Thursday, June 30, 2005

Teaching Music

For years I've been trying to teach my children to play guitar. I mean for chrissakes their mother is a musician like me so surely some of our genes would be passed on. But no. To be fair Jamie sings like an Angel note perfect, he even manages to knock out a tune on the keyboards, but stick a stringed instrument in his hand he hasn't a clue. Gemma has her own guitar that she loves and hugs like it's a cuddly toy from her cot. It's absolute shite. It's never in tune. I tell her to use my old guitar that I leave at the old marital home, but she doesn't, she clings onto her old battered nyloned stringed abortion for an instrument. I can't for the life of me remember where she got it from.
Anyway tonight I experimented with the children. I took my Mandolin for them to have a go at. It's small, it's cute, it has eight strings in four pairs. Now this is the amazing thing. I showed them three chords on the mandolin. G C and D. Within ten minutes they were playing "Knocking on heavens door"*. I sat up and took notice. I showed them "When I'm dead and Gone" by Medicine Head. No problemo. OK let's go for "Copperhead Road" piece of piss. Even the fiddly bits. Wow!

* Purists among you will notice that knocking on heavens door is G D Am G D C. Well on a mandolin you can get away with playing C instead of Am if the guitar is playing Am. So they were playing GDC GDC.

So now I've got the new Mike Da Hat approach to teaching young children to play guitar. You start them on Mandolin first. For a small child it's very user friendly. Then when they've learnt the basics on Mandolin you introduce the guitar. It's got to be a winner. I've proved it with my own children.

Last week I got to the bizarre situation where my children where shouting at me to turn down the music. Usually it's the parents who scream at the kids "Turn the bleedin racket down." We were in the car driving someplace, anyplace just cruisin' and the kids were screaming "Turn it down!"
"But this is the Stereophonics." (local boy in a photograph as I recall)
"Give it a rest Dad."
"How about some Oasis then?"
"NO!"
"I've got some Metallica here."
"NO!"
What do my kids listen to? Oh yeah that'll be "Phantom of the opera" or "Cats" or "Moulin Rouge". God! What have I spawned?

Meanwhile the ex is in Worcester this weekend singing on stage with The Fortunes. Yes I know that goes back a bit. OK a lot. The Fortunes? You must remember them. They did "You've got your troubles I've got mine".
So this week I've been downloading the lyrics and chords and the music for her so she can brush up on it and make a killing. Yeah Yeah Yeah She's my ex wife, but in a way I still love her to death. I can't live with her. But she's kinda special. Actually between you and me we've been in discussion about doing something together, musically. She's a great singer and not a bad guitarist.She also plays flute and bass recorder. Whether it happens or not is debateable. But it would be kinda fun. But then again, do I want to go back to her telling me I play too loud, too fast, too aggressively, I don't sing in tune and all that? Maybe the idea is better than the reality.
While we keep each other at a distance our relationship is perfect, we're best friends. She phones me for chats regularly. We have a laugh. We take the piss out of each other mercilessly. And WE DON'T ARGUE.

Which reminds me of my brother. He had a perfect marriage (until he died in a diving accident) he and his wife had a house, a beautiful house, but he also had his "huffy flat". When he and his wife started getting on each others nerves he would disappear to his huffy flat in a huff. A few days later they would have a reunion and things would be perfect again. They went on like this for years and always remained true to each other. I know some peoples "huffy flat" is just the garden shed. Or the bench at the end of the road, or the pub. But it illustrates the fact that no matter how close you are to someone you always need your own space.

Oh dear! There's been a crash outside at the traffic lights. Some boy racer has just driven into the back of someone with a sickening crash. The boy racer seems very keen to settle the matter very quickly and get on his way. I suspect he's been drinking................ there's raised voices now.........the older chap in the Rover is keen to phone the police to settle the matter.... there could be trouble............. surprise surprise the boy racer is suddenly very apologetic.......... the older chap sees he has the upper hand as he inspects the damage to his rear end. Will he phone the police or wont he? I'm watching from my brilliant vantage point of inside my window.... shit hands have been shaken... details exchanged.... they drive off.

And there's a police car cruising by just two minutes too late.

