Monday, April 20, 2015

You cannot be serious!

In writing these (ahem!) hallowed pages I quite often find myself recounting things that when I read back through them seem scarcely believable - but an incident that occurred at The Upper Cut's performance on Saturday evening at The Halfway House in Barnes has to go down as one of the best. There I was at the bar with Scots Kenny, the always-genial mate of UC bassman Terry discussing of all things The Motors (and why not? They were great weren't they?!?) when we were approached by a man who I will politely describe as 'odious'. Sorry to have to say that but, well, he just was. Nasty, bitter, rude - it was written all over him. You and indeed I sadly meet people like that sometimes don't you? He cared not a jot for the fact that Kenny and myself were having a private conversation but instead interrupted and weighed in with the line 'you should be enhancing my evening but you're coming close to ruining it'. At first I thought that perhaps he'd heard what we'd been saying and wasn't a Motors fan (in which case he'd obviously be a total git - after all, who doesn't like The Motors?) but when he followed it up with 'let me give you some advice' I knew we were in for an entertaining time. He went on to tell Kenny that although he was 'quite a good singer' his vocals were so loud that they were giving him a headache. Although struggling to keep a straight face (well, I certainly was!) we politely agreed to turn Kenny's vocals down in our second set - meaning that we of course left our singer Terry's setting where they were. So what happened next? You've guessed it, our friendly neighbourhood buffoon approached the band (and specifically Terry, who remember had been lucky enough not to have spoken to him up until this point in proceedings) and threatened all manner of terrifying actions if we didn't turn the vocals down. I briefly considered a comment along the lines of 'listen mate, I don't come around to your work and tell you how to do things, so don't come around to mine' but instead Terry told him where to go in no uncertain terms - after which the landlady came over to ask him to leave us alone before giving us the frankly astonishing news that he used to be a Wimbledon umpire and was well-known in the area for having been insulted by John McEnroe back in the day. Like I say I sometimes have trouble believing the stuff that I write here... leaving aside that idiot's antics (I'm sure a couple of people clapped as he walked out of the door a few songs later!) it was a good night - our first gig at the venue ended with barmaids dancing on the table and us being rebooked. And for the record, I didn't think that we were too loud, but I suppose that I wouldn't would I?

I dread to think what Mr. Miserable would have made of the previous evening's entertainment at The 100 Club, where The Cockney Rejects had roared through a blistering hour-or-so set in front of a sold out crowd of diehard fans, all of whom seemed to know ever word of every song and who gave them the sort of reception that their performance thoroughly deserved. I arrived just in time to miss the first band 16 Guns (sorry lads!) as I had been to meet Richard and Blaise from Cadiz Music in The Ship in Wardour Street where I received the sad news that the pub was about to close for several weeks before reopening as a gastropub. Bugger! How many more landmark establishments will we lose in the name of so-called 'progress'? I however did see a splendid set from The Morgellons (let's face it, any band who plays 'The Blank Generation' has to be worth a look!) and a not-such-splendid set from The East End Badoes although in the latter's defence I did spend much of their time on stage catching up with various people so perhaps I should not be quite so judgemental (for once!) about them.

The previous day Segs and myself had met up to review some ideas for new Ruts D.C. songs - we worked on some chords sequences, recorded two rough demos and looked at any number of lyrical ideas so the day was certainly a success on pretty much every level. The band is about to announce a batch of shows for the Autumn including some in far-flung and in my case previously unchartered territories - watch this space, as they (whoever 'they' are) say... and we're playing at The Corn Exchange in Bedford with The Neville Staple Band this Saturday which has all the makings of a classic evening.

And it was a classic day yesterday when The London Sewage Company recorded 5 songs at The Brook in Wallington. Engineer Andy does a fair bit of work with Status Quo, and as I did a fair bit of work with Pip Williams back in the '90s we had plenty to talk about - progress was swift and although the tracks have yet to be mixed it looks as though they should turn out well. Game, set and match, you might say...

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