Do you remember the Monty Python albums? No I don't really either but I do remember the lads a few years ahead of me at school liking them and their younger brothers (i.e. the ones in my class) reciting sections of them to each other in the playground amid much hilarity particularly at the sweary bits. So thinking about it I suppose I do remember them in a roundabout sort of way?
I mention this only because last night my Chicago Blues Brothers buddies and myself performed at The Theatre Royal Drury Lane (cue cries of 'it is an ex-parrot!', 'say no more!' and 'Albatross!' from East among others)- except this one isn't in London, it's in Wakefield. And what a fabulous venue it is, similar to The Theatre Royal in Windsor (a bit of a pattern emerging here don't you think?) with 2 balconies and a real 'from another time' feel about it.
After helping Stuart the guitar repair man at 'We Will Rock You' I arrived at King's Cross station to find the departure board not working and chaos reigning as a result. After managing to stop myself laughing out loud at the fact that it was 'Passenger Charter Week' I eventually found the 1.10p.m. train to Leeds and, with the help of the latest edition of 'Guitar & Bass' magazine found myself in Wakefield Westgate station in no time (it actually took about 2 hours). The theatre's just around the corner from the station so I dropped my guitar and bag off there and, after saying hello to Phil the P.A. man and Steve the keyboard player, went for a walk around town. The rest of the band arrived around 4.15- Pete & Mike as Jake & Elwood, Dave on trumpet, John/Squirrel on bass and, on his first theatre date with us, Keith on drums. Richard the sax was attending a funeral locally so he followed along later. After a longer sound check than normal (running through endings etc for Keith and, in some cases, the rest of us) I went in search of food and found myself in the theatre cafe where there was a large amount of publicity for 'All the Fun of the Fight', an upcoming play set in the time of the miner's strike in the mid '80's. Wakefield was of course one of the areas most effected and, judging by the accounts that I read on the walls of the theatre, feelings still run high- amid talk of 'scabs' and 'being starved back to work', a parody of the 23rd psalm ended with the lines-
'I am glad I am British, and I'm glad I am free
But I wish I was a dog, and Thatcher was a tree'
I couldn't have put it better myself... and it was a great show with Keith coping very well- a 2-and-a-bit hour show has a lot of songs- and an audience reaction that hopefully means that we'll return at some point next year. Excellent.