Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Been a long time...

Okay. It has been a very long time between blogs. Still no real time to put any effort into a full force blogathon. Here are the highlights:

Decided to move away from Oxford.
Sold our house in less than 12 hours.
Put an offer in for new house next day.
Went away on tour with Marillion.
Got gazumped on first offer.
Found new house (same village, much nicer house). Offer accepted.
Looking at January for possible moving date.
Marillion Tour Bus broke down in the middle of France.
Got new bus from Simply Red.
Drank all of Mick Hucknells beer, wine, moet and coke.
Finished off his vast chocolate supply.
Gave Bus back to Simply Red (now christened Simply Empty)
Got Rufus Wainwright's Bus.
Finished tour. Went to see Rufus the next day.

There you go.

Now playing: Kate Bush, Ariel

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Took Alex to Legoland on Saturday. A bit overcast but not too cold. He enjoyed it but I just can't get my head around theme parks any more. Now Legoland is geared around toddlers to 12-13 year olds, and there were thousands there on Saturday. But who in gods name decided to make most of the rides seat TWO people at a time? The waiting time is just stupidly bad. The problem is made worse by the complete lack of energy of the staff who could not give a shit. We waited in a line of about 40 people for a ferris wheel. I worked out that it would take the best part of an hour to get on the ride, wait for every car to be emptied and re-filled, rotate twice, and then empty every car one...at...a...time...till...every...one...was...you get the idea.
Came home at about 7pm and was asleep by 8.30pm. It has been a hard week at work and I awoke after 12 hours sleep. Blimey...

Craig and Scarlet have been away on an adventure holiday this weekend with the Oxford Young Diabetics. The return coach bust a radiator and they had to be moved onto a second coach in order to get home. Over 2 hours late...could have been a lot worse. Both of them went straight to bed so they must have had a good time.

Loubee, Alex and yours went for a 'meal' with Lou's Gramp at the Duke of Marlborough pub in Woodstock. It was nice to have a chat but the food really was bad. Roast Lamb and we had to ASK for mint sauce. The FOOLS! My Thai fish cakes were dry and tasted like cold battered cod. Never trust ANYWHERE that has artificial flowers in clear gel and paper napkins. With a bit of luck they will stick to serving pints and let the 'chef' find his true vocation...Legoland are looking for staff...

Loubee's gramp insisted on paying and that made me even more grumpy as it was not cheap and was without doubt the worst food I've had since we foolishly entered a 'Hungry Horse' in abingdon a few years ago (we actually got a FULL refund on that day!). We'll have to treat him to a REALLY nice meal soon.

Strange Fact of the week:

Carl Glover (Ace photographer/album sleeve god/Led Zep 'cornfield' cd cover? thats him...) came into Racket to shoot Marillion's xmas cd cover (don't ask...you'll see it soon enough) and we were having a laugh about Marillion fans taking photos at gigs. I said that we should start giving out rules for photography at gigs. The no flash rule is just not enough. Whilst we were throwing ideas around Carl suggested that we only allow 50 iso film into gigs. We both fell about laughing. I realised shortly afterwards that I've laughed myself to tears over many things...but never film speed. We've entered a whole new world of comedy...

Current Listening:
Car: Rumours/Fleetwood Mac
Late night ipod: Down by the seaside/Led Zeppelin

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Out with the old...

Good gig on Saturday with the beaver. Very rusty but always a good laugh with Stew on trumpet. The man can raise any song up a notch or two with his full on playing. I played quite well and put in a couple of good solos. I've re-sprayed my strat now, going from a glossy graffiti yellow to a scuzzy pale blue. Actually I've coated many different layers and sanded through so you can see each layer down to the bare wood. Suits me as I can now knock the shit out of it and not worry about any scratches or dents. For some reason it reminds me of my new hero Dave Alvin's strat. My mission is to play in his style. Loud and on the edge! Working so far...

The trip to Ipswich was great. Will C drove the entire distance and as we chatted the miles flew by. We realy don't get a chance to talk about music in this band. In fact its the least 'gang' like of any band I've been in. A shame but thats the way of the beaver. Will talked about a new 'fusion' band he's putting together. They may need another guitar player. I'm up for it if they ask me (time permitting). We'll see.

So, before Saturdays gig I nipped out to Music Box in cowley road to pick up some strings. I've moved up to 10 gauge now after spending the last 15 years on 9's. My fingers hurt but its made a huge difference to my playing. Hopefully will keep down string breakage which has recently become more frequent. Funny, i'd go for years without breaking a string. It's Dave Alvin's fault!
I decided to take in my home made semi acoustic to part ex. And my Godin!! Opps...
Still...I've now got a lovely blue Fender Jaguar, a guitar I have always loved but never owned. Gary (Music Box/Beaver Sax) sorted out the dodgy trem and i picked her up on tuesday after work. Broke a string after 10 mins...Dave "******" Alvin!
I'll stick some 10's on her later this week.

Got totaly stuck into the garden on Sunday with Loubee. She laid a nice curvy border at the bottom of the garden with some old bricks, while I put some slabs underneath the rabbit hutch. The toms needed a good sort out. None have rippened so it may have to be Green Tom Chutney this year. Sorted out the front garden. Tried to saw off the old council steel gateposts. Broke the saw. Borrowed a big arse angle grinder the following day. New gate installed. Loubee very happy. Only took 5 years for a gate that now shuts AND locks...Its the little things.
Had some trouble with kids playing football outside the house this year. Its gone from my sons having a kick around, to FIFA divisions 1,2,3 & 4 outside. With no away games. I've kept quietly grumpy about it. However, the neigbour hit the roof on Sunday just as I was sorting out the last of the veggie patch. Next day the kids were back for a pre season frendly and i told them to get lost. Should have done it months ago. I'm now alex's evil dad. If they egg my car I'll kick their arses. Arrest me!

Pulled up my less than huge carrots and cooked a lovely bit of trout. With mini carrots. Yum.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

takeoff Posted by Picasa

Too good for too long

Having just got to grips with jet lag from the west coast US tour date with Marillion, it was back to business with both Racket Records and Soul Beaver. Racket was not a problem, although i've returned to a huge archive ebay fest. We've turned every stone and found a load of super rare material (shirts, drum skins, programmes etc) which we are ebaying off in order to raise funds for the hurricane victims. A good cause and makes the fans happy to be finally getting their hands on long out of print material. Lucy talked me into putting up the huge mound of stuff onto the website, not that i minded.
The Beaver was another matter. We've not played a note in over 2 months and a big wedding gig is due this Saturday. It's trombone Dave's brothers wedding so the pressure is on. Him mostly! Tuesday night came and we gathered at Scout Hut Studios (well...a scout hut) and trawled through the 2 hour set. After a shaky start things picked up but it was clear everyone was finding the going tough. A headache did not help, neither did the harsh fact that the nights are drawing in fast. Winter is on it's way and it was pitch black when i arrived at 8pm. The last time we rehearsed i wore shorts and we knocked it on the head early due to the heat. I was happy with my guitar sound, and my solo playing sounded good. The only problem was i played the wrong solo on a couple of songs. Idiot. Need to get that fixed for sat. Also my back was in agony once i got home. Thank god i took the strat and not my les paul. It could have been a lot worse.

Had a nice evening on wednesday. Everyone was in the same room for dinner and it was nice to have the kids messing around on the floor while me and louise snuggled on the sofa watching telly. It does not happen too often. Craig is normally out or else chilling in his room and the two little ones are locked into gameboys.

Shopping tonight. Bought a huge Duck for Sunday lunch. We're going to tell the kids it's chicken. However, if they read this beforehand it could all get messy...