Sunday, November 04, 2007

Wig wam bam

Time for another of our occasional excursions into another world- in this case Butley Priory in Suffolk. Richard's new-ish Chrysler PT Cruiser (his opening comment of 'we should be listening to ZZ Top' tells you all that you need to know) got him, Tracy and me down to the village of Butley in deepest Suffolk in no time but there's no sign of The Priory. There's a few houses, there's The Oyster Inn and there's absolutely no streetlights- but there's no people, no signposts and no mobile phone reception. Oh and we're running out of petrol. Panic! Eventually we get a phone to work- where would we be without them eh?- and Pete directs us to a crossroads a mile or so out of town (I use the word 'town' here very loosely; a better term might be 'settlement') where a very unofficial looking sign reads 'BUTLEY PRIORY- PRIVATE ROAD'. That'll be it.

'Ooh they've got tee-pees!' Tracy sounds excited, and with good reason because, however implausible it may seem, they have indeed got tee-pees. And we're playing in one of them. Excellent. It's a small stage but Pete assures us that it'll get bigger after they take the screen in front of it away; Tracy's worried that the light's will burn her legs- I set my gear up as quick as I can. Squirrel's got his son Joe with him, who he brings over to have a look at my new Baja Telecaster. Pity I've only got the old one with me. Doh! With the guests about to arrive in the tee-pee (there's a line I never thought I'd ever type!) we go indoors to our 'dressing room' which is actually the drawing room. There's a grand piano in the room next to us and the ceiling's about 40 feet high; Squirrel finds 'The Best of Child Care' on the bookshelf ('perhaps I should have read that one earlier') and they've given us some of those posh crisps that always hurt your teeth when you eat them- as Joe put it, 'there's never any ordinary peanuts at gigs like this are there?'. People are going outside for a smoke, or to try to get their mobile phones to work, and 'The X-Factor' is on the telly. Dave Land's arrives- he live in Norfolk and under-estimated the journey time; 'don't worry' says Richard, 'it's in a tent. It always runs late in a tent'. And it does- we're down for 2 sets starting at 8.30 with a 10 .30 curfew but that pretty soon becomes one set starting at 9 o'clock. And it's a good set- Pete's back as Jake after one of the shortest retirements in history, and him and Mike get things moving straight away. Halfway through the show the audience suddenly disappears- the fish and chip van's arrived. That's ok then. We even do an encore, a rarity at an event such as this. At the end people are asking if we have any business cards- yes, of course we do, rather a lot of them as it happens.

Time for some chips then....

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