Monday, April 30, 2012

Monochrome Set Review

Back through the mists of history, every note of every piece of music I heard whether I liked it or not burst with meaning and poignancy, etching itself into my life as a measure of hope, fear, wonder, terror: all of those rattling emotions a teenager grapples with on their way to the unknown destinations of adulthood.
Time passes, things change, and new musical experiences nudge the old into sidings; you have waved goodbye to your past and you stand with the present in your hands, admiring its musical jewels as they catch the light and twinkle at you enticingly.
How strange it is to be carried back to the past so cleanly! From the first cheeky crunch of the drum intro to The Monochrome Set, excitement rushed round my veins in a collective whoosh with that of the rest of the audience.
Tolerantly, Bid stood with a small smile on his face waiting for the audience to realise that extra bars had been added just to annoy us. His insouciance is all part of the recipe: it's there in the tone of his voice, rich and pompous, nodding in the direction of Lou Reed, yet more English than English. It's there in the way he surveys the band, as though he is King; but he's not, because on one side is Lester Square, huge moustache resting like a landing eagle upon his upper lip (and already copied by certain gentlemen in the audience; this is not a Billy Childish moustache, it's a Lester Square one).
Lester is wringing scorching riffs out of his guitar, fooling us into thinking that we have heard them before on some TV programme broadcast from the moon. And on the other side is Andy Warren, delicate and pointy, all innocence. No-one would guess that that fierce and thundering bass sound is emanating from him!
A comely lass plays violin between Bid and Andy: she's not scared, either. Later, she switches effortlessly to mandolin.
Behind them, a mysterious drummer manages to keep a red fez balanced on his head throughout.
Miss Universe... Junta Jet Set.... and new songs from their album as well.
My Champagne Friend and myself ease ourselves down to the front, in front of the giant and deafening PA speakers where we can dance. An unfeasibly floppy hippie plops down in front of us, leaping into the air at every stab of punctuated noise. Between songs, Bid quips:
"We are going to play three new songs, then two old ones, then some new songs, then some old ones, and then you are all going to go home".
The men in anoraks that used to go to see them in the old days have grown up to be men in grey macs (the coat, not the computer). This is marginally better than anoraks, and they have mostly aged rather well; possibly they were not taking as many drugs back then as the rest of us were. I remember an evening spent with Lester Square in which we bemoaned the fact that such untrendy people came to see both the Chefs and the Monochrome Set. We didn't even know where everyone else went: it was just that they didn't come to see us. But at least they have been loyal- Dingwalls was pretty packed last night (and The Chefs CD sold 500 before it was even released).
Cast a Long Shadow (Bed of haggis? What?), B.I.D. ( I can sing along with that one and sadly, reader, I did)...
How I wish they had played for longer! A measly hour! I wanted more music and I wanted more drums (not loud enough, PA man!). I want them to play more often because I am a proper fan. I want to hear the new songs live again- not because I am too stingy to buy a CD but because this band is a really good live band with an astonishingly unique sound.
Just ask the floppy hippie!

Bid and Lester: Sounds a Bit Like a Building Society



Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Monochrome Set

Went to see them tonight- review tomorrow!

The Practicalities and Impracticalities of Home Recording

So... replace the vocals on some of the electronica tracks from Voxpop Puella. I loaded the backing tracks on to my computer a while ago. As I tried to fire them up again, the computer said 'No', for some of them and not for others. I was sure this was to do with the sample rate but couldn't find the area in preferences to alter it, and I'm now working on trial and error.
I've done one of them; I realised that since these were live songs, I have to stand up and think myself into an audience situation even though I'm in the front room and the sun has just come out and I want to run out and play!
Irritating things happen- tangles of leads, just like my knitting wool last night as I tried to knit in three colours. Hunger. So I am cooking lunch but it has burned because I was interested in what I was doing and forgot about it. The headphones keep slipping off my head because I washed my hair last night and it is slippery. And the vocals for this next one, well they are incredibly quiet for no apparent reason. I have changed the battery in the microphone, farted about with the volume controls, delved about in preferences...
The computer is going to sleep for a while; it needs a rest and I am going to wash the potatoes.

Actually, it's exciting to revisit this stuff again and I have another song-cycle to revive. I have just contacted Mediashack to get a template for the artwork; I will do a short run of 100 to sell at gigs.
D-I-Y, here I come (again!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thank God For 'The Voice'!

