Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Barnstaple, Bill Bailey, Burgoyne School and banks

Just before we begin, please return to this link at the end as I'm involved in this blogswap thingy that's full of nice interesting people - have a look! Cheers and enjoy this week's rubbish...

This is another exercise in getting from Friday to Monday. It would make sense to start with Friday. It would have made sense to not have done what I did on Friday, namely - drive to Barnstaple. Barnstaple is a very long way from Letchworth, particularly on a Friday. The nine hour round trip was worth it though because the gig was so utterly fantastic. It's in a venue called Boston Tea Party and the organiser, Wendy can't do enough for you. She was a little worried about numbers on the night because Bill Bailey was playing in Ilfracombe. She needn't have worried. It was packed. I told her bearded musical comedy would never amount to anything. The audience were brilliant and included amongst them a stag do from Nottingham who had come down because I was on (Ha ha, Bill who?) and one of them had previously (at a gig in Nottingham) accused me of looking like the white Mr. T.

It would be fair to say I am not normally mistaken for this man
I got home around 3am, hitting the sack (finally) around five. Fortunately all I had to do on Saturday was pick up (Child friendly) Ian Cognito and drive him to a middle school in Bedfordshire where we were performing at a "fundraiser". I get asked to book the show every other year and the gig's always a pleasure BUT A NIGHTMARE TO FIND. How any child gets to finish that school astounds me. I can only imagine it's a little bit easier to locate in daylight. This was my fourth trip there and I was immediately lost on entering Potton (the town it is allegedly in). Unsurprisingly, (opening act) Simon Clayton got so lost I had to walk out of the venue to try and find him on foot (I didn't trust myself in the car). I followed the directions he was trying to give me so I could walk towards his location and then when he did eventually find me he drove up behind me. It was another excellent show (I've been a bit blessed with audiences this weekend) and we (Cognito and I*) were back at my flat and in a taxi to Hitchin before half eleven. I had two parties to attend, both birthdays, both across the road from each other and both (as it turned out) rather fabulous. Nick's was in "The Long Bar" - somewhere I have never previously frequented. It's great. It's above the Market Theatre (down Sun Street) and is relatively salubrious. It was a particularly well dressed party so I was pleased to be particularly well dressed that night, myself. It was already beginning to thin out a little when we arrived so after one drink I made my (temporary) excuses and nipped over the road to Bar Absolut to Debbie's party. The bar was beyond packed, Roch was DJ-ing and Debbie's little gathering had shrunk to a mere three of them. I suggested that we pool our party resources and, wishing for a change of scenery anyway, they agreed to bring  their party to Nick's party so I frogmarched them back over the road and the two parties collided in particularly happy fashion. Red wine started flowing well enough for me to then suggest Que Pasa. Que Pasa used to be The Corn Exchange. It was bad then. Now it's horrible. Packed, overpriced, full of idiots and just the most terrible music I think I have ever heard. I lasted one drink and then got the hell out of their, leaving the girls clearly enjoying themselves**

...And on Sunday I rested...

Because Monday was the day I was gearing up for - a night out at The Bloomsbury Lanes, just off Russell Square, for "Frankenbowl" a Hallowe'en party including live Misfits Karaoke and one of my favourite bands, Zombina & The Skeletones. Not wanting to drink too much, I didn't get the train until 8pm. While waiting on the platform, imagine my surprise to receive a call from my mate Limburn saying it was his 40th birthday on Tuesday and was I up for drinks. "Here we go again" I thought to myself.

I found The Lanes easily enough and headed to the bar where I was accosted by Kevin and Sara.

The quite excellent Kevin and Sara

I've never met Kevin and Sara. Kevin listens to Punky! Radio and was so enamoured with my descriptions on the show of my mate Felix and Farley's Hair Salon that he drove up to Hitchin to get his hair cut. Kevin works at The Natural History Museum where he has, for the last few years, been studying the DNA of various beetles. He's not over-keen on beetles and prefers weevils (He likes their noses). He has over fifteen thousand beetles in his allocated fridge. Zombina herself was located and interviewed (Should be aired on Punky! Radio in a couple of weeks)

When I dress for Hallowe'en I think it's the little accessories that make the outfit. This year's accessories were a skull necklace and the lead singer of a horrorspacedinosaurpoppunkgoodtimeband. Zombina herself has entitled this photograph "Me and the white Mr. T."

Kevin also knows how to buy a round, as does his girlfriend Sara and by the time Zombina took to the stage (An hour after they should have done) I was suitably relaxed. Relaxed enough in fact to (once again) miss every available train home and have to spend yet another night in South London.

Zombina & The Skeletones in action
Limburn's 40th (Tuesday) was a really good laugh and was in The Victoria Pub. I finally got Vic to acquiesce to my demands for Dolly's Barn Party (we've been having trouble getting dates we agree on for 2012) and also had a good catch up with my mate Buff. He and I put the world to rights and had two rival (but valid) ideas for ending the current banking crisis. He advocates a one-off "Patriot tax" for Britain's super-rich which he reckons could wipe out two thirds of the nation's debt in one easy payment. I prefer a rather more extreme idea that (I think) is brilliant in its simplicity - we get the whole world to tell the IMF they're skint and aren't going to repay them. The IMF then declares the whole world bankrupt, all debts are cleared and we all act a bit more responsibly in future. When our friend Laura came over to talk to us we asked her what she thought of our ideas. She said simply "I don't watch the news" and walked off again.

Finally, Mr. Limburn had just returned from a birthday weekend away in Ireland with about twenty mates. While he was there he somehow ended up sponsoring a horse race and on Saturday 29th October 2011 at 5pm at Naas racecourse the "Paul Limburn 40 With Friends (Pro/am) flat race" took place. It was a race for horses that had never won a race before. It was won by Cossack (the 2/1 favourite), ridden by Miss N Carberry. The programme described what would happen after the race brilliantly well. It said simply "Mr. Limburn will present the winning owner with a trophy of no intrinsic value".

*This would be a far scarier film than Withnail & I
**A couple of days later I got a text from Debbie saying that they had absolutely hated Que Pasa as well and only lasted about fifteen minutes longer than I had. 


  1. First of all, Zombina and the Skeletones has to be the best Halloween band name EVER!

    Secondly, I had that plan for wiping out the US debt. Someone told me it wouldn't fly.

    You have such an exciting adult life... I must admit to being somewhat envious :)

  2. So, permanent midlife crisis, how's that working out for ya? (Just curious.)

  3. Where did you spend the night if you missed the last train? I'm intrigued!

  4. XL - it's more a car crash than excitement.
    Mirjam - see the comment for XL.
    MHA - I am not at liberty to divulge that information ;op


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