Saturday, May 29, 2004

The fuck wits at the evening telegraph

I gotta tell you this before I collapse in a heap in my bed. Tonight was the first showcase I've hosted. The two bands that played were both fabulous. Cougar Bob played first and they played a blinding set. Only forty minutes but God! were they good. Then We had John Dalton and Martin Gregory.
It was better than I had ever dreamt. You know I felt so useless tonight. I'd spent weeks organising this event but on the night I had nothing to do. I had hired Tony to supply the sound system and do the sound engineering. So all I could do was say hello. And "well done". All my work was already done and all I could do was sit back and watch it unfold. There was nothing more I could do.
I was furious today. I picked up the local paper and looked at the events calendar and there was nothing about my night. I phoned the paper. What's happening? I asked. I sent two E-mails and spoke to two different people and still nothing was published. They apologised profusely. But that doesn't get the crowds in. I was so angry I was shaking. Sandra phoned me and I let of a tirade of abuse. Not at her, but at the fuck wits who are supposed to be doing a job, but don't do it. She told me to calm down but I was so angry. It's a good job Sandra is one of my best friends, because she took a whole lot of shit from me this afternoon. I spent weeks organising this. I do everything myself because then I know it's gonna be done. Once I rely on someone else it all fucks up. It's the age old adage, if you want something doing properly, you do it yourself. There is a school of thought that a good manager is able to delegate responsibilty to others. Well I tried that and look what happened. Fuck all. But despite those fuck wits at the Evening Telegraph the evening went well. I gotta sleep. Tomorrow it's me up on stage with Sandra and Simon. God help us.

1 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Bad luck about the slack journos at the ET - but glad it went well. I know that weird feeling when you've put in weeks of work and then, come the event, you feel drained and rather redundant. Hard slog, but worth every minute though.

8:55 pm  

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Friday, May 28, 2004

The showcase for new talent

You know that buzzy feeling you get in your head when you are doing loads of stuff non stop. Well that’s what I’ve got tonight. Life is non stop and I have to keep going. It turns out my daughter is just the same, she can’t rest, she has to be doing something all the times even when she’s so tired that any normal person would sleep. I guess we’re not normal. Both of us must be hyperactive or something. Or driven by some unseen force.
Today I worked all day and at 5:30 shut the shop and high tailed it to Sandra’s. She was waiting on the pavement outside her house for me. WE drove to Simons for our last rehearsal before Saturdays gig. Simon had dinner waiting for us. Pizza chips and curry. Hmmm! You wouldn’t believe what he has in his kitchen. A pin ball machine.
Then he spent a while showing us his guitar in this book called “The guitars of John Entwhistle”. He has a guitar that was owned by John Entwhistle. And to make it even more special it was owned before that by Pete Townsend. So Sandra and I have both played the same guitar as both John and Pete. Incredible. People would pay for that honour. He even has the paperwork to prove it’s the real thang.
So we played for nearly two and a half hours. I know you aint gonna be there so here’s some of the songs we’ll be playing.
Wicked game – Chris Isacks (Me guitar, simon guitar/ vocals, Sandra vocals)
Aint no sunshine – Bill Withers (Me on guitar, Sandra vocals and Simon bongos)
Free bird – Lynerd Skynerd (Me guitar/vocals, Simon guitar, Sandra mandolin)
Wild world – Cat Stevens (me guitar/vocals, Simon Mandolin, Sandra guitar)
Handbags and gladrags- Stereophonics (Simon guitar/vocal, me guitar, Sandra Mandolin)
Suspicious minds –Elvis
Is she really going out with him- Joe Jackson
Dreams – Fleetwood mac
Oh there’s a load more and I’m bored listing them. You’ll just have to imagine them for now.
So we finished the rehearsal and I went to pick up my children. Dropped off Sandra because she was tired and we went to Geneva’s to see Abi and her band “Within”.
I’ve told you before how incredible Abi is. Well Jamie, my boy, was watching and he nudged me and said “You know you said that she had stage presence?”
“Yes.”
“Well she’s got a lot hasn’t she?”
“She’s got it in spades. You can’t keep your eyes off her can you?”
“No. She’s fabulous.”
As a tease I suggested that he had fallen in love with her. At first sight. He said he hadn’t. I looked around the pub and saw the band list for the coming month and there was my band on the 24th June. “Ad Hock” that is, not my new band “Mike da hat and friends”. It could get complicated when our gigs clash, but then I know Del and Tony can do without me in Ad Hock. They’re professional.
“Within” played their first set of three and we had to leave because the kids have school tomorrow. We said our goodbyes and Abi gave my children big hugs.
Gemma is used to being with musicians and didn’t bother much. But I guess Jamie was really pleased that he got a hug from Abi. You know I wish you could all meet Abi. Your lives would be so much better for it. http://www.within-band.co.uk
It’s my first showcase event tomorrow night. I am not playing tomorrow night. But I have two new bands playing. I am more nervous for them than I am for myself on our first gig Saturday. I know we’re good. I know we can play what people want to hear. But the showcase is my baby. And the new bands have to come through for me. I just want them to take it as seriously as I do. I’ve worked hard for this. On their behalf. I’m putting my reputation on the line here. It could all fall apart if they are crap. But I console myself that when I was in their position I would have been practicing like mad. I still do. So I hope they have been rehearsing so they can be as good as they can possibly be. It’s in their own interest if they want to get on in the music biz. I hope they don’t let me down. All I ask is they take it seriously and do their best. It’s something I have no control over I guess that’s what’s making me nervous. I’d better sleep before I go crazy with worry.
Mike da Hat

2 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Odd that I should be listening to Julian Bream as I read this. Do you ever play classical guitar?

Good luck with the gigs - though sure you don't need it...

