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2017-10-11 10:31 pm

Goodbye My Love

So it's official. Laura's England career is over.

My meeting with her in Breda was my last ever. At least I knew at the time that it might be, that's some tiny consolation.


I guess at the France-England game at least I'll see Sarah.
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2017-09-25 09:06 pm


Down to Gosport on Friday evening to see the parents, then along the coast to Chichester on Sunday for Lewes Women away game.

To think that a year ago, the Women's Super League was my life. Now here it was, WSL opening weekend...and I was on my way to a third-division game. For all that I love it at the Dripping Pan, and get on with Jane and Issi, that was hard.

As I stepped off the train at Chichester and headed for the exit I saw a girl also getting off, wearing a Lewes tracksuit. I was wearing my colours so said hello to her, she nodded and said hello back. Outside, in the station car park, a guy in a Southampton FC sweatshirt asked if I was going to the game and offered me a lift to the ground. It turned out he was a coach with Chichester and was there to pick up his friend, the Lewes player I'd just seen on the platform, who turned out to be Vicky Carleton. I asked her how her trip with Northern Ireland went, she'd just arrived back the morning before.

It was still early when they dropped me at the ground so I went for a mosey round the immediate area and soon came to a little pub, The Bell Inn. The place was quite busy; the pub was about to be featured on a radio quiz. As a result, Sunday roasts were off, but the normal menu was still on so I went for the chicken curry followed by ice cream. As I was having lunch the radio quiz came on. Michelle, the friendly barmaid, answered the questions with some prompting from the gathered crowd.

Went on to the ground and met Jane and Ash. Told them about my mixed emotions about the LB situation. They understood (especially Jane who's a big fan) though didn't have much to say. The Chichester team were out on the pitch preparing; I shouted out to Lauren, who'd been one of my Havant girls, and she came over to the sideline for a hug. Jenna also called out to me.

Found a seat near to Jane, Ash, and Sue and Lynda who were also there. Chichester took the lead midway through the first half, but Lewes equalised through Rebecca Carter. After the break the Rookettes stepped up a gear and Danielle Lane rounded the keeper to roll home what turned out to be the winner.

With an hour to go before my train left, I hung around in the clubhouse for a quick chat with Lauren - who on asking why I was following Lewes, said "You need to turn green" - and Jenna who had her two little boys with her.

Called in at Entertainment Exchange on the walk back through town and picked up a copy of 50 First Dates for 50p.

When the London train pulled into Chichester it was mobbed. I and several others had to stand tightly packed in the square by the doors - not ideal for drinking my coffee. Thankfully I got a seat at Barnham.

A planned power cut at the office this morning had the unplanned result of putting all our computers out of action for the day. On a couple of visits to the rest of the team I stumbled on them playing I Spy, dreaming about Lotto wins, and analysing the psychology of tyrants like Hitler and Napoleon.
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2017-09-20 09:05 pm

Going Down To Liverpool

Went up to Tranmere yesterday for Lionesses first World Cup qualifier v Russia. Got a sad message while on the bus to the station : Kathy was unwell so she and Angela wouldn't be coming. Messaged her 'get well soon'.

My foot had flared up a tad so it wasn't easy making the half hour walk from Rock Ferry station to the restaurant close to the ground. The restaurateur wasn't happy that I'd arrived at 2.15; he said the email should have said not to come between 2 and 5, but after a grumble he let me have my room key. The room was very nice, if not much bigger than a shoe cupboard. As I left the restaurant to head for the pub, I noticed Steak Diane on the menu and thought I'd have that after the match. Little did I know...

I moseyed down to the Birch Tree pub, next door to the ground, and had time for a chicken burger and chips with a portion of onion rings before Lynsey arrived. Martin wasn't far behind her and was hungry, so we all made football chit-chat while Martin had his pie, mash and peas. Flis, an eccentric lady we'd met in Holland, spotted us and came over to our table. Later Julia and Alice arrived with Julia's friend Michael and we all moved over to a longer table and talked some more till, with 20 minutes to kick-off, we made our move.

We had a pretty good view, sitting in the third row of the upper tier of one of the long sides. Jordan Nobbs got us off to a dream start in the second minute then it wasn't long till, to my delight, Jodie made it two. By half time it was 4-0; when Lucy Bronze volleyed home a beauty for our fourth, Lynsey turned to me, winding me up over how I'd said qualifying from the group wouldn't be certain and that Russia would be a real threat.

