Monday, March 09, 2009

Seaside special

Saturday began with your humble narrator rushing to the bathroom and stuffing tissue paper up his left nostril. I burst a blood vessel in my nose when I was a small boy (I blew my nose one Saturday evening when I was going to bed and it bled for several hours; it eventually stopped just as 'Match Of The Day' was starting and I was allowed to stay up and watch it for the first time!) and have had occasional problems with nosebleeds ever since, particularly when the hay fever season starts. It didn't last too long but they're not pleasant things to have at the best of times let alone when you're not quite awake yet... it made me a bit late for breakfast but we were all in the minibus just after the allotted time of 10 a.m. so no real harm was done.
Check in at Zurich Airport went reasonably smoothly; Squirrel and myself were directed to take our guitars to 'the man in the pink vest over there' who took one look at my ailing case and reached for a roll of bright red BAGGAGE CHECKED tape which he proceeded to all but cover the case in. In the duty free area I did the only thing possible under the circumstances and had another nosebleed- this one lasted about half an hour and was much less fun than the first (which wasn't exactly fun either, but I think you know what I mean) and eventually stopped just as the GO TO GATE 67 instruction appeared on the screens. Inevitably the flight was the bumpiest one I've been on for a while (see Pete's post on the band blog) which I could have done without as I was feeling a little lightheaded by now. As I attempted to manhandle my guitar case through the revolving doors to the outside world at Heathrow my nose started bleeding again- I was beginning to take it personally...

Last night saw the CBB's visit The Princess Theatre in Hunstanton. We played here last year and it's a great little seaside theatre with a noticeable 'rake' on the stage- a common feature of such venues. It's the first show with Matt officially installed as Jake, replacing Mario who left the fold last month. To give him chance to settle in Pete's playing the 2 character parts in the show (The Rev. I.C. Delight and Fab Calloway) 'though he'll take them over in the not-too-distant future. With the long-suffering Shirley at the helm we (Richard, Tracy and myself) made our way up through The Fens, passing as we did The Slap Up Tandoori Restaurant and The Chew 'n' a Brew cafe (Tracy- 'there'll be a Fill Your Gob services next!') as well as the base of operations of noted guitar builder Richard Bartram who I first met the best part of (gulp!) 30 years ago at Thames Valley Guitars... or was it Pete's Gig Shop... it was a guitar shop in Uxbridge anyway. (Incidentally as I type this there is a picture on Voltarol's blog of a poster which features Richard holding the first guitar that he ever built; in case another missive has appeared in the meantime it's at the start of the 'Music in a Jugular Vein 6' posting.)
We arrived at the theatre not long after 4 o'clock to find preparations in full swing. Ian Bond is back behind the sound desk (always a good sign) and everything's more-or-less ready for soundchecking, after which Pete orders in copious amounts of fish and chips. Confusion during ordering meant that I ended up with 2 Veggieburgers, both of which I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I ate along with a portion of chips. Well- I was hungry!
With Shirley setting up the merchandise desk in the foyer Pete asks me to play some guitar on stage so that Matt, Mike and Tracy can practice harmonies and dance moves. Matt's depped with the band a couple of times and is a great singer and performer whose stage act includes several moves inspired by his interest in martial arts (I believe he's competed internationally; I must ask him about this sometime...) not least a rather terrifying splits move which never fails to astonish the audience. With everything sounding and looking good there's just time to visit the bar before adjourning backstage and getting changed. As we're waiting to go on Pete looks rather conspiratorial; he calls me over and gives me a small furry object which he tells me to put in my pocket for later...
Well the audience would have to had known that it was Matt's first show with us as he was absolutely excellent from start to finish, scary splits and all. I thought it took a while for things to get going 'though it might just have been my indigestion affecting my judgement (yeah I know, it serves me right!) as the audience were going mad by the end. From a band point of view the highlight had to be the moment when Dave Land stepped forward to begin 'Minnie The Moocher'- it's his birthday next week and he's recently shaved off his previously omnipresent moustache so it was time for us all to put ours on... sadly mine fell off as I played the first chord so I wedged it in the guitar strings up by the machine heads. At least I didn't get a nosebleed! After the show I went out into the foyer to see Matt looking somewhat taken aback by the amount of people wanting to shake his hand, and Shirley all but besieged by people trying to buy things from her. A fine evening's work.

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