Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
Pepys 0.1 Blogware © Steve Dix
So now, after three or four years of doing the Tuesday busk. Dave, Alec and I have become quite convincing at playing certain songs. What used once to be a bunch of disparate strummers in the corner of the pub, now has a nucleus, which knows a number of vintage Dylan songs, a bit of Paul Simon stuff, Eddie Cochran and Elvis. Sure, I'll occasionally pick up a guitar and do the odd Beatles song, or Fire Brigade by The Move...which I once used to play for cigarettes in the school bogs back at Elliott. Sometimes I'll even play one of my own. But mostly now, I'm playing the bass, which I love.
Dave says things like: "We ought to be careful, you know. That last number sounded scarily competent." Nonetheless, despite this self-deprecation and a lack of expectations in early days, the numbers are starting to hang together, so that people who drift into the pub now stop to listen. A landlady from another pub has come in once or twice. As a result of this, Hurricane (I wanted to call us The Android Sisters) now have an actual booking down the road. Back in autumn we did a spot in a pub up the road. This was an adventure, but it did sort of work. We've now started rehearsing. With some 35 numbers (some of which need polishing up a bit) we have a repetoire of sorts. Much of this stuff is Dylan. Alec can actually sound like Dylan. This is quite handy really. Dave's good at the early rock'n'roll stuff and has a good voice for it. I just chip in some backing vocals here and there. Mostly though, I hold down the rhythm and try to do an impression of what the records sound like. It's amazing that I've been playing the bass part for The Zombies She's Not There without really knowing it.. I actually listened to the record two days ago and found that what I do is not very much like the real thing at all. I'm correcting that now. It's a very good part, when I consider that it was devised, as was the rest of the song, by a bunch of 16 year old St Albans schoolboys.
Rehearsals take place in Alec's shed...a sort of Portakabin, at the side of his house which is very comfortable. Dave has a shed as well. Nick the electrician who lives round the corner has a shed where all his guitars are. All three of them have good strong marriages. And a shed. I don't have a shed. That's probably at heart of my disastrous love life. My little house over the arch is my shed, I suppose. I don't know whether blokes with sound marriages get actually exiled to the shed. Or whether they just think at some point. "If this marriage is gonna work, I'm gonna need a shed."
There's another bloke I know who's an engineer. Nice bloke. He got re-married in middle years. One summer night, a mate and I were walking to the pub. We saw him up on the hill there, building a platform and a rather classsy framework, mouth full of nails, hammering away. My mate and I looked at each other. "How long's Bill been married now?" We thought back a bit. "Gotta be about three years now, hasn't it? We looked back at the structure going up in the yard and said: " Yep." A man needs a shed, sometimes.