Thank God for 'The Voice', 'Britain's Got Talent', 'My Family', 'Casualty', 'I Love 1972' with David Cassidy, 'New You've Been Framed' and 'Stephen Fry's 100 Greatest Gadgets'!
They are all so abysmally awful that I will get of my harris after being stuck on the sofa marking all day, and do a bit of housework, scrubbing, ironing, polishing and tidying: anything to get away from the fiendish telly and its undelightful delights.
I don't have to read mags about them (I haven't got a clue who the celebs are) or watch telly programmes about the either (ditto), thus saving billions of seconds of time, that precious commodity that slithers though my fingers like dry sand on a holiday beach.
And later, I will sneak over to BBC4 and watch the latest Scandinavian police drama, giving it my full (and deserved) concentration, because everybody knows that you can't multi-task when you're peering at subtitles!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Flowers to Brighten Up the Yard

After suffering the stir-crazy effects of marking, with the rain drumming on the roof and stodged-up with too much caraway seed cake, I decided to take a trip to garden-centre country, the other side of Enfield, to buy some flowers to brighten up the yard.
The rain thrashed against the car windscreen; new ponds stretched across the roads. The streets were deserted and the car park at the garden centre was empty.
I was just about the only person there; I eavesdropped a conversation between a very smart blonde middle-aged lady and a politely spoken teenage lad about cast iron chickens.
'That's a rooster', said the young chap.
'And this?', enquired the lady.
'That's a laying hen', replied the young chap.
Smart in their dark green uniforms, they continued to unpack the ornaments from their yellow wood-shavings in companionable silence, walled in by thick cardboard boxes.
A very grumpy looking man sat with his arms folded at a table in the cafe opposite his partner, grey with discontent and stifled aggression. I wheeled my red plastic basket past them, bumping over a drain and toppling off the strawberry plant that I'd balanced on the top.
At the counter, a sweet autistic man asked me if I'd like a trolley.
'No thank you', I said.
'Would you like a trolley?'
'No thank you'.
He waited.
'Would you like a trolley?'
Aware that I had got the answer wrong the first two times, I replied, 'Yes please', and he went out into the rain to get me one.
We packed the strawberry plant, the bag of grit and a miniature tree into the trolley, and off we went into the car park.
'It's raining', I said.
'It's raining', he said, 'I will get wet on the way home'.
He helped me to put the plants into the car and set off back through the rain to the building.
It wasn't till I got home that I realised I had not bought any flowers to brighten up the yard.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mad March Hare for April Birthday

Took me ages to draw all the little lines: this is the design for the boxing hare on Offsprog Two's birthday jumper. I have done the back and sleeves and I'm struggling with the hare's legs at the moment... clunk, click, clunk, click... hands rest for the rest of the evening. My fingers don't know what's hit 'em- ten days playing guitar every night and then this!

Tourism

I am suffering from tour-ism: listless, restless, bored. I got used to travelling around in the tour bus, singing and playing. It was an experience that was unusual in its serenity; I miss my bus-mates and our Winnie-the-Pooh mugs.
Martin and I were speculating that there might be two of Willie (the tour manager). How did he manage to be unloading the gear, making us tea, meeting the local promoter and overseeing the sound check all at the same time?
We imagined him unloading the spare Willie secretly when we were looking the other way, and silently packing him away at the end of the evening with a hidden smile.
I have a bulging bag of marking. I toyed with the idea of taking it all to Frinton, booking into a laterooms hotel and  rewarding myself with a bracing sea walk every so often. Instead, I have bought a scented candle and I plan to make a caraway seed cake and get fat this weekend.
I was going to work on the Voxpop Puella tracks too, but the computer has lost the audio files and I am faced with empty tracks that illustrate merely a flatline. Boo. More energy than this required to reload the whole lot.
I could try on the clothes on the rail, ready for the massive early-summer eBay flogging of clothes that I am too bulgy for. How depressing though! That really will have to wait for another day.
Here is the local paper, posted through the door; I wonder what is happening around here?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Searching Song Registrations...

...at the PRS, I discover more than 37 pages of songs called Temptation (not organised alphabetically, or anything like that: mine was on page 35). Luckily, I am the only person so far to have written a song called Mr and Mrs Songsmith, and The Song of the Unsung Heroine.
If I don't post anything for the next few days it will be because I am marking. Nine 7,000-word theses, and about 30 1000-word assignments. I will leave you with this:

Martin's Photo: Dave in the Pulpit at Union Chapel Soundcheck


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Mid-Marking Joke

What do you give a budgie with a headache?
Parakeetamol

Stage-it Show Tonight!

