Sunday, April 19, 2009

Down by the jetty

Enough of pretending to be Gypie Mayo- it's time to get back to pretending to be Steve Cropper...

Incidentally I've got the same date of birth as the great Gypie, and Cropper's middle name is Lee. What can all this mean? Well probably not that much really- but it makes me smile!

The Pavilion Theatre is, somewhat excellently, on the end of Cromer pier. It's venue that, strange as it my seem, was a popular punk venue back in the late '70's- The Sex Pistols played there on Christmas Eve 1977, one of their last U.K. gigs in their original reign of terror; at least I think it's the same venue?- and we played there the best part of 2 years ago. Thinking back to that show I remembered there being carts for you to take your gear along the pier to the venue on; I also remembered there being quite a bit of confusion over (a) how you got a vehicle near enough to the pier to allow you to use said carts and (b) nowhere nearby to park when you'd unloaded your stuff. Last night both (a) and (b) still applied- we eventually found our way down to the pier after much crawling around roads with names like Jetty Street, procured a cart and wheeled mine and Tracy's gear to the theatre (a couple of loose boards here and there!) whilst Shirley set off in search of a parking space. Steve's depping for Marc on drums, but aside from that it's the A-team with Richard returned from holidaying in The U.S.A. (Tracy and myself were due to be going to the gig with him but he'd been to a wedding up North the night before and so made his own way across to the gig, hence the long-suffering Shirley's appearance in the driving seat) and Graham behind the mixing desk. With everyone set up we soundcheck with 'Midnight Hour' and my left hand is really hurting, I'm using my Baja Telecaster which is a great guitar but which has a slightly larger neck than the '60's classic that I normally use for our gigs and almost every chord I play sends a stab of pain along the length of my thumb and halfway up my arm. When we stop the song for Tracy to check her in-ear monitors I change guitars, we play the song again and whilst it can't exactly be described as 'painless' it's a lot less unpleasant and I'm beginning to wonder if the guitar is the cause of my problems..?

Realistically it probably isn't- I went to the osteopath last week who said that it was likely to be 'an old lifting injury' which I've somehow aggravated; he then treated it by practically tearing my hand off which you could argue is why it's been extra painful this week.

It's an 8 o'clock show so after soundcheck there's time to head off in search of food, which we find at Mary Jane's fish and chip shop (excellent, and very busy!) before heading back along the pier to help Shirley and her daughter Lizzy set up the merchandise stall (the bar's now full of the people who were in the chip shop!) then heading backstage to get changed. I've somehow got a freezing cold dressing room all to myself (perhaps that's why no one else wanted it?) and showtime seems to come around all of a sudden if you know what I mean... Mike tries to get the crowd singing 'My Girl', when he says that they're quiet a cry of 'we're not getting paid' comes from somewhere in the darkness, but by 'Flip Flop and Fly' they're dancing in the aisles. My hand could feel better but it felt a lot worse in the soundcheck, there's the odd shaky moment from my point of view (hopefully no one else noticed!) but Steve did a fine job behind the kit as always and Shirley and Lizzy all but sold out of merchandise (at the risk of sounding sexist, 2 blondes behind the counter seems to work!) which is always a sign of a good show.

As we're getting our gear out of the venue there are people arriving on the pier to go night fishing. It's cold and windy and it looks like it could rain at anytime. In the car I switch my phone on, there's a message from Dave saying that The Flying Squad have been offered a gig on May 2nd at The Red Lion in Egham; I send him a text message saying that I'll check the date and call him in the morning when I'll also see if Andy and Mike can do it, and the message 'they're both ok' comes back almost immediately. Look like we've got work to do- hope my hand stops hurting...

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