Sunday, 28 February 2010
.... that line is from Wasted Youth's "Paris France"... anybody from the post-punk-Peel generation get that one? Anyway, the start of the "difficult" drives (though nothing on what is to come tomorrow!). Eventually we get to Paris & we are sharing a dressing room with The Fiery Furnaces, who we are supporting ! Also crammed in said dressing room are about ten of the venue's staff, legs up, drinking their way through our rider... in fact Eddie walked back there & one of them was using his laptop ! Anyway, we are all nervous about the gig ... performing a verbal historically accurate account of the outbreak of WW2 to a roomful of Frenchies will do that ! (the first line Eddie sings is "When the nazis marched on Paris, the French were quite embarrassed, I think you know what I mean"). Surprisingly again nobody get's hurt (or maybe the French are literally still quite embarrassed !). Dyan is a big Fiery Furnaces fan & we all watch the gig. Afterwards Bekki & I are talking to the nice guitarist bloke & it turns out we have mutual friends that he knows really well & mentions being in some other band & after a drunken grilling from moi it turns out he was in a band called Sebadoh & his name is Jason !!! Ha ha .... I had only played a gig with him & said mutual friends in Straight To Video a few years back ... small world !!! Eventually Chalkie rounds us all up & we start the BIG drive to Berlin ... well we drive out of Paris into Germany & get a room in the early hours in one of those weirdly efficient German moto-lodging places ! Berlin tomorrow ! PS: I already posted a pic of the gig so I have posted pics of Dyan, Bekki, Ed & Chalkie having dinner & one of some "profound" poetry that the singer bloke (tosser) out of Stone Temple Pilots felt he needed to write on the wall of the restaurant we ate at ! x
...I think that was the title of a Belgian Factory Records/les disques du crepuscule post-punk compilation from the early 80's ! I may be wrong ! I was going to call this note "the Belgian police, they invented the waltzers" from Vic Reeves' cover of Ultravox's "Vienna", but I thought the better of it.... ! So, after a night off in London (where me & the missus treated ourselves to dinner at The Ivy), it's off to Europe we go .... minor bit of drama as they make Chalkie check in the van onto the ferry as a commercial vehicle which costs more money, though the bonus is we can use the commercial drivers lounge/restaurant, which is really cheap ... a seven item breakfast for 3.75 euros, though the glares we got from other drivers were quite un-nerving, especially for the girls ! So off the ferry & a two hour drive to Brussels. I love it ! We check in a small family-run hotel & there is an ace little bar next door ! The gig (Botanique) is not only beautiful (er sort of the opposite of Leeds Brudenell Social Club) it is in an actual botanical garden too !! There are two venues in the same building & in the other (larger) one The Original Wailers are playing (well, not the actual original Wailers as the singer bloke is obviously missing) but we do end up as good as sharing a dressing room with them which is funny ! Also we have now opted to go on stage to intro music: the French national anthem ... so as you can imagine we are a bit nervous about going onstage to this in a country that basically hates the French.! Thankfully no bottles are thrown & in fact it is a great gig ! We unwind afterwards with 1.60 beers at the aforementioned bar next door to the hotel before "nightcaps" in one of our hotel rooms (a tradition that will prove popular over the coming weeks) !
Saturday, 27 February 2010
...Ok so I have been rubbish at updating the blog since I got to Europe. Sorry ! The 10 hour drives followed by the gigs are mostly responsible for this! We are now almost at the end ... tonight is the final gig in Amsterdam ! I have a lot to tell & I will blog about it & post some pics as soon as I get chance. In the meantime cheers for all the kind words y'all have been saying, & here is a pic of us onstage in Paris supporting the Firey Furnaces ! Cheers x x x
Monday, 22 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
It was nice to do a short drive for a change... just 40-odd miles across the Pennines to rainy Manchester ... and yes it was raining ... and cold !!! A great venue, the Ruby Lounge. Bekki went to the Arndale Centre so I did a bit of record shopping (found some nice old reggae 7"s !) & had a quick half at a pub next door to the venue, a umm colourful establishment plastered with signs like "Anybody purchasing merchandise stolen from the Arndale Center will be ejected immediately" ... you get the idea Anyway I am excited as some friends are coming as well as my niece Kate & her beau Ash! So after soundcheck (& two duck dishes in Chinatown) I get something I was NOT expecting .. a text telling me that Marcus Williams is coming down, legendary Mighty Lemon Drops bassist (number two in a set of two), a man that is known for his penchant for a drink or twelve & somebody that I haven't seen since he was playing with Kirsty McColl in 1997 !!! I have attatched a pic of Marcus, who was on top form & looks even more like Henry Winkler now that he did back when !!!! And it was a great gig, one of the best of the tour so far ! Oh & Marcus, predictably unpredictable as ever, disappeared before we played the gig, by the way !
