Monday, July 31, 2006

Back on the road

Especially for Mark we're back on Geeetars. Sunday saw my first return to the stage for yonks. Two gigs in one day. This photo is from the first gig. Obviously being Mike Da Hat I'm the one on the left in the hat. My good friend Delbert Montage is on the right, on acoustic bass, and Rory, my new house mate, is front and centre.Christ on a bike we were good. Amazingly since we only had a couple of rehearsals to learn our set. IN fact we were so good the landlord of the pub asked us to play once a month at his pub. So that's the start of our "Pay the bills tour".
It's funny I'm not really interested in playing several times a week like we used to. But once in a while to pay the bills seems a lot of fun. I guess we're lucky to be able to do that. We don't have any allusions that we're going to be rich and famous playing guitar. But if they want to pay us for doing stuff that we love to do. What the hell! I know I'm going to be making a load more money than the people I photograph, the original bands, because we don't mind playing the covers. Give them what they want. Play the songs, take the money, and run. I have no problem with that. I am old enough not to worry about selling out. To me it's financial. I need the money. So I'm gonna play all sorts of crap and get paid for it. I've outgrown my teeenage angst and idealism.

Tonight I laughed more than I have done in years. I was visiting my children. The phone rang it was a telesales person. Vermin. Now recently I've taken to screaming abuse down the phone. But my children have taken a different tack on this. Gemma answered the phone. She stood there for five minutes saying "Hello I can't hear you." then my ex-wife took over asking "Why have you phoned me? Have you an vendetta against us or what? Should I call the police for harrassment?" But the piece de resistance was my boy Jamie, who took the initiative.
"Hello can you give me your mothers maiden name?... Mary? That's not exactly a maiden name but I'll accept that you don't speak English very well. Can you give me the town you were born in?... Basingstoke? Is that anywhere near Bombay?... No? OK just a few more questions and we can sign you up to our plan. How much do you spend on your mobile phone each month?... £30?...Well for a mear £25 you can subscribe to our abuse service where we guarantee you 50 minutes of uncensored abuse every month. With a guaranteed fifty swear words every minute. Not only that we promise to send you abusive texts 20 times a month. Does this interest you?..."
He hung up.

So we have decided that we need to write a script. So people can download it and be prepared for these intrusive calls. The thing is they are talking to a script, but if our script is better we can destroy them. If enough of us do it we can rid ourselves of telesales people.

So what we need you to do is to come up with some ideas where we can take the advantage and keep them on their back foot. Don't let them get the upper hand. We attack. A recent stagety of my son Jamies was to claim he had a Russian mobile phone that was paid for by the state. OK it weighed mored than a bag of sugar, but he had infinite free calls and infinite free texts all courtesy of the Soviet Republic, for a dismal £20 a month.

We need to regroup. We need to fight back. We need to give them as hard a time as possible so we can regain our privacy. Join the fight. If you've any tactics that you find effective share them with us. I'm pissed off with people with an Indian accent trying to tell me their name is Jeffrey, from Reading. Or Mingeater who claims she is Rachel from Stoke on Trent.

I'm fed up with people phoning me four times a week trying to sell me something I don't want. In fact it's a self defeating tactic because I wont deal with anyone who intrudes on my life to this extent.

The roof is leaking on my Squat. I'm out of here very soon. This week with luck.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wheely Bin

I saw this on my travels and my first thought was "this is odd, why padlock a bin, what's so valuable in a bin that it needs closing with a padlock and chain it's all rubbish." So I investigated. The valuable thing inside this wheely bin is empty space. Really. The owners of this bin pay the council good money to have their bin emptied as it's technically trade waste. Then they find everybody and his dog filling up their bin with household rubbish so there's no room left for theirs.
Meanwhile I find a friend of mine has just got her own spot on the Radio as a household chores Agony Aunt. That's cool. And the next caller please...

