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Wednesday 4th April 07                                                                                                                                     

These are just 2 of my favourite things.

The internet proved, yet again, to be a wondrous place.  Surfing YouTube I came across this video which uses clips from Amélie, (I guess my favourite movie for many reasons) backed with a soundtrack of Aimee Mann's "Save Me".

I suppose I never thought that I would have these two on the same plate, but I think this works beautifully and it quite mesmorised me.

So..thanks to Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Aimee Mann and MissesJaneDoe for bringing them together in such a delightful way.

Tuesday 10th April 07                                                                                                                                         

Pleasure Beach, Blackpool.


Saturday 14th April 07                                                                                                                                        

Rothes Hall, Glenrothes.

It's hot, the air conditioning is broken again, the Forth Road Bridge and Kincardine Bridge have 90 minute tailbacks, it's the Scottish Cup Semi-Final, and there are road works round Sterling. In spite of this, we arrive at Glenrothes not much behind time.

This is the re-scheduled February gig and the first half goes swimmingly.  We recalled the last time we played here, when a sizable amount of people began leaving a few songs from the end.  This was a bit upsetting at the time, but we were assured it was because the last bus was due to leave.  Tonight we were told in advance that a bus was leaving at 9.50, so could we finish by 9.45.  No problem, we just cut the interval time down a bit and dropped a couple of tunes out of the second half.

I think it was around Baby's In Black that things started to go a bit "tits up".  The drums started to sound a bit there was no bass drum or something.  Sure enough, there was no bass drum, the metal beater shaft had sheared off which left Roy beating shit out of fresh air.  Dave raced up to the drum riser with the spare bass drum pedal, and then Roy became entangled in the mounted tom tom as he bent down to remove the broken one.  The comedy was to continue a few songs later when the spare pedal also broke.  I think this may have ruined Roy's gig!
With the dressing rooms being a very long way away, and the problem with the bass pedal, I was to do 2 solo songs to give Eddie and Roy time to sort their stuff out.  Having to restart While My Guitar because I had put the capo on incorrectly, unsettled me a bit.  Then I fluffed the words and really started to get rattled.  I know a few people who suffer like this....your mind starts to go just about everywhere except on concentrating on the job in hand.  Two pants versions!

Inspired by sosij
Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan

Sunday 15th April 07                                                                                                                                          

Private Party, Southport.

Fresh from their overnight stay in a Travelodge, Dave & Ade arrive at a very nice house just outside Southport to find.......steps!!  Nothing terrifies them more, with the possible exception of having a stage-right monitor go on the blink.  Once set up though, they were able to unwind by the pool side and have a work-out in the purpose built gymnasium, which would later double as changing room.

By the time we, the band arrived, the party was in full swing inside the marquee.  We'd heard that the inside of the "tent" had been decked out in a rather special way, but we were not allowed in to have a look until it was time for us to go on stage.  There was nothing to do except loaf around for an hour. We thought Dirk might have done a bit of light training, but no, he would wait till later on in the day.  Roy was getting quite giggly as we were putting wigs on in somebodys back garden. We got quite giggly when we realised that when Roy donned his sunglasses with his wig, he looked more akin to an Italian film director than a mop top drummer.

When we finally got to go on stage, we were all pretty astonished at the marquee interior.  It was dressed up to look like the Cavern, with fake brick walls and arches around the whole tent.  If you didn't know, you would never believe that this was in a suburban garden.  We've seen some pretty amazing party layouts in our time, but for its size, this had to be the most impressive and it must have cost a fortune. 

The actual gig was really good.  We had a good sound on stage, and although we had been warned about volume levels, once we kicked off there were no complaints about the front of house level.  The place was rockin', and we had the dance floor full for our hour.

Pic: Dave Bryan
Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan
Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan
Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan
Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan Pic: Dave Bryan

Wednesday 18th April 07                                                                                                                                   

Vintage Aimee Mann.

It's a damn cheek and a bit of an impudence, posting these things here when you've come here to read all about the life and tribulations of a copy band.  But....sod yer!  I haven't banged on about Aimee Mann for ages (except that post at the top of the page!), so I feel no guilt in posting this old video I've never seen before.  It is clearly from the 80's, and is taken from Til Tuesday's last album, "Everything's Different Now".

This is one of my favourite songs and shows, to me anyway, how exquisite a song writer Ms. Mann was becoming.

"Believe in life, believe in fate, believe you are lucky and worth the wait.
Cos life could be lovely, life could be fucking great"

You don't get this on myspace


Thursday 19th April 07                                                                                                                                       

The Jam House, Edinburgh.

