Friday, 20 November 2009


After the excitement of Blackpool it was back to the smoke and the everyday, although I am lucky in many ways as I have outlined here before. Despite the hours it is a great job to have. I get to fool around with you. (Metaphorically speaking ; we are not talking naked wrestling in front of the fireplace a la "Women in Love") as well as play and experience one of my passions - namely music - recorded and live.

So as I sit here in my pants typing this I can look back on seven days of terrific tunes.

Hmm, just checking that sentence I think I need to amend it in case the carefully contrived and honed image of a sophisticated national broadcaster at the top of his game is somehow tarnished. Try again.

As I lie here on my Faberge daybed, a Pekingese at my feet in my silk cosijamas dictating to one of my team of spectacularly beautiful nude secretaries whilst being fanned by eunuchs.

If you think this is extravagant - you should see how Chris Evans does his blog. His is written in Panda blood by specially trained Lipizzaner horses.

Still, back to the matter in hand. Tuesday evening was a bit of a rush to get everything in as I had been invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the band "Nine Below Zero". I remember interviewing them back in 1982 and had never ever had the chance to see them. Strangely unlike me they didn't look quite as I remembered them back then but they were great and I have already played a track from their new album as part of "Lester's Library". It was good to see that they sported a range of goatees, soul patches and Paul Carrack hats. This combination enables middle aged men to look cool and tough at the same time.

I had taken Pina the Filipina who had been suffering from a cold all week so needed a bit of a pick me up. So before we hit the basement bar where they were playing we went for fish and chips. Not sure if this is a far eastern cure all but it seemed to do the trick and she soon perked up. At the venue the record company had laid and chips! Well, not wishing to appear churlish I waded in.

The band wrapped up about 8pm so it was a 20 minute tube ride out to Hammersmith to see the London debut of Country superstar Toby Keith. He is massive in the U.S and I had first picked up on him when I drove cross-country for American Adventure 1 back in 2007.

He is perhaps best known over here for a fall out with the Dixie Chicks over their apology for having George Bush as president . He also had massive popular support for his post 9/11 song ‘Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American)’, which the Dixie chicks described as ‘making country music sound ignorant’.

However he does have a sense of humour and one of my favourites is a song about reaching middle age: "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was".

As with the visit from Martina McBride back in August there was a "meet and greet" beforehand. We were ushered into a side room, about 20 of us, and told what to do by a colossal roadie: "Do not ask him to sign autographs. You will each receive a signed picture as you leave. You will have your picture taken with him and they will be posted on his website within a few minutes". Some of the women in the queue and a couple of the men were giddy with excitement and I thought they were going to faint.

I know this is "added value" for the fans but the way it is done is so slick and soulless it is somehow slightly counterproductive.

Tension mounted in the small room when suddenly the door opened and the room suddenly got considerably smaller as all 6ft 4 of him stomped in, the trademark stetson in situ with a bandanna underneath. We duly lined up for small talk and a photo. I babbled my usual "country is becoming more popular in the UK these days" chat which given his size was more tiny than small talk. It’s all a question of scale. He put his arm round me and squeezed affectionately.

I looked like his lunch.
As Pina and me had managed to bag the last two tickets in the house she was beyond excitement "OMG OMG OMG I am on the front row. I'm on the front row." She was....on the balcony! I took my seat in row G of the stalls and Tobe (he put his arm round me - we are friends) hit the stage. He is a self confessed redneck and he was going to rock up a storm. The SRO audience went wild. They knew all the words. They were old they were young they were middle aged. They loved him and he loved them (and me) right back.

As I left to try and find the damp remains of Pina who had always dismissed this sort of music as "Country Muppets" preferring dance and rap but was now converted someone stopped me to say hello. They left a comment on last week’s blog. Sorry if I appeared distracted, I was trying to find my friend and had to get off back home to try and grab a couple of hours’ sleep before the show. This is the only way I can function. If I stay up all night then go to do the show I will fall asleep halfway through. Also I can't "hit the bar" as any booze after about 8pm is going to have an impact on the "shoe". Who wants to hear someone babbling nonsense and slurring first thing in the morning? I can do that sober!

Friday night and Nell Bryden was playing a small club in London and as I had never managed to catch her act before it seemed a good time to make that aquaintance.

Libido boy was keen to catch her show too. He had been a film extra for the previous three days: A remake of "Brighton Rock" with Helen Mirren and John Hurt. His back view is going to feature heavily in an hotel scene he assures me. The downside he explained was his hair had to be cut in period style. He said for me to look out for a "60's bank manager". He looked fine to me. He could have benefited from one of the Nine Below Zero hats I mentioned earlier but he still looked pretty cool.