A while back Mr Argos put his back out on a European Art Brut tour. Fortunately after several visits to German specialists & some heavy duty painkillers he managed to get it sorted ... until waking up last Sunday morning after the Bristol gig in agony ! Poor chap ... he really was in pain ! However, a spell lying down on the cold floor of a bumpy 4+ hour ride to Leeds, something miraculously happened & Eddie was well enough to do the gig thankfully, which turned out to be a really good gig actually ! In fact he surprised everyone by with an impressive juggling act in the dressing room before the gig! The Brudenell Social Club is exactly what it says on the packet ... an actual working men's club, but one that has been putting on indie-rock gigs for years (everyone from The Only Ones to The White Stripes has played here !). The only thing missing was The Lovely Eggs, who were replaced for this gig by Internet Forever, who to be honest I don't really like that much (nor they are particulary nice people either come to mention it !). We did have a nice hotel, the Leeds Hilton, which had a very late bar that we took advantage of ! Oh & it was Valentines Day too, so it was funny watching couples awkwardly acting like they were enjoying themselves out on dates together ! Bye Leeds !
... the Bristol Stomp ! Well the Friday day-off was a blur: I accompanied my mate (& former Lemon Drops sound guy) Noel Thompson on a crawl of Hampstead / Belsize park hosteleries, culminating in a good few hours in The Haverstock Arms, quite a famous boozer frequented by the type of "celebrities" that most reading this would basically probably hate . Chalkie arrived & we then went into Soho to celebrate the birthday of one of The Sugars (also present were Little Barrie, Andy Hackett & various others!). Then my mate Fenners turns up & we ran into Shag who used to be in Linoleum & Elastica, & THEN we bumped into Jeff Barrett (Heavenly records etc) on the street & he tried to drag us to see The Soft Pack at The Social ! Mental really !
Anyway, Bristol ! We finally get moving & Chalkie & I have to pick up Eddie & Dyan from Southampton (it was Ed's mom's birthday), so we do, & as fate would have it we stop off for a piss-stop at an amazing Marstons pub on Salisbury plain. I make everybody drink Marstons bitter & eat Scampi Fries ! We drive by Stonehenge & we make the obligatory usual Spinal Tap jokes, as one should ! It was a gorgeous drive, especially for me as I was basically still drunk from the night before !
We arrive at Bristol, & the gig is The Thekla, which is a boat that the great Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Band used to own. I was reminded of a Blue Aeroplanes gig I saw there in about 1989 & I distinctly remember a toilet in the gents room was overflowing, the contents seeping through the ceiling onto the bar below where several customers pints were getting a nice "urine top" !!! (they have now, thankfully, moved the bar from below the toilets!). My missus Bekki arrives, & Eddie's dad does too (& not forgetting good mates Fuzzy, Mary, Bev & all!). We had a great gig & afterwards we all (as in us, The Lovely Eggs & our pals ) go to some other club (well it it is Saturday night) and well fuck me till I fart but there is a band playing with Amelia Fletcher from legendary indie stalwarts Talulah Gosh / Heavenly playing ! They were ace, & I have attatched a pic of Bekki & I with ol' Amelia (even though I reckon she could tell that we were both a bit worse for wear !) .
Leeds next !!!! . . . . .
Monday, 15 February 2010
... haven't had time (or internet access) over the last couple of days. Before I do the Bristol & Leeds (& Manchester!) updates here is a picture of my old mate (& former Mighty Lemon Drops sound engineer) Noel Thompson taken on a day off in London last Friday by me at The Havers aka The Haverstock Arms aka Chris Evans's / Noel Gallagher's local (owned by that barman bloke from TFI Friday) ... enjoy the pic's of Melinda Messanger & Barbara Windsor in the background !.
