Do you like profiteroles? Yes, I do too, maybe not quite as much as some people but they're really nice sometimes aren't they? I always find one or two of them is enough although I've seen some people eat a lot more than that. I expect that you have too.
The impressively-filled bowl pictured above appeared on the 'band table' (that's what it said on the piece of card) around 9.30 on Saturday evening; by 9.45 we were on stage. I wouldn't normally take a photo of such a thing, but it for whatever reason it made me laugh. I had one, thought about two, decided it wouldn't be a good idea before two 45 minute bursts of prancing around posing with a plank of wood around my neck; other band members had similar thoughts but had some more profiteroles anyway. Halfway through our show looks of horror crossed their faces as a waitress removed the remaining ones from our table - they'd said that we should take them to our dressing room and they'd been proved right.
I rather suspect that I had a look of horror on my face too, but for a different reason. More about that in a minute.
It's been a while since I've been able to write the words 'three gigs in three days' but I'm pleased to say that I can write it about the weekend just gone. The first show was the first show (if you see what I mean) for Ska Madness - the brainchild of CBB-er Matt and featuring himself, myself and his mate Jamie on saxophone (and a bunch of backing tracks) and making it's debut at no lesser venue that Cippenham British Legion Club near Slough. As we were setting up a cheery chap came in, looked around and asked where we wanted him to set up; when we said we didn't know he introduced himself as 'Steve Curtis - Bon Jovi and Freddie Mercury tribute'. He then nervously ran off to find out if he was in the right building, returning a few minutes later to triumphantly announce that 'we're both on'. Leaving aside the fact that for a minute there I wasn't sure if he meant both of his acts or us and him this was good news.
After setting up is was time to get a drink and check stage times. Barry the boss hummed and harred for a minute before deciding that we were to go on at 9.45pm, with Bon Jovi on before us and Freddie Mercury after. (Now that's a sentence that I never thought that I'd write!) He then advised us not to leave anything in our cars ('sat. navs, coats, they'll have anything away') and went back behind the bar, leaving us to debate whether or not we fancied cheesy chips (we did!) and to catch a bit of Steve's first set - I'm not exactly an expert on Bon Jovi's career but I do know that he's a very good singer (next time you see a band playing 'Livin' On A Prayer' see if the singer gets the audience to do the 'whoa-ho' bits in the choruses - they're really high, especially in the last part of the song which is in a higher key; one could somewhat cynically point out that it exposes the limitations of the singer if he has to get the audience doing that bit for him, but cynicism the last thing you'd ever get from me...) and as such Steve made a good job of the songs and worked hard to get the audience involved, particularly when he got them singing 'Livin' On A Prayer' (I'm not being cynical, honest... no really I'm not, I certainly can't sing it!)
Playback gigs are always a bit odd from my point of view, and not always particularly enjoyable; however this one was really good fun - a bit loose here and there (it was our first go at it after all) but we certainly went down well with Matt as energetic as ever and Jamie blowing up a storm. A good start for Ska Madness - let's see what happens next.
After the show we took our gear down as quickly as we could to make way for Steve's second set. (We also realised that we could go home early if we got our stuff off the stage! Oh yes!) As we were loading our gear out through the pool room I heard a voice shout 'Heggarty!' - I turned round to see a smiling gentleman walking towards me with the words 'I heard your singer introduce you as Heggarty, that's my name too'. It turned out that my new friend Chris Hegarty spells his name with only one 'G' - I told him my lot were greedy...
After a busy Saturday in the shop it was off to the somewhat unlikely surroundings of Papplewick School in Ascot for a show with The Repertoire Dogs. This is only my second time depping with the band (their 'usual' guitarist is Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople and Bad Company - how mad is that?) and it was every bit as enjoyable as my last show with them, for most of the time anyway...
Nick's on vocals (ably assisted by Elkie and Freya) with Simon on guitar, Nigel on bass and Bob on drums, and we're playing at what Nick cheerily described as 'a big piss-up for staff and parents'. From what I saw this certainly seemed to be an apt description, with many people in fancy dress and an atmosphere of genial jollity all round. We had a small room (complete with pool table) to change in before have a meal prior to our first set starting at half past nine. I had Quorn Chilli (as did Bob, a fellow vegetarian) and heroically resisted having too many profiteroles as mentioned above. I had a couple of bottles of lager but that was all, honest.
We begin with 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' followed by 'I Saw Her Standing There' - we're playing well, people are up dancing already and it's going to be a great night.
In the interval I go outside in search of the gents toilet - they're refurbishing the ones in the building and I'd previously walked what felt like about half a mile to find some, but had been assured that there were some much nearer just outside the back door. I eventually found it just around the corner, as I was walking back I felt tired suddenly, weary even. Come on Leigh, two gigs in a row and you're already knackered? Dreadful!
As our second set progressed I felt more and more tired, and was developing a particularly nasty stomach ache. I tried to ignore it but it wouldn't go away, in fact it got worse. I burped suddenly - ooh, that didn't feel too good. This is getting bad. Very bad. Meanwhile the gig is going well, very well, and I'm concentrating on playing but it feel as though my stomach is swelling up and I'm getting very worried. As Bob and Simon start our last number 'All Right Now' I have to sit down, much to the consternation of Nigel who wonders what's wrong, I tell him I'm ok even though I'm not and I'm hoping that there won't be an encore even though I know that there will...
After 'Born To Be Wild' I put my guitar down and stood for a few seconds. No, it's no good, I'm going to be sick. Bugger. I try to walk calmly out towards the back door but know that I'm walking quicker and quicker until in the end I'm trying not to run, as I get outside I'm definitely running and I make it to the toilet praying that there's no one in there... there isn't. There is a God.
After what feels like an eternity in hell with Satan and all his little wizards I step back outside. I was sick. Very sick. Very very sick. I feel terrible. As I walk back towards the venue, there are three loud well-to-do sounding men outside having a smoke. As I get nearer I hear one of them recounting with much hilarity how he'd kicked a horse in it's ribs 'hundreds of times, you should have seen the bruises'. His friends threw their ugly heads back in distorted laughter. I wish I'd been sick on them.
When I woke up the next morning I felt as though I'd done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime. My head hurt, my throat was raw and my stomach and sides ached. I've got a gig in a few hours, an afternoon show with The Rikardo Brothers at The Unicorn in Abbots Langley. How am I going to do that?
I stumbled downstairs - Shirley asks me how I feel. Well not too good but I'm on my feet. I ask her what she thinks I can eat, she suggests toast and I manage a few mouthfuls but don't feel like much more so just stick with water. Maybe I'll feel better after a shower?
I wake up to Shirley knocking on the bedroom door - it's half past twelve, I've got to get going. I'd sat on the bed and fell asleep. Oh well, I must have needed it.
The Unicorn is a nice little pub - I'd been past it many times as CBB saxman Richard used to live near there, but had never been in it before. We're playing in the corner by the fireplace (there's an impressive fire burning as we arrive, which Scott the guv'nor puts out with remarkable efficiency) and we set up quickly and easily. I feel better than I thought I would but still don't feel like doing much other than sipping lemonade and waiting for showtime. We began playing just as The Carling Cup Final started and finished our third set a few minutes after the penalty shootout. It was a good gig - Liverpool won and so did we. The way I was feeling I wouldn't have predicted either.
By the time I got home I could bearly remember the show. I said hello to Shirley, put my guitar away, and went straight to bed.