have changed their policy once again regarding what
you can and what you can't take to the plane.
Today, the ONLY way they will allow the Hofner to be
transported to the aircraft, is via the oversized
luggage chute. We know that if this happens,
then there will be no way that it will survive in it's
padded bag. With 20 minutes before the check-in
will close, I leap in a taxi and charge off to get a
flight case for it. We were slightly amazed that
we were not going to be charged excess baggage on it.
A rather cramped 25 minute journey by car from the
International Airport, led us to the Botanic district
of Belfast. Eddie, Derek and myself dumped our
gear at the Hotel and set off for breakfast, leaving
Roy behind for a lie down before the sound check.
We were joined at the sound check by our old
Phil, and it was good to see him again after so long.
As is usual every time we don't use our own gear,
there were problems with the sound. One of the
guitar amps kept going off and Derek was having a
nightmare setting the monitors. After about an
hour and a half, we realised things were not going to get
any better so we gave up the ghost and went downstairs
for a pint of Guinness.
When we retuned to The Empire at ten o'clock to find a
packed house. Cranking up with I Saw Her
Standing There, it seemed like the crowd were in the
mood for a party. We went down very well in spite
of have an atrocious on-stage sound and bugger all
monitors. We could hear more from the front of
house than the elderly Martin monitor speakers.
Dirk sang himself hoarse.
After a couple of Guinness in the hotel bar, I
wandered up to the room to find Roy in conversation
with his friend Pete. They hadn't seen each
other in 6 years, and Pete had traveled 2 and a half
hours from Sligo to see his old buddy play the drums
and talk about tractor engines and rock n roll.
I got on very well with Pete as we both have an
unusually keen interest in discontinued confectionary
We were to be picked up for the airport at 11 the
following morning. Only trouble was, two guitars
and two sets of stage clothes were still in the Empire
and it was all locked up when we went over to retrieve
the items. Derek stayed behind while the other
three of us made our way to the airport, thinking that
the venue would open at about 12 we could book him on
the next flight. I made the change to Derek's
flight after our check in, and then he phoned me to
say that the Empire didn't open till 7. A few
frantic phone calls were made, and we arranged for
someone to get the place open at 2, giving Dirk time
to make his 4.10 flight.
11th November 05
of course, we wouldn't be sound checking for a
corporate gig, but as this awards ceremony was quite a
big affair and we were using a different PA, we bit
the bullet and traveled up to Glasgow early. It
was four o'clock when we arrived, the sound check
would take all of 10 minutes as were not going to
actually play a song. Now we had quite some time
to kill because the on stage time would not be until
at least 10.30 and probably more like 11.
Brian from the Events Company had recommended a
Chinese eating establishment in Sauchiehall Street, so
we set off on foot. The Canton Express, was
quite possibly the filthiest place we have ever eaten
on the road...no wonder the proprietor was fuming as I
was trying to take pictures. I refrained after
one photo as the fellow had and enormous meat cleaver
that I expect he would have used if I disobeyed.
We all seemed to just about agree that the meat was
really good, but the re-heated rice was crap.
Roy had given the place a wide berth and hit Subway
After another couple of hours back at the Hilton
making the lobby look untidy it was time for us to get
rugged up and prepare for the show......
This was the first time we had ever appeared on stage
from behind a net curtain. From the first
number, we were greeted with total indifference from
the amassed travel industry delegates, indeed a huge amount
made straight for the bar to get pissed. The
dance floor remained full for the duration of our
punishing and very hot, hour set, but we couldn't help
but wonder if anybody was in the least bit interested
in what we had to offer. The slower songs were
dropped as we came to them in the set list...they
would surely have been the kiss of death. Derek's
cheeky parting shot had me in hysterics, it was a good
job the set was over..."Thanks everybody, and congratulations
to everybody who
won whatever it was you came here for...Good
"Take Me Bak 'Ome" was fittingly loaded in
the cars CD cartridge!
14th November 05
96.9 to promote Aberdeen Music Hall show.
