Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who's who?

My first gig of 2009 and it's Dr. Feelgood at The Horns in Watford. These days The Feelgoods are a controversial bunch for some people as the current line-up features no original band members. If you're interested the full story can be found on their website, and I guess it does raise an interesting ideological question- when is a band not a band? As a fan of The Who (you might just have noticed!) I've spent more than my fair share of time wondering about this one- there was no debate when the 'three-across-the-front' were all present and correct, and since we now have the singer (i.e. the 'face' of the band for many) and the guitarist/songwriter (the 'brains' if you know what I mean) fronting things that one is reasonably easy to follow, and of course if it said anything else on the posters they'd attract a fraction of the audience... in the case of Dr. Feelgood all the musicians worked with original singer Lee Brilleaux for many years, so for me this means they get in under the wire although I know a few people who aren't quite so convinced. Nothing alters the fact that they're still a damn fine rhythm and blues band 'though, and 'new' singer Robert Kane (he's recently given his 1,000th performance with the band!) is a great frontman and a fine singer to boot. I felt they sounded a bit awkward on some of the Wilko Johnson era material- 'She Does It Right' and 'Roxette' sounded a bit forced to me although there were no such problems with 'Back In The Night' which stood out as a crowd-pleasing sing-along anthem for the assembled hordes- and it was great to hear 'Ninety-nine and a Half (won't do)' and 'Baby Jane' from the Gypie Mayo era sounding as good as ever. And I'd all but forgotten what a great venue The Horns is- every town should have a pub like this! A fine evening.

Last night it was off to The Oxford Academy for a double bill of The Buzzcocks and The Lurkers that for an old punk like me could politely be described as 'unmissable'. The Lurkers feature Arturo Bassick and in doing so wind the controversy meter up a bit- he was on their first two singles 'Shadow' and 'Freak Show' and was a prime mover in the band reforming in the late-'80's but he wasn't in the band during their most successful and therefore most recognisable times in 1978/9. Many (including other original band members) would say that The Lurkers without guitarist and main songwriter Pete Stride isn't really The Lurkers- then again Arturo has led the band (often billed as 'Arturo's Lurkers') for many years now producing several albums of original material and gigging all over the world in the process. It's a complex argument in many ways and in the end there's no correct answer- it all depends on how you feel when you're watching the band. As someone who's seen them play in pretty much every format since it's inception (and in The Price played many gigs alongside them in the late '80's/early '90's) it is a bit strange seeing them as a trio as opposed to a 4-piece, and it must be said that without Mr. Stride there it doesn't 'feel' like The Lurkers if you know what I mean- but the old songs sounded as great as ever (well they did once the soundman had remembered to put the guitar into the P.A. system- oops!) and the newer material fitted in well especially 'Come and Reminisce If You Think You're Old Enough' which Arturo wrote for a fan who told him that they never listen to any punk rock released later that 1979. Judging by the audience reaction few if any were too bothered about any ideological questions posed by the band's performance- maybe it's only me that worries about these things?

The Buzzcocks sidestep any doubts about their validity as an 'original' band as both principal songwriter Pete Shelley and punk rock guitar hero Steve Diggle have been in the band from the word go; I think the drummer was there the last time I saw them just over two years ago 'though I haven't seen the current bassist before- I wonder where Tony Barber is? Billed as the 'Another Bites' tour they've taken the unusual step of playing their first two albums 'Another Music In A Different Kitchen' and 'Love Bites' in their original track sequences along with the contemporary single's A & B sides (remember when there were things called 'singles' that had 'A & B sides'?!?) and were absolutely brilliant. Beginning with the snippet of 'Boredom' that opens the first album and finishing with a final chaotic encore of 'Harmony In My Head' (Diggle slipped and fell over as the song began, recovering to give a fabulous performance of what is surely one of the greatest punk rock songs of them all) they played for over an hour-and-a-half and left no one in any doubt that they are one of the best bands to come out of the punk rock era. I've always thought of them as more of a pop band than anything else, with a greater emphasis on melody than many if not all of their contemporaries; maybe this is why I feel their music has dated far less than a lot of the other material from that time. With 'Ever Fallen In Love' all but thrown away mid-set in it's original position of track 2 side 1 of the 'Love Bites' album (remember when there were things called 'albums' that had 'tracks' and 'sides'?!?) rather than being saved for the encores I was reminded how just great some of the lesser known songs are- 'Love Battery', 'Nothing Left' and especially 'Autonomy' all sounded like they'd been written last week rather than (gulp!) over 30 years ago and were performed with an energy that belies the fact that they've probably played them hundreds if not thousands of times before. A tremendous gig, and a great night all round.