It ended 6-0. Julia, Alice and Michael exchanged goodbyes with me and went to drive home to Blackburn. Lynsey wanted to hang around to collect autographs but said she wouldn't wait on her own. I agreed to accompany her, since one of the staff said the players would only be about 25 minutes so I thought I'd be able to get to the restaurant and eat in time before they closed at 10...

We did meet a dozen players. We also met Rachel Brown-Finnis, who'd been one of the BBC pundits, and Jen from She Kicks, who gave me a quick hug and kiss then rushed to catch her lift back to her hotel. But the whole process took an hour, meaning the restaurant was shut. And at the end of that hour, local heroine Jodie, the person a lot of the people waiting there were particularly wanting to see, and whom I wanted to see more than anyone, was got away through a side entrance, where the stadium staff wouldn't let us go, and bundled away in a car with tinted windows without us getting to see her. It was apparent that Laura Bassett had also sneaked out that way earlier.

I was incandescent at having wasted an hour standing in the cold and missed out on a steak meal. Lynsey said she appreciated my hanging there with her and that she felt bad about me missing my dinner, but she remained indifferent as we walked along and I vented imprecations against Tranmere Rovers FC and lamented to her "2 holidays and £90 down the lavvy."

She was good enough to Google a takeaway for me - there was just the one nearby, "Captain Tony's". Then she went to get her bus. I walked, disconsolate and radged off, to Captain Tony's and found it was a pizzeria. Pizza was the last thing I felt like. I walked on for half a mile hoping to find a kebab house or something, but there were just a lot of shut shops and a late opening McColl's. Sighing, I headed back to Captain Tony's, scanned their handful of non-pizza options and settled for a chicken burger and a portion of garlic bread. Went back to my room and ate, surfing the channels for anything worth watching, settling on the No Hiding Place episode of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? It was only the 507085th time I'd seen it.

Woke up to the news that Laura Bassett has signed for Canberra United. I'm delighted that she isn't retiring but gutted that I will never meet her again. I guess, at least, I met her in Breda knowing that it might be the last time I met her, and that meeting is a nice memory - me holding her two cups of tea while she signed me an autograph. And yet...

On phone to a fellow fan, she said she thinks Aussie W-League games are streamed live online. Fingers crossed.

Oh, and Mark Sampson got the sack today. I've never formed strong views on the whole business as I wasn't there so don't know what really happened. I'm just saddened that British women's football has been dragged through the mud, and hope that now, under a new manager, we can move forward and concentrate on the football.

So, after the trip I spent weeks keenly anticipating turned into a downer, I'm back to the grotty office tomorrow with nothing to look forward to. Wish me luck.
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2017-09-04 08:12 pm

We Built This City

Another visit to Lewes FC Women for a league cup tie with Southampton Saints. Issi was on the turnstile when I arrived and chatted cheerfully to me for a while, till someone else came up wanting to enter.

The afternoon started with disaster when I bought a long awaited jumbo frankfurter from the tea hut, only to lose it when I rested it on a tip-up seat, and my stupid slippery phone threw itself on the floor when I tried to take a photo one-handed and, automatically, I let go of the seat to retrieve the damn phone.

Shouting vivid expletives, I scooped up the grit-covered hot dog, leaving a heartbreaking mess of sauce and onions on the terrace below the seat, and dumped it in a bin, repeating imprecations about the stupid phone. I'd had enough of it being slippery since I bought it three months ago and this was the last straw.

I looked round for Issi, but she'd mysteriously vanished (and I never saw her again all day, meaning I never got the Curly Wurly she promised me, though apparently she was present for the game). I found Lynda and explained my problem to her; she said a phone case of some kind was called for, but she had no idea where I could obtain one. Went to the bar and supped a can of Harvey's Malt Brown in a jaded mood. Jane came up and said hello, I explained matters to her and when I asked her where a phone case could be had, she just said she does all her shopping online.

I had, a few weeks ago, seen a phone case advertised on Facebook by a venture called FC Football Cases, based on the 1996-97 nine in a row winning Rangers team's kit and quite fancied one, but checking out FC Football Cases' site they only make them for iPhones and Samsung Galaxys. Doing a Google search for ordinary bog standard cases to fit my model of phone, seeing the various colours on offer I wondered if they might be available in two colours. Hallelujah, I found one on sale on eBay in red and black - Lewes' colours and also the colours of the mighty Fareham Town. I pressed Buy It Now. The seller turned out to be Chinese, hence the projected delivery date of the 13th.

