Monday, June 18, 2007

To Belgium!*

Monday, the morning after the weekend before. And the weekend was good...

Saturday in the shop began nervously- I'd just switched the computer on when the screen went blank; using my tried and trusted method of fault finding (swear at it until it works) I eventually found the mains lead had come out of the back of it- fortunately that's one of the few faults that I'm able to fix... a sporadically hectic day followed with Joe the Saturday boy testing a guitar radio pack by crossing the road whilst playing the guitar and Stuart the guitar repair man fixing a buzz on a Yamaha acoustic guitar by hitting it with a claw hammer. All in a day's work, as they say.
By closing time I could have easily gone home and slept for a week but instead it was off to The Elgiva Theatre in Chesham for a Chicago Blues Brothers show. Myself and the long-suffering Shirley arrived just in time for a somewhat fraught sound check- the venue has a volume restriction unit which turns the stage lights off for 10 seconds if you play too loud. We tried a couple of rather half-hearted numbers before retiring to the bar to muse furiously. The first half of the show was a tense affair which brightened up when a guy in the front row went out to take a mobile phone call (Pete's never one to miss a chance like that!); things picked up in the second half- maybe we'd got used to the sound by then?- and the show ended with much dancing and merriment all round. My Dad came along (brother Terry didn't make it sadly) and spent the end of the evening swapping army stories with Dave the trumpet, most of which even I hadn't heard before. Excellent.

An early start on Sunday morning saw East, Shirley and myself heading to the South coast for this year's first Price gig, at the Glastonwick festival. It's organised by the legend that is Attila the Stockbroker who I first met sometime in the early-to-mid '80's at a Newtown Neurotics gig; over the next few years we played several shows with him and The Neurotics and I for one was well pleased when he came up to me after our Neurotics support slot in Harlow last year and offered us a slot at his festival. This year's was the first one to be held at Coombes Farm just outside Southwick (hence the name of the festival) and we're the opening act on the last day, preceding the mighty John Otway. As we arrive things are going well- the rest of the band are setting up on a stage at one end of a large-ish barn, one side of which is dominated by a bewildering array of real ales (the first one to catch my eye was 'Arrogance 10%- be careful with this one'). I'm in the building for about 10 seconds when, for the first time in getting on for 20 years, I meet Glenn- the original Price fan who'd come down from Nottinghamshire for the day. Fantastic. And where on earth did all those year's go?
After a quick sound check (Attila stopped us with the words 'too loud') there was just time to say hello to Mark, Barry and Phil (a.k.a. the Uxbridge lads, responsible for Malcolm's drunkenness the night before!) before our set- as enjoyable as any Price show I can remember. At the end of our set Attila described us as 'better than ever'; he also stopped me in my tracks with the words 'do you want to play at the Belgian* Beer Festival?' There's only one answer to that...
Meanwhile over the other side of the barn I meet the Uxbridge lads who are ordering cider. It looks like something used to live in it. Mark takes a drink with the words 'the first one is always the worst one'- judging by the look on his face he was right. Mind you, there's a good line for a song. Or an album title. Or something. Hmm... John Otway was as mad as ever despite having a bad back and Verbal Warning finished their set with a punk version of 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'. A fine day.

As we were saying our goodbye's Shirley pointed out a reddish stain on the floor of the barn. She'd just been told it'd been caused, astonishingly, by cider. The barman told her they'd been trying to clean it up for the last day or so but it they couldn't move it.

I must ring the Uxbridge lads and see how they are...

* that's the Belgium that's just outside Brighton..!

No comments: