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Blog: Woodhouse Eaves

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Saturday was the day of our long-awaited Christmas Gig in Woodhouse Eaves, and the day started WELL. The Lights On My Tree and I were on the way to St Pancras to get the train to Leicester, when, as we passed through Highbury and Islington I noticed someone getting on with a guitar. "I wonder where he's off to..." I thought, then suddenly "BLOODY HELL! That's John Hegley!" I told aforementioned Christmas Card In My Envelope, who GEED me on to speaking to him, so I did. "Excuse me John," I said, "I think you're great, you've been an inspiration to me" (which he has) "Can I give you a CD?" I pressed a copy of This Is Not A Library into his hand, and OH MY but what a NICE man he turned out to be. He seemed all CHUFFED, said "Ooh, good title", and then chatted briefly about GIGS and things. He was LOVELY. Sometimes you meet Famous Types who get a bit arsey about being GREETED thus, or agree a bit much when you're nice to them, but he was really REALLY nice about the whole thing. It was a GOOD OMEN.

Less of a good omen was finding out that there was a "strike" on Sunday by the GIT Train Drivers - now, I'm all for THE WORKERS withdrawing their labour as a last resort against an oppressive boss, but this really seemed UNNECESSARILY ARSEY - nobody seemed hugely clear WHAT it was all about (the Daily Hate suggested it was because they were having a Christmas Party, and I felt the BIZARRE SENSATION of sympathising with that newspaper), it certainly wasn't any kind of OFFICIAL action (Sundays count as overtime, so they ALL decided not to do it), and for heaven's sake - isn't travelling on public transport on a Sunday BAD ENOUGH as it is? You expect to be treated like an IDIOT for travelling at a weekend, and I usually end up adding at least two hours to any journey, but this was DIABOLICAL - as it happened, it took SIX AND A HALF HOURS to get from Leicester to London next day. ARGH!

But anyway, we're still on Saturday at the moment, and that journey was FINE. We arrived in Leicester and headed to Rock-A-Boom, where it was my job to pick up money made from ticket sales, and any left over... There turned out to be a lot of the latter and NONE of the former, but that wasn't terribly unexpected. We then went to get the BUS, only to find that the 123 goes from an entirely different BUS STATION during the day on Saturdays - WHY?!? Good GRIEF - WHY are BUSES ALWAYS made as difficult, complicated, and UNFRIENDLY to use as POSSIBLE? GNARGH! I tell you THIS, gentle reader, my desire for PERSONAL TRANSPORT has rarely been as high as it was after THIS weekend of gittish Public Transport Drivers (e.g. The bus driver who clearly saw us RUNNING round the corner of the City Centre Bus Station, as opposed to St Margaret's where we'd been before, calmly noticed us WAVING MADLY and LEAPING in his way, but chose to drive calmly off anyway, knowing full well he was driving the ONLY bus going to where he was going for the next TWO HOURS) and unnecessarily complicated arrangements. If i end up DRIVING to gigs in the future it will be THEIR fault.

And it will be a MIGHTY WEIGHT they shall bear, for LO! I cannot drive. No court in the law will convict me once they have heard my story.

ANYWAY, we got a taxi and travelled to Woodhouse Eaves in STYLE, even tho i was by now feeling the beginnings of my GIG TERROR. I was also feeling a bit POORLY - I'd been out on Thursday and felt AWFUL, with stomach CRAMPS and sickness all day Friday, but had assumed it was just an over over zealous hangover. I'm STILL feeling awful today, Monday, after having it EXACERBATED by the previously mentioned GRIM JOURNEY home on Sunday... Not that you'd guess, you'd hardly know from the way I'm not mentioning it much would you?

So yes, we arrived at Woodhouse Eaves Village Hall to find The Family Pattison setting tables up and SWEEPING the floor. Gradually things started to come together - TURK soon arrived, with TUBE BAR equipment, which he began setting up, shortly followed by "Tiger" Tom McClure, soundman John, and a VERY happy Mr Fleay, who had just been to see Derby County THRASH Nottingham. Emma went back to their house with The Children Pattison, taking the assembled LADIES with her, leaving us MEN to make a VERY LOUD NOISE during our soundcheck. I must say it sounded RATHER GOOD.

