Monday, August 02, 2004

Mike, Del and Tonys awesome adventure

It was a wild weekend. Saturday night we were playing at the Wheatsheaf. I pacled all my stuff and started walking up the road to the pub, guitar case in one hand, mandolin case in the other leads and hardware in a pack on my back. As I walked past the Cavendish pub I looked through the window there was Mr Bees sitting in the window playing an accordion. He saw me and shouted “Get in here right now!”
“Get in here. We need a guitarist.”
“I can’t I’m due at the Wheatsheaf.”
Two guys came out the pub and gently guided me in “What you drinking?” one of them asks.
“Really I’ve got to be at the Wheatsheaf.”
“Fuck the Wheatsheaf. This is a much better pub.” A pint was put on the table in front of me. “Come on then give us a tune.”
I got out the 12 string and started playing. I played about half a dozen songs when my mobile went. “Where are you Mike?”
“I’m in the Cavendish.”
“What the fuck are you doing there?”
“I’ve been kidnapped, I’m playing here for a while.” Turning off the phone I said “I’ve got to go guys. They need me at the Wheatsheaf.” And started packing away the guitar.
The landlord said “I want you to play here. Next Saturday.”
“I can’t I’m booked.”
“I’ll pay you £90.”
“I’m free the Saturday after.”
“Done!” He slapped his hand down hard on the bar.
I made it the the Wheatsheaf just a little late but it wasn’t a problem.
The landlord came to us and said “I’ve got something to show you.” I already knew what it was. The flat roof. And so up on the roof, (there’s a song there somewhere) he gave us his best sales pitch for his barbeque. OK we relented. We did a deal. We’d turn up at six and play til 7:30 where upon Del and Tony would clear off to the Swiss cottage and I’d stay and play some more until 9:30 then follow them to the Swiss Cottage. Seems a good plan. We're going to play "Get back" by the beatles. Seems appropriate.
We set up and sat on our stools. Tony shouted out “Evening. What do you want us to play?”
Someone shouted out “Sweet home Alabama” So we did. From then on it seemed a game for the audience, to try and catch us out by shouting for something we didn’t know. But we managed to play just about everything. Maybe not all the way through. But we gave it a go. Fifty percent of the stuff we played that night was stuff we’d never played before on stage. But it was a great night. Del was getting smashed two jug fulls of some orange Malibu and Archers cocktail to which he added to each jug 2 bacardis and two vodkas. That was apart from the pints of beer he had. Toward the end of the evening he turned to Tony and I and said “I’m feeling a little wibbly boys.”
Most of the audience were pretty well smashed by the end of the evening particularly this lady who is quite high up in Tescos. She was shouting at Del for all the pub to hear. “You know Del seven years ago I would have fucked you.”
“Why didn’t you say anything then?”
“I was married seven years ago and now you are married.”
We went home. Next morning Del drove past my place, Diane was driving. He had dark sunglasses on. He looked rough. He’d got home and proceeded to demolish another 5 pints of beer and some Rakki ( I still don’t know how to spell that) finally getting to bed at 5:30am. I quickly loaded my car and followed them to Folkesworth for the music festival.
Dels first words were “Orange whip?” a reference to the blues brothers film. Meaning “Beer?” It had to be done. So before he sobered up we had a beer. Then another. Musicians turned up from all over. Setting up equipment and doing sound checks. We just tuned our guitars. Sound check? What’s that? Rehearsals. what’s that?
“Are you boys doing a sound check?!”
“No we’re going for a beer.” You see we’re true professionals, we get our priorities right. At this stage I must point out to anyone paying attention that quite quickly I’d persuaded a young lady to drive my car home for me, so don’t start on at me about drinking and driving.
We were supposed to be the headline act. But someone in their infinite wisdom decided that this little bit of totty, fresh out of kindergarden, who sang to backing tapes, should have the main slot because she won some talent competition and was destined for higher things. Well after listening to her I guess the only higher things would be stacking the top shelves at Tescos. Meeow! Put your claws away deary! No it’s not just me. She cleared the field of audience. They all went home after she sang a couple. All the other bands had a strict set list, they’d been rehearsing for months. We got on stage still not knowing what we were going to play. So nothing new there then. Very soon Del broke a string on his guitar so any plan we might have had went out the window anyway. Del picked up Tonys Ovation and Tony just went walkabout with the radio mike around the field we were playing in. Half the time we couldn’t see him at all as he ducked in and out of the crowd but he never stopped singing or cracking jokes.
At the end of the day David, the shows Compere, announced that “For those of you still not drunk enough Ad Hock (that’s us) will continue to play inside the pub.”
So we went into the pub with our guitars. No amplifiers, no microphones just us. All we could do was find basic sing-a-long songs, the crowd went wild, singing at the tops of their voices. Del was slumped in a corner and Tony stopped for a fag break so I broke into “Living doll” ok it’s cheesy, but everyone sang along, then “Trailer for sale or rent” followed by “Lucky man” by the Verve. Finally Del got a second or was it third or fourth wind and got up to play again. We did “Irish rover” all of us just bouncing round the tables with our guitars “The fields of Athone rye”. The drunken looks of joy on the faces of the crowd was wonderful to behold as they screamed for more. Finally alcohol and exhaustion took it’s toll. We stopped playing. A chant broke out “More More More” then it was the beer mugs on the tables thump thump thump. More More More. I said “OK I’ll do a medley over old London drinking songs, my old man, show me the way to go home, and knees up mother brown.”
“You fucking dare.”
“Don’t go there Mike. We’re all too pissed and too tired.”
So we walked out the pub to a load of cheering and singing. They were still singing as we drove out the pubs car park. So that’s my weekend, we’re doing it all again next week. MY life may be a lot of things but it aint boring.
How was your weekend?
Rock on dudes. Photo’s to follow as soon as my official photographer Paul Smashy, E-mails me them.


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