Friday, April 11, 2008

'Oh I do (quite) like to be beside the seaside...'

In the midst of my shamelessly over-emotive reminiscing last time I forgot to say much about the Eastbourne gig which turned out to be a good one on a number of levels. The Winter Gardens is one of those venues that I always think could only be at the British seaside- traditional, ornate, almost time warped if you know what I mean. It was also the scene of one of the first 'bigger' Price gigs- we played there very early in our (ahem) illustrious career with a rockabilly band called The River Boys who were involved in putting on a festival there; we'd met them when we played with them at Bumbles wine bar in Acton if I remember correctly, and they invited us to join them down in their neck of the woods. I've a funny feeling that there were more people on the stage than in the audience when we went on 'though it was over 20 years ago... East was there then (he can't remember much about it either!) and was coming along this time with his trusty camera to film the show- transport confusion meant Richard and Tracy joined him, Shirley and myself in the Shirley-mobile. We made it down there just in time for a quick sound check before the rest of the band disappeared off to a Chinese restaurant whilst East, Shirley and myself did the only decent thing possible on such a cold and wet day- went to an ice cream parlour. Well, we were at the seaside...
Back at the venue sound guru Ian Bond is a very happy man. Stuart the guitar repair man has done some work on his Jeff Beck signature Stratocaster and it's all gone according to plan; if that wasn't good enough he's going to buy himself an Audi R8 which I'm told is a highly desirable motor (sadly my knowledge of cars extends about as far as what colour they are- mind you, image is everything don't you think?). He and Shirley discuss tactics- I particularly like his comment 'never, under any circumstances, trust someone who drives whilst wearing any form of hat'. My Dad's been coming out with that sort of stuff for as long as I can remember- he's always ranting about pipe smokers and driving-gloves-wearers too... turns out Ian does as well. I must introduce them to each other. Probably.
By now the band have returned and with over 400 tickets sold in advance it's looking like being a good night. 3 of the tickets have been bought by Dave Nash- better known to the likes of East and myself as Romford Dave, one of the very first Price fans. He now lives nearby and he's come along with his son and his dad- a family outing! It was a good show but personally I found it a bit hard to get going- not sure why, maybe I just felt like I was having an off night? Still the audience seemed to love it with people up and dancing from the first song and a large amount of merchandise sold by the end of the night, and it was really great to see Dave and co.- as East put it, 'it's family'. I really must cheer up one day.

Last night saw our first corporate gig for quite some time, for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (cue 'what happens if I fall of the stage?' gags from pretty much everybody) at The Metropole Hotel in Brighton. We're playing in the Oxford Hall and, unusually, the stage was set along the long wall making it wide and thin- it was maybe 30 yards across but only a couple of yards deep. This made for a rather strange band set-up (and the gags I referred to a moment ago) with Squirrel on the far left about 20 yards away from Ian on the far right.
After sound checking it was off to The Regency Tavern. We found this extraordinary hostelry when we played at The Grand Hotel last year when, among it's other attributes, it boasted a mirrorball in the Gents toilet. Well the bad news is that it's not there anymore, but the good news is that they've now got it behind the bar. If that wasn't enough there even more cherubs around the mirrors than I remember, (I'm not making this up, honest) and they serve Oranjeboom lager. Excellent.
Back at the venue it's hurry-up-and-wait time as it often is at these sort of events. We're due on at 9.30 for the first of 2 sets, then we're on at 10 for 1 set depending on whether or not they've finished eating... it actually turns out alright in the end, with a full dance floor for much of the set and rather a lot of soft toy monkeys finding their way on to the stage (yes, you read that bit correctly) 'though at this type of evening I always get the feeling that you've been forgotten about more-or-less before you've left the stage. Oh, and Squirrel said he felt like he was playing to nobody, such was his distance from things. The evening ended with Mario running a karaoke in the nearby Ambassador Room whilst the rest of us looked forward to our upcoming two-nighter in Norwich...

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