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Monday 8th January 07                                                                                                                                     

Happy New Year!!

Hope you all had the best time over the holiday.  I thought I would start off this year with a bit of randomness by posting up some images from a 2002 film I have recently discovered and become outrageously passionate about.
The Jean-Pierre Jeunet, film "Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain", is known here as simply...."Amélie".



Tuesday 16th January 07                                                                                                                                  

The Cavern Club, Liverpool.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Cavern Club in Mathew Street. My good friend Alex McKechnie has put together a band comprising of his mates who all have long standing connections with the club.  Alex was a regular at the club in the early 60's and saw the Beatles here many times.  Towards the end of the decade he was a member of the clubs resident band, and up until his retirement a couple of years ago, he booked all the bands here, including Oasis and The Coral before they made it.  Drummer, Ray Johnson is one of the most familiar faces at Beatle Week and now works as resident sound engineer in the club.  Paul Kappa has played the club more times than the Beatles, and is widely considered one of the best guitar players in Liverpool.  He also plucks the six string for Haré Georgeson.  My connection with the club goes back to April 1984, when I was in the first band to play on the re-opened stage.  It seems bizarre to think that in 1984 the whole club was carpeted!
So, The Alex McKechnie Experience performed a hastily cobbled together 40 minute set comprising of tunes that would have been heard in the early era of the club.  Arthur Alexander, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and  Chuck Berry all got an airing.
The afternoon was great fun, if a tad under-rehearsed.

Pic. Wes Paul Pic. Wes Paul Pic. Wes Paul Pic. Wes Paul

Sunday 21st January 07                                                                                                                                    

Theatre Royal, Windsor.

I'm pleased to report that the wind that has been battering Britain for the last few days has now subsided, making the journey south pretty uneventful.
This is the fourth time we have played at the Theatre Royal, and the second time we have appeared in the middle of the run of a play.  The play currently running is "Treats", starring Billie Piper and Kris Marshall.  As it is not possible to remove the stage set, we end up performing in the mock up of someone's living
room. The Shea Stadium section is gonna look ridiculous!!

Kris Marshall plays the role of Dudley Sutton in a BBC3 drama Roy introduced me to called "Funland".  
I couldn't resist sticking a note on his dressing room door asking:
How's that bucket working out for you?".... a line from Funland which hopefully he will have found amusing.

Good to see agent Mark Lundquist turn out for this show, and it's always a pleasure to have Tracy scrounge a ticket.  I think it's a bit of nerve though, that the car park behind the theatre charges £7.00 for the evening, even on a Sunday.

Eddie's cold made for a few mildly amusing in-between song incidents, especially since he wasn't carrying a hanky.

Wednesday 24th January 07                                                                                                                            

Chez Moi, Liverpool.

Derek said he liked the photo slideshows..... so, now that it has turned so cold, here are some pictures from last summer to cheer you up and get you in a holiday mood!!


Saturday 27th January 07                                                                                                                            

Gala Theatre, Durham.

We all arrive at the Gala in a good mood...and this is rare. Perhaps it is the fact that we always like playing in the North East, I can't work out any other possibility.  Roy was in such a good mood today that he has been spared the black and white treatment for at least this particular entry.
There is a bit of a cock up over the sound check time.  Since it is normally 6 o'clock, Roy and I are eating in bar at 5.30 when Dave is narkily expecting us to be fiddling with gear.  Dave and Ade come out to the bar, and explain that we have been mentioned on Steve Wright's Radio 2 show this week.  Apparently, this was in conversation with our prancing southern acquaintance, Nick Dagger of the Counterfeit Stones.
Encouraged by reports of a near sell out, and expectations that the last few tickets will be snapped up by walk-ups, we all enjoy the sound check, and go through a couple of songs we haven't done for a while with a view of dumping them the show, prior to the big set shake up over the next few weeks.  The new show is nearly finalised now, and will be unleashed soon.

Every now and again, Adrian likes to have a pampering.  Today, Roy fussed around him with a hairbrush.  There is a short film below.  Unfortunately, I was around to capture Dirk choking on his coke, but I am reliably advised that it was a precious moment.

Somewhere between the sound check and stage time, Eddie disappeared.  This is not altogether unusual, as he much prefers his own room to sharing with any of us.  As we had only been allocated 2 dressing rooms tonight, we couldn't figure out where he had bunked off to.  The intro tape was playing when we finally found him in the wings waiting to go on.  He must have found a cupboard to get dressed in somewhere.
Ade had not seemed thrilled with the front of house sound, but we had a great on stage sound, and this made the first half a real joy for us.  Hard to please Dirk, came off at half time properly enthused!!

On July 1st this year, England will go smoke free! No smoking will be allowed in ANY public place.  The Gala has taken a head start, and smoking is banned everywhere on the premises including outside!  With cameras everywhere, the addicted members of the theatre staff have to walk out of the car park for a crafty fag during the interval.  This can't be right!  Yes, I totally agree that us baddies with the ash should not inflict our stale and carcinogenic smoke onto others, but this is one step too far for our personal freedom. I really wish I could rally every smoker in the country to not buy fags for one day...that'd show the spineless fuckers in government who haven't got the balls to ban the sale of cigarettes.  Of course, since coming to power, Labour have introduced 150 new taxes and 600 new ways to commit a crime.  Power to the People...Right On!!
Anyway, I digress, the point is the interval saw Eddie and myself once again puffing away in the freezing outside conditions, with every chance of becoming ill from catching a cold rather than the cigarettes.

The second half of the show was every bit as good for us as the first half had been. Two new songs in the solo spots made a welcome change for Eddie and I, and no one could have failed to enjoy the encore.
Just time after the show to chat to old mate Ian Penman in the bar, and it was off back home in hot pursuit of the Spectrum vehicle, who had made one of their most speedy getaways yet.


Sunday 28th January 07                                                                                                                                    

The Bollywood Beatles!!

I'm quite perversely interested in bizarre Beatle cover versions. One of my favourites being the Templeton Twins version of Hey Jude, which I really wanted to be played over the PA at the end of our show as people are leaving the theatre.  Unfortunately, this idea got vetoed but I still get a kick out of the madder interpretations of Lennon/McCartney classics.
Whilst uploading a film to YouTube, I came across this ace version of I Want To Hold Your Hand.
"We meet because of destiny, we also create false promises"  Marvellous!!!

Wednesday 31st January 07                                                                                                                            

GEE Electronics, Liverpool.

You are probably all dead curious to know what happens to our amplifiers when they go wrong....and go wrong they do...with monotonous regularity.  We have four Vox AC30 amplifiers, two of them are used on stage, while the other two take short vacations at this place....Gee Electronics.  
Tucked away in a corner of The Rocket Trading Estate in Liverpool, you can find a bright blue door with an old speaker cab. brandishing the company logo screwed above it.
Today, cantankerous proprietor, John Gee, opens the door with his customary scowl and beckons me inside without looking up from his telephone conversation.  Being a regular client of his, I know what to do; struggle past a mountain of amps in the corridor waiting to be picked up, and into the back workshop.  The place looks like a scrap yard for old valve amps, with shelves stacked with spare parts.  It appears that there is no order to anything, but I know from experience that everything has its place.  Barry is in the back working at a bench, soldering iron in hand.  It is he who will be looking after AC30 No.3 by replacing the faulty mains switch.  This particular model is a vintage reissue, and the fellas here hate them.. "You can't beat the old ones" they say.  I've had about a dozen AC30's and they've all been prone to faults, however old or new they are.  Maybe I'm just unlucky.
John was still on the phone as I waved goodbye. Perhaps he'll be finished when I pick the amp up on Friday.


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