Jeez Louise, I've neglected this blog so much it's actually fragmenting.
OK Heads up.. Ive been dating a girl for over a year now and she knew about this blog, sooo I couldn't write it any more for fear of hurting her feelings. This relationship is now over, so I suppose I'm back, and have liberty to write what the fuck I want again.
And done this ( not me or the band in any of these pics by the way )
And this: And this: And been here: And here: And seen this: And played with this lot:
Etc. etc. etc. In other words...all over the chip shop.
Places either visited or passed through in the last few weeks; Brussels, Vienna, Warsaw, Krakow, Marseilles, Graz, Belgrade, Heathrow, Gatwick , Stansted etc. etc. etc.
And today I'm having a day off before returning to the venue tomorrow to finish an install.
Points of note over the last few weeks.
Finishing a gig at 12.30 and spending 2 hours sleeping in the hotel before going back to the airport for 4am for a 6am flight, throwing a strop cos I thought I'd lost my bank cards, finding my bank cards, flying to Brussels, then Vienna for a three hour drive up into the mountains into Graz and then playing at 3 am the following morning.
And you lot think this is all fukin glamorous and shit.
What else? The synth museum in Austria, lots of lovely knobs, sliders and assorted flashy things, right up my street. Shame JR made us speed around it a lightning pace coz he needed to go sit in his hotel room and smoke dope???? Well done, first prize, brilliant idea. Like we never get to see the inside of a fukin hotel room ever.
I will never forgive you.
Very happening place by the way Graz, lots of cool bars, restaurants, nightclubs inside mountains, arty shit and generally happening things happening. Well worth the visit.
+ We reckon if the flight home had crashed it would have taken out half the British dance acts and DJ's scene.
Oh yeah reminds me of the other week when British Airways tried to feed a plane full of Roots Reggie Rasta's ( traveling as a band to the same venue as us ) bacon sandwiches for Breakfast..
"Bumberclot! take it away you stanky gwirl or I check you out of t plane window with yo boyfriend who look like a gwirl too, go on now and why I still smellin dat shit!? "
Next err: Getting sooo pissed in Serbia on a barge ( converted into a nightclub ) that I barely made it through airport security and I can't even remember the flight home. Something about plumb brandy if I remember rightly?
Finally: getting barred from my local pub for being naughty in the toilets. No biggie really, plenty more pubs where I live. Technically I don't know if I'm barred or not, but I'm guessing I am and I'm not going back in just for a certain tosser behind the bars personal satisfaction of turfing me back out again.
He knows who he is the hyprocrytical, pug faced, Lirish ( London Irish ) tampon brained twat!!
And that's that really. Busy busy bee.
Right I'm out the door to find a new local
I'll post as and when I get time and/or something interesting actually happens.
Sooo: I was called on short notice to do a gig in Krakow over the weekend after one of the headlining bands pulled out. So off we all trotted to Poland via (not-so) Easyjet Saturday morning.
Again, sorry about the shite pics, my camera phone refuses to take a picture in focus.
Not really a fan of the old Easy Jet as you kinda have to pay for everything once on-board. Although we did get speedy boarding ( you gotta love the name eh! ) which means you don't have to fight for a decent seat. Complete useless on the return journey though as all it means is that you get on the bus that takes you to the plane first? You still have to fight for a seat when you get to the actual plane?
Bit stupid really.
Still though, we got there.
Weird festival, there was like, 3 hour gaps between each band?? Never heard of anything like that before.
Anyway, great gig, and the band got loads of press whilst playing + some good reviews the next day in the local papers.
+ our own Winnebago for a dressing room
I also got the chance to check out Underworld on the other stage who, I must admit, were shit. They spent the whole gig looking at a bunch of computer screens on-stage with their backs to the crowd. Great!
Superb showmanship lads... Superb /sarcasm.
Went clubbing afterwards to this place that seemed to be full of English stag parties. Not saying much at all to be honest, so I went to bed.
