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Saturday 4th December 04                                                                                                                               

The Brewery,
London.

I don't know where to begin with any kind of report of this gig.  We've played the Brewery on many occasions.  It is a splendid location in the City and the main hall, The Porter Tun, is a magnificent room with high wooden beams.  The problem we have had in here the last few times we have played is the decibel meter, which monitors the sound volume in the room, apparently on behalf of the Barbican residents.  Anyway, an un-miked snare drum sends this bugger into the red, so the band has no chance through the PA.
The "do" was for French pharmaceutical people, like the one we did back in September.  I remember then, saying that that was a really good gig.  This was was the complete opposite.  I don't think anyone in the band enjoyed it too much.  We were asked halfway through the show, not to talk between the songs as the audience couldn't understand us.  I mean, it's not like we have long monologues or anything, but we have to cover the gaps between guitar changes and the like.  It just pissed us off a bit.


Thursday 9th December 04                                                                                                                              

Deja Vu,
Dundee.

It must be years since we have played a nightclub, and it seemed bizarre setting off for somewhere as far away as Dundee as the sun was setting with the knowledge that we would be in plenty of time to make this gig.  We like driving north.... much less traffic.  Eddie still always asks if we have passed Birmingham yet, but I think, by now, we all know he is taking the piss.
After the sound check at the club, Eddie had his first spectacular tumble. He was sharing a rather badly designed double seat with Dirk.....   Dirk got up....  Eddie went arse over tit and ended up in a rather untidy heap on the floor.  A promoter called Davey took us over the road to a pub for some sandwiches and took Rick off to a pub to see some old chums from Beatle Week, Steve and Grant playing in Tripper and Ian and Willy in Ringer.
The gig itself was fairly uneventful, and we set off in search of the Travelodge in Dundee which was to be our home for a few hours.


The chair Eddie fell off Steve and Grant from Tripper

Friday 10th December 04                                                                                                                                  

Staff Night Out,
Somewhere in Scotland.

We all arose late, very late! In fact, in all the years of staying in this chain of accommodation I can't remember being allowed to stay until 1pm without at the very least being barged in on by the housekeepers.  As we pulled back the curtains in the room, Roy was totally impressed by the view of a brick wall from the window.....  gorgeous.
We breakfasted in the adjacent Little Thief whilst the crew had opted for the cheaper alternative of the massive Tesco further up the road.
It was decided that we would press on to Falkirk, where we would have our "staff night out".  There was no gig tonight but we are in Falkirk on Saturday so it made sense to base ourselves here for two nights.  Eddie pointed out that Scotland has some of the most beautiful scenery in England, as we drove leisurely from Dundee to Falkirk.  On the way we come across the fascinating "Falkirk Wheel", which we all agree, is the most elaborate canal lock that any of us has ever seen.  Roy had seen a documentary about it on the discovery channel, but frankly, he failed to impress us with any facts and figures which we so eagerly required.  We are such lazy tourists and never even got out of the car.  (except Eddie....who was by now gasping for a fag).  After checking into the hotel, the afternoon was spent giving some much needed attention to the more smelly items of stage wear. The seven of us met in the lobby to discuss what we would do on our annual night out.  Roy exercised his unquestionable raison d'etre, and opted out of the proceedings in favour of a bar snack in the hotel followed by a long bath, feet up on the bed and Friday Night with Jonathon Ross.  The rest of us met back in the lobby at 6.30, bent on painting the town red.  Eddie had brought all his smart gear with him and John......hadn't!.
There just wasn't a decision to made about where or what to eat, so we hit a pub for a drink to decide.  When we STILL couldn't decide.... we split up into two camps.  Dave and Ade trooped off after John to a Chinese and what was left of the band headed off over the road to the Comma Bar for wine, nice food and some thoroughly lousy music.  So much for the staff party!  Happy to report though, that we all had a splendid time anyway.
Back at the hotel, Rick and Dirk retired to the bedrooms.  Rick found Roy, wrapped up snuggly in his sheepskin greyhound trainers coat and wooly hat (just like Justin Timberlakes), window wide open puffing away on a Wills Whiff (or at least the modern equivalent).  Meanwhile, young Eddie had stayed downstairs and gate-crashed both the private functions in the hotel.  Apparently he came to the attention of the duty manager and several burly hotel staff when he was suspected of stealing some ladies handbags.  It was all a hideous misunderstanding....  Eddie was merely 'minding' about a dozen handbags for some drunken revelers who took advantage of our Ed whilst they went for a piss.  The manager had a good laugh about it and tried to book the band.

"A Room With A View" Falkirk Wheel
"..........and a crescent of crisps please!"

Saturday 11th December 04                                                                                                                             

Falkirk Town Hall,
Falkirk.

