Tuesday, 5 March 2013


The weekend before it’s due to occur we took a drive to Bedford which is about two-thirds of the distance.
I haven’t been to Bedford for about fifteen years so it’s about time it got checked out again for how easy it is to get through it.
I have a big hole in my mouth which my tongue keeps falling into, and I dribble occasionally because of it, but at least the pain is receding.

Want to know the best thing about Bedford ?
An argument in a charity shop between me and some toffee-nosed bitch who was brow-beating the poor assistant (and lying through her teeth in the process).
All I did was pipe up and tell her that what she was telling the poor lad was totally false and the actual legality was blah, blah, blah…
It didn’t go down too well and I was told to mind my own business.
Sorry, can’t do that.
If you’re not going to tell him the truth about returning unwanted items which the shop have no reason to exchange just because you’ve (a) worn them once and now want a refund, then I’m going to quote chapter and verse from the Sale of Goods Act whether you actually like it or not ?
This made her even more irate whilst I remained as ‘cool as a cucumber’ which, as people know, is not really my thing at all, but I can do a pretty good act.
If the goods are not faulty, and are ‘fit for purpose’ then ‘Caveat Emptor…’  Let the buyer beware.
No shop has to give a refund.
Not even Marks and Spencer’s, whose returns policy has been a pain in the arse for every other honest retailer for years.

The selling of goods through a shop is, in legal-eze, ‘an invitation to treat’ and nothing more.
Anyway it ended with the toffee-nosed twat shouting at me at the top of her not inconsiderable voice before stomping off through the shop doorway…
Don’t worry mate, and don’t take any crap from the likes of her… Check the law, you can do it on the internet, and don’t worry…

Haddy of course, is not impressed.
Why did I have to get involved ?
Because I’ve been selling stuff for over thirty years one way or another, and I hate lying bastards who want their own way and tell lies to get it.
Does that answer the question ?
Oh well, I’ve done my good deed for the day, let’s go home and get a cup of tea…

The following week we hit Olney.
Down the end of a long country lane was the pub in whose grounds the event was taking place.

Haddy, Toni & me

One large truck-bed stage and quite a few stalls.
Even one supporting a Gambian charity.

And unfortunately then it started to rain…
And it rained…
And it rained…
And it rained some more…
I rang Jon after we’d been there an hour to see if he was going to make it, but it turns out he’d been taken ill and wasn’t going to make it.
Sensible, bearing in mind it's pissing down, but a shame nevertheless.
The bands that had arrived were beginning to back up.
Some just cancelled altogether and went home if they’d arrived in the first place, but a few hardier than the others, stuck around.
The rain was constant and didn’t end till after 4.30.
Two acts had played between 12.00 and 1.00pm but the stage had been awash since then and it had been nothing doing.
Disappointing for Toni’, but she’d persevered, bless her.
There was no way that I was even going to attempt to infiltrate those performers still around as what audience was there, would only be interested in music, so we told Toni’ we’d be back tomorrow and would make sacrifice to the Sun God when we got back home just to see if we could clear the weather.

It didn’t exactly work, but it must have made an impression because although we drove up there in pouring rain, it had stopped just as we arrived.

Toni’ was a lot happier because things were going to start on time, but unfortunately a lot of the stallholders hadn’t come back and so it looked a bit sparse, but at least today was all systems go.
Most of the acoustic oriented acts were doing thirty minute sets while the electric acts were going for forty five minutes and my three sets were at 3.00, 6.00 and 9.00pm at fifteen minutes a throw.
Not brilliant from my perspective, but a whole lot better than yesterday.

My first set followed three acoustic singer/songwritery types and I must have done something right because the applause when I’d done was louder and twice as long than the three of them combined, so that was a result.
‘Too earnest by half’ would have been my review of their sets.
One lad had an absolute hatred of The Daily Mail and that was all that came across in his thirty minutes.
Most people there could have told him that there were worse things happening in this world than The Daily Mail and their readers, but hey, whatever rocks your boat ?
It just seemed an almighty waste of his allotted thirty minutes.
After me we got a couple of electric rock acts…

Interesting to see another area’s aspiring superstars and a couple of them seemed ok to my ears and outlook, but generally speaking I think our area definitely has the edge ?


Then it was back to me again.

I dunno what it is with my sets ?
You play a place you’ve never played before and the strangest things become smash hits from the stage…
I’d written this thing entitled ‘Last Night My Girl Went Down On Me’.
Great title, because it conjures up certain thoughts in people’s minds.
Despite the title it's even 'child friendly' and although everybody tends to gasp at the title and the opening lines, when the punchline comes they all tend to laugh.
It is, in fact, about a puncture in a blow-up doll and it seems to get the blokes rather than the women in the audience every time.
It certainly got the local publican who had given his permission and land for the festival.
He was still chuckling and telling his punters about it an hour after I’d finished.
I’m glad he enjoyed it.
Personally I think my second set was the best set on that stage so far that day, and no, I’m not blowing my own trumpet.
I’m being totally objective.
Did the audience ‘get it’ ?
Did they enjoy it ?
Yes, if applause and laughter have anything to do with it ?
Neither too serious, nor too comedic.
Not that it’s for me to say, but I seemed to get it right ?
People were ‘entertained’
And that’s what occurs (if you’re lucky) when anybody is on stage.
Can't remember the name of the band but this lot were quite good ...

Another couple of rock acts to follow and then…
Sod it !
The rain, which has held off all afternoon comes back in bucketloads.
That wipes another hour off stage times so we're going to call it a day and split, which is a shame because the band that are currently on stage have a member of The Foundations as their lead singer (remember 'Baby, Now That I've Found You' and 'Build Me Up, Buttercup' ?) and they are bloody good...

Tight and funky in a real Rhythm and Bluesy sort of way and everybody seemed to be enjoying them, but...

If the rain stops, those that are there are going to prefer music anyway, so…
Thank the stage guys and crew for the sound and their efforts on my behalf, the publican who is still chuckling, and Toni’ for the event and her efforts, and we’re on the road…

Thinking about it afterwards, it was a strange, but enjoyable event.
In the face of such adversity it’s amazing what people do if they have a vision of what can be accomplished ?
But when all is taken into account, if it wasn’t for people like Toni’ Harrison then it wouldn’t have occurred anyway, and that girl deserves a medal for even attempting to engineer something like it.
Even if nobody else does, Toni, I salute you.
Shame about the rain, but what the hell ?

The fact is, you did it…
You got by with a little help from your friends...
And for that, and that alone, you are deserving and worthy of a lot more respect than you are probably going to get ?
As for me, if some remember me at some other gig, then I did the job.
Best of all, my mouth held out.
I didn’t gob, dribble or drool all day…
Panic over.

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