Monday morning and I'm in the shop, feeling very tired. Here's why:-
Friday night and I'm in Wimbledon with Austin. He's got a duo called 'Liquid' (it used to be called Liquid Lunch but he's gone upmarket!) consisting of him on vocals and whoever's available on guitar. The backing tracks he uses are mostly guitar-less so it's a chance to spray hot guitar (to loosely quote Robert Fripp) over them. And great fun it was too- it's rare that a gig includes 'Car Wash', 'Smoke on the Water' and all points in between. His mate David came along- he's a classical guitarist; I bought his album from him but haven't had chance to listen to it yet. A long evening with 3 sets between 9.30 & 12.30 with much drunken dancing and Austin chasing every girl in the place. That's what it felt like anyway.
Diversions a-plenty on the way home meant a rather bleary start to Saturday in the shop. A sporadically busy day (Saturday often is) before meeting Gary and heading off to Ockley (a village near Dorking) for a B.B.'s gig at a party in a rather large back garden. John's on holiday so this weekend we've got Roger on drums (John's predecessor.) After soundchecking it's off to The Cricketers pub down the road for a meal with Pete giving out gig dates left right and centre and Gary telling a hilarious story about Ginger Baker. When we got back to the gig it had got dark meaning that we saw the setting in all it's glory; lights everywhere and dry ice on the river in their garden (yes, you read that correctly) making for a splendid venue. It took a while to get going but by the end pretty much everyone was up and dancing; Roger made a fine job of things and the show finished with a jammed rock'n'roll medley. Mission accomplished!
As the next show's in Cromer myself and Gary were staying up near Harlow and meeting the lads in the van the next day (Most of the band live in Essex). With Booker T. and the M.G.'s for company we made a quick stop at South Mimms services for coffee and to buy a toothbrush (!) before setting the sat. nav. for the hotel. This turned out to be something of an error as we realised when we ended up down a country lane with deer on it. Eventually we found the hotel but not without a panicky moment or 2.
Sunday morning and Squirrel & Roger arrive in the gear-laden van for the journey to Cromer. It's a lovely day and a highly enjoyable journey not least because Gary spent much of it regaling us with tales from his r'n'r past. Great stuff they were too, featuring everyone from The Bee Gees to Billy Preston, The Sweet to the theme from 'Eastenders' and beyond, with a cameo appearance from Mickey Gallagher from the Blockheads who called him part way through to ask some advice on repairing his Hammond organ. Sadly none are repeatable here as I'd rather not be banned from future blogging; many of the pastimes recounted are not entirely legal, and the ones that are were pretty dodgy to say the least...
Arriving in Cromer we spent a while attempting to find the venue- Rog & John had played there before and recalled it being difficult to get to; turned out that this was due to the Pavilion Theatre being at the end of the pier. They do lend you a trolley to get your gear there with though. Pete & co arrived just after us; his wife Jayne told me I'm putting on weight- I haven't eaten since... Jeff (Geoff?) the P.A. man's already there with his mate Big John (who is) and it's not long before we're soundchecking and rehearsing the shaky bits from the previous night, then it's off to look for an area where mobile phones work. The gig's a stormer- hot as hell on stage and the audience up for it pretty much from the word go. I like the seaside!
After trolleying the gear back to the van it's off to search for takeaway food (not for me that late at night but the Chinese that we did find was apparently excellent) before setting out with 'Flight 93' on the DVD player (it's a really nice van!) with me drifting in and out of consciousness thinking that we were being buzzed by an aircraft on more than one occasion. It occured to me afterwards that we were watching the film in the early hours of Sept 11th... we eventually made it back to Gary's motor and returned to Booker T. and sanity.