Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Bands, bikes, tents

Reading Badgerdaddy's post about his old band getting back together has made me think hard about doing something similar. Again.

Trouble is, I know a few decent musicians but thay all live bloody miles away. Colin, move to Wiltshire, you selfish git. Heh.

Mr WithaY has a harmonica, but is a bit limited in his repertoire. He can play the bohdran too but that gets a little wearing after a while, frankly. It also lacks the pinpoint accuracy of AC/DC's rhythm section, which is the sound I aspire to.

I love live music. One of the very few downsides to living here is that there are limited opportunities to see bands. There's the Cheese and Grain in Frome, I suppose.

The best band venue location I've lived in (in retrospect) was Chichester.

We went to see loads of small local bands in various pubs and clubs in the area. There was also Chichester Rock Society, a bi-weekly rock disco with a live band every month. Loads of mates would get down there, the girls tending to dance all night and the blokes congregating in the bar to talk about their bikes.

The blokes would usually join us on the dancefloor later, either because their respective girlfriends had made them feel guilty for not dancing, or because they could see the end of the evening looming and were planning a desperate last-minute chat-up. Heh. I used to like that, always so entertaining.

We could also go to the Wedgewood Rooms and the Guildhall in Portsmouth, the Southampton Guildhall (now Mayflower), and the Brighton Centre for the really big bands. I look back now and think "Why did I not take more advantage of this?"

And then I remember. I had no money and couldn't drive. And the boyfriends I had at the time were either not keen on the same bands as me, or had no money either. Sigh.

Having said that, I got to see Rush, Whitesnake, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Bon Jovi (supporting Kiss, bloody brilliant), Jethro Tull, Magnum, as well as all the smaller bands like Spider, Dumpy's Rusty Nuts (still touring I believe), the Hampsters (likewise), and all the 3-gigs-before-splitting-up local bands.

Ah, happy days. Nothing is quite as much fun as turning up to a heavy rock gig on the back of a huge sexy bike, with a gang of mates also on huge sexy bikes, posing wildly before going in to dance like maniacs for two hours.

Well, nothing that I can think of offhand, anyway.

And of course there was The Years in Brighton. I loved that place. A heavy rock nightclub, now a bloody wine bar. Gah.

I can't remember the last time I went to see a big band. We've done a fair few festivals though, which seems to be a more West Country thing. Not huge ones like Glastonbury. Smaller ones like the Trowbridge Village Pump and the Larmer Tree Gardens. Not this summer, however. Too bloody wet.

We went to one in Donnington (not the big one, a smaller folky one) a few years back. About 8 of us went, taking two big canvas tents to sleep in. We got there and discovered we had no groundsheets. Bugger. We compromised by putting one tent up (using a rock as a mallet because we'd left that behind as well) and using the other tent as the groundsheet.

The spirit of invention was strong in us that weekend.

Obviously there wasn't enough room for us all in the one tent, so a couple of the guys elected to sleep in their van. Hurrah! Off we went to party, first setting up three large double airbeds in the tent so we could all crash out when we got back. Much partying and Jack Daniels later, bedtime came around.

So, me and Mr WithaY took one airbed, at the back of the tent. Two large male friends were sharing* the next double airbed, and another, smaller pair of male mates were on the double airbed nearest the door. Perfect.

Everyone settled down for a peaceful night's sleep.

Well, as peaceful as it could be with six people all crashed out after having been drinking heavily, laughing immoderately and dancing till everyone else had fallen by the wayside. It sounded like a Serengeti watering hole, all the grunts, snorts and other noises** that went on continuously.

Come the dawn, I woke up and looked down the tent to see if there was any way I could get out to go to the loo without waking everyone else up.

Mr WithaY was snuggled right next to me, I was wrapped around the tentpole (oo-er), and one of the large male friends had migrated across onto our airbed. Mr WithaY still has flashbacks about waking up with him snuffling in his ear in his sleep.

Other large male mate was spreadeagled across the entire middle airbed like a huge snoring starfish. The third airbed only had one occupant too....where was our smaller mate?

I picked my way carefully*** down to the door, and there he was - outside in the rain, fast asleep, wrapped in his sleeping bag like a little beardie angel.

He complained about that for YEARS afterwards. "Remember that night I got shoved out under the tent flap into the rain." Yes, we remember. Heh.

Ahhh happy days.

*as in sharing the space ONLY, they were very insistent on this point

**farting. Ugh

***treading on everyone as I went. I was careful in that I didn't stamp on them

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