Friday, October 24, 2008

Window pain

I've just got back from the dentist's- a filling, a hygiene check and a telling off for having sugar in my coffee, not flossing properly and not being more aware of what to do if I get a mouth ulcer, all the time sweating as I watched my blood running down the little sink thingy that they ask you to spit your mouthwash into when you've finished swilling it around your mouth. That'll be the same mouth that felt fine before they started mucking around with it the best part of an hour ago then won't it? Hmm, I thought so. In the meantime I'll leave the money on the way out and book another session of this near-psychopathic madness for sometime in the Spring. Bugger! Still it's been an interesting few days in mad-guitar-land...

Sunday evening at The Load of Hay saw the return of Sarah the singing harpist, but this time with the added bonus of a P.A. system provided by local music equipment emporium Pro Music via your humble narrator. After discussions with Grant the landlord we went for a Yamaha Stagepas 300 system which is an excellent 300W vocal P.A. (oops!- nearly went into sales-mode there!) and ideal for the venue, not least since there's a volume restriction device fitted which cuts the power if things get louder than a preset level. Sadly the pick-up on her harp didn't work 'though her vocal mic picked it up reasonably well, resulting in a rather more audible performance than last time- and very good it was too. I've been given a couple of nights to book acts for- I've even started receiving demo cd's via the shop- so it's time to become a promoter. Well, kind of- I'm heroically trying to book something that I don't play in first!

An otherwise routine Monday in the shop was somewhat rudely interrupted at approximately 1.55 p.m. when, in the course of a telephone conversation with Brent the amplifier repair man I heard a loud bang which seemed to come from the front of the shop. At first I thought something had fallen down from one of the wall displays- but no, there was definitely a hole in the front window. Leaving aside the fact that myself and American Tom- Paul the guv'nor's daughter Charlotte's boyfriend and the man responsible for computerising much of the shop's stock control lately- were all but convinced that we were under siege from the local boys-in-the-hood (unlikely in Ickenham, but I guess you never know) 'though we've since decided that it was just some idiot throwing stones. That said it was an unsettling incident- and we still haven't found whatever it was that was thrown...

It felt as though I spent most of Tuesday on the phone to the police- I clearly didn't but it's an oddly intense thing going through the same story several times with different very official-sounding people. 'Don't worry' said one of the official-sounding voices, 'it wasn't a bullet.' Up until that moment it hadn't entered my mind that it might be. Help! Still the day improved when I received a phone call from Ali McKenzie, formally singer with '60's bands The Birds (no, not the ones that did 'Mr. Tambourine Man'- they spell their name differently; this mob were a very fine mod/r'n'b band who are often best remembered for having a lead guitarist who went on to be very successful over the next few years and is still doing quite well for himself now...) telling me that his guitarist was unavailable for an upcoming gig and would I like to do it? It's at The South Bank Centre- also on the bill are The Pretty Things, The Downliners Sect, The Eel Pie Allstars featuring Mick Green... hang on a minute, that'll be the bloke out of The Pirates, in my not-so-humble opinion Britain's best rock'n'roll guitarist and a complete hero of mine... yes, I think I can fit that one in don't you?!?

Wednesday we had an actual police person visit the shop, 'though she didn't seem to know very much about what had happened. She asked a few questions then sternly observed that we'd 'get a crime number over the next day-or-so'; I almost didn't like to tell her that we already had one. And it's amazing how guilty you suddenly fell when there's a uniformed officer looking straight at you isn't it? Or maybe it's just me? Still a highly enjoyable evening was spent at Ruff Rockers Rehearsal Studio in Uxbridge where myself and drummer extraordinaire Dave Bateman joined Andy Cross and Mike Wright (who I first met back in the '80's when they were in Cheap Sunglasses; Andy of course plays occasional bass in The Price and both were involved in the 'Ash Bash 4' concert earlier this year) to blast through various Dr. Feelgood songs as well as a few other less likely r'n'b-style numbers. All good stuff and something that will hopefully be out on a stage at some point in the not-too-distant future; at the very least we've booked another rehearsal for next week which is something to look forward too.

Yesterday it was back up to the West End with Stuart the guitar repair man for our work at 'We Will Rock You'. The day got off to a good start when I heard familiar laughter coming from an Oxford Street coffee shop as I walked past it; I turned to see acting legend Tom Baker sitting by the door with a couple of companions, laughing his head off and looking exactly like Tom Baker, if you know what I mean. I expect he picked up his sonic screwdriver and left with the words 'quickly, we haven't much time', but I sadly couldn't wait around to see if he did. Myself and Stu did what we do at the theatre and, pausing only to leave a pair of outrageous rubber gloves on guitarist Phil Hilborne's music stand (he's been away gigging for a while but is now back on the show and Stu never tires of having a go at him about his sweaty hands; he's a cruel man, but fair...) we contemplated a visit to Wunjo's Guitars in Denmark Street but, upon finding it to be rather crowded, decided that it was late enough and went home instead. Ah well- there's always next week, and anyway, I can't buy anything else! Well, not for a while anyway...

Ooh- the anaesthetic's wearing off and my mouth's starting to hurt. Time for some painkillers methinks... I'm off to see The Godfathers in Islington tonight which should be brilliant, and I've decided that it's a reward for going to the dentist this morning. It's a simple life sometimes don't you think?

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