If it's Thursday morning it must be time to restring some red guitars... except there's a new one and it's light blue. And very nice it is too once you get over the initial shock.; in fact they could all be that colour as far as I'm concerned, it's much easier to see and therefore work on in the rather subdued light at our disposal. Stu's taking it home to 'bring it up to spec' i.e. fit locking machineheads (curses- I still can't work them properly!) and set it up for next Thursday. We're going to stay all day next week so I can meet some of the crew and musicians- should be interesting. There was a rehearsal on stage while we were working yesterday, a chance to see some of what's normally not seen- in this case keyboard-only versions of 'Somebody to Love' and 'Radio Ga-Ga' with 2 of the girls from the show working out their parts. Even the young ladies didn't make the songs sound any better as far as I'm concerned but I'm not really sure what could.
Better stop there before I lose my job...
With our work at the theatre done there's just time for a quick visit to the pub (there's always time!) before I'm off to Liverpool Street to catch a train to Norwich for a gig at the City College. I'd left it too late to get a cheap ticket (I won't bore you with the details) but I certainly wasn't ready for the '£37 sir' moment that awaited me. 'But it says £6 on your website' I heard myself say as I handed over the money; the man behind the counter wasn't interested- why should he be? He probably thinks online booking's putting him out of a job. He's probably right. Oh well.
After the hottest pasty ever (well, you know what I mean. But it was bloody hot!) I staked out my bit of the 2.30 Norwich train and got stuck into the latest 'Mojo' magazine- an excellent Iggy and the Stooges feature (yeah, them again) almost kept me awake for the whole journey- before meeting Joe outside Norwich station and joining the rest of the lads in the wittily-named Norfolk Building. Dave the trumpet's son Henry is on the music course at the college, the gig's part of their coursework and he's in the support band. As I arrive they're soundchecking with 'Get it On' which bodes well for their performance. After saying hello to the lads (Squirrel's comment of 'it's almost like a reunion' summed up how few gigs we've had lately) there was just time for me to set up before Dave arrived with chicken and chips all round. Good man.
Suddenly it's nearly showtime- I nip outside to make a couple of phonecalls and return to find myself locked out of the auditorium; with no one around who knows the code for the lock on the door I miss seeing the whole of their set though can just about hear it through the walls. Instead I sit with Joe on the merchandise desk in the foyer watching 'The Blues Brothers' being projected silently onto the wall. At least I think it was silent- I still can't hear properly so who knows? I get backstage in the interval- looks as though they were all dressed in 'Clockwork Orange' garb and shocked Dave by playing 'Gay Bar'. Sounds like I missed a good gig doesn't it?
Then we're on- John counts in 'Peter Gunn' and I realise how bad my ears still are. The cymbals sound phased, instruments jump in and out of the mix depending on their sound and pitch and when I can hear what I'm playing it sounds terrible, thin and clanky compared to normal. And we've not played for ages and it shows- medleys get muddled, middle sections misplaced... but it feels good to be in the band again even if we're not quite on top form. That said it all goes down well and we're offered a festival date in the summer so we must have done something right. And I got through a whole evening in Norwich without an Alan Partidge reference which can't be bad. Probably.
Hometime and it's a lift back with Richard the sax player. We get to the gate and it's locked. So is the other one. First I'm locked out, then I'm locked in. There's a moral there somewhere.