Saturday, December 29, 2007
At Year End
Friday I was off to Alexandra Palace for the PDF world darts championship. Saw four games, including ex World Champion John Part and one of the favourites James Wade. Although easier to get to than Purfleet, it’s still an awkward part of North London to get to. However, the atmosphere is great and it was very well organised with a voucher system allowing hardly any queuing at the bars.
Christmas Eve was a bit of a let down as our traditional place The Harrow was for the first time in at least ten years ticket only, which we were not aware of. However, we had a good time in Clarets where the barman said he saw me in the Royal Oak in Southampton the previous Saturday before the football. We also had a quick one in the Railway which is now under new ownership by an Italian family. It seemed slightly different to usual (brighter) and perfectly pleasant. Be interesting to see what they do with it. Actually the Saturday before Christmas we had an excellent turn out of people have a few drinks in Wimbledon. As some friends have kids, it isn’t always easy to get people out but with the season of goodwill in force, it’s pleasing to see people making an effort. After the Alexandra, we did Berties Bar which is below the Prince of Wales pub and Bar Sia which is fairly different from the other venues around.
Ok a quick time to reflect on 2007 with a few best ofs.
Gig – The Twang at Brixton, The Scorpians at Hammersmith and Paramore at the Astoria
Song – I Hate The Summer by Six Nation State, About You Now by Sugababes, When The World Was Round by Ian Hunter
Film – Fantastic Four Silver Surfer, Atonement, Spider-man 3 (think these are the only three films I’ve seen at the cinema this year!)
Album – Princess Alice by Magnum, Man On The Roof by Stephen Fretwell, Dying To Say This To You by The Sounds
Non Local Pub – Rutland & Derby Arms in Leicester, Coach & Horses in Norwich, Royal Oak in Southampton
London Pub – Nell Gwynne off The Strand, London Stone in Cannon Street, Bradleys off Tottenham Court Road
Local Pub – O’Neills in Sutton, Clarets in Cheam and Star in Ewell.
Music Venue – Hammersmith Odeon, Shepherds Bush Empire, The Borderline
Happy New Year to everyone and see you in 2008!
Friday, December 21, 2007
More Gigs, Gay Pubs and Disco Down!
The day after Chas & Dave, my brother and I went down to Brighton for Status Quo. We did a crawl of Kemptown. Quite a good area for pubs although some are catered to the attraction of the same sex, although as it was early this did not deter us from frequenting some of them, one of which was called The Zone where there was a nine out of ten for Ian Holloway. In the Saint James pub (normal place) there were some remarkably attractive women for some reason and a nice ginger barmaid flirted with me in the Market Inn. Bar 14 was also a good place which we did just prior to the show although it was strangely empty. As to Quo themselves, as an attendee of their gig two or three times a year, this was probably the best I’ve seen them in a good while. Franics Rossi seemed really up for it which makes a lot of difference especially during his solos. Also added to their static set was a guitar based version of Burning Bridges which although not a favourite added something unexpected.
Saturday saw the return of one of my favourite bands, Shed Seven, who have reformed with their original line up, having split four years ago. This was at Shepherds Bush and they were fantastic. Despite lead singer Rick Witters voice being shot due to a cold you could not fault them at all. Everyone was singing at the end in Chasing Rainbows and it was nice to hear the epic Parallel Lines in the encore. What this reformation will lead to we don’t know yet, but hopefully a few more gigs would certainly be pleasing.
A trip to the Indigo was in the day after, for Joe Cocker. This is the smaller venue in the Millenium Dome which unfortunately coincided with the Spice girls playing the larger O2 on the same night. Cue crowded train alert. We had been told of a nearby pub called the Philpot which gave me an excuse to talk to a rather attractive girl selling 02 merchandise. Alas it transpired the correct name of the pub was the Pilot, so she must have thought I was some sort of loon. After a beer in the expensive Slug & Lettuce (around £3.50 a pint) it was time for an even more expensive beer in the venue (£4.00 a Becks Vier, you’re having a laugh!). Joe Cocker was also on good form with many many screams in nearly every song. A ten minute plus version of With A Little Help From My Friends was the highlight for me, although he did encore with She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and Cry Me A River. Thanks to the tube and a rather nutty bus driver at Morden, I managed to get home in just over an hour, which I thought was pretty good for a Sunday. Red Ken Wooh!
