Monday, 1 September 2014

You're tall!

So we're back to normal blogging: a diary of a man old enough to know better. This week will include sleep, my debut as a recorded artist, loads more live music at MapFest and penis toes.

Monday 25/08/14

The journey back from Galtres was quicker but a lot more cramped than my journey there. Mark Loraine managed to squeeze three of us and all our gear into his car. Got back to Donny about 1ish, fell out of his car and couldn't move. I lay on the wet Balby pavement for a bit before deciding this was no way to spend a bank holiday Monday. Bravely limped the 20 yards to my flat and then somewhat bizarrely got busy. Did all my festival washing, caught up with emails, wrote the Galtres blog, got invited back next year and then slept. 

I woke up to several missed calls and messages from Julie asking when I was coming over. I failed, quite magnificently, to get off my bed.

Slept some more.

Tuesday 26/08/14

Slept some more.

Wednesday 27/08/14

Beginning to feel human again and was boosted on opening my emails and finding that my offer on the unit I'm after in the Waterdale for The Notorious Aardvark Record Shop has been accepted. The paperwork's being drawn up and hopefully within a month or so we'll be up and running. A massive thank you to every one of you who has offered your support and help. The 'HELP' texts will be going out soon.

Finally left the confines of my flat to see Julie at Cask's open mic. Always a top night boosted by the presence of my best mate Ian. Mickey The Geordie and Al The Loon. Confession time. We have a habit of, er, borrowing on a permanent basis mementos from pubs, always trying to outdo each other. There is such a memento in Cask Corner that I 'borrowed' from a pub earlier this year which is widely regarded as an unbeatable find. 

I had stated that Cask was off limits for pilfering but this didn't stop Al and Mickey cooking up a plan. While Al joined Bluesy Steve to sing Folsom Prison Blues Mickey climbed a stool to swipe a plastic skull hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, for him, in his drunken state he fell and although he'd got the skull the ensuing chase didn't last long. Mickey and the skull were returned to Cask with the appropriate apologies. No harm done. 

Thursday 28/08/14

Another lazy day. We didn't even get the Scrabble board out. Headed to Cask again that evening for the Music Industry Yorkshire seminar on how musicians can make the most of radio. It was a very enlightening evening, even for someone on the radio side of the fence. 

Did the first three questions on the quiz (Kate Bush, Barbie, Rotherham) and headed back to Julie's.

Friday 29/08/14 - MapFest Day One

I can't say too much about this first bit in case it doesn't come off. A band who I have loved for many, many years and who are still a big name announced tour dates today. My first thought was I need tickets. My second thought was I need a radio interview. My third thought was I need them at my shop. So I fired an email off inviting them to do a signing at the shop and then a pre gig interview expecting to either hear nothing or get a flat no. I got an email virtually straight back saying they thought this would be possible and to get in touch at a later date. Fingers crossed!

I was planning a low key start to MapFest. Saturday was gonna be a biggie so wanted to take it steady. 48ks and The Hostiles at the newly reopened and refurbished Leopard with Framing Witches also on the bill. I've long been a champion of The 48ks. They really are one of the tightest bands in Donny and the new songs do bode well for their upcoming EP. I've known them years and they're good friends but if I had one criticism it's that their personality (which I know they have masses of individually) doesn't come across when they play live. Whether it's right or wrong it's a fact now that when playing live image and stage presence are vital and it's something I feel the band need to address. Recording wise all that matters is the music and 48ks have always been at the forefront of Doncaster bands when it comes to quality tunes.

Next up were Framing Witches. We'd got the Tramlines/Blackfest posse back together (Myself, Alistair Pearson and Mark Loraine). We caught Framing Witches at Blackfest and all agreed they were good but lacking something. I don't know what they've been doing in the weeks since Blackfest but whatever it is has worked. They were simply brilliant. I've seen singer/guitarist James Foy many times as a solo acoustic act and he always entertains but I really feel he's found his feet with this band. A hard edged indie rock beast of a band. Great songs, great lyrics and a promising future.

Glasgow ska/punk outfit The Hostiles were the band I'd come to see. Beset with transport problems on the way down it was a sadly curtailed set due to the curfew. Sadly as well because of the delay the crowd had thinned out but they still got The Leopard bouncing.

It's great to see The Leopard back open and looking good. We need venues like this and I really hope it works.

Friday saw the release of Alistair's new EP and for the first time in my life I'm on an actual recording (bongos on Picture Of You and baritone backing vox on The Legend Of Dandelion And Shoe). I'm hoping I haven't ruined the tunes too much.

As many of you know I'm 6'5". Twelve (I counted them) random strangers stopped me to tell me I was tall. It's a very short conversation. 'You're tall'. 'I know'. That's about it really. 'You're tall'. 'No I'm not', is more fun but still an equally short conversation.

I was once in a queue in a local supermarket back when I was still doing Sine's Breakfast Show. A woman behind me in the queue said she recognised my voice. I mentioned the show. She replied, 'Yes that's it. You sound shorter on the radio though'.

