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O C T O B E R   2 0 0 6 

Saturday 7th October 06                                                                                                                                    

Carnglaze Caverns, Liskeard.

I've got a bit of a cold.....not enough to bring the nurse out, but enough to mount concerns over the others catching my contaminated spores on the 320 mile journey south west.  We have a busy week ahead of us, so the last thing we need is the whole band coming down with this virus. Short of me wearing a mask, there is nothing we can do other than open the windows every time I sneeze or cough.

Arriving at Carnglaze, we find Chris and Steve unloading the gear.  Dave and Ade are doing their Pontins job, and have sent these two poor bastards to one of the more remote gigs on our calendar.  I am sure they are very grateful.

Lovely to see Graham, Caroline and Pip again, some of the most hospitable people we have come across.

Also down for this show, were the party of Windsor Rowdies, out to celebrate Jackie's 40th Birthday.  A big thank you to them for making the long journey, we hope you had a fab time.

Gotta cut this entry short because we are flying out to India tomorrow for a corporate show in Goa, and there is all the ironing to do...yeah!

So, hopefully, there will be a more interesting entry about this time next week.




What I have just got time to mention (sitting here on Sunday night), is that our very good friend, Tracy Jacobs was on The Johnny Walker Show on Radio 2 this evening, talking about the three songs that have had the most impact on her.  I missed the show live, but caught the listen again item on the BBC website.  I spoke to Trace shortly after this show was broadcast, and she was a little downbeat, thinking that she had not "performed" very well.  Typical of genuine people like herself....she got the measure of it totally wrong.  She was a great guest who spoke eloquently and sincerely, with no evidence of the nerves that can plague one with the knowledge that people are listening to you.  

Of course, she will have to go on again and plug us like she plugged The Counterfeit Stones, but we all forgive her for that.....   By Christ we do!!!   ;-)

Monday 9th October 06                                                                                                                                    

Going astray on the way to Bombay

Anyone who knows Derek, will surely be aware that he finds it impossible to sleep in a car or in a plane.  For someone with this handicap, he did remarkably well, catching zeds for two hours in the car down to Heathrow, 30 minutes on an extremely uncomfortable seat in the airport, and at least 5 hours on the Jet Airways flight to Bombay.  Conversely, Roy was having a tough time on the plane.  A screeching child forced him to abandon his seat in search of more peace.  Fortunately it was not a full flight, and as Roy passed the comatose body of Dirk stretched out across four seats, he confided to me that he really felt like giving him a good fucking smack in the face.  Tiredness can really bring out the venom.
Roy eventually found three seats to sprawl across near the rear shit-houses, and was snuggled down to try to catch some kip for what was left of the flight.  He was out of luck, for by now, Dirk had arisen and was sitting close by with Eddie, enjoying yet another screeching kid leaning over the seat in front of Roy.  Eddie was laughing so hard he was crying as Roy got more and more disgruntled.  I was oblivious to all this I was having my own personal crisis with sleep deprivation.  I can normally sleep even bolt upright in aircraft seats, but not today.  Instead I watched nearly all the shorts on the in-flight video system including an episode of Friends I've seen half a dozen times before.  Adrian, coped very well with his first long haul flight, but I think he had trouble sleeping too.

We were all thankful that the client had booked us a hotel in Bombay (Mumbai) while we waited for the connecting flight to Goa.  We would only be at the hotel for 5 hours, but it was a much better alternative to the humidity of the airport.
The drive to hotel resembles a race track, with taxis weaving in and out of each other.  There is no such thing as lane discipline here.  I would run out of expletives in 2 minutes if I were behind the wheel, but at least here, everyone knows the score.  The poverty is evident, but you don't get the impression that it is necessarily a bad thing.  There seems to be some sort of contentment...I could be so wrong, but who's to say that our materialistic lifestyles are better?
We arranged 5am wake up calls after a rather labourious check-in process, and went off to our luxury rooms.
As I deposited my keycard at the reception desk on the way out, the clerk asked me what I was doing.
"I'm checking out"
"But Mr. Richard, it is only 3am"
For some reason I thought I had heard the phone ring in the bedroom, so I got up, showered and gone down to get the taxi to the airport.  This was going to become something of a pattern....two hours sleep, then wide awake (sort of).  I went back to bed, but only dozed until the real time to get up.