Shed Seven Set – Getting Better / Bully Boy / Magic Streets / She Left Me On Friday / Ocean Pie / Dolphin / Speakeasy / Dirty Soul / On Standby / Cry For Help / Where Have You Been Tonight / Disco Down / Going For Gold //////// Devil In Your Shoes / Parallel Lines / Chasing Rainbows
Friday, December 14, 2007
Gigs since last time!
If you are a regular reader of this then I apologise for the lack of updates. It just that I am sooooo busy!
Several gigs to report so lets get underway.
Firstly on Friday 23rd November I went to see The Pigeon Detectives at the Kentish Town Forum. Once again we popped into the Pineapple, becoming a favourite, where we turned down the spirit called Julia for a traditional pint. The next place was again a decent haunt called The Vine. They are having a 007 theme night for NYE at a reasonable price (£15 and free drinks) a bit too far to come though. Then we were onto the gig. They were pretty good, reminiscent of the Buzzcocks and The Cribs, power punk pop. The lead singer who does look like a pigeon, gave it his all by dancing around and there was a decent mosh pit although was slightly ruined late on by some young blokes just jumping into each other causing a huge circle to form around them. We didn’t drink in the venue as the bar was four or five deep though we did get some cans for the Thameslink train which was cancelled! Thanks to the tube network however I managed to get down to Victoria for the 11.26 train to Sutton. Result!
Through a friend I managed to get on the guestlist for Jimbob’s gig at the Horn in St Albans. Jimbob as I am sure you are aware is the lead singer with Carter USM and he was doing an acoustic show here supporting a new album which should have been released but wasn’t due to a stapling problem. After having a couple of beers with the man himself we saw him perform in front of a crowd of about 60. Bit of a comedown from selling out Brixton Academy just a few weeks ago. Besides his solo stuff he did my two favourite Carter tracks (Only Living Boy In New Cross & Born On 5th November) as well as covering Hi Ho Silver Lining. All in all a good show and surprisingly easy to get back via Croydon and a bus.
Sunday 2nd December I was at Thunder at the London Astoria. A cracking band who I have followed for about 15 years or so. The set was mainly from their last album, Robert Johnstons Tombstone, and they had dropped Dirty Love which is normally their closer! However, we did get ‘Like A Satellite’ which is a fantastic power rock ballad and the show closed with ‘I Love You More Than RocknRoll’ which is moving up in my list of favourite Thunder tracks. It was also another excuse to have a beer in The Intrepid Fox before hand, although the pub highlight for me was going to the Beehive in Vauxhall to see Birmingham beat Spurs in the last minute with a screamer of a goal!
On the Monday (3rd) I went to a new venue called The Fly which is halfway between Tottenham court Road & Holborn. The occasion was a solo show by Inspiral Carpets singer Tom Hingley. Including the man himself there were 26 people in this basement as he took the stage for a 45 minute set, mainly made up of Carpets numbers including Saturn 5 and This Is How It Feels. He also played the blues standard The Sky Is Crying. At the end of the evening I bought his first solo album for a fiver directly from him!
Bit of a departure on Wednesday (5th) where I had my first visit of the year to Chicagos in Sutton. Normally full of desperate single mums at weekends, this midweek visit, was to see legends, Chas & Dave. In a full set this was a bargain £7.00 and we got all the hits including Gertcha, Rabbit, Sideboard Song, Snooker Loopy and That’s What I Like Mick, before a climatic Ain’t No Pleasing You ended the proceedings. Very good fun indeed!