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D E C E M B E R   2 0 0 7 

Saturday 1st December 07                                                                                                                                

Civic Theatre, Doncaster.

I'm writing this month back to front, so now that I have arrived at December 1st, I realise why I always wanted to get the blogs down as quickly as possible after the gigs......I can't remember a thing about them after a few days.  
During the month ahead (oh this all sounds very wrong...but hopefully it will eventually make sense!), we will have discussions in the car as to whether of not we really want to have a blog at all.  We all like to look back and remember some great times, but we aren't so sure we want it public anymore, even though the blog pages are the most often visited pages of  
Oddly, I'm really enjoying doing the photographs, but the writing seems to be getting quite tiresome, less funny and less entertaining.  Some of the things I really want to say are not fit for anyone outside the band.

Anyway, getting back to Doncaster, I recall that this was a really good gig, quite a full house and an enthusiastic Yorkshire audience.  We seem to do quite well in this part of the world.

Friday 7th December 07                                                                                                                                     

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

With Dirk, as usual, making his own way to Nailcote, Roy, Eddie and I spotted the warning on M6 gantries: J13 - J14 LONG DELAYS.  At this point the traffic was free flowing and not altogether busy for a Friday night.  Even though these signs have an infuriating habit of crying wolf, I quickly made the decision to pull off the motorway and use the parallel A34.  I figured that even with the reduced speed limits, we would be in enough time to get back on the motorway further down.  We tried to get back on at J13 but found it to be closed off with about half a dozen Fire Engines visible just up the slip road.  I called Dirk....he was in the jam.

The three of us arrived at Nailcote at pretty much the usual time, about an hour before we were due on.  Dirk called, he was still stuck on the M6.  It was apparent that there was no way he would be here by 10.30, so we started to make contingency plans.  By 10.30, Dirk called to say that he was clear of the accident and had a straight run through which should take him 45 minutes.  The DJ kept spinning discs until we could finally make it on stage at 11.15.  This was the first gig we've done I think, where one of us had a beard!

Some very unpleasant people in the audience tonight who were very rude to the owners.

Saturday 8th December 07                                                                                                                               

Winter Gardens, Weston Super Mare.

It's cold and windy in the birthplace of John Cleese and Ritchie Blackmore tonight.
This is a Christmas ball taking place in the grand surroundings of the Winter Gardens Ballroom, a room that would give a any sound engineer a headache.  Chris managed with aplomb.

Friday 14th December 07                                                                                                                                  

The Maltings, Farnham.

There are two hard bits to this journey.  The first is Birmingham, with it's seemingly never-ending stream of brake lights and the, perhaps, more obvious snail pace of the M25 round Heathrow at four o'clock on a Friday afternoon.  In between the two, we stop off at Cherwell Valley Services.  Warwick has lately been abandoned in favour of the pull-in which has a Marks & Spencer food hall, the good coffee and reasonably clean toilets.
It seems that we are not the only discerning tribute on the road today!  As I am browsing the cold pasta dishes, I hear the unmistakable Jaggered tones of Nick Dagger, lead show-off with country's second greatest rock 'n' roll band, The Counterfeit Stones.  He and Charlie Mott are travelling north for a corporate in Brum and we spend a couple of minutes discussing the merits of M&S's chicken and basil thingy and if astrakhan coats are making a come back.

Unusually, the sat-nav finds the venue first time and in no-time at all we are settled into our dressing rooms.  Eddie manages not only to get his own room, but also the one with all the sandwiches and drinks in it, while the rest of us are left with the much bigger and much, much colder room.  Ed soon finds that he has squatters.

We opt against a full sound-check as things seem to be very much under control.  The room has excellent acoustics and Chris is supremely confident of getting a great sound.  
I looked across at Eddie as Dirk counted in the first song and noticed that he was without guitar lead.  How did this happen?  Steve would normally be in the wings and could have remedied this in a flash.  Unfortunately, The Maltings ain't got no wings so there was no Steve on hand and this left Ed with his hands behind his back for two and a half minutes till the end of the song when I could chuck him a spare over.
I think this may have set a tone!

By all accounts we played very well and were fully appreciated by the full house.....even Chris said so.  The four of us on stage had a radically different perspective on the night, to the point where we were all rather down after the gig.  I guess these things just happen now and again.  I can't remember the last time a string broke on the acoustic may have never happened during a gig, as they do get changed (occasionally).  Tonight 2 strings went at the most inconvenient time in the set, when there was just not enough time to replace them and tune them up before the solo spots. Alas, we don't carry a spare acoustic and it just made things a little awkward.  My solo spot seemed to very accurately represent a sticking CD, as I completely dried at the beginning of the song....  "I look, I look, I look, look, look at you all......"

We packed up in silence and trooped off towards our M3 base for the night.  Driving through Farnham, we spotted the Police out with mobile speed 11pm!!.....never seen that before.

The Sunbury Travelodge gave the 6 of us our first chance to socialise after a gig.

Saturday 15th December 07                                                                                                                             

Private Party, North London.

Leaving the Travelodge at mid-day there is a lot of time to kill before we have to arrive at the gig which is only about 20 miles away.  We drive into London and park up in Mayfair, figuring we can walk round anywhere we fancy from here.
We stick together until Dirk gets his Café Nero loyalty card stamped a few times and then split in half.  Dirk and Eddie wander off to Regent Street, while Roy and I embark on a hike that will take in miles of crowded streets full of Christmas shoppers.
From Savile Row and the old Apple building, we wander into Soho which is, as always, alive and vibrant.  As we get to St. Martins Lane, we come across thousands of pissed Santas all making their way towards Shaftsbury Avenue.  We never found out quite what was going on, but they all seemed to be having a fine time.  Roy spotted Tim McInnerny taking photos of the colourful sight.

After five hours, and with freezing feet it was time to meet up back at the car and make the crawl up the Edgware Road to our destination.  Chris and Steve had everything in hand when we arrived at the gig, so there was little to do except wait for our stage time.
I think we all quite enjoyed our performance in the marquee, but considering this is December, it was probably one of our hottest gigs all year.  As we began to head up the M1, I know that we were all looking forward to getting home.

Saturday 22nd December 07                                                                                                                            

Nailcote Hall, Berkswell.

Another Nailcote Christmas Party, another Christmas at the Hall.
This time, we are all present and correct well in time for any performance time the staff want to throw at us.  Nailcote is by no means a cheap place to come to, but it still manages to draw some scum as was evident a few weeks ago and again tonight when there was a huge kick off near the bar and a fight broke out which nearly caused the front of house speakers to be demolished.
Pretty much run of the mill for us.

Monday 24th December 07                                                                                                                               

Robin 2, Bilston.

Even though we have a couple more dates left this year, we always feel that this gig at The Robin brings the year to a close.  The best audience in the country at the best Rock n Roll venue, always makes this a memorable gig.

Saturday 29th December 07                                                                                                                            

Private Party, Bath.

Monday 31st December 07                                                                                                                               

Las Dunas Hotel, Estepona.


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