So, back to my original question then- when is a band not a band? Clearly in the case of The Buzzcocks the situation doesn't apply but with both The Lurkers and Dr. Feelgood it seems to me to be a case of carrying on the original band's legacy without being, for want of a better term, a tribute band to yourself- a difficult road to travel if you think about it. If the rumours are true The Smiths are likely to reform this year- would it still be 'The Smiths' if only say three of them were involved? Suppose one of the missing members was Morrissey or Marr? Then again look at From The Jam who are currently enjoying great success despite not having the principal songwriter and focal point of the original band present- who'd have predicted that? Maybe it's a case of 'it's the music that matters' and if the performance is strong enough it can override any doubts in the audience's mind regarding the originality or otherwise of the performers involved. As I say it's a complex argument which will no doubt be returned to at some point in the not-too-distant future; in the meantime I'm off to look for some current music that excites me as much as the songs that I heard at these two shows- and I've a funny feeling that it'll take some finding...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cliff hanger

Last night saw the first Chicago Blues Brothers gig of 2009, at no lesser venue than The Cliffs Pavillion in Southend. The evening was a charity (should that be 'chairidee' mate?!?) event for The Southend Fund- to this end the mayor was present- and one of the main beneficiaries of the evening was the local branch of The Motor Neurone Disease Association. Having lost my mum to this dreadful condition nearly 8 years ago this was something that I'm obviously very pleased to be involved with- but more about that later.

The long-suffering Shirley and myself left home around 2 p.m. with a view to arriving in Southend for half past three. Somewhere on the M25 Shirley suddenly turned the radio down- should the car really sound like that? Is it the engine, or the tyres, or just the road surface making that noise? Not having the best hearing in the world and, it must be said, knowing about as much about cars as I do about making a souffle (i.e. nothing) I wasn't really the best person to ask but since there was no one else present I'd have to do... so it was that your humble narrator found himself getting out on the hard shoulder to check for flat tyres ('yeah they look alright') and smells of burning ('yeah it smells alright') as the juggernauts hurtled past- it's amazing how fast they're going when you're standing nearby isn't it? Resolving to get the car checked out as soon as we possible and observing the signs warning us that there was Japanese Knotweed nearby (no I'm not sure either) we continued on our merry way, arriving at the venue at the allotted time of 3.30. It's a 'nearly-the-A-team-gig' with Mario and Mike as Jake and Elwood, Squirrel and Marc on bass and drums, Tracy on vocals, Ian on keyboards and Richard on saxophone with Steve depping for the absent Dave on trumpet. Pete's on hand to direct operations and make a cameo appearance (as 'Taxi' Cab Calloway singing 'Minnie The Moocher') and his wife Jayne is on costume co-ordination. Dave's on the lights, Rod and Sam are manning Ian Bond's P.A. (the man himself being off on tour in Germany) and we'd originally planned to film the show for possible DVD release, but with Dave unavailable the idea was shelved- just as well from my point of view as we'll discover shortly... after saying hello to all and sundry I remark to Squirrel that the last time I was in the building was when I came to see Blondie with former CBB driver Bob Newcombe and his wife Barbara; he looks rather forlorn as he tells me that Barbara died suddenly before Christmas, asks Pete if he knows what happened yet but he doesn't, I say that I remember her asking the guy standing in front of us if he'd move over a bit as she was only small and couldn't see, and how she once told me that she thought I was a better guitarist than Wilko Johnson and that I spent ages trying to persuade her that I wasn't, and that she was always very hospitable whenever I was at their house- I must give Bob a call.
With Marc not due until later one of his pupil's Matt is on hand to set his drums up- he jams 'Whole Lotta Shaking Going On' and 'Steamroller Blues' with Ian, Squirrel, Pete and myself as a soundcheck while we're waiting for the rest of the band to arrive. My guitar sounded a bit 'weak' for want of a better term, but I decided that it was just me getting used to the sound onstage; I asked Rod and Sam how it sounded back at the mixing desk and they both thought it was fine so I decided it was just me. With the rest of the band all present and correct it's time for fish and chips before running through 'Funky Nassau' and 'My Girl', I'm still not sure about the guitar sound but the band's sounding good which bodes well for the show.
We're not on until 8 o'clock so there's plenty of time for a drink in the front bar before returning backstage to find that we've got a visitor- former CBB and now T.Rextasy drummer John Skelton with his lady Trina, it's great to see him again as he regales us with stories of his recent appearance on 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' (he appeared- somewhat disguised it must be said- in the 'identity parade' line-up when the panel had to pick out Slade drummer Don Powell) and more besides.
In no time it's showtime- there's a new shorter intro tape (yeah I know it's not a tape- but 'intro CD' never sounds right to me!) and me and Squirrel aren't sure where it ends and we begin but Marc starts 'Peter Gunn' right on cue. The BB's come on to rapturous applause and 'Midnight Hour' is rocking along well- but was that a crackle that I just heard from my amplifier? No, of course it wasn't... well I don't think it was... wait a minute, there it was again... no, it's ok, it sounds fine- I think...
By the last number of the set 'Knock On Wood' I'm sure that the sound that I just heard was a crackle, and a rather loud one at that. In the interval I wait until the venue's as empty as it's going to get before going out onto the stage and trying the guitar- it sounds fine, maybe I'm just imagining it after all?
Three numbers into the second set and I'm definitely not imagining thumping the top of my otherwise reliable Fender Blues Junior combo in a desperate attempt to stop the distorted buzzing that had started emanating from it- you know, like you used to hit the top if your television when the picture was flickering? It seemed to do the trick for a while, and I soon worked out that if I stayed away from the lower strings and stuck to playing higher up the neck it didn't seem to be quite as bad- but in the end it was making the most appalling noise whether I was playing or not! With 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love' sounding like The Velvet Underground drastic action is called for, Pete finds a D.I. box (a device which allows you to plug directly into the P.A. system rather than use an amplifier) which after a false start or two finally does the trick and even though it's not exactly the greatest guitar sound ever it's infinitely preferable to the row that was coming out of my amplifier. By the end of 'Gimme Some Loving' the place was going wild and we encore with 'Riot In Cell Block no. 9' and 'Jailhouse Rock' to scenes of madness and mayhem- it might have been a bit of a nightmare for me but it was a great show to start the year with.

