Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Six of one and half a dozen of the other

So let's start my sixth year as a blogger with Friday's Uppercut gig at The Dolphin which saw the first appearance of my recently acquired Vintage Lemon Drop guitar. It sounded good although it's going to take a bit of getting used to - I generally use my Relic Stratocaster for our gigs and this has a much 'heavier' sound. It also features an unusual wiring system as it's intended to emulate Peter Green's famous Gibson Les Paul which was also owned by Gary Moore. Depending on which story you believe the guitar in question was either being repaired or cleaned - either way the neck pick-up ended up being put in the wrong way round and wired out of phase. This makes no difference to the sound when either of the pick-ups are selected individually, but when both pick-ups are on at the same time the resultant 'hollow' sound is very different to how you might expect from a Les Paul. Add to that the fact that turning either of the pick-ups down by even a small amount alters this dramatically and also makes the guitar louder (yes, you just read that bit correctly - when you turn one of the pick-ups down it gets louder! Really!) and you have a situation which as I say will take a bit of getting used to. Admittedly I'd not had as much time to practice with the guitar as I'd have liked (excuses excuses!) but I will have to sort myself out before our next show as the guitar played well and seems to suit our style better than the Strat. Overall however it was a great gig, very well attended and with much dancing and merriment all round. It's good when that happens!

And it was a great gig at The Pelton Arms in Greenwich yesterday afternoon when your humble narrator and his Telecaster (that's better, I can work one of those!) made his depping debut in The Duplicates. With ace guitarist Matt Percival away elsewhere I joined Seamus Beaghen (Hammond Organ) and Dave Ruffy (drums) for two sets of songs, instrumentals and theme tunes and songs which I managed to get through without too many mishaps. Mind you I'd spent a fair bit of time working on the material so I'm glad that I did! I particularly enjoyed playing the theme tune from 'The Dave Allen Show' (five points if you can tell me the title?!?) where I managed to use a wha-wha pedal without falling over (although it was close a few times!) and judging by the number of people who told me that it that I made a good job of the show I, well, made a good job of the show. It's good when that happens too! In the meantime Segs exercised his DJ-ing skills with some old funk and reggae tracks, and Tom from The Phobics surprised me by coming up over at the end of the show with the words 'what are you doing with this bunch of reprobates?' It turns out he lives locally and knows the band well - which reminds me The Phobics are playing at The 100 Club on September 7th with The Bermondsey Joyriders which should be well worth catching. And The Pelton Arms is a great - make that great - pub; any place that serves a chip butty with a side order of chips ('all sandwiches come with chips and salad') has got to have something going for it don't you think?

So - year six then...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

96 Tears

In these days of evil presidente there isn't much good news to be had, so it's great to be able to report that the Hillsborough Online Petition has reached the required 100,000 signatures to call for the release of Government papers pertaining to the 1989 disaster. Let's hope this brings justice for the 96 a bit closer.

Two great songwriters have sadly left the building since the last posting - Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford both contributed immeasurably to popular music, Leiber with Mike Stoller (with whom he worked for the best part of 60 years) and Ashford with his wife Valerie Simpson. Leiber and Stoller wrote any number of classic songs for the likes of Elvis Presley and The Drifters in the '50s and 60s as well as 'Stuck In The Middle With You' (I didn't know they wrote that!) and 'Pearl's A Singer' (or that!) in the 70s. Ashford and Simpson wrote countless Motown hits for other artists as well as having several in their own name. If they'd only written 'Hound Dog' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' they'd be two of the best songwriting teams of all time. Two very sad losses to the music world.

The Chicago Blues Brothers journeyed to Maidstone on Saturday evening for our first show at The Pizza Express since last New Year's Eve. With Squirrel away Pete made a rare appearance on bass, Martin makes his debut with us on sax and returning for the first time in ages it's T. Rextasy drummer John Skelton, who was the drummer in the CBB's when I first started playing with them all those years ago. Chris is on keyboards, Dave on trumpet and Matt and Mike are Jake and Elwood for a show that featured '634-5789' for the first time in a very long while. It also saw Dave play the trumpet solo in 'Minnie The Moocher' from up on the balcony, and your humble narrator cutting his hand on his guitar at the end of the solo in 'Sweet Home Chicago'. Well. Matt was egging me on, and I thought I'd be fun to try a bit of a windmill... I never learn do I? Nevertheless it was a good show overall, and it sounded like it was a good show next door at Earls judging by the songs I heard Vince Vortex play - 'Seventeen', 'I Fought The Law', 'New Rose', '(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais'... time I formed a punk covers band methinks!