8:48 pm  
Blogger MIKE DA HAT said...

No I've never played classical guitar. I'm not sure I even play guitar because I'm entirely self taught. Which is why it's taken me this long to get this far I guess. But we have a load of great songs to play so........ bring it on. We're ready!!!

8:50 am  

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

the French connection

We’re cracking on apace. Only two more days before the first gig of my new band “Mike Da Hat and friends”. Some wag commented, “That’s rich! You’ve actually got friends?” Tonight we rehearsed at Sandra’s until she called it a day before the crazy old woman downstairs threw a wobbler and started hitting the ceiling with her walking stick. We tried to tone it down a tad, but, when you’re getting into one, it’s hard not to just go for it. Especially when we’re practicing the thrash bit of Free bird.
Thump thump thump.
Shit!
Sandra is in trouble at work. And it’s all my fault. I don’t normally swear much in real life but in my writing I call it like it is. If someone swears like a trooper I will write it just as they say it. So she was at work and in a spare moment thought she’d have a snoop at my blog. The automated webmaster, der fuehrer of the internet, interceded
With a message about obscene language, and came up with a warning. It reminded me of that film starring Sly Stallone and Sandra Bullock where he is automatically fined for every incident of swearing. An automatic written warning will arrive on her desk in two days time. Scary huh? I suppose it’s to stop the workers downloading pornography and pictures of naked children in provocative poses onto the firms mainframe. But my blog? I’m not sure whether to be chuffed to bits that my material is dangerous enough, controversial enough, to contravene the public decency laws or disgusted that I am being tarred with the same brush as pornographers.

I have a new toy. It’s my new computer that Danny built me for very little money. OK nothing special about a new PC but this one has a huge 120gb hard drive filled up with a library of 12,000 songs, all CD quality. He’s even stuck in a DVD writer so I can create my own CD’s for the car when I’m cruising. According to the PC if I started playing all the songs today it would still have a few more days of playing to go a month from today. Incredible. That’s approximately just over 800 hours of music.
So now I have a PC/ jukebox in my flat. Think of a song, type it in, by either Artist or title, and push the button, up it comes. I’m listening to a selection of the Rolling Stones right now on continuous play. Fool to cry.
Someone said the other day “What do you want 12,000 songs for?”
Well I don’t really, but as a musician it’s a reference library. For instance tonight we decided that we were going to put Chris Isacks “Wicked game” into the set. I thought I’d have a listen. Typed it in and up it came. Bill Withers “Aint no sunshine” just the same. It’s so useful and convenient. Before I used to have to go round all my friends and ask them if they had a copy of a song so I could listen to it. Get off of my cloud.
ON my old computer I could burn a CD in about forty minutes. This new one will do a 70 minute CD in 6 minutes flat. And with blanks at 10p each……. I rest my case.

I got a phone call from a friend of mine this morning, it was Frederic Becognau, a film camera man for Canal 5 in France. Gimme shelter. His son is in England at the moment and could I check up on him? Sure, no problem, except he’s in Exeter and that’s gotta be three hours away. So he’s invited me to his wedding. He’s marrying a good friend of mine a French Artist from Brittany. I wonder if he needs a band for his wedding reception. Two years ago I was going to blow this gaff and go and live in France. But the shit hit the fan and it all fell through. I’d even got a job as a manager of an Art gallery. Such a shame, chances like that don’t happen every day. But that’s another story. Satisfaction.

On one of my regular trips to France a few years ago we went to support a friend of ours at a gig in Carhaix, Brittany. We were guests of honour and given a slap up feast, then my friends went on stage to play their set. I stood in the Audience watching when patric announced an interval he came of stage for a beer and we stood talking. He said “Mikel you’re on next.”
”What I haven’t brought my guitar.” Honky tonk women.
“No problem. I ‘ave brought you one from Paris.”
“But I don’t know what to play.”
“You play anything. My band is a good band they play anything.”
So he dragged me up on stage. I was really nervous. 400 in the crowd. What do I play? I remembered “Back to the future”.
“OK Boys a blues riff in E. Just follow me for the lead breaks.”
I went into one. Jesus H Christ! The crowd went wild. We played and played. One by one his band got tired and walked off stage leaving just patric and me. Eventually at three in the morning the manager said “Ca suffit!” That’s enough we want to go home now. We came off stage. All these young girls came running up to me asking for my autograph. They were screaming “Anglais Anglais” All I could think off was “I’m just a bleedin’ shop keeper I ain’t nothing special.” I signed a few autographs just to keep them happy. Bloody hell! They thought I was famous. Poor disillusioned fools. If only they knew the truth. Because I used to love her but it’s all over now.
I had loads of Adventures in France. One day we were on the beach, my artist friend was sitting next to me stark naked and her friend the same. My Artist was painting a beach scene and no one took any notice. I sat there real cool like in my clothes because Martine (my artiste) had told me “Mikel you are so white you should not take off your vetements. Wait until le soleil is low.” So I sat there next to two very cute naked French girls scanning the horizon. When my eyes lit upon this one girl in the middle of the beach wrapped in a beach towel trying to get changed. Let’s spend the night together. I noticed that every male eye was on her. Strange, because there was loads of naked women on the beach. But this one girl was wrapped in a towel. I must have felt what every other man felt that day. Please God make that towel slip. Christ I was sitting right next to two beautiful naked women, but this one girl struggling under a towel had everyones attention. It made me realise that if a girl wants attention she doesn’t have to be naked. She has to make the guys want her naked and tease them. If she had stripped off on the beach no one would have even taken a second glance, but because she was trying to hide herself, everyone was eyes front. On stalks. I could tell you stories all night but I guess I’d better sleep now. Little red rooster. And so it goes.

May your God be with you
Rock on dudes

Mikel

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I'll be dead before I see you again boy.