Afterwards Shirley and myself go back out into the bar to get a drink and to see who's around. Pete's out in the foyer, he calls us over and introduces us to a young couple called Vicky and Neil. I'd seen them in the audience sitting a few rows from the front, both wearing bright red Motor Neurone Disease Association t-shirts. During 'Minnie The Moocher' Pete had dedicated the song to Jim Storey who had recently died of MND; he was Vicky's dad and Pete's brother Des had been one of his carers. He had MND for 6 months; Pete tells them about my mum, they look like they're going to cry, I almost feel as though I should make some sort of profound statement- but there's nothing much to say. It's a strange feeling to meet someone for the first time and feel for want of a better word a 'kinship' with them. People always say things like 'I know how you feel' when something bad happens to you (I certainly heard it enough times in the weeks after my mum left the building, along with things like 'she's gone to a better place'- one particularly patronising local council official earned themselves the reply of 'if you really believed that you'd kill yourself now' which went down very badly indeed...) but in cases like this it's almost the only thing that you can say. My mum had MND for over 18 years- her and Jim both know how THAT feels...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TV times two

In my haste to finish in time to see the Paul Morley programme the other night (and very good it was too, especially the hilarious interview with Noddy Holder, and Ian Anderson describing the joys of wearing a codpiece; it was a lot better than it looks written here, honest!) I completely forgot to mention 'Something Else'. Notable for including the last TV footage of Joy Division it also featured The Clash, The Jam, The Specials and Dexy's Midnight Runners among others, all playing live. How on Earth could I have forgotten that one?!? The Joy Division footage gets shown here and there from time to time; ever second of it reinforces the almost-mythical status of the band in general and of doomed singer Ian Curtis in particular. The Jam played 'The Eton Rifles' before it was released and their then-current single 'When You're Young', and The Clash gave blistering performances of 'Clash City Rockers' and 'Tommy Gun'. Like I say, how could I have forgotten that one?

