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5th May 06
chances with the Friday afternoon traffic, we set off a little
early for the West Midlands. We find that the
traffic is surprisingly light for a Friday, so we have
the luxury of about an hour spent at the pleasant
lakeside setting at Stafford Services. Sixteen quid for
4 coffees and a tiny salad is the price to pay for this
This was a surprise 50th birthday party for Janet in
small private members club. Husband Dave had gone
to great lengths to make this a special day for
her...and I think he succeeded!
Despite the fact that Dave bottled out of making a
speech before we came on, I think it was all fairly
evident how much he thinks of Janet. Bugger the
speech....his actions spoke volumes. I guess they
are pretty lucky to have each other. For our part,
it was nice to be involved in making some ones day.
With Dave (Bryan) off sunning himself in his secret Caribbean
retreat, Ade has enrolled the services of the
"lovely" Steve Marsh, to assist with the
gear. A pleasant shock to see Steve...part of the
94p a litre is now the cheapest I can find
(OK....93.9p .......but the 10th of a penny "is
just price rhetoric" - Partridge)
7th May 06
2003 was the
last time we came here, back in the days before the
blog. I remembered the outside of the venue, I
remembered the dressing rooms, but the rest of it is
just a blank. I'd even forgotten, until embarrassingly
reminded by Rhian a few months ago, that this place has
quite a significance to those who fondly remember Eric
Morecambe. It was in the wings of this theatre
that one of our best loved comedians, died of a heart
attack on 28 May 1984.
12th May 06
It seems so
rare that we can set off for a gig as late as 7pm these
days, but here we are belting down the M6 in the post
rush hour traffic. Roy is not feeling too clever
after almost a week of stomach pains and a visit to the
hospital, but had felt OK enough to tackle the
gig. Understandably though, he opted out of a
visit to the Chinese take-away in Berkswell village,
where I sampled the delights of the Special Chow Mein,
and Eddie went for his favourite Singapore Fried
Rice. I'll come back to the Fried Rice later.
I've noticed that the motorway petrol stations appear
now to be in a bit of a quandary. With normal pump
prices up another penny this week to 94.9p, the rip offs
on the motorway who are normally a good 8p a litre more
expensive, have decided to keep their prices at just
under a quid. Either they haven't got enough
numbers in their cupboards, or they fear their sales
will be markedly down once the public see the price go
over a pound. We have never seen a good reason why
these places charge so much, other than they can because
people don't particularly want to come off the motorway
to fill up. It's an outrage I tell you.
We are playing in the Lant Suite at Nailcote, always a
difficult stage, especially for Dirk and I...we keep
banging into each other, and often I have to get to the
mic. via the dance floor. It's quite a good gig
and we have a full dance floor for pretty much the whole
set...if you don't count my Carl Perkins tune!!
About three quarters of the way through the set, there
appears to be an altercation on the dance floor between
a lady and her male dance partner. From what we can
make out, she appears to be accusing him of
"opening his lunch box". She is holding
her nose and giving him the evil eye. He continues
to dance with his arms outstretched, seeming to
gesticulate "It ain't me luv!"
On the far side of the stage, Eddie is trying to conceal
an evil grin. Not usually known for trouble-making
flatulence, he confesses to us later that it was indeed
he who released his dinner during No Reply.
The band sounded great...but they don't half pong!
Roy got though the gig on adrenaline, but didn't look
well as we got back in the car for the journey home.
13th May 06
Roy might have been OK for this gig today, but at 12
o'clock I get a phone call saying he is feeling much
worse and is going back to the hospital. It's a
bit touch and go, but I manage to get hold of Dave, the
drummer form Beatlemania who travels down from
Northumberland to do the gig with us.
Worries about Roy's health, the gig tonight without him,
and some very sloppy defending by Liverpool, tend to
spoil the first half of the FA Cup Final. As the
second half kicks off, I have to leave to pick Eddie
up. The streets of Liverpool are very quiet this
afternoon as everyone is watching the match. I
have to content myself with listening to a very poor MW
signal provided by Radio 5. At Knutsford, we think
the game is all over as we enter injury time with West
Ham 3-2 up. Steve Gerrard's 91st minute cracker of
an equaliser prolongs the game until Hilton Park, where
we simply have to pull in and watch the penalty shoot
With pre-sales for the Robin at just short of 600, it
looks like this is going to be another sell out in
Bilston. We are thankful that we have not had to
cancel the show and very grateful to Dave for making the
long journey to take up sticks with us.