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I Double Dare You

Last night Del and I were batting the breeze and discussing the finer points of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, when we decided that perhaps it would be a good idea to go to the pub to check to see if we've still got a booking for Sunday the 24th July, as no one has mentioned it since we were first asked to play. So we high tailed it down to the pub in the Delmobile to talk to the Landlord.
The landlord was out but due back so we decided to play pool while we waited. There was a couple at the bar they'd been on a low heat all evening and were coming to a boil. Her in all her curvaceous lovelyness and him thin weedy and supporting Manchester United. He looked up from the bosom of his best friend and said "That's a fucking great hat you got mate."
"Thanks."
"I'm D. and you guys are?"
"He's Del I'm Mike Da Hat."
"Mick the hat. eh?"
"No Mike."
"OK Mick. Whatsay me and my girl here give you a game of pool?" He turns round and touches his girlfriend in a manner more intimate than is really necessary in public. She reaches down and grabs his crutch.
It is Decided that D. will team up with Del and the curvy girlfriend C. will play with me.... er... be in my team as it were. All through the game they were each trying to put each other off by spanking each other at first while the other tried to play a shot. It escalated into crutch grabbing to put each other off. Finally D. is leaning over the table and C. stands behind him and grabs his crutch with both hands.
"Go on then. Open the door let the old boy out." he shouts, she laughs, "Go on then, I dare you, get him out show him the world, I double dare you."
Del and I look at each other. She wouldn't would she? Would she?
Oh my God! She would. The zip came down and she plunged her hands into the guys jeans fiddling around trying to free the wild beast inside. meanwhile the guy is still leaning over the pool table lining up a shot. He misses. She pulls her hands away in triumph. Del and I were spared the horror.
The landlord walks in with a minibus full of speedway fans and carrier bags full of Chicken Jalfrezi, nan bread and special rice. Last orders had been called but the landlord makes sure all his mates have a pint placed in front of them. You can't eat a late night curry without a few pints of lager to wash it down.
So he confirms we're playing, in fact we're the opening act of the day. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's good because then we can get our shift over and done with and then have a few beers and enjoy the rest of the acts. (There's nothing worse than being abstinent because you're due to play soon.) But it's bad because we wont have much of an audience at 12 o'clock midday. Oh well. C'est la vie. At least at midday there's a good chance we wont go on stage falling down drunk..... yeah................ as if.............we will be .... ahem.... quite sober.
Rock on dudes and keep it live.
I thank you.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Drunk in charge

So I'm in this pub minding my own business playing guitar, sitting on a bar stool is this guy who's been getting stewed all night. His girlfriend is close she's pretty hammered too and getting a bit amorous. She flings herself at him arms wrapped round his neck and plants a huge one on his cheek. It takes him by surprise as he's not settled down too well on his stool.
The first thing I notice, after she's flung herself at him, is his arms go outward. He's teetering on the edge. Just one tiny finger push could put him back on all four legs of his stool, he's so finely balanced, he's like one of those tall chimney stacks that's just been blown up. They hang in the air for a second thinking about it before finally toppling to the ground.
The guy topples, his girlfriend topples with him like she's flying through air her feet off the ground like a freefall parachutist. He smashes his head on a corner of the wall, for a second he doesn't move. The girl cradles his head with her hands and finds blood. She starts screaming. At this point I stop playing guitar as I can't compete with her screaming not even with the PA system turned right up.
The guys comes to pretty quickly and wants to get up, he wakes up in a crowd, all telling him to stay exactly where he is. They guy doesn't like lieing on the floor amongst the beer stains and dog ends and I don't blame him but they hold him down, and call for more towels to staunch the blood that's pouring from his head. Eventually the guy threatens to punch out someones light if they don't "get the fuck off me and let me stand". They let him stand. "I'm going home now."
"What about the ambulance?" asks the samaritan who called for it.
"If you don't get out of my way it'll be here just in time for you to be hitting the floor."
"er.... I'll cancel it then?"
"You do that." and he walked out the pub.

Yesterday afternoon three girls were roaming the centre lane of the main road outside my gaff. They were all pissed and carrying helium party baloons and wearing sparkly crop tops and huge hoop earrings. Cars swerved this way and that to avoid them as they weaved in and around the traffic. After a few minutes they stopped a car by almost sitting on it's bonnet. "We've got ourselves a lift." shout's one of the girls and rips open the passenger front door. A single decker bus at that exact moment was coming up behind and had to swerve onto the pavement to avoid the girl and the car door, she just laughed oblivious to the drivers curses. They drive off in their hi-jacked car.

Yet again the ambulance service has been called to give attention to the drunks that have taken up residence in the grave yard opposite. As early as 8:30am they can be seen like a trail of ants walking to and fro from their "nest" in the graveyard to the corner off licence and back carrying bags of special brew or Frosty Jack. As a couple of the drunks walked past me I heard one say to the other "....I don't think that's a good idea to do that, you don't want to be doing bird again......"

Peterborough may be a lot of things ..... but it aint boring.

Rock on dudes

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Del and I are green this time. That's because we were using four colour stage lighting and Paul wasn't using flash. Dels a blur, maybe because he is playing so fast, or maybe it's because in real life Del is a blur.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

Mobile phones 4 U

The delivery man just came in with a new mobile phone for my assistant manager.
"Ah ha must be Sammies new phone." I said.
"That's right. From O2."
I look at the packaging, there is no mention of O2 in the outside of the parcel no mention of a mobile phone.
The deliveryman went on ".... they've had to put the phones in plain packages because the phones we're being stolen, the management were finding loads of old wrappers tucked behind cupboards and inside other parcels with the phones gone. So now they use plain packaging."
"So how did you know it was a mobile phone in this one?"
"Because it's in a plain package with absolutely nothing written on it."
Hmmmm.
So it seems parcel force staff all have the very latest mobile phones. Oh yeah and I'm told City link staff are also very up to date phone wise.