Ulster TV, Belfast ::
January 1996 While filming for The Kelly Show in Belfast, we hung
out with the other guests on the show in the Green
Room. I hate to admit it, but I'd always been a
follower of the Aussie "drama" Prisoner Cell Block H,
so it was quite a thrill to meet Maggie who is perhaps better know to us all as "The
Freak". In a moment of Green Room high
jinx, I managed to spill a pint of lager over her. Maggie was
very gracious about the incident, and after we had
swapped insurance details, she even managed a smile.
Ulster TV, Belfast ::
January 1996 Madge from Neighbours wasn't actually on the show,
but as she was appearing in Panto in Belfast at the
time, she dropped by the studio to hang out with
Ulster TV, Belfast ::
January 1996 Also on the Kelly Show that day was The Archbishop
of Canterbury's special envoy, Terry Waite. We all spoke with Terry individually and all came
away with the same impression of a totally sincere and
genuine man. In spite of Derek accusing him of nicking
all the sausage rolls!
15th November 05
Hankin programme, BBC Radio Newcastle, to talk about the
forthcoming show at the Durham Gala Theatre on 19
I, nervously, perform "Here Comes The Sun".
17th November 05
Music Hall, Aberdeen.
o'clock in the morning as we begin the 360 mile trek
up to Aberdeen. If it is as cold as this here in
Liverpool, I am not looking forward to how it is going
to be that far north....but hopefully wherever we will
be will have central heating.....at the moment...
mine is broken and it is all very unpleasant at home.
The journey north produced a new name for Roy.
Derek observed that Roy is always the first person in
the car to lower the windows whenever there is a
suspicion of an anal emission from one of the
travelers. With this in mind Dirk has dubbed Roy
as the group's Arse Canary. From
now on, Roy will always be sent into a room first to
check for unpleasant anal gasses, if he returns
without turning white, we will know it is safe to
full of cold on this trip and has been all week.
This prevented Ed from attending the Radio interview
of Tuesday and he is still suffering. At our
first stop north of the border, we thought it might be
a good idea to keep a log of the health of the band at
each gig. According to Dirk, I am always ill...I
refute this and say no, it him that is always
ill. Of course now that we are keeping
score.....I am sure I will get the plague on a regular
journey doesn't really seem to take that long, we must
have had some interesting conversations. If we
did.... I can't remember them!
The Aberdeen Music Hall is a magnificent building,
very similar to the Hall we played at Hull last
month. For the size of this venue, our PA could
really do with being at least twice the size, but we
are able to loop into the house "flown" PA
and we don't have a problem. It is optimistic to
think that we could fill a venue this size,
particularly with our publicity machine being what it
is. Considering that, and the fact it is at
least 8 years since we last played in this city, we
had quite a respectable turnout of around 500.
Eddie coped admirably with his bad chest, but did
yodel the odd line here and there. It was a very
warm response from the Aberdonians (?)
booked anywhere to stay in Aberdeen in advance, but I
had come prepared with a list of accommodation as long
as your arm. After drawing a blank at the
Aberdeen City Travelodge, we sat in Bon Accord Street,
going through the list of Hotels and guest houses in
the "minge bag" price range section.
No vacancies were aplenty. Eventually we found a
guest house with one room available. Bizarrely,
we were sitting right outside it when we made the
call. We figured that it was better to let Ade
and Dave have the room, as if we had to move further
afield to find somewhere to stay, it would be easier
for us in the car. It was amazing that the whole
of Aberdeen seemed to be booked up apart from the
Thistle Hotel, but the tariff was not to our
liking. I remembered that we had stayed near the
station last time we were in town, so we set off to
see if we could find anywhere near there.
Turning into Market Street, Dirk and I instantly
recognised the Hotel we stayed in last time. Our
luck was in, and they had 2 rooms free.....so it was
the Aberdeen City Hotel that was to benefit from our
We checked in quickly, and Dirk and I set off to find
refreshment in a bar back up near the Music Hall,
leaving Eddie and Roy back at the Hotel. Good
Guinness in "Under The Hammer", was the
perfect set up for a quality kebab and hour and a half
18th November 05
Village Hall, Dundee.
an hours drive to Dundee, so spent an hour dossing
around the centre of the town before checking into the
Travelodge...we were not going to get caught out
The stage at Wellbank was smaller than we remembered
from our visit last year, so it was all a bit of
squeeze to get on.