Tim and Tom went off to get us some CHIPS, Rob started playing DJ on the DECKS, and I went to the BUS STOP. I'd promised that I'd be there to greet the BUS when it arrived, so the travelling HORDES would know when to get off. I saw it top the HILL and head down towards me, and i wondered what levels of MERRIMENT and LARKS had been occuring on the bus PACKED with AUDIENCE...

Dr Neil Brown emerged, followed by... Er... Nobody else! I became WORRIED, tho of course PLEASED to see my old COMRADE. We were joined again by Mr Fleay and went to the SHOP where we stocked up on what surely must be The Drink Of 2005: SHANDY BASS! MMMM!!! Shandy Bass! I'd never drunk it until this summer, when the Sand On My Beach introduced it to me on holiday on the Isle Of Wight, and i have never looked back. SHANDY BASS! Delicious!

We got back to the hall and were all soon joined by CHIPS... All except for ME! Everyone else had Fish & Chips, but for some reason the Just Chips hadn't made it, so I made do with a cup of MUSHY PEAS and some chips DONATED by Tim and Rob. To be honest this was probably a GOOD THING, as my NERVES were reaching FEVER PITCH by now. Emma and LADIES returned, and we had a full final soundcheck with her there, when we agreed that we could hear no vocals WHATSOEVER. URK! Emma went back and got another AMP from someone in the village to use as a MONITOR, whilst the Cheese In My Sandwich and i went to the PUB, to meet up with my FAMILY and my FRIENDS.

And there they were - almost ALL of VOON (i.e. Neil, Simon, and Chris) and Chris's FIANCEE Karen sat round one table, and next to them my PARENTS, my BROTHER and his lovely LADY, and their friends Joan and Gerry. BLIMEY! Suddenly i was RACKED with even MORE PANIC - it was like some huge WEDDING RECEPTION, and i PANICKED that everyone would actually GET ON with each other. I always have this FEAR when friends and family from different AREAS of my life meet up, and GOOD GOLLY it was re-doubled now. FEAR!

I sat and had a chat to FAMILY for a bit, most of whom hadn't seen me do a gig for over a DECADE, so i think were a bit surprised to see quite HOW doubled over with FEAR i was at this point. All was well though, I was VERY pleased to see them all there, and after about half an hour headed back to the hall, wondering what I would find there.

What i found was many smiling faces, and a CROWD! While we'd been away people had TURNED UP, and the room was THROBBING! Their were more PALS - Jamie from VOON turned up (making the VOON count FIVE, easily beating Tim's MEAGRE The Torture Garden count of THREE - HA!), Mr Whitaker was there, Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey soon arrived, there were VILLAGERS, there were TUBE BAR TYPES on an away day into the countryside, it was BRILLIANT! The Tube Bar was starting to swing too, helped by Turk BERATING the entire room into dancing, and it was watching this that gave me my PENULTIMATE stab of PANIC - oh no! People are DANCING and having FUN! They'll HATE it when we go onstage!

We put things off by going into the basement under the stage to have our PICTURES taken by my brother, for use on "Warriors Of Nanpantan", and then going for EMERGENCY TOILET ACTION. We gathered in the doorway to the hall, and then I felt SAFE. As happens every so often I realised what a LOVELY band I've got - honestly, it cannot be over-stated how WONDERFUL it is having a band like The Validators (NB I'm hoping they've got bored by now, so won't see this bit, don't want to give them IDEAS) - never mind how GRATE they are at playing the songs, it's just lovely getting to hang around and DO so many things with such a nice bunch of people, especially people you know you can RELY on. Together we MARCHED across the room to take the stage. AND SO IT BEGAN.

