Sunday 19 December 2010


Been a musical week in some ways, incorporating nuptials and Xmas shopping…

Weekend before last, DL and I set off to find a wedding venue. We wanted somewhere quiet, rustic and low key so have been scouting around various towns and villages which have a selection of pubs which may or may not be able to do weddings and civil ceremonies.

We also wanted somewhere that would not break the bank.

With that in mind we crossed Westminster Abbey and Skibo Castle off our list.

We have found somewhere that fits the bill and are now going to book it. Can't tell you where or the date as we are still in negotiations with the Beano, Razzle and Rust and Corrosion Gazette as to who gets the rights to our bash.

It has also been an opportunity to do a little shopping. With a slightly bigger extended family than last year this means more gifts. There is the DL's Mum for instance. Need to create a good impression there so joke shop fart powder or a whoopee cushion is a non-starter.

There are two children who deserve something, although I could threaten to turn into "Victorian Stepfather" and give them a lump of coal or maybe a nut and an orange.

Whilst we were looking through an antique kitchenware shop in Rye (many of the items I possessed myself, handed down from parents and grandparents) we heard a rumbling of drums and the explosions of fireworks outside. This, frankly, is better than the rumbling for drums and explosions of fireworks inside.

There appeared to be some kind of parade going on in the gathering darkness. Earlier we had seen various people in Victorian dress wandering about and the odd bod of carol singers. Lots of stalls selling chesnuts and mulled wine. I was driving so no nuts for me!

We watched as local schoolchildren and adults marched past banging drums and leading a couple of rather small bewildered looking reindeer. Then came Santa on his sleigh. He is no mug, this Santa guy, and has learned stuff from helicopter technology for - as well as skids on his vehicle - he had wheels.

They rumbled and drummed by and we went back home to meet some friends in the pub.

All week I have been telling you that I am about to do the blog and the Christmas cards. However, other things have got in the way such as people turning up unexpectedly for coffee or a rip snorting rock and roll visit to my accountant. However, this is now Saturday when I am typing this and the cards are still not written.

DL and I went off to Abbey Rd studio's scene of such musical triumphs as the Beatles, Elgar, Star Wars, Charlie Drake and my winning contribution to last year’s Children in Need single.

This time it was a live broadcast of a concert by KT Tunstall.

I quite like her without being an enormous fan, but one of the many privileges of this job is getting to go see artists at special events like this.

DL was more of a fan but she was as astounded - as was I - by the sheer musicianship.

KT has been doing a lot of touring and as a result her band were a very tight unit, which was just as well as there were quite a number of songs that relied on percussion and vocal loops and delays, so it as fascinating to witness her and them building the song from nothing. It was also a testament to the BBC engineers and the sound guys that it all went like clockwork and not a beat was missed.

Hour later I was back in bed for a short night before Friday’s Shoe.

Friday lunchtime and no Christmas cards being written as I had been invited to the Music Publishers association lunch. This involved about 800 people wedging themselves into the Hilton in London's Park Lane to blow up balloons and heckle the speakers, and also to chow down on turkey with all the trimmings. This is a lot of fun. Speaker this year was comic, Marcus Brigstock, who unfortunately started with the same gag that Hugh Dennis did last year:

"Anyone from Norfolk here???"


"Gimme six!"

He espied Culture Secretary, Ed Vaizey, in the audience and so gave him a lot of stick. This went down pretty well with everyone (except Ed Vaizey, I would imagine). Still, it is a British national pastime. No matter what your political affiliation it is nice to put the boot into MPs at every possible opportunity. Likewise if you are a politician you should expect this and take it in good part. Lets face it, with the odd horrible exception we Brits would rather throw the occasional egg or shout insults at our elected representatives rather than shoot them or blow them up.

The lunch finished with a rousing reworking of “The 12 Days of Christmas”. We were all given things to blow and shake along. Reminded me of band lessons at kindergarten.

By that time the weather was beginning to close in so it was a rush to the train to Hastings before the trains to Hastings were halted due to "wrong type of snow".

It still took half an hour longer to arrive and by the time I did the news was just startling to circulate that Captain Beefheart had died.

I was instantly transported back to the time I saw him at Birmingham Town Hall as a 16 year-old. Supported by Foghat, as I recall. His music was/is strange yet compelling and has featured on the show from time to time over the years. It was with a certain sadness that I opened the big box of concert tickets that all music fans (nerds) keep to remind them of memorable gigs they have seen.

Hang on.....I saw him twice!


mwhite229 said...

Snowed in today again so great opportunity to listen to you on the iplayer (Hurrah) and read the blog. Was impressed at your stubs for the concerts sooooooo long ago. Are you going to keep them all after the nuptials - big house required perhaps to fit in all that stuff and all your music stuff, better start thinking about all of that now .......

Les Batt said...

Hi Alex
I am so looking forward to my invite to the wedding! (hint)
Hey Captain Beefheart for 90p and £1.50.... Try to get tickets for a gig for that price now!
Maybe the lad would settle for a Pergani Zonda as you can't run to the Veyron. I do hope that you and your georgeous DL (you lucky DJ)
and your new extended family have the most wonderfull Christmas. Cheers from Les.
P.S. I am available for usher duties if needed!!!

Slyppery Syd said...

Dark Lord and Lady,
I have a great money saving tip for your wedding. My friend recently got married in China, it only cost them £5. Also, the gutter press would not find you there either!
There is only ONE small snag - the air fare would cost a small fortune but that would reduce number of (expensive) guests.
Looking forward to the famous wedding.
Slippery Syd (photographer from Gnome Press)