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Saturday 3rd September 05                                                                                                                              

Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire.

We were all sitting patiently in the car waiting for Derek to arrive.  When he turned up, there was very definitely a "whiff of lavender" about him.  We all noticed!  Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was in evidence; the blouse, the love beads, and the racy new haircut.  Here's a bloke who's got his mojo working..... but is it pointing in the right direction?
"What's this all about then?"
"You know exactly what!... yer tart!"

Not a right lot to say about this gig.  It was a wedding in the beautiful surroundings of Woburn Abbey.  Plenty of deer, many budgies, the odd saucy statue.  Our allocated dressing room was abandoned in favour of "the parrots loos" because it was closer to the stage.
We haven't seen Simon for a bout a year... but he turned up on this job with Dave. (Gawd knows where Ade was hiding)  Perhaps Simon had heard something on the grapevine about Dirks new image shift!  Stop the world I wanna get off!   Only messin' Si',  it was good to see you again.

"Is it a diesel?"

Saturday 10th September 05                                                                                                                            

Carnglaze Caverns, Liskeard.

Dave had been on the phone a few days ago.  He had spoken to the people at Carnglaze and was convinced that this was the get in/get out from hell.  We have never been here before so it is difficult to picture.  All we know is that is exactly what it says on the tin...  A Cave!  Ok so there is no "back door", so the gear has to be taken in through the main entrance.  "It's a 120 yard slope but no steps"   I was beginning to picture some sort of Indiana Jones scenario.  The thing that was most concerning the Spectrum boys was facing this mutha of all load ins after a 300 mile drive.  It was suggested that the intrepid duo set off the night before and stay over so they had less miles to cover on Saturday afternoon.

It's a very rude start to the day.  We set off at 9am with the rain coming down in torrents. The M6 is chocka once again.  It seems that now even Saturdays aren't barley from motorway overcrowding.  Breakfast takes the form of outrageously overpriced sarnies from Sandbach Services and this would be our last stop until we overtake Spectrum at the bottom end of the M5.   We slow down a bit so the van can sprint ahead, but fifteen minutes later we pass them again.  This time they are pulled over on the side of the road, leaning under the bonnet and fixing the accelerator cable.  !!!!

In very simple terms, The Carnglaze Caverns, is someone's house with a slate mine in the back's totally bizzare.  We have a good mooch around before the van arrives.  Graham and Catherine are the owners, and are right up there with the most hospitable people we have ever come across in this game.
We spend a pleasant couple of hours wandering round the gardens looking at the fairies and eventually soundchecking.  The on stage sound is not surprisingly very strange, but well usable.  Eddie is for the most part, having a lie down.  He's got an upset stomach, probably self-inflicted with lager and kebab abuse.

Slightly more worrying than Eddie's tummy, is Derek's voice.  He is becoming more and more convinced that he will not be able to sing after recovering from a bout of flu.  At the sound check, he is clearly struggling, and reckons he won't be able to deliver come the gig.
So, it's sit down time with the set lists, to see what we can rearrange to make things a bit easier for him.  Well there's not much.  The trouble with The Beatles is the reliance on all the vocal parts.  Even when he's not doing a lead vocal, Derek is going to be called upon to sing some ridiculously high harmony part.

With no way onto the stage, except through the audience, we leg it down the central aisle with the intro tape playing.  I can't recall ever doing this on a public gig before.  It actually created quite a good atmosphere.
A quick check to see if Eddie had made it to the stage without falling over, and we were away.  The first set was great, the capacity audience of 400 seemed to love it.  At the end, we ran the gauntlet up the aisle and back to the house.  Derek was amazed he made it through, but I have to say...  I wasn't, I never doubted that he would be able to pull it off.  (now stop it!)

After a second set which included I Need You for the first time in over a year, we ran the aisle again, this time to a standing ovation.  How can that not feel good?

