Sunday, July 04, 2010

The National Trust disco

Sorry about all that ranting last time - it was the heat I tell you, the heat... but you can click here for the last word (in these hallowed pages at least) on England's calamitous World Cup campaign courtesy of the excellent Monkey Picks blog. I couldn't have put it better myself, as they say...

Funnily enough my phone came back on a couple of hours after I finished the afore-mentioned cyber-rant; I'm not sure it's working properly (a NETWORK LOST message keeps appearing which is a bit of a worry) but at least I could see if Macca or E.C. had left me a message. They hadn't. Oh well - maybe next time?

Meanwhile back in the land of the gigging The CBB roadshow rolled in to Surrey on Friday for an outdoor show at Polesden Lacey. Bev's in for Richard on sax, and with Ian away with Ray Davies Chris is on keyboards; the voice on the entryphone on the outskirts of the property sounds suspiciously like Stephen Hawking, and when the long-suffering Shirley and myself arrived at the stage ('just drive up to it' said Pete - so we did!) everything was set up and ready for soundchecking. Quite how we managed to attempt versions of 'All Right Now' (I made a right mess of the solo!) and 'Brown Sugar' with Pete on bass (Squirrel was due along later) and Matt on drums is a bit beyond me (thinking about it how '2-4-6-8 Motorway' made an appearance is a bit of a mystery too) but we eventually got back to the script with 'Sweet Home Chicago'. It sounded good to me but since I've still got the hearing problems that I mentioned last time I'm probably not the best person to judge things - monitor problems for Tracy and Pete (both on backing vocals) persisted all the way through the gig so sadly it wasn't all good news. Backstage before the gig Matt got a bit confused as to whether he is a member of The National Trust or The National Front (definitely the former!) and some very helpful staff bought in copious amounts of sandwichs and organic lager - excellent! The show itself was a bit of an odd one - we played well but it all seemed a bit, for want of a better word, 'muted' although the fact that there was a large dip in the ground (which would have made a good mosh pit although the only people I saw in it all night were bored-looking security men) between us and the audience could well have contributed to this. Not a bad show by any means but there was a bit of an odd feeling at the end, if you know what I mean.

One of the people who'd been trying to contact me in the earlier part of the week (actually he was pretty much the only person trying to contact me, but obviously I'm not going to admit that here) was Pete Kerr, guitarist with local heroes The Cane Toads and all round good bloke. He'd had a call from Caithriona at The Half Moon in Harrow who needed a band for the coming Saturday evening, and, confirming his 'all round good bloke' status, Pete suggested The Upper Cut (and yes, we're definitely called that now!) After a quick (landline) ring-round everyone - Terry on vocals, Terry on bass and Roger on drums - confirmed their availability, and the gig was on. We all turned up at the venue in the midst of the Spain vs. Paraguay game (everyone seemed to be missing penalties in the bit that I saw!) and attempted to set up as unobtrusively as possible. Terry the bass was on fine if rather surreal form - his opening comment of 'I think I've had flu all week - well I haven't had all the symptoms but it did take me 4 hours to put my socks on' will stay with me for quite some time... since Pete depped for me at a recent show we invited him along to join us for a few songs, and he ended up doing 5 or 6 with us all of which sounded good to my admittedly still-ailing ears. There was the inevitable exodus at the end of the game but those who were there saw the clock above the stage fall off the wall and nearly land on Terry the singer's head just a few moments after Caithriona had asked us to turn down a bit as they'd recently had complaints about volume levels from the neighbours. We weren't that loud! Terry the bass uttered the immortal words 'I was playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order' at the end of 'Layla' (he was right, he was!) and there were a few, shall we say, unusual arrangements here and there but overall we were pretty good even though I say so myself, and we've been asked to play there again next month (on Friday 13th!) so we must have done something right. It's good when that happens - I'll be cheering up if I'm not careful...

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