Well Scotland finished last weekend. That’s not to say the country finished obviously, I mean my visit to it finished. St Andrews was an absolute joy, a real pleasure. I arrived and dreaded it immediately courtesy of a group of complete twerps who were in on a stag party. I tell you what this feels like an end of blog rant so read on for more…anyway the gig was wonderful, a real joy. Everyone seemed to love bluegrass which is always good by me of course. Best of all I managed to meet up again with Stuart McGregor, a sterling chap who I hadn’t seen in many years. He was the reason I went to Joxer Brady’s in the first place (read elsewhere about this pub, the best in Stafford and anywhere else) and was immensely supportive in my early gigging days. Then it was to the borders to play Smailholm Village Hall to a packed house which was wonderful and even better for the first time in years I performed with Michael Haywood and Laura Grime, formerly the trio Land or Sea. They joined me on At Least Pretend which was terrific. Finally, a thoroughly weird gig in Glasgow at the Islay Inn which didn’t seem to go terribly well til near the end when everyone got into it and drunk people requested bluegrass tunes much to my surprise. Anyway some great people there so much fun had.
After Scotland came a visit to my folks for a night which was a pleasure as always and then, finally, a night in my own house. Then travels again! I popped to London to see my wonderful lady and then to perform in a homeless shelter with Nic Zuppardi (mighty mandolinist) as part of Live Music Now (www.livemusicnow.org.uk). It was humbling to play to the audience who were very receptive I’m pleased to say. Live Music Now is something I am very proud to be part of.
Then came a return to my first ever gig, the White Horse in Clun which I played when I was just 13! My grandparents lived there at the time and still live in nearby Church Stretton and my great aunt and uncle still live there. So it was a bit of a family do but I had a cracking time with a nice crowd and played a lot of stuff which is generally a good sign! The next night was also superb at the Cross in Kinver which was brilliant and great to see my old chum James Baskett. Then came Sunday and appearing in a cracking show called the Imagined Nation in Birmingham devised by my friend Rich McMahon, an Irish singer/guitarist and superb entertainer. It was a great success I’m pleased to say and more is planned for the show do check it out if you find it.
Coming up then, I continue my English bit with a new gig on Friday at the Boot and Slipper in Wettenhall, Cheshire and then Saturday in Burton on Trent with the Monster Ceilidh band for a Paddy’s day knees up. Then Paddy’s day itself I’ll be…in places.
Anyway, so yes let’s rant. These twits were on a stag do and were of that breed that I’m sure I have already ranted about but do you know what, they need ranting about more. I came in and they were making a fair racket with ‘banter’ (i.e. unfunny, uncouth cobblers in a combination of ‘we are socially unaware of what everyone thinks about us’ and ‘we need to be the centre of attention). Then I was having a nice chat with people at the bar when I heard singing (I use the word in its broadest possible sense) coming from my PA system. I went over and asked if they could not sing into my mic and the following dialogue took place:
‘Can you get away from my gear please’
‘Do you own the pub?’
‘No, but I own the PA’
‘I can stand here if you want’
‘Yes but why do you have to, I’m here to perform and you’re not’
‘Well I’m paying to be here’
‘No you’re not, you’re paying for drink’
After running out of ideas he went. Now, these men were in their 40s and 50s. Are they that immature that they can’t see a mic without going up to it?! Anyway later some other burke was doing the same thing so I went over and told him to go away and leave it. Dialogue:
‘Off you go please’
‘Don’t tell me to f**k off’
‘Ok, er go away?’
‘I get violent if people tell me to f**k off, you’ve picked the wrong man to tell to f**k off’
[crapping myself a little as this was quite a large chap] ‘Ok sorry but don’t touch my gear please’
‘I meant singing as well’
‘You need to learn to entertain’
‘I haven’t started yet mate!’
‘You should involve the audience more’
‘Again, I haven’t started yet! How am I supposed to have involved you already?’
What a burke.