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Friday, July 28, 2006

The Neumes

I've got to thank Cherry Pie for putting me on to these girls, Eleanor, Emily and Charlotte. They played our club tonight. The Neumes. I was hoping to meet the lovely Cherry Pie coz she promised to turn up. But didn't I guess she had a good excuse.
and here they are in action. Cute or what?
I've got to tell you lovely people that these guys are amazing. You can't pigeon hole them they aint jazz, they aint folk, they aint rock. They are everything and more. Such a lot of potential. We already have a team of people fighting to get them back to Peterborough and this time we're going to pay them. We already want them to play next years Muddy Festival.

So thank you Cherry. If anyone else knows of any band that needs exposure on our stage put them my way.
meanwhile

Rock on dudes

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tight

I'm in trouble. My other blogspot Unityrocks is giving me grief. Everytime I post a new picture using Picassa the previous pictures after 21st July disappear. Not only that it's happening on this blog as well and my secret blog too. Actually my secret blog is not really a secret it's just where I dump photos so I can provide a link to them for my main blogs.
I'm wondering if it's something to do with the new version of Picassa that I am BETA testing.
There has to be a lesson there. Don't agree to beta test anything.

This week we've been rehearsing like mad for my first proper gig in two years. We're only doing half an hour at a charity event. I've played live since then but it's only been the equivalent of an open mic session. Tuesday night we slogged at it for four hours straight. Tonight we went for three hours and we've just about nailed it. There's a few rough edges still but we've got Saturday night to polish it off. Then we'll be tighter than a camels arse in a sandstorm.

I'm not concerned about moving from my squat to somewhere new. It's just that I am aware that it's going to take some getting used to. I've got to rearrange my life and I'm not sure how things are going to work. Within a few weeks I'll get into the new equilibrium with Rory, my new housemate. he's a great music teacher. He's strict but thats because he is so focussed. He told me tonight he wanted me to enjoy myself on stage. This is a far cry from when I first started playing live over 20 years ago when I was told if I fucked up I was dead. I ended up with such severe stage fright I was throwing up and never played live again for 16 years. My best friend Del taught me that it's OK to make mistakes. Just not too many. No one cares. It's your attitude on stage that's most important. If you are enjoying playing the audience will enjoy listening.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Creating a Saint

So I've decided to make amends for my dastardly portrayal of a nice person. So I've gone the opposite direction. He's got angel wings a halo an everyfing.

Oh Yeah Good old Bob Geldof had to cancel a couple of gigs in Italy this week because only 45 people turned up to a 12,000 capacity gig of his. We get more people than that at our Thursday night rockathons.
Just watch me weep for him. NOT!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Creating Evil

This is James Chadwick. He's a musician. He is an incredibly good musician. He makes it look so easy while everyone else struggles. He is also very very nice. I mean not just nice but Mary Poppins nice. You wont find any dirt on him. He is everything that you could describe as clean pure and wholesome. Which is why I decided a while back to destroy him. Well not destroy in a nasty way but to big up his image as someone who isn't a goody two shoes.Make him a little dangerous. He is, after several months of smear campaigning, now referred to as "The Evil One!" He thinks this is hilarious and goes along with the joke. Even posing for this picture that I have since doctored in photoshop.

I think over the next month or so he'll have to grow horns. Anyone got an image of devils horns I can cut and paste?

Rock on dudes

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Friday, July 21, 2006

My Top 25 Favourite Films

I'm bored. It's too hot to do any constructive work that involves physical activity so to while away the hours I've come up with my favourite top 25 films of all time. They are not in any particular order of preference and are only numbered so I'd know when I'd got to 25. Ask me the same question tomorrow the list might not be the same but it would be very similar.

