Thursday, October 12, 2006

Own goal

Wednesday night and we're at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Marlow for our latest attempt at entertaining the corporate masses- in this case the finance company G.E. Money. Apparently this is a very big company (the long-suffering Shirley seemed impressed anyway). After saying hello to everyone- including new P.A. man Mario- it was time to load in and set up before the slightly peculiar nature of the evening revealed itself to us. We were to play an instrumental and 2 songs as everyone arrived for their meal at 7.30 then do a 80 minute set at 9.30, with a meal in between. Very odd. Ah well... ours is not to reason why as someone once said. After our soundchecking we retreated to our changing room to discuss tactics and recall the previous run of gigs- generally agreed to have been a success, especially Squirrel's antics with the whiskey on the way home. As the great man put it- 'I just couldn't bear to leave it behind'. Meanwhile England's football team put in another unforgettable performance (against Croatia) on the T.V. in the corner; Neville's own goal went in just as we were getting ready to go through to the hall to perform.

In hindsight this could be taken as a sign of things to come, as we'll see...

We kick off (sorry!) with 'Green Onions', suitably extended to allow the 'delegates' to take their seats (some great soloing from Gary) before Pete & Michael join us for 'Hold on I'm coming' and 'Gimme some loving' to the predictable confusion of all in the hall. Then it's off back to our room- very strange. Still we've got things to discuss- we're off to Scotland (again) for 2 gigs at the weekend and have to work out times to meet up etc. We make a vague plan- a car with some of the Essex contingent and the bus with the rest of us all meeting up at Richard's house at (gulp!) 6a.m. Friday for the journey North. Better have an early night tomorrow then. Meanwhile I'm on the phone to my mate Brent who lives nearby; we arrange to meet in the bar downstairs for a drink or 2 before we're on again. After eating my meal far too quickly I nip down to the bar and there he is with his wife Debbie, both of whom I manage to smuggle upstairs to witness our main performance.

9.30 and we're watching the hall all but empty out during our first number. This almost always happens at these type of events and however many times it occurs it's something I've never really managed to get used to- however much you tell yourself that they'll all be back after they've finished the conversation that we've just interrupted it can still be very disheartening. But with the brothers working their (white) socks off out front the people who were watching did get into it as the 4 girls onstage dancing to 'Rawhide' would probably confirm, if they can remember any of it this morning that is. Meanwhile the band as a whole and John the drummer in particular struggled with a less-than-perfect onstage sound making for an at times rather loose performance. Still as I say, the people in the hall enjoyed it. Me? Both Squirrel and myself agreed that we'd probably been rather spoiled by the excellence of the amps we used on the Irish dates; then again maybe that's just my new-found primadonna status influencing him? And Brent and Debbie both thought it was great so perhaps it is just me after all.
Afterwards we're all getting changed and saying 'no I couldn't hear you either' rather a lot when Richard tells us that he's playing with Amy Winehouse on 'Later with Jools Holland' next week. Before you could say 'nice one mate' or something like that he tells us that what with rehearsals etc he won't be coming to Scotland this weekend after all.
To say that this changed the atmosphere within the band would be, to coin a phrase, the understatement of the year. Suffice to say that there may have been more than one own goal scored this evening...

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