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Friday 3rd September 04                                                                                                                                   

Leicester University,

Private party for the Land Registry.  Big, comfy dressing room, tons of Domino's pizza....what more could we ask for?




Sunday 5th September 04                                                                                                                                

Princess Theatre,

Is it really that far to Clacton?...   you betcha.  Got stuck for 20 miles behind a convoy of about 100 motorcycles, presumably on their way to an appointment to do some distasteful things to a chicken.  It all got quite interesting when the Cheshire police showed up to try and stop the erm...  cyclecade from blocking 2 lanes of the M6.  Still....  at least we had a good old reminisce about "Any Which Way But Loose", and pondered why it is only available on region 1 DVD.   Lots more unpleasantness to each other on the way down.
Show was really good tonight I think.  Shame it was not as well attended as it might have been.
Even with Eddie having a post show shower and us all getting take away food, we were still on the long road home by 11.  Amused ourselves on the A14 by trying to predict the outcome of some car overtaking a police car at 90mph

"How's that?"

Monday 6th September 04                                                                                                                                

Radio Interview with BBC Radio Newcastle, promoting show at Gala Theatre Durham.
This should have taken place in the Radio Merseyside studios, but I have to confess, I completely forgot about it.  Mainly due to to having got in very late last night and then waking up with a cold.  The interview was done over the phone...which seems to be a lot more civilised really.

Saturday 11th September 04                                                                                                                           

Christchurch College,

Corporate booking for Pfizer drug company.  Travelling down the M6, we get a phone call from Dave and Ade, telling us they can't get into the venue because there are 32 steps; the hall is 600 years old thus no lift; Simon is not with them cos he is on a date!! (stop the world - I wanna get off) ; the client has not been informed by our manager that the equipment weighs in at 3 tons and thus is impossible for 2 blokes to get it all up stairs; oh and by the way, this is the room that was used as the Hogwarts Dining Room in Harry Potter.  Our in-car discussions were now centered around whether or not we would have a gig at all when we arrived in Oxford.
Fortunately, our trusty crew were able to grab 4 blokes off the street who were able to assist with getting this ludicrously heavy gear up these stairs.  By the time we arrived, we were able to assist in the final set up of the gear and just about made it 3 minutes before the guests arrived.  Close shave, and well done Dave and Ade.  "There's nothing you can do that can't be done"
We now had about 90 minutes to eat our sarnies and get changed into the suits while the guests scoffed their food in the main hall.
The room was fabulous, and filled with 200 very clever French people.  "The French won't dance" we were told, so we played an unusual corporate set for us which included far more slow numbers than we would normally play.  This Boy, If I Fell, and And I Love Her, all made the cut.  We stormed it!  In fact we were a little taken aback.  We are used to going down well, but the reception we got from this audience was amazing.  They watched and listened intently, applauded enthusiastically, came down the side of the room to get a better view, danced in the gaps between tables, and at the end of the set, clapped and cheered for 5 minutes.  Yeah...  it doesn't get much better than that.
Pretty much as soon as we had got changed, the guests were filing out and off to their hotel.  This was going to be the bit of the evening we were not looking forward to with much relish......  3 tons of gear had to be taken down these bloody stairs by 2 able bodied crew, 2 "bad backs", 1 "bit of a twinge in me shoulder.. lar" and 1 "I'm bound to fall down those stairs without carrying anything"                 Somehow we managed and it was back to the car for the journey home, all in a good mood in spite of it all.  Of course...this was gonna change when we were stationary for 40 minutes on the M40.

On stage photos courtesy of John Kirby

The Stairs                            The coffee                       The thought of the stairs                    The tail-back

Sunday 12th September 04                                                                                                                              

Gala Theatre,

Second visit to the Gala for us.  This show had sold much better than our first show so the seating configuration was different, and much better than last year.  There were problems with the pick-up on the acoustic guitar before the show and Eddie and Ade spent an hour taking it to bits and fixing it.  The girl operating the curtain was very nearly taken up to the roof as she pulled the rope, which caused us much amusement, but as Rick hit the opening chord of the first song, a string broke on the Country Gent, which meant playing the entire first half on the Casino, which is less than ideal.  Also, tuning problems with the acoustic meant that we came into the interval a bit miffed and determined to make Act 2 a lot better.
I think we all enjoyed the second half more, and by the end of the show, most of the audience were on their feet, which according to the theatre manager, was no mean feat. (Does that make sense?)
No worries tonight with the equipment load out....  Dave and Ade were off, and on the A1 before we had even got out of the theatre.   See what I mean chaps......  swings and roundabouts!!!