In the meantime there are two potentially excellent shows on the horizon this weekend - The Uppercut return to The Dolphin in Uxbridge on Friday, and I'm depping in The Duplicates at The Pelton Arms in Greenwich on Monday. I started this blog on August Bank Holiday Weekend 2006 - hopefully these shows should be two very good ways to celebrate...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

See how I suffer for my art!

Well I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Music Scene Investigation, and I'm pleased to say that I will hopefully be appearing again later in the year. (Well, fairly obviously I won't be appearing again earlier in the year but you know what I mean.) Ian, Tom and Rich were all very helpful, I managed to work Skype correctly (and what an amazing thing that is!) and if you didn't catch it then click here to see me wearing unfeasibly large headphones and sounding almost as though I know what I'm talking about. Excellent!

And apologies for the Warhol-esque nonsense above; having had one of these MacBook thingys for Gawd knows how long I've only just worked out how to take pictures with it!

In the meantime that was my first weekend for a while without any gigs (bah!) and although I never think I'm particularly busy I've just had a look back through the last few months worth of postings and considering these dark days of recession and depression I've not had a bad run overall. I've spoken to quite a few musicians lately who have had nowhere near as much work so I'm not going to complain (for once!) Still it's got me thinking about the nature of what it is that I do...

For quite a few of the shows over the last few months I've been obliged to learn songs specifically for the performance, or to learn different arrangements of otherwise familiar material. This has been both good fun and not a little daunting - I'll say now that the Killers song 'Mr. Brightside' which we played at the York show back at the start of May is one of the most difficult songs I've encountered in ages. It might not sound too hard but the intro and verse chords feature some enormous stretches (have a look at this clip of them performing it and see you'll see what I mean) which have never been a strong point of mine. Their guitarist must have very big hands, or very long fingers, or both! I also learned a Michael Buble song for that show which was easier to play but had the added pressure of being the couple's first dance, with all the scrutiny that that entails. From my point of view this sort of thing normally means a fair bit of time listening to the original tracks, looking at You Tube clips and generally attempting to work out what's going on in the song. There are numerous guitar tablature sites on the Internet, many of which can be very useful and save quite a bit of time although their accuracy is sometimes questionable as anybody can post onto them.
At the other end of the scale there was the Upper Cut gig in Staines a couple of days earlier where we were billed as a Rod Stewart tribute band - faced with a number of requests (!) we busked a reasonable version of 'The First Cut Is The Deepest' which went down well with the Rod fans. Something like that depends on several factors - fairly obviously some songs are easier to play than others even if you all know the song well it can still catch you out; there's also things like how well you can all hear each other to take into consideration, as well as how good the band is in the first place. Then there's how good your ear is - can you anticipate a chord change correctly if you've never played it before? Most of us have good days and bad days at this so you can only hope that it's one of your good days when you need to do it!
And then there was 'The Servant' at last weekend's gig with T.V. Smith which I managed to make a mistake in before the vocals had even started - and we might never play it again so I can't make amends!

So what's the alternative to spending hours in front of a CD player or computer screen? Well for the jobbing rock guitarist there really isn't one. Horn players are invariably excellent sight readers with their parts written out for them - guitar and bass players rarely if ever have anything provided for them, and most of them don't sight read conventional music anyway. I suppose this gives rise to a vicious circle where players don't learn to read music as they're never given anything to read, but parts aren't provided because most players can't read them. A notable exception to this are West End theatre shows and the like, but that's another subject for another time (and let's face it, another guitarist!)

And then there's the question of sound. It's fairly obvious to even the most casual listener that the guitars on a heavy metal recording sound a lot different to those on a funk tune. Playing the correct notes is only part of the story, you've got to sound right as well. Leaving aside the fact that this could be seen as spurious justification for owning a large number of guitars, amplifiers and effect pedals (perish the thought!) there's actually a serious point here - I agonised over which guitar to play at the afore-mentioned York show for quite some time, eventually choosing my SG as it was the easiest guitar to play the scary 'Mr Brightside' chords on. I nearly went for a Stratocaster (I needed a guitar with a double cutaway so that I could play chord high up the neck; there wasn't much in it to be honest) but I think I chose correctly in the end. This might seem like nitpicking but it's something that I find is spending a bit of time thinking about and indeed trying different instruments - the right guitar can make the gig, the wrong one can literally break it.

