The girl was sitting alone at the bar. These days, not a common sight, but not unusual. In 1974? It was staggering. So much so that I did one of those cartoon double-takes when I walked into the Rat’s Castle. It was early evening, on a wet, Thursday night and the old pub was almost empty. Ted, the miserable old bloke, who was always there, was sitting in ‘his’ seat, hunched over the Evening Standard and a half of bitter, a pickled onion in his fingers, the dark vinegar dribbling down his fingers and dripping onto the stained wooden table. Terry, the barman, was drying dimpled pint pots with a dirty tea-towel and humming along to The Four Tops on the jukebox. Ah, the jukebox at The Rat’s Arsehole. It was old, clunky and the money-slot was slow. But it had the best sound in town. And Steve, the landlord, kept it stocked with a great selection of Motown, Glam and British Rock singles, as well as a few lesser known American songs. On a good night, when the pub was busy, I could go ten, maybe twelve songs that I loved, before getting a duff one. Then “This Town » Continue Reading.
Cadogan Hall, London
The umpteenth time we’ve seen Paul, and his wonderful band, but I think this was the best. He sings all of the hits associated with his voice – from How Long to Tempted, from Another Cup Of Coffee to The Living Years. These are interspersed with tracks from his new album, Rain Or Shine, and a terrific selection of covers. Peggy Lee’s I Know I’m Losing You is especially beautiful, as is Springsteen’s If I Should Fall Behind. The band have all been with him for years and are all terrific players. But it’s that voice that draws me back. One of the great voices.
Right up for a cracking Saturday night out. The roar that greeted the end of Satisfy My Soul, the gentle opener, really took Paul by surprise. The noise didn’t let up. A quick word for the venue. Great bar, comfortable seats, take your drinks in, great sound, nice staff. What more could you want?
It made me think..
We took 2 friends who had never seen him live but who I’ve been sending his CD’s, every Christmas, for years. They were both quite emotional at the » Continue Reading.
Nights Out & Nights In reviews all appear to have been typed into a different template to a normal blog post – just like in our former abode. Can anyone help me find it, please?
According to today’s papers, as a bi-polar sufferer, it appears that I want to kill you all. As if the state of mental health treatment wasn’t bad enough FFS. Sorry.
It is the accepted wisdom on this site (and the previous one) that this is the greatest guitar solo ever committed to vinyl (it just is, we’ve had the debate, get over it.) However, Pierre van der Linden had a pretty shit- hot day on the drums, too.
Mike Porcaro, bass player with Toto, has died. He suffered from ALS (Motor Neurone disease). He was 59. Live, he had been replaced by the likes of Lee Sklar and Nathan East, which shows just how good Mikey was. I have seen him play plenty of times and he is easily my favourite bassist. He was my wife’s favourite musician so, tonight, we have opened a bottle of bubbly and toasted to the fantastic nights, great music and a wonderful smile that we will miss.
If you have access to today’s Sunday Times do yourself a favour. You may usually avoid the sports section but, today, read the piece by the wonderful David Walsh on cricketer Martin Crowe. The subject has cancer and not long to live. His honest appraisal of his life is almost disconcerting. His views on death are quietly uplifting. Written by a sympathetic and compassionate journalist, it is one of the best things I have read for years.
Something made me turn my head. A sound? A movement? I couldn’t be sure. Whatever it was, it had stopped my journey home, my reverie. I stood on the deserted pavement and looked around. It was nearly 3 o’clock in the morning and the last car to pass me, in either direction, had been ten minutes ago. I unscrewed the top of the half-bottle of Jameson’s Whiskey and swigged the familiar liquid. I was pissed. I was alone. Years later, looking back, it has become apparent just how alone. I put the bottle back in the pocket of my Greatcoat and trudged on. I had left the pub early, the sound of Thin Lizzy ringing in my ears. The walk to the train station took twenty minutes. I had been walking for nearly an hour. I was lost.
The pub was in Shepperton, one change on the train from where we lived. In other words, an effort. But an effort worth making. We had heard that there was this pub, The Ship, that was suddenly playing great music on a Friday night, a few weeks earlier. We had ventured over to the unfamiliar surroundings 3 Fridays on the trot. This » Continue Reading.
The great George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt’s guitar player) and Dave Durocher have recorded some interviews with musicians for a youtube project called Sideman. The interviewees include George himself, and Garry Tallent, from the E Street Band. It’s nice and casual but it’s great to hear road stories, etc. George has become a ‘friend’ of my wife & I on Twitter and he comes across as nice as he appears here. I want to eat pizza made by George Marinelli. He also loves a pint of Guinness. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDOsSHwXjmT4fok-WUc9NQ/videos
Some of you may remember a post from last year about a lunch with my friend, Jack. It lasted 6 1/2 hours and my post on it brought some lovely comments. The anniversary of it is tomorrow…..and we’re doing it again. I have a hangover of some virility today, so I doubt that the lunch will be the epic of last year but, hey, a couple of Guinnesses with Jack and anything is possible.
sums up my day.
Hi. Nice to be back. Had a shite 6 months but there is light. It’s a tiny, fecking pin – point but, hey, I can see it. Here, Derek Trucks is playing one of Duane’s guitars through one of Duane’s amps. Fuckin’ irrelevant, obviously, but it makes me happy. These days, that’s all I want, to make ‘a tiny bit happy’ (as a Chinese friend of mine would say.) http://youtu.be/cYXSTMK8MU8
On first hearing, I thought this song had a nice intro, a slight Country flavour and good harmonies. Then, 48 secs in…..BANG! They are called The People The Poet, they’re from South Wales and I cannot stop playing this song. Turn it up!
I posted this review before understanding the nooks and crannies of our new home. It should be in this section, so I’m posting it again, in the right place. Before I review this book I shall declare an interest. I knew Paolo Hewitt back in the 70’s, not long after he had left Burbank Children’s Home, the setting for this book. He had come to Guildford to meet up with his friend, and by then, my friend, Des. Des has now been my friend for 40 years. I am as close to him as any of my 4 brothers. We have been through good times, bad times and times that were as low, as desperate and as troubled as it gets. So, I am biased. Des is one of the subjects of the book.
I bought the book as soon as it came out. I’ve followed Paolo’s career as a talented writer and Des had been involved in some of the research for this one, so I knew it was coming out. I put it on the top of my book-pile, and left it. And left it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start it, wasn’t sure » Continue Reading.
Before I review this book I shall declare an interest. I knew Paolo Hewitt back in the 70’s, not long after he had left Burbank Children’s Home, the setting for this book. He had come to Guildford to meet up with his friend, and by then, my friend, Des. Des has now been my friend for 40 years. I am as close to him as any of my 4 brothers. We have been through good times, bad times and times that were as low, as desperate and as troubled as it gets. So, I am biased. Des is one of the subjects of the book.
I bought the book as soon as it came out. I’ve followed Paolo’s career as a talented writer and Des had been involved in some of the research for this one, so I knew it was coming out. I put it on the top of my book-pile, and left it. And left it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start it, wasn’t sure if it would make me feel sorry for my friend. We’re way past that. I know his story, have lived some of it with him. I didn’t think want the book » Continue Reading.