I didn't feel too good on Friday evening - bad sinus pain, runny nose, all a bit awkward during the solo in 'Police Car' when I dropped my plectrum, such was the level of distraction that it was all causing. I hadn't been expecting to be anywhere near an audience or indeed a guitar but The Flying Squad found themselves with that rare thing, a 'what-are-you-doing-tomorrow-night?' gig... our drummer Dave had bumped into Alan, the former landlord of The Woodman in Northwood, at a jam night in Ruislip and their conversation had revealed that (a) Alan had just taken the pub back over again and (b) they didn't have a band for the next night. After the usual round of calls and text messages that we all seem to do these days we suddenly found ourselves with a gig; I'd depped with The Cane Toads there a couple of years ago and remember it being a great pub gig, it looks a bit different now (and even my ailing sense of smell picked up the whiff of new paint) but with a bit of luck it'll soon be back to it's former glories. I'm not sure that we were the right band for the venue but we played well and even got a bit of dancing from a couple of the 20-or-so people watching us, and from a slightly selfish band point of view it was a good warm-up for our gig at Tropic At Ruislip this coming weekend.
And I didn't feel too good on Saturday evening either, and I wasn't alone - there were more members of The Chicago Blues Brothers Band looking for tissues and paracetamol than weren't, and the ones that weren't were saying things like 'I had it last week'. We were up at Tewin Bury Farm near Welwyn playing at the Tesco Christmas party (yes, you read that bit right; lots of companies choose to have their Xmas bash in the new year these days - maybe they're too busy in December?) and Jeff (Geoff?) is on drums for the first time, with all the familiar faces in their familiar places apart from that. He was excellent - no, make that excellent - especially as he'd only got the gig with us that morning (Marc was elsewhere and regular dep Steve was, you've guessed it, ill) and only had a brief run-through in the soundcheck. We went on at 10 o'clock which, although it might not sound it, was a bit early as the audience were all having coffee after their meals - as you might expect things took a while to get going, but by the end of our efforts the dancefloor was healthy enough, even if we weren't.
Oddly enough I didn't feel too bad last night (I feel worse now!) but that could be because I'd spent much of Sunday asleep... but it was a superb evening down at The Load Of Hay for the latest Acts Less Ordinary gig, this one featuring Steve Simpson. I'd just finished setting the P.A. when the man himself arrived - I'd spoken to him the day before when he revealed that he'd missed a couple of gigs earlier in the week as he'd been suffering from bronchitis (!) but he was certainly on top form last night, playing 2 sets on acoustic and electric guitars with a few songs on mandolin thrown in for good measure. I hadn't seen him play solo for quite a while (I last saw him with Roger Chapman with our very own Ian Gibbons on keyboards) and had almost forgotten just how talented he is - some wonderful slide playing and country-style fingerpicking matched with a voice that most of us would kill for. You can really hate some people! Seriously though, a fine show and definitely someone that I'd like to get back to the venue as soon as possible.
Incidentally I've just remembered that when Steve was in Meal Ticket he worked alongside this man - how cool is that?!?
Ooooh. I feel awful. AWFUL. Where did I put that olbas oil...?