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OK I know it's a bit late but this is Del and I on stage at the Wheatsheaf. My official photographer Paul Smashy was having a bad day as this was the best shot. Usually he's much better. It's a bit blurry but it's immediate it's raw, the colour isn't great but it's got that sleezy feel to it. God knows we can be sleezy when we want to. Posted by Hello

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Friday, June 24, 2005

Wasps

So mother has a gardener. I'm not quite sure what he does. Because I never notice anything having been done in her garden except today. Mother phones in a panic. Her "gardener" had found a wasps nest in amongst the honeysuckle. He'd given it a few taps with a stick and hundreds of pissed off wasps flew out forcing everyone to take cover in the house. I said I'd come over and sort it out meanwhile she should leave it alone and get rid of the gardener in case he pisses them off some more. You may recall I've had some experience with people who take out vendettas on wasps. They usually lose.
So I high tailed it over to Mothers and nervously she pointed out the wasp nest. About ten inches diameter. Not huge but big enough. It was deep in amongst the foliage. It wasn't going to be easy.

I grabbed a pair of secateurs from the shed.
"You're not going to try and cut them all up are you?"
"No Mother just trim away the foliage so I can get at the nest."
"Are you sure that's wise? Is it safe?"
"Mother I'm a professional."
"You might get stung."
"No I wont. You've just got to know what you're doing."
"Oh if you think so.But be careful."

So I started very gently cutting away at the honeysuckle. Bit by bit. A few snips here a few there. Everyso often the wasps would come out if a shook the foliage too much and I'd just stop dead still and back off for a few moments letting them settle again. Then back to cut away more.
When I had got enough cut away to see the nest properly I took ouit the secret weapon. Wasp killer spray. It smells sweet and sickly. You don't want to breath it in too much as it will give you a blinding headache and make you feel like shit for a few hours. Trust me on that one. But that's small potatos compared to what it does to the wasps. It works really quick and they drop like stones almost instantly. I soaked the paper shell of the nest liberally. Then set about cutting more foliage away. Then with one last snip dropped the thing right into a sainburies carrier bag. More spray all over and seal it up tight in the bag by tieing the handles in a knot. Then into a second bag and tied up as well.
And that's how it's done. No fuss no excitement. No getting stung. No angry wasps swarming all over the place.
If you want to know what not to do then it's here.

Stay safe playmates..... and ...er...... rock on......not alf.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Reefer Cats

The other night Charlie came round wanting to record his very latest song. Chrikey Mulikey he writes a song a week, the boy never stops. So we mucked about recording til 10:20 when a friend phoned wanting to go to the pub. So we went and sat in the beer garden chatting. We chatted so long the pub turned off all the lights in the garden, the lights in the pub toilets, and then the rest. In the darkness my friend lights up a joint.
"You know" he says, trying not to exhale as he speaks "cats love marijuana. They can't get enough of it."
"Really?" I say trying to figure out where that statement came from.
"It's true. You spark up and every cat in the neighbour hood will be round trying to get a toke."
"Christ! Reefer cats. Great name for a band you know."
"They're suckers for the stuff."
Next thing I know a cat turns up near our table then another and the first jumps up onto the table and gives my friend a hard stare. "Put some of that shit my way man," purred the cat. the cat mooches around my friend who's chuffing away nicely, suddenly the cat falls off the table and rolls around in the grass. I'm gobsmacked. I've never seen anything like it.
My friend just grins. "See I told you cats love dope. Now is that a happy cat or what?"
The cat is still rolling around on it's back with it's paws in the air, it certainly does look extremely happy. The other cat comes close. It's not so bold. He meows at it and makes little clicking noises. It comes a little closer. Meanwhile my friend is still chuffing away on his joint and suddenly the second cat is on it's back rolling around the grass on the otherside of the table."There you go." says my friend "isn't it great to give our little animal friends so much pleasure."When the joint was gone the cats buggered off too. Fairweather friends.
So next time you wonder why cats are so laid back and sleep a lot. It's probably because they're all dope fiends. It's a groovy funky cat type thang.