We felt a bit shitty leaving Dave and Ade to make the get out on their own, so we mucked in with the haul of the gear up to the entrance of the cave.  But we did find time to take a quick tour of the other caverns in the mine, including the one with the underground lake.  It was fascinating.

Drove for an hour up to Exeter to stop at the Travelodge.  It had been a long day and we were glad to hit the sack.  In a surprising display of rock 'n' roll indulgence, Roy produced a hip flask full of brandy.  I fear that things may be getting out of hand for our percussionist. Smoking cigars and drinking in bed.....whatever next?

Pic - Spectrum Pic - Spectrum Young men.....there's a place you can be....
Now....what red tape do I need to go through now?

Sunday 11th September 05                                                                                                                              

Medina Theatre, Newport, IOW.

At 9.45 the fire alarm is sounding in the Travelodge.  When an alarm goes off like that, you never think that it's really saying "GET OUT there's a fuckin' FIRE!!!!!"  you always think it's a false alarm.  Don't you?  Well this morning as Roy and I get dressed and do an idiot check on the room, we think exactly that... but figure that we should get out anyway.
The car park is full with all the evacuated guests.  We appear to be amongst the last to get out.  Roy and I are a little concerned that we are not accompanied by bass and rhythm guitar, even before the fire trucks arrive.  No one seems to know if there really is a fire or not.  I point out to the lady with clipboard who is in charge of the evacuation, that we are missing 2 people. In spite of the ludicrously long-drawn out checking-in process the night before, (due apparently to the fire regulations!!!), we are unable to swiftly discover what room the pair of them are in.  We narrow it down to 203 or 204.  Ms. Clipboard disappears with a fire bobby.
Roy nods at the fire engine and says:  " aye!..........there's a few bobs worth of kit there"
Rick :" But Roy,...are friends are burning to death in their beds up there!!"
Roy: "'ll be reet"

The lady returns to tell us she can't find Derek and Eddie, and then returned to fluttering her eyes at a hunky fireman.
At this point... it is still not clear that the place isn't going to burn to the ground.....  but it's looking very unlikely.  Five minutes later we are beckoned back into the Lodge.
Eddie answers the door of 203 in his boxers.  I push past him into the room.
"So did you not hear the fire alarm then?"
Dirk: "Yeah.........had a look out the window and thought...  that's my best exit"
And in a bizarre way he's right.  If the place had been an inferno, they'd have got out no problem.  (but what about the paperwork?).
Roy and I went back to our room to have a shower (not together..... that would be hideous!)

We have breakfast at some place, but I have no idea where it was. (Maybe Roy'll remember).
Eddie opts out of the cooked breakfast and decides to eat his sarnies in the car.

We miss the boat we are booked on but have no problems getting the next, and we arrive at the Medina an hour after Spectrum.
The only trauma today is still Derek's throat....can he or can't he sing.  It's not looking good at the sound check, but we have a long time to go before the show.  Enough time in fact to almost get something proper to eat.  This came in the form of a Tesco Express, where we could buy a sandwich for 97p that would cost 2.99 on the motorway...but let's not get started on that topic.

Just before the show, there was time to take the anniversary picture of Eddie, recreating his famous pose from last year....It still cracks us up.

The show went very well.  Derek was still concerned about his voice and asked me to open up with Roll Over Beethoven, rather than him having to belt out I Saw Her Standing There.  Once in his stride though, I doubt anyone noticed that Dirk was not on top form.  The audience reaction was really good again.
Derek and I had made noises about packing up quickly tonight so we could catch the 11 o'clock ferry.  Eddie was out in record time and we got to the boat with time to spare, saving an hour on our long journey home.

Moments after TD incident one

  Pic - Spectrum Pic - Spectrum Anniversary pose!
 Pic - Spectrum Pic - Spectrum

Thursday 22nd September 05                                                                                                                          

Queens Theatre, Hornchurch.