Eddie had made the mistake of keeping his bag with all his toiletries, balsams, balms and aerosols with him rather than checking them onto the onward flight.  As they were confiscated at security, Eddies reaction could not have been worse if they had taken all his fags.  The loss of these items would have comedy repercussions later on in the day.


Tuesday 10th October 06                                                                                                                                  

Acclimatising - Park Hyatt, South Goa, India. 

The early morning flight would give us a spectacular sunrise through the window of the 737 - 800 (Technical information provided by FOLA* member #25376 Hitchen)
I can't say that Goa airport is run down, because one gets the impression that it has never been that "up".  This is a much more relaxed place than we would be used to.  We simply abandon the idea of getting on the courtesy bus, and walk, underneath the wing if you please, to the terminal building....something that would never be allowed in Europe.  We watch a Harrier perform a touch and go on the airstrip as we get to the building.  This is a military airport, so there is a ban on photography.  No one wants to end up like those Brits in Greece a few years back.

Outside the terminal building as we are collected by the Park Hyatt's bus, we are amazed to see a cow in the middle of the road just minding it's own business and nobody seemed to be too concerned about it.  This is a very different world.  The half hour journey to the Hyatt resort, is incredible. We are travelling at an unreasonably high speed given the condition of the road, it is more like being on horseback as we are bumped and tossed about.  The sights we pass are fascinating, a completely different way of life.  It is still very early in the morning, but the vibrancy of the people is unusual to us.  Unlike home, they all seem to have a purpose.  I really like it, and would have loved to be able to have got out the bus.  Our destination would be quite different and not at all a true representation of how things really are in this part of the world.

On arrival at the Park Hyatt Resort, we are all presented with leis and a coconut drink. This is really fun, even at this early hour of the morning when we should be more miserable.
Any attempt I could make to describe the beauty of this place would be inadequate.  The complex consists dozens of buildings, each containing four apartments, set amongst beautiful house plants which are grown to their proper size.  "oh look.....I've got one of them in me kitchen"  You'd never be content with Butlins again... but everything is relative!
Each of us has our own first floor apartment, and they are as luxurious as I would ever need.  A bath that you walked down two steps into, and easily big enough to farm carp in, was surpassed only by the shower which was like being caught in a heavy rain downpour.  I'm sure we must have all glanced in the large mirror in the shower/bath area and contemplated the fun that could be had in here.  It was so good, it made me feel sad, if that makes any sense.


*FOLA... Friends Of Liverpool Airport


You can't come all this way to such a place, and just laze round the room, so it's off for a bit of exploring of the complex.
Dirk, Ade and I, have some breakfast and wander around trying to take it all in.  We see the area by the tennis courts, where work is in progress building the stage for our performance tomorrow night.  Everything is done a different way here, and health and safety seems to have no meaning.  There are blokes up wooden scaffolds perched precariously without any safety measures, and presumably no access to firms of solicitors who specialise in "no win, no fee" accident at work claims.

The beach is something else.  It is exactly how you would picture a tropical island where you could lie back sipping Malibu and chomp on a Bounty.  As Dirk used to say to Jim and Acky....   "you don't get this on the windows" (referring to the window cleaning round that our ex-roadies were once engaged on.)

It is all very well, but at some point, one has to sleep.  By now, I've slept no more than 5 hours in the last 40.  The three of us return to out apartments.
Dirk phones me to tell me to switch on channel 20 on the telly.  The last time I saw A Hard Day's Night on television as opposed to video/DVD was probably over 20 years ago.  I travel halfway round the world, and look what just happens to be on....how incredible.  I nod off during Ringo's walk on the riverbank, and wake up just before the explosions at the end of The Guns of Navarone.  I can't break the two hour barrier yet.