Rock on Dudes

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Madre Mia

So after going with Del to the pub. I came home to write a piece about Del. At Dels request. But as I got home and went round the corner to my back door, I found a body on my doorstep. Oh Fuck! Not another? I check to see if it was a stiff. But there was life.
I dialled 999.
Which service?
Ambulance.
So I'm feeling guiilty because I'm calling an ambulance for someone who's obviously drunk as a skunk. Evidence being one half eaten donor kebab and a supersize portion of chips. What if they come here and someone dies of a heart attack. But then if I didn't call 999 how would I feel if the next morning I opened up to find him dead on my doorstep? So I passed the buck a bit, I explained that the guy was just obviously drunk. It wasn't a heart attack, or a car crash.
I explained everything.
I'll stay on the line with you until the ambulance arrives.
Hmmmm that's new, never noticed that before, but then I've never phoned about a body on my doorstep.
The ambulance arrives. The ambulance girl is seriously cute. Her partner a man in his early thirties has short cropped hair like a Marine. Together they examined the body declared him drunk and proceeded to kick the living shit out of him to wake him up. That's not strictly true, they shook him gently.
Hello! Can you hear me?
Ugh.
Can you open your eyes for me?
Urgh
I think he's going to be sick Do you have any of those kidney bowls you can hold under his mouth I don't want to be clearing up vomit from my back door tomorrow morning.
What's your name?
Urglechuck
What was that?
Urglechuk
I think he's Polish.
I think you could be right. Look there's his mobile phone we'll see if we can't call someone to get him......... what's Polish for Mother?...........no here it is "Madre"
Is that polish for Mother?
Must be. I'll phone.
Five minutes later a black car pulls into my yard. A short dark haired women get's out, she runs to the body lying there. Flings her arms round him and starts wailing, smothering him in kisses.
For chrissakes he's gonna chuck up any second. Then you'll be sorry.
It turns out the woman was his wife and she'd been searching the streets for him for hours, his Mother had called her on her mobile after the ambulance man called her.
They coaxed him to his wifes car and did up his seat belt. The wife is still kissing him in the car and finally drives off.
The ambulance guys thanked me for being diligent and my anxiety about wasting their time was lessened.

And that's why I can't write Dels piece. He'll be gutted. May never speak to me again. Cast out into the wilderness. The barbecue cancelled. And all drinking priveliges withdrawn. Will he understand? Find out in the next exciting episode

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Alton Towers

Oh dear! oh dear! Have Alton Towers got it so wrong?
They have a new ride it's the most death defying ride of all time it's faster than a Ferrari more accelleration than a space shuttle. So they sat down and decided to think what to call it.
They've already got "OBLIVION".
They've already got "NEMESIS".
So why didn't they choose something like "The predator" or "Doomsday" or anything....... any thing would have been better than what they chose


which


was


"Rita".

Rita? Who thought of that? It hardly stirs the blood into a frenzy of adrenalin and expectation. With a name like that I'd be expecting to go on a ride comprising cups and saucers and little plastic parasols.

So if anyone can think of a better name than Rita, for the worlds most terrifying ride, post it in the comments box, and I'll send a letter to Alton Towers suggesting the alternative name.

Rock on Dudes

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Monday, June 20, 2005

Kareoke

I've got an interesting gig coming up. Mike Stewart is running a kareoke night at a Goodbarns Yard this Sunday. He asked me to come along and sing. Fuck that! I don't do kareoke. I did once under duress and sang "On the Trail of the lonesome pine" that massive rock hit by Laurel and Hardy. It got a laugh. So this led to a discussion and an idea. We mix kareoke with live music. It's new, it's innovative, it's different. So the idea is I'm going to turn up with my trusty Ovation and bash out a few numbers in between the Britney wannabees and the Frank Sinatra wistfuls singing "My way". Ineveitably there will be soneone singing "Lady in red" which is the bane of my life. I've lost count of the times someone has come up to me (drunk) and said "Do you do 'Lady in Red'?" and by coincedence I've also lost count of the times I've said "Fuck off!"
I'll be by myself again. Del can't do that night due to the fact he's booked already to play somewhere else. That'll be "The Whistle stop" at Tallington then.

Meanwhile as I was writing this the phone rang. A neighbour of mine had just been attacked outside her home by (so she described) a Pakistani. I dropped everything and ran round. She was OK but badly shaken by the experience. We debated calling the police but she couldn't think to describe him other than he was of an asian appearence. He was long gone. He was after her handbag. To her credit she stood up to him and gave as good as she got and he ran away when a couple appeared walking down the road.

Meanwhile in lovely Peterborough we have a park next to the river. The site of The Peterborough Festival in two weeks time. Contractors were due to start building marquis and fences today, well they were except the park has been invaded by Gypsies. There are caravans all over the park. The contractor will not start work until the Gypsies leave fearing for the safety of their equipment. The council have asked them to leave but they have point blank refused to go. Now they are twiddling their thumbs wondering what to do. A court order to make them leave takes a week. Time is running out for the festival. You may have noticed in the papers that Gypsies for the second time have taken over a cricket ground. Thus depriving the local community of an ammenity. Del can not agree with me on this one. He advocates understanding and integration and political correctness but as he has a high powered job in the government he HAS to think like that. Whereas most of the people I talk to advocate sending in the S.A.S. A full strike force. Bombs, missiles pick axe handles etc to reclaim our ammenities. God that makes me sound very right wing, which I'm not. I would be the last person to pick up arms. But it does annoy the fuck out of me that they are able to play the system with impunity. To take advantage of the law. They have rights. Del will agree with me on that. But they know they have so many days from when they are asked to leave and they use those days, leaving just before the court order comes into force.