With regards to effect pedals, I've never owned a great number of these as I like to try to keep things as simple as possible, and the ones that I do have are fairly traditional types like booster pedals (to make solos louder), distortion, chorus, echo etc. I was talking to a guitarist recently who had a huge array of processors on a custom built pedal board because, as he put it, 'I might need play "Livin' On A Prayer" one minute and then "Mustang Sally" the next'. Hmm... I've had to do that sort of thing too but I've still only got a pedal or two wired up at any one time. This is not to say that I'm right and he's wrong (far from it - he's a lot more successful than I am!) but it does indicate a different approach to the same situation. As I say there's no right or wrong here - I just prefer to get different sounds out of the guitar and amplifier. With that in mind I'm starting to realise that I could do with a more versatile amp to go with my Fender combo which are great for clean sounds but not quite so effective on rockier material. Then again I could just get myself a decent overdrive pedal... actually haven't I got one of those somewhere?

Anyway I can't sit here typing, I've got work to do - I'm depping in The Duplicates at the end of the month and have nearly 2 hours of material to learn. The circle is unbroken... better get on with it then!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Critical mass

So - while I'm away in the company of (so-called) anarchists at a punk rock festival there is rioting on the streets and insurrection everywhere you look. I don't know, you turn your back for five minutes... to this end my first day back in the real World on Tuesday was spent clearing the shop windows in grim anticipation of organised trouble in the Uxbridge area. Word had got around on Twitter that there was a meeting planned at 4 o'clock outside the station with havoc and chaos to follow - mind you it also said that there were overturned cars on fire at Brunel University and hundreds of hoodie - wearing youths amassing in Fassnidge Park preparing to take over the town, which judging by the number of people tweeting things like 'well I've just walked my dog through there and there's no one about' was either panic or wishful thinking depending on your point of view. For what my opinion is worth it always saddens me to see working class people attacking other working class people and their property and possessions - it just gives those in power more reasons to say that they need to have more power over us. Look out for a right wing backlash from the 'hang 'em / flog 'em / deport 'em' brigade any time soon.

Incidentally two more clips have surfaced from last weekend's 'T.V. and Leigh' gig - along with 'Lion And The Lamb' which featured in the last posting 'Coming In To Land' and 'Man Down' (in black and white - excellent!) capture the atmosphere well, or certainly the atmosphere as I remember it. It would be nice to have the whole show - I wonder if the feeds to the screens were recorded?

Let's get back to the unreal World for a while, or more specifically the online World. Ian Husbands came into the shop this week - he's an old mate that I hadn't seen for a while (I think I last saw him when he helped us find a venue for a Price reunion gig way back in 2006) and it was good to catch up on things. Somewhere in the course of our conversation he revealed that he's involved with a podcast called Music Scene Investigation, in which three new songs by up-and-coming acts are reviewed by a panel of musicians and / or music industry people who then vote their favourite as 'Song Of The Week'. Somewhere else in the course of our conversation I somehow agreed to appear on this Sunday's addition, which goes out at 9 p.m. on the msi website. If nothing else it should be fun, if only to see if I can get to grips with using Skype...

Monday, August 08, 2011

Rebel Rebel

'If you don't go now you'll miss breakfast...'

Wise words at the best of times, but at 2.15 a.m. this morning they were particularly pertinent. Your humble narrator was musing on the merits or otherwise of staying at the after show party for yet another drink when the former bass player of popular punk rock combo The Adverts made the above observation. I thought for a few seconds before deciding that she was probably correct, bade everyone a cheery farewell and stumbled off into the Blackpool night in the general direction of my hotel. As I neared my quest I ruminated on the fact that (a) should I find myself at The Rebellion Festival again I'll book somewhere that's a bit nearer to The Winter Gardens than The Ambassador Hotel, and (b) that was the best night out I'd had for ages.