Roy and I go for a walk to check on the progress of the stage building and watch the event I was most looking forward to......  a sunset on the Indian Ocean.  There aren't too many things more beautiful.





Before dinner, Eddie stopped by Roy's gaff to borrow his deodorant.  Never one to read the label, Eddie ended up spraying himself and most of the bathroom with shaving foam, while Roy became a Hyena and he resorted to a stream of "Fer fucks sakes".  Rather than waste the gel, Eddie whipped his armpit hair off. He is now totally smooth from the waist up, unlike his percussive counterpart.
There are four restaurants in the complex, and we settle for the air conditioned one.  The great thing is, you can order the menu from any of the restaurants in any of the others, disproving the old saying that you can't have your cake and eat it.
Roy has something small, in the form of a pepper and cheese baguette, but the rest of us go more local.  Well we are in India, it'd be fuckin' rude not to.  The lamb and spinach curry I had was out of this world, I loved it.  The spices prompted me to send a text to my mate, Kags, who I knew would have adored this place for the flavours alone.
We all retired to bed after the repast, with the exception of Roy, who sat through a 3 and a half hour Bollywood movie with no sub-titles, in the complex Cinema.  Why?

Wednesday 11th October 06                                                                                                                            

Park Hyatt, South Goa, India.

A big comfy bed, the gentle purring of an A/C, and feeling completely buggered, should be the perfect combination for a good nights sleep.......  Ever seen Lost in Translation?  I find myself sitting on the edge of the bed a la Bill Murray, in that state of bewilderment you only get with lack of sleep.  I get back into bed and try to get into "Laws of Attraction"  Unusually, one of my favourite actresses, Julianne Moore, makes me nod off and I miss the last half of the film.  I snap awake to find the telly still on...and Julianne is there again, this time in The Hours.  I've not seen this movie, but it looks really good so I try to catch up with what I've missed.  It's to no avail, as I drop off again.  I'm wide awake a 6am, and there is a some bird outside the window making a noise remarkably similar to the sound effects in the Tomb Raider III video game.  Alas, the bird doesn't resemble a grunting Lara Croft, but a bloody great black crow. (Dunno if it was a crow, I didn't have me Ladybird book of Birds handy.)  I get up and rifle through the desk draw to find the hotel directory. Excellent....breakfast starts at 7.  I have yet another shower, potter a bit, then stroll over to the restaurant. 
Like most musicians I've encountered, I am fairly competent at completely stuffing myself on a free breakfast, and I stagger back to the room with all the grace of a 2am kebab muncher.   I am ready for sleep!! 
Alarm on.....after having to really concentrate on adding 4 and a half hours on to the time set on my phone. (my mediocre attempt to stay on UK time to reduce the effects of jet-lag.....a ploy which by now had completely fucking collapsed)

9am...the phone rings.  It's Roy asking me if I'm going to breakfast.  I grumpily explain that I am not, and hastily set the phone to "do not disturb".
9.30am...my cell phone rings.  It's Ade asking if I'm going to breakfast.  I'm really rather pissed off now and Ade gets the full weight of my rudeness.  It's not his fault, he wasn't to know.
Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck!  I can't get back to sleep, so I go and join them for a coffee.

I turn up at the sound check at 3 o'clock.  Roy and Ade have already done the drums.  The setting is great, with a huge Indian print tarp covering the stage and the dance floor.  Around the sides, local traders have set up stalls, this is going to be really atmospheric tonight once the 150 guests arrive.  All the equipment is superb and we get a very pleasing sound.  We often struggle getting hold of AC30's abroad, and when we do, they are usually crap ones, so we have requested Fender Twins which can also vary greatly but on the whole they are more consistent.

