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Saturday 5th November 05                                                                                                                               

Empire Music Hall, Belfast.

Easyjet 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 "Ringo", 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 products.....

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.

Thursday 11th November 05                                                                                                                            

Hilton Hotel, Glasgow.

Normally 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 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 instead.

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 night!"

"Take Me Bak 'Ome" was fittingly loaded in the cars CD cartridge!

so...that's Eddie fucked for a start!

Monday 14th November 05                                                                                                                               

Radio Interview.

Northsound 96.9 to promote Aberdeen Music Hall show. 



6.  Maggie Kirkpatrick
|| 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.

7.  Anne Charleston
|| 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 Maggie.



8. Terry Waite
|| 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!



Tuesday 15th November 05                                                                                                                              

Radio Interview.

Julia Hankin programme, BBC Radio Newcastle, to talk about the forthcoming show at the Durham Gala Theatre on 19 November.
I, nervously, perform "Here Comes The Sun".



Thursday 17th November 05                                                                                                                            

Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen.

It's 9 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 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 enter.

Eddie is 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 basis.

The 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 (?)

We hadn't 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 it was the Aberdeen City Hotel that was to benefit from our revenue tonight.

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 later.

Roy's Reading Dodgy picture after a couple of Guinness "Under The Hammer"

Friday 18th November 05                                                                                                                                  

Wellbank Village Hall, Dundee.

Just over 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 again!

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.

Caird Hall....this is where we are NOT playing tonight!

Steve McDonald drink Irn Bru.....surely not!!

Saturday 19th November 05                                                                                                                             

Gala Theatre, Durham.

We ummed 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.

Little Theif have crashed their prices......thus we eat here this morning!


Friday 25th November 05                                                                                                                                  

Chancery Court Hotel, London.

As consummate 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 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' 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 to him.

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'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 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.'s a girl! FUCK OFF!...It's still November!!

Saturday 26th November 05                                                                                                                             

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

With Rick 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. 


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