Saw Sabrina, who'd been one of the Havant girls when I was there, in the Saints team warming up, and said hello. Took my seat in the stand as kick-off approached. I sat a couple of rows in front of Jane, Lynda and the others; Jane waved me to move back and sit near them. Lewes had the better of most of the first half but the team's went in goalless. I headed for the bar and tried a Harvey's Elizabethan Ale - the loveliest of all the Harvey's stable that I've tried so far.

With an hour gone Sabrina put Saints in front. As Lewes poured forward in search of an equaliser, and the club officials, volunteers and players' relatives sitting near me called out their encouragement, I was joining in. When Amy Taylor equalised with a deflected volley, I was on my feet cheering and applauding like the others. By the end of the 90 minutes, twice, in conversation with Jane, Lynda and Sue, I'd referred to Lewes as "we".

I've caught Rookette-itis.

The Rookettes scored twice in extra time, and Leah Samain, who'd played a blinder in Lewes' goal, made a great save to deny a late Saints attack. Lisa had been watching from a different part of the ground; she joined me in the bar until I had to head for the station.
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2017-08-27 10:04 pm

He's On The Beach

Despite mega delays on Southern Railways, I made it to Lewes' Dripping Pan ground just after doors opened at 12.30. I went through an open entrance gate and told the lady who was just leaving the turnstile man, having helped him set up, that I was Jane's guest. The lady turned out to be Issi, who I'd exchanged the odd Facebook comment with over the time since the Euros ended. She seemed excited to meet me. She showed me up to the beach huts, which sat atop a high bank overlooking the pitch. We talked about the women's game for a little while then she went to go about her business.

My hut was decorated with plenty of Lewes FC memorabilia and included a table laid out with some Subbuteo players and a couple of goals. There was a lemon drizzle cake, apparently something legendary to the club regulars - normally two ladies called Sue and Lynda make the cakes, but Issi said Jane had made this one specially - a kettle with tea and coffee to make, and a fridge with milk, water bottles, soft drinks and a Titan (Aldi's fun size Mars bar equivalent). I'd also been given a goodie bag containing a programme from the pre-season friendly with Chelsea Development Squad, some of Lewes FC's famous match posters, a key ring and a Curly Wurly.

Jane popped in for a quick chat, as did Jacquie, the club's Head of Women's Football, who was giving someone a tour of the ground. In the quiet spell before the build-up began I nipped down to the Rook Inn and ended my two weeks on the wagon, buying a 'Kiss' beer - brewed by Lewes' famous Harvey's brewery of course - which I was allowed to have in a plastic glass to take back up to the hut.

With kick-off approaching, Jane read out the teams over the PA and said "Up in the beach hut today is my good friend [malmo58] in the nice orange T-shirt" - I was wearing the orange Euro 2017 one I'd bought in Holland - and urged me "Give us a wave." I did.

Lisa arrived in my hut just before kick off. We managed to nearly finish the lemon drizzle cake over the course of the afternoon. After a goalless first half, Basildon dominated the early stages of the second, and took the lead. Lewes went straight into fightback, and after having a couple of good looking penalty shouts denied, got the equaliser they deserved when Amy Taylor scored with a rocket shot from outside the box. From my view on high it looked magnificent.

The game ended 1-1. Lisa and I cleared up our wrappers and empties, and Lisa packed the last piece of lemon drizzle in serviettes and a paper plate for me to take home. I went to pitchside and congratulated Katie McIntyre, who was standing with her Player of the Match champagne, on her award. Jane joined us in the Rook Inn for a jar. I went for a small bottle of Harvey's Old Ale then Lisa got a round in so I went for a Harvey's Lewes Castle - and soon had to neck it with my train time approaching. Told Jane I'd be back next week as we said goodbye; Lisa said she'd come too.

