So here we are again. It's Monday therefore I blog. This is dedicated to the chap outside Leopard Saturday night who said how much he liked my blog and I, somewhat rudely, neglected to ask his name.
Been a bit of a hectic week. Thus:
Scrabble and pie night. The optimist in me says I've turned a corner. The pessimist, or as we like to call him, realist, says this is as good as it gets. Only lost by 71 points. 0 for 6! Time for a change in tactics. I have some 18% Mead lurking in a bag. A mead and scrabble night may be my only chance to win.
Went to the PubWatch meeting to talk about MapFest but never got chance to and then got told off for talking at the back. A very productive meeting. Had a much more satisfying meeting later with my friend Mark Appleyard, commercial lawyer and purveyor of fine vodka. Some very useful advice proffered about the ongoing record store saga.
That evening found myself and the lovely Mrs. Aardvark at Mezze for Mark Kelly's leaving meal. Lovely meal and a nice touch in offering a free shot after the meal. A debatable touch in leaving all the bottles on the table and letting us loose on it. Full bottles of sambuca, lemoncelli and amaretto consumed had me inadvertently throwing a glass of water over Rob Dannatt as I demonstrated my worst children's entertainer in the world spiel, Mrs. A. tap dancing and Mark's occasional co-host Maddie insisting we went and did some drunken, live, guerrilla radio. Thankfully for once I was the sensible one. The night ended in an impromptu jam session at Cask Corner. I do love a banjo.
Started very slowly and never really picked up speed. Finally got my landlord to agree to fix my toilet after I flushed it and a tiny centipede came out the shower plughole. I'm sure I have a drowned centipede clause in my contract. Wednesday night found me at The Cask Corner Comedy Club with a very giggly Starsie from BBR who I'd promised beer in return for an EP. The EP has yet to reach me because my copy comes with a t-shirt apparently. I'm hoping they're one band who do fat b***ard size. I have a plethora of band t-shirts that I don't fit in.
Off to Wolverhampton at 11am with Ian to see the original Quo. The Frantic Four are at it again. Had another run in with a train guard who insisted that our tickets that said Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton weren't valid on the Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton train. We offered to get off at the next stop (Wolverhampton) and start our journey again. He let us off. This once. It's OK though. I can NEVER go back to Wolverhampton.
Got there about 1pm and started our now tradition of raising a glass as a toast with every pint we had. The list is as follows:
The Tap 'n' Spile (first pub we went in. They had no real ale so we said we'd have a Guinness to which the barman replied there's a real ale pub over the road. Great sales technique!)
The Grand Pasada (we were in The Posada and apparently The Grand Pasada is Al The Loon's favourite pub in the North East)
Simon The Barman (Barman in The Hog's Head who offered exceptional service)
Caroline (stand out Quo tune)
Football Grounds (We'd just walked past Molineux and realised how we both got excited at seeing football grounds)
Robert Plant (local hero who happened to be on the jukebox at the time)
Ageing Quo fans (they were many. All old and proud)
The Brummie Accent
I F***ing Hate Tribute Bands (mine and I cant remember why)
Tell Me If My Breath Smells (got chatting to a guy who's breath could kill at twenty paces and we both agreed we'd rather know if that was us)
James Toseland ( annoyingly talented rider/pianist/singer and good looking to boot who's band was supporting Quo that night. We stayed in the pub)
The Frantic Four
There were a couple more but neither of us can remember them. I had a moment prior to the football grounds toast as we walked through a subway where I got a kicking after a Wolves v Rovers game in the 80s. We won 2-0 though so sod em. Decided the subway would be cathartic. This was just before we got to our hotel. On reaching our room I found that my sofa/bed/mattress on the floor had no bedding. I went to reception to mention this where they gave me all the bedding I required. Not quite what I anticipated.
Quo were magnificent. Forget all the chart nonsense from the 80s onwards, this was proper old school Quo who were, are, one of the best blues-rock bands this country has ever produced. Jim Morrison was a fan. That's enough for me.
After the gig we ended up in a pub I'm not gonna name where something happened I'm not gonna talk about. Some of you know and it's the reason we made a surreptitious exit from Wolverhampton the next morning and why I can NEVER go back.
Breakfast in Birmingham. Don't go to the coffee house opposite Birmingham New Street station. It has the tag food with benefits. The benefit being you'll never get fat. £8 for a breakfast that was an insult to the pig that gave it's life for it.
Back in Donny to the loving arms of Octavia with a gift I can't talk about (Yes all the stuff I can't talk about is related), then off to Sine FM Towers for Mark Kelly's final show. Mark has been a stalwart of Sine FM for over four years and has made The Home Run Show unique. In that time it has been my honour to break two world records with him and enjoy his company on the Strasbourg trip. He is a very dear colleague and more than that one of my best friends. His dulcet tones will be missed as will his larger than life personality. So a very emotional afternoon ended with Julie attempting to take photos of the roof of her mouth. As you do.
Home for a quick scrub up than out. Gigging again at The Leopard. Emma Jade, Famous Villains and The Dunwells. Seriously quality bill. Villains new song showed them going from strength to strength, and they were pretty strong anyway. The Dunwells are simply one of the tightest bands I've ever seen. Indie folk/rock at it's best. There's a reason they've been on the Jay Leno show. If they don't make it huge there is no justice.
Back to Cask where I bumped into a mate I've not seen in 15 years and won't see for a while again as on Wednesday he starts his cycling trip to Australia! Then my nephew came in, now old enough to drink. A proud, if not ageing, moment.
Gigging again. John Power at The Leopard supported by The 48ks. The now tradition of failing to get out of bed on a Saturday continued and I was so late I missed The 48ks slot. Sorry chaps. Was a bit gutted about that. John Power - bass player with The La's (saw The La's back in the day - brilliant), singer with Cast (seen Cast twice - brilliant) and now solo artist (seen him solo once before - brilliant). So I was expecting something, well, brilliant tonight. Just didn't happen for me. It was all a bit flat and never really got going. I left early and it's very rare I do that at a gig. I was in the 24 hour Spar for midnight buying breakfast.
No radio today as I was gigging again. Quo again in Manchester. A much more sedate evening than Thursday! After the gorgeous Octavia Aardvark had made me bacon, myself and Ian drove over to Manchester Apollo. Ian drove, I looked at clouds. Support tonight was Wilko Johnson. I have to confess to being more excited about seeing Wilko again than Quo. With the frankly awesome Norman Watt-Roy on bass Wilko put in a stunning set. The trademark machine gun strut in full flow as Norman battered his bass into submission. It was epic. Quo were on fire again. The Quo that tour nowadays and are playing Donny Racecourse this summer are just a poor parody of The Frantic Four. Had they hung their collective hats up when they initially intended they would be British Rock Royalty.
A quick thank you to JJ for babysitting Sunday's show. Seen the play list. A splendid job sir.
So that was my week. In a change of tradition tonight is Scrabble and toad in the hole night. Let's see if a warty amphibian can bring me more luck.