The Gala Corned Beef Pie!!   There is a first and last time for everything "Im Happy Just To Dance With You"

Sunday 19th September 04                                                                                                                              

Trent Bridge,
Nottingham C.C.C.

I am sure that if any of us was in the slightest bit interested in Cricket, then we would have been fascinated to have been playing at this illustrious venue.




Friday 24th September 04                                                                                                                                 

Borough Theatre,

We were all looking forward to returning to the Borough. We did two shows there last year and got a great response.
Lots of traffic on the road today and the M6 was just crawling for the most part.  There was the usual conversation about "what it's going to be like in 5 years time" and "Look at that stupid %£@ in the middle lane" 
On M5 we get call from Ade and Dave saying that they have broken down 30 miles from Abergavenny.  
Note to Spectrum Sound Systems: GET A NEW VAN !!!!!!
On A40, screamed at large man in French car eating sausage roll whilst 'drifting' into our lane.  (YOU know who you are... you nearly killed us you bastard!!)               I mean...let's call a spade a spade here.....a sausage roll in the hands of such a man would surely be at LEAST as dangerous as a cellphone in the hands of a cool, unstressed-out, unworried about a break-down, member of the Craven (sic) Beatles. Have you noticed how we all give filthy looks to everybody in other cars who have things in their hands, these days?   We were unanimously OUTRAGED by this man and his sausage roll.........we get SOOOO bored on these journeys, that we resort to inventing the most foul curses and unpleasant names for people who dare to invade our space.  All this is actually quite good for the group...  it helps us bond.... like some sort of pre-match "huddle"  !!!  So we arrive at a gig - all of one mind.   I think, secretly, that we all quite like it...(being in a group), even though all of us are 'grumpy' sometimes.......  We laugh a lot. 

They HAD made it to the venue, albeit a little late. But assisted by the very helpful, pro and efficient Theatre crew, led by Johan, we were able to sound check without too much stress and they only had to hold the doors for 5 minutes.....phew!!

We all changed strings on guitars tonight.....  bad move!!   The half-time inquest found that we had been monumentally out of tune for at least the last song of the set!!!...   Much stretching and pulling later (fnarr fnarr..  ooooerrr  missus!!) we psyched ourselves to give a "Guielgud" performance in the second half.  (not that I am implying -  in any way -  that Sir John Guielgud has ever performed in a "tribute" band).   So things are cookin along quite nicely...  Help... I Need You...  Gonna Lose That Girl....  "Hang on Rick.... me snare's flipped"..  
"Look at it!".....
"Oh flip! .......   what the flip you gonna do"
"get spare"
"OK we'll cover ya"
INTRODUCE EMERGENCY PLAN B....(cos we have ALL this pre-worked out just in case)
Play "Michelle".....    "OK good idea!" whispers Dirk... who then proceeds to tell the audience that we are now The Bachelors... much to the amusement of a relatively small proportion of the audience at the back of the auditorium.  
So Roy did a great job of changing his snare skin in 3 minutes and was ready to carry on the set with Ticket To Ride.....  so pro'.!

Roys night was going to take a turn for the worse when we met some people after the show to chat and sign posters.  Two ladies were rather clumsy in their way of pointing out that Roy actually does not have a mop-top of hair.....  Roy took offence..."and now it's all this!!!"

The "highest" theatre in Great Britain ???? "No!!  sorry...there are no tickets left for tonights performance" trusty and comfy groundhog day
John does Rod Stewart! Space Invaders....???? First time I've ever seen Dirk clean his fretboard...  he used a toothbrush....which surely indicates that he must have done it before A vital part of Eddies "gig kit"
STEP ONE:  Find a clean, dry surface. STEP TWO:  always use a recognised brand of adhesive. STEP THREE:  apply adhesive to moustach...and stick to face above gob "You were miles out"

Sunday 26th September 04                                                                                                                              

Medina Theatre,
Newport, Isle of Wight.

