Sunday, 23 November 2008

How to almost create the perfect gig experience

In order to enjoy the perfect gig experience you need:

1. A decent journey to the venue;
2. A good parking space – only applicable if you are coming by car or happen to be the train/bus driver;
3. A great venue;
4. Reasonably priced food;
5. Fantastic seats – very important if your gig companion is cute and can snuggle under your armpit but not good for them being able to see the stage when they are standing (please note that the offer of snuggling under my Armpit is only open to Mrs B);
6. Make sure you bring the tickets with you.

So how did I do?

1. Check – Nafman took me directly to the venue. None of the usual trauma - it didn’t try and take me via Beirut, it didn’t dump me in the middle of nowhere and then decide to shut down for the evening. It didn’t even find the usual traffic jams it so normally excels in finding.

2. Check - Found a space less than a minute’s walk from the venue – when does this ever happen…….?

3. Check - Cadogan Hall just off Sloane Square. Intimate and atmospheric. None of your 120,000 "Can't see the stage from here" venues (Thanks Oasis - it might have done your bank balance the world of good, it might have been a world record crowd but in my opinion if you can only see the top of the stage it is a sh*t event....)

4. Check - A beer, cranberry juice, 2 bags of nuts and a bowl of olives: £7

5. Check - Front row gallery seats about 20 feet from the stage. The seats were comfortable and roomy too – whoo hoo.

Almost the perfect view

6. Check – Tickets safely in wallet (wallet with me).

Now here come the bonus bits:

1. Mrs B arrived 15 minutes before the start – with her current workload, this is a novel experience. She normally arrives 20 minutes into a gig and we spend the next 20 minutes texting each other in an attempt to fight our way through the crowd to get together.

2. I hadn’t realised that there was a support act….

In an ideal world this Blog would end happily, at this point, as we enjoyed a wonderful evening……. but sadly this is BlackLOG

The fact that all the boxes ticked so neatly should have been a clue.

The non-rowdy crowd were not the normal type for this kind of gig - Some people were in suits - this should have sent alarm bells ringing.

It was only when the support act announced that he was going to play his entire new album did I start to worry. Just how long was he going to play for? I checked the ticket - it said “Roddy Frame (formerly of Aztec Camera fame)”

Mrs B asked to look at the ticket.

Mrs B started laughing and pointed at the date.

I looked at the date.

I looked at the date on my watch.

I looked back at the date on the ticket.


I started to laugh – I had no choice. It was either that or I would have started crying.

We were 24 hours late. Numb nuts (that being me) had written down the wrong date on our events calendar at home. Unfortunately, whenever I checked when we were going I referred to the calendar not the ticket. The event we had inadvertently gate crashed was Tony Christie and since he was not showing any sign of playing “Road to Amarillo” we attempted to slink out. Typical of our turn in fortunes, we didn’t make a clean get away…

Member of staff - Leaving a bit early aren’t you?

Me – No - about 22 hours too late!!!!!!

I felt like I had kicked myself in the gonads (probably accounts for the numbness element). If anyone saw the Paul Merton trip through India – where the little Indian chap got people to run up and kick him between the legs - I now know exactly how he felt, particularly as it was effectively self-inflicted. Personally, I think he was actually enjoying the experience. I can assure you, I was not.

If you are going to crash a gig
make sure it is something a bit more
exciting than Tony Christie

In summary

I feel that my guide to the perfect gig experience is possibly lacking a little something….

Point 7 – Check the bloody date…….

You may ask why am I admitting to this act of stupidity? To be honest, it is a selfish attempt by me to exorcise the ghost of this event. No matter how much you laugh or pull my leg about it, you can’t hurt my feelings anymore than I have hurt them myself. This was the opportunity to see one of my favourite singers in an incredibly unique event. A part of me will regret this act of stupidity to my dying day.

There are some questions that may require a government inquiry to get to the bottom of:-

How did we managed to get through three separate ticket checks…..?

When will they invent time travel so I can rectify this hideous mistake?