Back up to Scotland again, and a journey that always seems more appealing than the drive through the chaos of going south.
Roy is thrilled that at long last Dirk has remembered to retrieve the Sweet CD that he loaned him in 2003, and has also brought him the promised UFO box set. Today also marks the start of "Dirks Summer Clear-Out"!, the day when Derek brings a big bag full of DVD's and CD's for his band mates to browse through and make sensible offers on.  Eddie and Roy in the back seat, are the first to get to rummage through like a couple of elderly ladies at a bring and buy sale.  Dirk was mercilessly teased about the time he sold a DVD to Eddie that had been a gift from me.

Because we will usually arrive for a corporate function after the guests, there is often some sort of rigmarole involved with us getting into a venue without traipsing through the punters.  Tonight was one of these occasions.  The Jam House staff were very helpful, and directed us round to the back door, up the steps, past the chefs....then back again, where we had to wait for ten minutes while the punters were moved from upstairs to downstairs.  Eventually, we were shown to the dressing room after a detour out of one back door and into another.  Unfortunately, the allocated room is not really big enough for four blokes, and certainly not when one of them is Roy, who as previously discussed, requires a considerable amount of personal space for his sundry items.  He and Eddie found a broom cupboard to set out their stalls.  This gaff has apparently got something to do with Jools Holland.  God knows where they would all get changed if his band played here.

This gig had come in quite late, and one of the stipulations on our contract was that we perform a song with some of the clients, who wanted to sing.  At first, they did not know which tune it would be, but finally the e-mail came through with their choice of song.  I was quite shocked with their selection of "Another One Bites The Dust", and had to politely point out that this tune was actually written ten years after the Beatles broke up and consequently did not feature in our repertoire.  They settled for A Hard Days Night.
Tonight, though, the client had decided that they were not going to perform with us after all.  Phew!

The gig is tremendous!  We are playing for a party of 150 or so Swiss roller shutter manufactures ( I may have got that wrong....  Google occasionally gives you a bum steer).  From the first song they were up on the dance floor and pretty much stayed there for 75 minutes.  According to the organisers, they have been doing these events for 15 years and they have never danced.
While we were eating our post gig dinner of guinea fowl and risotto, we were thanked profusely for making the event their most special one.  This is always nice to hear.

And so that was that!  Dave and Ade, with the assistance of a couple of burly Polish blokes, had the gear crashed down and loaded in the van well before we got out of the venue and were even able to give us directions to our hotel.  Here at the Ramada, we were afforded the luxury of individual boudoirs and bottles of Bud at £3.50 each.

Friday 20th April 07                                                                                                                                             

Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

Getting up early to move the car to a discounted NCP car park 10 minutes walk from the hotel, I was amazed how cold Edinburgh was.  I had not made provision for such weather, so found myself digging out my stage polo neck to keep the chill factor at bay.  Over breakfast, Roy, a frequent visitor to the Scottish capital, assured me that it is always cold here, even for his tastes.
This is a beautiful city, and I was delighted to have a few hours to walk around.  The "new town", looks very similar to parts of Birkenhead, and so it came as no surprise to learn that the architect was the same fella.  On Princes Street, opposite our hotel, is a magnificent, life size stone replica of Thunderbird 3, complete with a statue of its famous pilot, Walter Scott Tracy.  The locals seemed very friendly, there were welcome messages everywhere and one lady was keen to extend her salutation to the North American homosexual community. (see photo)  Eddie was the first to notice that all the statues that abund along Princes Street had their heads dripping with bird shit.......maybe they should've been sculpted with hats.

Roy buggered off with Dave and Ade to mooch round the Royal Yacht Britannia and the rest of us were going to spend a bit longer in Edinburgh, but Dirk was keen to set off for Glasgow, as he wanted to buy a gramophone.  Eddie and I waited patiently in an excellent coffee shop called The Bean Scene, while he completed his transaction.

The Theatre Royal is glorious!  I guess one of the finest theatres we have visited.  Although by no means a sell out, we strode onto the stage for the first half to a really respectable sized audience.  Like Liverpool audiences, Glaswegians have a reputation for being difficult to crack.  You can't get away with a substandard performance in these places, if you're no good....they'll let you know, but if you're cookin' .....there is no better place to play.  Tonight.....we all got on very well indeed.  Some were even on their feet in the first half, but by the end of the concert, most of the audience were up and boogieing.  There's no better feeling as a performer.  Thanks to all of you.

For the second night running Dave and Ade were packed up and out of the venue before us.  No small thanks for this due to the exceptional crew at The Royal.  These guys were the best anywhere, and we'd like to thank them for all their help, humour and professionalism.  A great team!!