The proposed on stage time is 8.30, it gets dark before 7 so the whole place will look fabulous.
We agree to meet up in Eddies room at 8.00 to walk down to the stage together.
As I lie on the bed reading Bill Bryson and keeping an eye on the time so that I can go and catch the sunset, I notice that it has gone a bit dark outside....and...is that rain I can hear.  I go to the balcony where I have left my guitar out of the A/C to acclimatise.  Dear God, it's not just raining, this really is a monsoon, I've never seen anything like it.  The thunder starts, the wind is getting up and the rain is pouring in sheets.  I adore thunderstorms, so this is really one to get excited about, but hey!...what about the gig?
Donning my swimming trunks and an umbrella, I walk over the quarter mile to the stage to see a really sorry state of affairs.  The back of the stage has collapsed and a multitude of people are frantically trying to rescue electrical equipment.  There is no question.........the gig is off!

By the time I get back to my room, it has been conveyed to Ade, that the function is to be moved to the Ballroom and that we will now be on at 9.45.  The monitoring system we had outside will now be used as front of house....it's all a bit of a bollocks as Roy would say.  Making our way over to the Ballroom for sound check number 2, the rain has subsided but it would still have been impossible to play outside. The whole area was waterlogged and no one would have fancied being plugged in after that.
In the Ballroom half a dozen people were drying the amplifiers and drumsticks out with hairdryers and towelling off the drums.  Our clients were getting edgy about us getting on to perform, but Dirk was still unhappy with the lack of monitoring and was busy organising the set up of the hotels bose speakers to fulfill this function.  I commandeered a golf buggy, to go and pick up costumes while he carried on fiddling.  When I got back, things were pretty much as ready as they were going to be, so we found a place to change in the kitchen corridor.  Unfortunately, Dirk was still in his shorts and I had not been requested to pick up a fresh pair of bills.  Dirk was gonna have to perform "commando"...not wise, with his personal history of trouser rippage.

We struck up with Twist & Shout as the room partitions were being moved out of the way, and the multi-national conference delegates all in fancy dress, started snapping away with a plethora of cameras.
For the most part of our set we had the dance floor full, but I do believe there is a marginal utility with a band like us on corporate events.

I'd really like to thank Nicki from Eyas and Becky and Scott from Datacard, for planning the whole event and getting us out there.  They were real troopers when it came to the monsoon crisis.

There was no after gig drinking session for us, it was straight to bed as we are up at 6 for the airport run. 



Thursday 12th October 06                                                                                                                                

On Our Way Home 

Back at Goa Airport, we are faced with the small inconvenience of a delayed flight to Bombay due to fog. It's not a huge problem because there is plenty of time for our connection back to Heathrow.  The was some palaver over paying for 5 coffees and a few rounds of toast, as the cafeteria was unable to take credit cards with chip and pin facilities. Fortunately, Roy had an old card that would no longer be acceptable at home.

Roy's buttocks appeared to be of no insubstantial interest to the security guard.  I was standing in line waiting to be called through the metal detector and got a good view of my drummer being unnecessarily caressed. He shuffled off, clearly mentally damaged by his experience.  The same guard was also a bit fresh with myself and Dirk, inserting his fingers into the
front of our trouser tops, but he did give our arses a miss.  The dirty bastard!

Ed and I, almost got into trouble in Bombay after legging outside for a fag and nearly missing the courtesy bus to the international terminal.  At least we got to sample the flavour of the bustle outside the airport, something which up to now we had missed.

Our passage through to the departure gate was held up because we had all filled in the exit forms with the only pen available, which happened to be red.  Although there was no mention on the form, this colour is not allowed.  One more hassle before boarding the plane, involved a battery still connected to the radio in Ade's bag causing concern to the security staff.  I must admit, I was pretty surprised that no bags had gone missing with all the transfers.  In spite of the whole baggage system appearing shambolic, these guys seem to have their shit together.

We were dead lucky on the long flight again. It was not particularly full, affording all of us the luxury of 4 seats to crash across.  The only real problem is that Eddie is starting to feel unwell, getting bad stomach pains.  This could have been down to the spicy food he has been noshing over the last few days, or possibly a reaction to the malaria tablets he and I have been on.  Either way, he is having a rough time.