On my way out, for the first time I noticed the tea hut's sign. Among the delights on offer was a jumbo frankfurter with onions. A return visit is a must just for that.
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2017-08-03 09:32 pm

Shattered Dreams

heart. broken.
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2017-04-22 10:22 pm


A short, short time ago
I can well remember how Notts Ladies used to make me smile
And I knew how happy I would be
With Laura, Carly and Sophie
And maybe they’d win trophies with some style
But April ’17 made me shiver
When Mr Hardy did not deliver
Dear Mr and Mrs Trew
Had left our club in a stew
I’m not ashamed, I almost cried
Devastation I could not hide
My heart broke deep down inside
The day Notts Ladies died.

So bye, bye to the Lady Pies
No more bevvy in the Navi, now my Sundays are dry
Those good old boys and girls who sat up on high
I’ll miss until the day that I die…

The Magpie girls I did love
To watch them from the stand above
Were the best days I did know
We believed at Meadow Lane
2014 the Ladies came
We thought they’d reach out for the chance ready to go
I knew I was in love with Holtham
When down the field she went boltin’
Great days of footy and booze
Beating two sets of dark Blues
And we all remember that free kick
When Ellen and Laura did their trick
And left the Arsenal feeling sick
Great days at Lady Pies

But now we’re singing bye…

2015 we could smell success
Tears for Laura, our Lioness
The making of her we hoped it’d be
Lady Pies were off to Wembley
All our knees were going trembly
A smile and a winner’s medal on her we thought we’d see
But nothing turns out like you hoped
On the day our girls just choked
We put a brave face on and said
“We’ll win the Conti instead”
But Simms *spit* sent Laura from the park
Notts completely lost their spark
Medal fiasco, Carly’s snark
The day our Cup dream died

Now bye…

2016 started bright
Rachel Yankey in black and white
Was this going to be our year?
Ellen off for “kicking it away”
Smith gets nowt for throttling LJ
Penalties leave us weeping in our beer
We all felt good to be alive
Ten minutes remaining at the Hive
Smith and Williams shattered our dreams
Our season ripped at the seams
Warning signs even then are clear
DS girls in injured players’ shirts appear
We’re just glad to end a terrible year
Never thought our club would die

But it’s bye…

I met a girl who I once knew
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the Navigation
My favourite watering hole in the nation
But the barmaid said the girls no more would play
The Chairman makes the men’s club rich
Unveils plans for a Wembley pitch
But not a word is spoken
For the ones whose hearts are broken
And the three girls who mean most to me
Laura, Carly and Sophie
Started an uncertain journey
The day Notts Ladies died.

And they were singing...
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2016-03-24 06:21 pm

Have You Ever Had It Blue?

Susie was off this week but she'd left me an extra task : disposing of some old documents that had been gathering dust under the desk since her days in my current job. While I was sorting them, I began feeling a sensation of something in my eye. The irritation was still there yesterday morning, so I set off earlier than planned for the trip to Manchester and called in at the surgery in Leighton to see the nurse.

I was waiting over an hour. After dripping orange dye into my eye to allow her to shine a light on it to look for scratches - none, thank goodness - I was expecting her to wash it out with water, but she prescribed me some ointment to drop into my eye four times a day. I administered my first drop in the surgery waiting room and wandered around the High Street shops with that eye shut. I was thinking that right now 'Sally One Eye', one of my old Hawk girls, and I ought to get together...

I had fun and games finding the Manchester Sportcity Travelodge, mostly because my crude hand-drawn map copied from Google Maps wasn't to scale so I ended up walking a good half-mile further up Pottery Lane than I needed to. After unpacking I switched on the telly, administered an eye drop and laid on the bed with my head tilted back listening to The Chase.

Then it was time to mosey up to the Manchester City Academy Stadium. The tea bar served an excellent Lancashire beef and beer stew with red cabbage. Having eaten, I popped up to the press seats to see if Jen from She Kicks was at the game - she wasn't, but I got a quick word with Louise from Radio 5 Live and thanked her for the support they're giving the women's game. Then I looked round for fellow Lady Pies fans, found Kate and husband Lee in the front row and joined them.

As the teams were announced, Notts fans booed City's Nikita Parris. Being still something of a rookie Lady Pies fan, I asked Kate why, and she said last year Parris had dived all over the place and committed a bad foul on a Lady Pie and got away with all her sins. That was to haunt us.