After all that marking- gotta play!
Tonight please join me in the kitchen at 9.30 p.m.: http://www.stageit.com/helenmccookerybook/more_from_my_kitchen/9201

Fridays Book Talk at Davids in Letchworth

The bones were feeling tired after heading into work straight after the Bristol gig and then a long work meeting on Wednesday at which everyone seemed intent on telling each other their 'other car is a Jag'. Touring is knackering, but I had a long-standing invitation from Andy to visit David's and talk about the book and the CD, and he had performed the miracle of shifting the publisher to get the book into the shop and also persuading Damaged Goods to supply a clutch of Chefs CDs. Amazing! If anyone deserved a visit, he did.
En Route, I picked up leaflets to take and after a spell in a rainy traffic jam on the A1 (peace, tranquillity and the thump of the windscreen wipers for company), I unloaded my guitar and a box of CDs into the shop. How I wish we had a store like this in Barnet! There is a little cafe, shelves and shelves of books, and racks of CDs; it is a browsers paradise. I am so bored with living through a screen! I was able to choose some CDs for my nephew and niece the old-fashioned way, while eating freshly baked biscuits made by Andy's partner Jeanette.
As I was setting up Sandie (AKA Foolish Girl) arrived and so did Wilkie, plus a small and enthusiastic group of people who had braved the rain and hail. Wilkie bore the gift of a live Helen and the Horns recording from the Jazz Cafe (thank you! I have yet to listen to it: twelve thesis assignments to mark first but I am really looking forward to it).
The chairs were lined up and I was ready to go.
I hadn't meant to talk for so long but people asked really interesting questions, and there was only time for four or five songs which I almost bleated out (tired voice!). I am so glad I went: everyone was really friendly and we ended up chatting for quite a while. They are fans of Martin's music too (that's where I met them) and we talked about the tour and stuff like that. Sure beats sitting in and watching TV, and definitely beats buying music online. Good for you Andy and enthusiastic crew- long may you thrive.
 Photos by Sandie
If you live anywhere near Letchworth, make sure you pop in and see them; they are welcoming, well-stocked and warm-hearted! http://www.davids-bookshops.co.uk/

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Short Note

Shouts to Pussy Riot, who are reminding us all what punk and proper Girl Power are all about!
I have been following their story in the news and have been meaning to send this message of support for a long while.

Report about last night's event later...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tour Photos

June and a chocolate cat pinned to the mirror, in the Lowry Theatre dressing room; Kate playing guitar in the dressing room at Leeds Variety Theatre (Kate is a songwriter in her own right); the dear pigeon at the Union Chapel sound check (Willie fed it strawberries but it preferred Doritos); breakfast time at the Ferny Hill Cafe; audience at O2 Oxford; activity time in the dressing room at Brighton St George's Chapel; happy Martin at the Union Chapel.





Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Interview in The fWord by Cazz Blaise

And here is an interview with Gina, Viv and myself in the fWord
http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2012/04/celebrating_sisterhood

Photos from Brighton




Getting ready (top) with tour manager Willie in the background; onstage with Martin; the onstage child; tour mugs bought by Willie so we had something clean to drink our tea out of! (two got kidnapped at Salford).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Home Again: Event in David's Music Shop in Letchworth

Home again, to the happy news that my car is not knackered after all (although I am!)
Later this week I will upload lots of photos.
Meanwhile... I am geeing myself up (well, I will be from tomorrow) for Friday's gig/signing at David's Music Shop in Letchworth, where the persistence of Andy has paid off and he will be selling the paperback version of The Lost Women hot off the press and the first of The Chefs CDs (also hot off the press, as it's not officially released until Monday). I will play a short set and talk a bit about the book. It costs £4.00 to get in but you can claim that back off the price of the book. There is a cafe and it sounds like a lovely place to go for an early Friday evening mooch!
More here http://www.davids-music.co.uk/

Monday, April 16, 2012

Helen and the Horns

Forgot to take boxes of Helen and the Horns vinyl albums to the Union Chapel. If you would like one please email me.

Body

Load-in arms
Callused fingertips left hand
Broken fingernails right hand
Van spine
Jelly legs
Singers throat
Ingrained make-up on eyelids
Dressing-room scented hair
Trench foot
Laughed-out lungs
Pizza complexion
Ah
Tourink!

