Tuesday, 26 July 2011

dogs, whiteys and a rockabilly riot.

This might not be a particularly long blog, largely because I can be forgiven for not remembering much about the weekend. I'll explain...

I managed to get not one, but two gigs cancelled this weekend. Thursday (Liverpool) and Friday (Scunthorpe) were pulled at short-ish notice and I was left with only a show at one of my favourite venues, Alexanders Jazz Theatre in Chester. The lack of work availed FUN of course and on Friday I drove up to Blackpool to have a night out with my friend Mia and also to look at a venue that may be opening its doors to comedy in a few months. The drive was murder. I expected the traffic to be bad on the way up but I didn't expect it to take five hours. I hit traffic jams on the M1 around Milton Keynes, Northampton and Daventry. I then got on to the car park known more commonly as the M6 where I came to a standstill around Corley services before finally (and grudgingly) making it on to the M6 toll for twenty odd miles of freedom (for £4.80). it was worth the best part of a fiver. When I rejoined the M6 I stopped again at Cannock, hit a huge jam around Stafford and then came to another  halt at Stoke. The traffic didn't ease until I'd got past Manchester when it suddenly became plain sailing all the way to Thornton-Cleveleys. I got to Mia's around 8pm to be greeted by her insane dogs who barked, jumped and playfully licked me into a submission. Tired, hungry and a little freaked, I was then subjected to something Mia described as AK48. Apparently it's a finely tuned hybrid of AK47. That anyone would name an intoxicant after  Russian military hardware only begins to hint at its rarified successor's strength. We then went for a carvery, or rather she did. I embarked on a ninety (ninety!) minute whitey that left me muttering to myself as she giggled uncontrollably at my discomfort. At one point I uttered the phrase "There's actually no antidote for this!". At another I had a brief relief, sat bolt upright and said "It's passed!" before two seconds later collapsing back into despair as it came rushing back. I held my head in my hands for the duration of the episode. Mia said I looked for all the world like a gambler who had lost everything. I liked to think that anyone walking past would have looked at us and figured that she had finished with me and I was just not taking it very well. She had told me at the start that it was "Good for writing". I doubt I could even have held a pen, let alone scribbled anything down with it. What do you think?

At one point I tried to pick up a solitary pea with my fork. It fell off.
Everything passed as quickly as it had arrived, I recovered the spring in my step and we had a couple of pints, before getting the tastiest burger I have ever had in my life (I wonder what made it so tasty?) and retiring chez Mia for bottled mojitos and crap telly.

I woke up late. An hour late, to be precise and we had to hot foot it to the aforementioned venue to meet the boss and check it out. It's a beautiful old theatre, steeped in history and has the potential to be an amzing comedy club. I told the owner as much and gave him some advice on running shows. Whether he'll listen or not remains to be seen, but it's got real potential. I'll let you know as things develop. I left Blackpool about 3.30pm and drove to Chester via Manchester and a swift half with another friend, Nadia. She revealed to me that she could get very cheap holidays to Las Vegas. I now want to go to Las Vegas with her.

The gig in Chester was, as usual, lovely and I got out of there just before midnight. The three hour drive home was far superior to the one there.

On Sunday night I met up in Brixton with a friend of mine who works for radio 2. The reason? She had two tickets for "Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot" at The Brixton Academy. I had really wanted to go but had been put off by the £35 ticket price. it suddenly being free put a whole new spin on it though. On the train down I bumped into my mate Mark (Who occasionally cuts my hair, but don't condemn him for it). We had a pint at The Beehive (nearest pub to the gig) and bumped into Johnny and Angel who I had last shared a drink with in Pineda De Mar at The Psychobilly Meeting. Angel is approaching six feet tall, has brightly coloured hair and was resplendent in a 50s style union jack dress. When she went to the bar a man bumped into her and said "Sorry, I didn't see you". You could have seen her from space.

The gig itself was a really good laugh, not least because we had VIP tickets which got us in through the stage door and into a private bar so there was no need to queue. We came out front to watch support act "Jim Jones Review" who did their best to get someone else's audience going and are definitely worth a second look. Setzer took to the stage with his "Trio" and they did a few songs form his "68 Comeback Special - Ignition" album. That was followed by a couple of instrumentals from his new album before the highlight of the night (for me at least) when he wheeled out Slim Jim Phantom and did a Stray Cats set that raised the roof. What followed was a glorious mess. Both drummers stayed on stage, another double bass player came out and we got the "Rockabilly Riot" we had been threatened. I was expecting this to have been the whole show and just as it really started to kick off, it was over. As the rest of te band left the stage, Slim Jim Phantom ran to the front applauding and laughing hysterically.This was a repeat of the last time when I had seen him there when (after a Stray Cats gig) he ran to the front applauding, slipped, fell over and broke his arm in two places. Miraculously he still got through two encores but then had to cancel the rest of the tour. I like it when rock stars do things like that - it reminds us they're human. Then I bumped into my mate DJ Dave from Swanage who had taken his son along to the gig. His son is cool. Dave isn't - he's a plum. He's my kind of guy.

Finally, a little advert for myself. I'm doing The Edinburgh Festival this year from August 8th to 27th. Below are flyers for the two gigs I'm doing - I'd love to see you at one of them, should you be around. I'll also be blogging pretty much every day (As I did last year) for the duration of The Fringe, which (last year) was how this blog happened in the first place. Cheers!

Every night at 7.30pm. I've already got some great line ups for it and  I'm tremendously flattered by some of the comics who have asked to appear.

This could be brilliant. It could also be an absolute mess. Regardless, it'll be a bit of a laugh as I grapple with wig changes, accents, songs, stories, poems and even a rap. I am so street. It's on in Edinburgh's most haunted pub, which seems fitting. It will be a great environment for a show about fairy tales and I may even find the ghost of my career.

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