Notts matched City, keeping them at bay the whole time with solid rearguard action and mounting their share of attacks. Eyebrows had been raised before the match when we saw Megan Walsh was starting in goal for us, we wondered if Carly Telford's hamstring was still aggravating her or if Rick was just preferring Megan, but if it was the latter then Rick was right on the button as Megan played an absolute blinder, making a string of fantastic saves. We looked set for a well-deserved point, with which we'd have been very happy against a star-studded side. the 93rd minute Nikita Parris threw herself on the ground like a sack of spuds 30 yards from goal. The free kick was given. Steph Houghton struck the ball clinically and it sailed straight into the net.

We all sat in stunned silence while the home fans around us all went bananas. The whistle went. I said my goodbyes to Kate and Lee and trudged back to the Travelodge to drown my sorrows with a Rekorderlig in the bar. The bar had Heart radio playing 24/7, which in my mood irritated me. At that time of night, speech radio like 5 Live is more appropriate, or if you must have music, something easier on the ear like Magic.

Back to the room to put the news on and run a relaxing bath.

Left the hotel this morning into rain. On the train home, learned that my pal Jodie Taylor had signed for Arsenal Ladies! That was a bolt from the blue - I'd thought she'd never leave the States, on Twitter even Jen said she was gobsmacked. It's fantastic news for the WSL, though, and from a Lady Pies point of view, now Arsenal have Jodie fingers crossed they might let us keep Rachel Yankey for longer.

Arrived home just in time for the start of the England v West Indies Women's T20 cricket on 5 Live Sports Extra. That was nail-biting stuff, went down to the last ball but no matter - WE WON :)
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2016-03-18 05:58 pm

Her Majesty

Well, we were all deflated when Desi Scott left, and radged off when her replacement Tasha Flint left this week without playing a competitive game for us...

but now, on transfer deadline day...

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2016-03-02 10:19 am

Twilight Cafe

A decaf latte at Gatwick. Sadly there are no bagels to be found.
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2016-01-30 09:32 pm

Arthur's Theme

To Derby today to see Oddsocks' panto The Legend of King Arthur. I've written plenty of times on here how much I love this comedy troupe. The show, as usual, opened with the cast playing a musical number - with a sign proclaiming them to be 'Baddest Knight and the Picts' - then introducing themselves, or rather their Oddsocks personae, such as 'A young lady you'll never find sitting down on the job - Emma Roids!'

Emma Roids, aka Lucy Varney, was the star of the show, portraying a hilariously dopey Lady Igraine and a Lady Guinevere who jousted and kicked butt as well as any of the knights. Oddsocks co-founder Elli Mackenzie, alias Nell Backhandle, was fantastic as the evil witch Morgan le Fay, getting everyone booing her with gusto in fine panto tradition and casting wicked spells with Latinate words à la J. K. Rowling. Of course there were 'It's behind you's and 'Oh no you shouldn't's, and plenty of knights, jousts and quests, and each of the cast got to do at least one song. There was the odd bit of satire, like an arch-conservative parchment news sheet called the 'Daily Chainmail' and a couple of sour characters moaning about 'dirty stinking Saxons' and 'marauding kilted maniacs' coming into England - of course King Arthur comes to the rescue establishing a tolerant country with justice for all. Very jolly and lots of fun.
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2016-01-25 09:03 pm

The Sun Always Shines On TV

Loving Dickensian on BBC1, a fascinating series built on a simple but amazingly imaginative concept - lots of Dickens characters meet. During one episode I tweeted 'Watching Dickensian. Caroline Quentin is hilarious!' and, joy of joys, Caroline herself replied, thanking me and saying she'd loved making the show.

Drove down to Gosport on Friday night to visit the parents, just made it in time for Top of the Pops 1981. Debbie Harry is still leading my Pop Babe of '81 stakes with her sexy outfit and moves from the Rapture video, though lovely Susan Fassbender pushed her close.

Saturday my mother made a Burns supper. She managed to smoke out the kitchen burning the oatmeal she was toasting for the cranachan, but she made another lot and the end result was quite tasty (though you could tell she'd applied the whisky rather liberally) as was the haggis.

Back home on Sunday, for another Burns meal at the Axe, also excellent. Their dessert was a delicious raspberry, cream and shortcake stack, and the guest beer on was (what else?) Belhaven Robert Burns Ale, excellent.

