So - there is still little or no time to do anything but play the guitar (not all bad news then!) or help attempt to stem the Christmas tide in Balcony Shirts, and now I've managed to develop that most hideous of conditions - yes, I've got (gulp!) ManFlu. Oh gawd! I felt a bit rough last week but vast application of paracetamol coupled with what passes for a couple of early nights in my warped world seemed to have kept it at bay - but this morning I woke up feeling as though I'd done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime. Bugger! Oh well - time for more paracetamol and another early night then... maybe yesterday afternoon's Big Al Reed and The Blistering Buicks gig at Ye Olde George in Colnbrook was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back? It was certainly a good show and it was great to see the lads again, but I was out on my feet by the end of it. And I feel worse now. Bah! And if that wasn't bad enough, I didn't get to see The Who - mind you, no one did!
In the meantime it was a great gig with T.V. Smith at The 12 Bar Club last Friday - with Goldblade, Eastfield, The Anabollic Steroids and Viva Las Vegas also on the bill it was definitely a good value evening, which began with a four song set from Sarah Pink (covers of 'John, I'm Only Dancing' and 'Teenage Kicks' alongside two of her own songs) before I walked down Oxford Street to catch a bit of the Human Punk night at The 100 Club. As I got there I bumped in to co-promoter John King just as The Pukes began their set - they're always good fun and this show was no exception, after which Andy the D.J. played 'The Price You Pay' by The Price. Weird! As Infa Riot began their second number it was time for me to return to my own gig - walking across the club I couldn't help but notice that someone had collapsed in front of the merchandise stall, I told the security men on my way out but the didn't seem to be overly concerned so let's hope the chap was ok.
Back at The 12 Bar Club Eastfield were roaring through their splendid set, followed by a typically upfront Goldblade gig with John Robb giving it everything as usual and the packed audience loving every minute of it. Meanwhile T.V. and myself met at the bar to discuss tactics - I was using an electric guitar for the first time and don't mind admitting that I was feeling a bit nervous, but as always the sheer quality of T.V.'s songs meant that the gig went well, to such an extent that we're seriously considering repeating the T.V.-on-acoustic / Leigh-on-electric again at the earliest opportunity. Great stuff! There was time to catch a few songs from Viva Las Vegas before clubbing together for a cab home - after all, there was a long Saturday in prospect...
As the Ruts D.C. bus pulled up outside The Fleece in Bristol I realised that I'd managed to doze off for a while at least. It's a great venue and Ziggy and Jon of Death Or Glory Promotions work tirelessly to put on gigs all the year round. We had a few monitor problems in our soundcheck but as always Bob got us a great sound, and while support band Criminal Mind warmed up the rapidly arriving crowd the scene was set for a memorable performance. As we began with 'Whatever We Do' it was clear that the crowd were on our side, and by the time we got to the rarely-played 'Dope For Guns' things were really taking off. Despite a couple of plastic glasses being thrown the atmosphere remained good throughout, with plenty of banter and each song getting more and more of a reaction. We ended to deafening applause, and our encore of 'Something That I Said', 'H-Eyes' and 'Society' finished a truly brilliant gig. As I walk of stage a chap stops me to say that he'd cried during 'Babylon's Burning', another said that it was the best gig that he'd ever seen - all the money in the World can't buy you moments like that.
Afterwards there's time for a few drinks before heading off to our hotel - we hope to visit the bar for one last end-of-tour drink but sadly it's closed. Oh well, you can't have everything can you? - after all, as John Cooper Clarke once brilliantly asked, where would you put it?