A few years ago I had occasion to have to deliver an Electric cooker to a pensioner. Install it and take away the old one. No problem. Except the cooker was sealed into the work top. I tugged and tugged at it but it wouldn't budge. Eventually i got a flat bladed screwdriver and started chiselling away at the seal which turned out to be thirty years of dirt grease and filth. After ten minutes of chiselling. I gave the cooker another big tug. There was a huge crack and the cooker flew forward, the over door fell open and a tray of blue green granules fell out onto my shoes.
"What's that?" I asked the old man, who was standing there, still in his Jim Jams with his tool hanging out the front opening. The cleaning lady and daily help fussed round him.
"Now the Mr ****** you just let that young man get on with his work. And don't be letting that little man of yours escape." and she rearranged his pyjama bottoms.
He wouldn't be turned though, and he looked at me dead straight and said "It's rat poison."
"What? you've got trouble with rats?"
"Not anymore boy." and then he turned and allowed the daily to usher him to his chair in front of the TV.
He sat down. Settled himself and looked over his shoulder at me. "Them were big buggers too. The size of cats."
"Really?" I said, humouring him, from behind the cooker.
"When I were young we'd blast the buggers with a shotgun. Chase them round the barns an blast 'em. There wouldn't be much left for the cats after that. Bloody useless cats anyway, they were all too damn scared of the buggers. Silly devils would run away."
I finished installing the new cooker and turned to the old man "There you go you can cook whatever you want now."
"There'll be no cooking done on that bugger, I get meals on wheels boy, meals on wheels."
"So what did you want a cooker for then?"
"I don't want a cooker. It's bloody free isn't it? If them thar government wallers are daft enough to buy me a new cooker I'm gonna let 'em. Bloody social workers coming round telling me my cookers aint safe. Bloody do gooders wanna give me a nice new safe cooker, well let 'em tha's what I say let 'em and hang the lot of 'em. I got me meals on wheels and my TV. I got all I need. I don't need no bloody social worker. So if they wanna do that, it's their money, what do I care? I'll be dead afore long any road."
"Well I'll be seeing you then." I said cheerfully, picking up my tool box.
"I'll be dead before I bloody see you again boy. Hey and don't forget to put that rat poison back in the new oven. Bloody Rats........"

1 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Superb. A scene that could have been lifted out of my childhood.

Ok, I was brought up in South Lincolnshire. You live in Cambridgeshire, or Peterborough if you prefer. And this was from one outgoing Bishop of Norwich to his successor. But it holds true:

"If you want to lead anyone in the Fens, find out where he's going and walk in front of him."

8:34 pm  

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British workmanship at it's best

Just been watching some workers digging up the pavement. They spent an hour shovelling the broken tarmac onto the back of their lorry. Then the driver decided that he wanted to redistribute the load because it was all at the front. So he got into the cab and started raising the tipper. Well the load was redistributed all right. Straight back onto the road. Oh golly! How they laughed. This is the British workforce at it's finest.
Earlier a scruffy chap came into the shop. Nothing unusual about that, except he was carrying a cup of coffee, which he placed on the counter.
"Got any kettles?" he asked.
"We've got a few."
"Give me one."
"Which one?"
"The first you come to.Any."
I gave him a kettle. He paid, picked up his coffee, took a mouthful, and walked out muttering something.

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We know what you like and you're gonna get it.

Just heard on the Radio, and I admit that this will be old news to some, but it needs repeating. The police, in this country, when they find any asylum seekers, are more likely to hand over the address of the nearest home office building so they can hand themselves in. What's all that about?
Then last week the police arrested three illegals for trying to LEAVE the country.
It beggars belief. If they want to leave, let them. Why waste money arresting an illegal immigrant when he/she wants to go home?

Then earlier, and this is a totally different subject, I was listening to a few minutes of Radio 2. This woman had written in to request a song REM's "Losing my religion" The DJ read out the request and announced that he was sorry but that particular song was not on todays playlist so "how about this one?" and he proceeded to play some absolute rubbish tune. Very shortly after that there was the jingle announcing how they are playing the music we want to hear. Hello? We try to tell them what we want to hear and they still insist on playing what the record companies want us to hear.
Hmmm call me cynical if you like.

Better do some more work I suppose.

2 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

What was funnier was the bunch of Romanians who got exported, days before their country joined the EU. Go on Home Office, just wait a few days - it'll save thousands!

But no.

Sod it. Daily Mail-reading types complain like hell that people are coming over here stealing their jobs. But they aren't allowed jobs - unless they decide to work for tossers who pay them nothing and care nothing when their cheap labour is swept into the sea, killed in an industrial accident or whatever.

As to not playing the REM song, switch from Radio 2 to Radio 3. It doesn't censor anything!

8:46 pm  
Blogger MIKE DA HAT said...

When did you last hear REM on Radio 3?
Ravels bolero till it's driving you crazy, but no REM. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Mikel

12:35 am  

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Monday, May 24, 2004

The Whiteadders go forth

Life gets more interesting. Friday I went to see Steve the landlord of the Wheatsheaf, to give him the definitive list of all the acts we’re putting on over next weekend. It’s a bit of a showcase for new talent, and it made me think, perhaps we can do this regularly give new talent a chance to get some public exposure, some live playing experience. I put it to him that we could do this on a regular basis. Maybe once a month. Well it was all agreed on a handshake, except he wants it every three weeks. I put the word out on the street immediately. I’ve already got one E-mail from a band who wants to play. So that’s encouraging.
So now the hard work starts. Actually I’ve already covered a lot of ground. I’ve spoken to the local newspaper and got them on board. Also I’ve got the Peterborough Live Music centre enthusiastic. Hmmm in amongst all that talent out there we might find someone who really shines. That would be great.
Spoke to Simon my partner in this project. He was initially worried that we were going to get paid for effectively doing nothing. I explained to him that we were doing far from nothing. I was doing all the organisation the planning the bookings the liaison with newspapers etc and he was doing the sound engineering on the night. Making sure that each band sound as good as we can possibly make them sound.

