Let's be honest- there's never anything to do on your birthday is there? Your family and your mates are always busy or on holiday, there are never any gigs worth going to, and anyway, you feel old... not this year 'though- The Godfathers were playing in Islington and Who's Who were playing down the road from me in Ruislip. This would have been a difficult decision to make at the best of times but for the only time I can remember I was gigging myself, at no lesser venue than The Embassy Ballroom in Skegness. Hmm... few if any places that bands play regularly in get more sneers and derisive laughter than Skegness. The politest thing that I've ever heard it called is a 'dump' although a lot of this unpleasantness centres around the fact that it's a rather remote place (the term 'out on a limb' could have been invented for it!) that always seems to take forever to get to. Me- I quite like it, but then again I would wouldn't I?
I woke up Friday morning feeling a little, shall we say, detached. That'll be something to do with the night before then- unusually I found myself in a pub with East 'though judging by his comment on my last posting I wasn't the only one that woke up feeling my age... Stuart the guitar repair man had given me a present which I opened shortly after waking up- well, presents are exciting aren't they?!? It was a poster produced by Viz Comics which parodies a well-known image often associated with Skegness- click here for the original and here for the Viz version, the sentiment of which sadly turned out to be nearer to the feelings expressed by various band members during the journey to the venue which due to combination of accidents (don't you just hate the way people slow down to look at car crashes?) and heavy traffic took AGES. We left in good time but didn't arrive until just before 7 o'clock- somehow were on stage just after our allotted time of 7.30 for a show dogged with sound problems (we were too late for anything even approaching a soundcheck, and the people supposed to be running the P.A. had depped the gig out without telling us- that's naughty...) but that I thought was actually a lot better than it might have been. It being the day that it was I decided to use my old Fender Stratocaster which doesn't get a run out very often these days and was a real pleasure to play; Chris from The Phil Hilbourne Band was depping for Ian on keyboards and did a fine job, and the audience members that I spoke to during my desperate search for a post gig birthday drink all said that they loved it, which I guess is the main thing. We ended up having a quick drink in Harvey's Bar (not a giant white rabbit in sight, sadly) before wending our weary way back to civilisation, a journey which thankfully took a fraction of the time that our earlier one had taken.
Remind me not to play a gig on my birthday again!
Then again Saturday and Sunday saw two excellent gigs by The Flying Squad. With our regular bassman Mike unavailable Huggy from The Price stepped into the breach, and did a fine job on both nights. Strange as it may seem both gigs were within a mile of each other in Uxbridge, the first being Mick's 60th birthday celebration at The Dolphin and the second being a hopelessly opportunistic 'I-book-the-gigs-there-so-why-don't-we-do-one-on-the-Sunday-nearest-to-my-birthday' show at The Load of Hay. We'd had a rehearsal a few days earlier and got 2 40-odd minute sets together; in the event a few songs went a bit astray but nothing too desperate happened although I did get hit by a flying piece of broken drumstick during 'All Through The City' at The Load of Hay show which resulted in me coming in a few bars later than I should (I was surprised!) and there was a predictably large amount of drinking after the gig. As always I will blame East for this although he didn't exactly hold me down and pour it into my mouth... two highly enjoyable nights which helped banish any bad thoughts from the night before. It's good when that happens isn't it?
Maybe playing gigs around your birthday is a good idea after all- let's see what next year brings...