Have to confess to a guilty pleasure in Celebrity Big Brother and I'm very attracted to the beautiful Tiffany, one of the best housemates in terms of the house dynamic and also hugely entertaining. She has to win!
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2016-01-09 05:57 pm

The Storm Is Over Now

Quiz night last night. With the festive season already a faded memory, it seemed a bit strange to be wished 'Happy New Year' by everyone. Contrary to the expectations of many, last month's winners did turn up, changing their name from The Sand Dobbers to A Win Maybe. If that was a subterfuge to try and avoid the penalty for winning last month, it didn't work - they were dinged 8 points regardless.

Aside from the main quiz, we have a 'jackpot round' of 3 questions; all teams getting them all right go into a draw, and the team pulled out get to make a lucky dip to win either entry fees back, the jackpot (£30 last night, an extra £10 goes in each month it's unclaimed), or a free round of drinks. One question was '25 Cromwell Street was a notorious address in which town or city?' I wrote Gloucester on the sheet. Mick agreed with me, but Terry and John insisted it was Bristol, and crossed out Gloucester and substituted Bristol. After the papers had been handed in, Steve the quizmaster said to us "You made the wrong choice." Gloucester was right. For the rest of the evening Mick wound Terry and John up by saying "Bristol" when we were debating answers we weren't sure of.

Thankfully we made up for it on the main quiz. We were in a narrow lead with two rounds to go when we struggled on the penultimate round, 'All or Nothing', knowing only five of the ten answers. One of the questions we didn't know was "What kind of food is a morel?" Then, with seconds to go, Alan suddenly said a morel was a mushroom. We put it down and it proved to be right. With again only six right on the last round 'In The News' we were sure we'd get overhauled, but then the scores were announced and we'd won by one point.

We all congratulated Alan on his mushroom winning us the prize. Then John was able to point to Cyril, the only one of us who'd known the newspaper founded in 1912 that relaunched as The S*n (cough! spit!) in 1964 was the Daily Herald; I mentioned my being the only one who knew that the singer of the one-hit wonder Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You was Glenn Medeiros.

BP review today. Normal range at last, so I get to continue on my new meds until November. Hallelujah! On to MK M&S to recycle my Christmas cards, then home for a Rolo milkshake from the bakery just along the road and on to the Heath Inn to catch the football results.
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2016-01-06 09:24 pm

The Twelfth Of Never

Took down the Christmas decorations first thing this morning before setting off for work. Mentioned it in chat with Lucy, who said "That's dedication" and that she'd have been tempted to leave them up. I reminded her that if you leave them up after today you have to leave them up all year, and she reckoned that would have been fine with her.

On my next visit to the team, mid-morning, Sarah was eyeing up the surviving Christmas nibbles. I urged her to have the last piece of Yule log; she reckoned she'd get two slices out of it. I guess it is a generous one.

As promised to Tracey before Christmas, I popped into the Heath Inn after work to help take down their decs, only to find there was just a lone barman on duty and that they'd been taken down yesterday. The Christmas ale Christmas Star was still on, so settled into a corner for a quiet pint.
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2015-12-31 06:16 am


Congrats to Steph Houghton and Fara Williams on their MBEs. Well done ladies!
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2015-11-15 10:33 am

At The Club

To the Legion last night to see Edison Lighthouse. Although the group was formed in 1970, the compère introduced them as a '60s band'. They did indeed do a (superb) set of 60s covers, notably Drifters and Searchers numbers plus other classics like Do Wah Diddy Diddy, that had a goodly number of the audience grooving on the dance floor. The frontman called for a lot of audience participation, like stopping to allow the crowd to sing choruses on their own. Towards the end he introduced Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) , but it was a shame that he admitted that the record had already been made by session men before the band was formed and that the group was assembled thereafter to promote the record. I think nostalgic pop fans should be allowed to believe that the people entertaining them are the ones who made the hit record, even if so many old bands performing today have been through multiple lineup changes and quite a few of them are Trigger's Brooms. Never mind, they did a great rendition of Love Grows (but sadly not the follow-up single It's Up To You Petula) then launched into Da Doo Ron Ron and closed with a couple of slowies to allow the couples on the floor to smooch, Save The Last Dance For Me and Wonderful Tonight.
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2015-11-14 07:29 pm

The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn

Thanks to the wonders of eBay, I finally have a Pogues 30th Anniversary beanie hat once again, two years after my brand new one mysteriously vanished in the Manchester Travelodge.
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2015-11-14 11:03 am

XX Sex

To London last night to see Fuzzbox at the 100 Club. Tim Muddiman & The Strange opened the show - not bad, if not really my kind of music - then came Saffron, lead singer of Republica. She was brilliant, doing great patter between songs, singing three Republica hits including, to my delight, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and many punk covers including excellent versions of the Stranglers' Duchess and the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen In Love.

