And so it continues to continue - my brother Terry called me just before midnight last night to tell me that Henry Cooper has died. Somewhere there is a photo that I took of my Dad and brother with Mr. Cooper, he seemed to be a nice chap (we'd gone to see him doing a one man show at The Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth and although Dad and Terry had met him other times as well it was the only time that I spoke to him; actually all our family encountered Our 'Enry at some point as my mum met him at Budgens in Uxbridge back in the early '70's when he opened the store!) and judging by what I've read about him on the Internet today he's being well remembered which is good to see.
And Osama Bin Laden is dead as well - but you knew that already didn't you?
I tuned in at the allotted time to hear Voltarol on the radio (or to be pedantic, on my computer) only to be confronted with this track - my first thought was that he'd cracked up completely although I then realised that my clock was a bit fast... in the meantime it's been 3 busy gigs in 3 busy days for your humble narrator:-
The Uppercut made their first appearance at The Anglers Retreat in Staines on Friday night - as we pulled up in the car park Roger remarked that the pub used to be called The Lord Lucan. Interesting! (It's seems that it was actually called The Lucan Arms although locally it was known as The Lord Lucan. He was in the news a fair bit back in the day - whatever happened to him eh?) The two Terrys met us outside with the news that there wasn't much room but 'at least they've moved the sofa'; they'd actually stood it on one end next to the bay window that we were due to play in, it looked splendidly bizarre as did the huge tiger print chair at the other end of said space. I'd hardly got through the door before a young man came over to ask what type of guitar I played; he later spent our first set trying to talk to Terry while he was singing - why oh why do people keep doing that? - then left at half time in search of 'birds'. I doubt that he found any. Electricity came from a cupboard next to the chair via a lethal-looking spaghetti of extention leads, and we'd just about managed to cram ourselves into place when Terry noticed that we'd been billed as a Rod Stewart tribute band on the blackboard behind the bar. Oo-er... in the event we managed to play enough Faces 'n' Rod-related rock to satisfy the people there who had come to hear it, as well as getting through the rest of our act without getting lynched. We're back there in July - the inter-band 'should we play more Rod?' debate has already started...
Saturday it was down to Poole in Dorset for a Blues Brothers show at The Esporta Sports Centre. Originally intended to be an F.B.I. Band show the group personnel eventually became something of a hybrid between our show and theirs, with Marc (drums) Dave (trumpet) Mike (Elwood) and myself from The Chicago Blues Brothers joining Tony (Jake) Ian (sax) Jon (bass) and Jim (regular dep for Richard on keyboards) from The F.B.I.'ers. I travelled down with Jon and Mike for a journey that included spotting an AA breakdown truck with a speedboat on the back and a car with an advert for PSYCHIC FRAN on it's driver door but was otherwise reasonably uneventful; with everyone present and correct we set up in the foyer in front of the fireplace (!) and ran through 'I Can't Turn You Loose' as a somewhat echo-ey soundcheck. After some food (sausage, chips and beans for them, falafel burger for me) we retired to The Dorchester Suite (not as grand as it sounds!) as the guests started to arrive to get ready. It's a 'V.I.P. Event' which seems to be a 'free-to-get-in-if-you're-a-member' evening with food and a live band, there are a fair few in by the time we get to play and the dance floor starts to fill up from the middle of our first set. I thought we were a bit rough to begin with - too many deps maybe? - but by the end we were playing well and there was plenty of dancing and general merriment. A good gig.
I got in sometime around 2 o'clock on Sunday morning - by midday I was meeting Squirrel (C.B.B. bassman) at South Mimms Services on The M25 to journey North to York for a show reminiscent of last July's Sicilians gig. That was a a birthday party, this was at a wedding and both were organised by Matt (Jake in our show) who lives in the area. After a very straightforward 3 hour journey we sat in for an hour in Matt's back yard enjoying the sunshine, discussing tactics and running through songs; his friend and ace drummer Dion arrived (he's currently touring in the 'Jackson Live' show) and we made our way through some spectacular scenery to the venue, The Wood Hall Hotel near Wetherby. As we pulled into the car park a badger wandered out in front of us, completely untroubled by our or indeed anyone else's presence - excellent. It's James and Sarah's wedding and the mood is good - after a (very) quick set-up we got changed in The Scott Room before myself and Matt began our first set with Michael Buble's 'Crazy Love'; We'd been asked to play it although it hadn't really occurred to me that the couple would be having their first dance to it - as I began I realised that not only were half the guests filming it but that the couple had rehearsed a dance routine to it. No pressure then... fortunately it went well (as usual I wouldn't have mentioned it here if it hadn't) and it set the scene for 2 sets of increasingly well-received raucous rocking 'n' rolling, with Matt at his energetic best throughout. Great stuff - we must do it again sometime.