1. Apocalypse Now (based on the novella "Heart of darkness" by Joseph Conrad)
2. Pulp Fiction (I used to hate John Travolta until I saw him in this Brill)
3. Casablanca
4. The Maltese Falcon
5. Lord of the Rings (does that count as one or three?)
6. Bladerunner (Love this film)
7. The big sleep (great film even if you don't understand the plot)
8. The Africa Queen (notice I've got loads with Humphrey bogart in)
9. To Kill a Mocking bird (Gregory Peck at his best)
10.2001 A space Odyssey (drop some acid and go for the ride)
11.Jaws (Is it safe to go back into the water yet?)
12.North by Northwest (Great thriller)
13.Starwars (The 1st one from 1977)
14.The Third Man (Another great thriller)
15.Raiders of the Lost Ark (The first and best)
16.Bad day at Black Rock (Spencer Tracy in small town america)
17.L.A. Confidential (Taut intelligent thriller)
18.The Terminator (Arnie at his best)
19.12 Angry Men (Henry Fonda turning the tables in court)
20.One flew over the cuckoos nest (Jack Nicholson of course)
21.Monty Pythons Life Of Brian (Funniest film ever)
22.IN the Heat of the night (Oh yes "They call me Mr Tibbs", Sydney Poitier)
23.Alien (Ripley kicks alien butt)
24.Close Encounters (Richard Dreyfuss chases aliens)
25.Chinatown (Jack Nicholson again)

I wonder if you agree with my choices. As I say I'm not saying these are the worlds greatest films but the ones I've enjoyed watching most of all and are important to me.
Make up your own list and drop me a comment I'll come and look at your top 25. Maybe we all will.

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Breaking my G string

Cop a load of some Purple Loose strife. Some of these wild flowers have such great names. Anyway Rory and I were practicing for our next gig, we were really into our tribute number "Shine on you crazy Diamond" which is a great song anyway even if it was sadly appropriate right now. Rory breaks his G string. He then borrows my Ovation so he can just nail a lead section. He breaks my G string as well so it's rehearsal over.
Yesterday I was chatting with a taxi driver, he gets a call to go to Tescos.
I say I need to go that way you can drop me off. So I get a free ride to the music shop. Where I ask for 3 G strings for Rory based on 13s. He likes his string heavy.
Then I ask for a set for my Ovation 11s.
"You don't want to be using 11s, you want 13s."
"No I want 11s."
"You'll lose the tonal quality."
"When I acquire the hearing of a bat I might notice the difference, until then 11s will do me nicely."
Bloody people!
Anyway got a publicity photoshoot for a band tonight. Lots of industrial backdrop. Which is what the band want. I think it's a case of the same old same old nothing new. They are going to end up with the generic lads band photo with them looking mean and moody in some desolate derelict industrial setting. I wonder if I can persuade them to do something new? Ideas?

Rock on dudes

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Taking the rap

"Look there's only so many people in Peterborough. I'll fix your speeding fine get someone to take the points but honestly we're running out of people. So drive carefully from now on."
This is part of a conversation I overheard at the pub yesterday. I wonder how many people do this I'd guess loads. There's money to be made for some people who are prepared to take the rap for someone else. OK it's going to cost this guy big style along with the fine. But what price for your licence? How much is it worth to someone to be able to keep their licence and keep on driving?
Earlier on in the conversation that I was ear wigging, "...even if they take away my licence I wont stop driving. I can't afford to. It's my livelihood. I'm fucked if I can't drive."
"You're fucked if you do. What happens if you have an accident, your insurance will be worthless."


So we've found a house and it looks like my days of squatting are nearly over. I'll become a normal person living in a normal house, in a normal cul de sac. The interesting thing is I could have rented a squalid flat on the top floor of some derelict property due for demolition by myself for £300 a month. But I've got a whole house in a nice area for £490. That's split between two of us my musician friend Rory and me. On top of that we've been asked to rent out our garage to someone for £100 a month. So now it's only £195 each a month. Result.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Sometimes things go right

I was teaching my son photography the other week. With a little guidance he came up with this. Sunset over a lake. I think it's great, (for a beginner) but your comments might encourage his lack of confidence.

I got a phone call from a PR company. They want me to take photos of a blind couple who have developed special software that can read a type written page and then speak the words.
"Can you try and get their guide dog into the photo?"
I was about to burst into laughter then realised that the guide dog would make it obvious they were blind. So it wasn't so stupid.
So I'm being paid good money for a ten minute photo shoot that is certainly going to fund a weekend of excess and debauchery.