The journey to Blackpool had been simple enough - a tube train to Euston Square, walk around the corner to Euston Station with enough time for a vegetarian breakfast in The Britannia before catching the 12.25 p.m. Glasgow Central train to Preston where I changed onto the Blackpool North train. Arriving in Blackpool around 3.40 I rather extravagantly got a cab to The Ambassador Hotel - I've got room 312 in what is a classic old fashioned seaside hotel, as I'm checking in the jolly lady behind the counter asks me if I'm 'one of the turns down at that festival' and tells me that she recently went to see 'that Katherine Jenkins, she's really good and really young looking'. As I'm sorting my stuff out in my room I hear a jet aircraft roaring overhead, it sounds like you'd imaging one of The Red Arrows would sound if it had flown over the hotel. As I begin my walk along the promenade in the general direction of the venue I realise that it hadn't been one of The Red Arrows making all that noise - it was actually two of them. Excellent.
It was about a 20 minute walk to The Winter Gardens ('turn left at "Harry Ramsden's", you cant miss it') which is far enough with an acoustic guitar and a bag of leads but it's bright and breezy and there's something about the seaside that always makes me smile. As I get closer to The North Pier the ratio of punky-looking people starts to increase, and by the time I get to the venue there are multi-coloured Mohicans everywhere. The atmosphere is good and the policemen and women don't seem to have much to do - I picked up my A.A.A. wristband from the box office and climbed the stone steps into the main part of The Winter Gardens. I was last here when I depped in Foxy's Ruts way back in August 2007 and I'm here to play with T.V Smith this time, nothing much has changed from what I remember and I find T.V. behind his merchandise table doing a roaring trade. He shows me to the backstage area of The Bizarre Bazaar where we're on at 6.30, I drop my gear off while Captain Sensible soundchecks with 'Astronomy Domine'. We agree to meet up at 6 o'clock so there's time for a look around - I catch a couple of songs by Goldblade in The Empress Ballroom before saying hello to Arturo of The Lurkers whose merchandise stall is by the Bizarre Bazaar backstage door. Then it's back into The Empress for Glen Matlock And The Philistines, Matlock's playing guitar alongside James Stevenson which is a bit of a shame as I've always thought of him as one of rock's great bass players although 'Burning Sounds' and 'God Save The Queen' both sound pretty good to me. Meanwhile over in The Olympia Neck are setting up; I played in the band around 10 years ago and would love to have seen their set but sadly they're on at the same time as us although I managed a few words with Leeson and agreed to meet him later for a drink. I see their first song 'Loud 'n' Proud 'n' Bold' before I had to leave to meet up with T. V. - time to go to work...

We start with 'No Time To Be 21' at exactly 6.30. The room looked full when we started and was definitely full by the end of 'Bored Teenagers' with somewhere between 800 and 1,000 people in depending on whose estimate you believe watching our set. Longtime T.V. fan Kevin had asked for 'The Servant' which I'd like to have made a better job of (I messed up the opening riff - bugger!) although it goes well enough overall. By 'Expensive Being Poor' things are really hotting up and the audience are really on our side - before 'Lion and The Lamb' begins T.V. introduces Pascal Briggs who joins us for the rest of our set, they've worked together out in Germany although I met him for the first time as I shook hands with him on the stage. His arrival pushes us on to even greater heights and 'Gary Gilmore's Eyes' even gets a bit of pogoing, a strange sight at an acoustic show. We finish with 'One Chord Wonders' to audience pandemonium and decidedly non-punky onstage hugs. There's no time for an encore but it didn't matter - we'd been great. Great. Sorry if that sounds big headed but you know when you do a good gig and this wasn't a good gig, it was a great gig. There, I've said it again. I'll stop now. There, I've stopped.

