Monthly Archives: November 2012

Levelling the band..

I like the opportunity to combined my interests, and last night was a chance to combine my under-stated obsession with the Levellers and the BBC Children in Need charity.  Cambridge 105 ran a charity auction for some Levs related swag which I won – and rather than post the stuff to me tour-manager Phil clocked I was in Nottingham, as were the band, in the next few days.

So through the lovely Claire at Cambridge 105 an aftershow pass had been arranged at Rock City for me to collect the goodies straight after the gig.  Still feeling a bit under the weather I had the interesting experience of watching the Levellers barnstorming set completely sober – it certainly didn’t spoil it.  They’re on as good form as I’ve ever seen them at the moment, blending a nice mix of old and new, well known and more obscure – it was a great selection of songs performed awesomely.

It was also great to see some familiar faces join them on stage to play über-catchy ‘The Recruiting Sergeant” at the end.  I had thought I was recording it for posterity but well, a technical glitch means I either deleted it or never recorded it in the first place – grr.  Post-gig I found tour manager Phil who led be back stage where he handed me a bag of stuff including a signed drum skin lovingly artified by Jeremy, a customised satchel, a Truth Is vinyl and some cufflinks.

Being a bit of a merchandise whore for Levs stuff there’s some duplication, but that’s okay!  It felt a bit strange accosting people who are frankly heroes of mine for photos when they’ve literally just finished an intensive set of performing – but they were lovely and very gracious.  Of course all I could think of to talk about was the kind of banal crap they must hear after every show, thankfully that probably consigns me to a non-specific memory bank of gormless fans for them!

Which means in one fell swoop I’ve completed my collection of ‘pictures of me with Levellers’ which had been standing at 3 over a few year period.  Big thanks to Claire and Phil for organising the opportunity and of course to Simon, Matt, Charlie, Jeremy, Jon and Mark for indulging me when they probably wanted to get down the pub (and to Chris for the lift home).  I think perhaps I might have been better off getting leathered beforehand!

Back on to a dog-tastic weekend of Ferocious Dog action this weekend – it was great to see lots of fellow doggers in the crowd (not least Dan who was on stage for the last song).  We’re off to see them play in Beeston on Saturday night and then in Derby on Sunday night.

For now, I can admire my bag of swag – and think what I can do with my awesome (used) drum skin!  I must be one of a select group of people who now owns two pairs of Levellers cufflinks too!!

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I have a bike, you can ride it if you like..

Dah-na dah-na dah-na dah-na dah-na… BAT BIKE!

… actually, I don’t.  Yet.

A few months ago at work I put my name down for a locker – at Boots there’s a waiting list that folk wisdom suggested lasted a year or more.  The catalyst for this was being in a bit of a mood (!) about the impending Workplace Parking Levy about to be passed on to us in order to pay for Nottingham City Council’s ill-conceived desire to cover our city with electronic modes of transport.

The idea reminded me of when I went to Digger World with Rich and Em – because, ironically, the solution to this could be, wait for it, an electric mode of transport.  As bizarrely an offshoot of Digger World was a company who produced electric bikes.  Basically a normal bike that is assisted by a battery-powered motor.  Which might sound a bit lazy, well, I suppose it is.

So yeah, I thought a year of waiting to be granted a locker would give me some procrastination time – and then maybe I could get myself a Bat-Bike and take advantage of an easy ride in to work, a quick change, a day’s work and then work a bit harder on getting home – which would fit nicely into project fatty too, giving me more exercise.

It would enable me to unsubscribe from the Workplace Parking Levy if I cycled in 80% of the time or more, and of course could feasibly save me an awful lot of money on petrol too.  Food for thought, for sure – more pressing than I’d thought it would be.  Not that I can afford to splash out on a bike right now!

As for other stuff in the world of me.. we’ve had a restructure at work which has been somewhat frustrating, Ferocious Dog have been busy in the studio for their forthcoming EP which I can’t wait to hear – and at the weekend as well as Forest we’ve got the excitement of going to see Carl Froch in his latest bid to retain his world title.

After that there’s the Levellers in Rock City and then Ferocious Dog in Beeston, then Derby.  All in all, lots of music-based excitement with a good smattering of sport.

Before all that of course we have Children in Need and in the midst of it all Movember.  I’m really looking forward to Friday where our team have a day of fundraising planned with a human fruit machine (again) and help from the lovely folks at Alea Casino who’re bringing a roulette wheel in for us to use as a game, then on to the evening where I’ll be taking calls from the lovely folks of the UK until the early hours (and missing seeing the Levellers in Lincoln in so doing, I might add!)

Busy old time.  I’m glad I’ve done all my Christmas shopping! </smugface>

As a final aside – as a throwback to previous posts relating to randomly remembering old school hymns, for reasons best known to my subconscious mind I seem to have had ‘when a knight won his spurs’ stuck in my head – of course, back in the day we would sing it as ‘when Forest beat Spurs’ – which almost certainly are in the stories of old these days!

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I will fly a yellow paper sun in your sky..

If I said ‘The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’ to people my age they’d probably shout I am the god of hell fire! at me in response – they probably only found that song through the Prodigy sampling that particular part of it.  Certainly I was in that camp.

I only really opted to go see his performance because the excellent Moulettes were supporting and Cat and I really enjoyed them when they played before the Levellers acoustic gig up in Buxton.  So missing the very start of their set, and it only being 30 minutes long, was a bit of a pity in many ways (but still very enjoyable, of course!).  Here’s their final song of the night, Requiem:

We both treated Arthur Brown with some degree of caution – I’ve since discovered he’s seventy years old and these days looking rather like a psychedelic Terry Nutkins, but still pretty spritely as he cavorts around the stage for a good hour or so.  Some of it went a bit too ‘far out’ but for the most part it was awesome… culminating obviously with Fire. Below he is performing my personal highlight of the night, ‘Kites’:

The song leapt out because I recognised it as a song from Sasha and Digweed’s Northern Exposure album.  I never knew it was a cover, to be honest, so it was a bit bemusing for a while.  It turns out the original song was by Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.  I also hadn’t realised quite how long Arthur Brown has been performing for – so I do feel oddly privileged to have been able to say I’ve seen him in action.

Whilst the Rescue Rooms was by no means full there was a healthy crowd of people mostly older than me (which makes a nice change!).  He mentioned he’s recording a new album early next year which he’ll be touring so if you happen to spot a date near you (or not near you) in 2013 then it’s well worth a gander.  A top night’s entertainment.

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