Loo

I've jus followed a crocodile of old ladies almost as far as their coach after assuming erroneously that they were heading for the lavvies in the Services on the M4.
Silly me. I wonder where I would have day/tripped to if I'd seen it through?

Oxford 02

This venue couldn't have been more different than Brighton St George's: a typical 02 sticky-floor (do they spray on that faint smell of vomit on the public stairs up to the auditorium?), graffiti in the toilets (most interesting for out by-now scatological tour brains) but as in all of the venues, ace staff getting great sound.
The room is a square shape which was actually ideal for last night's show because the sight-lines were good. We had dined in style beforehand at a lovely Italian restaurant just down the road (didn't catch the name, which is a pity as it would be nice to give them a shout). I clambered up on stage, rocked out (yes, it has happened!) then stood at the side for the most storming Daintees set yet. They have bonded over this tour into a really tight and fluid band, as I noticed last night because in spite of knowing all the songs backwards, I am able to enjoy as a punter because of the ease at which they are playing together. The difference in venues has proved to be a really good idea: I think it has kept us all on our toes, and last night's audience were having a great time. Martin played a beautiful version of Home last night, and Slow Loving was close to perfect. At the end, we applauded the sound guys and the lighting guys as well as the band, because they had done a great job. Even the security guard was enjoying himself and went home with a huge grin on his face.
What a pity we have to stop after tonight! We have developed a van vibe, the only odd one out being the Satnav Lady ('Tahrn Arahnd When POSSIBLE!'), and I am going to miss everyone dreadfully.
I have a lot of photos which I'll post here later this week.
So it's Bristol St George's tonight, the last one......

Sunday, April 15, 2012

St George's Church, Brighton

I have some great pics of the band sitting downstairs in the caff (closed for the evening): John glueing his guitar (or was it the rhinestones on his shirt?), Lou relaxing, Martin changing his strings, Kate iPadding. It looks like activity time at primary school, the absorbtion in the tasks.
It is a beautiful little church with a lovely atmosphere; soundchecks took a while so Willie ordered pizzas and we carpeted our stomachs before diving into the gig with ease in spite of tiredness. It is brilliant to be met with a sea of smiles when you get up there (although there was a very serious man at the front). Offsprog One came, so did Kim, and over there were Jonathan (once the Chefs manager) and his partner Jill, and Bongo Pete, photographer extraordinaire, with his partner Lisa. And Terri and Graham, whose wedding was celebrated with a Daintees concert, and A and S, and Richard, and Jane and and and....

By now, The Daintees are totally into the groove. A Piece of the Cake was song of the night, and there were some very funny moments: no-one could find the light controls to dim them for Rain, and the onstage child who Martin chose to play along to one of the songs was completely charming with his cap of shining red hair and his willingness to copy everything that Martin did, from thwacking Kate's cymbal with his hand to doing the end-of-song bounce...
More later- we are getting ready to go to Oxford!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pigeon

A pigeon has joined the band in the auditorium for the soundcheck.

The Union Chapel

What a beautiful venue. The dressing room is bigger than my house! The Daintees are setting up and Martin and myself are in the dressing room drinking tea with Lou's mum, Olive. The Green Hoddess is out tonight, sulking a little bit. The set lists are written out... Ready to go!
Helen and the Horns onstage 7.45
The Daintees 8.30

BT Openzone

OK BT- either you stop your bullying Openzone from hijacking my phone, or I cancel my contract!

Fox

Last Friday as I left, my rubbish decorated the entire street. Last night, Offsprog Two shouted 'There's a fox eating our rubbish and it's looking me right in the eye!'
Out in my jarmaz, spare bin bag, middle of the night, scooping up teabags and crusts. Bah! and Bless! as well.
P.S. Not answering a lot of emails at the mo due to travelling, laundering, sound-checking scenario; I am reading them though and will reply next week. Thank you for the lovely feedback.

Performance Times

Hi Jill- will be lovely to see you! I can't seem to post comments at the moment.
Our performance times at all these gsgs have been Helen 7.45 and The Daintees 8.30 xx

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Salford Gig

Mazing gig last night- I think it must have been sold out- there were three tiers of audience ad well ad the stalls. Liz came along and Played a couple of songs (using my telecaster rockwise) before I went on, and then the Daintees took to the stage. The audience wax a little restrained at first, probably feeling more so after the night before's sticky floor rock venue experience, but after a few songs Willy's eyes lit up and he exclaimed 'he's got 'em going!' and so he had.
Man of the match last night was Kate, who played a humdinger of a gIg and looked as happy as a lark all the wAy through. Songs of the match? Slaughterman. And also Slow Loving, and Piece of the Cake was stormin' too. The walkabout is getting to be more and more fun.
And now it's Holiday Inn Express breakfast... Muted yum.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Soundcheck

Check, check.... Two, two, two...