Back on the plane and back home yesterday evening.
I'm off to Poland again next weekend with another band to play in Gdansk, a weird Polish seaside resort.
What else? Oh yes, I've just discovered that I'm staying in this place whilst in Barbados for two weeks working in November. Can't wait, especially for the fact that I haven't had a proper holiday in six years.
Screams of " PROPER FUKIN HOLIDAY MR COKEHEAD, ALL YOU DO IS JET OFF HERE AND THERE YOU TOSER???"
Yeah but it's mostly work.
And that's about the size of that for my weekend.
OK, I'm off out with B and the dogs to enjoy this gloriously sunny day.
Sooo: I gave my mate a hand with his boxing night last night, putting up the ring, doing the lights, sorting all the mics out etc. etc. etc.
One thing I've learned though: Assembling a boxing ring with no experience and no instructions = No easy task!
If you thought your Ikea wardrobe and matching bedside cabinet was a pain in the arse to put together ...try one of these fuckers for size!
Took us all bloody afternoon, rather like building adult Meccano...for the brave.
It was always just about finished till you had to fit in the last damn piece. At 5pm we thought we had all the basics laid out when my mate J ( testing the springyness factor of the decking ) reached the middle of the ring and basically disappeared in a cloud of dust through the boards.
Not a good look really.
Oh well, rather him than one of the boxers.
6:30 it was all done, canvass on, ropes on, pads on, no major injuries, a few cut hands... jobs a goodun.
Set up all the lighting and mics, and by 7 we were done.
Turned out to be a wicked night though 6 three round fights , no real injuries, nobody died, everybody happy.
I tell you what though: Boxing when watched ringside is one hell of a tough sport, when you can see the pain in the boxers faces and actually hear the punches landing it's a whole different ball game. I mean, I dabbled in Thai boxing and had a couple of fights when I was a kid, but is wasn't anything compared to this shit.
I was in charge of the bell too. Ding Ding seconds away and all that.
We took the ring down about 100 x faster then we'd put the damn thing up as well.
Got home around 12:30, had a couple of rum and cokes, watched a film, went to bed.
I'm doing a big install in the venue at the moment, we've decided to put another mixing desk and live set-up in the second 300 capacity room so we can accommodate smaller bands as opposed to the main 1000 capacity room which if you put on a band night and the bands just bring their 100 or so mates it'll appear to be a shit night.
Hopefully this will accommodate them.
And that's about the size of that for the moment, going to Poland next week for a gig. I'm filling in for a mate of mine on a one off thing, should be a good laugh.
Right, I'm off down the polling station to vote for the new Major of London, hopefully we can get rid of that Ken Livingston fucker who's basically making London grind to a halt.
Sooo: I've just returned from the second visit to France and a wicked little festival La Printemps De Bourges in the centre of France. The festival is located in the centre of the town so no fucking mud to deal with. Kinda mad walking around a festival set on concrete flooring.
Sorry no pics as my camera phone refuses to take a good pic in the dark.
Note to self: Do yourself a favour mate...buy a new bloody digi camera mate.
The gig was a blinder which is good as the festival tends to be full of industry people looking to book up new bands to play in the upper levels of the French touring scene. All good. To be honest, the rest of the bands playing our stage where a combination of dull Jazzy hip hop and Jazz funk, which is OK to listen to in the house, but fukin boring live. I can safely say that we had absolutely no problem annihilating the competition on sat night. I think it was the first time the crowd had actually had a dance all day!
I was sooo tired and moody after the gig though as we'd been on the road for the best part of a day, so after the gig it was straight back on the bus and straight to bed for me.
The tour manager P got stopped in France for speeding yesterday. The second time in two weeks? He was stopped for being slightly over the limit last week and, to be honest, we got off lightly coz if they'd have searched the bus we'd have all been fucked due to the amount off weed we were carrying.
French take on being over the limit: Small fine and an hour long stay at the side of the road till you're under the limit again. We'll done France...try that in England and it's loss of license, a trip to court and maybe a spell in prison.
