I think I’m getting too old for this shit

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So, there I was in the car park at some soulless sports center just outside of Bath.

I was a 2 hour drive away from home, a bit knackered and sweaty and feeling my age – about the only time I ever do – as I struggled loading a flightcase of electronic shite into the van.

Yes, it was another gig.

I’ve been playing in bands ever since I was about 14 and that was over 40 years ago and I think I’m coming to the end of my gigging life.

Last Saturday was typical – get picked up from home at 3.30pm, drive to Pete’s house, load the PA and other gear into the van, drive to gig – typically a one and a half to two hour journey – unload, set up gear, soundcheck, try and grab food and drink, play gig, take down gear, load van, drive home, unload at Pete’s, get lift back home, get in about 2.30am.

That’s 11 hours from start to finish and although the money’s good, work it out at an hourly rate and it’s far less than I earn the rest of the week.

I’ve been doing this for over 40 years now and I still don’t really understand why. Yes, it’s paid employment, but there are easier ways to help make a living and after all these years, it’s not an ego-driven thing but I always try and play well, and if someone thinks they can do better then they’re welcome to form a band and fucking try. I’m always well-prepared musically and gear-wise. I know my shit and I always give my best.

In the band I’m currently with – a ceilidh band – we’re an integral part of the evening – it’s not like we’re background wallpaper music. If we play well – and the caller’s good – then we can really lift an evening. Especially if the dancers are enthusiastic and/or experienced.

It’s not like some crappy pub gig where you’re largely ignored even though you might be playing really well.

So…there are a few gigs between now and Christmas and after that I may well not be in this locality as Shark Towers goes on the market next week.

That rather puts the tin lid on things then.

Regrets? Of course – it’s been a major part of my life since I was very much younger. I’ve been all over the UK and even abroad – only last year we played in Belgium. I’ve had some fantastic times with the people I’ve played with on both a personal and musical level. It’s been lucrative and it’s even put food on the table in the lean times…

The upside is that I’ll no longer have commitments at the weekend and I won’t have to lug bloody great flightcases across car parks at unsociable hours.

I’ll miss it though – it’s been fabulous.

Waterside Festival gig

Had a great time last Friday at the Waterside Festival here in MK.

Jean-Pierre was back and we were all well up for 75 minutes high-energy blasting. Mega-loud PA, great crowd with lots of impromptu dancing, nice weather, a great craic.

More great photos by Derek Gibbons – thanks, mate!

(If you can’t say anything pleasant about these photos then I’d like to ask you, very politely, to just shut the fuck up)

Cock & Bull in the Market Square

A little light relief from all this EDP/Davies stuff…

Last Saturday, one of the bands I’m in – the Cock & Bull Band – played a rare local gig at Stony Stratford to kick off the week-long Stony Live Festival.

Unfortunately, our piper’s father had died the week before, so he was in France attending the funeral. Lynn from Asha stepped in on flute and Sarah Malleson called.

A nice little gig and it was great to see Tony/Bob (don’t ask!) the sound guy again. I used to dep in a band he sang in when their regular guitarist wasn’t available.

Many thanks to Derek Gibbons for the photographs.

Some shameless self-promotion

I’ve just sent off some band photos for the nice Oxford Folk Festival people to put on the festival web site.

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I thought I’d put them up here and just say that The Cock & Bull Band will be appearing at the festival on Saturday 21st March 2009.

Hope to see you there!

Venue and other important details below:

Oxford Brookes University Main Hall (Gypsy Lane Campus)

Ceilidh – The Cock and Bull Band with caller Mike Courthold.

8-11pm

£10 / £8 (conc.)