First stop of the day on this long haul down to Portsmouth, is at Cheively Services...A34/M4, where we all enjoyed a healthy brunch of Burger King and coffee.  Dave phones to tell us that they are at the docks but Wightlink won't let them on the ferry cos the booking is made only for a car and not a van.  Several phone calls later, the situation is sorted and Ade can at last live out his fantasy as Captain Birds Eye as he bobs up and down on the Solent.
Leaving the services, we are scared to our wits ends by the picture of Moto's area manager in the foyer.  Surely we have seen this on Crimewatch.
Eddie buys Roy a present.....  "Great Aircraft of WW2"... Roy is thrilled, and for the remainder of the trip he does not even pick up the copy "2-stroke engines: An enthusiasts Guide" that he has brought along.
We spend most of our time on the ferry on the top deck, talking about how many people were killed building the port defences.  Dirk, a keen historian, and Roy, a keen satellite TV documentary viewer, discuss eagerly.  Rick likens the defences to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge in NY,  Eddie is still worried about Iraq and loses his footing descending the stairs.
We shall always remember this day for one thing if nothing else.......  Eddie's new impression.  I must have told you by now that Eddie is the most amazing talent when it comes to "taking people off".  Whether its a voice, a walk, a hand gesture...he gets it down to a "t".  The latest addition to his repertoire is a publicity still of another tribute artist whose name we dare not say.  (NO WAY will a search engine pick it up on these pages baby!!)  There is a photograph below... if you recognise it, then I'm sure you will appreciate it, if not then you wouldn't find it funny anyway.

The Medina Theatre is one of those venues where the audience is looking down on you.  Not in the way that they are snobby or anything....   just that the stage is on the floor and the seats rake back...(dunno what you call that type).  There is a major problem at the sound check.....  the theatre's 3 phase supply is faulty, so Spectrum have to run the PA and back line from one 13amp plug.  Now I don't pretend to understand what that exactly means, but there was a lot of  ooos, aarhs and chin stroking going on by the people who did understand it...something to do with compression.  Adrian loses his rag infrequently... but when he does....   boy...... you'd better be sure there is nothing around that can be kicked.  As it happened, today there wasn't, but he did slam his tool case down rather harshly when it became apparent that one of the monitors wasn't working and he had to set about it with his allen keys.   It was all too much for John... who went off to find a café.
Agent Mark Lundquist had come along with his wife Anne.  We did a bit of bitching and I tackled him on the subject of why we hadn't been invited to his birthday party.  Suitably (and deservedly) embarrassed, they invited us to their next party in December.......  A Saturday Night!!!!!.....  In December!!!!....    are you taking the piss Mark????
And so it came to pass that someone from the theatre was placing flyers on all the seats in the auditorium.  It was Roy who noticed (as he often does notice the little details), that the flyers were advertising another tribute "artist" who was playing on the island in 3 weeks time.  It was the very same one that our Eddie had perfected the impersonation of.  
"Oh no you don't" we said, and made the poor chap pick them all up and hand them over to be used as toilet paper.
As a great man once said....   "Instant Karma's gonna get you......   better get yourself together....  join the human race"

Ade wasn't over the moon with sound in the venue, and still had a cob on at the interval.  In spite of it not being the best sound we have ever had, the show went down very well and a good proportion of the audience had to be restrained in the second half when they attempted to dance.  The signs in the room were quite clear..."Dancing is not permitted in the stage area"...  people were shouting out to us that they wanted to, but what could we do....."It's not our gaff love!"

At the end of the show, Dirk and Rick were ready to leave first  (now there is nothing unusual about that).  By the time Roy and, finally Eddie emerged....we had already missed our ferry, so we would have to wait another hour.  We set off into Newport in search of food, as we'd not eaten since that burger at midday.  I'd rather not go into too much detail about what happened next, suffice to say it was the most costly four feet I have ever driven in reverse!!!  Still... on the bright side, no one was hurt and the police inform me that I have an exemplary record.   Also... it should be pointed out that German cars are much stronger and better built than British ones, making them ideal vehicles for this job.  (watch out for BMW sponsorship on this site very soon!!!)
After this trauma.... Eddie and Dirk were in no mood to be messed about, on arrival at the local all night Sainsbury's.  After being forbidden access to the said pastie emporium, they said something like "Sod your Ginsters" and we drove off into the night with Eddie venomously giving them the finger.

By the time we got to the ferry, Spectrum were already in the queue. Dave, Ade and John were in the van, Simon had already boarded as a foot passenger.  Turns out Simon is down here because he has an interview at Butlins on the south coast.  Apparently there is a shortage of quality drag acts.  So this was the first time that we can recall the "full squadron" being all together without jobs to do.  So we all sat down to a travelers supper of Ginsters, coffee and king size Malteasers and after the magnificent feast we asked a fellow passenger to take the photo shown below.   Here is the BIG version

The tannoy announcement...."Would the owner of the black Porsche please return to the car deck and apply their handbrake" brought a few smirks to the faces of the passengers.

We returned to HQ 19 hours after we left...but never a dull moment.

Dirks "bastard" face!! Eddie has just bought Roy a present in the services

Windswept and interesting ????
Agent, Mark Lundquist and wife Anne
This is the photo that caused us so much amusement Roy and Eddie on deck on the ferry back to the mainland The first ever photo of the whole entourage together

Click the pic above for the bigger version


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