In the meantime much evidence of last weekend's Department S show has surfaced by the magic of the Internet - click here for a YouTube interview with guitarist Mike followed by 'My Coo Ca Choo' (the interview explains why that song is in the set!) as well as these four more clips, while the evocatively named 'Peek-A-Boo' magazine features these photos taken at the show. All good stuff, although I might wear a different hat next time!
Time for another F.B.I. Band gig on Saturday night, at Harry and Clemmie's wedding reception at Boodles Club in Central London. With a membership that has included people like The Duke Of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and David Niven this is another of those 'they-don't-normally-let-people-like-me-into-places-like-this' gigs that your humble narrator participates in from time to time; these generally end with me uttering oaths and curses in these hallowed pages followed by me suggesting insurrection and class war at the earliest possible opportunity. To be honest as an evening this one went along similar lines to all the other ones (i.e. a bunch of toffs take virtually no notice of us until some of the more drunken among them accidentally start dancing recklessly and a bit too close to the band for comfort; suddenly loads of them start doing the same in case they were missing out on something and the show ends with scenes of general mayhem and them barking their demands for more in the general direction of the band before lurching off in the general direction of the bar) so I don't feel as though there's too much to say that I haven't said on similar occasions. However the band (Tony on vocals, Richard on keyboards, Mark on drums and Jon on bass - more about the horn players in a minute) did manage a drink in the nearby Red Lion before the show which was most enjoyable; at the club I braved a look in the 'Members Requirements' book (essentially suggestions and / or complaints) which regularly featured Henry Blofeld musing on subjects as diverse as digestive biscuits (he wanted McVitie's rather than the non-descript brand that he'd been served) and who he sat next to at breakfast (he wasn't too happy about being seated next to a stranger) among other similarly life-threatening incidents. But probably the oddest incident occurred shortly before 9 pm, the allotted time for our first set - Jim the trumpet player arrived with minutes to spare (as usual! How does he do that?!?) and asked where Ian the Sax man was; when Tony said that he wasn't doing this show and he believed a dep had been arranged Jim sat down with the words 'oh, is this the one that he can't do?', pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket and began dialling. Within a few minutes he said 'Howard will be here around 10.30' than asked if there was any food... with no sign of any guest or indeed the bride or groom we were led down to the staff canteen where food was indeed available, before going back upstairs just as a chap wearing a saxophone strolled in, introduced himself as Howard ('I've been doing ''Singin' In The Rain'' around the corner') before blowing a few notes to check if his microphone was working correctly. We began 'Soul Man' a few minutes later to an empty room; it took 4 or 5 songs before the dangerous dancing started - and you know the rest...
And yesterday saw an all-day Cool Britannia rehearsal at Ruff Rockers in Uxbridge. We'd all been a bit disappointed with last month's Southend session as we felt that we didn't sound as good as we might have, but fortunately it all went better this time with everyone playing well and pretty much all the songs sounding like they should. With not long to go before the opening night this can only be a good thing!
In the meantime I'm off to play 'Live At Leeds' (and indeed to watch the only footage of that incredible show) and to wish that I'd seen The Who with Keith Moon behind the kit. After all, that opening ceremony story surely must have been a not-particularly-good-taste joke - mustn't it?