Got back to England last night and I sat in drinking a bottle of wine and watching a film. B is in Rome at the moment so I don't think I'll get to see her for a couple of days. Boo!
I'd usually have gone to the pub on my return but, to be honest, I'm going there less and less what with the smoking ban and the current price of drinks ( £3.65 a pint at my local ) it's just not the same any more. If I bump into some mates and start buying rounds, it can work out being a very expensive night out... no wonder so many pubs are going under.
Thanks the British government for destroying another part of why it used to be great being British.
I'm feeling more and more that I no longer want to live in this country. I'm sick of being raped by a government that gives me fuck all in return. It's bullshit and our green and pleasant land is on the verge of becoming a full-on fascist dictatorship. Our government no longer listens to it's voters? It's becoming a farce and something I'm feeling more and more that I no longer want to be a part of.
What the fuck is that about?
Anyway, I digress.
What else? Oh yes, there is talk of a few gigs in Barbados in November. Virgin airlines want to fly us all out there for two weeks, for three gigs which are unpaid, but...we get all our meals, accommodation and a car to zoom about in for the duration + coz it's a mini festival, they need an additional sound engineer (me) to engineer the other shows who will be paid.
Sign me up!
I can think of nothing better than lounging on a beach, going to work in the evenings (doing a job I love) then partying afterwards for two weeks + getting paid for the experience.
I'm bang up for that.
I'm going down to the club tomorrow to see the crew and find out what's been going on in my absence. My mate D ( who I've left in charge ) reports it's all been good. We'll see.
Right, I need to go food shopping so I'm out the door.
Sooo: I've just returned from France after a 10 day tour covering about 2500 miles via tour bus.
I'm knackered to say the least. Had a great time though and it was good to be back on tour with the band again.
We've been to Mirabel in the alps, to Bordeaux, to the Loire Valley and Paris and Brittany and all the other places in between. In other words half of bloody France.
I apologise for the crap pictures, my digi camera has gone tits up so these are from my phone camera (thanks Nikon...again!)
Anyway, we did gigs ranging from this:
To this 500 capacity venue in a converted French barn full of nutters:
To this... The last pics are from the 6500 capacity Zenith venue in Paris, amazing gig , and probably one of the best sound systems ( D&B line array ) I've ever had the privilege of working on. Zenith by name... Zenith by nature.
Apart from the gigs we've had times of getting pissed in the sun all afternoon French style:
To hanging out at the seaside:
To Carp fishing on the band managers private lake ( I swear i'm in the wrong fukin job!! )
No real dramas to report... well apart from me getting pissed on 55% rum one night, and then getting completely lost on the way back to the hotel? The tour manager eventually had to come find me, staggering about in the middle of some rural French town square like some supremely intoxicated British dick-head...
It turned out I had directions to the hotel on a bit of paper in my bloody pocket all along.
Never mind, a good time was had by all I'm thinking.
Plus I brought back a few different bottles of Haut-Medoc AOC Bordeaux Chateau wine ( Arguably the worlds finest wine... I think so anyway ) So I'm kinda happy about that.
I'm off to B's tonight for dinner and I'm sure me and her will polish one off.
Sooo: Three days off now and then we all go back [To France] for more.
I'm gonna keep this short because, to be honest, it's too difficult for me to express in words at the moment.
Yesterday we gave a final send off to our beloved friend Marie. Beautiful service...for our beautiful friend. Huge turnout of people. Marie was obviously known and loved by many, many people and I think I can speak for all of those who attended when I say that there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
A very very sad day...
But also a wonderful day of celebration, laughter, tears and a day I'll never forget.
It's a shame you weren't there Marie ( although, of course, you probably were ) at 5:30 in the afternoon, in the upstairs room of the pub where we were all having a sing-along, the sun decided to show it's face for the first time after many, many months of a dark long winter and completely lit up the room.
Was that you dear?
