It's 2p.m. on Monday 11th December and I've just got in. I'm going to sleep after I've done this posting. Here's why:-
Remember I said there was to have been 6 gigs in Ireland rather than the 2 that we're actually doing? Well- as I understand it (sorry if I get this bit wrong Pete) the Cork gig was the one that the rest of the dates were built around so when they started to fall out of the frame a decision had to be made regarding the remaining shows; also we were to have gone over on the ferry with all our gear- something that wouldn't be economically viable with less dates. Eventually we decided to fly out to do the Cork date and the next night in Birr, hiring vehicles and equipment rather than taking our own. This however left us with a dilemma- what do we do after the Birr gig? If we stay the night in a hotel after the show that adds a lot of money to the weekend's expenses... the decision was made to book the earliest possible flight home- hence the 6.25a.m. take-off time- and after the show go to a nearby Chinese restaurant for a meal, heading to the airport in the small hours. With this in mind it was great to have a nice hotel room after the Cork show, and not to have to get up too early Sunday morning. We ended up leaving not long after midday; before long we'd confused the sat. nav to such an extent that we had to stop in Mitcheltown to buy a map... with our journey livened up by listening to the guitar-bass-and-drums backing tracks that myself, Squirrel and John recorded late last month (I hadn't heard them before- they're great!) we eventually opted to stop in Cashel for lunch before arriving in Birr just as it was getting dark.
Time for the bombshell- they've only sold 29 advance tickets. Not good- we decided to do the show because we'd been told it was selling well... mind you it turns out that Hazel O'Connor only sold 15 tickets and Honor Blackman sold an astonishingly low 12 so maybe in relative terms we weren't doing too bad? If that's not bad enough the P.A. man's playing 'Gentle on my Mind' to test the system and makes the profound statement 'I gave up on music when Elvis died' before reluctantly putting his hearing aids in.
Yes, you read that bit correctly.
Amazingly the soundcheck goes well- I've got a Peavey Delta Blues combo and Squirrel's got an Ampeg stack so at least we're happy- we check the middle section of 'Soul Man' which has been sounding a bit strange lately- mind you I always think that the original sounds a bit odd at that point, like they weren't sure what to play or something?
Showtime and there's a real 'let's get on with it' feel about things- which we do, turning in a good show to the 30 or so people in the audience. Still everyone there seems to enjoy it which I guess is the main thing?
An hour or so later we're in the restaurant and there's food and wine everywhere. At a lull in the conversation Pete suddenly says something like 'Well, as we've done the gig now I guess I'd better tell you- we could have been in Switzerland tonight'. It turns out that the promoter of last week's Swiss date had phoned this week to see if we were available to play at the opening of a shopping centre. We weren't- we'd agreed to do the Birr gig as we'd been told that tickets were going well. Ironic eh?
A somewhat bleary drive (during which we encounter the world's best looking policewoman) gets us to Shannon airport just before 3a.m.- amazingly there's quite a few people about, though most of them seem to be looking for seats long enough to sleep on. Me? Well it's a good chance to do some blogging, and to leave you with Dave Land's defining comment on the weekend:-
'A leopard can't change it's spots, but a leper can throw his hand in.'
And with that he apologised to all lepers present, and led the way to the aircraft.