Live performance mayhem!

As rumoured a couple of weeks ago, I’ve got a gig! Mate Dew & I are playing a half-hour acoustic set at Bartok, 78-79 Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AR (here’s a map) on Wednesday evening the 30th of June. We’ll be going on about 10:30 PM, but Dew will be DJing an avant-garde set for half an hour before that – so get there before 10, at least.

I’m making no promises as to the entertainment value of the acoustic set. For those who have been around for a while, you’ll remember our “Folk’n’Roll” outfit Autumn Stone – well, this will be the source of our material for the evening. Given that these are basslines I haven’t played (and guitar licks Julien hasn’t played!) in many years, it has so much potential to go tits-up it just ain’t funny. Well, maybe it is…. 🙂

More news: I’m a godfather again! John & Gwyneth invited Stu & I around for a BBQ on Saturday, and asked us both jointly to be godfathers; apparently this is feasible, but I’ve never heard of it! Sounds like hedging your bets to me… 😉 But yeah, that’s cool – Jake’s a lovely kid, and I spent the best part of an hour holding him on Saturday evening while he snoozed and dreamed (of what?! Holidays in the sun? Hot chicks?? Fast cars??? Who knows?!), and it was a most serene moment. I suppose I’m getting the better end of the whole baby experience, not having the sleepless nights and the nappy changing and whatnot – but mark my words: I can see myself being shortlisted for babysitting!

Work is happenin’, although I still ain’t a millionaire. And they promised me sooo much! 🙂 Landed a large automotive client recently, which puts a new shine on our fortunes, and we’re working on a mass-market offering that will really do the business for us. Watch this space…

My GTi has had bits & bobs done to it, and it’s turning into a nice piece of machinery. I haven’t gone for the Max Power makeover, nor am I likely to, but it’s having a few tweaks to make it a hell of a lot of fun to drive. And to think I sold the Saab to save money! Yeah, right….!!!

I’m having the last of my four lessons in skating this weekend, and I’m nowhere near as developed as I’d hoped. Get out and practice, they said – and then it rained. And rained. And p*ssed down. And the wind blew a gale, and it’s still blowing. Why oh why didn’t I take up ice skating??? Oooh no – looks even scarier than on wheels!

I need a holiday – I’m firmly convinced of it. It’s all very well having this lovely weather, but the whole point of going to another country for a sunny holiday is that you can’t be distracted into doing a bit of work here and there. And the weather comes with a smidge more of a guarantee in, say, Spain or Italy. Either one would do….

Anyway, I’ve got work to do. You’ll cope in the meantime, won’t you? See you Wednesday! (maybe….)

No time for updates!

Havin’ such a busy time, between all the stuff I’m trying to get done – I just don’t have time to keep this website going! Never mind that, I’ve got other websites to keep going, and they’re being sadly neglected. Not enough hours in the day, indeed!

Well, let me get it out of the way: I popped around to John & Gwyn’s yesterday to see how they’re doing, and introduce myself to young Jake. And what a little bundle of cuteness he is! I had him handed to me, with the introduction “go to uncle Alan now” – eep! But I got used to it, and sat there with this tiny little thing in my hands, awestruck and utterly fascinated by him. What a beautiful child…

In other news, I’ve been jamming with mate Mono in a new lineup, on bass this time. Which was a trifle unnerving considering I haven’t picked the damn thing up in a while! But it went pretty well, considering – it’s a kindofa hard rock thing, a lot of fun, and as far as I know the band doesn’t have a name yet. Good – too much time wasted on that sorta stuff anyway.

And in the meantime, I’ve been continuing with the inline skating lessons, and they’re actually working! Tuesday saw me tottering around Battersea Park with some degree of assurance – something I wouldn’t have managed last week! And I managed to avoid being mown down by a posse of geriatric marathon runners who coincidentally were staging an event right through our class… Good fun, though, I’m really getting to like it!

And for those of you who’ve been waiting with bated breath for the recordings of my vocal performances in Ireland in March, I’m pleased to say that I have one of them in my sweaty little hands now! Julien was over from Ireland on the weekend, and he brought the final mix of Still Not Over You, the ballad we recorded – and it sounds pretty damn fine, apart from the questionable vocals… 🙂

Here’s the catch, though: the song was co-written by Simon Tindale (of Velcro Fly fame) and a friend of his who’s currently having dealings with management, production deals, collaborations with musical masters, etc – the long and the short of it is that we can’t post this song online or hand out copies of it – not for the moment, at least. I’ll be more than happy to play it for you when I see you, though!

Wait for Steely, our Steely Dan tribute – that’ll be all ours, and I’ll be posting it on the Happenins UK website as soon as it’s available… Speaking of which, that website sees the debut of Mono as gig reviewer, scribbling his impressions of the latest Fastfood outing at Sound in Leicester Square last week. Check it out here

So here I am on one of my rare evenings off, trying to get a bit of work done and instead I’m updating my website. Gotta get these priorities sorted, really…


Joy to the world! A new baby Allen…..

