Main Site | Blog Home


D E C E M B E R   2 0 0 6 

Friday 1st December  06                                                                                                                                    

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

So...a month has passed, and I have to admit I'm glad to be back with something to write to you about.
The webstats tell me that, you've missed us...the page views were very down in November and you can't all have been on holiday.  Actually, I'm quite pleased that these blog pages now get by far the most hits on the website....well it's organic innit....and not always the same old shite.

It feels to me, exactly like the end of the school holidays.  On the one hand filled with dread at starting a new term, but on the other, relief that I can get on with a bit of normality.

For the sake of routine, a stop was required in Balsall for either a Chinese or a chippy.  The chippy won, but we complained that the chips weren't cooked properly.'s like we've never been away.
You'd be amazed how many people think that there is a "Minstrel" inside a bag of "Revels"!  I chocolate disc in the Revels selection does not have a candy crisp shell, and therefore does not qualify as a Minstrel...more a Galaxy Counter.  I go into the off licence to buy some chocolate, and have the discussion with the assistant.  The assistant is also convinced that there is a Minstrel contained therein, but refuses my offer of a 10 wager.  Being an arsehole, I have to buy a small bag of Revels to prove my point.

The Library dressing room at Nailcote is all too familiar. I've always thought it odd that it should be called a library, as the room contains no books.  It does, however, have a peaceful ambiance which allows Ade to sleep, not only prior to the gig, but during it as well.

"Gettin' back on the 'orse" felt remarkably comfortable, once I had realised what song we were opening with.  I'd actually forgotten to look at the set list, and my autopilot just assumed it was I Saw Her Standing There.  Everyone else seemed to know what it was, but I was momentarily jaunted (obscure Tomorrow People reference for those of a certain age who will smile at the know who you are!) back to the day when I was dragged up in front of the whole school assembly by the headmistress, and made to look a twat for wearing long trousers.  They just don't know the damage they they?
Anyway.....this was probably the most enjoyable gig that anyone can recall doing at Nailcote.  We had a ball.  

During Please Please Me, Dirk had been outraged by, presumably, the uncooked part of my fish supper.  It really is quite horrid when you have to sing in that environment....ask anyone who's had to do it.  He was nudging me and saying......."do it to Roy, do it to Roy....he hates it!" (like anyone's gonna relish it!!)
I could never be that mean, to deliberately deliver a shot across an innocents bows, but fate was to deal a cruel blow to the Arse Canary, and leave the rest of us practically doubled over.
I mean, when you're just about to start a song and you hear your drummer say:
"Is that solid I can smell?" is very difficult to keep a straight face.
When Roy loses control and starts laughing.....he sort've can't stop.  Now it is not desirable to have Roy's laugh come over the PA.  If you've not heard Roy laugh, then you won't understand what I mean..... but let me tell can get quite....shrill!   To prevent this, he attempted to play two verses of a song with one hand whilst covering his mouth with the other.   
Some people have asked us from time to time, what we are laughing at on stage.  It's often things like childish and stupid as it is.....but laughing feels good, so I don't think it requires an apology.  We try not to make it too obvious what is really going on.
Yeah this was a fun gig.

Saturday 2nd December  06                                                                                                                             

The Grove, Rickmansworth.

This gig near Rickmansworth was that old rarity, a wedding!
We were supposed to be on stage at 10.30, so we were in plenty of time arriving at 9.30. Of course, things seldom run to plan, and they wanted us on as soon as possible.  Eddie didn't even have time for a fag, and at 11.30 we were back in the car, on the way home. A 45 minute set works really well at these functions.  All the hits, keep the dance floor full, and everyone's happy.

Recent Movie Recommendations                                                                                                    

As I've said many times on these pages, we are all big movie fans.  I thought it might be a good idea to post some of the films we have watched and enjoyed recently...some old, some new and some plain strange.  Here are our November selections:

Eddie Rick Derek Roy


13 Conversations About One Thing

The Insider

The Titfield Thunderbolt



Notting Hill




Sons Of The Desert


Thursday 14th December  06                                                                                                                             

The Stella, Washington.

I think we came to be playing this gig because the original, larger venue in Houghton le Spring had put the tickets on sale too late and therefore had not sold particularly well.  So here we are in what I guess you could describe as a social club.

Dave and Ade have already set up when we arrive at the venue, and are playing their new game.  Presumably bored with having to set up with standard gear, they decide not to load the flight case containing all the mic stands on the van.  We find them furiously trying to improvise the stands with whatever pieces of piping and tubing they can find lying around the place.  Less than ideal, but they make adequate substitutes and as long as Eddie doesn't knock into his, it should last the course.

We have a pretty good gig, with a surprisingly good on stage sound and the audience are very responsive at the end of the show.

Friday 15th December  06                                                                                                                                   

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

Many questions were asked tonight, some were answered, some not.