Out on the merchandise stall I shake what seems like the entire audience's hands and T.V. signs CD's and poses for fan photos with Gaye Advert. I grab a few words with John Robb who's on the neighbouring stall before getting asked by several people if The Price will ever play at the festival - I reply as best I can along the lines of 'maybe one day...' I'm talking to Tom from The Phobics as the band in The Bizarre Bazaar are playing 'Louie Louie' it's only when they play 'Love Lies Limp' that it dawns on me that it's A.T.V. so go in for a listen, and very good they are too.
Meanwhile I realise I've left my glasses back at my hotel room and while it's tempting to continue posing in my (prescription) sunglasses it would also be nice to see where I'm going so while it's still light I decide to walk back to get them and to drop my guitar off while I'm there. I'm away for about an hour which give me a chance to clear my head a bit as well as catching up on phone calls and getting something to eat. Well the phone calls went well but the seemingly endless chip shops and takeaways are all closed or closing and there's a huge queue at the afore-mentioned Harry Ramsden's so I go back to The Empress Grill in the venue for the inevitable chips. While I'm there Malcolm from The Price calls, he's at a pub quiz and can't remember the name of the character that Barry Humphries plays that isn't Dame Enda Everage and wonders if I know the name - to my surprise I do! I tell him off for cheating (!) then say something like 'actually I was just talking about you...' before telling him where I am - he's very enthusiastic about a possible gig for us so I decide that I'll see what I can find out a bit later on.
In the meantime there are bands to see - The Lurkers roar through 'I Don't Need To Tell Her' in The Arena, Slaughter And The Dogs are blasting out 'Boston Babies' in The Ballroom and The Beat are skanking their way through 'Twist And Crawl' in The Olympia. I decide to spend most of my time in The Ballroom as I'd not seen Slaughter And The Dogs before, they're very good with their final encore of 'Cranked Up Really High' reminding me what a great song it is even if the singalong end section got a bit to 'showbiz' for my liking.
Out in the bar I bump into Steve Drewett from The Newtown Neurotics who's bemoaning the fact that they've run out of lager; as we're talking I get a call from Leeson who's in the backstage bar (what backstage bar?!?) at The Olympia and Jello Biafra's on soon - meanwhile there are more hands to shake and more Price enquiries, not least from Peter who used to write 'Murder By Fanzine' all those years ago, and a tall Geordie chap called Malcolm - maybe we could get a gig here?
With the lager deficit getting more acute by the second I go back into The Ballroom in search of a drink where The Adicts are doing their stuff - I was never their biggest fan but what they do they do very well. Captain Sensible is on soon in The Bizarre Bazaar but the main event for me is in The Olympia where Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine delivered a show which was a good as any gig I've ever seen. Biafra has been always one of the great punk orators and his performance here showed that he's showing no sign of mellowing with age. The band were astonishing, he was incredible and by the final encore of 'Holiday In Cambodia' it was obvious that I'd just seen one on the greatest gigs I'll ever be lucky enough to witness. Yes, it was that good. In fact it was better than that. Inspirational stuff.
When I meet up with T.V. and Gaye back at The Bizarre Bazaar Captain Sensible is playing 'Do Anything You Wanna Do' - Paul Gray is on bass, Dave Berk is on drums and Monty from The Damned is on keyboards and it's a great way to end proceedings. The encores of 'Wot' and 'Happy Talk' bring a smile to everybody's faces, T.V. and Gaye are surrounded by well-wishers and I finally get to have a few words with Pascal. 'If we never do anything together again then we did that' he says proudly. Good man.
There's an after show party up in The Spanish Bar where I'm introduced to Jennie who's one of the festival organisers - I brave asking 'the Price question' and to my amazement she seems to be interested in us playing. We agree to e-mail each other to see what can be done. Well - maybe, just maybe...

Incidentally I didn't miss breakfast. But it was close.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Italian Job

So - I end a posting with a bit of unbridled optimism for once and then spend the latter half of the week just gone feeling terrible. Well not terrible exactly, but not too good - the long-suffering Shirley thinks I might have some sort of virus which is making me feel very tired with an intermittent headache, aching muscles and a few stomach problems that I won't go into here. Yes I know it sounds like a hangover but I can assure you that it's not... this wouldn't have happened when I was in my forties!

