Monday, July 30, 2007

All things Brighton beautiful

Have you seen me lately? If you have you might have thought to your self something like 'Ooh, he looks tired/old/worn out/knackered' (delete as applicable). You might even have said something like that to me. Perhaps I'm just getting old... or perhaps it's because, since my birthday I've done this-


Morning- in the shop. Busy.
Afternoon- see above.
Evening- belated birthday drinking. Excellent.


Morning- guitar maintenance with Stuart the guitar repairman at 'We Will Rock You' at the Dominion Theatre. I was hoping for a relatively quiet session (my first words to Stu were, much to his amusement, 'I think I'm still pissed'. His reply to me- 'good!') and it wasn't too bad with a stage full of auditioning dancers to distract me from the blitzkrieg taking place just behind my eyes. Not good frankly.
Afternoon- back to the shop to see how Simon was getting on; I arrived just in time to meet Esther who, after introducing herself by announcing that she was terminally ill, attempted to buy pretty much every music book in the shop along with an electric guitar'n'amp package. Meanwhile Andy C. bought himself an extremely nice Carvin electric and his mate Alex nearly bought himself a Telecaster which he might have done if Esther hadn't given him £20 and tried to get him to go with her back to her house for 'a massage'. I ran off before lunacy took hold.
Evening- myself and little brother Terry took the train up to Camden to see The Towers of London (current faves of his) at The Electric Ballroom. We met my mate Kate in The World's End who had managed to get us all on the guest list (thanks Katie!) then arrived at the gig just in time to see a couple of numbers by all-girl support band Sammy before The TOL's took to the stage at 10 o'clock. I saw them last year supporting The New York Dolls and have since enthusiastically followed their 'reality' T.V. show which I've found very entertaining- live they're a gloriously trashy row which all 3 of us loved. Bizarrely we got invited to the after show party but even more bizarrely we decided not to go. Got home some time after 1 a.m. Excellent.

Morning- see Wednesday. Not good frankly.
Afternoon- see above.
Evening- Dave Ruffy's band The Duplicates are playing in (gulp!) Deptford. Shirley gave me a lift round to Mark Wyeth's where I'm introduced to his mate Roy- the first thing he did was ask Mark (not me) which football team I support; when Mark told him 'Liverpool' he said some very unpleasant things about The Red Army and indeed your humble narrator. I couldn't be bothered to banter back (it wasn't really worth it; I doubt that he'd have understood me and anyway, he was doing a pretty good job of insulting himself...) and Mark was playing Peter and the Test Tube Babies at top volume on the car stereo which in an odd sort of way seemed to sum things up. We picked up John 'Football Factory' King and, amid various tales of football hooliganism (John-' why do people always feel that they have to talk to me about that?') we made it to Bar Sonic on Deptford High Street just in time to catch 'Green Onions' which turns out to be the last song of their first set. The line up is drums, Hammond organ and guitar and the music is Booker T. and beyond. It's fabulous. I used to talk to erstwhile Blues Bros. band keyboardist Gary Moberley about forming a band like this- we should have done it. We might still do it... Dave introduced me to former Joe Jackson Band guitarist Gary Sandford who I'd met before here and there, a really nice guy who invited me to the jam session he runs on Tuesday nights; it would help if I could remember where it takes place wouldn't it? He gave me his phone number so I must ring him up to check where it is (isn't drinking brilliant?!?) Meanwhile I'm introduced to Sarah who promoted the recent Paul Fox benefit show in Islington; it turns out Mark had agreed to give her a lift back to her home in, yes, you've guessed it, Islington. To cut a long story short I got in a 4 a.m. having decided to sleep in the car while the rest of them joined Sarah for a drink in her flat. Well- I've got a shop to run...