The Lowry, Salford

It's big: it holds 430 people. The receptionist has a dry Mancunian (or Salfordian) wit. Hayley from Coronation Street is coming; the receptionist was not impressed. 'Prince Edwards coming to the event at the bigger venue', she snarled happily.

And

One if the Merseybeats was there last night. And hello to Ian and Sue! Sorry I did not stop to talk- had to get through the maze of corridors to the dressing room for an early start!

Liverpool, 2

Last nights gig was a blinder. The O2 is a sticky floor gig nut it brought something rocky or of the band (and me!). The sound guy had amazing ears: the onstage sound was as clear as a bell and what the audience heard was too. The Duantees played their longest set yet as there was s later curfew and near the end Martin called me up and we latex 'Hamilton Square' which we write after s trip to the selfsame place in Birkenhead. We wrote it over the phone: Martin said 'that sound lloked the name of a song' so I started writing it and szn g it to him over the blower. Five minutes later he phoned back with the bridge, and Bob's yer uncle. We had a song.
Just like at the other venues so far, the audience wax incredibly warm. I wax watching one chap ehi never stopped grinning the whole way through. His teeth must have been very dry when he hot home. And when we did the walkabout people wanted a chat with Martin and we kept backing up behind him- so funny!
At the end of the evening Lsura presented us with a box of cupcakes which we took back to the hotel and gobbled up during our post-gig slump on the Ibis sofas.
Roll on Salford tonight!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Liverpool

Well, we've escaped the BT Bullyzone in Leefs so I can post again without being intercepted. We have left the Armories behind, crossed the moors glowing green after a rainstorm, and we're chilling oot in the hotel before tonight's gig at the O2. Sorry about all the mis-spellings; the connections are slow and I'm being auto-corrected to create nonsense postings. The Blackpool roller coaster became something very weird but going through the forest route to change it was just too time consuming. Martin had the uke out on the van and serenaded us for a while then passed it back to John and Kate who did some lovely old timey duets.
Joke of the day (yesterday) from Willy (the tour manager):
Who is the coolest person in the hospital? The Ultra-sound doctor.
Who does his job when he's away?
The hip replacement doctor.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Tour

Tourworld is bonkers. It is rest day and my rhino hide fingers are very grateful. Just over the way from the hotel there us a jousting tournament. 'And they're OFF!' bellows the man with the loudspeaker. 'Yaaay', respond the crowd. From the window I can see two shiny silver armoured heads bouncing towards each other on invisible horses, passing and then turning round. The hotel has guests garbed in Lincoln green costume, queuing at breakfast for the tinned grapefruit segments.
While we were breakfasting and talking about politics, a portly gentleman was eavesdropping. As I replenished the coffee, he came round and told me that when that mega roller issuer was opened at Blackpool, the huge crowd that had gathered vanished in a trice when they discovered that the former Labour leader John Smith had died that morning. The PR woman (£50,000 a year)was sacked on the spot, in spite if the fact there was no way she could have predicted such a sudden death. 'Anyway, I am right wing myself', said the portly reporter.
Inanimate star of the tour so far: bananas! Biodegradeable wrapping, yellow and silly, tasty and filling. Three cheers for fruit!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Leeds

Amazing to watch the Daintees at Leeds Variety Theatre, home of 'The Good Old Days'; just as way back when the audience would sing along with those old music-hall songs at the behest of Leonard Sachs, the Daintees audience are singing along lustily. The band have got to 'Look Down, Look Down'. They are playing amazingly again tonight. There was the most beautiful version of 'Slow Loving'. I have been at the side of the stage but now I'm in the basement dressing room watching and listening on a little telly thing. Listen to the audience clapping! Time for Boat to Bolivia. Then I'll go ip and get the little ukelele ready for the 'Salutation Road' walkabout. This is such fun! The sound guy is dub-mixing away, the audiences heads are bobbing, Martins skanking Johns bubbling, Kate's skatschhhing on the drums and Lou'd loping from note to note on the bass. The dressing room is decorated with chocolates, bananas and dead dip selections. Touring!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Sage

