another musical weekend

The guide dog only fans might be annoyed that this is another music related topic. Sorry! No actually I’m not. Don’t read if you don’t want to!

I went to a stone roses tribute band on friday with my sister, her husband, their friends (who are all mad) and my cousin and her boyfriend. It was great fun and the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the real thing.

On saturday after very little sleep, I got the bus to Belfast for the dukebox gig, which was part of the Belsonic festival. I bought the
David Geraghty
album in cool discs to make the journey a bit easier. Its really really good. My friend knew I was exhausted and handed me a coffee as soon as I stepped off the bus. Hows that for service!
It was a great day, apart from being very cold. I met lots of new people who were very nice. The crowd wasn’t as big as expected but it was nice to be able to walk around easily, not have to wait forever for toilets or drink and to see the musicians wandering around.

A photographer was taking pictures to capture an image of the day in Belfast. They are hoping to hold an exhabition if they get funding. My friend told him we’d get ours taken and had to fill in some forms. I went first and the photographer was really helpful. He showed me where to stand, did some test shots and kept moving and telling me which direction to turn my head and to follow his voice. I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t laugh and had to look serious, which was fine until I smiled and he told me to just look the same way I would look in a mirror. But I don’t use the bloody things. They are pointless. Of course my friend and I couldn’t stop laughing after this and the rest of his attempts to get me looking serious were pointless.

There was only one stage, so we didn’t have to decide which bands to go and see. The lineup was:
the Panama kings – A local band who played like they were playing to a million people even though not many were paying attention. Fair play!
David Ford
who I had heard a lot about but hadn’t heard before. He was lovely, a bit Damien Rice/David Gray/that type of thing. He has a very polite Northern English accent, and the kind of voice that would make you think butter wouldn’t melt, but he’s a very passionate performer, and he gets very intense, and angry and… He’s just brilliant.
David Kitt: who I think can be very hit and miss, but I really enjoyed him this time.
Gerry Fish and the mud bug club: He’s still got the charisma after all these years and tried his best to get the crowd going.
Bell X1: who were great as usual but didn’t get to play long enough.
The magic numbers: I was surprised by how good they were and that I actually enjoyed watching them. The audience absolutely loved them!
And finally the organiser of it all, Duke special and his band. He was brilliant as usual. He’s a great musician and entertainer, and seemed genuinely delighted with how well everything went. Everybody singing ‘freewheel’ was really cool and might have nearly made him cry. He went crowd surfing during the last song, and accidentally kicked me in the shoulder on his way past. Its fine. He was just getting his revenge after the time I pulled his dreadlocks!

Plans for my next gig are underway, but more on that later. Lets just say a certain someone might be joining me.

Currently listening to: ‘cheer up you miserable fuck’ by David Ford (from his album ‘I sincerely appologise for all the trouble I have caused’, that I bought and got signed on saturday)

ps. I did edit this post three times encase you think you are imagining things.

We’re well matched!

Yesterday evening I walked to town to meet my aunt to go out for dinner (the parents are still away so they’re still fussing over me!) Part of this walk involves walking along the sea. It had been raining all day, the tide was in and the waves were massive! Water was splashing up on to the path. I’ve lived here for 23 years and these were the biggest waves I’ve seen there. The sound was a bit scarey, and reminded me a lot of
my previous
Experience of waves.
OJ didn’t like them much either. He kept walking quickly then turning around to look at me, and when someone stopped to talk to us he wasn’t happy. Needless to say I was glad to get past the beach and on to completely dry land. It rained when we finished our meal so we were all happy to get a taxi home. If OJ had been walking home, when he would have been on the side of the waves he would have freaked completely!
There’s lots of little things OJ does that makes me think we’re well matched, and our fear of waves is just another one.

I got a nice email from Harriet from New Zealand last week. I’m glad she enjoys the blog and I look forward to hearing more from her.
Cheers John for the emails about my posts. They are always great fun! I won’t let you end up in the mental, I promise! And just to clarify, I can hear for myself despite what some people think!

The Swell Season

The swell season gig in Derry last night was great. I went with my cousin and gave my spare ticket to a frames fan from their message board, so it didn’t go to waste.

Lisa Hanigan and her band played first. She has a very quiet voice, so when she sings its surprising to hear how powerful she can be. The glockenspiel was very cool!

The swell season set list was very similar to the two gigs I saw on the
last tour.
I hoped there would be some differences, especially since they had had a three month break from playing and are releasing a new album in October. I had heard all the new songs they played before except ‘feeling the pull’. I’ve heard Glen playing it solo a few times and have always loved it, so it was interesting to hear the band’s version. It was great to hear ‘heyday’ again, with Simon the sound engineer, who used to play with Mic Christopher’s band the Maryjanes playing too. I thought Marketa’s voice sounded quieter than last time but it was the first night of a new tour so maybe she was a bit shy! She sounded great with Lisa Hanigan when they sang ‘gentley Johnny’ at the end. The end of ‘buzzin fly’ had the best guitar playing I’ve heard in ages!