Saturday was Del’s wedding. Beautiful day. Except for his father. Del’s parents are known as the Whiteadders. That being a reference to the “Blackadder” series, where the Whiteadders were strict puritans who never smiled, never drank, smoked or did anything vaguely enjoyable. MR Whiteadder came to me during the “standing-about–in-the-church-yard” bit.
“I think I’ve upset Del.” he said. “Last night I mentioned that he was a BIG fat pig. I don’t think he liked that.”
No shit Sherlock! I thought
Later Del and Di were having their pictures taken beneath a beautiful tree full of brilliant purple blooms. Whiteadder turned to me and said “That will be the last year that that tree will bloom, after they’ve been under it.”
I couldn’t believe the vitriol coming from this guys mouth.
Del is one of the guitarists in our band, we all love him to death. On stage he sparkles with energy and humour, and even when he’s falling over drunk, he can still play like he wuz a fucking demon. So it was a bit galling to have to listen to his father continuously making snide and cutting remarks about him and his bride. We were under strict instructions not to rock the boat and ignore the remarks.
Last night (Sunday) we went to see Leons final gig in this country before they go on tour of America (adamleon.com). There was a guy came in wearing a baseball cap. He was already pissed and started dancing all by himself. He had a very strange way of dancing. I decided he’d been taught to dance by Boris Karloff.
Paul came to the shop today. We have a joke, he has the same surname as me so we’re brothers, which is great, except he’s black and I aint. I say “do you think they’ll guess we’re not really brothers?”
He asked how the music was going. I said “Pretty good. Why do ya wanna sing some?”
And Paul went into an impromptu rendition of “Aint no sunshine”. I was impressed. He’s got a great voice. Very soulful which is lucky because he loves all that soul music. Stuff I don’t normally play.
“Can I get you to sing at my Showcase night?”
“I’m working.”
“I’ll get you a backing band, you can do a couple of numbers. Join in on the Mike Da hat and friends nights.”
“yeah ok brother.”


1 Comments:

Blogger Jarle Petterson said...

Unfortunately I won't, for obvious reasons, be able to attend the Mike Da hat and friends night, but thanks a bundle for an interesting piece of reading. And thanks a lot for the encouraging words you left in (or is that "on"?) my blog the other day. Even so, I can assure you that my English skills are indeed limited - at least by English standards, but thanks all the same.
Keep up the good work! I'll make sure to pop in now and then. Cheers! And good luck with the upcoming event. Break a leg - or an extremity of your very own choice.

8:16 pm  

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Friday, May 21, 2004

who's life is this anyway? Yours or mine

Tonight Sandra and I took my children Gemma and Jamie to party for the launch of a new CD. Friends of ours have a band “Leon”. It was pretty special because my daughter Gemma filmed it. She’s going to do film at Lincoln University. So she was commissioned to make the video for MTV. She’s only 18. Unfortunately we had disaster upon disaster while trying to edit the film and eventually it was taken from her hands and redone by a professional outfit in London. They used her ideas and story board and made a video which was far short of what she had planned. That’s not to say it wasn’t good but it wasn’t what she wanted. Never mind her stuff is on the DVD that’s for sale and she is credited in the titles. Actually so am I. Shit I’m gonna be famous.
Every one was there. The hangers on. The fans. The family. The curious. The boys did an interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire the other day, I heard it. The interviewer was useless. He asked them three times “So lads when do you fly out to America?” making them answer the same question three times and try to make it still interesting. Where do the BBC get these idiots from?
Well I took my Children home. Gemma was so high with excitement. We left Sandra with her beloved.
I mentioned yesterday that I have been blogging for over twenty years and didn’t realise it. Well in the early days I used to write about stuff that happened to me.but then I started thinking I need to write about more interesting stuff and the only way to do that was to do more interesting stuff. So with that in mind I started Scuba diving just so I could write about it. And Gliding. And travelling. After a while I got so busy doing all this stuff I was getting worried that I hadn’t got time to write about it. So it was a sort of trade off. I’d have to do something. Maybe I didn’t really want to, maybe I was even scared to do it, but it had to be done for the sake of my journal. Because that was what it was in them days, not a blog. So I forced myself to do more and more exciting stuff so I could keep my readers entertained. If I was going to write about my life it had to be a life worth writing about. Well now I’ve got this life by default. It’s not my choosing. The writing has forced me into it. And now I have an exciting life. And I don’t really have time to write. I play in a band, in fact two bands. I travel, I organise events, I do stuff I never dreamt I would. And it’s all your fault because you want to read this shit. Or is it because I want to write this shit? Whose life is this anyway? Yours or mine.
Denise said to me today “you seem much happier now.”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Is it because you’ve started writing again?”
Shit! What a question. Am I that shallow that my life depends on whether I write or not? It’s something I agonise over. I want to live my life the way I want to. I want to be in control. But it seems the writing has taken over. When I stopped writing I got depressed. Now I’m writing again life has got better but at a cost. I have to stay up late to do what I have to do. It’s like an addiction you have no control over. A friend of mine told me tonight that it’s becoming a struggle to keep up the writing. All I can say is there are no rules or regulations. You write when you have to. I read in a blog sometime recently that a true blogger writes religiously every day. It’s a prerequisite to be able to call yourself a blogger. No, that’s not true. I’d rather read quality stuff occasionally than crap every day. Every one is different. Just like some people make love once a month and are happy, others once a week, others three times a day. Whatever lights your candle. Whatever works for you.
Well I’m all blogged out now. Gotta sleep.