And then there's 'The South Bank Show' which has featured the likes of Pete Townshend, The Smiths and John Lee Hooker among it's lofty subjects. Yes it all gets a bit over-serious sometimes (it's art dah-ling!) but it often gets unparalleled access to it's subjects and normally does a pretty good job of getting under the surface of things- the programme on Rockpile featured the a band argument that any self-respecting record company publicist wouldn't allow to be broadcast these days and the Elvis Costello show made for rather uncomfortable viewing as the band and 'Almost Blue' album producer Billy Sherrill clearly didn't always see eye to eye over things.

There are of course many other music programmes but I think I've just about covered all the ones from my formative years now; I did do a few other things as well as watch TV in those days (honest!) but I realise now how, as a cash-strapped teenager unable to attend as many gigs as I would have liked, many of the performances on the shows I've recalled here directly inspired me as a guitarist. And many of them still do...

Friday, January 16, 2009

TV times

Looking back at my last posting I completely failed to say that The Prisoner is among my very favourite television shows ever, and that Patrick McGoohan was one of the best actors of them all- so I thought I'd better start by saying that here! I think I got a bit bogged down in my own particular version of The Village... but it's got me thinking about how music was presented on television before the days of set top boxes and subscription channels.

Like most people of my age who liked 'pop' music I used to watch 'Top Of The Pops' on BBC1 every week. (I was a bit young for 'Ready Steady Go!') When I first started watching it regularly in the early 1970's it was a rather odd mixture of grinning chart-orientated acts and incongruous heavy metal bands begrudgingly promoting their 'not-on-the-album single', all introduced by a BBC Radio 1 DJ. By the time of it's demise in 2006 it had gone through several re-vamps but never really deviated too far from it's original concept of featuring the music and performers from that week's singles chart. Personally I really liked it during the glam rock times of '71-'74 when the likes of T.Rex, Slade, The Sweet and David Bowie drove my Dad to previously unimagined (by me at least) heights of righteous indignation- which of course made me like it and indeed them even more. As I was too young to go to gigs this was my only way of seeing any of the bands that I liked- except of course they were miming rather than actually performing live. Still none of this bothered me too much at the time, especially during the punk rock days of '77-'79 when the likes of The Buzzcocks, The Ruts and The Damned made regular appearances. I lost touch with the show sometime in the early '80's when the ratio of grinning chart-orientated acts to heavy metal bands finally got too much for me although it was interesting to tune in again a few years later when bands like The Senseless Things and Carter USM appeared as often we'd been supporting them only a few weeks before! (Many if not all of the above bands can often be seen on the retrospective show TOTP2 - one of my earliest and clearest memories from the early '70's shows is of seeing The Faces playing football during 'Maggie May' which just might be the most repeated clip of them all? And if you think they look drunk wait until you see Stiff Little Fingers!) For what my opinion's worth I think it's all too easy to mock 'Top Of The Pops'- after all it did what it set out to do didn't it? And I've managed to get this far without mentioning Pan's People...

Meanwhile a rather different TV experience was taking place on BBC2- 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' was album-orientated and therefore a bit too 'serious' for my teenage tastes. I'd love to be able to say that I saw the infamous appearance by The New York Dolls and went out the next day and bought an electric guitar- but I didn't; put simply it was before my time, or at the very least it was on too late for me to stay up to watch and still be able to get up in time for school the next morning. That said I'd started watching it by the time the punk bands had invaded, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the likes of Public Image Ltd, The Skids and XTC actually playing live on television, as well as being astounded by Gary Moore playing 2 songs with Phil Lynott, Cozy Powell, Scott Gorham and Don Airey. The 3 retrospective DVD's devoted to the programme go a long way towards showing why it's still fondly remembered by many, and maligned by quite a few.

