Monday, June 14, 2010

Barnet fair

I don't know about you but I used to really like football. As a lifelong fan of the (once) mighty Reds I'm obviously less keen these days (!) but even without their hapless descent into near self-parody I think I'd have lost interest anyway since most major games these days look to me like a bunch of bored millionaires filling in time before making another attempt at getting off with one of their teammate's wives.

Cynical? Me? Imagine that...

On the other hand from a Balcony Shirts point of view I'm bound to say that I'm completely wrong with the above analysis; we should all be supporting England in their attempt to bring The World Cup back to it's rightful home, and of course be wearing an appropriate t-shirt whilst doing so. You know it makes sense!

The opening night of the tournament (Friday in case you're not following it) saw The 4 Faces visit the excellently named After Office Hours in Barnet. Roger (drums) and myself arrived to find Terry and Terry (bass and vocals) on hand to help us carry our gear in, a fortuitous development as we could only get in the back way which was across a yard and up some rather imposing looking iron steps. The Uruguay vs. France match was on the big screen which was on the stage - so no setting up until the end of the game then. It didn't look a very likely venue for us but with the aid of a stag party and some very interesting dancing from some young ladies present it turned out to be a good night. I tried the FMT Telecaster again which coped well with the rockier material as well as the soul stuff (it's got very good pick-ups along with a coil tapping switch) so it definitely looks like Andy's made a sale... oh and Terry the singer suggested that we change the name of the band again; Terry the bass said he'd just seen a shop opposite called The Upper Cut (presumably it's a hairdressers?!?) and that'd be a good name for us, not least as it was a club in London back in the 1960's. Everyone seemed to approve although I for one am not sure if we're now called that or not. Let's see what happens at the next gig.

Saturday it was back up to The Barnham Broom Hotel for what is becoming an annual event for us, The Wishes Ball (organised by trumpeter Dave and his wife Lyn among others) in aid of GOSH and EACH. Ian's back on keyboards (he's been away gigging with Ray Davies) and Ian's on sax in place of Richard; Pete and Mike are running the charity auction as well as fronting the band - originally to be a Blues Brothers show it became a Stacks Of Soul gig somewhere along the way, and very good it was too, with plenty of dancefloor action and even a few gatecrashers who were removed by Dave and Lyn. With the England vs. U.S.A. match on in the nearby sports bar Lyn issued a stern warning that anyone caught sneaking out to watch the match would be fined - Mike and Ian both returned from the bar to find pieces of paper telling them how much they owed the charity on their place mats. Perhaps they should have just watched it on their phones like everybody else did!

A couple of years or so ago I did a gig in what might well be one of the more unusual locations of my (ahem) career - the front window of Horsepower Hairdressing in Uxbridge. Andy and myself made a return appearance there on Sunday afternoon at The Loose Goose, a gathering organised by Horsepower supremo Adam which attracted a bewildering number of like-minded souls, many of which arrived on motorbikes or in hod rods and who provided Uxbridge with one of the most extraordinary gatherings that the High Street has ever seen. As we played through a mixture of old blues numbers and songs from The Flying Squad's repertoire tattooed ladies mingled with impressively bearded bikers and an atmosphere of cheery bonhomie prevailed. Arch Flying Squad fan Keith arrived just as we were joined by Steve (a mate of Adam's) on cajon for 'Down At The Doctors' - when we'd finished that he fetched a double bass from his van (!) which he proved to be equally adept at. We had a break to watch the penny farthing time trials (I'm not making this up, honest) and when we finished playing around 5 p.m. both Andy and myself agreed that it had been one of the most enjoyable afternoon's that we'd had in ages - which was just as well as I'd missed some of Shirley's birthday barbecue to play at it. Sorry Shirl! That's why I call her 'long-suffering'...

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