Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
Pepys 0.1 Blogware © Steve Dix
It had to happen of course. Into the boozer straight after work at 6.00 and an innocent discussion with the bar-staff on the subject of how much Genito-Urinary clinics had changed since the mid-Seventies. As a young rock singer, I had occasional need to go in and check that everything was alright with the old 'heated handrail'. Everything usually tickety-boo in fact. A fascinating discourse on how whenever I sat in the waiting room there always seemed to be four soldiers, three building labourers and a nervous university professor reading an old copy of Readers Digest, upside down and trembling slightly.
I had another drink. Then another. It was busking night again. I swore I'd go home and have some food ....but kind of didn't. A man who looked strikingly like Captain Birdseye came into the pub with a guitar case. Tai Chi Dave came in. Alec didn't come in because he was 'a bit sniffly' said his son Matt. Dave, Matt and I took up positions and began playing. It was going great. Then, for the second week running. the folkies came in. The female flautist, the harmonica player, and others. Now, the folkies have their own club upstairs for the purposes of whatever it is they do. In the folk world everybody plays and warbles along, with every song, all the way through, with scant regard to what's being played or their ability to play it. I hate folk music. Not Irish folk music but insipid whiney mentalist English folk music. I had another drink. We played some rock and roll. I was considerably animated by this time. A mixture of drink and tiredness from the fact that I'd played for two or three hours on both of the preceding nights as well as doing my day-job made for some lively music.
Captain Birdseye, in his yachting blazer, peaked cap and distinguished white beard was actually a very nice chap and related to a lovely * village family. I liked him. He played slightly stiffly, as a fellow of his vintage might, but he was a game old lad. Tai Chi Dave and I began another number. The harmonica player was playing in one ear, the flute player right in my face. Then it happened. I blew a gasket. Playing stopped as I shouted. " Do you have to play that bloody flute all the way through the whole effing tune?" Thus began a rant about how much I hated folk, hadn't they got their own club to go to and this was the rock and roll session and what the feck did they think they were doing.? The flute player said we'd turned the music session into a 'boys club'. She was right about this. Rosie: Irish does good Irish and country songs and bangs a bodhran piped up that she's started the sessions four years ago, which is true. Ah, but I had a head of steam now and ranted and raved about folk music and how shit it was. The whole table silent now and the whole pub listening. Tai Chi Dave trying not to laugh . I was just about to pick up my tools and march out when..." Oh fuck it. Look. It's not you. It's me. It's my fault. It's only music innit? I apologise." I looked at the flute player, who was being entirely reasonable, considering the drunken rant she'd just been subjected to. The folk players all looked sympathetic. Rather like long-term patients in a psycho-therapy unit might do at a newer and madder inmate who wasn't doing quite as well as them. Captain Birdseye looked sympathetic. Everybody was being so nice. I began laughing.
"Alright then." I said. "Sod it! Play that bloody flute then." We began playing folk music. They were right and I was wrong. It's supposed to be a music session. That means all music. Not just rock and roll. I should feel ashamed of myself. I'm not. I think it's really funny. So did Dave. But now I've done it, I won't need do do it again. Full moon. Too much to drink. Mental. Disgraceful. I still hate folk music though.
I've got a bit of a hangover today.
Folkies yesterday, composing a protest song about Newell
After my last entry about my first band and our home-made drum kit, our French correspondent M. Jacky Lurton has sent me a couple of pics of his first drum kit. I hope the pics will show you something of the ingenuity of this. In them, (at a guess they were taken in about 1970/71) young Jacky is pictured playing a mixture of oil drums and other recycled material rather superior to the 1967 model that my brother and I constructed for our own purposes.
This demonstrates how youthful ingenuity driven by the desire to play pop music can even overcome poverty. I show you these pics because it illustrates the point so beautifully. The French are a people we should be at war with, precisely upon these grounds.
Ecoutez!! La grande batterie de Monsieur Lurton!!
I was listening to Radio 2 yesterday morning and by accident they played a good track, without talking over it or crashing it into the news pips. The record was You Took Advantage of Me by Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. It kind of got me thinking. What with the recession and everything, we can't afford to go running wars in central Asia anymore. Given that we do need to fight a war though,...otherwise there'd be nothing for the Guardian journalists to get concerned about and our lads would have nobody to rehearse with. So we need a budget war. One of the first things a budget war needs to be is nearby. Still with me? Good. So I fed some data into the computer and this is what I came up with. One word: France.
We need a war with France! Now don't say. 'Boring.' Being at war with France was perfectly okay in the old days, before we had long-range missiles, mid-air refuelling and Hercules transport planes. Sure, I've toyed with the idea of a war with the Dutch. The Dutch do a really good naval war as a matter of fact. We had about four wars with them, way back when. They sent their ships up the River Medway once, so they're no push-over. The Germans? The Germans hold a great war actually. Even my dad admired the way the Germans went on. "Great soldiers!" he'd say admiringly, with that peculiar respect that the British soldier only reserves for people who've given us a damn good thrashing in the past. He had all the time in the world for the Germans, the Afghans and of course the Turks.
But I'm thinking 'long game' here.The French are good at a sustained grudge. Who else could we have a Hundred Years War with? Want to know why? Two words. 'Long' and 'lunch.' If the French weren't so fond of lunch it would probably only have been about a Twenty Years War. Another thing with the French is that they've got two climates. So when the winter came in, we could move the new Anglo-French war off the plains of Nord Pas De Calais and down to Provence for a few months. Why not? There's a great train service. You could be back in London drunk out of your mind and involved in some Elvis-legged knee-trembler in an alley outside your club in Piccadilly, within only a few hours of having been shelling a French farmhouse earlier that afternoon.
French food is brilliant. French P.O.W. camps would be infinitely better than say German ones. The French are a civilised people and despite all the American jokes about them, they used to be pretty good at holding wars. Look at Napoleon and Joan of Arc. You'd need your wits about you to tackle them on a Stella hangover wouldn't you? No, I reckon it's high time we went to war with the French. Their turf of course. Lovely countryside, brilliant grub and top-notch gusset in most cases. The roads are much clearer. The trains work. Our lads would love it. And I'm sure that the French would be only too happy to have us. At least we'd be fighting an enemy we like. And it would be cheap and easily accessible. And we've got a lot to learn from them about industrial unrest. They just do it with such verve! I think we should get onto President Sarkozy as soon as possible. This could be a real boost to both of our economies.
The type of guys we'd be fighting.