Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yours Truly

From the very moment I hit the first chord of Fall to Pieces, all of the mental and physical fatigue (post-Christmas malaise?) I'd been enduring began to dissipate. I felt alive again! To my right, Ken was putting everything into the song. I had the easy part in this one - just a few acoustic power chords and the odd vocal. In front of me, a room full of people watched and listened...
Ken had been in town just over a week. We'd had three rehearsals and a successful short gig at The Metropolitan to set us up nicely for the Grace Emily. This annual event - The Yours Truly World Tour - usually comprises two or three Adelaide gigs. The two of us have been performing like this for a few years now, and it seems to work. Our respective songs mesh well, and I think the same can be said for our onstage performances.
For 2010 we'd knocked together a set of around 16 songs, all originals except for one Alistair Hulett number. It was a pleasure to present each and every one of them to what appeared to be an engaged crowd.
Before I knew it, we'd played for over an hour and we were into the last few songs. I wiped off the sweat, thanked everyone for coming, and we finished with rousing renditions of Here Come the Americans and Say Goodbye.

I'm already looking forward to 2011.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Music, beer and some of life's other essentials

Going back to work has, unsurprisingly, punched a big hole through my erstwhile daily level of productivity. Throughout the course of my lengthy leave period, I had all the time in the world to manage my life. Every day was more or less my own. Not any more. Since returning to the life of a wage slave, my challenge has been to not slacken off in any areas, so I have been very busy in the evenings and on my days off.
I have performed a few times, most weeks, playing gigs of all sizes and styles. The most notable of the recent shows was the launch of the latest SCALA album, A Guided Tour. The album features one of my songs; it is my 15th CD release. Not too shabby, especially when I remind myself that I was the wrong side of 30 before I made my first appearance on disc.
The home brew has come up well. I sampled my first bottle late last week, and I have since demolished a few more. It will improve over the coming weeks and months. If I can leave it that long. It's nice to be back in the fold.
I have been grappling with new (and old) technology around the house, riding my bike, preparing for Christmas and keeping an eye on the vegetables. The kitchen will be filled with tomatoes very shortly.

There's no time to get bored.

Friday, December 17, 2010

We are the army

My time at the cricket was thoroughly enjoyable. From the moment I walked through the Phil Ridings Gates on a glorious Thursday evening, I knew I was on a winner. I was there to attend a Lord's Taverner's function, featuring the oratory skills of Sir Ian Botham and Ian Healy.
I got to meet and shake hands with Sir Ian, after he had finished regaling the audience with tales of Ashes battles old and new. Beefy is in pretty good shape and, unlike Ian Chappell, I don't think I'd be keen to take him on in a car park stoush.
I met some great people over the course of the five days, both in the stands and up on the hill in the Barmy Army. Some local, some from 12000 miles away. It almost restored my faith in humanity. Almost...
Adelaide Oval is a beautiful place to watch cricket - I hope those members who have an eye on further "development" of the ground remember how magnificent it is right now. Commentators and spectators alike are united in their praise of the visual splendor of the oval and its environs.
The evenings in the pub were brilliant. Hundreds of people, mainly men, singing, dancing and enjoying a drink or three. And not a sign of trouble, no matter how bladdered folk were. The only overly aggressive behaviour I witnessed in the whole time was that of one of the bouncers, who was obviously bored and looking to kick something off. I guess they have a tough job sometimes, but this lad was probably out of his depth, and a smartarse to boot.
The cricket was exciting from the very first over, and was a great advert for the long form of the game. We lost some time due to bad weather, but England still managed to wrap up the match with a few sessions to spare.
The Tuesday afternoon/evening session was big. Getting to the pub at lunchtime, accompanied by the glow of victory, meant for a long day in the saddle. I paid for it on Wednesday.
As I type, it looks like the series will be all tied up going into the Melbourne Test Match on Boxing Day. How I would love to be there!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy days, indeed...

Another rather large day at the cricket. Followed by a rollicking night at PJ O'Brien's...

It was an early start; I was hoping to get the undercover seats so that I would be afforded some relief from the sun. I'd had a quietish night, so I felt fit & well and ready for a day's cricket. The joyous ringing of the church bells meant that it had to be Sunday. The day of rest. For some.
The morning session saw the reaching of milestone after milestone, the only blot being Alastair Cook's failure to achieve 150. Mind you, 148 isn't too bad...
It was more of the same after lunch. Plenty of runs, and a few beers. The Barmy Army was pretty quiet, leading me to think that they'd perhaps had a good Saturday night in Adelaide. Pietersen's masterful double hundred was appropriately acknowledged by the crowd - I guess they don't really hate him that much...
My mate finally turned up at 2.30, only six and a half hours late.
The rain arrived, as promised, just after tea. It meant that no further play was possible and the day ended prematurely. The Australians were happy, and will be hoping for more delays throughout Monday and Tuesday. The forecast indicates that their wishes may come true.
A few of us caught a taxi up to the pub, where we spent the night in the company of friends; chatting, drinking and singing.
Before I knew it, Sunday had become Monday and I could hear my bed calling. I said goodbye to my mates, some for the last time on this tour, and poured myself into a taxi.
Happy days, indeed.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Curry for breakfast

The first two days of the Adelaide Test Match have followed a similar pattern. An early start and a line up at the gate has ensured a shaded seat in the Members' section - an absolute must in these sweltering conditions. Pakoras and samosas have been an inspired breakfast choice. The first beer has usually presented itself around noon, and the pace has been reasonably gentle, but on a steady rise in frequency, in terms of consumption. I've spotted Nasser Hussain, Graham Trott and James Anderson wandering around, and shared my immediate vicinity with pleasant people, in the main.
The atmosphere at the ground has been great, and cricket has been equally impressive. Especially in the eyes of England fans. The game should be England's for the taking, but I fear that the weather will rob either team of pushing for a result. We shall see.