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Blog: Got Back

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Sorry for the lack of updates this week - after the hefty FACT BLAT about our Devon Weekend I was a little SPENT, and then have had to do Quite A Lot Of Work this week, it has been BUSY.

ANYWAY, it was back on the road of ROCK last night, heading up to Leicester for a band practice. I arrived PROMPTLY at St Pancras with my pre-booked ticket to hear an announcement that there were no trains leaving the station because of a points failure. CHAOS, as usual, ensued - you'd think by now rail companies would have SOME kind of policies in place to cope with this sort of thing wouldn't you? But no, the only announcements we got we STANDARD ROBOTS saying "Please remain on the platform" and you had to go and find a member of staff to find out ANYTHING. This, of course, would upset and annoy them. "It's no good asking me!" said one lady, which I thought was a LITTLE BIT out of order, as she was standing on the platform to give out information. It was Midland Mainline tho, so tho it was annoying the staff were actually quite sweet. I found four of them HIDING behind a closed barrier, not wanting to talk to anybody because, i guess, they are SHY. Are rather BURLY BOSS came over and forced them out. "Come on THIS side", he said "and get onto the concourse and HELP people." They REALLY didn't want to go.

After about half an hour trying to find out ANYTHING I happened to hear on someone's walkie talkie that they expected it to be at LEAST another 90 minutes before anything happened. OF COURSE they didn't THINK to actually TELL THE PAYING PASSENGERS this, and the guy I asked seemed EMBARRASED that I'd overheard ACTUAL USEFUL INFORMATION. GRRRR!!!

THUS I had to make a decision: My original train was going to get me into Leicester 10 minutes before the practice was due to start. Whatever happened now I would be LATE, and if it was going to end up being at least two hours delayed then there wouldn't be much point in getting on the train at all, THUS wiping out a practice that had taken MONTHS to organise. My only option was to go to Peterborough then across to Leicester BUT I knew trains across only went about once an hour, so could STILL miss everything...

I DASHED down the road to Kings Cross and rang home, where THE TEAM went into ACTION to find me my connections - it looked like I could get to Leicester just under an HOUR late. HOORAH! I hopped about the first class carriage and settled down into the Vestibule. TRAIN TIPS: Even when the train is utterly PACKED and people are standing between the seats in Standard Class, there's nearly always space to sit on the floor in the First Class Vestibules. Actually, usually, you could get away with going and sitting in First Class, as the ticket inspectors are usually too ASHAMED (or, on Midland Mainline, COYLY SHY) to check.

We sped North and I was feeling BETTER about things... until I heard an announcement saying the connection to Leicester would be an HOUR later than I thought. Now, I know that if you RING network enquiries they'll very very often get it WRONG as they leave about 20 minutes for you to get OFF your train and cross the platform, but i was AFEARED in case they'd actually got it right. HAPPILY they hadn't and we hopped across to the train to New Street, which merrily sped through Stamford, Oakham, Melton Mowbray towards Leicester. It was a lovely bit of the journey - I've done it MANY MANY times in the past, from 1988 when me and Mileage first went over to look at our new student house to a few years ago just before I finally left Leicester, so it was a trip down Memory Railtrack. The only BLIGHT was a pissed GIT who decided to lock himself in the ONLY TOILET to avoid inspection. BLADDER ANGST!

The end result of all this is that I arrived at Stayfree in Leicester just under an hour late, to find The Vlads mid JAM. We'd gone back to Stayfree because everywhere in Derby was booked up, and again it felt very reasonable to be back at the old homestead. We launched into a fairly ROCKING session, JAMMING that new song a bit more (adding in a chorus like BOSTON - the band, not the town), and later doing ANOTHER one that had hints of THE EPIC.

We also did some of the pre-written ones. We started with One Of The Walls Of My House Fell In which grew a rather magnificent HIGH KICK section as well as an Exciting Ending, then spent quite a while on Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid. By the end this was sounding PRETTY DARN GOOD, and had been subjected to a bit of SURGERY, EXCISING a bridge and moving a whole verse towards the end. My favourite bit was the "Hey there Emo Boy" section, featuring HARMONIES!

We had another BASH at It Only Works Because You're Here, and it really WAS a BASH - I think perhaps this one is going to be better served in a non-band-originated format. HEY! I've heard the full-band version of "Yesterday", I think it is a lesson of history we can LEARN! THUS we moved on and had a run through Let's Leave Our Jobs And Move To London. From a ROCKING standpoint this sounded pretty good - it should do, it's basically that Smog song we learnt a few months ago, which we changed to be pretty much unrecognisable, with new words and vocal melody, so in theory at least we've already learnt it! HOWEVER I came to realise fairly quickly that the words need a LOT of working doing on them so, as stated, we had another jam instead.

All done we headed home, with me going to Chez McClure for a good old chat and some POSH WHISKY. NICE! This morning I found myself back on the Midland Mainline with the ENTIRE Quiet Coach to myself - "Very quiet this morning!" said two staff members, before blushing furiously and running away to hide. The ticket inspector later pointed out that I actually had a First Class ticket - "If they run out of standard, they'll upgrade you", he told me. Two things struck me - firstly, the train was almost EMPTY, so why had this happened? Also, Isn't the policy of charging DOUBLE for open tickets to go on trains at this time of day a bit STUPID if it means whole carriages are DESERTED?

Sometimes people ask me why I write so many songs about TRANES!

posted 15/6/2007 by MJ Hibbett

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