Lucky Seven Club

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The Lucky Seven Club – haunted by the ghosts of bands past, of crazy nights out, of debauchery on a never-to-be-repeated scale … or so my fancy takes me. Maybe the zombies and vampires and remnants of the past still come, rock til you drop – or bits of you drop off. Maybe that’s just me and my age talking, maybe that’s just me. Art Deco Urbex mission calling…

So, Sunday’s journey back was a lot less busy – the odd expedition up to stupid speeds (no, of course not officer, not me, never…), oddly upset. Can still ride and cry – at least on the motorway. Stopped at Oxford – double dose of Bircher, double espresso, didn’t help. Just one of those wasteland days where the future seems gone. Strange girl-biker-race-off joining the A3. Pink bike, pink jacket, bad attitude. Abusing car drivers who were merely dopey – save that for the actively malicious, honey. Dunno what the bike was because my entry strategy is excellent and I gained a clear outside lane. Gone baby gone. Not much catches me in a straight line, not even now.

Long dark teatime of the soul territory – ended up starting watching The Sopranos, which somehow I missed back in the day. Probably about right for the night. Tomorrow will be better.

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Satan’s Calling

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Tonight’s gig was at The Mitre in Stourbridge, cool logo, 80s pop piped outside, lairy boys outside, fights, smashed glasses, us old (and young) rockers upstairs just having fun, no fights. I am so out of all of that, hate the drink culture of this country, really hate it, but where do you go? Culture choices – it’s ritualised communal drug-taking or religion. Neither of which do it for me.

So the support band are great, tight, heavy, with some singing as well as growling. Works well, suited my mood somehow. I bought the CD. Underpriced at £1, as I told them. Main band are friends of mine, at least 3 of them are. Singer has more woman trouble tonight – I am getting the full entertainment of spectating. The problems of a charisma excess – ah, front(wo)men we all suffer.

Anyway, Seventh Era, 80s style heavy rock, original, enjoyable, all power to them. The drummer and lead guitarist (who I don’t know) look like the quiet ones, but holy hell, they are just as nutty as the rest. The guitarists head did not actually go on fire, but cool picture! I headbang, various others drink, stumble, fall over, disappear, stage a comeback. That’s the women. I get a bit of mike time as crowd singer on the final number, the only cover, Pretty Vacant. Seems suitable.

Back on bike, down the pavement to avoid the broken glass, straight back to Dudley, no worries no detours. Back to the haunted hotel…

Dood-laye

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Going through a Weight Watchers meeting to get a fry up, E-z-e Tone – Armchair Exercise Centre, market, new USB charger, coffee, not only cake but cake drowned in cream (how did that happen?) They keep the castle locked up in the zoo – at £14 admission, they can keep it.

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Civic architecture – very fine reminders of a highly prosperous past (present,  holding on, holding on. Better than some).

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Public spaces, there for all to enjoy. Until my odd behaviour of sitting, of being, on my own attracts attention. Easily defused. “I’m quite alright thanks”, broad Scots, instant departure,  determined walk.

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Free ruins! Much better.

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Sinister selfies.

Curry for tea (though from a market stall this time, since my fave place is shut, it seems). Another gig tonight – this time, I know 3 of the band. Thinking of getting there early, bike ride in the sun.

Back in Court

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Or rather, at The Courthouse in Dudley, the kind of music venue I wish we had in Guildford. Decent stage, decent sound, in house gear (if you want it), lighting, good promotion, regular crowd. The only thing is that that crowd rarely stays late, so the last act on sometimes suffers from drift. I think there used to be a rock night round the corner that was cheaper before 11, or maybe just having to get buses or relieve babysitters.

Had a good night, little bit of a catch up, froze myself on the (non) smoke breaks, until lent a very fleecy thing by a kind gentleman – one whose charm seemed to be making him perhaps more popular than he was comfortable with … ah, the trials. I kept out of it. Still, better than the opposite problem, right?

I ran out of go towards the end. Long day, long, traffic-filled, hard-concentrating ride, back killing me, a few things on my mind.

5 min walk back to my hotel, aiming for a lie in, doubting I was going to get it.

