Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Busy Few Days!

Where do I begin?
The last week or so has been the usual busy tirade from one day to the next interrupted by nights of no sleep, ear worms* and a wish for a couple of extra hours in a day. (* An ear worm is a dreadful tune rattling around your head that you just cannot get rid of!)
Last weekend the band had a gig in Germany, so it was an early start to Heathrow. It was a civilized departure of 9.55 am so I didn't have to leave home in the dark. Met the guys at T5 checked in and headed off, for what has become a routine visit to the Giraffe restaurant and breakfast. (Other food outlets available, including Gordon Ramsay's, but £4.00 more for a posh banger and table cloth, I'll stick with the lads.) Soon we get led off to the Gate and an  Airbus A319 panting for breath, probably on its third sector of the day, is looking disgruntled on the apron. Chris, our nervous flyer, was on good form and the best he's been for a while. Marc was trying to chat up the stewards and Syd slept. Marc was a few rows in front (We get spread out by our agent partly because we have a seat preference and secondly because we cause havoc, not unlike a group of school kids on their first outing to France.) Marc was trying to bore the pants off of The Sweet's guitar tech by explaining the benefits of his 1972 white Fender Precision bass against world peace. When he mentioned the 1959 we could see the distressed tech searching for his knife in the over head compartment before realising it was in the hold. Still, he picked up Marc's Sound on Sound magazine and he was soon fast asleep!
Suz. Driver, translator, good egg!
Having only eaten a sizeable breakfast an hour ago I was handed a breakfast bap by the stewardess. Oh well, I may as well eat it! And I wonder why I can't shed the last stone of my target prior to the London Marathon.
A gentle landing in Berlin and we are soon met by our driver Suz. It's nice being met at an airport, but it's extra nice being met by someone you know, and someone that you know is a good driver and unlikely to scare the sh*t out of you on the Autobahn.
Soon in the hotel and eight hours to kill. No sound check today. We were to be last on after Suzi so if we sound checked in the afternoon there was a distinct chance (from experience), that it would all be changed by the time we go on, so we were to “wing it!”
Runway 22R into Potsdam International
The road to no where!
Chris fancied a walk into Potsdam and assured me the town was only a short walk. Half an hour later we had seen three cars, lots of trees, a dead bird and a long straight road that our panting A319 could have landed on and delivered us right outside the hotel, (had their been no trees of course.. Ok, or an ILS and VASI) (answers on a post card) or for that matter someone to moan at when bags go missing.
Anyway, we turned back and I went to my room for a kip after having a cuppa in the bar with Don. (Powell). Don is simply the nicest man in rock and roll and tells the funniest stories. He should write a book.
9.00pm we meet in the lobby and Suz drives us off to the gig. She asks me to explain the difference between 'on time' and 'in time' (remembering she is German and speaks better English than most of us lot) while Michalski is after new dirty words in German.
Slade were on when we arrived and they had whipped the 2500 crowed into a frenzie. Dave was looking great so soon after his illness and gave his usual 100%. You'll never keep him down or get him to do a half hearted show, even on medical grounds. For reasons known only to himself, Don wore an Indian headdress for the last couple of numbers, he is just consistently bonkers.
Syd Ctr L, Me Ctr R and the
Rock Radio chaps
I missed Suzi Quatro this time, Syd and I were asked to do a radio interview for a German rock radio station, a three way affair, presenter, translator and us. I have asked for a copy of the edited version and I'll try and post it on here or FB.
Our gig wet well. I broke only the one pink Vic Firth A5 stick. You know, endorsement aside, they are really good tools. Tim (Slade's guitar tech) had assisted us with the monitors and did a sterling job. So all in all a good day. No real disasters.
Off stage at 12.00, back to the hotel for cocoa and bed! Well eventually at 3.00am, it would have been rude to go to bed any earlier..... Wouldn't it?????
What seemed like a hop skip and jump later we are back in Blighty. I had a quiz to get to for the Breakthrough Mid Kent group so Sarah took me straight there from the airport.
The Dancing Dog is a great pub in Bobbing, just north of Sittingborne (For those of you across the pond and elsewhere, it's 40 miles east of London along the A2 and up a bit towards the river!... I should have been a satnav!)