Rock on dudes

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

We won!

Apparently we won the crib match. I hadn't a clue what was going on. Many pints of what I thought was gnats piss lager turned out to be premium strength lager. It's all a blurr from then on. But we won and I got myself home.
I remember Delbert saying "We won!"
"Have we? How did that happen? When did it happen?"
Well that's not too shabby being as I've never played the gamre before in my life except for the previous nights intensive tuition.

I am far from bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. So I'll just toddle off to find some paracetamol.

Hasta luego

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Crib

This is Sadie at the Grass Roots music festival, cool huh? My good friend Delbert Montage has conscripted me to play crib in his team. I haven't a clue. So in advance of my debut as member of the pub crib team, I was put on a crash course of instruction last night. So the pub was shut up, lights turned off and and another pint thrust into my hand. It didn't help I'd already had a skinful of the falling down water. 15-2 15-4 15-6 My mind was a whirl of numbers. No doubt there'll be someone out there who's an expert in the game and wont be able to understand what my problem is. But on the bright side it's a free lunch so I wont have to cook tonight. Whoopeee!
If you're reading this Del I went straight to bed had a good nights sleep so I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to rock. Bring it on.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

It can't get any worse... can it?

So I'm cruising along thinking it can't get any worse than it is now and my car goes bang. I go to the local exhaust centre thinking my exhaust is blown and they tell me it's perfect. So I go to see a proper mechanic, who after some serious investigation finds my exhaust manifold has buckled and cracked. That's £425 plus VAT just for the part. But why he asked did the engine overheat to cause the buckling and the cracking. Good question. So I need a complete engine overhaul the bill is in four figures.
No No No No. I don't need this.
So to calm you all down here's a study of lavender. and if you want to look at some other pics I've taken recently look right HERE

Peace, Love, Unity

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Gambling

Poppies dontcha just love them? Things are getting better and then they are just the same. I've taken to gambling. I haven't moved out yet. I gambling on the fact that the city council are pretty damned slow at doing anything. Rory my new housemate has gone to South Africa to see his Kids. So I'm hanging fire until he gets back. He's been gone a week now and another week to go. Then we start looking for a place to live. I'm just hoping that nothing happens between now and then.
Business wise we have a rescue plan in place. Which involved sacking my assistant manager and my mother. UNfortunately mother doesn't know the meaning of the words "You are sacked" and still comes to work despite not being paid. My assistant manager has taken my promise of "a job until she gets another one", to heart, and is taking paid days off to go to interviews. Hmmmmm.
I should be tougher. I should be ruthless. But I never had any ruth to be less of. I'm not a business man. I'll never get a place on "The Apprentice". Fuck that. don't want to be rich. I have no need of mega amounts of money. All I need is enough to keep a roof over my head. My sister has just bought a house for £240,000 it's fabulous.MY brother has a girl friend who is a millionaire. I am supposedly the clever one of the family and I'm living in a squat with nothing. What does that say about me? Well for the girls that doesn't make me the catch of the century. I know you've all been fantasising about me. Rock star & photographer. God how you wish you could get me in bed. But the reality is so different. Yes you can take me to bed but in the morning I'll be still poor. And I still wont give a shit about it.

Rock on dudes

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Festivals

Here's Abi, she's on the front cover of a magazine this week and looks terrible. I'd be ashamed if my name was on that photo. Anyway this is Abi on stage yesterday at the Peterborough Festival. 34C in the shade. Savage weather. OK Just to prove I haven't hung up my guitar for good, here's me Tereena and Simon in the Muddy promotions Tent playing at the Festival.
So I'm wandering round the festival and bump into an old friend I haven't seen in years. He's now a film producer with his own film company. He's looking for a stills photographer. He only wants to work with me not "some arsehole,who is so up himself..." He asked for my card.
"I'll call you." he says.
I'll believe that when I get the call.

Rock on dudes Posted by Picasa

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