Friday, 12 February 2010
... so said Nicholas Parsons at the beginning of every Sale Of The Century for what seemed like a hundred years (that is an old tv quiz show for any possible younger readers). The drive from Nottingham to Norwich is actually quite a nice one, no real motorways to speak of. And talking of our drives ... let me give any readers / followers of this blog a description of the average drive. Usually Dyan & Eddie opt for the rear lounge of our vehicle, which contains six comfortable coach/train style seats, a fridge, a dvd player with not one but two screens, and usually the remains of the previous nights rider (mainly crisps & beer, though there is actually some smoked mackrel in the fridge as I type left over from the Dingwalls gig!). Myself, so far I have opted to sit up front next to Chalkie as he drives. He is top company on these journeys, and together we put the world right with great conversation about everything from local history to football to analyzing the original line-up of Ian Dury & The Blockheads. Ed & Dyan are usually asleep by then, though Eddie sweetly admitted last night that he loves drifting off into slumber while listening to the wisdom he hears coming from up front of the bus (which is a relief as sometimes I think I am boring poor old Chalkie to death !!!). So anyway we arrive in Norwich & it's bloody freezing with snow & ice on the ground, & the venue is a converted old church which houses the Norwich Arts Centre, which I believe I helped build .... yes really.... though not physically with my own hands or anything, but i do remember as far back as 1986 when I was in The Mighty Lemon Drops we did a benefit gig to help raise funds for a planned Arts Centre in Norwich , so in a nutshell last nights show was made possible entirely by ME, basically!
Anyway, the gig was great n'all that, but instead of banging on about us I would like to introduce you to our amazing opening band on the tour, The Lovely Eggs. There are just two of them, Holly & Dave, & they are just brilliant, and they are also very funny people & great company. ! Go & listen to them. In a weird way there is something in there that reminds me a bit of what my pals The Happy Hollows might be like if Charlie & Chris let Sarah do exactly what was in her head all of the time ... and I mean that as a compliment to both parties by the way!
Ok, day off today, then Bristol tomorrow, the missus arrives, & we play on Viv Stanshall's old boat, the legendary Thekla !!!!
Thursday, 11 February 2010
The Bodega Social ... possibly previously owned by the Heavenly group of folks if I am not mistaken ! A great little venue ! I like Nottingham ... has the oldest pub in the country, home of Boots the chemist, also that Shane Meadows bloke who makes those top films (though that last one with the kid from This Is England living in London with the Polish kid was ok but not my personal fave!). And not forgetting (& least famously!) once home to brilliant post-punk band The Favourites, who managed to provide me, as a record collector, with my single longest ever search ever to track down a record I heard on the John Peel show in 1979 ... i finally managed to track down a copy of their elusive & frankly incredible "S.O.S" 7" 45 just a couple of years back (via eBay ... at great expense!). (The Favourites were also previously one of the first ever bands signed to Stiff records in 1976 as pub-rockers Plummett Airlines, fyi !). Anyway, a fun time was had by all. We ate dinner in a spooky-creepy pub called the Pit & Pendelum ... if 16 year old goth girls dressed as 8 year old goth-girls is your thing, then this is the place for you ! Again I missed the opening bands (I was meeting my old mate Ferrett in the aforementoned P&P) but everybody said they were ace ! It was a rocking gig for a cold (snowy!) Wednesday night, & we met some really nice people. Afterwards the club became an indie dance club (an insane one that, for some reason played Rosanna by Toto !) & I have attatched a picture of some broken glass & puke on the streets of Nottingham to give you an idea of what it was like ! After a few more drinks with Ferrett, on the way back home I caught Eddie prowling the streets of Nottingham desperately trying to locate a bottle of red wine to accompany he & Dyan's late night soiree: watching Die Hard on the hotel tv !! Aaaah .... now we're talking ! !!! (the Bodega kindly sold him a bottle to take out btw !).