Political correctness sometimes seems a joke. Common sense is taken out of our hands. Someone is accountable for everything. If you trip over a lose paving stone you can sue the council if the paving stone is so many millimetres above the rest. Previously they would tell you to look where you're walking. hey I tripped over a tree root in the woods. Who can I sue? Oh yeah that'll be the forestry commision then. They should make the trees grow roots in a European standard pattern. I'm exaggerating of course. All these laws are there to protect us. To save us from unscrupulous people who are out to maim and kill us through their inaction or laxity. To make people accountable for anything they do. So of course people take advantage of that. It's never anyones fault if they have a mishap it's always someone elses fault, and they are going to pay for it.

Meanwhile my friend Chris ( a pawn broker) has been fined £5000 for not registering for the Al Quieda (spelling?) legislation. Apparently he must register and have a folder containing all the transactions he's entered into that exceed £10,000. Because they MIGHT be terrorists laundering money. Not only that but in each of his outlets he must have a fully trained officer in charge of such dealings. This new directive has been in force for three years now. He didn't know anything about it. He had a letter a year ago about it and thought it was a joke. Well you would, wouldn't you? So he told them he wasn't paying the fine citing Tony Blairs Concord ammendment that said Customs and Excise could not be heavy handed. They dropped the fine to £500. He still wont pay. It's in arbitration now. It's a joke. Honest people trying to make a living are being penalised, left right and centre. Try starting your own business and see if I'm right. There is always someone who wants money out of you for nothing. We can't even play the radio in our shop without the Peforming Rights Society wanting a royalty from it. My father when he worked here used to listen to the Archers while he worked fixing stuff. The performing rights society stopped him being able to listen to the radio whilst at work because the public could hear it. For Chrissakes radio is free. Everyone listens to the radio and you don't need a licence. So why can't he listen to the radio while he fixes shavers? If we employed anyone who wasn't family we would have to employ all sorts of safety measures. We have to have a emergency exit sign over the door in case of fire. There's only one door. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that if there's a fire you get out the door you came in. So we don't employ anyone who isn't family. We have people working WITH us. They are self employed. They pay us for the work we give them. So far the government doesn't mind if we kill our own through neglect.
Job specification. You don't do what's not specified in your job. I was inspired a few years ago by a Japanese guy who was head of Panasonic UK. he wouldn't have any of that. His motto was "you do what has to be done". When I met the managing Director of Panasonic UK he was dressed in blue overalls and he was picking up rubbish around the factory. He was leading by example. A great man. Small in stature but huge in my eyes.

My father has a story of a broken window when he was Warrant Officer in charge of Princess Marys Hospital RAF Halton. He called out the glazier. The glazier informed him that he couldn't do the job because it was a wooden framed window. So it needed a carpenter. The carpenter was called and he removed the broken glass but couldn't replace the glass because it was a glaziers job. So the glazier was called back. He replaced the glass. Then he couldn't repaint the window because it was a painters job. So a painter was called. This is what your taxes are paying for. Beurocracy gone mad. It's insane. Where is common sense? Everyone protecting their own arses. No one capable or willing to take responsibility for anything without insurance. I didn't fuck up. It was someone elses fault. The buck stops here. Meanwhile it's costing us dear.
Where does the buck stop? Think about it.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Stilton Music Festival

Today I played a music festival in Stilton. OK it's not Glastonbury or reading or the Isle of Wight. I was one of eight acts to appear on stage. Del didn't turn up so I went on stage by myself. The sound system was brilliant and everything was crystal clear. I went on stage about 4pm in the afternoon. It was bloody hot. 34C in the shade today. Incredibly hot. Someone said it reached 35 in places. I had several pints of lager and numerous bottles of water and never went to the toilet once. It was a great day. Simon played with Alison right at the beginning when not many people had turned up. Then he played again with Sacred Heart, both times the sound was brilliant and they were kicking. Then Lois and Dave went up and played their duet stuff. Absolutely fantastic. Dave plays acoustic guitar brilliantly and his wife Lois sings shaking her marraccas. They're middle aged but who cares I'm middle aged and between the lot of us we showed the young ones how it's done. Then it was my turn. I went on and played. As usual being on stage I couldn't really hear a thing. So I really didn't know how it was coming across. There was something wrong with the microphone. I kept getting electric shocks off it. When I was singing if my lips brushed the Mike I got a belt. It put me off a few times. I got through three songs and then thought I've had enough of this. So I stopped and called Dave. "Dave the microphone is live."
"It's supposed to be you're singing."
"No I'm getting electric shocks from it." all this I'm saying through the microphone so the audience could hear. Dave came over and touched it. "What's your problem?"
"I'm getting belts off the microphone."
"Well dont touch the microphone at the same time as the guitar."
"Yeah right." and he grabbed the microphone and pushed a finger tip onto my shoulder. I went into fake spasms on my guitar stool. We laughed. I carried on making sure I didn't get so close to the mike from then on. So I finished off my set and got off. Everyone said it was a good performance despite me being put off by the electric shocks from the microphone, (I made a few mistooks)
The next act on stage was a girl on guitar. She refused to use the microphone I'd had and so they gave her another. She was good. very clear voice pitch perfect and nice finger picking style on guitar. Next up Briony. What can I say? Last year Briony was on a similar bill to me and I slated her in my blog much to the disgust of various people who read it. This year I still dont rate her very highly but I must concede she's got better, she had more stage presence, more confidence in her voice and was generally more professional. The only trouble is she's a Britney wannabee and I just can't find any enthusiasm for her. Although she did tell me she's starting recording her new album next week in Bristol.So I really enjoyed myself today. Smashy broke my folding chair and I'm not going to let him forget it. He sat in it while I was on stage and ripped the arm off it as he pulled himself up to stand. He has more strength than he knows. It collapsed. Never to be used again. I shall take the piss out of him mercilessly for weeks. I'm not angry as it only cost £4. It's a cheap and nasty folding chair, it deserved to be broken. I shant tell Paul that.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Driver of the year