We'd been told that the ticket sales had been quite
disappointing for this show, which was odd as it had
been a sell out last year and we had gone down very
well. As the show time approached, the
organisers decided to put back our start time as
people were still coming in. By the time we took
to the stage, the room was a full as it could get with
the layout they had decided upon.
The show was not a particularly enjoyable one from our
point of view, but we were well received by the
punters. In the second half, there was a real
botch up with the set lists which threw us all into
confusion and we seemed to accidentally drop a few
songs from the show.
It was good to see Steve McD and Andy K after the show
over a cup of tea and an egg sandwich, but that was
about the limit of the revelry that went on. It
was straight back to the lodge for us.
19th November 05
and arhed about the best way to get down to Durham
from Dundee and we made probably the wrong decision,
getting stuck in an almighty traffic jam. An
alternative route was found by driving through an area
of Cumbernauld that appeared to be inhabited by a
population of glue sniffers. We eventually got
back on the right track and arrived in Durham in
plenty of time for the sound check.
We always look forward to playing the Gala. The
reception we have got from the audience has always
been good. Tonight we learn that the show is a
near sell out, with only 6 tickets left, this is
always something that will raise our spirits.
Performance wise, this was easily the best of the 3
shows we have done this week and it seemed to be
greatly appreciated by the audience.
25th November 05
Court Hotel, London.
professionals, we decide that we will allow 8 hours to
make this journey south....we have been scared by the
weather and traffic reports.
It takes us 3 hours to reach our usual watering hole
at Warwick, but we can afford a leisurely stop as the
midlands nightmare is over. I'm in a
particularly "Cornish" mood today......but 2
Ginsters pasties would really be too much for me to
endure...so I'll settle for a Whopper!
Roy has decided that his 1989 copy of "Practical
Classics" could probably do with updating and so
splashes out on the current edition. He is
pictured below with his ideal jallopy.
We've never been to this hotel before...never even
seen it... but we are all taken with its
magnificence and even more impressed with the club
sandwich rider the client has laid on for us. We
are told that the on-stage time has been put back to
10 o'clock...so we are hanging around for quite a
while chatting to Mark, the DJ. Adrian is not
with us tonight...but Dave is here with another Dave,
who has not worked with us before, so a warm welcome
Somehow, they manage to get back on course, and bring
the on-stage time back to the original 9.30.
"Yes, we can be ready!".... Now where
the hell has Eddie disappeared to? We are all
dressed and wigged up, with no sign of a rhythm
guitarist...it's 9.20 and Eddie has a 15 minute
"wig window", this is looking
impossible. All the obvious places have been
checked, but Eddie has vanished. As the panic
was about to set in, Eddie comes in the dressing
room. Evidently he has fallen asleep on the
toilet.... we say nothing, but are greatly impressed
with the sense of urgency and speed with which the
youngster gets his hairpiece to sit straight...it was
a personal record for him.
It's been a "windy" day in the band, with
the Arse Canarys' fingers working overtime on the
electric window button in the car.
Unfortunately, not all of the wind has been expelled
by stage time, and there is a lot of face pulling and
laughing on stage as wafts of heavily polluted air
pass by our nostrils. "Oh purleease....
not while I'm tryna sing!" It's a fairly
painless couple of sets we perform and although these
are not our favourite gigs to do, we have a good time.
26th November 05
C's annual charity bash in full swing, when three of
us arrive at Nailcote, we let ourselves into the
library which has become our regular changing
quarters. Derek is already there having stayed
over at Warwick the night before, and the two Daves
are busy sucking the last remnants of meat off a rack
of Lamb. It's a rather more claustrophobic
changing area than usual, as we are sharing with Basil
Fawlty and Manuel look-a-likes and British close up
magic champion, Chris Priest.