Glen really knows how to entertain an audience, and last night was no exception. He started telling a story and then explained that they hadn’t played in a while and he had to remember that he was talking to a whole audience and not just “you two”, pointing to my cousin and the boy beside her, who we didn’t even know, like they were a couple. Everybody had a great laugh and she was so embarrassed.

Even though I can’t see, my seat at a gig is always very important, and can really affect how much I enjoy it. My friend once reminded me as a joke, that no matter how close I got to the front, I still wouldn’t see the stage! The front row last night was brilliant because we couldn’t hear people talking behind us, and the only noise in front was from the stage. The funniest parts of Glen’s stories are often the things he says quietly under his breath, that you can only hear with excellent hearing or an excellent seat. I’m lucky I didn’t take OJ sitting there though. Glen played ‘say it to me now’, the final song acoustic and got down off the stage and stood almost in front of us, so OJ would have wanted petted when he came down.
Tried to take a photo during that song and security stopped him, but Glen let him have a picture with him. Definitely one of the funniest parts of the gig.

I went back to work today, but the day after a good concert is always good. I really enjoy seeing the swell season and can’t wait for the next tour, but can’t help wishing that the frames would play again as a band the way they used to. I don’t care what anybody says, there’s nothing like a frames gig!!


I’m back!

all relaxed and only a tiny bit sunburned. We stayed in a house about half an hour from Barcelona city and it was lovely. The house was perfect and had everything we needed to entertain three children. The driveway up to it was so steep and the cars we had were so small that we usually had to get out and walk up while one person drove the car in. There was a restaurant five minutes walk away, but apart from that we had to drive 20 minutes to a shop. There were lots of wild animals around, and the roads were terrible as the area isn’t built up yet. Almost every house had at least one dog and they barked and howled a lot! There was a monastry nearby. I travelled with my nephew’s friend and the assistance at both airports were great, even if some of them were a bit crazy! My parents, nephews and sister and her husband are there until the weekend so I have a quiet house again this week!

The dogs were very excited to see me yesterday evening, but quickly relaxed and went to sleep. They were exhausted whatever they were doing! OJ didn’t get overfed, and apparently they were both very well behaved so I’m happy. Dougals off to the groomers now. He badly needs a wash!

For probably the first time ever I didn’t bring any music with me on the holiday. I’ve got a concert tonight so I’ll enjoy it even more now.

Here it is!

The picture the photographer took when we met Roy Keane last month.

OK I lied. Blogger included a draft as a post, so this is my 100th post, not the last one. Who cares really! I’m off to Barcelona tomorrow. I’ll miss the dogs, but otherwise can’t wait to get away.

Members of the public are great!

This is my 100th blog post! You’d think I’d make it a bit more meaningful than the rest to mark the occasion. No chance!
If I wrote about every funny conversation I have with members of the public, I’d have thousands of posts by now. I’ve had a few interesting ones this week so thought I’d mention them.

My friend came out to visit the other evening so myself and OJ walked around to meet her. I was walking down the narrow road toward the beach, just outside my house, when a car slowed down as it came towards me. I thought it might be someone who knew me, and knew from the way they were driving that they were going to stop to talk. The car slowed down beside me, and the driver, who sounded like an old man stuck his head out the window and said “aw your a lovely big boy”, obviously to the dog and drove on.
On the way home from our walk we passed a house that people rent in the summer and a small very playful young dog ran at OJ. It wouldn’t leave him alone but just wanted to play so I wasn’t afraid. Then its owners, a man, woman (who could have possibly been in pyjamas) and their children ran out shouting at their dog in embarrassment. They were mortified and appologised a million times, saying the dog never does that. Then they stood for ages petting OJ and asking the usual questions. You just had to be there I think.

On thursday I had to go to a meeting after work, and met another guide dog owner for food while we were waiting. The dogs lay quietly and people commented on how good they were as we got up to leave. One woman wanted to know:
“Are they hearing dogs or blind dogs?” Neither. They are guide dogs.
“are they sisters?” No they are both boys, trained a year after one another in different ends of the country. They just happen to be black.
“Do they do everything for you at home?” No. When they are at home and have their harness off they are like any other normal dog.
“Do they help? Do they come and tell you when someone comes to the door?”
She answered her own question at this point:
“No I suppose you can hear the doorbell.”

My family all went on holiday on Friday, so I have a free house until I go and join them next weekend. Its nice having the house to myself, but I’m glad I have the dogs for company too. I went to a friend’s brother’s 21st on Friday, which was cowboy and indians fancy dress. One of my friends tried to teach everyone to lime-dance along to Steve Earl, and of course I was hopeless. Another friend took over the DJ box when the so-called proper DJ left, and he was great.
Some friends came out for dinner last night and stayed out to keep me company. I hate cooking, especially for other people, so I bought the food, cleaned up after and was their DJ while they cooked. My friends and aunts keep calling out and texting to make sure I don’t starve and don’t get bored or lonely during the week. They are all great!

Currently listening to: Wilko (don’t know the name of the song, but its good!)