If we are not getting time travel, what about BBC iPlayer for concerts? This would be useful even if you made it on the correct day. Want to go to the toilet? Need a drink? Just hit the pause button…..Come on boffins pull your fingers out………..

If there is a glimmer of an excuse that I can cling to for this catastrophe, it is possibly I can blame fixture congestion. 4 gigs in ten days is a lot even by my standards. This was the second of the events, which had kicked off with The Wombats. I had to blackmail my friend Kirsty into joining me, after Mrs B objected to the congested schedule and decided she was only prepared to participate in two of them.

Nafman was on his worse behaviour and spent every opportunity trying to drag me into the congestion zone.

The support band were really good but never gave out their name, or if they did, I didn’t hear it. The lead singer had more hair than common decency should allow. I suspect he was actually sporting more hair than I have ever possessed in my entire life. They did a terrific cover of a song that I just could not place. How embarrassing when I found out later the group were Team-Waterpolo and I actually own their entire released back catalogue (may be I do have too much music) consisting of 4 songs. It turns out that they had, in fact, done a terrific job of covering their first single, personally I thought it was much better than the original……

I'm not sure that even if I counted all the hair I have ever produced, I would be able to compete with the lead singer of Team-Waterpolo

If you can judge the age of the crowd by the props they carry, then the day-glow sticks put the average age of the audience at about 12. Which would have been good for viewing except they had brought their parents along (for you statistic fans out there, I have excluded the parents from the age statistics as it interfered with the result I wanted. Well, if the government can do it for inflation purposes……... Food - it’s gone up: better exclude it. Fuel has gone up: better exclude it. Electronic goods have gone down: OK we can include them…… )

The Wombats could have been good, should have been good and, in parts, they were. The problem was that they came on late, left early and spent ages in between songs wandering around doing very little. The result was a disjointed set that kept stalling and never got going. Having seen them at last year’s V festival, where they had a 30 minute set, I thought they were very good. Reading between the lines it would appear that with only one album’s worth of songs, the Wombats were desperately trying to eek out the set and just not very good at it. I hope Kirsty enjoyed the evening and has just about forgiven me for my underhand blackmail technique. It could have been much worse, after all I took her on the correct day to the right venue…….Two gigs to go on my 10 day congested tour, Razorlight and Scouting for girls Will they go well? Will I even make it? ….tune in next week to find out…..Don't forget to drop into the "BlackLOG - Historical" should be updated in time for Thursday morning.

The Wombats bass player has an out of body experience or is it frustration at not being able to end a song properly

It ain't over till the fat Wombat stops singing

Friday, 14 November 2008

Being Tagged, Mrs B gets aggressive while the Bluetooth war is resolved

I've been tagged. My "tagger" is a Brazilian blogger called Argentum Vulgaris. I am duty bound to post 8 random facts/habits about myself and then perpetuate the crime by tagging 8 other bloggers.

So here are my 8 facts/habits followed by a random selection of victims lucky winners.....

1. An open biscuit packet is an empty biscuit packet - That could almost be my motto....(don't look at me like that Mrs B, you are hardly one to talk - I'll just say re-sealed tin and leave it at that.....)Mischief on biscuit guard duty. We tried using McG but he ate them all

2. I have never had a legal drink, having given up drinking a week before my 18th Birthday - Believe me I am bad enough sober. Be thankful that I don't drink...

3. I refuse to go to see a Ballet - it is the devil's dance.

4. My favorite drink is Chocolate Milkshake - The best I have ever had was in the Little America hotel, Salt Lake City - for the record (and as close as I will ever get to being Bond) I like my milkshakes shaken not stirred (so not that close then).

5. I have seen over 100 bands live. Yes I'm guilty. What can I say? I love live music. The first band I saw were "The Police", not a bad start for a 12 year old. Certainly better than "Boyzone" but that's another story and one that I have vowed never to reveal. It does explain a friend's reluctance to go and see live music....
The Feeling started out as a cover band. They still do some excellent covers, just as long as they don't cover Cliff I will continue to enjoy them

6. Mrs B and I have skied together, every year, for the last 23 years - Mrs B is technically much better than me so I have to bomb down the slopes as fast as I can to avoid unfavourable comparison...

