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A R C H 2 0 0 7
1st March 07
on the couch last night watching TV, I became fascinated
with the advert for "Build The
Bismarck". A magazine which every week
includes parts to build your very own 1:200 scale model
of the most famous German battleship. It looked
fantastic, and I thought...ooh Roy would really like
that! The first issue is only 50p, but subsequent
issues are £4.99 and there are 140 of them. Hang
on!... that's just short of £700!! Are
Hachette Partworks, the people who publish this,
serious? I wonder if any of these things ever get
built to completion, or if most people just get cheesed
off after a few weeks and the ones who persevere find
that the magazine run ends before they get their final
9th March 07
thank you...... to you!
noticed that this blog has slipped quietly, and
unceremoniously, into it's 4th year...and I'm quite
amazed. Firstly because I can't believe how fast
time seems to be accelerating, and also that I have
managed to keep it up without any gaps. The amount
of time it takes to maintain this bullshit is quite
staggering, and I have become obsessively disciplined
about doing it. Editing the pictures takes hours
for each entry, and sometimes the text is very difficult
to write. I know that there are about twelve or
thirteen regular readers of this nonsense, some of whom
have been with me since the beginning, and it's you lot
that keep me going.
So.... I just wanted to say a "thank
you" to all of You...you know who you are...for the
words of encouragement and support you have offered over
the last three years. It is most appreciated, and
I hope you continue to get as much enjoyment out of it
as I have had doing it.
Special thanks to Derek, Roy, Eddie, Ade and Dave, for the subject
matter, and not being too pissed off when I write
something they don't like.......this is only one
interpretation of events!
10th March 07
for some time that this concert would not be performed
with the regular troop, as Dirk was going to be away for
most of the month. Fortunately, there are a few
other people knocking round, who enjoy dressing up and
posing on a stage in front of a paying audience.
One such enthusiastic egotist is, multi-instrumental,
actor, singer, entrepreneurial beret wearing,
ambidextrous, Scouse pedestrian, Karl Lornie. It
was he who would join us on our thrill ride over the
pennies to Wakefield Theatre Royal today. I've
know Karl for a few years now, since we met in
Hamburg, both standing in for an American Beatle
production called All You Need Is Love at the
St.Pauli Theatre. We got on like the embers of a
house that had been burned to the ground in a malicious
arson attack, and have stayed firm nodding acquaintances
We've played here twice before, the last time being the
day of Live8, and we have always managed to get lost
about 200 yards from the venue. This time there
was no such problem, and my memory was working on full
efficiency to get us straight to the Theatre car park
without any hesitation.
Arriving earlier than usual, so that we could run a few
numbers with potential ambiguities, it was all very
relaxed at the sound check and no one seemed to have
their routine upset. Roy found the largest
dressing room, which he claimed for himself, so that he
could spread his gear over the largest area, having at
least three feet between each item. Eddie found a
room with a shower and tried to make sure no one knew
where it was assuring himself of his privacy. Karl
and I squeezed into the dressing room nearest the stage,
but conveniently, the one containing the rider.
I can't really remember that much about the first half,
except that we all enjoyed ourselves and we came off
thinking that we hadn't had any issues. During the
interval, I went to open a bottle of Pepsi and the top
of the bottle sheared and cut deeply into the middle
finger of my right hand. Not really a problem
playing wise, but blood was spewing out and making a bit
of a mess. Apparently if you put a plaster/band
aid over a cut, it helps stop the bleeding....so that's
what I did and the crisis was over! I stopped
crying in time to make it on stage for the second half.
Act 2 seemed to go by very quickly, and it was a buzz to
see the packed out theatre all on their feet for the
last few songs. We all congratulated Karl at the
end of the show and he retorted by pointing out that
when Roy de-rugged, he looked like a Panto Villain. Even
Roy had to agree, and is expecting a call from Bill
Kenwright to play the part of Abanazar in his
forthcoming production of Aladdin.
11th March 07
I like Chris
O'Neil.... he's at least a scruffy as me, and although
not as tall, he will still wear his coat in the car when
no one else can understand how this is possible.
Maybe I'm not so unusual after all!
No stranger to this kind of musical prostitution, Chris,
you may recall stepped in to help us out on a couple of
shows last year. It was a pleasure to have him
with us again, there were lots of laughs on the journey
I got a bit of a shock arriving at the venue. In
the first place, this wasn't the venue I thought it was,
although I do remember playing here before. No, the
thing concerning me was a brief glance into the cabin of
the Spectrum vehicle.......They have mascots on the
dashboard! On the passenger side is a teddy bear,
and on the drivers side is Wile E. Coyote. Wile E.
Coyote!!....you know the chap...cute, loveable rogue;
often seen looking for food; spends many hours chasing a
blue, long legged bird that really pisses him off;
always gets himself stuck in sinking sand, falls off
cliffs, but always comes back next week to try
Fellas.... I like it !! :)
An unusual onstage sound hampers the overall enjoyment
of the gig, but we did have fun up there and we always
like playing Nowhere Man and If I Needed
Someone. I did find myself getting a little
rattled at that part of the set, as the guitar changes
had not been planned particularly well, and four consecutive
changes had me scurrying about the stage like a nutter.