Saturday 30/08/14 MapFest Day Two

I made the mistake of pointing out on facebook that I didn't need people telling me I was tall today as I was fully aware of the fact and had been for some time.

Big mistake.

All I heard all day was various comments on my height.

First up was Martin Black at Diamond Live Lounge. Martin's been around sometime now, both in bands and as a solo artist. He's finally found his voice as Doncaster's angry young man and is our most improved performer. He's had a few high profile support slots this year and it's fully deserved after years of hard graft.

I nipped over to The Hallcross though little was happening though I did catch The Untitled start their set. Great harmonies but they need a new name!

My first visit to Cask was next to meet Ian and to catch MapFest's youngest ever performer, Tom Myerscough, keyboard player with the Doncaster Youth Jazz Band. Aged 9 and performing with Bang Bang Romeo's Anastasia Walker, who at 21 is a seasoned professional in comparison. He showed no nerves whatsoever but did show a wealth of talent in one so young. I'm sure all the musician's watching were smiling through gritted teeth.

Next up my second favourite Donny pub, The Marketplace Alehouse and Deli for Alistair's set. Got there and my mate Del Scott Miller from Mynas was playing. He gets where water can't. Had a last clap competition with Johnny Gill which I hope didn't put Alistair off his stride too much. Ian had headed back to Cask to see Bluesy Steve, Mark had gone with Johnny to the Leopard and I got collared by a birthday party that was awash with exes. Thankfully the ones I still get on with. Managed to get away only to bump into Scott and John from Gingerbeard Promotions on Silver Street. By the time I got to Cask Steve had finished his set. Ian headed to the Brewery tap, I stayed put for more refreshment and to try and put Alistair off again. The last clap had now become a mid song clap. I can only apologise. 

Caught Laura Kelly being her usual magnificent and ridiculously modest self before heading to The Woolpack for a change of scene with Rob Dannatt who'd joined us. Didn't catch any live music but did catch up with the White Valentine boys briefly.

Back to Cask for my must see band of the weekend, Fallen Trees. It's been nearly a year since they played Donny which is how it should be. I'm forever telling bands about saturating the market. It's a valuable lesson. Fallen Trees played to a bursting at the seams Cask Corner. They play the most sublime, filthy grunge/blues straight from the depths of hell. I hope it's waiting there for me when the time comes. They are one of the most complete bands this town has to offer and if it's another year before they play here again it'll be worth the wait.

They've asked me to manage them in the past but I don't think I can do them justice. The offer was made again on Saturday and I'm currently hatching a plan with Mark Loraine. Watch this space.

Cask had a stellar line up Saturday night. 13 Women and Smoking Beagles followed Fallen Trees but as with The Struts at Tramlines, Fallen Trees had broken MapFest for me. Both 13 Women and Beagles were quality personified, as always, but I was still in awe of Fallen Trees to fully appreciate them.

I'd gone for a breath of fresh air only for someone at the end of the bar to say, 'You're tall'. I replied in a very rude way, presuming it was a mate winding me up, only to see it was another complete stranger who looked somewhat taken aback at my response. 

Sunday 31/08/14

Sunday was spent recovering before it was time to get down to Sine FM Towers for The Other Way, this week joined by Alistair and Jim Taplin. Julie was planning on joining us but after the 16 hour shift she slept through half of the show. We waffled and laughed a lot, so much that we played about 8 fewer songs than we normally would. Discussions ranged from Clannad to Bod to slating Bono to discussing Jim's penis toe to sock fashion tips and occasionally music. It was ridiculously enjoyable and I hope the fun we had came across the airwaves.

Alistair and Jim headed to Cask to play more music as I went to Julie's for tired Scrabble. I was winning. I really was. By a good 30 odd points with only one letter left in the bag only for Julie to use all her letters on her penultimate turn (EPISTLE for 84 points). I lost. Running total is now 47-21.

I'm off now. Need to buy some healthy food (Got done by Julie and Mick Holmes about my decadent lifestyle) and to plan for a party tonight that I believe may involve Scrabble.



The Other Way Play List Sunday 31/08/14

The Other Way - Polkadodge
All Or Nothing - Small Faces
Truth Is - Levellers
Girl's Gone West - The Velcro Teddy Bears
Devil And The Danube (Live at Galtres Festival 2014) - Holy Moly And The Crackers
Sally Cinnamon - The Stone Roses
Heavy Horses - Fallen Trees
I Wanna Be Like You (Live) - Jim  Taplin
Rango - Catfish And The Bottlemen
You & I - The Struts
Alarm - The Franceens
Wild Wild Life - Talking Heads
Closer - Southern Sunrise
Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
45 - Danny Landau
The Legend Of Dandelion And Shoe - Alistair J. Pearson
Jesus Girl - The Rubys
Right Now - Bang Bang Romeo
I Ain't Done (Being Young) - Lois Barabbas And The Bedlam Six
Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
Egyptian Reggae - Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers

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