Fortunately he was familiar with most of our show and we
were only going to have to change about half a dozen
numbers. I speak to Roy at about 7pm who tells me
the hospital had given him wrong medication last Tuesday
and this is causing his problems.
When the Robin is full like this, it is the most
fantastic gig...it's hot and sweaty, but we love
it. In a perverse reversal of last nights
situation, this is the first time we've ever smelt farts
coming from an audience member... but I swear that
someone very close to the stage had bad guts...and no
one in the band was owning up!
Metropole NEC, Birmingham :: January 2002
Thought we had a tramp in
our dressing room at first, but quickly realised Tony
was giving a speech as Baldrick at this corporate.
21st May 06
chat on the way to this show...very local for us, just a
35 minute drive.
This is some venue! Built in 1930, very deco
style, as one of those "super cinemas", it has
seen some changes in its history. In its heyday,
this must have been awesome. 1200 seats and a giant
screen, watching King Kong here when it came out must
have been some experience. Sadly, like with most
of these places up and down the country, the late 60's
brought tough times and it was taken over and used as a
bingo hall. Thankfully, an enthusiastic group of
volunteers are trying to restore the Plaza to it's
former glory, and they are now putting on shows and more
It was quite a small audience for the size of the venue,
that saw us tonight, but they were fantastic and made us
feel very welcome. Had the place been full, the
atmosphere would have been electric.
27th May 06
off for Stratford, I had the car washed by the
Merseyside Fire Brigade. They were doing a charity
car wash event in aid of the Linda McCartney Breast
Cancer Centre. Roy commented that they hadn't done
a very good job. This was sadly true, but it was
half washed for a good cause. However, I hope for
better service next week when I attend the Roy Castle
topless massage event in Tesco's car park.
We pick Dirk up at our secret rendezvous on the road to
Holmes Chapel. A grumpy man asks him to move his
car up an extra eighteen inches, and I don't blame
him. You see, I can quite easily see myself
falling into the "grumpy old man" category
before too long...I have already started
practicing. My current gripe is connected with the
looming World Cup Finals in Germany. Don't get me
wrong, I am really looking forward to the competition,
and although I have an unreasonable dislike of our
national teams manager, the ludicrously coiffured Sven
Goran Eriksson, I sincerely hope that England will make
it all the way and bring back the cup.
No...my problem is nothing to do with bloody football in
that sense. It's these bastard flags that people
have hooked onto their car's windows. Why do they
annoy me so much? Why do I want to snap them all
off? I'm clearly going to have to have a long
think about it and come up with a good reason.
I'll get back to you.
Cox's Yard is a very small venue in a beautiful location
on the banks of the River Avon. When we arrive,
Ade & Dave have got all the necessary gear in the
venue but are still setting up. There is no room
to put our PA in the venue, so we have to use the house
system. We don't much care for doing this under
normal circumstances, there are few PA systems better
than Spectrums, so why should we want to use less?
Without seeming snobby, the in house system in Cox's
ain't a patch on Spectrums EAW rig, but there is no real
option. At the sound check, we are not totally
happy with the sound, but we run out of time and we have
about 15 minutes to get on stage.
The gig itself is quite good, Dirk & Roy really
enjoyed it, Eddie didn't like the heat at all, and for
me it was a bit of a Curates Egg...I enjoyed the
atmosphere and the generosity of the audience, but
didn't feel I had a particularly "good one".
30th May 06
Seasons Hotel, Dogmersfield.
gig for a party of jet-lagged Canadians in the
magnificent setting of the Four Seasons Hotel in
Dogmersfield. I've never even heard of this place,
but it is tucked away about 6 miles off the M3 near
Hook. The mixing desk is hidden away behind an
attractive floral display, and a bottle of Bud will set
you back eight nicker. Eddie is very quiet, and I
have to endure Dirks taunts about my decision to wear a denim
shirt. Tracy Jacobs is in the bad books for giving
us false information about the M25 being
"free-flowing" counter-clockwise on a Tuesday
tea-time. Roy has pruned himself for the summer
months, and Dave had to run away from Derek. Ade
could be seen poking out from behind the hyacinths
during the set, randomly checking the front of house, or
was it the dancing girls in the go-go boots that drew