Morning- see Wednesday. Not good frankly.
Afternoon- see above. My brother bought his daughter Anna in to look at some electronic drum kits. He sat her at the kit and a few minutes later she could play a 'simple' rhythm. The dynasty continues!
Evening- myself and Shirley are off to Maidstone where The Chicago Blues Brothers are playing at the Pizza Express. Pete's away so Mike's in his place, and Andy's on sax in place of Richard. By now I'm seriously flagging and drift off to sleep somewhere on the M25 (don't worry, she was driving!). I'm woken up twice; firstly by a phone call from Andy C. raving about his new guitar and checking details for the next day's Price gig, secondly (and somewhat less enjoyably) when a bit falling off the car in front of us caused Shirl to take drastic evasive action. Scary! We get to the venue with just enough time for me to set up and change before we're straight on with 'Peter Gunn'. The people down the front are holding their ears and grimacing- never a good sign if you think about it. Things improve by the second set- maybe we'd blown their hearing by then- and there's encores a-plenty at the end. Squirrel's new MarkBass combo sounded terrific and, if we've not been blacklisted for excessive volume, we're due back there in a few weeks. Excellent.


Morning- asleep. Excellent.
Afternoon- run around like an idiot because I've overslept. Not good frankly. After much madness myself and the long-suffering Shirley get round to East's at 3 o'clock. We've got to be at The Duke of Wellington in Shoreham at 5 p.m. where The Price are playing at the Belgian Beer Festival. It's being organised by Attila the Stockbroker (only he could have a Belgian Beer Festival in Shoreham!) who offered us the gig after our recent appearance at his Glastonwick Festival. We arrive around 4.45- as we walked in we spotted Attila leaning rather unsteadily on the bar. He looks terrible. He explains that he's not had an alcoholic drink yet- his current condition is due to the amount he'd had the previous evening. Suitably disturbed we retire to The Wacky Cafe next door (I'm not making this up) for something to eat before the madness begins...
Evening- we're in the beer garden out the back of the pub. Malcolm, Paul and Andy are all there as are various family and friends, along with the Uxbridge Lads (on this occasion Mark, Barry and Phil) who've bought their new friend Sally. She's an inflatable sheep. They bought her in a vending machine in a pub toilet the previous evening; the machine also sold vibrators among other things. I'm not making this up either.
6.45 and we're on- the evening's running to time. It all starts reasonably enough though there's a sheep reference in the first song (either that or we wrote a song called 'So What About Sheep?') and I'm beginning to think that maybe I should have started drinking earlier in an attempt to, for want of a better term, get on the audience's wavelength... we've given more accurate performances but I haven't had as much fun playing my guitar in ages. Mind you, the performance could well be summed up by the moment I looked down my mike stand to see the other end of the boom arm inserted into the unfortunate Sally. We encored with a repeat of 'So What About Love?' (yes, it's definitely called that, I checked on the single) and a unrehearsed 'In The Country' which we hadn't played since last summer, possibly rather ill-advised from a professional point of view but the only song to end a performance of this type with. Unforgettable. Attila's booked us for next year's Glastonwick already. Fantastic.
Talking of Attila he was up next on the stage playing bass with Belgian punk band Contingent who he played with in the late '70's (check his website for the full story). Good stuff, not least because I'd decided to sample some 'Natural Blonde' organic lager. It's good stuff- I'm sure I asked for 'Legally Blonde' at least once. Or was it 'Dizzy Blonde'? Hard to remember... the last band on were Dates who feature Bob from The Piranhas and were highly enjoyable in my by then increasingly blurred opinion. Oh, and at some point in proceedings East made the comment that I have shamelessly stolen for use as the title of this posting. A classic evening all round. The drive home was enlivened by Wilko Johnson on the car stereo and a coffee break somewhere on the A23 where the local youth had gathered in the car park to attempt formation wheelie's on their mopeds- which if you think about it is one of the very few ways an evening like that could have ended.

P.S. Worrying news- there's some footage on our website which proves that, however implausable it all sounds, we really did play 'In The Country' and that Malcolm spent rather a lot of it with Sally the Sheep on his head. Look at your peril- once seen, you may never sleep again...


Jennifer said...

Ahh the business!
The Towers of London are great... I met Donny and The Rev a few months back!
Bowling for Soup had an inflatable sheep at Download festival a few years back... They were quite disapointed that it didn't have a hole there!


Anonymous said...

I reckon your mate Katie is pretty fantastic - getting you and your lil bro on the Towers guest list AND getting you tix for sold out shows..!!!!