After an interval the lights dimmed, a Thunderbirds-style intro track played, and the ladies crept onto stage under cover of darkness to be there for the climax of "5...4...3...2...1...Fuzzbox are Go!" and launch straight into International Rescue. They looked absolutely stunning, Vix with her dark-red dyed hair and PVC floozie dress, Maggie with her shortish blonde waves, and Sarit and Megan resplendent in black sparkly leotards.

Vix and Maggie kept up great chat with the crowd all through the show. After the first song one guy called something out to Vix, who said "Are we going to have a private conversation?" Then she said "This is a golden oldie" and they struck up the opening chords of Rules And Regulations.

The whole set was just amazing. All the group's well loved songs were included, plus a couple of surprises. A running theme was Maggie's coil (from her hair clip) going missing - "Where's my coil?", "Who stole Maggie's coil?" (the latter prompting Maggie into a hilarious twitch and "ooh!" clearly in imitation of having an internal device suddenly plucked out). Maggie announced that Vix had acquired a new (second-hand) violin and said "What song do you think this is for?" Someone shouted "Irish Bride", and Vix, incredulous, exclaimed "Irish Bride??" Vix struck up the violin and Maggie talked her way through Spirit In The Sky in characteristic Fuzzbox style. XX Sex was extended to include a prolonged chant of "We've got a fuzzbox and we're gonna use it" during the runout.

Midway through the set Maggie said "I'd like to remember my sister Jo." Massive cheer and round of applause. Maggie said how she hoped Jo was looking down - "or up," Vix quipped - on them and smiling.

Vix announced the last song; by then we'd had all the band's well known numbers except Pink Sunshine. "Anything missing so far?" she asked the crowd; she got a few shouts of "Pink Sunshine" and finally acknowledged one, leading the group into it. Towards the end they did a break with continuing drumbeat for Vix to introduce all the band members. As I've not given her a mention yet I have to namecheck the superb drummer, "rhythm mistress" Hannah. Next were Sarit and Megan. Each of them did a solo after her introduction, followed by Vix saying "What do you think? Not bad...for a girl!" Then Vix said "Have I forgotten anyone?" and we all chanted "Maggie! Maggie!" Vix said a bit about how she and Maggie have known each other ages and finished by introducing her as "the synth queen Maggie Fuzzbox!" Maggie did a bit of jokey plink-plonking. When she'd got her round of applause Vix said simply "And I'm Vix." A few more choruses of Pink Sunshine closed the main set.

Of course we got an encore. Vix opened it by saying they'd floated the idea of doing an a cappella song and been advised against, "but we're going to do it anyway". She and Maggie did a great a cappella rendition of Da Doo Ron Ron, though sadly it was the Crystals' original lyrics not the Fuzzbox's own "Martin Degville/I told him I'd rather go alone" version that we fans of theirs remember and love. The full band then finished with Pop Muzik, culminating in a long crowd singalong.

As they left the stage Sarit did a big smile and a flirty wave. I fell.

The band had said on Facebook they'd be doing a meet and greet after; it was a little while before I spotted they were over in the corner at the merchandise table. There was a bit of a scrum there but I eventually made it to the front, said to Vix "Fantastic show, I've wanted to meet you for 29 years" and shook her hand, and got them all to sign my ticket, giving Sarit my best smile. Maggie was absent; the roadie said she was meeting fans upstairs, so several of us beatled up the stairs to see her. Just as we got there she said she had to get down to join the others. One chap who'd got to her before me got a pic taken with her on the stairs; fortunately I managed to keep close enough to her to congratulate her, tell her I'd wanted to meet her for 29 years, and get her autograph soon after she arrived at the table with the others.
malmo58: (Default)
2015-10-26 06:21 pm

Here Comes The Night

The season of walking in the dark has arrived :( Roll on March.

It's the FA Cup 1st Round draw tonight. Would love to be in the pub watching it but my hypertension review is less than three weeks away, and I indulged in three Belgian beers in the Black Lion on Saturday and a pint with my roast in Bedworth yesterday, so had better stay off the sauce through the week. Detox is a pig.