They call me the working (wo)man, that’s what I am

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Very busy week. Monday band practice, where I trialled a biker chick variant of the portable guitarist. Using guitarist in the loosest possible terms, of course, as they have to be to include my efforts. The studio is 5 mins ride from my work, and we usually practice from 6pm so I figure I can work a bit late rather than have to take the car.  The traffic is not terrible…  but on the bike it’s irrelevant. >:-) The gear all fits in my old scruffy yellow rucksack. Must be 20 years old, like the big purple one. Seen so many others come and go, still with me, an old favourite… Used the Pod, attached to the mic stand with a hairband, and even managed to switch effects in the one song that I have to. I only use 3 sounds anyway, so just a question of having a set of these with different amounts of reverb  to cope with different rooms…

Guildberg – the new hill by the river! This appeared last year, when they knocked down some old offices. They did that really quickly, reducing them to hardcore in a couple of days. Shame I haven’t a big hole to fill, no bodies to bury – still, must have use to someone? But no, there it sits, brooding. Waiting. They haven’t removed the obstruction from the river yet, either,  just added some incident tape (now blown to tatters). Haven’t checked if the fallen tree blocking the towpath has gone…

“Something terrible has happened ” So says the error message. It’s only work. Even ASP.net onto dodgy old databases can’t be terrible, surely? Time will tell, but okay so far, once I wrapped my ex-contractor head around not necessarily pushing to get really useful stuff done right, right away. I can afford to take the time to understand, the rest have been there 15 years, mostly. I can slow my pace, see what the local style is, fit in (mostly). Listen. Be nice. Anyway it’s MVC Razor, so I am reading/watching up on this to see how it’s canonically done before seeing how we do/did it (and I recalled to say ‘we’- actually came quite naturally…). Good to see the wide world catching up to all the stuff they thought I was mad for wanting/making/rolling my own toolsets for 10- 15 years ago…

Jam night mark 1 (George Abbot) saw last minute cancellation due to football, so Andrew the harp man and I had a pleasant car park conversation instead. Jam night mark 2 (Stoughton) saw a few new songs make an outing, Chris looking dubiously at his DDR banjo, me making it a late, late Weds night after I left, but surviving the following working day quite fine. Didn’t do much in the evening  – Game Of Thrones catch up before the new series next week…

Midlands music mayhem this weekend. Friday night motorcycle motorway madness more like – the only madder thing would be taking the car…

Flight

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Finally made it through the night, to the airport, home. Overflew some of the islands I have visited by boat. Not the first time, but the first, I think, with such good view. My friend Simon would be pleased that this time I sat almost over the wing. Me, I find I don’t really care about survival odds in an air crash. I just can’t waste time these days fretting about things like that. In stealing my life bit by bit, wearing away the present worrying about the future. Oh, I take all reasonable precautions, plan, keep on top of repairs, look after my health. But there’s an unconcern with the fact that life is finite.

Woman next to me was playing some sort of puzzle games all flight,  Candy Crush, maybe, and some vegetable equivalent. Don’t get it. Suppose it passes the time. I have no games on my phone, but tons of image and music creation apps. So I had the notion that maybe that’s my play, or could be,  and dug out Chordbot, with no real aim other than messing about. To me, far better than games, though. If you really luck out you might get a workable song – an act of creation, not just time passed. Flight vanished.

Had better train luck, only a 20 min wait! Then back to G Town, back to another waiting day,  another to follow, then load into the chute, take a deep breath, push off – and let go.

Sunday, Sunday, sad day

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A few more observations on Copenhagen. I think we have here in the photo some Easter-related graffiti. (unless it’s a not-very-Angry Bird). Like Berlin, they seem keen on both Easter and little yellow chickies – they are everywhere in the shops, and on special offer signs. Which leads me into the second observation – drinks prices in bars/pubs seem to have become far more reasonable, and the offers and offer times (usually anytime except Fri / Sat after 10pm). Large beer, some places 20 DKK (about £2.50 ish) advertised prominently in a remarkably uniform hand drawn font. Shots 10 for 100, beer and Jaeger 30, small bottles for 10, crate Tuborg 399… Eating is still expensive. Best offers are a few decent buffets for about 90, or the 3 course Greek for the same – at the same place I ate at on my very first trip to Copenhagen over 10 years ago… I don’t eat out, usually, relying again on the supermarket, and the microwave at the school to cook porridge and veggie-scrambled eggs.

4 days is a long time to concentrate so intensely, and I was really weary by the end. One German woman perhaps gave me another piece of the puzzle, when she said she also found it tiring, more so because the course is taught in, and we all converse in, English. (Break time conversations often go, in order of popularity, pan-Scandinavian, then German). I had a wee revelation there and then. Although everyone speaks good English, it’s not native – and filtering this, and the accents,  whilst simplifying my own when I speak – this will all take energy. No wonder I get tired.

The time after I get back to the hotel feels like dead time. I think I’d rather just be going home. Next trip is already booked, but for any future ones, I think I might have to take the hit on the air fare and come back Sunday. For now, I feel drained and fragile – just want to be on my way…