Keep the faith

Mikel

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Went to see Sandra tonight. God! She looked like shit. Eyes red and streaming, lost her voice, but bless her, she was still practicing her guitar. Trying to put a brave face on the fact her beloved is going on tour of America next week and she wont see him for two months. And when he does get back he's almost immediatley off on tour of Scotland for six weeks. Hey that's what happens when you fall in love with a professional musician. The music comes first. You are young grass hopper, you will learn.
We didn't play tonight. But I went to the club all the same. It was the same old crowd. Howard with the impossibly deep voice. Andy who is so bad he is brilliant. He is the only person I know who can play "Baby hit me one more time" on a fender stratocaster and and play it for laughs. Absolutely brilliant. And John Quinn. What can I say? This boy has talent. I spent three weeks learning to play "Substitute" by "The Who" we were playing on the same bill and he played it first. I was mortified. he played it a million times better than I ever could. So it was dropped from the set immediately. Don't you just hate that? I'm happy to follow anyone on stage......except John. The bastard how come he has ALL the talent? Why do I have to work so hard just to be competent, when he just does it so easily? I could easily learn to hate him. But then hate isn't in my vocabulary.
I had a great idea today. Simon and I can do showcase events using our PA system. We invite up and coming wannabees to do a gig, a proper gig at a pub. We get maybe three or four bands and they just plug into our PA. They do a thirty minute set each. They'll be gagging for the opportunity to play live in front of a crowd. To prove themselves and to have the honour of telling all their mates that they have a proper gig to do. They'll even pay us to play. Then we charge the pub £150 for the privelige of us putting on the show. We win all ways. Sounds great doesn't it? Now tell me the drawbacks that I haven't thought of. Yes I know the drums will be a problem.
I've fielded the idea to a few other musician friends of mine and they all seem to think it's a good idea, so maybe it can work. Jeez I can be so altruistic sometimes. Helping out the up and comings and lining my pockets at the same time. And help Simon pay for his J200. A worthy charity. We were going to go on a road trip to this place in Bath to buy the J200. But he thought it was too dangerous. he'd want to buy everything in the shop and make his credit card go into overdrive. He's a sucker for a classic guitar. Me? I'm happy with my 12 string and my 6 string and my mandolin. What more do I want? OK maybe an adoring crowd, all screaming and shouting for more. Shit! I'm just a music junkie. Someone who'd rather be up there on stage, than in the crowd screaming for more.
I'd write more but I know I must sleep. That's the problem with being a writer. It's in your blood. It's the very essence of your soul. When you don't write you feel uncomfortable. Uneasy. I didn't know I was a blogger until a few weeks ago. I've been doing this for over twenty years. Writing regular letters and Emailing them to a select group of friends. I'm not sure I like to be a blogger, just as I'm not sure I like to be human, or like to be alive, but that's how it is. This is what I am I have to accept that. Perhaps it's the name that puts me off. Being a blogger. Sounds shite doesn't it? Sound like I'm an anorak. But I'll deal with it.
I've scrolled through the blogs posted on just this site and they go past at an everage of three every second. I try and read as many as I can stand. Most of them are absolute dross. But occassionally I come across a gem like "The hackney lookout". It's not often. It gives me hope. In amongst all the rubbish is some talent. It just takes some finding. But in the end worth it. If you are reading this Quink tell me how to make a link to your blog. It's got to be shared.

May your God be with you

Rock on

Mikel

3 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Can't agree with the label 'blogger' making you/one seem like an anorak. Just something you have to forget about I think.

I can't easily show you how to make a link - this post won't accept HTML and I haven't time to add in the characters so they show up as text. There is some help somewhere on blogger, I think - but I'll drop you an email this evening if you have no luck.

And thanks for the recommendation...!

7:37 am  
Blogger Quink said...

Here's the help page: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110&topic=22

7:58 am  
Blogger Quink said...

re first post. I meant, " I couldn't agree more...

7:40 pm  

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I'm a regular but not at this time of day

I had to deliver light bulbs to my local pub the other day. It's a strange feeling to go into your local in the middle of the day. It doesn't smell the same. There's a hoover in the middle of the floor and Mandy, the bar maid, is wandering around with a duster and pledge, polishing the tables. A couple of early birds are sitting at the bar with pints of beer. Smoking. The blue smoke curls and twists in the air around them. You don't notice that at night. The sun sends shafts of light through the window diagonally. The place smells of disinfectant and furniture polish. Steve the landlord is sitting, hunched over a newspaper, his hair dishevelled, a cup of coffee steaming in front of him. He looks like shit. "Morning Mike." he says, hardly looking up.
"Morning Steve." But he's too engrossed trying the read the back page headlines of the Sun.
"Fucking West Ham won last night" he says "They played a blinder."
I think "so fucking what?" but say "Really? They're doing well."
"They need to only scored five points in the last three games."
As if I'm in the least bit interested. But I carry on "so who they playing next?"
He tells me. It goes in one ear and out the other. I don't care.
He looks up and calls to Mandy. "Sort out Mikels bill will you."
Mandy comes over and takes the invoice from my hand, inspects it, as if it's her business how much it's for, shrugs and wanders behind the bar to get the money. It isn't. She just shells out the cash.
"you in tonight?" she says
"Maybe." Eleven o'clock in the morning who gives a shit? I trouser the cash and look into the other bar to see if I know anyone. Then into the conservatory where we meet for our music club. There's a group of women sitting in there chatting over coffee and plastic bags full of embroidery. Some are just sitting picking away at their work, others standing holding up their latest creations. It's all very quiet. Steve still looks like shit. He's been on the piss with his Speedway chums the night before. He's only been into Speedway for eight months but already he fancies he knows everyone and everything. he spouts on interminably about his dream team. telling anyone who hasn't the heart to tell him to "fuck off" all about his latest passion.
Two years ago it was football, last year rugby, this year it's speedway, and next year it'll be something else. But he will always be an authority on the subject I suspect he has Aspergers syndrome.
Regulars walk in. I don't know them because they're not regulars when I am. I can't be doing with this day time drinking mularky.
"You stopping for a drink Mike?"
"NO I never drink before nine." I say.
"But it's eleven now."
"I gotta work. I'll see you later."