The pub is very “Country and Western.” Flags everywhere, hats pinned to the wall, pictures of injuns and John Wane and other “”western dignitaries” in every available space. I love the atmosphere in there. We do have a good time. Sarah had tirelessly worked on a quiz with a western theme, I just did the scores while Mid Kent Group Member Lynn took all the money!
It was all done by 9.30 so we stayed for a coffee and chat with Shaun the Landlord before heading home.
This week I have been working on a couple of on-going projects, Fee Percussion performances is one. I am taking bookings to play percussion for free and taking donations for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. I have been contacting acts big & small, solo artists, bands, rock, funk, folk, country basically everything. I have a couple already, December 4th &  5th at the Eagle Tavern in Rochester, just me and a rather good guitar player called Andy White. It's an afternoon gig and part of the Dickensian Christmas week. We kick off at 3.30pm. If you would like me to join you or would like more information, just email the Breakthrough Mid Kent Group
I might have a couple more over Christmas but the push is for Feb, to April and the London Marathon. I am hoping for some “names” to come on board too. It will not only help the pot but would interest the press, which would be a great mini awareness campaign for Breast Cancer in general.

The other project I have been working on for some months is an awareness and fundraising program. I have presented it to Breakthrough Breast Cancer and they want to take it on. I am over the moon about it. I can't say too much at the moment as I will be doing a proper launch, but trust me, you will hear about it!
I had a meeting at Breakthrough's London Head Office on Thursday, met up with Anna and Becky and they really are enthusiastic about it. We have a few little bits of tidying up to do and off we will go. 

Hayley and Me at the Central Theatre Oct 4th
Behind us in the Breakthrough T shirt is my
Son Alex. Great lighting designer COD and Cider Expert!!
Our dear friend Hayley Mitchell had her big op on Friday last week. 8 hours or so of surgery and she came up fighting. (Would we have expected anything less?) I spoke to her earlier on this week and she gave me the full run down from the drains being removed and her new boobs to the news that she has a future to look forward to with her fantastically supportive hubby Lee. What? Me cry? Never. A year ago she was given as little as two weeks to live. Her full story is on My Lady Humps have a hankie ready. It's ladies like Hayley that make me realise why I am doing all this and it is so up lifting to get good news.

Man at C&A!!
Wednesday my good friend Trudy took some pictures of me for this blog and my up and coming web site. Some really are cheesey but, I think, good fun. It was blooming cold out too. We went to Shorne Country Park. The only downside of the day was irresponsible dog owners. I love dogs, Marc has two of the daftest Chocolate Labs known to man but he and Ali are great owners. There's me in a bright white London Marathon top and some half-wit lets his mutt jump all over me with muddy paws! There was almost a delivery to a Kebab shop that day! A Golden Retriever leaped up on Trudy covering her in mud. Not even a “sorry”... Some people!!

The last couple of days we have had a fair dumping of snow so I might go out for some seasonal pics. There is a lady in America (you know who you are!) who is after a picture of me in running tights! She needs sectioning! But it could be this week!!!!!!!
An email arrived on Monday (29th) from Vodafone World of Difference. I have been short listed from 11,000 to 750 applicants for 500 places on the scheme. If I am successful, Vodafone will fund my efforts for Breakthrough Breast Cancer for two months meaning I can steam on at 100% for the charity. Watch this space!!

On Saturday I made contact on Facebook with a comedian from the States called Frances Dilorinzo, herself a breast cancer survivor, Talk about taking it head on. Check out the video. I hope we see more of this lady over here. 
All seems to be on the up and then I get a message from a friend in Cheltenham that her best friend might not make Christmas! Back to earth with a thump. And that is also why we all do this. My marathon, The Mid Kent Group, people waxing their chests and backs (That's just the ladies) Sitting in baths of beans and so on. We need every penny so that the fear of breast cancer can be a thing of the past.
Speak to you again soon.

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Please leave a comment. Keep it clean, I know I don't have the best legs in the world but the tummy is reducing!