After a suitably busy day in the shop with Pete from The Cane Toads helping out in the morning due to lack of Saturday staff, and a mad moment when Shirley delivered a guitar for me (more about this another time!) it was off to Bishop's Stortford for another gig depping in The Pistols. What should have been a simple journey (M25, M11) became nothing of the sort when (a) I decided to put the venue's postcode into the 'maps and directions' bit of the msn homepage on the computer and (b) we decided to follow them. They looked simple enough on paper- leave the M25 earlier and use A and B roads to 'cut the corner off'- but that presupposes that the roads in Hertfordshire have lights and signposts on them. They don't. Well the ones that we wanted didn't anyway. As we ended up going down the A10 towards London it was all looking a bit dubious to say the least... turning around and retracing our steps we somehow ended up on the outskirts of Harlow after following the astonishingly named Bonk Hill; we eventually made it to Bishop's Stortford by following an unsignposted road that felt it was going in more or less the right direction- and then the real fun began. The address of the venue was given as Thorley Park- which as far as we could see was a large housing estate and not much else. I phoned Paul (Rotten) from the band who said something like 'it's really hard to find, stop someone and ask them where Sainsbury's is'. Good advice but, as usual in these sort of situations, there's no one for miles. After yet more retracing of steps we found a petrol station where thankfully they'd not only heard of the venue but knew where it was. Yes, you've guessed it- somewhere on that housing estate is a Sainsbury's big enough to be visable from outer space, and tagged on the car park is The Marne Inn, our venue for the evening. As we arrive Tim (Sid) is carrying in his bass gear which makes me feel a bit better about being late. Inside I meet Andy our drummer for the evening (Toby's off elsewhere) and get set up just in time for a 9.15 start. It's a great little venue that just 'works' somehow- as Shirley said it felt good from the moment we arrived although her evening took an interesting turn when she got into a conversation with a girl who seemed to be getting very friendly with both the barman and the girl who's knee she was sitting on at the time... in the meantime we roared through 2 sets of Pistols classics to the general approval of all concerned. A great gig.
Afterwards Andy revealed that he's in a band called The Trouser Trumpets. It doesn't get much better than that does it? Happy St. Patrick's Day indeed.
...and The Trouser Trumpets are on MySpace somewhere...