Monday 27 June 2011


It doesn't get as much coverage in the music press as it should, but this weekend I was involved with the main rival to the Glastonbury Festival - the Oreston Primary School Summer Fair. Piers and I did the sound, our friend and ex-rock-star Troy Tate put several very good acts on. He played in most of them. He told us about a time when he was still a yet-to-be-rock-star. His band was so keen that they should be able to take any booking, no matter how late, that they used to practice packing and unpacking the van against a stopwatch. It sounded like they should have been added to the list of 999 emergency services along with the police, ambulance, fire brigade, coast-guard, bomb disposal etc.

Operator> 999 emergency, which service do you require?
Caller> Rock band.
Operator> Putting you through...<click>
Operator2> Emergency rock band. What seems to be the problem.
Caller> Oh god, we haven't got a band, I just rang them and they're not coming.
Operator2> Can you tell me the address of the venue?
Caller> It's the um, I don't know what we're going to do, the um, Break For The Border - Tottenham Court Road
Operator2> OK, and how big is the venue? Do you know the fire capacity?
Caller> It's 800 people, you've got to help, what are we going to do for a show?
Operator2> It's OK. Don't panic. I'm dispatching a band now, they'll be with you in 15 minutes. Don't worry I'll stay on the line until they arrive. Now can you tell me, is there somebody with you that can open the bar?....

Richard "orest-fest" B

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Cool Smoking Pouches

When you buy a microphone from Shure it comes with a "case". The case is much like a very high quality leatherette pencil case to protect the mic from dust and from getting scratched. I sometimes rather wish that I had occasion to need a pencil case so that I could use one of these microphone cases. When you buy a microphone from AKG you don't get a case with it, and so I needed to find something to protect an AKG bass drum mic that I own. It amused me to use an actual pencil case, the cheapest and best fitting best was a "Hannah Montana" one. In this pencil case, along with the mic lives tobacco and cigarette papers. At the end of one of my band's shows you now have the wonderful sight of the singers, who for the last couple of hours have looked for all the world like rock stars, without a hint of irony or embarrassment, producing a lilac Hannah Montana pencil case (with a silver star on the zip) and rolling cigarettes out of it.

You learn something every day
I had already heard of Calvinism, and the Christian reformer John Calvin, but only yesterday did I hear of English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes of Malsbury. All of a sudden the names of my favourite schoolboy and anthropomorphic tiger make a lot more sense. What a disappointment to be in your late 30s and find out that your education is below the level assumed for the audience of a mainstream an American cartoon strip.
Richard "I &#9829; my MFXi-12" B

Monday 13 June 2011


I do believe that I'm starting to understand what people like to read in the paragraph about my weekend. I suspect that it's not the quality of the prose that you appreciate, but the ridiculous and humiliating situations that I find myself in. You don't want to know that my band played in front of two or three hundred fierce looking bikers, and our very real fears that we were "too fucking lightweight". You won't be interested that we actually stormed the show, or the magical way that our straight rock version of "Tainted Love" separated the audience into 2 groups - women on the dancefloor, men at the back.

What you want to know is that my overcoat is a traditional peacoat peacoat made by French Connection and very expertly altered by the ex-seamstress mother of an ex-girlfriend. They are double-breasted and have two rows of buttons down the front. It was raining hard on Sunday so I wore my coat to the co-op when I went to buy some food. I hung a basket in the crook of my elbow so that I had a free hand to hold my shopping list. When I got to the checkouts I discovered that I was securely buttoned to my heavy shopping basket, and that I didn't have a free hand to extricate myself.

Monday 6 June 2011

Motorcycle Maintenance

People often take cues for what to do with their time from what they see on television. The snooker halls are full during the world championships, you see more runners when a big marathon is televised, and more people play football in the park at the beginning of the football season. The Isle of man TT races are running at the moment, so I expect lots of motorcycle enthusiasts are busy treating the public roads like a race track, and putting themselves and the public in danger. Not me, I seem to have inadvertently based my weekend on the TT pit crews.

My motorbike developed a serious fault on Saturday, and I am in the enviable, but heavily constraining position of having my own garage with light and power, a fair set of tools, and a good wandering light. When all decent god-fearing folk should have been falling out of nightclubs into taxis and kebab shops, I was staying up well past me bedtime, and getting up at dawn, trying to get my bike ready for race day commuting on Monday.

Richard "seized choke cable" B