30 press photographers had turned up for the shoot, all shouting and in some cases, screaming at our Lennon to turn the other way.  It was all thoroughly embarrassing.  The abuse we got from motorists in general and taxi drivers in particular was most disconcerting.  Like it was our fault!
Anthea was a real pro.  She never moaned at the number of times we all had to get on the crossing, and smiled radiantly back, as one cab driver gave her the finger.
We discovered that Anthea is a bit of a giggler.  Two takes had to be aborted as she was reduced to tears by the sight of one side of Roy's moustache flapping in the breeze.


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