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I got a 12 string and I'm gonna use it

It's less than two weeks before the first gig of my new band. We've been rehearsing like mad. My old band Ad Hock never rehearsed. We never rehearse on principle. From the very first day I joined that band I was expected to just get on stage and play. It didn't matter that they never told me what song we were playing next or what key we were going to be playing it in. I had a matter of milliseconds to work it out, then catch up. But it was a lot of fun. last year we had been to the beer festival and Del and I were totally plastered. We were in the beer garden of our local and Del got the call. A gig had been cancelled, can we fill in at short notice? Del was standing there mobile in hand clinging onto the fence. He swayed a little. Thought about it, and said "Yeah! We'll be there."
"Shit Del! We're pissed we can't play tonight."
"I need the money,and anyway we've got two hours to sober up."
So we dashed of home to get our kit together. Me for my 12 string and my Mandolin, Del to go home and get some sleep, which I thought was pointless.
We got to O'Niells bar and fell through the door.
Tony was totally sober,but resisted saying anything. I could tell he was really pissed with us.
We started playing after Tony had set up. The first set was appalling. I swear at one point, that we all started playing three different songs at the same time. After fifty minutes we came off stage. Del said "I know what the problem is."
"What's that?"
"Not enough beer. We need more beer." So he ordered another round. Then he said "We're getting there, we need another drink each." Eeeek!
So more drinks were ordered. Tony said "we're on in five minutes."
Del said "Best we have a beer each to take on stage with us. Just to make sure."
So more beer was ordered.
We staggered on stage. Now you must realise that this was the weekend of the peterborough Beer festival and the whole audience had been to the festival as well and they were just as pissed as we were.
The second set was incredible we played like we were fucking demons.
At the end Del said "told you so. All we needed was more beer." I'll drink to that.
So tonight we were rehearsing again. With my new band with no name. Some one suggested "Mike Da hat and friends". But I'm not convinced. So if you've any suggestions shout them out.
Snadra never turned up. She was with her beloved.He's off on tour of America this week with his band and it's her last chance for a shag. So I think I'll forgive her that one. No excuses next week though.
Simon thinks he's sold his Lotus Esprit so he'll be buying his J200 very soon.
That's it. Tune in same time same channel for the next installment.

May your God be with you

Rock on

Mikel

1 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

And I was only reading a letter in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend in which a Peterborough based reader described the city as a 'cultural desert'. She's clearly not going to the right gigs... Keep it up!

8:11 am  

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Making it in the sex industry

The power of caffiene. For someone like me it should never be under estimated. Last night I went out to dinner with Denise to a friend of mines house.The chairman of a large porcelein company was there. The people who make toilet bowls and bidets etc (that made for scintillating conversation) What a scoundrel he is.His secretary had to phone him up one day to tell him that two policemen were waiting for him in his office so he said he wasn't feeling well and stayed away from work so he didn't have to explain to the police how he had dented this guys car late at night whilst pissed and pulling away from an illicit rendezvous with this woman he shouldn't have. It's amazing what people confess whilst pissed round the dinner table. But me, I was stone cold sober, because I was driving and so had the advantage of being able to remember everything everyone said, for use at a later date. Ha Ha!!!! Mind you I confess enough stuff to you guys so I guess I'm just as bad. There was a lot of money round that dinner table. One guy was a top man of some tyre company and travels all over europe. He told us something interesting. Two tyre companies merged a while back so the two companies became one but because of the history they remained virtually two companies with one on one floor and the other guys on the floor below. Then the MD decided that was ridiculous they had to merge properly. But it still didn't work because the one lot always turned up at work in their suits and ties and the other guys in jeans and T-shirts. The office space even had demarcation zones where the suits would have their desks and the jerk-offs theirs. So much rivalry and criticism. The suits seriously objected when the jeans guys decided to hold a cricket match in the entrance foyer of the Building, previously they had only just managed to tolerate the golf tournaments in the offices and corridors.
So dinner was nice we had Gnocchi (OK that might not be how you spell it) but it tasted nice then moules maraniere then fruit fondu. Now that was fun. You get all this fruit on a plate in the middle of the table grapes, strawberries, pineapple chunks, raspberries, banana chunks, you name it. Then there is a bowl of molten chocolate with a table candle underneath to keep it melted. You have a spear and get your fruit chunk and dip it in the chocolate then eat it. Eeeek! I love chocolate, but I can't eat it. It was driving me crazy, the smell of hot chocolate wafting across the table was enough to make the hardest heart weaken. So I chose a strawberry and dipped it in. Friends I've got to tell you this it was one of the most delicious mouthfuls of food I have experienced in years. The strawberry so succulent and tasty with the chocolate just melting onto my tongue, it was an almost religious experience, you could even describe it as intensely sexual. God it was nice. But boy did I pay for it. Just one tiny bit of chocolate. I was on a promise last night. Denise had come down to see me and was stopping the night. We got back to my flat and she was there all expectant and naked and being really cute. All I could see was flashing lights and I had a splitting headache. Shit! Thank you GOD! I was losing the power of speach. I started stuttering, hardly romantic but to be honest sex was the last thing on my mind. All I wanted to do was sleep. I fell into bed and passed out. I was woken next morning at 5:30 Denise had to get back to go to work. I was dieing. She left and I went back to bed to wake again at 8:00. I opened the shop. I was not feeling well. I struggled until 1:00 then went to bed again and slept until closing time. All for one poxy little bit of chocolate. I would have preferred a hangover. It would have been better if I'd have drunk too much at least then I know the hangover would be over by 10:00am. Experience has taught me this. As it was I only had one pint all Sunday. Ever felt cheated?