7. I hate cigarettes with a passion. If anyone lights up within 20 metres of me my heckles start to rise - I don't smoke, don't drink what do I do.....? Enjoy life actually - it is possible.

8. I consider myself to be fairly musical and can play any type of music - well, just as long as I can get it onto my iPod....So that excludes Country & Western, Thrash Metal and Cliff Richard, most definitely Cliff Richard.....

Now, who am I going to tag? That is the question...sorry guys in no particular order:



The Gym Isn't working

James & The Blue Cat

Clever Girl goes Blog

Please don't eat with your mouth open


No ordinary rollercoaster

Dear Tagees,

I hope you are going to be a good sport and make sure you come back and leave a comment when you have fulfilled your quota. (It's harder than you think.)

The tag rules are as follows:

1) Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3)At the end of your blog post, you need to tag eight people and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.
4) If you have already been tagged and do not wish to go through the exercise then let the taggee know.

Ok I guess it's back to the "Dayblog".....

Unexpected aggression
During the last body combat class we attended at the gym, the teacher asked for real aggression. I was proud of myself as I managed to work myself up all the way to the heady heights of "slightly miffed".

I tend to be fairly laid back and it takes quite a bit to get me angry. I have been involved in only one physical fight, preferring to use words (after all, the misspelt word is mightier than the Sord.....hands off Teach, I had to restrain Mrs B from changing it too). It involved someone who I did not know hitting me while I just stood there and asked him why...He gave up in the end, I guess I eventually wore him down. While he did not put me down, I probably lost on points, but still claim it as a moral victory.

When I glanced at Mrs B in the gym's mirror, I almost cack'd my keks. The normally mild and placid one looked like she was not only ready for war but was not planning on taking any prisoners either. I made a mental note never to push Mrs B too far in the future. No wonder they don't allow women to fight, they look like they really mean it.....Just look at that pent up aggression.....

Bluetooth war – the madness ends as peace accidentally breaks out
I would love to think that my recent email to Nokia got through and made the difference. However, in the full glare of the cold light that is produced when the fridge door opens, I realise that this is most unlikely. All I do know is that when I synchronized my new N96 phone with ElleGee’s Bluetooth, expecting partial use only, it actually all worked perfectly. Big celebrations…. I just have to avoid updating the firmware for the N96 as it is bound to screw up the link.
My N96 just itching to be upgraded so it can continue hostilities with ElleGee...

Until next week then, as long as I don't upset Mrs B, that is. Don't forget to drop into the "BlackLOG - Historical" should be updated in time for Thursday morning.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Is there no respect for the elderly.....?

I am sad to report that I have discovered double standards are running rife through the streets (well certainly the car parks) of Bishops Stortford. The young and attractive are being given special treatment at the expense of the elderly. All this at the very point where the older generation have surely earned the right to some respect, through years of hard work and service.

We were using our old workhorse, our aging but reliable VW Golf, to go and see the film “Burn after readingI must admit that during the first 15 minutes I thought we had stumbled into “Burn before watching”. Fortunately it picked up after that and became a decent comedy – I did notice a couple of people arriving a quarter of an hour late though - perhaps they were seeing the film for the second time.....

On our return to the car we had been given a beautifully hand-crafted parking ticket to go with our dull-but-valid parking permit. Fortunately, the parking attendants were still wandering around, issuing tickets to lamp posts and pensioners. I believe even the car park's own ticket machine was not immune from their relentless generation of little yellow and black plastic envelopes of pain. I thrust his generous but undeserved gift back into his sweaty little hand and asked why he had bestowed such a delightful present on us. He ambled back to our car and gave it the once-over.

His eyes said “What do you expect if you park this old thing here?”