It reminded me of your smile
You brought us the first day of Summer kid, you really did, but hey! That was just you all over.
Anyway I'm gonna stop now cos I'm finding it too difficult to carry on.
7. Pop Idol ( or any programme remotely of that format) 8. Brick wall mastering 9. Genre assimilation ( i.e. that single sold so lets copy it just to sell a million units ) 10. Squeaky clean song writing 11.Old school record marketing 12. Radio ( pay us money and we'll play your record ) marketing /pay to play 13. Back scratching 14. Assumption that good looking people can make fabulous records 15. Stupid A&R people 16. Fixed award ceremonies 17. Dropping artists after their second album doesn't sell as well as the first 18. Rejection of ( and suing of ) free downloading by people who wouldn't have bought the fucking record in the first place? Read: Building up a fan base 19. The single as a sub marketing ploy for an album ( Pink Floyd didn't need it, Led zeppelin didn't need it, Radiohead don't need it ) 20. The [lack of] accepting of anything ( marketing wise ) that goes against the grain. 21. Ripping off artist ( who make you the money in the first fucking place ) 22. Assumption that music always = money 23. Annyalation of Simon Cowell ( + his cronies ) and his capitalist music format 24. Major record labels 25. ( One sided) record contracts 26. The practice of remixing a perfectly good tune for the dance floor by giving it to some DJ who then basically slaps a 4/4 beat underneath and charges £5000 for the privilege ( which the artist then pays for from his/her royalties ) This can be done as much as 6-8 times on an artists record = £40,000 off the top before you even get paid. 27. Charging artist for all the meals/nights out/cocaine/sundry expenses that an A&R man will accumulate ( supposedly ) in the interests of your band. 28. Street teams [this is a big no no in my book] : The practice of paying children ( usually in the form of a couple of free Cd's a month ) to rig phone-in quiz shows, websites, forums, award voting systems in favour of one particular band. 29. Chart fixing 30. Seasonal trend fixing i.e. ruining the [once exciting] Christmas Charts. Read: Simon Cowell ) Again!! 31. External producers: Bringing a producer into the fold ( who once probably had a bit of success in the 80's/90's ) to basically charge [you] a fortune whilst sitting at the back of the studio ruining your pride and joy with his pathetic suggestions of how your record could ( and will ) be better. 32. Stifling artists: The art of signing an artist ( usually the competition ) then holding them under contract and never releasing any of their work for the benefit of another artists music. 33. Brick wall mastering ( have I said that already? Well I'm saying it again ) Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering Brick wall mastering??? 34. Thinking that a suit can fix your label. EMI and Guy hands have just spectacularly fucked up on this count to the point that [I predict] EMI will be no more in say five years time. Any artist who actually signs to EMI in it's present state resides in: No. 101 Stupid Cottage, Stupid Lane, Stupid Town, County Stupid, Stupidland SA1 ROFL.
Sooo: I engineered a Bangladeshi showcase night in Central London tonight. Some extremely good acts. Lot's of weird instruments to mic up though, but some absolutely outstanding vocalists + tea and biscuits ( Maybe a bygone taste of the British Raj? ) in the half time interval.
So yeah...a good night all round.
Funny: there was this girl singing and playing a beautiful old harmonium accompanied by a superb electric guitarist. Halfway through her set I kept hearing this awful banging sound from one of the mics? I noticed after a couple of minutes that it was actually the girl banging the mic with her hand as she pumped the bellows which power the instrument, sooo... I ventured onto the stage to move the mic to a less painful position.
Everybody good...nobody gets hurt.
But... as I walked across the stage I stepped on the fukin guitarists FX pedal board, instantly changing his Pink Floyd like, nice sunset on Goa beach echo reverb guitar effect sound to what I can only describe as huge death metal, distortion from hell, Iron Maiden up your bum, karate chop to the brain, everybody run for your life, doom sounding effect programmed by Satan himself on a bad day.
