Monday, December 03, 2012

None more black

Is it just me or do the baby's eyes
follow you around the room?
Christmas is coming (I just thought I'd mention that in case you hadn't noticed) and what better way to usher in the festive season than to spend Thursday evening attending the opening night of an art exhibition. (Go with me on this, it does get better!) 'Black Xmas' is at The Signal Gallery until December 21st; it's curated by Gaye Black and as you can no doubt tell from the flyer it's a rather darker gathering than many at this time of year. I arrived just in time to get one of the last bottles of lager (thereby avoiding the somewhat scary-looking cocktails) from the bar and to bump into punk promotess Sarah Pink just as she was leaving. 'Lovely to see you dahling!' said she (as only she can) as she disappeared up the stairs and into the night. After saying a quick hello to Gaye (not an easy task, she's very popular!) I saw Ian from Damaged Goods Records who I last spoke to at The Rebellion Festival back in August. 'You remember this chap don't you?' said he, smiling broadly as Neil from Shelly's Children put his right hand out in my general direction. Yes, indeed I do, but I hadn't seen him for, oooh, nearly 20 years. He's not playing anymore - a shame since they were a great band who The Price played quite a few shows with back in the day. Still it was good to see him again.
Meanwhile The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing ('grammatically incorrect but historically accurate') took to the stage. They're a Steampunk band ('don't worry if you haven't heard of it, it isn't anything...') with a fine line in top hats and handlebar moustaches; if you've ever found yourself thinking along the lines of 'there should be more bands singing songs about Charles Darwin, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the 1832 General Election' then these boys could be just what you're looking for. Very noisy in places, very entertaining pretty much all the time and definitely worth keeping an eye out for, although I'm not really sure why.
As things drew to a close we did the decent thing and went to the pub next door. 'It's not cheap in here is it?' said a rather rueful Mark (a.k.a. Barnet, boss of The 12 Bar Club) as he returned from the bar. No, no it's not. Still the atmosphere is good, and when a chap called Tom comes over and joins our conversation we both agree that we know each other from somewhere... ah, of course, he used to be in Big Boy Tomato, another band that The Price used to play with all those years ago. It was that kind of evening...

In a vague attempt at continuity this seems like a good opportunity to mention that Gaye has designed the front cover of a tribute CD to Paul Fox which has just been released - 'See You On The Other Side' features 24 tracks, and all proceeds are going to The Michael Sobell Hospice where Paul received treatment towards the end of his life. You can find out all about it and indeed order a copy on Foxy's Website - it's well worth getting, both as a musical artifact and as a way of supporting a very worthy cause. And continuing the continuity (!) I'm playing at The 12 Bar Club next Friday 7th December with the mighty T.V. Smith, on an extraordinary bill that also features Texas Terri (she was at 'Black Xmas'  too) Louise Distras, Pascal Briggs, The Crows and probably some other people as well. It promises to be a fine if rather long evening, but I guess that's what the night buses are for. Excellent!

I'd thought about going up to The Half Moon in Putney on Friday night to see Slim Chance (incidentally the excellent Steve Simpson from said band is playing at The Load Of Hay in Uxbridge on Sunday 9th December) but instead found myself at The Admiral Nelson in Twickenham on witnessing a performance by Midnight. Big Al Reed played a mean saxophone and Terry from The Upper Cut did a good job depping on bass but to be honest it wasn't the best performance I'd ever seen from the band, although it went down well so perhaps it was me rather than them if you know what I mean. 
Things were far better on Saturday though, when The Upper Cut played at The Dolphin in Uxbridge at a party for Noel and Bridie's 25th anniversary as landlord and landlady. Geoff 'Rockschool' Nicholls depped on drums (Roger was away gigging with Lee Ryder) for the first time in a while and was as great as ever, and with the place absolutely packed it was a suitably raucous evening. Pete from The Cane Toads joined us for a few songs, Noel and Bridie were very pleased with our efforts and the party was still going strong when we left sometime after 1 am; I suspect there were more than a few sore heads on Sunday, a condition which for once I managed to avoid. Good! 
And Sunday evening saw the last open mic night of the year at The Swan in Iver. Confusion reigned over when proceedings had to finish - having been told that things had to end at 9 o'clock we were then told to 'play for as long as you like' by the landlady. Myself, Pete and Big Al (I'm really getting the hang of this continuity lark aren't I?) joined Tony on bass and Bob on drums to play four songs, the last of which was an ambitious-for-a-jam-night attempt at 'Born To Run' - I don't think we'll worry The E-Street Band too much but considering how difficult to song is we didn't do a bad job. Well, I don't think we did anyway.

Right- time to revise some T.V. Smith songs. I'm really looking forward to Friday night...


Anonymous said...

Hi Leigh

I was down the football club for a home game around a month back. A vaguely familiar face came up enquiring 'Are you Mark'? Upon warily confirming that I was indeed, I suddenly realised it was Neil from Shelley's, who hadn't been at the club since we put them on with The Price around 20 years back. National non-league day, a few beers, and a curry in Southall to round it all off had brought him and 3 mates all the way from Reading. Fantastic!

UFC Mark

Leigh Heggarty said...

Nice one Mark. It was good to see him and Tom from Big Boy Tomato again - might see you and the lads at The 12 Bar Club this Friday?

Cheers - Leigh