So a car pulls to a stop in the middle lane of the road outside our shop. It's on a T junction. Man gets out. Leaves driver door wide open. Goes to back of car and opens boot. Takes out bag of fruit. Selects apple. Takes out bottle of water. Meanwhile cars are piling up all round him. Man proceeds to wash apple with water in the middle of the road. Other drivers start getting agitated and horns are sounded. Man must be deaf. He washes apple thoroughly. Puts water back in car and closes boot. Gets back into car shuts door allowing waiting cars to finally get past. Drives off to reveal "Estonia" written on his rear bumper. They must have different driving rules over there.

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42" boobs

My friends son and his wife have been saving like mad for the last two years to treat themselves to their dreams. She opted to spend her share on a boob job. Whilst he opted for a 42" plasma TV. Well I suppose he's got to have something to do with himself after she's had the breast implants.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

It's a musicians life

Simon came to see me today, he was spitting blood. He's fed up with doing stuff other people tell him. He said "I want to play Rock and Roll that's what I'm good at. Fuck the duos and solos. I want to be in a band playing stuff I want to play." I can see his point. He's been playing all Davids stuff for years now and although Davids songs are nice and well crafted, they're just nice. They don't grab you by the throat and shake the living shit out of you. It's almost elevator music. Written to perfection, every note exactly where it should be, every chord progression exactly by the book. Result: Musak. I know exactly what Simon means. He wants it to be rocking. he wants to stir the blood. He wants it raw and immediate. Fun. How many time have you seen people dancing to the music in a department store. Never.
This is one thing I learnt in my eighteen months with Del and Tony. You don't need to be a brilliant musician to be successful. You need to be competent but most importantly you need to want to have fun with your music. Because only then does your audience have fun. We made mistakes, we made howlers, not just me but Del and Tony alike. But we got away with it because we were having so much fun playing and the audience latched on to that. You can't play live without making mistakes. So if any aspiring guitarists or musicians are reading this take careful note. It's not what you play it's how you play it. It's your attitude not your technical brilliance thats most important. In the grand scheme of things I'm a shite musician. I wish I was better. I keep improving though. But in the meantime I just play because I love to do it. There's nothing like being on stage in front of an audience and playing.
There was a time when I had terrible stage fright. I would be throwing up before a gig. I would be shaking like a leaf. I had to sit on a stool to play I couldn't play standing up. I was so afraid of making a mistake. I'd wrap my legs round the stool so people didn't see my legs shaking. Eventually the stage fright got the better of me and I stopped playing live for 16 years. I'm back now. I will never be famous. I wont ever be on MTV. I have no desire to get into the rat race of music. I'm happy being a pub musician. I know my place. I know I am now too old to start. I'm 46 now. Kids less than half my age can leave me standing. Musically they could tear me to shreds. But that doesn't matter. I love what I do. There is nothing to beat the feeling of entertaining a crowd. It doesn't matter how small or how insignificant the crowd. It's that moment, when everyone is behind you cheering you on. Wanting more. Del and I had that moment at the Fox Folkesworth. Tony went home leaving Del and I to continue.We played and played, the crowd wanted more. OK they were pissed. We had to stop when our fingers couldn't play any more. When it became physically painful to go on. I think that night we started playing at 8:30 and Del and I came off stage about three in the morning.
So Simon wants to form a Rock and Roll band. I don't know if he was hinting that he wanted me to play with him. But he said he had asked Smashy to quickly learn to play drums. Smashy is a wonderful guy. Not a brilliant musician but he tries hard. He has potential.