'Rock Goes To College' ran from 1978-81 and featured a band or artist gigging at (you've guessed it!) a college or university; I remember the Rory Gallagher and Joe Jackson shows very well, and AC/DC gave a typically boisterous performance 'though maybe the most well-known show featured The Police at Hatfield Polytechnic. Before that the seemingly all-but-forgotten 'Sight and Sound In Concert' extended the idea of the long-running Radio 1 'In Concert' show to present one or two bands playing live and being simultaneously broadcast on both TV and radio- the one that always sticks in my mind was the 'dream gig' (for me at any rate) pairing of Ian Dury and The Blockheads with Dr. Feelgood, and The Tom Robinson Band show gave me chance to see guitarist Danny Kustow in all his chaotic glory for the first time. Some if not all of these shows must be in the archives somewhere- time for a rebroadcast or, even better, an official release or two methinks!

Over on ITV I remember seeing 'Supersonic' which was OK (The Damned gave a blistering performance of 'Neat Neat Neat') but 'Revolver' was much more like it; 'presented' (I use the term very loosely!) by Peter Cook and featuring a bewildering line-up of then-contemporary punk and new wave bands it was at best rough around the edges and at worst shambolic, but somehow managed to present the bands in a sympathetic setting- and let's face it, any show that features The Lurkers must be a classic mustn't it?!? Special mention must also be given to 'Marc' which featured the glam rock god himself presenting a 6-episode series, the last show of which went out shortly after his untimely death in September 1977, and the Saturday morning programme 'Tiswas' which saw the likes of Motorhead falling for the fatal charms of Sally James and ending up covered in custard pies as a result. Great stuff.

Channel 4 gave us 'The Tube' which I always found to be a bit of a mess (not least due to the sound of the live bands always being a little, shall we say, 'odd') although it did feature the last TV performance by The Jam as well as tremendous sets by The Redskins and The Smiths among others. For me it was all a bit too 'Eighties' if you know what I mean; oh and Jools Holland caused a furore by swearing during a live trailer for the show 'though it didn't seem to hamper his T.V. career unduly...

These days BBC3 and BBC4 feature all manner of music-based documentaries on everything from prog rock to classical music and beyond (I particularly enjoyed the Les Paul retrospective 'Chasing Sound') as well as concert performances (the footage of Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scott's was priceless) and all points in between. Which reminds me- I can't sit here typing this for too much longer or I'll miss 'All The Young Dudes: Pop and Fashion' in which, and I quote, 'Paul Morley revisits his adventures in fashion and meets the pop stars who influenced him'. Sounds good doesn't it? Imagine that- going back over the musical sights and sounds that you saw and heard as you were growing up... I could do that... actually I just have!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fall out

At the risk of turning this into an obituary column...

I've just received a text message from Price drummer Paul; it reads-

'Number 6 has escaped the village R.I.P. Be seeing you'

This can only mean one thing- Patrick McGoohan has died.

Back in the bad old days of the early 1980's your humble narrator was not a happy bunny. If you think I'm miserable now you should have seen me then! Part of the reason for my unfortunate condition was that I was working at the E.M.I. factory in Ruislip and hating pretty much every second of it. One of the very few people there that I had any sort of meaningful conversation with was an engineer called Barry Byford; he wasn't over-popular among his peers for what was seen as a rebellious attitude, so I of course liked him immensely. During the course of our many ranting sessions he mentioned that a T.V. show called 'The Prisoner' was about to be repeated on the then-new Channel 4 and that I should tune in. When I asked him why I'd like it he just smiled and said 'you'll see...'
So I did- and I did. For the next 4-and-a-bit months there didn't seem to be a better way to spend an hour a week of T.V. time. Highlights were many and varied but the overall effect was (and remains) devastating- I loved the fact that people said that it was 'weird', that they 'couldn't understand it', and, best of all, that they 'hated it then and hate it now'... this was just what I was looking for! As I stomped around the corridors of power mumbling 'be seeing you' under my breath and screaming 'WHY?' in my mind I had finally found a metaphor that helped me explain to those around me (and indeed to myself) how I felt about being forced to spend my daylight hours in the godforsaken hell on Earth that was, and no doubt still is, the E.M.I. factory in Ruislip. The human chess game from 'Checkmate' was going on all around me and I was one of the pawns. I had to escape...

Those days seem a long way behind me now but, incredibly, they still come back to haunt me from time to time- there are events and circumstances that I've tried to wipe from my mind but that I still find upsetting over 25 years later. 'The Prisoner' was part of my escape from that particular prison- but if I really did 'escape' why have I just written the last couple of lines? Is this blog really just a journal of my time in a different village?