Nell was great and had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. She not only looks and sounds fabulous she is very funny with it. Singer Jon Allen was in the audience as well - I think they are talking about working together which should be interesting. Nell had to finish at about 10.15 after a couple of encores due to the live music curfew, yet the club stayed open several more hours. Upshot of this was a lot of drinking and talking with various friends who were down. Jon Allen (or someone who looked remarkably like him) would reappear every so often, give me a big hug and disappear again.

Eventually it is was just Libido boy and me and the place was closing. So it was off to Soho and Chinatown for something to eat. 3am came and onto our second pot of tea and Libido boy trailed off in mid sentence as with an audible clang his eyes slammed shut and he fell asleep.

Outside it was raining and despite the hour there were still hundred of people milling about. Somehow we managed to grab a cab back to the flat and bed.

Saturday night it was time to catch up on some rock dinosaurs I had missed when I was 14. Deep Purple were in town. So I headed back to Hammersmith once more. As I have outlined in these blogs before short people and crowds don't get on. In this case my standing room ticket was slightly worse than useless due to the press of big leather clad blokes I was unable to even force my way into the auditorium. The doors to the stalls are narrow and aisles at the back of the theatre narrow to two pillars. I was unable to force myself past the pillars so was stuck at the back by the doors being jostled by fat blokes.

After two numbers from the support act my enthusiasm dissipated and I began to think "life is just too short for this". So I went to the pub instead!


cherdmed said...

What a naughty boy you are and you're always telling me that I'm the one with the dirty mind...although the thought of naked wrestling in front of a fireplace is probably going to be stuck in my head for a week...

Another funny blog...keep it up...errr um I mean good job!

Mike from Pudsey said...

I suspect that the best way to see this version of Deep Purple is from a very great distance. I don't think you missed much. Fish and chips twice in a matter of minutes? Oh dear, blubberwatch will be on overtime soon.

moggy said...

well the blogs a good one this time alex does give us i high light into his world
that big bloke in photo WOW his hat i want one !!!!
going to a purple gig and getting pushed about i been there done that
slade gig some years ago when noddy was with them
i know they were there but can,t say i saw them

GATTIE said...

I think you must have seen the film woman in love to remind you of naked wrestling in front of the fireplace. You know the scene with Oliver Reed and Alan Bates or was it from another film which should be left unsaid also am I the only one who thinks that the bloke from x factor is Mungo Jerry trying to make a career again wot do you think love the shoe

Twilight said...

With regard to Toby Keith and his ilk - the Dixie Chicks were right on! It took living in Oklahoma to put me right orf country music.

I'd best get in on the shoe loving fetish here - I listen to it, all or part, on the Listen Again thingie when I can. Good job!

simon said...

The best thing I can say about Toby Keith is he makes even you look well dressed.

tailendcharlie said...

Forget honed image of sophisticated national broadcaster, I'll stick with original image of DJ doing impression of Homer Simpson - sitting in pants, beer in one hand, doughnut in the other ;-)

cherdmed said...

Tailendcharlie...that's a great image if you're trying to attract women with very large blue hairdos...hahaha.

tailendcharlie said...

Hey, beer and doughnuts. What girl could resist? Not sure about men in pants though. Still if it works for you........ha ha ha

cherdmed said...

Tailendcharlie...I could definitely resist a man eating a doughnut and drinking a beer but a man wearing nothing but boxer briefs would be nearly impossible to resist...;)

tailendcharlie said...

Can resist the man, can't resist the doughnut! Anyway how do you know its boxers? Men who sit around in pants usually wear (not generalising of course) baggy y-fronts with loose elastic (as Victoria Wood once said). Men in boxers usually sprawl seductively - in my limited experience!

cherdmed said...

Tailend....I could definitely resist the doughnut...don't personally care for them...I prefer that in my image of a man wearing nothing but pants he is wearing boxer briefs...those are briefs but they have a boxer cut to them...very experience you say? My word girl there are SO many men and such little time....hahaha...get yourself out there....and now we must change the subject so it doesn't seem that I have a dirty are things in the U.K.? I live in America near Chicago and today it's a bit gray and rainy out...

Annie said...

Can I wade in on the pants debate?

I thought I heard Alex say recently he did wear boxers or maybe I was (day)dreaming!

Chermed - I hope you have had a happy Thanksgiving!

cherdmed said...

Annie...actually I believe he told Janice that he wore briefs...said he needed some support...for what I do not know (pretending that I do not have a dirty mind...heehee) Elaine on Seinfeld said "I don't know how you guys walk around with those things"...hahaha

I had a lovely day thanks!