Eventually he conceded that it was an error but attempted to cover himself by saying that as a season ticket holder we should be pleased that he was ticketing cars. This left me too speechless to point out that as a car park season ticket holder I didn’t really appreciate the opportunity to pay extra for our already over-priced parking privileges.

Compare this with the treatment of ElleGee a couple of days earlier:

I had parked ElleGee in the very same car park, and noticed a parking attendant hanging around like a bad smell.....

PA :- “Have you got a valid permit Sir?”
Me :- “Oh yes” I said smugly.
PA :- “It wouldn't have mattered if you hadn't - it’s such a nice car I couldn’t have given it a ticket.” (aside 1)
At the time, I am ashamed to say, I felt full of pride. How was I to know that they were attempting the evil trade of funding the parking of new cars at the expense of the older generation......? I wonder if Watchdog would be interested in this sordid case of 'Senior bullying'? After all they'll put any old rubbish on, won't they?

Round up of recent events
The real cost of a cheap wooden floor
While watching the film “Burn after Reading” (or as mentioned earlier, Burn before watching the first 15 minutes) I noted that George Clooney was playing a kind of creepy lothario with a particularly unhealthy obsession for quality wooden floors. Sorry Clare, it looks like your Dad’s advice to go for the cheap version might have cost you a crack at the Clooney….....

Well thanks a lot Clare. Your little inappropriate savings mean that it is very unlikely I will get to attend my first celebrity wedding. Worse than that Mrs B had already selected a dress, shoes and matching handbag for the ceremony. I had also prepared a speech in case your dear old Dad was too shocked to give you away...

How to get in trouble for not including things in the B lackLOG
I have, on the odd occasion, managed to upset one or two people with a mention in the BlackLOG so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was confronted by my friend Penny who was upset with me for 'failing' to mention the Ball we attended with her and hubby Paul a few weeks back. She said she had been waiting expectantly to read about it in the BlackLOG and was disappointed when nothing appeared. So just for you Penny I can confirm we attended a ball with you….It was very……er “Nice”. I'll try and get the weekend's "Stomp" details into a future blog, it's just I need to follow up on some leads first - i.e find out the details of the evening. I can't believe I managed to sleep through all that noise. Honest - I did enjoy the bit I saw......

I feel at this point, in the interests of full disclosure, I should also mention my friend Sophie's sparkly toilet seat. For some reason Sophie was devastated, a few years back, that I had not mentioned it in a blog, especially after I gave her so much grief when I first found out about it.Sophie's silver glittery toilet seat. Despite my best efforts I have never been able to find a satisfactory Blog story for it to shine in. Now if it had been a glow in the dark version it probably would have got its own dedicated BOG blog site ......

It sounds like I should start charging people to appear in the BlackLOG. I could use the funds generated to compensate the people who I have managed to upset, even the ones that still owe me a curry......

Don't forget to drop into the "BlackLOG - Historical" should be updated in time for Thursday morning.


(1)He was probably trying to trick me into parking without a ticket. I can imagine my defence in Court going down like the Titanic :-

Me :-In a particularly whiney voice "But your honour, he said he would not give ElleGee a ticket because he looks so nice"
Judge :-"If I had the power you would be sentenced to death for wasting the Court's time..."
PA :- Says nothing but emits a low,deep and evil laugh. His eyes flash red as he slips from the Court.....
(Return to text)

Sunday, 2 November 2008

BlackLOG dating agency at your service

Since I could not find any Halloween photos I thought I would prepare you for Bonfire night....

I ran into a colleague at work - let's use a random name to protect her identity.............

Ooh that's unlucky. The random name that came out was "Claire" Sorry Clare that was unfortunate. Imagine the random name being the same as your own? Hopefully by adding the 'i' people won't recognise you......

We were discussing the global reach of the BlackLOG and particularly the break through into America last Monday night with 46 hits.

Claire asked me if could turn the BlackLOG into a dating agency as she could do with some nice rich American to look after her.