Dirk had us in bulk on the way home with his observation that Eddie had just polished off a family bag of Hula Hoops, nuetralising them with an anti-cholesterol tablet.

Tuesday 24th April 07                                                                                                                                         

Routine Maintenance, Liverpool.

It's not all birds, booze, drugs, glamour and Ginsters pasties in this band y'know.  No! ...occasionally even the drums need a bit of TLC.  Today Dave and Ade have brought the gear over, and supervise Roy giving a much needed change to the drum heads.  This Ludwig kit was manufactured in 1965....but no one is quite sure the last time the heads got re-newed.  We just know they were sounding a bit shite!

Thursday 26th April 07                                                                                                                                       

Portmeirion, North Wales.


Friday 27th April 07                                                                                                                                             

Playhouse Theatre, Weston Super Mare.

Dirk had come in for a bit of stick over having one button too many undone on his shirt. We felt that this was simply beyond decency and were not prepared to accept any explanation that it was pectoral development in the gym causing a tightness of the garment.  Eddie took the opportunity to ape from the back seat, causing The Bronze Hand* to reach round in an attempt to give him a donkey bite.....   we're on the road again!

Frankly Services, M5, is not a common stop for us, but as we had been sitting in a long tailback round Birmingham, we were all hungry, thirsty and needing a piss.

The Playhouse is a lovely old theatre, really well maintained and run in a traditional way by very smartly turned out ushers.
It was one of those shows were we felt we had a bit of a battle on our hands. Dirk and I often use the bow after the first song to exchange brief comments.  Tonight it was an "oh oh".  From what we could see, there was a decent sized crowd, but we both felt that, as a body, they weren't entirely "with us".  It is probably just our own paranoia, but it doesn't help when you can see a po-faced couple on the front row who appear to show zero emotion at the end of every tune and flatly refuse to applaud.  Perhaps we weren't any good....but, we thought we played well, and the new drum heads sounded ace!

The Severn Bridge Toll costs £5.10 for a car, they accept cash sterling, US dollars, euros and cheques, but you can't pay by very queer these days.
We are settled into our Pencoed travelodge by midnight.

* Yet another nick-name for the bassist.

Saturday 28th April 07                                                                                                                                        

Princess Royal Theatre, Port Talbot.

1.  It's 12.05 and the band have just exited the travelodge.  Catching sight of Paul and Ade at the window of their room, Dirk, as PC as ever, comments that they look like they are from the "soft school".

2.  Adrian: I'm quite sure that Ade has the opinion that we are all piss taking bastards, which of course is very true.  I'm also sure that he is unaware how much we all really like him.  This picture sums him up for me, you can tell he's a good bloke, he deserves a lot more happiness.

3.  Eddie is very good humoured about the fact that Dirk is once again copying his dress style.

4.  'ave a Deco. Stopping for petrol in Port Talbot, we come across this run down old deco Plaza cinema. It's a sight that saddens us all.

5.  The Princess Royal Theatre, opened by...The Princess Royal.  What a co-incidence!

6.  Ring out the old.... ring in the new.  Port Talbot got it's name from the Talbot family, of pioneering photographer, Fox Talbot fame.  Famous sons of this town include Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins, but it is the steel industry for which it is best known.  We could see little evidence of great prosperity however.

7.  A man with a daft costume and an orange face, caught me taking this picture of him. Just after the shutter clicked, he was furiously beckoning me over.  As I went to chat, I was literally saved by the bell....or at least my mobile phone going off.  Roy was trying to find out where we had disappeared to, giving me the opportunity to avoid finding out what this bloke was selling, promoting or canvassing for.

8.  I scream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream. I realise that I have a bit of thing for ice-cream vans.

9 -12.  Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is served up by the friendly staff in Ferraris cafe.  

13 - 16.  Fairground Attraction. The town gives an overall impression of greyness I'm afraid, but seek and ye shall find.  I wasn't prepared to pay the entrance fee for the rather tatty funfair, but managed to capture some colourful images by standing on a wall to see over the herras fencing surrounding the site.

17. I'm not sure what this sculpture represents, but I thought its modern ness looked interesting against the old church.
18 - 19.  Last week, I was raving about how great the crew in Glasgow were.  I have to repeat myself here, because these fellas were also exceptional.

20 - 24 Tescos, both sides of the curtain, half price Chablis and some throat pastilles.

It's a really great turnout for this concert, maybe a few over 500.  In contrast to last night, we were all getting a great vibe from the audience.  There was a fair bit of shouting out, although why anyone would want us to play Yellow Submarine is beyond me. Thanks to the bloke who was screaming for Jumping Jack Flash and special thanks to Nicole.....cos we all need the eggs!!


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