16th March 07
rather cleverly avoided the traffic chaos just outside
Glasgow at the end of the M74, we find ourselves with a
fairly easy run on the "bottom" road past
Parkhead towards the SEC. It's bleak. The
light from the overcast sky seems to pick out no colour,
and this most vibrant of cities appears to be nothing
but grey and foreboding. For the first time since
Carlisle, the corners of Roy's mouth turn slightly
upward, in a half expression of contentment.
We think we are playing at the Moat House Hotel, but
several phone calls between interested parties reveal
that it has actually been re-badged as the Crowne Plaza
between five months and two years ago, depending upon
whose history you believe.
As Eddie and I are having a fag outside the main
entrance, we catch sight of Dave Peterson furiously and
inaudibly banging on the thick double glazing of the
hotel lobby screaming "Dan!.....
Dan!.... DAAAN!" (Partridge).
It's four o'clock, and Dave has just arrived by public
transport from Wallsend with a Hofner Violin bass over
his shoulder and an invoice in his pocket. Dave is
now the third consecutive Macca Mercenary in row to
stand in with us this month. Like a Black Widow,
after we had used them we should have murdered them all,
and thus reduced the competition from other Beatle
tributes. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
content with the sound check, we all start to wonder
what we are going to do for the next five or six hours
before we are to take the stage.
There is a very acceptable lasagne on offer, but that
only kills 20 minutes. Eddie went for a lie down,
Roy, Dave & Ade crashed on the floor in the ante
room behind the stage, and the other Dave and I braved
the cold and went for a wander round the quay.
Some of you may remember that it is in the lobby of this
hotel, were we met Ed Bishop. Roy and I will
probably always recall the incident, as we were both at
exactly the right age to be impressed by his performance
as Commander Straker in UFO and Captain Blue in Captain
Our set was delayed by about 45 minutes as the charity
auction was in full swing. From behind the stage
we could hear vast sums of money being raised in the
ballroom for children with cerebral palsy. Finally
getting on stage from behind a white draped
"reveal", we are quite dismayed to find that
the sound bore no resemblance to the sound check.
From where we were, it was all a noise. My monitor
wasn't working, in fact, I had the wrong microphone and
nothing was even coming out of front of house.
Dave got that sorted, but the monitor was still
atrocious. We battled through to a quite
indifferent reaction from the guests, who in the main
were really quite content just to get up and dance to
our jukebox set of hits. The performers didn't
enjoy it much. The thing that really hurts is that
we have turned up 7 hours early to make sure that this
19th March 07
in your mouth?
been a bit of a fan of the 1984 Handmade Film, A
Private Function. I've had it on video for
years, but I recently bought the re-mastered version of
DVD, and last night, felt like giving it a viewing.
I'm not going to bother with a synopsis, if you are
remotely interested, there are plenty available on the
internet and the link above takes you to the IMDB page
for the film.
My point for posting this, is that I came across
something I had never noticed before. A subsequent
trawl of the net, leads me to believe that no one else
has noticed this:
The last chapter of the film, where the actual Private
Function takes place, depicts a shot of the pigs
head with a Granny Smith apple in its mouth. The
Granny Smith is the type of apple used as the Apple
Corps. trademark logo, and I am absolutely sure that
this is no accident! As the camera pulls back, you
can quite clearly hear the voice of George Harrison say:
"Felt it in your mouth"
I can only speculate as to the implication of this
reference, but I really like these obscure little things
that people put in movies.....I've put quite a few in
this blog as it has gone along.
24th March 07
never given you a proper description of a gig at
Nailcote. Probably because we have played here so
many times before I started writing the blog, they all
seem to have blended into one. So here’s the
We always leave a bit earlier than we really have to for
Nailcote. Even though it's a fair bet that traffic
will be as light as it ever gets on a Saturday evening,
we can never forget the time we nearly missed the gig
after being stuck in a jam.
As we drive into Berkswell, we are well
early, so we stop off for something to eat at the
chippy. Roy disappears over the road to the Spar
shop (or whatever convenience store it is) and comes
back to the chippy with something small. (actually... a
bottle of cherry coke, a pork pie, a Kit-Kat and a bag
of prawn cocktail crisps.............£2.57)
I think Eddie and I must be slightly stupid! Every
time we come to this chip shop we say...."These
chips are 'orrible". This is not a good
Roy has some of our chips, and suggests hanging round
the shop for a while because it is still a bit early to
arrive at Nailcote......where time seems to ...somehow
take a bit longer.
Not really fancying loitering like a middle-aged hoodie,
in the strange compelling glow of a florescent tube, I
declare a desire for a piss, and we set off.
There is the little game in the car park when we arrive.
We always look to see if Dirk has managed to find the
optimum parking space....and deduct points for each
space further away from the front door. The one of
us whose guess is furthest away, has to carry the
heaviest bags from the parking space that we will find
somewhere near the back of the car park.
There are two places that we play here; either in a
marquee round the back of the hotel or in the Lant
Suite, which is downstairs in Rick’s Bar.
