Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dubai? Us?

As I sit here typing this, my latest missive to the masses (I wish!) I'm very aware that I shouldn't be sitting here at all. This is not an admission that I've finally realised that I could be doing something more worthwhile with my time than ranting in Cyberspace (as if!?!) but that I shouldn't actually be here - I should be in Dubai... Pete, Mike and myself (along with a band made up of local musicians) were booked to play at a festival in said far-off land this coming Friday, but sometime on Monday afternoon Pete finally pulled the plug on the whole increasingly dubious affair. It had been shaky for a while, with arrangements changing all the time and all too ominously - first we were flying out on Wednesday, rehearsing Thursday, gigging on Friday then home on Saturday, then we were leaving on Tuesday to rehearse Wednesday with a possible extra show on Thursday although no flight details were available for either of the options. Suspicions were further raised when Pete Googled our hotel and found that it wasn't due to open for several weeks; I spoke to him Friday and we had a 'cut-off point is Monday' discussion, although with hindsight I think cut-off point had already come and gone - when we spoke Monday afternoon he sounded at best jaded and at worst furious with the whole thing. I've never been there so speaking personally I'd like to have gone, not least to see what the place is like - you hear so many conflicting reports don't you? - but strange as it may sound I don't feel too bad about it not happening. Maybe it's a case of 'what you never had, you never miss'?

Still there was a bit of time away from home last week - having not had anything approaching a holiday in what feels like ages myself and the long-suffering Shirley managed a few days away in Dorset, and very enjoyable it was too - we managed a return visit to The Town Mill Cheesemonger and bought far too much of their wares (always a good thing methinks!) as well as visiting Monkey World which we'd not managed to get to on previous holidays. Excellent. It stayed dry for most of our time there although the last day saw rain like something out of The Bible; that doesn't necessarily explain how I ended up at the excellent Nevada Music in Portsmouth (it was 'kind-of-on-the-way-home', honest!) trying out Blackstar amplifiers so I'll attempt an explanation another time, although it might have something to do with last month's 'rock classics rehearsal'...

Saturday night it was time for something a bit different - appearing with Awaken at The Old Fox in Ickenham. Pete (guitar) and Martin (vocals) played a few songs with The Upper Cut at our Uxbridge gig back in August, and they invited your humble narrator to reciprocate by joining them alongside Ken (bass) and Russell (drums) for 'a couple of numbers' at this show. Never being one to turn down a chance to show off with a guitar in public I of course said yes, and I'm glad that I did since it turned out to be a highly enjoyable evening - I ended up playing rather more than a 'couple' of songs, including a few with a friend of theirs who they described as 'tiny Tina Turner' (guess who she sounded like?!?) and any number of songs with Martin at the helm. Great stuff. And I spent a fair bit of time talking to ex-Lurkers guitarist Pete Stride who I'd not seen for a while, not least about GLM - check out their latest song 'Chemical Landslide' in the Downloads section of their website - it's brilliant!

Sunday saw the first Sunday night gig at Tropic At Ruislip since, well the last one that I played there (!) back in June; that one was with The Flying Squad (it's about time they reappeared don't you think?!?) and this one featured The Ali Mac Band in the extended line-up that Ali refers to as The AMT Band. ('Ali-Mac-with-a-twist') They'd rehearsed in my absence while we were away and I'd done some work on my own with the songs while we were away - sometime in the course of our holiday I made what for me is the radical decision of playing slide guitar in open E tuning for some of the songs. I'm not sure this was the best decision that I've ever made as I don't think I did it particularly well (maybe a bit more practice is in order?!?) but it was a good gig with Ali in fine voice and the band playing well throughout. And it was good to be back at The Tropic - there are some great gigs coming up there, not least Pat McManus on the 17th of this month which I must do my best to get along to. And talking of gigs The CBB's are in Norwich next Thursday, I'm in Croydon with T.V. Smith next Friday, and The Upper Cut have their first gig for a while next Saturday in Bethnal Green so that's something to look forward to - but in the meantime we're here instead of there and as a result I've got no gigs this weekend. Bah!

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