I mean fair play to the guitarist, he held it together. I ( obviously ) exited the area, stage right at double speed, tail between my legs, never to be seen again thanks very much.
Apart from that it was a great night, everybody went home at 9.30pm too.
Tomorrow night is the bands first gig of the year.
Central London at some awards ceremony.
Let's just hope that Riggormortis hasn't set in too much after the winter break?
Sooo: Apologies for not blogging, I've been kinda busy what with this and that.
What's been happening? Well we've been having huge rows with Westminster council about emergency lighting down at the club. The council came to inspect the club the other week and because this fukin jobsworth inspector couldn't find anything wrong health and safety wise, he then decided to concoct his own scenario about the emergency lighting?
Basically the emergency lights are there in case of power failure and direct everyone out of the club and toward the emergency exits.
[Captain fukin obvious strikes again!!]
Our emergency lights are red, have always been red, and have always passed every inspection.
But... Oh no, not on this jobsworth twats watch ? He launches into the spiel about red lights ( as emergency lights ) being illegal and threatens us with closure unless we change them to white lights??
It's a fucking nightclub you tosser!
Anyway, off he trots and returns with the buildings electricians and makes them change all the fluorescent bulbs from red to white? "What's the problem with that " you may say? Well I'll tell you the problem: The problem is that this then lights the club up like a Christmas tree. Even with the houselights off, it felt like you were standing in the middle of some office complex at lunch time with the blinds open on a sunny day??
For a nightclub = Totally unacceptable
We had so many complaints last Friday of " Can you turn the lights off please?" that I was literally pulling my hair out by the time the night finished.
We pulled out all the health and safety documentation shit and have since found out that this jobsworth inspector is completely full of shit. So (of course) we changed the lights back to red.
He can go fuck himself as far as I'm concerned.
The guy will be back tonight for his re-inspection.
What else? Oh yes, now this is interesting.
A mate of mine who works as a school teacher had a visit from the Police the other day. It was one of those visits where the Police come to the school to warn kiddies of the potential dangers of drugs, crime, smoking, drinking and a bit of what the Police actually do, blah blah blah.
Nothing special there then...we all had those visits as kids.
But ( and this is the interesting bit ) The Police gave the kiddies a little project to take home.
This project consisted of the kiddies learning how to take their own finger prints and then returning the kits to the school complete with above said finger prints???
You see where I'm going with this.
Now I'm not quite sure ( neither is my mate ) if the Police are going to come and retrieve these little projects at a later date, but he was told to hang onto them?
Sooo: I was working a venue Central London last night, couple of bands, nothing to write home about. Same shit different day.
Anyway it got to about 10:30 and the venues fire alarm system went off?
The sound system power was cut, the emergency house lights went on and the security evacuated the building.
It was 10:30 so we decided therefore to just end the night and send everybody home. No biggie really, it happens surprisingly a lot wot with pissed punters smashing fire alarms on the way home 'n' all that.
I rushed around trying to find where the broken alarm was, found it, reset the alarm system , powered the venue back up and then I noticed...
....all the tills had been smashed open?
The venue had been robbed???
Right under our fukin noses.
In under 15 mins flat?
Not a trace on the cameras either? For some stupid reason (which I can't actually work out ) as the venue powers down into emergency mode. So do the fukin camers???
Whether the robbers actually knew this or not I don't know.
I would say probably not to be honest.
Yep...all the till locks had been smashed ( not a difficult job really with a hammer, a screwdriver and a couple of minutes. You'd have never heard it with the sound of the alarms going off ) but... these fukin chancers had made off with all the cash.
I mean hats off to them...genius idea.
The Police said they'd seen this before, but never in a packed venue full of punters, staff and security?
Must have been planning it for a while I guess.
The mad thing was that the venue manager was in his office the whole time and I was running about the place trying to find out which alarm had been smashed.
Never saw or heard a thing the whole time?
Ninja robbers even.
Hope they enjoyed the crack fest the robbery probably paid for?