I explained that I didn't know any Americans who I disliked enough.... (Tongue in cheek guys, Clare is a "luverly girl", despite her main hobbies being: tormenting me by moving me around the building just when I get used to an area; and going on holiday - a lot).
Instead of the playful punch, sending me reeling across the corridor, that I expected and probably deserved :-

Claire "Don't, I took my dad shopping to help me buy a wooden floor for my bedroom."

Clare's dad(since I don't know him I don't have to protect his identity) "You should get the cheap version, after all it won't get much traffic...."

Ouch! Now you don't expect that from your dear old Dad.....

This moved me so much that I decided, for one week only, (unless vast sums of money come my way) to make this week's BlackLOG a special dating service for Claire. (Don't worry Clare I won't give out your real name until I have vetted each candidate.)

Claire's profile
I have to be honest - Claire does not normally look this good. It took a couple of days of hard work in Photoshop to produce these remarkable results....

Age - of an age

Height - that and a bit, less or more, depending on where you are standing

Hobbies - moving me around the building, dancing drunkenly at work events and frequently going on holiday.

Hair - mostly her own

Eyes - two

Children - yes

Wants Children - No

If you are still undecided then perhaps this will sway you - Claire has a new wooden floor in her bedroom, which is very nice but I suspect not as good quality as it could have been....

Halloween watch
Are they now shipping the kids into Bishops Stortford? I had to fight to get ElleGee passed a number of coaches, mini vans and buses which appeared to contain every child under 8 for miles around. I even had to drive around the block as a huge bunch of mini zombie-like creatures descended on our very house. After the third pass I spotted a gap and managed to get Ellegee safely into the garage and slipped inside unseen. Mrs B arrived shortly after. I was hoping that she had brought supplies of sweets with her to help fend off the hoards. Sadly not. She had assumed that I would .... and worse still, some of them must have seen Mrs B's arrival, because the property was soon surrounded by howling and enraged future ASBO candidates gorged on sugar and ready to scream the house down if they did not get more, their wardens barely able to restrain them. We retreated to the back of the house, turned the TV volume up and prepared ourselves to sit it out until they were taken kicking, snarling and screaming away to their beds...... It always amazes me that the day after Halloween there are never any bodies strewn in the streets. The odd "pavement pizza" and damp patches, where the little tykes could no longer contain the excitement, but never any bodies. If you have ever seen a half decent Zombie movie come daylight there are always lots of dismembered bodies and limbs littering the streets. Also, let's not forget the debris left after Guy Fawkes night - bits of rocket, little black soot encrusted metal sticks and the odd burnt down house. I guess the local council must send a clean up team onto the streets in the early hours of the morning to clear it all up before everyone gets up. This also might explain why the council never has any money left to do anything worthwhile like fill the holes in the roads or fight Stansted airport expansion....

Oh the shame
We went to see the Hoosiers in Brixton last week and it would have been a fantastic evening if some snivelling little git had not ruined it for me. As we went into the concert the SLG was handing out flyer's and thrust one in my face.........

Me in my younger and carefree days "Why would I want this?" I muttered as I tried to get past him.

SLG - "Get with it Grandad!" came his reply. "It's for the Hoosiers. You know? The band you are going to see tonight."

Ouch! Now I could have lived with "Slightly past my prime Uncle" but "Grandad"? I was too shocked to reply and shuffled slowly into the venue, a broken man.... The lack of support for this incredible blow to my male ego, from both Mrs B and my so called friend Sophie, almost finished me off. Fortunately my aging brain saved me and I soon forgot the whole sordid incident. Mrs B, however, wants to make sure that my mind does not fail me entirely and likes to regularly remind me of the event. How nice and caring of her....

If anyone wants to contact me, you had better do it soon. I expect that I will be moving to one of the less desirable parts of our building - once Claire gets back from yet another holiday, that is...... Don't forget to tune in on Thursday morning for more "BlackLOG - Historical". And no - they were not written in the middle ages, bloody cheek! "You youngsters don't know you're born....", "In my day....etc, etc.........."