Friday, March 23, 2007

Ronnie, Suggs and George

Should you be passing Starbucks on New Oxford Street at around 10a.m. on a Thursday morning then look out for 2 shady figures sitting in the window. If one of them is looking suspiciously at a plate of sugary pastry wondering what on earth possessed him to buy it and the other is mulling over an expresso then you're probably looking at me and Stuart the guitar repair man as we mentally prepare ourselves for another morning at The Dominion Theatre restringing and resurrecting the 'We Will Rock You' guitars. Yesterday it all went very well indeed- which was just as well because there was more to do...
'Turn right at 'Dirty Dick's'' said Stu (looking very pleased with himself in the process) as we emerged from Liverpool Street station. We followed an alleyway off Middlesex Street- apparently one of Jack the Ripper's haunts- on our way to House of Guitars, distributor for Brian May Guitars. Last week Stu took delivery of a rather fetching blue one, this week he's taking it back to complain about it! I won't bore you with the details but he wasn't happy with the tremelo block among other things... once there Barry makes us welcome with a cup of coffee and a look at a prototype for a Brian May model electro-acoustic guitar currently being worked on. There's a huge selection of Warwick basses (I think they distribute them too) including a left-handed doubleneck (they can't sell too many of them!) and the walls and ceilings are covered with autographs of celebrity customers. An interesting place.
From there it's back to the Dominion to pick our stuff up and then it's off to the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street, current home of the 'Mary Poppins' musical. Stu's fixed a Levinson Blade Strat-alike for Andy Jones who's depping in the show this week. We've arranged to meet him as the matinee show finishes at around 5.15. The stage door's opposite Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Frith Street- as we get there Suggs (of Madness fame) is watching George Melly leaving the club. A strange sight. Before I'm overwhelmed with celebrities I nip off to Leicester Square to meet my mate Kate who works at Ticketmaster- she'd got me some tickets to see The Who at the Albert Hall at the end of this month (Hi Kate- that's another drink I owe you); when I get back Andy and Stu are waiting for me and pointing in the direction of The Dog & Duck. Good choice... although I'm sure the first person I see in there is the bloke out of 'The Royle Family'. Still despite having a nasty cold (is there such a thing as a nice cold?) Andy's on good form and very pleased with Stu's work ('a guitar's not a guitar until he's worked on it'); he leaves to get some food before the evening show and Stu and myself finish our drinks and head for home. A good day ends with East, Big Andy and myself discussing tactics for the upcoming Who gig. Excellent.

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