I've got an incredibly good business opportunity for someone who is good with their hands. if you are interested. You may recall that Pat has a client list as long as your arm of perverts, cross dressers and the like. Well she was asked this week if she knew of a discrete carpenter. It seems one of her customers is a baby man, he has since formed a relationship with the dominatrix I told you about a few months ago, well they want building for them, larger versions of cots, high chairs, and changing tables. Really! No questions asked, no pack drill. Then there are the sado masochists who want all sorts of equipment building that I can't begin to describe. They will pay over the odds. So you can forget your high finance deals, your multi national corporations, you just build these guys what they want and you charge what you like. No arguments. Money for old rope. That's where the money is. In sex. I've known that for a long time but not had the courage or the inclination to do anything about it. People will pay good money for their BASIC requirements, and they don't argue for fear of publicity. We could have a franchise "sex toys R us". A branch in every major city or town. We could rake it in. One of her customers is a high court judge. He is so polite with her. She can charge him anything and he pays without question. That's why she is now driving a fuck off sports car and lives in a £300,000 house. And that's from starting with nothing two years ago. What are we doing wrong?

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

stage fright or what?

Well Sandra and I hit Geneva's Bar. We'd been rehearsing all the early evening and got our set note perfect. Simon was late and Sandra was panicking. She's never played live before. Simon and I are old pro's. With the emphasis on old. We met Sandra six months ago as a enthusiastic amateur and we made it our mission in life to get her into a band and train her in the art of playing live, never suspecting it would be our band.
WE got on stage ready for the first number, Sandra says "I can't remember the chords."
"WHat? You played it perfectly earlier."
"It's all gone." and bless her she was shaking like a leaf.
I started playing Rod Stewarts "I don't wanna". It's a good job Im playing a 12 string it's worth two guitars in sound. She fell apart. TRied a few chords then stopped playing tried a few more an stopped again.
Then it was a fleetwood Mac number "dreams" she was singing. That went well and she was getting into her strie. until finally we did Free bird. Sandra slung on her Mandolin and we rocked it out. Brilliant fun.
WE came off stage Sandra threw herself into the arms of her loved one. He's another professional musician. But that's another story.

Anyway in walks some friends of mine. Abi and her band Within. (Check out their website www.within-band.co.uk)To see Abi is to love her, she is a free spirit I guess. It's hard to pin down what it is about her. Her boyfriend describes her as a gift to the world and I can see what he means. She is special. I leant Richard my 12 string and they went on stage. Incredible. Abi has such stage presence and her band plays brilliantly.

Simon phoned today. Wants to go on a road trip. We are on a mission. To buy a Gibson J200 guitar. He's found one in Bath. So we're taking days off work to go and buy it.
J200? Hey it's a geetar. But not just any old geetar it's a fuck off geeetar. costs about uk£2000. Eeek he's selling his Lotus esprit to buy it.








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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

THE GREAT BRITISH SUNDAY

what better way to spend Sunday or indeed any other Sunday than to have a lie in with the missus (without Joshua jumping all over you) followed by a leisurely read of one of the multisection broadsheets over breakfast of fresh brewed coffee and cornflakes. During which you wonder why there are so many sections to your Sunday paper. Appointments? Who the hell wants to worry about appointments on a Sunday, only the sad bastards who can't get a job any other day of the week. And what about the business page? Who cares? The shops are shut anyway. Well ours is.It's supposed to be a day of rest so why encourage people to carry on working when they should be relaxing with the kids. Hang on that's a contradiction in terms. Kids and relaxation don't actually go hand in hand. I've come to the conclusion that the only reason I get this multisection broadsheet is because it has a damn good TV section so I don't have to buy the Radio Times or TV quick and get all the soap updates and the inside stories on programmes I don't ever watch.
Anyway I've read what I've wanted to read and chivvy up the kids and go to the football. Our team "The Royal Oak" thrash the opponents 4:2. It was a great match. Now as you know I've been supporting "The Royal Oak" team for years. I even get offered coffee at half time. But the truth is I've never once set foot inside that particular pub. They don't have a huge following usually there's me, Phil, my brother in law, the landlord of the pub and his wife and the substitutes and an old chap called George who must be at least one hundred years old. Today he nudged me after he had said something to the opponents coach saying "Do you know what? I love to pull his pisser." Then after the victory we retire to the pub. This time the Botolph Arm where we join the other Sunday lunchtime set over a couple of pints of Sam Smiths. So there we are, Phil and I discussing Mendeleev and the periodic table while the other Sunday lunchtimers are chatting passing round the sections of the same broadsheet I'd left at home. The kids wanted to play snooker and we gave them a quid. Later the barman came over to us to ask us if we could tone the children down a mite. They were getting a tad boisterous, argueing over who's turn it was and whether a shot could be retaken and the finer points of the rules for instance whether Rosalind could legally belt Caroline over the head with the cue. Christ! it's not as if any of them are Steve Davis. But that's tame compared with what they were doing earlier. You remember I mentioned the periodic table well they thought it was a hoot to think up new compounds that spelt out rude words. For instance Sulphur Hydogen Iodine and Titanium. They rocked with laughter. Phil and I tried to maintain our composure by showing a joint face of indifference and at the same time wondering if other parents had the same problem. That's the problem with having intelligent children they still go through the toilet humour stage just like the rest of them but it's more sophisticated.
"Iodine Carbon Uranium Phospherous." said one of them and they all fell about. We sat their stoney faced.
"Don't you get it?" they screamed. "I see you pee!" and they fell about even more.
God what have we spawned?
So suitably flushed with the old Sam Smiths we head on for home and a siesta in front of the telly. It would have been a great film but I missed most of it. "The lady Vanishes". Well she Vanished and then I woke up and there she was again playing a piano with Elliot Gould and Cybill Shepherd walking into the room. And the titles ran. So what happened in the meantime? Who cares? It's Sunday.