It's the day of the packed lunch!  Eddie has his usual stash, but is joined by the epicurean "McQuickly" who produced a couple of boiled eggs to tap on the gear stick.
Dirk assured us that his voice had returned to its "larkish" self, but it was the Lennon department that was cause for concern today.  Eddie has had a bit of a cold and it has affected his vocal chords.  The apprehension Derek had a couple of weeks ago has been transferred to Eddie.  It's really horrendous when singers have throat problems because there really isn't that much one can do about it.  The thought of stepping on to a stage where people are expecting to be entertained and knowing that there is a chance that nothing will come out when you open your mouth is quite disturbing.

As it transpired, Eddie got through the gig very well.  The odd yodel came out, which didn't please Ed, but he performed well in spite of it.  We were received very well by the audience, but in truth....this was not one of our better shows.

Friday 23rd September 05                                                                                                                                 

Camberley Theatre, Camberley.

In true Ross Geller fashion...we left it to the last moment before checking out of Thurrock Travelodge and set off round the 25 for Camberley.  We left the services about half an hour after Ade and Simon, but miraculously arrived a full 3 hours before them.  There can be no rational explanation for this!!  In those 3 hours, we had wandered about Camberley market, had lunch in an Italian restaurant and done some shopping.  Eddie bought a bag of European biscuits and I bought some clothes and books.  Also spotted a florist shop called "Jenny Wren"....  but unless you have heard Maccas new record this will mean nothing.

Eddie was still suffering today, but the show must go on.  Our performance was OK, but again, it probably wasn't 'smokin'.  It's getting harder and harder to make these posts.

Wednesday 28th September 05                                                                                                                       

Theatre Royal, Lincoln.

A more positive outlook today.  All voices back to normal.
We love these old theatres with all the photos on the wall of the stars that have performed there.  The list here seemed endless, from Harry H Corbett, Judi Dench, Eric Sykes, Alexandra Bastedo through to Slade with Noddy.  Looking at all these pictures certainly kills the time waiting for the sound check.
We had our version of a group huddle behind the curtain as the intro tape was playing.  More to break the spell of the last few shows rather than confirm allegiance to each other, but it seemed to work and we certainly came off stage after the first act feeling a whole lot better about our performance.

Friday 30th September 05                                                                                                                                 

Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge.

We always look forward to dates in the Midlands. The Robin gigs are always a bit special, and in spite of the horror stories regarding the acoustics at Dudley Town Hall last year, we had a great gig.  There is no Dudley date this year...instead we have been moved a few miles down the road to Stourbridge.  Slightly bolstered by Wednesdays performance, there is even more reason to be cheerful about driving to the Black Country.  The Town Hall itself is like a feckin huge pink bathroom.  Muso's will know that the bathroom is the place to go if you want to get some volume out of your guitar if your amp is broken!  However, stick a PA system in there, and there are all sorts of difficulties to encounter,.....  but that's Ade's problem!
Normally, Roy would be overflowing with enthusiasm.....all his heroes have played drums here, Bonham, Paice, Baker, and the fella from Paper Lace......but tonight Roy is the keeper of a three day old headache and he is out of sorts.
Apparently,  Derek is much better looking than he appears on these blog posts, so I have been asked to refrain from putting images on here without 'touching' them up first.  Ok I admit the "Dirk falls asleep on the way to a gig" thread may have gone beyond a joke over the past few months, but what can't speak can't lie,  I believe is a favourite adage of our bassist.    *wink*
It's a good show tonight and in spite of several people being beaten mercilessly with sticks by the stewards when they tried to get out of their seats to boogie, the audience seemed to have a fine time.
Having performed the whole of the first set without dropping a note, I was sharply reminded of my mortality by Derek desperately trying to open a book on which song in the second set I would trip up on.  You're a right bastard sometimes.

This was our last show now until the end of October.  Dirk is off to India and Thailand in search of spiritual enlightenment and ladyboys... perhaps that is one in the same thing!!!  (I suppose I'll get into trouble for saying that now!..)

Pic - Louvaine
Pic - Louvaine Pic - Louvaine
Pic - Louvaine


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