Yes indeedy – Gwyneth has given birth to a bouncing baby boy; weighing 7lb 4oz (phew!), he came into this world on the 6th of June at 18:46, and all is well with both mother and child. Proud dad John freely admits to crying like his newborn child at the spectacle, and frankly who can blame him?! The emotion must have been overwhelming…

So allow me to extend my warmest congratulations to the proud parents – I’m pretty damn sure that young Jake Peter Richard (for such is his name) has chosen his guardians well. Suffice it to say that I can’t wait to see the young fella in the flesh.

Well done, John & Gwyn! Nuff said.

Chez happenins, it’s all been happening too. I started Tai Chi classes last Thursday, and what a cool pursuit that’s going to be! Before that, on the Wednesday I saw Ian of Fastfood fame perform a solo gig at Bartok in Camden, which was a blast too – in particular his rendition of “Man of Constant Sorrow” by the Soggy Bottom Boys! I also got to catch one song by the following act, a chap called Michael Burke who absolutely astounded me with some stunningly skilful fast flat-picking bluegrass; one to watch out for, mark my words!

Then on Friday it was off to catch a preview screening of I’m Not Scared – a new Italian film release which is definitely worth seeing when it opens in the cinemas this week. Then off to catch Gin Panic at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town, where I recruited Mono for gig reviews on Happenins UK, so there should be lots of action on there in the future! XLNT!

Saturday was an odd one; I took an inline skating class, courtesy of Citiskate, and boy, was that painful! I spent more time on my butt than on my feet – well, not quite, but it felt like it! More fun to be had this Saturday (read: more PAIN!!), but I keep telling myself it’ll be worth it in the end. Friday Night Skate, here I come (eventually)! 🙂

On a complete and utter tangent, has anybody heard of the Olsen Twins – more to the point, does anybody care??? I stumbled across this phenomenon recently – apparently they’re celebrities in the US; they’re young, blonde and reasonably attractive in a young, blonde, wholesome American teenager sort of a way, and they turn 18 in a few days. And *everyone* is going mental over this! Countdown timers abound, but my favourite has to be the one on Broken Newz. There again, I haven’t visited too many; my boredom threshold got the better of me, so there could well be better examples out there. But I still have to come back to the point: give a siht! ‘kinell…..

Oh – I almost forgot. It’s looking very likely that a gig is on the cards for myself and partner-in-crime Dew. We’re tentatively booked for a half-hour set in Bartok on the 30th of June; I say “tentatively” because time will tell. One of us could well wimp out in the meantime, and it wouldn’t be the weirdest thing in the world if it was me!!! In any case, I’ll ramble more about that as the hour draws nigh…

I’d just like to take time out to wish Kiz a very fine, funky and drunken 29th, which she’ll be celebrating in true Aussie style this Saturday the 12th. Can’t make it myself, but I’m sure the photographic evidence will be forthcoming! Hey – just one year till the dreaded THREE-OH!!! 😉

And on that note, I’ll leave you. See you at the bar – mine’s a pint of whiskey with a tequila chaser…

The man that time forgot!

Excuse me, but I appear to have mislaid a week… It was there, I’m sure it was, right where I left it with the pile of clothes at the end of my bed on the Sunday night. Then – blink! – it was the bank holiday weekend, and I’d been through a week where my *earliest* night was somewhere in the region of 2 AM! Where did it go???!!

But a good weekend was had, to make up for it – partly taken up with trotting along the South Downs Way through West Sussex with my mate Ian, and partly quenching the thirst from our endeavours in a nice little pub in Amberley at the end of it! A net gain or loss? Well, it was all good fun, so I’m taking it all as a gain, he he…

And it wasn’t all work, work, work – I managed to take time out to go to a Tai Chi class, which was very cool indeed. It’ll be a regular weekly fixture from now on, so give me about thirty years and I’ll be an incredibly slow-moving killing machine! Oh yeah… Don’t tell my instructors, though, or they’ll boot me out! 😉

So work is busy, social bits & pieces are bloody busy just now, and as a result the flat is a bombsite. I can’t help it; I work until I start climbing the walls, then run screaming from the flat for a break. Then when I get back I have to continue toiling to earn my crust. It’s a hard life, dontcha know?! Naaah, could be worse… But between dates, work, gigs, classes and ad-hoc boozin’ sessions, the time is just flying!

For your diaries: Ian from Fastfood is playing a solo set at the Bartok in Chalk Farm Road, Camden, tomorrow night (2nd). Then on Friday night (4th), the irrepressible Gin Panic will be treading the boards and plucking their strings at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. And the following Thursday (10th), Fastfood will be playing at Sound in Leicester Square – they’ll be filming the gig, so get along there and jump around a lot. Apparently they’re giving away freebies as well, so that oughta be fun. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it – damn!

Well, I’ve been staring at this PC for what seems like a month, so I’m off. Tune in next week for the latest thrilling instalment – hopefully I’ll have news of at least one birth among my circle of friends, and maybe even two or more! And the gallery is in serious need of a few updates, so I’ll let you know when I finally get around to that.