There have been three gigs since the last posting, the first of which was in Leeds with The Briefcase Blues Brothers. Now I've heard a lot about Bibis Italianissimo, an Art Deco-styled Italian Restaurant (really!) that has been the scene of many eventful BBB performances, not least around the Christmas period. Well it's certainly an extraordinary place, and if Wednesday's gig was anything to go by it's reputation as a venue is more than justified. Adam's on drums, Kylan's on bass, Rob's on keyboards and Mario and McGoo are Jake and Elwood - I'd not worked with Rob before, he uses headphones rather than an amplifier with a small mixing desk to control his sound and to enable him to hear himself and the band. It's an unusual idea but it certainly seemed to work for him. And I'd not seen McGoo for ages; since we last spoke he's been to America to record some solo material and very good it is too (check out his website here, his Facebook page here, and if you like the music it's available on iTunes now!)
After a straightforward soundcheck it's time for an excellent - and I mean excellent - meal (vegetarian ravioli makes a welcome change from coleslaw and potatoes I can tell you!) Mario, McGoo, Adam and myself walked around the corner past The Cockpit to the Yates's for a drink and to be amused by the fact that 2 poles have been fitted in the pub... there was might best be described as a 'guerrilla busker' outside who seemed to be rushing up to unsuspecting passers-by and singing to them (or maybe more accurately 'at them') which seemed to create a bit of consternation but which looked quite funny from where we were sitting.
Back at the venue there are plenty of people in, and our 90 minute set seems to last no time at all - always a good sign. A young lady called Lizzy who I think was out on her hen night was cajoled by her mates into joining us on stage (although we did nothing to stop her!) to add some impressive vocals to 'Mustang Sally', and there's plenty of boisterous banter between the Brothers and the audience. Great stuff.
After the show I made a visit to the Gents (like you do!) and was followed through the door by two young ladies. 'You can see I'm not local can't you?' said the first cheerily and they both giggled. I doubt that either if them had seen me. 'Well I don't know about that but I'm not sure that you should be in here' said I for the want of anything wittier to say; 'Oooh it's a men's one' said the second young lady amid even more giggling, and then they were gone. Wednesday night in Leeds eh?

Two Uppercut gigs this weekend, the first of which was on Friday when we made our second visit to The Anglers Retreat in Staines. I'd been in the shop that day but had left feeling rough - I went home and slept for 2 1/2 hours, which with hindsight probably got me through the show. As Roger and myself arrived we found the two Terry's in the car park - 'someone's just said ''you're that band that plays all the Rod Stewart stuff aren't you?'' ' said Terry the bass somewhat ruefully. At least we weren't billed as a tribute band this time. It wasn't as busy as our first show there (it was Royal Wedding Day which I guess could have accounted for the large turnout?) but it was still pretty crowded by the time we started playing. After our first set I was at the bar talking to arch Flying Squad fan Tony and his mate Martin who had come along to check us out (good boys!) a chap came up to me and said that he liked the band but that 'as a Clapton fan I have to tell you that your version of 'Layla' was crap'. I briefly considered saying something along the lines of 'as a Clapton fan I have to tell you that I think your opinion is crap' but instead contented myself with 'oh, we like it', which must have really annoyed him as I later found he went round to the rest of the band and told them that he'd 'just told your guitarist that as a Clapton fan...'
Our second set saw a young lady called Sally (it was her birthday - can you guess which song we played for her? Well, we had to didn't we!?) got all her mates up to dance which made backing vocals a dangerous proposition (you only need to get a microphone in the teeth once to know that you never want to get one again!) but a gang of girls going mad in front of the band is just the thing to guarantee that the band gets a bit of attention. We played well, went down really well and encored with 'It's All Over Now' and 'Jumpin' Jack Flash'. Good job we didn't make a mess of another one of Eric's songs eh?

Sunday we returned to The Ivy Leaf Club in Uxbridge for a gig with a difference - we were on between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. Time was when quite a few venues would put on Sunday afternoon gigs but that seems less common these days and I for one was surprised when Kevin at the club suggested it but it turned out to be a good call on the club's behalf. I was feeling a bit better than I had at Staines and so found it an easier show to play even though we made a couple of wrong turns here and there - a shaky version of 'You Never Can Tell' (normally play that one rather well!) was eclipsed in the 'dodgy song stakes' by 'All Or Nothing' (again, it's normally ok) which went completely wrong before the second chorus for no apparent reason. Maybe it's just as well that we didn't play 'Layla' or anything could have happened... someone asked for a Dr. Feelgood song (he caught me in the wrong band! We played him a Pirates song instead!) and our encore of 'Jumping Jack Flash' (yeah, that one again!) was immediately followed by a game of 'Play Your Cards Right'. Now there's something I never thought would ever happen.