Tomorrow every body and his dog in blog land will have made a comment on the Michael Jackson trial. I don't really want to comment but I want to make an observation. We were playing pool at the time and as each vote of not guilty was announced there was a cheer from the clientelle. N0 one booed. It seems everyone who cared wanted him acquittted and the rest didn't give a shit. There didn't seem to be anyone who wanted him guilty.
So that's my question. Is there anyone who actually wanted Michael Jackson to be guilty? For my part I think he had a gross error of judgement. In that he invited young children into his home. He was terribly naive. He made huge mistakes that people took advantage of. He was very lucky to get away with it. MY advice would be to get rid of Never Never land. Grow up for chrissakes because next time he wont be so lucky.
There can not be a next time. There can not be a possibility of a next time.

Walk away. Get real. Play the music.

That's my advice to everyone.

Just Rock on dudes. You better believe it.

iPod now playing- Roads to Moscow by Al Stewart

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The Talbot

Saturday night went to see my friends Simon and David play at the Talbot. David had this portable PA system that sits in a clam shell suitcase, 300watts of raw power. I think they were running it on 3 watts. I could hear their guitars over and above the speakers. Not only that they were playing along to a backing track. It was all very low key and apologetic. There were times when I couldn't hear them play at all. All I could hear was the backing track. I don't want to sound elitist or anything like that but surely backing tracks are cheating somewhat?
Not only that David in his wisdom placed the suitcase out front with the two speakers either side giving them hardly any room to play. It just acted like a barricade between the performers and the audience. Maybe he did want to hide behind it. I don't know, I just know it's not the way I'd have set it up. But it was a good evening, they played well. I enjoyed it.

In Peterborough there's a massive new housing development on the site of the old London Brick works. Hampton. If you look from the dual carriageway you can see acres and acres of flat levelled land with nothing built on it at all yet except for a service road and three bus shelters in a row along the road. Now that's what I call getting your priorities right. There's no houses so no people but there are three bus shelters.

There's a charity open air music festival next Sunday in Stilton at The Talbot, I'll be playing there. I haven't told Del yet so he may or may not be coming with me. We'll see. We could showcase our Copperhead Road song there. That would be fun.

Keep on Rocking dudes

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Do me eyes

Charlie turned up last night sober for a change. God! He was kicking. Wearing his anti fit jeans that make him look like an elephant from behind with his crutch round his knees. But hey! That's fashion for you.
We recorded another of his songs "Do me eyes" I suppose you could translate that as "Fuck me eyes" so I guess you get the gist. It's quite an emotional song and the first few takes of the vocal tracks Charlie was sitting down but he said he couldn't get the full force of the song unless he stood up to sing it. So we had to move everything around to give him space to perform. And perform he did. he didn't have an audience but he was moving like he was playing a stadium gig. At various times he was rigid standing bolt upright feet firmly together, then bent double, then almost on his knees as he swooped and swayed as he sang. Tears rolled down his cheeks. He claimed it was sweat. I guess he had sweaty eyes. I just watched in amazement as he gave the performance of his life.
No one has come up with a method of me posting mp3's yet so if anyone wants to hear "Do me eyes" drop me a line and I'll email it over.
So now we have four songs of Charlies album recorded one complete three work in progress. Then we've got the Delandahat promotional CD that we're working on. That's to give people who might potentially book us and ask "What sort of music do you play?"
Recording songs takes ages. It's very time consuming.

So in the news this week is a guy who stabbed to death his friend who sold his virtual sword that he'd got after spending weeks playing on line games.
The friend sold the sword which doesn't really exist, for $450. Now judges and lawyers are argueing about what constitutes property can a virtual item be property? How can you own something that doesn't exist except in a computer game?
My daughter Gemmalah was telling me last night that various Geeky friends of hers at university are earning money on the side playing on line games for people who can't get past certain stages of their game. They pay them to play on their behalf by the hour or half hour to get them the tools (virtual tools) needed to complete the game or to get past obstacles that they haven't been able to figure out. They earn much needed beer money this way.

Meanwhile in Peterborough thieves stole a Mitsubishi Shogun and used it to ram raid an off licence near here. They totalled the Mitsubishi by taking out the concrete bollards in front of the shop, then torched it before making off at high speed in a stolen Subaru Imprezia. Police gave chase around the streets of Peterborough and cornered the perps, in Surprise Surprise, the Gypsy caravan site. Officers were confronted by a gang of Gypsies armed with steel bars. Only the other week a Gypsy spokesperson was in the paper saying that his people were honest, decent hard working folk who were being given a bad press.

News just in: Police arrested a drug dealer in the street outside my shop an hour ago. As I write police are combing the graveyard opposite for evidence. They wont have to look very hard. There's evidence all over the place, needles, baking foil, lighters, spoons you name it. Oh that and a thousand empty plastic two litre bottles of Frosty Jack. Tennants special brew. Now there is a new directive that says manufacturers of electrical appliances are responsible for disposal of the waste when the appliance is no longer servicable. I wonder if we could extend that to Cadbury Swcheppes who make Coca Cola. Make them responsible for all the cans littering the place. Then move on to Tennants and Fosters. It's an idea.