In the meantime I'm listening to Dr. Feelgood's fifth album and smiling at the thought of Rover looking for me somewhere in a rundown factory. Don't knock yourself out young man, best of luck with the exams- and a half a dozen of the other to you all. Be seeing you...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Death Trip

More sad news- after the recent death of the great Davy Graham I've just heard that Ron Asheton has been found dead at his home in Michigan, probably as a result of a heart attack. He was 60 years old. As guitarist for The Stooges on their first two albums 'The Stooges' and 'Fun House' he virtually invented punk rock guitar; he played bass on 'Raw Power' then returned to the guitar for their 2007 album 'The Weirdness'. I saw them play twice- in 2005 at The Hammersmith Apollo and at The Royal Festival Hall in 2007 which I can honestly say were two of the best rock performances that I've ever seen. Without the Stooges there wouldn't, indeed couldn't have been punk rock- The Sex Pistols covered 'No Fun', The Damned covered '1970' and Joe Strummer is said to have 'kissed the floor' of C.B.S. Studios in London when he discovered that The Clash were recording their first album in the same studio that The Stooges had used for 'Raw Power'. His playing on tracks like 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' sounds as radical today as it did when it was recorded 40-odd years ago; odd as it may seem there's a parallel here between him and Davy Graham as many people caught up with them in the end whilst claiming to have liked them all along. Maybe that's the price you pay for being ahead of your time?

“When I was a young guy coming up, going to the Grande Ballroom every weekend, I got to see my heroes play. Jeff Beck, the Who, everyone. I didn’t want to be a fanboy, but I’d stand there and wait — ‘I just want to say hi, this was great.’ I saw them walk by me with blank stares like they were zombies. I said to myself, you know, if I ever make it, I’ve got at least one minute for everybody who wants to say something. So I talk to people, and that’s what’s exciting now.”

Ron Asheton was in my opinion a great guitarist and, judging by the above quote from a 2003 interview, a pretty decent bloke. It's another sad loss to the guitar-playing world.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

'Sorry lads, I've come straight from work and haven't had chance to change... yeah, that's more than enough...'

22nd March 2016 - sadly I've had to remove the picture of Richard Pardy 'relaxing backstage'. Here's why, as texted to me by Richard yesterday afternoon -

Could l ask a favour pls? Your blogs are legendary & l don't know how you managed to get hold of it, but can you remove a picture of me with 'nipple tassles' pls?! As funny as it is, I've had dozens of people getting in touch, including my mum, & now my kids, (who told me it was on your blog). It was their school friends that found it at school on the school computers?!!! ...but also people that l work for have been taking the piss etc. I've now had a Head of school that l teach at call me in, saying that it's inappropriate as the kids have been passing the photo round at school. I've said I'll deal with it, and as it is also a bit embarrassing, (unless you were there & knew the circumstances), it's a bit weird, & is a top hit on google images now!!! If you could help remove all traces of it pls, l would much appreciate it. No sweat, l think it's very funny, but it has to go pls! Sorry about that & thanks for your help mate:-)

Never one to wish to cause offence, I have of course removed said image. It was very funny though!!

What better way to start 2009 than with a caption competition? Something a bit different this time- can you think of a way to link this photograph of saxophone maestro Richard Pardy* relaxing backstage at last October's Chicago Blues Brothers gig in Tewkesbury with a £2 voucher issued at last night's CBB show at, of all places, The Beacon Bingo Hall in Northampton? No, I can't either- but I couldn't resist putting the two pictures next to each other; no wonder I haven't got any friends...

As I'm in what passes for a good mood in my odd little world I'm not going to say too much about the show- we played quite well under the circumstances if you know what I mean- 'though I did make a comment to Sam the sound man as we watched our support act (2 ladies singing over backing tracks- I think they were halfway through 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B' at the time, and sounding about as much like The Andrews Sisters as I sound like Pavarotti) which went something like 'all those years ago when I saw The Clash and thought ''I'd like to play the guitar like that''- and now look what's happened...' I guess that makes me a snob? Or miserable? Or both? And I really shouldn't moan- a lot of people didn't have a New Year's Eve gig this year, and it's always better to be working than not working isn't it? Isn't it?? Do I sound convinced?!?

Happy new year everybody!

*sorry Rich- that's another drink I owe you...