Everyone managed to make it down for breakfast this morning, which is pretty disgusting when one considers that this was supposed to be the morning after the night before.  After this, we all split up and do different things ranging from Christmas shopping to watching the mighty reds getting beaten by Everton.  (We were robbed!)
Not much to report about the show except that we found it quite hard work.  At times it seemed like the audience weren't interested at all, which is odd for Scotland cos we have always felt a great buzz off the crowd.
While the crew were setting down, the four of us headed off into town for some nosh and a couple of scoops.  Thence came the comedy moment of the whole trip......   He will forgive me for saying it...but it just had to be Eddie.  To explain...  Eddie goes to bar to get a round in  (Dirk-red wine; Rick-white wine...poofs drinks; Roy-coke top...bigger poofs drink; Eddie-a few pints of lager...I'm sayin nuffin),  he makes 2 journeys to the bar, so far so good - not a drop spilt, no wrist shaking because of wet sleeves, no arguments with the bar staff.  All in all, perfect service from the youngster.  All the drinks are placed carefully at the table.  Eddie smiles, clearly pleased with himself.  He leans on a chair as he stands over the table, the chair has but 3 legs and is not stable, the chair gives way, Eddie is startled...looses his balance  (everything is now in slow motion) he hops backwards three steps, stumbles over another chair at the next table, sends it flying.  He falls to the ground and rolls over twice.  People are staring, open mouthed, we are staring open mouthed.  He stands up, we breath again realising he is ok.  The silence is broken by Dirk who emits a shrill laugh, which starts Roy and Rick off, urine is beginning to appear on the floor at the next table as they see the funny side.  The incident is watched from upstairs on CCTV and the bouncers are alerted by radio to check out suspected drunken behavior.  They bungle over, presumably with the intent of ejecting the trouble maker, but are quickly placated and they smile - knowingly.  The great tragedy is that the tape wasn't running and the moment has been lost forever.  We, however, will never forget!!



the view from under Roys drum stool

if smoking doesn't kill ya, then the cold will.  Half-time fag in a no smoking building- backdoor open

Sunday 12th December 04                                                                                                                                

Avon Rooms,
Hamilton.

As Ade, Dave and John set off on the jaunt over to Hamilton, the rest of us trooped off to Morrison's as Dirk and Eddie hadn't made breakfast this morning.
Arrived at the venue very early and performed exhaustive sound-checks, before heading to yet another hypermarket for "dinner".
Show was very well received tonight, but I'm sure the audience had difficulty understanding our accents at times. the boot was, for once, on the other foot.

The "mint" part of the Spectrum van
a very large supermarket Belisha Beacon - named after transport minister, Leslie Hore-Belisha. He also introduced the driving test.  Don't say we don't teach you owt!!

Friday 17th December 04                                                                                                                                  

Nailcote Hall,
Berkswell.

Christmas would just not be Christmas for us, without a visit to Nailcote.  Every year we play in the marquee at the back of the Hotel.  Every year the sound restrictions get tighter.  This year it is down to 90Db.  In the past we have found it rather disconcerting to have people pointing sound meters at us while we play.  Tonight, we are Val and The Valtones and all play as soft as possible.  This is great for the neighbours of the hotel, but not very rock n roll.  As it happened, we went down very well, probably one of the best.
After the show, Dave and Ade were about to set off home, but the van was stuck in mud and wasn't going anywhere...hmm...that's saved us a bit of petrol money!!!!

Saturday 18th December 04                                                                                                                             

Nailcote Hall,
Berkswell.

Well they say good things come in pairs, so here we are for our second night in the marquee.
Totally different crowd in there tonight, and it has to be said, there was some scum.  Someone had disconnected one of the PA stacks and farted about with microphones.  Also, Dirk heard some chatter from one group planning to whip the wigs off.
A full dance floor all night, but on the whole not as enjoyable as the first night.

Friday 24th December 04                                                                                                                                  

The Robin,
Bilston.

I have to admit that I, for one, would not normally be looking forward to a Xmas Eve gig.  A few sherries, a box of mince pies and "It's a Wonderful Life" would seem so much more appealing.  However, this being the Robin, with it's sweaty stage and the most enthusiastic audience in the country....it's hard to top at any time of year.  This will also be our last performance here in its present state, as the venue closes in a couple of weeks for a refit.
The Robin is an especially hard gig for Dirk and Eddie.  With them doing the majority of the singing in the heat and lack of oxygen it takes it out of 'em, but they still enjoy it.  Roy came off stage tonight also having found it a hard gig, especially as he played the last half hour in his "Ann Summers" rooftop mac.  The audience was in a festive mood, including the couple at the front with their mince pies on the stage, and they sang and danced along to the whole set.
A pianoless version of Hey Jude brought the set to a close with a tremendous ovation and it was back to the dressing room for a towel down.
Forgot to take any pics at this gig except this couple of Roy and his mac, so if anyone has any...please send to us, we would be most grateful!!

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