So what happened at the fireworks? Well Dangerous Dave let off a Smoke flare. And it stained the side of the swimming pool bright red. Whoops! He tried to clean it with a yard brush but the stain is there to stay. Rob Harrison suggested that we put on our dry suits get in the water and take a wire brush to the pool side. And if that didn't work he was going to put a wire brush on his black and decker. Now I don't know if that was the drink talking or not but if he's getting in the pool with a Black and Decker I'm getting out. I don't fancy two hundred and forty volts in the same water as me. Amy lit a firework and accidently dropped it into the water. It carried on burning, glowing eerily like something from the Quatermass experiment. Pulsing as each section caught. Other than that it was a good night.

Yet again I have been asked if all these stories I tell you are true. Do I make it all up? Well friends I have to tell you this. It's all true. Everything I tell you really did happen, give or take a few liberties of poetic licence. A few embellishments. But it's a writers perogative. I've got to make it interesting. For instance today I could tell you I got up went to the football went to the pub came home fell asleep and woke up. What sort of story is that? At least I don't have the excuse that I was born in Peterborough.
"Nothing ever happens to me."
"Why?"
"Well I was born in Peterborough."
"So?"
"Well you've lived. You've been about. You've done this, done that, I was born in Peterborough so what chance do I have?"
Surely there must be someone born in Peterborough who has done something? I can't believe that a prerequisite of having an exciting life is to have been born anywhere but Peterborough. Perhaps it's the local mentality. Thank Christ I didn't get here til I was twenty something.
I tried an experiment on my children (who were born here) "tell me the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you."
They shrugged their shoulders. Nothing.
"Ok what about the most interesting thing that has ever happened?"
Again a shrug of the shoulders.
"Gemma. What about the time we got up real early in the morning to watch the meteors?"
"Oh yeh! That was good."
"Tell me about it."
"Well.......... we got up and looked at meteors."
"And................"
"It was cold."
"And..............."
"It was early in the morning every one was asleep."
"And.............."
"And ..... and .....I was born in bloody Peterborough alright?"
SO there you have it. If your wife is pregnant keep her away from Peterborough. Try Rotherham.
In fact try not to even concieve your child in Peterborough. You may live to regret it.
I was fortunate I was born in Wales. OK sound the death knell straight away I lose all crediblity now.
Bloody welsh bastard. But my saving grace was my parents are both thoroughbred Yorkshire people.
Yorkshire, Gods country. I spent my early years in Yorkshire learning to speak like a northerner. I had to because at school they'd beat the crap out of me because I was a southern bastard who spoke funny. Then when we moved to Buckinghamshire I used to get the crap beaten out of me because I was a northern bastard who spoke funny. Then we moved to Cyprus and everyone spoke funny. I liked Cyprus. Then we moved back to blighty and I hadn't a fucking clue how to speak. So I adapted to whereever I found myself. That's one of the problems with being a forces brat. You travel a lot. I remember I got to Aylesbury and one of my first friends there was Paul Merridan. I asked him where he lived he said "Princes Risborough." So I aked him how long he'd lived there.
"All my life."
"WHAT? ALL your life?"
"Yes why?"
And to him it was the most natural thing in the world. To me I couldn't believe anyone could stay in the same village all their lives let alone the same house. It was a revelation to me. I'd just assumed that everyone moved every two years.
"So Paul what's happened to you in your life?"
"Nothing."
"anything exciting?"
"NO I was born in Fucking Princes Risborough alright?"
There could be a trend building up here. IT may not just be the Peterborough effect.

Here's a thing, this year I celebrate thirty five years of having normal ears. When I was born they had to use Barnes Wallis forceps to deliver me because my ears were so large. I mean they stuck out so wide they were stuck in the uterus. Worse than a breach birth. It was touch and go whether I'd make it or not. Well I mentioned at school they used to beat the crap out of me because I spoke like a southerner well that's not the whole truth. They used to beat they crap out of me because not only did I speak like a southerner I had these huge ears. I was called "Dumbo" or "Jumbo" or "Big ears" or "Mickey Mouse" or even "Mickey Big Ears". They used to throw me out of upstairs windows to see if I could fly. Well to a five year old that was really hurtful. So when we got south I had plastic surgery. Thirty five years ago. You can still see the scars. My ears are now svelte. Streamlined. I don't look like Prince Charles. And with all his money, or mummys money why didn't he have the same operation. He could have come into hospital with me and met Ringo Starr like I did. Well he said he was Ringo Starr and what can a six year old do but believe? Looking back what Ringo Star was doing in an RAF hospital was anyones guess.

I'd like to tell you more but I live in fucking Peterborough alright?

Mikel

1 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Hilarious, and you write beautifully. I particularly loved the children turning elements from the periodic table into filthy acronyms. And then outdoing you with textspeak. Genius! And the comments about Peterborough are so just. Life in Stamford and at Stamford School (for philistines) was made only just bearable by the thought that I didn't have to go to Peterborough each day like my brother. But then again, he did climb out of the window during science lessons and come back with ordered ice-creams from the local van. Hell, we weren't even allowed to eat in the street...

Quink
hackneylookout.blogspot.com

8:38 pm  

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