We have just arrived at The Sage; the gear is all loaded in on trolleys. Rock-looking chaps in black polo shirts are putting mic stands together and plugging in multicore. Willy the tour manager has made us tea in tour Winnie the Pooh mugs.
Last nights gig at King Tuts was brilliant. Because these are Agency gigs, they have been advertised and Daintees fans have flooded out from woodwork that had forgotten it was there. Tut's was packed with people; the Starlets went down a storm (must buy a CD!) with their witty and almost Kletzmerish sound. It was hard to follow such a good band but the crowd were smiley and I really enjoyed the spot. And the Daintees... Well, after two days if rehearsal they were on top form. The audience sang along to all of the songs: it was like being at a very affectionate party. Mike, June and their daughter Laura are coming to every gig to do the Cds and I spotted one or two regulars in the crowd, but lots of people weren't Glasgow gig regulars. Martin was excellent, full of energy and wit. I joined them for a version of 24 Hours and then at the end we did a walkabout version of Salutation Road before they got a well deserved encore. When they finally left the stage there was a huge and loving cheer from the crowd, a bunch if very happy bunnies.

Just around the corner, The Monochrome Set were playing at The Stereo, but unfortunately they were on at the same time- we are all fans and wanted to take in their show. They are off to Germany, and here we are in Gateshead in a dressing room fullof guitars and Doritos.
Roll on tonight's show!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dear Old Cardigan

Of course I will take you too, Dear Old Cardigan. I wouldn't leave you behind!

Packing

Packing, packing: ukelele, a pile of vinyl- Helen and the Horns albums, the Leavin' You Baby 12", Freight Train singles, Skat singles. And one or two items of clothing. Ready for the Helen and the Horns rehearsal tonight (green Gretsch) and the first gig tomorrow (Squier with Seymour Duncans). Two set lists, a toothbrush, five pairs of socks, and one me.

More Weirdnesses


A shark from a general store in Brighton, and a fish from an... Estate Agent?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Digital Switchover, I Mean Fallover

Grrr! Aargh!
I almost threw the TV set out of the window.
An entire tower of folders and files had crashed to the ground, the umbrella stand fell down, the toy accordion bounced across the floor...
I was looking for the TV manual after the call centre recorded message said 'Ask a friend or member of your family. Goodbye!'.
My head almost exploded with frustration and rage...
Finally, I wound up the trusty internet and looked for the online guide.
You see my TV set didn't say the things the little booklet that came through the letterbox said it would.
After following the offbeat route of instructions, the TV cheerily burst into life, pretending nothing at all had happened.
I have half a mind to throw it out of the window anyway, just to get my revenge.

Mariachi

I rose early and spent three hectic hours adminning before an afternoon in Brighton, taking Offsprog One to the fabulous Billy's for a birthday lunch before walking along the warm and breezy seafront, where these Mariachi guys were being filmed for a crunchy snack advertisement (not gonna advertise them, naturally). I did like their garb and like the passers-by who grabbed them for photo opportunities, was disappointed that they didn't give us a song.
Afterwards we went to the supremely tatty Pavilion, which I have never been to in spite of living there for years. I actually started at the Art College the year after a young art student set it on fire: '1975', said the lady who sold us the tickets. It reminded me of the old Louis Tussauds Waxworks, where all the waxworks had very thin legs, especially Jimmy Savile- looked like they had been made of coat-hanger wire. Some friends nicked Alf Garnett's head and kept it in their bedroom for the rest of time.
Inside the Pavilion, thin wires visibly held things in place and some exhibits seemed rather dusty. We loved the palm-tree painting on the ceiling of the dining room, and the kitchen full of huge copper pots and a threadbare stuffed rat too. Funnily enough, our favourite was the little stairs that led to the servants' quarters, painted dark green and red, a Victorian addition that looked the part. And in the room they hire out for weddings, there was a particularly nice wall painting, that was not as crowded out with images as those in other rooms. The carpets were beaut, and finally, the dragons high up on the walls in the music room that seemed to have human faces were a complete inspiration.
I came home on the slowest train in the world and now I am going to start rehearsing for the tour. The Daintees are up in Glasga doing just that and I have an evening to myself (Offsprog Two has gone out) to flex my fingers.
I took delivery of a pile of Cafe of Tiny Kindnesses CDs yesterday....