Fully House Trained

The hottest day without sun seems to have triggered latecomer’s hay fever, I mean, I never used to suffer, but my eyes are so watery I can hardly see out of them and I’m sneezing all the time. Well, strictly speaking I suppose that’s an exaggeration but you hear where I’ coming from. Perhaps it’s an eye infection my helpful partner suggests; you need to see your GP. Hmmm…yeah I’ll have to make an appointment. I still haven’t.

I’m due at The Ruby Lounge for a gig organised by IMAGINE records and arrive almost on time but manage to miss the turn off on route and have to take the ring road all the way around the city which makes me officially late. Nobody’s bothered though. A band is playing when I arrive and I set up after wards, the plan is to introduce the bands and play a few songs between them which is exactly less how the night transpires. There are five bands on tonight. I’d planned to play a few new songs but people request older ones so I oblige. The only new one I did was ‘Sometimes I feel Like a King’, so new that the actual dynamics of the song are still up for grabs, and so this was a strictly experimental version. I managed to break a string, and sustained people’s attention, so on that front I felt I was winning.

Mike Joyce arrived half way through the night and we have a nice catch up reminisce as we’ve not seen each other for a few months. He says my beard is the talk of the town which is nice. I’m assuming he likes it. We talk about age and dying our hair and image and reasons to live. It’s great to see him, positive as ever, his show is thriving and his allotment is award winning, well it is in my mind. Jeff our driver-crew man from past and recent tours also showed and we spend some time looking back but not in anger. That’s someone else job. It was Jeff who got me into rugby on the last tour although I have subsequently got out of it.

There were a couple of stand out bands on the bill, The Kiora L’s from Leeds sounded like Blondie meets The Rezillos, a taut high energy combo with a girl singer seriously well clued into the pogo and a girl on the keys with amazing hair. The lads were pretty good too. Despite the voice being low in the mix the sound got there in the end. Lots of the bands were moaning about the sound, but that’s bands for you. The Dandretta, from Manchester also shone in a distortion pedalling Byrds meets The Beatles kind of way. The legacy of Liam and Noel also to the fore, although whether this is a good commercial strategy is debatable, but not now. I once wrote a song called The New OASIS. I must send Bonehead an MP3, all the clichés are in there. It just needs a middle eight. I’d forgotten all about it as you do.

Earlier in the week I went to The Theatre; a theatrical event in a night club to be precise. It’s been some time since, but it must be said the show was quite the most uplifting I think I’ve seen in a very long time. PURE [the night club] in Manchester’s Print Works was playing host as part of the city’s 24:7 festival. I like theatre in the wrong places, the last play we saw had us following the cast around the basement of the Opera House one of whom was gagged and bound and left for dead in a shopping trolley. We were so close to the action were practically accessories to murder. I feel the same way about gigs as some of the best gigs I’ve ever done have been in places designed for other purposes, like peoples houses for example. Why that idea has never been fully realised I’m not quite sure. I did quite a few house gigs with Bill Drummond a few years ago but really soup or no soup they’re a great idea. Lets start a movement and call it your place or mine.

The play was called Fully House Trained and it was co written by a friend, Liverpool actor and writer Neil Edwards. Neil is something of a post modern thespian legend in my partner’s workplace; he’s also a talented actor [last seen humiliating aforesaid semi naked man in shopping trolley].

We ambled into PURE, and found our way to the requisite performance space and sat on the second row. The front row was free but we opted for safety. There’s a story behind our front of house reticence from the time when Julian Cope sat on my partners lap at the Royal Exchange gesticulating wildly in that arms and legs akimbo style he has. I don’t think either of us has ever got over it. My partner because the last thing she expected from the evening was to have a druid specialist with retracting testicles wriggling around on her lap in front of 200 strangers. Me because I got the blame for buying the tickets and dragging her along in the first place; I never want to go through all that again.

Fully House Trained opened with a This Morning send up, low lights, camera, action, in a Richard Madely chin stroking finger wiggling delight of TV fakery, the three effervescing auto cued presenters included a giddy old Geordie agony aunt [flawlessly played for kicks by Valerie Bundy] her stories of serial beatings from a lovingly adored husband frighteningly funny and containing the kind of truths that catch up on you when you’re least expecting. One of the shows graphics projections featured a Camp Cash Machine chatting up his customer with lines like ‘put it in my slot you know you want to big boy’ which despite being very much of a Carry On didn’t distract from the whole; sketches were concise and flowed seamlessly into one another. The audience just kept on laughing, it was great. A product placement in the guise of the Bell Wipes for men and their awkward little odours, an application for the job of prime minister from street wise scouser with all the right qualifications, a young man coming out to his family as French [my favourite] and a brilliant scouse robbers guide to auto theft [this went down especially well with the locals, ha ha]. It was all very quick and very camp and very funny. Fatabulosa..no less. VP

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