What are the fundamental principles of a two-stroke engine?
How can you tear a wig?
Why do AC30's only seem to have intermitent faults?
Does a Gretsch sound really shite when D.I.'d through a PA?
Do you play "I Just Called To Say I Love You"?

Saturday 16th December  06                                                                                                                              

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

A truly fabulous day began by taking the back off the dickie AC30 and prodding around the faulty switch.  It is usually strong coffee that will get me going these days, but 230 volts shooting up my arm had a similar effect.  I decided that I would leave this for John Gee to sort out.
An hour covered in soot from a broken central heating boiler had me in no mood to drive down to Nailcote, so Roy obliged.
An unremarkable gig was topped off by Ade getting the van stuck on the grass, and Roy, Eddie and I spending an hour trying to push it back onto the drive.
Dave and Ade are considering swapping the van for a half-track.

Sunday 24th December  06                                                                                                                                 

The Robin 2, Bilston.

This is the third year in a row we have played The Robin on Christmas Eve and I believe we all really look forward to it.
With the restaurant packed to capacity tonight, the kitchen staff just don't have the time or resources to feed us, so we are given a "buy out" to make our own arrangements.  The chippy across the road from the venue is a bit crappy, but we all tuck into the portions of fish and chips hungrily and without too much moaning.
I'm keen to see how well my sewing holds up in my wig (I mentioned I tore my rug at Nailcote Hall a couple of weeks ago and I had to get the needle and cotton to work to stitch it back together).  It could turn out to be a major embarrassment if it falls apart mid-set, but thankfully it appears to be fine.


Sunday 31st December  06                                                                                                                                 

Beacon Bingo, Cricklewood.

The reason why I am driving the Spectrum van at 8.15am this morning is a long story, that I needn't trouble you to read.  Suffice to say, that the crew on the last gig of 2006 is myself, Adam and Dave.  We rendezvous with Dave (taking a break from his holiday retreat in Llandudno) at Lymn Truck Stop near the junction of the M56/M6 and after a quick McBreakfast, Dave takes the wheel for the drive south at 9.15.  I know, I know.....I shouldn't subscribe to McDonalds, but they have a habit of popping up when you need something to eat and there is no alternative.

The drive down to London is like taking a step back in time to about 1980.  The roads are eerily clear, few people hogging inappropriate lanes, and Dave's foot never comes off the accelerator until we hit the slip road at the bottom of the M1.  We pull up at Cricklewood Broadway at 11.45, which is something of a record.
By one o'clock we are pretty much set up.  People have already been coming into the venue since 12 and have their dabbers at the ready to begin the serious bingo business at 2pm.  We have been given vouchers to obtain yet another Christmas dinner, but this time, the turkey appears to have been made out of something other than turkey. Probably an ingredient known only to Mr. Bernard Matthews and his close confidantes! I can't say that the food was particularly enjoyable, but it filled a hole.  Later in the day, we would sample a more acceptable chicken and chips, the bones provided evidence of less tampering.
A walk on Cricklewood Broadway, browsing a multitude of ethnic eating establishments from Ethiopian to Bangladeshi, killed an hour before returning to our 10' x 8' dressing room to relax for the 7 hours to go before the show.  We tried sleeping on the floor, watching a Harrison Ford movie on a lap-top, reading, and in one case, revising for GCSE's.  All riveting stuff! 
Beacon Bingo Hall is evidently the largest Bingo Hall in the world and not unused to taking 750,000..... a day!  The monotony of hearing ... Four AND eight, forTY eight; six AND seven, sixTY seven, was driving us slightly mad..... but, to each his own.

From a crew point of view, having been here so long, the band members became bastards, twats and other obscenities at about 4.30.  By the time
Dirk, Roy and Eddie arrive at the club at 10pm, they are despised characters who are just here to moan and make the dressing room unpleasantly overcrowded.  Eddie has subconsciously realised this and hides himself away in the toilet until it is time to go on stage.

One has to remember, that the people are really here for the thrill of winning money and not for a late night Beatle cabaret, so it is uncertain how many of the nearly 2000 punters will stay for the show.  As it turned out, about half of the punters did stay.  Amongst the revellers, were a couple of blokes who danced like chickens for the first half hour, until their wings got tired.  This bizarre dance was to the detriment of Dirks vocal performance, as he guffawed through most of the early songs.  At three minutes to midnight and during "Revolution", the stage was invaded by the Bingo staff, who came out to set off expensive looking party-poppers and scream "Happy New Year" to the audience.  Dirk led us in a couple of chorus's of a hastily botched version of Auld Lang Syne before we finally put our set to bed at 12.15.

By 1.30am, Adam, Dave and I had the van loaded up, and I was making the drive north up to the M1 and to a bed that was going to seem especially comfortable 22 hours after getting out of it.

Happy New Year readers!!



Blog Home

Fab Productions 2006