Monday, March 17, 2008

Storm clouds gather

Under what might controversially be called 'normal' circumstances a week without gigs would generally see your humble narrator moaning and droning like a spoilt child about being bored, fed up, directionless- but not this time as from this coming (Good) Friday I've got 10 gigs in 9 days as well as shop and theatre work to contend with. I think the term 'calm before the storm' may apply...

The shop has been as busy as ever with today seeing a delivery of 9 boxes of Epiphone guitars which reduced my newly-tidied shop floor to total chaos. Why do these things only ever seem to happen when I'm in there on my own?!? I'd just managed to get some semblance of order back into things (i.e. put them all round the corner where I couldn't see them) when Barry the UPS man arrived with 2 boxes of Stentor stuff. Bugger! The Epiphones have been eagerly awaited for some time- I won't bore you with the details but it's all to do with Rosetti (the company who distributes them, Rickenbacker, etc) losing the Gibson guitar franchise and going into headless chicken mode as a result. It remains to be seen what happens to the supply of Gibsons to Britain- we've been told that they're (a) doing it all themselves, and (b) only employing a handful of staff for the whole of the U.K. Apparently they're basing their operation in Britain on their operation in the state of Arkansas as that's the same size as our lil' ol' island- they have 5 employees there so that's the number that they'll be running things over here with. Expect prices to rocket in the not-too-distant future.

Working at 'We Will Rock You' continues to throw out some amusing moments- this week Nico (guitarist at 'Cabaret') bought his new PRS custom along for Stu to set up. He met us in the Starbucks coffee shop and caught us in typically grim humour, although whether I should have made the gag about us working in the dark as he handed over his precious instrument is perhaps open to question. Stu worked on it as I restrung the show guitars; Nico turned up to collect it after a couple of hours and proceeded to play more notes in 10 minutes than I'll play in 10 years as I cowered in the corner, whilst roaring things like 'it plays like a dream' over the avalanche of hemi-demi-semi quavers. Another satisfied customer.

One of the strangest things about regularly going into Central London is what you see around you- whilst waiting for Stu in the coffee shop I saw one of 'The League of Gentlemen' walk past; a minute or so later an actor from the 'Quadrophenia' film. No less interesting was a busker at Bond Street tube station who played The Kinks classic (should that be klassic?) 'Sunny Afternoon' on saxophone whilst looking like I would imagine a serial killer to look- Stu and I both threw a bit a change his way and ran off. Quickly. Then again the shop had a return visit from Deep Purple bass ace Roger Glover today, much to the indifference of the other customers at the time- I was hoping that somebody trying a guitar would play 'Smoke on the Water' so that he could go over and correct them (most people play it incorrectly!!) but sadly it was not to be. He bought an Ovation electro-acoustic for his daughter Gillian and knew my name for over an hour- you've never got a copy of 'Machine Head' and a big felt pen handy when you need one have you?

Gigwise it looks like I'm not doing the Symarip shows; the matter's been bought to a head by a show in Dublin where Foxy's Ruts have been booked as support and, having categorically stated that I won't be part of any shows under that name (I think we could use a different name and play as a Ruts tribute band) I'm now not going to Ireland at all, and as a result feel that it would be hypocritical for me to do the other Symarip shows. It's a very complex situation which I fear will get worse before it gets better...

So- Friday sees The Chicago Blues Brothers playing in Portsmouth, on Saturday I'm in Kent with Austin's duo Liquid Lunch, then from Tuesday to Saturday the CBB's play 8 shows in 5 days at The Theatre Royal in Windsor. I'm told there's still tickets if you want to come along-

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