Oh and while I'm at it do these piss heads realise that while they're continually pissing in the graveyard they are upsetting the delicate ecological balance of nature, enriching the soil with Nitrates, thus making the orchids die off because they prefer nutrient poor soil. You win some you lose some.

Rock on dudes.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Charlie

I called Charlie last night to come over to listen to how I'd mixed his songs. You see I'm very pleased with myself now I've become a record producer. Charlie had written the songs performed them in my recording studio and I'd mixed them down and they sounded great. Much better than the flat lifeless sound of the bare recording. I'd even laid down some Mandolin tracks on his songs to give them songs greater depth or colour.... 69 takes later.......So Charlie ever the enthusiast said he'd come over at nine.
11:15pm he's hammering on my door. Pissed out of his head. "Hey sorry man, I've had a really serious day. Shall I get the beer in for us."
"The shops shut Charlie."
"No!"
"Yes it's 11:15."
"Never. Shit Mike where's the time gone?I tell you it's bin an intense day today. Shit! I'm wasted."
"Never mind I've got the beer."
"I've got a cool new song. Can we record it?"
"You're pissed Charlie, you can barely stand never mind play guitar."
"No I can do it. It's an emotional song and I'm emotional right now, I'm intense, I'm right there."
We went up and I sat him down with a guitar and a can. He fiddled with a cigarette and rumaged through his pockets for a lighter, saying "fuck" a lot. I find him a light. He calms down as he takes a pull. While he chills I play him the new versions of his songs. He likes them.
Then he wants to record a new song, he's already got a can of strong lager open and only half drunk and he opens another. I point out that he hasn't finished the first one. "That's cool man! I need it to be ready for me, in ten minutes I might not be able to open the next can, so I'm doing it now."
You can't argue with that logic.
So he positions himself with guitar, it's plugged in and the levels set. I turn my back to him to check the mixing desk and when I turn round he's spark out, cigarette hanging from his bottom lip and guitar still slung across his body. Rock and Roll.
I wake him up. "I wasn't asleep." he says and continues "right I'm there, I'm in the zone, hit the record button."
I press record and his fingers wander aimlessly about the fret board, tripping over strings and getting caught in between. He's in no fit state to play anything. but he insists he can do it. He falls asleep again.
I throw him out. He's still clutching the cans of lager. Really he should stop drinking but it's been "an intense day". He wants to go to the garage to get more fags. They don't serve him because he's drunk and carrying cans of lager. I find him 30 minutes later wandering the streets. I point him in the direction of his house and let him go when he's about 20 yards away from home. I think he made it.

Anyone know how I can put an mp3 on this blog so you can hear Charlies songs? Just wondered..............

Rock on dudes
He'll be famous one day.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Being a Rock star

As you all know I'm a rock star. Along with Del, we are the driving force behind one of the worlds greatest rock bands. Fans throw themselves at our feet, adoring us, begging us for sexual favours. It's a tough life but someones got to do it. Because being a Rock star it's expected.
So here's another behind the scenes look at the life of a rock star.
Del phoned me early yesterday evening.
"What do you say we start early and then finish early."
Bed! Sleep! "That's a great idea." I said after a millisecond. So I dashed over to Dels gaff in the motor. Picked him up and came back to my place AKA Delandahats recording studio. We stopped off at the corner shop, interupting the asian guy behind the counter who was on the phone, and loaded up with provisions. Jack and coke and plenty lager. For the uninitiated this is standard Rock star fare. We left out the mirrors and lines of cocaine though, we didn't want our creativity to be that inhibited. OK we're part timers, but our bodies are temples to purity and goodness.
So we started recording "Copperhead Road". I laid down my killer mandolin track that was to be the driving force behind the song. Charlie turned up and just had to play us his latest song. This guy needs to be on stage. He has a talent for writing songs and performing. And he's desperate to play. We let him sit on the stairs playing my ovation while we carry on recording. He shouts through the door "Can you keep the noise down I'm trying to be creative out here?"
Somewhere along the line we recorded a vocal track with all three of us singing (singing?) OK read laughing and giggling. Then Del, "laydeees and Gentlemen the very wonderful Delbert Montage", starts getting experimental with his bass guitar. "I'm a bassist. I was born a bassist, I just play guitar." Well that was after he was getting experimental with the electric guitar and experimental with the drums. This is cutting edge stuff.
Charlie left at three in the morning totally stoned.
Del left at four. So lets get this straight. I've been asleep for how long? That'll be three hours. I've got to work now. Spookily enough I feel rather chipper this morning. The laws of nature suggest I should feel otherwise.
But hey! I'm a rock star. I can't vouch for Del or Charlie feeling chipper that is.

Here's your tip for the day. Avoid anyone who drives one of those God aweful Vauxhall Corsas. Truly loathsome cars. Because when you get close you'll see it's really a courtesy car from some body shop. The driver has already smashed up his/her own car. Yours could be next. Vauxhall Corsas are specifically made for the courtesy car market. No one in their right minds would actually buy one for themselves.

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