Well the day arrived, the "official" debut of EWITFRN (rolls off the tongue !!)). London Dingwalls. I spent many a night here in the 80's as a youngster, one of the most memorable nights was watching an unknown bunch of oiks from Manchester load their gear onto the stage about to play third on the bill at the Monday indie Panic Station night, then witness the bassist take a piss up his bass-amp thinking he was in the toilet ... it was The Happy Mondays and they went on to do ok ! Anyway, our gig was ace ! After a band/crew communal Camden Weatherspoons steak Tuesday Grill Club soiree & meeting some pals in the Lock tavern (including my mate Cubby who I hadn't seen since the end of 94), i was a tad miffed to realize that I had missed both Fulcher Smith & Dance (featuring two of Ed's fellow Art Bruters ... the band name is sort-of the give-away as to which two!) & the great Internet Forever (though they will play with us in Leeds, so there will be no excuse for missing that one!). I didn't get any pics of the gig, but here's one of Ian of Art Brut helping Eddie offload our sweat-shop made merch onto unsuspecting kids, & one of me & a bunch of my pals in the Lock Tavern. Oh & then it was back to TOTP towers to celebrate, along with visiting US rockers Surfer Blood celebrating the end of their first UK visit and our Chalkie celebrating his birthday, singing Wurzels lyrics along to Melanie songs into the small hours ... and yes it was quite a late one !
Monday, 8 February 2010
... is the title of a tune by Birmingham born & bred Lawrence Hayward, ex of Felt, Denim & more lately the quite brilliant Go Kart Mozart. Laughing Larry stole that from the not-very-successful Cliff Richard film "Take Me High", "Brum Burger" being the name of a burger served at the fictitional 1970's Birmingham restaurant that pre-colostomy Cliff worked at in the film (check out this amazing youtube clip HERE). Nothing in Birmingham today really looks as it did in this movie/70's Brum anymore (despite going relatively unchanged for MANY years previously!), so much so that I managed to get lost twice walking around my old stomping-ground! In my defence, the venue we played at The Flapper is kind of out of the way, in the newly gentrified canal district, & Chalkie got us there nice & early so we had plenty of time to wander ! After soundcheck I went to meet a load of my old Wolvo mates in The City Tavern which had the best pint of Davenports bitter you could imagine (yes Davenports is back ... remember the old ad's in the 70's?? click HERE), then it was over to the gig, pausing only to take a pic of Noddy Holder's star on the B'ham Broad St Walk Of Fame! (yes, really !!). The gig was good, especially considering it was only booked a week ago as a warm-up. What else?..oh a couple of nice chaps took some nice pix that you can see if you click HERE ! Couple of days off then it is the " official debut" in London at Dingwalls on Tuesday 9th! More then !
Saturday, 6 February 2010
Firstly, I was wrong , there is no free wi-fi internet on National Express coaches, though we did get a good glimpse of a pensioners cock for entertainment (we sat right next to the toilet & somebody opened the door on the poor old guy as he was mid-leak!). And we now have our first UK gig under our belt. Cambridge city center is lovely (my first time there ever!) though of course we were playing at a run-down-pub-converted-to-gig in a less salubrious part of town! The opening band The Regency Array were great. Unfortunately we made the minor error of leaving "Drumphrey", the machine containing all our rhythm/backing tracks for the tour, in Camden, so we had to use the back-up plan of playing the entire gig along to Dyan's iPod. Thankfully, despite a few technical errors, it worked & a good time was had by all! Also the promoter was really generous with the rider (note to gig promoters: bands really like this touch, fyi !) ... we were chomping on hummus & salami sandwiches washed down with cheap vodka while listening to The Replacements into the small hours at the Travelodge! Birmingham here we come !
Thursday, 4 February 2010
This is my first blog post so go easy on me ! Well, my pals Dyan Valdes & Eddie Argos have been so kind as to invite me around Europe with them as they/we unleash the live version of Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now upon the world, well the UK & some of Europe for now! I am excited about this as i haven't done a proper European tour since The Mighty Lemon Drops last full Euro one in 1988 (though I did go to Scandanavia with The Blue Aeroplanes in 1992/3). Anyway, we just did a couple of days rehearsals at Premesis on the Hackney Road, & at the end of the first day the bloke behind the counter shouts my name ... it was Tony Holland who I worked with at Record & Tape Exchange (then Music & Video Exchange) in the early-mid 90's ! Ha ha ! Ok here's a pic of Dyan & Eddie at Premesis (to see if i am able to get the pic thing working). We are off to Cambridge today to play a warm up gig, our first in the UK !!! We are taking a National Express coach from Victoria, which I haven't done for years, & I am excited to hear that they offer wi-fi internet nowerdays ! PS: The Kooks were also rehearsing at Premesis, which I thought was funny, being my least favourite band ever n'all!: Eddie saw them all individually buy their own lunches on credit cards in the cafe, & TH later informed me that they have been in there every day for six months ! Oh & Skunk Anansie were in there as well ... I had no idea that they were still going !!!