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Blog: Durham

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After a DELIGHTFUL morning drinking tea, having Singing Practice with Emma, going to a Garage, sitting in a Leisure Centre Cafe reading the paper and then heading off EN MASSE with Les Pattisons to a NOODLE BAR it was time to get back on the road of ROCK. The Tiger arrived, we said our goodbyes, and The Cleator Moor Validators were AWAY!

We were all EXCITED but also TREPIDATIOUS about this gig. We'd booked into an Apartment for the evening which SEEMED too good to be true, but if it was OK, and the gig went all right, then Durham would be an IDEAL location for us to come back to on the way to or from band gigs in The Scotland. We REALLY wanted it to work!

It was a journey of many discussions and ONE disappointment - we stopped at Boroughbridge Services, which are RUBBISH. It's miles from the road and when you get there it's just a GARAGE in Morrison's Supermarket car park. We didn't even get any food - i felt CHEATED!

As we entered Historic Scenic Durham we rang the apartment to tell them we'd be there after dropping off our gear at the venue, The Fishtank. Once there I rang Kate The manager to ask her to let us in - just as two STAFF happened to walk by. Either that, or she had MIND POWERS. We unloaded then LEAPT into the car to search a) for BEER and b) for our flat. We found a WAITROSE, got all excited, then spent a frustrating 15 minutes trying to park and then get INTO it, before discovering it to be CLOSED. Disappointed we headed off and got LOST, so had to ring the apartment again. I dialled the last number called and handed it over for Tim to have a VERY confusing conversation, as actually I'd rung Kate at The Fishtank. Ah. We got Marcia At The Apartment again instead, found our way there, and were soon MARVELLING at the apartment.

It was INCREDIBLE - look, see for yourself, we couldn't BELIEVE we were allowed to stay there. It had TWO bathrooms, a PLUSH living room,all breakfast items laid on and also it was DEAD cheap. Goodness me it put a LOT of pressure on the gig to be good!

Back at the venue we met Mr Pete Green, did our soundcheck (two attempts at We're Old And We're Tired (and we want to go home) to see if we could learn it enough to play... we couldn't) then had CHIPS before heading down the road to the PUB to meet Tim's pals. Mr Green joined us and we had an Excitable Discussion about his new band, Pete Green's Corporate Juggernaut (GRATE name), as well as the FACT that a new band is like a new girlfriend INSOMUCHAS you will be GRILLED by yr peers as to what they're like - have they been in many other bands before? what do they drink? does the drummer have a kit? And OTHER questions you ask of friends with new girlfriends.

Back to the venue to see first band, Rich And Ollie (whose Official Name changed several times during the course of the night, so i'm not sure what it was by the end) who did some really nice stuff with one of them LOOPING pedals, various keyboards, and a UKELELE. The room was gradually filling up by this point, much to our surprise, with familiar faces like Alex from Shadowplay and Graham (of the Bobby) McGee(s) too. It was LOVELY, but also NOISY, so when Pete went on i was slightly worried - part of the reason for him GETTING a band together is he's fed up of being ill treated or IGNORED by audiences just because he's a solo artiste, and it felt like it was about to happen again...

I need not have worried, it was a COMMANDING performance. All the ACE SONGS as usual (and good golly, that "One Monday Morning" one is PARTICULARLY GRATE) but with ASSURED between song BANTER and LARFS - an especially TOP QUALITY bit was when he said "Anyone here at University?" (mumbled YASSes) "Was it the entrance exam or the interview that got you rejected from Oxford or Cambridge?" Not only did this DARING strategy (of insulting a large chunk of the audience) PAY OFF BIG TIME in getting BOTH the students and non-students ON SIDE it also got a big LARF and began great debate around the room, as people worked out which it was.

Pete having finished we MADE for the stage. We'd been told that the music had to stop at 10.30pm, so I was looking at my watch a LOT as we did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • Mental Judo
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was BLOODY GRATE. We had a FANTASTIC time - there was LARKS, there was CHAT, there was SINGING along and ALL sorts. My favourite bits INCLUDED me talking in public about our Growing Obsession with our Festive 50 placing - pointing out that The Lesson Of The Smiths was four places below Pete's single, at which point Graham McGee put his hand up and said "We were at number 14" and we all went GRRR!! and waved our fists at him. I did the Walking Off The Front Of The "stage" (there wasn't a stage, but you know what I mean) BIT in Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid in order to incite Singing Along, and it WORKED. When we finished we moved off and people started shouting "MORE!" and so forth - a chap nearby pointed out we needed to go completely out of the room before we could come back, so we spent an uncomfortable couple of seconds with the three of us CRAMMED into the ladies toilet, before coming back to do a REQUEST version of Boom Shake The Room, complete with much Havant & Waterloo MENTIONING.

    It was LOVELY. Afterwards we stood around for a bit chatting before collected all the gear up and piling it into Tim's friend Mark's car. Tom nipped back to the flat to open the garage while they drove round, while another bunch of us lurked about for a bit drinking BEER before heading over for a SOIREE.

    It was a very nice INDEED Post Gig Soirree, although SOME PEOPLE did get a bit silly and start singing songs in a high pitched cod-Geordie accent... in front of five Geordies. Luckily they took it in good heart, tho i did wake up next morning going "ARGH! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?" Also there was much cavorting around wearing Complimentary Towelling Dressing Gowns.

    The party broke up around 2am, and we got up just slightly not enough hours later for BREAKFAST of Posh Cereal, Proper Coffee, and CROISSANTS. OH YES. Being insane monsters of rock like what we are we then did the natural thing to do on a Sunday morning: went out for a walk and a look at the Cathedral. It's what Alice Cooper would do, I'm sure. It was dead good, also the Castle, also Durham in General, and I bought 2 fridge magnets AND a mug - a clear message of it's GOOD NESS if ever there was.

    Back in the car we headed South, SNUBBING Boroughbridge, and I got dropped off in Doncaster for an easy journey home. There were HUGS and also a general agreement that, once again, The Cleator Moor Validators had ridden to VICTORY. Durham, we shall see you AGAIN!

    posted 28/1/2008 by MJ Hibbett

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    You'll be pleased to know that I found my way back to Rich's house from the soiree OK. Indeed, it was peasy. Durham is brilliant!
    posted 28/1/2008 by Pete Green

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