Tonight we are down in the Lant Suite, so we
shuffle along to the Boardroom/Snooker room with all our
bags and guitars. Finding the room locked, we realise that we must have been
allocated the Business centre to get changed in, so we
make our way round there in our little convoy, the one
in front holding the doors for the ones behind.
Once within the confines of the tiny business centre, we
see Ade, Paul and our prodigal McCartney, Derek all
sitting with the expression on their faces that
indicates sheer boredom.
They may have been here for some time!
Ade is actually quite pleased.
It seems that when he arrived for this most
difficult and unpleasant of load-ins, bar manager Scanda
was not around. This
enabled him to set up without being told every five
minutes to move some item of equipment.
Normally we have no room at all on the stage, but
tonight, Ade reports that we should be fine.
Ade is here with Paul, as Dave is doing a PA for
“Elvis” in Nuneaton (or somewhere fairly close…I
should’ve listened more).
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that after not seeing
Dirk for a month, it’d be all hugs and kisses from the
three of us. Well
it isn’t! We’re
all quite pleased to be together again, but we aren’t
going “over the top”.
When we travel independently, the usual greeting for
Dirk and I, is for me to ask him if he intends to have a
ritual usually involves shaving at the gig, because his
manly growth would be showing through if he shaved
before he left home.
Today, the roles are reversed and it is me who
hasn’t clipped me whiskers, Dirk clearly delights in
pointing it out. We
all know that it is unacceptable to take to the stage
with a shadow, and we know that when we ask the others
“Do I need a shave?”, the answer is always
Eddie, who we speculate has never displayed any coarse
hair in his life.
There seems to be a bit of situation over food.
Ade and Paul have been here for hours and have
not eaten. Nailcote
usually provides the crew with a meal, but it hasn’t
arrived and time is getting on.
Ade asks me about driving him into Berkswell for
the chippy, which I am about to do, when a plate of
sarnies turn up. Closer
examination of the contents of this fare, shows some
evidence that these sandwiches may have been standing
for some time and are not particularly appetising.
Fortunately, they are followed up by a few plates of
chicken in a white wine sauce, boiled potatoes and a
floret of broccoli.
I think I know why we are always a bit twitchy about
this gig...if we are here too early, we all have to hang
about in the same small area...none of us like it.... we
will all find something to do to leave the room for a
My cause to leave the room was to go off for a shave and
re-discover why I much prefer to get the horrid business
done before leaving home.
There will always be some problem with having a
shave at a gig. There
is either no hot water or there will be the dilemma now
facing me. The
choice between shaving in a public toilet in a line of
basins, with gentlemen looking at me funny while they
put their old fella away; or the privacy of the disabled
toilet, with its teensy tiny wash basin.
I choose the latter, and try to figure out a way
of getting more water on my face than on the floor.
It’s difficult, as the sink really only has
enough room to get one hand in at a time, let alone a
water is piping hot though, so I manage quite well, in
spite of leaving a slipping hazard for the next user.
As long as the next wheelchair in here is not
running on slick tyres…they should be alright!
I never take many pictures here, so I thought I’d busy
myself putting that to rights.
Sophie became all shy and didn’t want me taking
pictures of her, but it was OK because I’d already got
the shot I was after when she wasn’t looking.
Dirk surprised us all with his tale from his long haul
flight. Evidently, he had the emergency exit seat
with all the leg room, encroachment onto the seat next
to him, the stewardesses seat for his legs and feet, 2
blankets, four pillows, complimentary padded goggles and
a lovely nights sleep....now there's a change!
And so to the point of us being here…the performance.
This is most certainly not the best stage for us to do
whatever it is that we do. In spite of Ade getting
us a bit more room, it is still quite claustrophobic and
we still feel boxed in. We try to play as quietly
as possible, but it is a noisy room. The thing is,
these considerations make it difficult for us to enjoy
the gig for its own sake, and so we often rely on
something happening to give us a lift and a bit of fun
that will hopefully come across to the audience.
Roy is trying to tell me something about an attractive
woman in the audience. I can't hear him over the
drums and I'm screwing my face up in an attempt to get
my ears working better (like you do). Fed up with my
aural inadequacy, Roy shrieks..."ME EX-WIFE"
I realise instantly what he's trying to tell me.
His ex, who he hasn't seen for 17 years is in the
NOOO....this can't be so! Roy has perfect eyesight
and a canny knack at recognising faces, this MUST be
her. I'm in hysterics and can't play the tune we
are on. I have no idea what must have been going
through Roy's mind for the duration of the gig...it must
have really freaked him out.
At the end of our 90 minute set, which incidentally
included "I'll Cry Instead" for the first time
this century, we scurried back to the dressing room,
where I wanted some answers. Roy still wasn't sure
if it was her or not, but seemed to be talking himself
out of it by saying things like..."Oh well actually
this woman seemed taller". I guess we'll
never really know for sure now!
We do, however, know that Roy bought that cherry coke by
mistake! The bottles should be more clearly
marked, I mean... no ones likes that stuff...do they?