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Blog: A Wedding In Harrogate

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For the first time in MONTHS I was heading North on the train to do a GIG, and a VERY SPECIAL gig at that. For LO! I was going to play at the wedding reception of Mr M Sturdy and Ms L Heraty in Harrogate.

The journey got off to a Slightly Annoying start when East Coast Mainline decided to do a badly organised ticket before boarding. "There IS a queue you know!" said an irate East Coast Mainline official as people - SHOCKINGLY - kept trying to Get On The Train, having not noticed the five ticket checkers who were HIDING BEHIND A WALL. I joined the badly organised ticket check which, as ever, took SO LONG (on a thin platform only two people at a time can get to the ticket checkers, especially when theres BAGS and The Easily Confused around) that it was about to delay the train. Everyone ended up RUNNING DOWN THE PLATFORM to get on, as whistles blew, flags were waved by angry platform staff, and an Aggravated Announcement was made telling people that if they didn't get on board the train would leave without them. Ten minutes later there was an onboard ticket check. WELL DONE EAST COAST MAINLINE.

The rest of the trip was fine!

I'd never been to Harrogate before and everyone had told me it was DEAD POSH, and they were CORRECT: It WAS. I HAVE been to North Yorkshire before so I was at least prepared for the AVALANCHE of Yorkshireness that hit me as i walked to my B&B. In North Yorkshire it is IMPOSSIBLE to walk more than five yards without someone trying to strike up a conversation with you, and all the way there people LEAPT out of buildings, eager to help me reach my destination. When I got to the B&B everyone THERE was very nice too. I was a bit worried, going up the stairs, when I saw a sign saying "toilet". "Oh no!" I thought, "Is it going to be one of those places where you have to share toilet facilities? Happily NO, it wasn't, and I found my room to be Actually Rather Nice, with en suite and MASSIVE four poster bed (which meant you couldn't watch the telly in bed as, in the way of B&Bs, it was attached to a bracket near the ceiling). There were also KIT KATS with the Tea Facilities - SWANKY!

Soon it was time to set off and I STRODE through Harrogate thinking "Nice, but smells of farts" - it was only later I realised this was actually The Sulphur Well. Aha! I got to The Sun Pavilion to find that proceedings had just reached The Speeches, so went back DOWN the hill to a PUB. There were bouncers outside so I was a bit worried about it being HORRD. It turned out to be LOVELY - it was Hales Bar a PROPER pub full of very nice people and DELICIOUS beer, and I had a DELIGHTFUL hour or so in there, watching most of the first half of the football and, again, talking to complete strangers.

I set off back to the wedding to find things had progressed to the DRINKING stage so went in and said hello to everybody, not least THE BRIDE AND GROOM. It looked like it had been a lovely day, something confirmed by speaking to The Brothers Morricone who, I suddenly realised, i have known for DONKEYS YEARS, having gigged with them (mostly in Being 747) for about a DECADE. They are lovely chaps also, and, as I probably said at some length later on, it's going to make Edinburgh even MORE GRATE knowing they're also going to be lurking around at the same time we're there.

The plan, as I was told it, was that various PALS of The Happy Couple would get up and do a couple of songs each, ending with them all doing four songs together, then I was going on. I must say I was a little worried about this - once Friends And Family had been on, doing Delightful Things, I felt people might object to someone they'd never heard of BELLOWING at them for half an hour, so I was RELIEVED half and hour later when Mark SWOOPED by and said "Mr Hibbett! Are you ready to go on?" PHEW! i was on FIRST, and this is what I DID:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • It Must Be Love
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Back For Good
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Can't Take My Eyes Off You
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I had an WHALE of a time. Playing weddings (and I've done surprisingly MANY of them over the years) can feel a bit strange, as you're always in a large room where most people are chatting away. This can be a bit off-putting, for a Novice Wedding Rocker, but as a Hardy Veteran i now realise that IT'S A WEDDING and so people haven't seen each other for ages and want a CHAT, and it's FINE. It was actually, as I say, a whole lot MORE than fine - the covers seemed to go down well (though I chickened out of doing "Show Me The Way To Amarillo", which I'd almost learnt) and my songs seemed to work all right too - especially, perhaps surprisingly, Theme From Dinosaur Planet! ALSO as with most weddings there was a small group who were VERY KEEN on the whole gig bit, and they did a FANTASTIC bit of Mass Indie Dancing during Do The Indie Kid and an EXCELLENT "Music Of The Future" too!

    So yes, it was brilliant, and I relaxed into the rest of the evening very happily indeed. There was more chat, there was food (the cake was ACE) and I even chatted to someone who'd been in the train carriage at Indietracks last year. Everywhere I go, it seems, I meet people who were in that train carriage! Come midnight however it was time to say my farewells and wend my way home - i love weddings, it was GRATE!

    Next morning I had a Medium Breakfast and then went to catch my train. As I say on the platform Michael Portillo walked by, trailing a television crew behind him. I wanted to ask whether Diane Abbot would be coming back to the "This Week" sofa but thought it might seem rude. Harrogate is, as I say, DEAD POSH, and it didn't seem quite the right thing to do.

    posted 14/6/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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    OOh! I was in Harrogate on Saturday too! I was doing a radio telephony course, and parked in Waitrose, earning me a 20 parking ticket. My first in about 15 years! BAH!
    posted 14/6/2010 by Jon Hewitson

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