Monday, October 22, 2007

Raise your glasses

There's not been much blogging time of late- Simon's been off sick from the shop which means your humble narrator has been pretty much running the place since we returned from our Dorset diversion. It was a quiet-ish week which meant that there was time to sort the shop out a bit, though today has more than made up for it with people everywhere and guitars and drum kits in great demand. We've also had C.C.T.V. fitted which means I now spend far too much time thinking 'who's that fat bald bloke on the screen?' when clearly I should actually be thinking 'I'd better lose some weight and get a haircut'. Well, something like that anyway.

Last Friday saw a highly enjoyable gig with The Pistols at The Crown in Hornchurch. I'd just got my Peavey Classic 30 combo back from Brent the amplifier repair man who had, in his words, changed a few things round' on it. There wasn't much wrong with it to begin with but now it sounds fantastic. It must have been a good show as I cut my right hand, bruised my right arm and woke up the next morning with a stiff neck. Excellent.

Saturday night myself and the long-suffering Shirley went to see The Police at Wembley Arena. I last saw them play in, I think, 1979 when they were terrific- just the songs from the first 2 albums (i.e. before they got too self-important) and a great, swaggering performance delivered with the ease that all-conquering heroes no doubt always have (I don't meet too many of them so I'm not sure). And they were great on Saturday too, though I suspect not quite as great as they themselves thought they were. It seemed as though every other song was a hit single- it probably was if you think about it- and for every bit of nonsense ('De do do do, De da da da' etc) there was a classic or 2 ('Invisible Sun', 'King of Pain' etc) to remind you that, for all his posturing and preening Sting (should that be Mr. Sting?) is a very good songwriter indeed, although again probably not as good as he thinks he is...

Sunday on the other hand saw a show that couldn't have been more different from Saturday's- an afternoon gig in the bar at Windsor Arts Centre featuring John Hegley & The Popticians and Attila the Stockbroker, the latter celebrating his 50th birthday. Attila was as great as ever, alternately angry and hilarious with material on subjects as current as the recent postal strike as well as stuff from the early '80's. He'd bought his own real ale ('it was left over from the party and I can't let it go to waste') and the venue provided cake for everyone. Great stuff.
I used to see John Hegley regularly at the much-missed 'New Variety' nights at Brunel University, sometimes with The Popticians, sometimes with The Brown Paper Bag Brothers and sometimes on his own; I also used to see him at Price gigs- strange as it may seem my first conversation with him was when he came up to me at The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town to say how much he'd enjoyed our performance. Anyone who's seen him will know how well he, for want of a better term, creates his own world in a performance- in the case of The Popticians this involves songs about wearing glasses, losing your glasses, cleaning your glasses- get the idea? This particular show included me as 'section C'- he divides the audience into 2 sections (A & B) and then picks out one person to be 'C', in this case me. Normally I hate things like that in shows but it was impossible not to join in, particularly when my bit involved me saying the words-
'Cor blimey John, they look exactly like the glasses you were wearing at the beginning of the song, whoopla whoopla'
I also had to shout the word 'amoeba' at the end of a song called 'Amoeba'. How cool is that?
The encore was a suitably chaotic version of The Clash's 'Bankrobber'- it was, somewhat peculiarly, 'Joe Strummer Week' at the Arts Centre. Best Sunday afternoon I've had in ages.

The day ended with myself and East drinking too much and reminiscing about times spent with Paul Fox. Under the circumstances, how else could it have ended?

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