SEPTEMBER | NOVEMBER
C T O B E R 2 0 0 6
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.
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
astray on the way to Bombay
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
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.
- Park Hyatt, South Goa, India.
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
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
*FOLA... Friends Of Liverpool Airport
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hyatt, South Goa, India.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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?"
A blues song no one has heard of and a version of Red
Roy is back with his pint and the admiration of the
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
We're going home.
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.
Bombay to Bedford Blog (abridged)
and last photo of each day tell some sort of
story......without having to wade through the crap
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.