Sunday, February 25, 2001

25th February 2001

Just got back from Liverpool at the end of a memorable week which
began with a train journey down to South Wales to meet up with the
chaps to rehearse for the Liverpool gig. Unfortunately we did not
have the same gig personnel because TK was playing with a band
called Tinstar and couldn't make the gig so he was replaced by Ryan
and poor Wal has been laid up with his bad back and cannot travel
for more than twenty minutes in a car so that put him out of the
frame. I was gutted for Wal because I always stay with him when I am
in Wales and because he wasn't rehearsing with us I imagine he felt
a bit left out. His place was taken by Ade who had swotted up on the
bass lines and filled Wal's very big shoes admirably. For those with
an eye for the medical details, and I know there are a few of you
because of the mail I had when I broke my leg, he has had two discs
taken out of his back. He was in agony and when they opened him up
they found that two of his discs had cracked in half like a couple
of broken Polo mints. Hopefully he will be back in the frame for the
next gigs. Stayed at Timbo's gaff and indulged in an orgy of Sky Tv
and DVD's. Sky - thousands of channels, all full of shit!! I think
that should be their sales pitch. I got to see the extra 90 minutes
worth of footage from Spinal Tap and South Park on DVD which was an
all-round chuckle but none tickled me as much as Peter Kay - Live At
Blackpool Tower. Anyone who has not seen his stand-up routine should
check out this vid. Mad Northern humour ("Remember when you were a
kid? How fast could you run in your slippers?"). Top grub in The
Bengal Lancer in Llanelli, a better "Ruby Murray" you will be
hard-pushed to find. Rehearsed on Thursday with the chaps and then
watched The Reds put Roma out of the Uefa Cup despite some
hair-raising moments along the way. We left Wales on Saturday
morning for the long journey north and the gig at The Picket.
Long-time readers of this page will remember the last time I played
in Liverpool and the weather was Arctic and it was snowing? Well
guess what? I pull off the motorway and it starts snowing!! Am I the
bad weather jinx or what!! Gig was great and pretty well attended.
No doubt some of you have seen the pics which were advertised by
Alex in the guestbook. I have to give a mention to all those who
travelled to show their support to the King Of Pop. Respect to Marie
Jose and Ingrid and Alex and Pauline who came over from Holland
bearing gifts of the smartest bottle of gin you have ever seen and
the biggest bottle of Heineken you have ever seen, Nikk, Tall Paul
and Simon No-Top ( formerly Flat-Top ) who came up from South Wales
and finally David and Michael and Noel who breezed in from Greater
Manchester. Not forgetting Tez and Si and all the other fluffy
scousers who attended. Your support is appreciated and never taken
for granted. David L had got some t-shirts made up for the occassion
and presented me with one at the end of the gig. Unfortunately a
large size was not quite big enough for a man of my generous
proportions (read: fat bastard) so I passed it on to my boy Taylor
who has worn it as a night-shirt ever since. I thanked all the
travellers by taking them on a guided tour of Liverpool the next
morning. I showed them where the old cells were and the place where
FGTH were born and then on to the ferry and then for a quick jaunt
around the Anglican Cathedral before I said my good-byes and headed
off to the pub to watch Liverpool play Birmingham City in the
Worthington Cup Final. It was packed with Reds fans which gave me
the atmosphere of the final and I had a few celebration beers with
my mate Kev before trotting back to my parents for a quick Sunday
dinner and then off to catch the train which got in late and left me
having to shell out £20 for a cab home from Euston. Bloody Virgin
Trains. Great laugh on the train watching the ticket inspector being
grilled by a few dozen pissed-off scousers who had missed their last
tube. The poor bloke was "towing the party line" but got annihilated
after he finished every sentence.
19th February
We had a special guest up at Big Top today to do a spot of
recording. I think I may have told you some time ago that I had
passed a tape of a song I had done to Mitt who passed it on to Sam
Brown, a female singer par excellence. There was a letter with it
asking Sam if she could find the time in her schedule to pop along
and do a duet with me on one of my new tunes called "In Bloom". I
had given up hope that this would happen because she had been on
tour for the last six months with Jools Holland and was very busy
but then I got a letter out of the blue. To cut a long story short,
she turned up at the Big Top and sang on my track. It sounds great
and what a charming and delightful person she was, totally cool! My
only worry is that I will now owe The Mitten so many beers I think I
may have to get a sponsorship from a brewery. My only other problem
is getting my own voice up to scratch so I am not shown up for the
faker I am. Oh dear, hard work ahead.

Friday, February 09, 2001

9th February 2001

The week began well enough with a visit to a Turkish Bath. No, not
one like that you smutty individuals, a proper one. I had always
fancied a visit to this old Turkish Bath in Ironmonger Row in London
since I saw a feature on it during a local tv show. I fancied having
the full massage, body scrub and shave but decided on the £10 for as
long as you want to sweat. Stayed in there with my mate Phil for a
few hours and came out absolutely squeeky clean. The cold plunge was
a vibe but does not do much for your self esteem when you look down
and see your tackle has shrunk to the size of a small acorn and your
nuts have headed north to your stomach to avoid being frozen ( sorry
about the graphic details ladies ). I think we are going to go once
and month and get a few chaps along and pretend to be gangsters in
there planning our next big job. The week ended with me doing a
short spell behind bars. I wasn't arrested I'm afraid, nothing quite
as rock-and-roll. I was serving drinks at a barn dance in my kids
school. I figured that volunteering for bar duty would get me out of
wearing dungarees and prancing about with a straw in my mouth
whooping along to Shania Twain. Line dancing is my pet hate. We have
imported plenty of great things from across the pond but if I was in
charge I would have line dancing outlawed and anyone found wearing a
cowboy hat and a checked shirt would be hung from the nearest tree
unless they were from Nashville. Radical, I know, but these sort of
measures have to be taken.