The bus journey from Heathrow to the long stay car park provided an unpleasant incident with an elderly gentleman.  We were all standing up on the bus, preventing our bags and guitars from falling off the luggage rack.  As the bus approached his stop, this al' twat literally pushed Eddie out of the way to get to his bags, moaning that we were in the way.  I confronted this piece of excrement, telling him not to be so rude and that civility costs nothing.  I swear to God we were extremely polite and refrained from any profanity, but some people are just plain ignorant.

Bedford travelodge was a bit of a come down to say the least, compared to the luxuries we have experienced over the last few days.  Ade, Roy and I share a room that smells of vomit disguised with disinfectant....you know the smell I mean don't you?  Dirk and Eddie stay in their room, but the rest of us set off for the local pub, as it is too early to go to bed.

It turns out to be jam night at the boozer and the quality of the drummers is making Roy frustrated.  After 20 minutes, he has his hand up in the air, shouting out..."Can I have a go on the drums please?"
"Sure....  can you play?"
"Yeah"
A blues song no one has heard of and a version of Red House
later, Roy is back with his pint and the admiration of the locals.



Friday 13th October 06                                                                                                                                       

Corn Exchange, Bedford.

Eddie has had a rough night in the travelodge and we are a bit concerned about him. Dirk puts it down to wind, but the poor chap looks decidedly grey.  We get to the theatre early and set Eddie up in the dressing room with pillows, Lucozade and Imodium, but not in that order.  Roy stays to nurse Eddie while the rest of us set out to sight-see, drink coffee and take advantage of Debenhams Blue Cross sale.

The Corn Exchange is a brilliant venue, although I'm sure Dave and Ade would argue about the quality of the get in.  It is a decent house and we do a good show, with Eddie really pulling his finger out.
The front of house staff led by Helen were marvellous, and were very hospitable.  I sincerely hope that someone from the Corn Exchange reads this, because I would like to go on record as saying that the little Italian lighting man, is definitely the biggest twat we have ever encountered in any venue.  I would strongly suspect that one day, someone is going to give the poxy little git a right good hiding.  If he had said the things to our faces that he was saying over the theatre talkback system....it would have been us.

We're going home.



Pic - Jean Herbaut Pic - Jean Herbaut Pic - Jean Herbaut Pic - Jean Herbaut

Saturday 14th October 06                                                                                                                                 

The Barn, Aston.

It's about five or six years since we have played at this Midlands venue tucked next to the M6, close to Villa Park and we always used to enjoy it.
It's a full house here tonight and the audience are knowledgeable and appreciative.  Other than that, there is not much else to say.  There was no drama....well...unless we count Ade's rumbling tummy, but that was resolved with no less than a huge plate of chicken curry.


An after-thought 17th October 06                                                                                                                    

The Bombay to Bedford Blog (abridged)

The first and last photo of each day tell some sort of story......without having to wade through the crap above.

 

 

Saturday 28th October 06                                                                                                                                 

Delfina Art Gallery, London.

It seemed a bit strange setting off for this gig in the dark, but it was a private party and our on-stage time was not until 11.45, something of a rarity these days.

I was quite looking forward to getting to the venue. An Art Gallery....we don't play at many of those, it should be cool.  As it turned out, the Delfina was really cool, but I was a trifle disappointed that all the exhibits had been removed for the party....either that or the place is in desperate need of the odd painting to hang up!

The main "party" room was completely white and looked fantastic, although God knows how they got that Mini Cooper in there.  As we struck up our performance, it was clear that this room was less than ideal for live music.  Ade had pre-warned us that the sound would be a little harsh with the bare walls and glass over the stage area, and Derek had observed that there was not a soft furnishing in sight.  Add these factors together, and you are likely to get something of a din.  We did our best to play as quietly as possible, but we were all aware that it was a bit of a racket.  Nothing we could do about it!  Lovely people though, and we went down well.

In spite of British Summertime coming to an end at 2am and the clocks going back an hour, this was still the latest we have got home for a good while.  A little detour to drop Dirk off at the airport and we have finished for a few weeks.



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