The next night Big Al and myself ventured across to The Plough in Tilehurst near Reading where Ann and Steve from the covers band Hot Legs run a jam night. They've been badgering Al to attend for a while now so this seemed as good a time as any - when we arrived we were both struck with how friendly everyone was. This is not always the case at these sort of gatherings - they can be very cliquey - but here it bode well for a good evening. I was asked to play on an original 12 bar blues song with a couple of young ladies, after which Al and myself joined the house band for 'Willie And The Hand Jive', 'Sweet Home Chicago' and 'Let's Stick Together', all of which went splendidly well. From there a very varied evening saw performances of material as diverse as 'Ace Of Spades' and 'I Know What I Like' before I was cajoled into joining a couple of young lads for their songs - I'd had a few drinks by then but with Al's words 'what could possibly go wrong?' ringing in my ears I stumbled towards the stage. The two lads were very good - maybe a few too many notes for my liking but they certainly knew what they were doing. I chugged along cheerily on a funky version of 'Rambling On My Mind' hoping not to be given a solo. The guitar man smiled as he pointed at me and nodded - I played a lot less notes than him but it seemed to go down well. (Let's face it, I wouldn't be writing about it here if it hadn't!) Then he asked if I knew 'Little Wing' - yes I do although I've never played it in front of anyone. Then again I'd not met these boys until about 10 minutes ago so… after them the evening ended with a peculiar (and let's face it, very drunk) fellow who for want of a better word, dismantled 'Mustang Sally' and 'Money For Nothing'. I wouldn't have recognised them if he hadn't slurred the titles several times indiscriminately during his frankly astonishing performance. Yes I was on guitar, although I'm not quite sure what I doing there. Judging by the faces of the other musicians they weren't sure what they were there either. A suitably bizarre ending to a very enjoyable evening.
And I completely forgot to mention that at some point in the last few weeks I visited Tropic At Ruislip where I witnessed Stranglers tribute band The Dead Ringers (a last minute substitute for Straighten Out who I believe had to pull out when one of their members injured a hand) roaring through a set of Guildford's finest's songs and in my opinion doing a very good job. But don't take my word for it - the always-worth-reading Elvis In The Clouds blog has written this review of the show, summing the night up well and somehow mentioning me in the process. Strange - but true!