It began a bit shakily with me forgetting half a verse of "Things'll Be Different", but things got BETTER as we went along - the monitor amp made a BIG difference, and, to me at least, we sounded GRATE. Halfway through i had my final bit of PANIC when i thought "Hang on - these people have come for to have some FUN. Most of them don't know us, they want some Christmas CHEER, and yet here we are ELBOWING IN to their party and RANTING at them about Diverse Topics! YIPE!" however this too passed, and soon i was back to having FUN again. My brother NOTED that i kept GRINNING like mad whenever I looked around and the aforesaid BRILLIANT BAND, and it was true, a GOOD TIME was had, so much so that we came back on for a PROPER ENCORE of "Fat Was A Feminist Issue", during which, i believe, my DANCING and MIME attained new levels of BEING UNNERVING TO CASUAL WATCHERS, followed by a FESTIVE RERUN through "Give Us A Kiss (For Christmas)". Here's that yuletide setlist in FULL!
  • Things'll Be Different (when I'm in charge)
  • The Symbol Of Our Nation
  • Give Us A Kiss (For Christmas)
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Quality Of Life Enhancement Device
  • Post Subsonic Bass
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • City Centres
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Gay Train
  • Payday Is The Best Day
  • Easily Impressed

  • Fat Was A Feminist Issue
  • Give Us A Kiss (For Christmas)
  • You may notice there are FOUR debut band versions of songs in there, and it seems that that whole "actually practicing songs" THING was a Good Idea after all, as they sounded PRETTY DARN GOOD, to MINE ears at least, and if I hadn't said "this is a new song!" every time I don't think anyone would have noticed. COOL.

    I was staggering off stage, exhausted and SWEATY, when i was GRABBED to do the Raffle Draw. MAN ALIVE, if I thought doing GIGS had potential for FEAR, it is as NOTHING compared to the bowel trembling TERROR engenderd by drawing a raffle - i shall never cross a VICAR again, i tell you. There were catcalls, there were boos and cheers, and when my MUM won a prize i feared for my LIFE! Needless to say, when it came time to AUCTION off the final item I passed the baton on to TURK, who coped with it MANFULLY. All in all I'm told we ended up raising over 500 QUID for the Toddlers' Playground Appeal in the village - IMPRESSIVE, no?

    Believing most of the EVENTS to be over i retreated to the basement underneath the stage, but even THEN i was not safe from EVENTS, as my friend Chris came down and, in a MANLY BANTERING STYLE, asked me to be BEST MAN at his wedding. LUMME! I was a bit STUNNED, but also EXTREMELY CHUFFED by this - I've now got 18 months to involve him in some Amusing Stories that don't involve one of both of us getting HORRIBLY DRUNK and being APPALLINGLY RUDE to people. THOSE stories I have ENOUGH off. Crikey tho eh? WEDDING ACTION!

    AGLOW with JOY i went back upstairs where, for the next two hours, i DANCED with the GRATEST DANCER i have ever met, also with various PALS and FAMILY MEMBERS, and had a FANTASTIC TIME. It was odd to be at a Tube Bar with NON-Tube Bar initiates. People of our age seemed a bit surprised by the choice of song, but the Older Attendees fell RIGHT into it. When "Show Me The Way To Amarillo" came on i WHOOPED with joy, and was SHOCKED by the number of blank expressions on the dance floor - SURELY this is the number one FLOOR FILLER anywhere?!? Or is that just at the Tube Bar then?

    Anyway, a RIOTOUS GOOD TIME was had by one and all, ending after midnight with a surprisingly LARGE number of STOP-OUTS high kicking in a circle. We packed up what we needed to pack, and headed back to Tim and Emma's, for a cup of tea and a lot of saying "Cor, that was really good wasn't it?"

    It really was too - a BEAUTIFUL evening in fact, surrounded by many MANY of the people i like most in the world, having a REAL GOOD TIME, and HEY! For CHARITY also! And for CHRISTMAS! That's jollity CUBED! Next day it was baby Lola's first birthday, which was more JOY for all, then followed by a lift to Loughborough, a BUS to Leicester, a wait, another BUS to Bedford (and I don't care what Midland Mainline say, it does NOT take OVER TWO HOURS to get from Leicester to Bedford unless you're doing it WRONG), another wait, an EXTRAORDINARILY long train journey to London, a tube, a tube, a walk, and then FINALLY home, arriving FED UP, WEARY and KNACKERED. Today I'm off work feeling POORLY as mentioned, but also HAPPY. Saturday was a lovely LOVELY day - let's hope the promoters like us and'll have us back again!

    posted 13/12/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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