Friday, December 03, 2010

The Oakengates Crawl

I've talked before about where I live (see here), a small "town" called Oakengates, formerley a foundry and mining town, now part of Telford in Shropshire.

When we first moved to the town my Dad bought me a book written by a Rev. Cartlidge that traced the history of the town back to Roman times. Also in the 1980's another book was written, imaginatively titled "The Oakengates Book". It was a series of oral histories, quotes from local residents about the recent history of the town. Our local library "re-published"" it a couple of years ago and I managed to get a copy.

I was particularly taken by a couple of pages in "The Oakengates Book" that laid out a map of Market Street, which is the main street in the town. Marked on that map were all the pubs that there used to be in the street. Now Market Street from one end to the other is around 350 yards in length and at one time there were 16 pubs in Market Street alone! That's one pub approximately every 65 feet!

On a seemingly unrelated tack a friend of mine, Howard, had the idea for what he calls the Oakengates Song Project (more info here), in a nutshell he envisaged that all the musicians who were capable in and around Oakengates (and there are quite a few) might write a song about the town and we could have a night in our local pub where we premiered all these songs.

A great idea. Unfortunately only taken up by Howard and myself.

So, armed with a book and a brief to write a song about the town, what I did was write something called "The Oakengates Crawl". Inspired by the list of 16 pubs in Market Street (and some others) and a story in "The Oakengates Book" about a chap who would go into Oakengates and have a few drinks after work on pay day (he would start at the top end of Market Street and drink his way through all 16 pubs and then go home. Unfortunately he was one day found dead on some wasteground between Oakengates and his home. At the inquest into his death the landlord at the first pub he visited was giving evidence; "At what time did the deceased leave your public house" he was asked "Oh around 7.30pm" he replied. "And by 7.30pm how much had he drunk ?", the landlord responded "The same as usual, about 8 pints" !!!) I committed to song the tale of an (almost) imaginary pub crawl through Oakengates.

On the 25th November 2010 two significant things happend to my song. Firstly in the afternoon my brother carted all his recording equipment round to my house and, using the conservatory as a control room and the living room as a studio, we recorded "The Oakengates Crawl". That very same evening, with sterling assistance from Howard and Sally, we performed my song for the first time in public at our local pub The Crown Inn. Not once, but twice. The second time with full audience participation after distributing song sheets around the main bar.

My brother took away the recording we made and, together with his partner in musical crime, sprinkled it with some musical fairy dust, making it sound better than I could ever have hoped.

And now I am sending my song out into the world, so here it is for your enjoyment (hopefully). I'd be more than interested to know what you think.

The Oakengates Crawl by russh29

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Following a drunken Halloween incident in my local...This Movember I've decided to donate my face to raising awareness about prostate cancer. My donation and commitment is the growth of a moustache for the entire month of Movember, which I am sure will generate conversation, controversy and, not least, much laughter.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man dies every hour from the disease in the UK. This is a cause that I feel deserves wider publicity and I'm asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to The Prostate Cancer Charity. To help, you can:

- Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account.

You will be able to follow the progress of my Mo' with daily photographic eveidence available at

The Prostate Cancer Charity will use the money raised by Movember for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.

For more details on the impact Movember is having please visit

Thank you in advance for helping me to support men's health.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shared 2

Flipping wonderful day out at The Horseshoe Inn at Ratlingope on Saturday for Shared 2

If you weren't there you missed a fantastic days music in a beautiful setting with good friends, fine ale and great food.

Personal highlights of the day were Rob Dunsford's set. I finally got to hear him play for more than 4 songs. Also the debut performance of the Dirty Ray band which I didn't think I was going to get to see.

Here's a couple of video's from the day for those that missed out:

Firstly Mr Timothy Parkes performs "Looks Like Rain" from the Shared album

Then Dirty Ray and band performing "Big World For A Little Man" the title track form Ray's forthcoming album

Pictures of some of the other performers can bee seen here

If you weren't there you'll just have to make sure you are the next time...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Click, Flap, Ouch...

Given the title of this blog of mine I suppose it is only fitting that I include some Morris Dancing content, if only for the benefit of anyone stumbling upon my little world following a search for information on English Folk dancing (For those of you still not up to speed on the reasons for my blog's title see here).

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures for your entertainment:

These two ladies were wandering around backstage at the Cambridge Folk Festival and were most surprised when I leapt out of a trailer asking if I could take their picture. I explained that I had a great interest in Morris Dancing but they wouldn't believe my reasons why if I told them. Lovely pairs of bells tho' !

This poster was in the main arena at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Morris Dancing with a dangerous edge, I like the idea of that.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Life Is A Bowl of Onions...

...I know those lyrics are wrong but that's what I heard when I was a kid.

I had one of those days yesterday when I just HAD to play the Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen" VERY LOUD when I left work (if you don't know why I would do that all is explained here). The main reason for this was a "can't do wrong for doing right" situation caused by one of the members of staff in our German office. Now I know not all Germans are dislikable f*ckwits (see Rammstein, NEU!, Claudia Schiffer, Kurt Weill, the Brothers Grimm, Johann Gutenberg...right that's enough of that) but this particular one grinds my gears every time I see his name in my inbox (his name by the way would usually make you laugh when applied as a catch-all description for Germans). Anyways, I am quite proud of the fact that I actally managed to count to 10, bite my lip and ignore the annoying bastard.

Onto happier matters.

We're off to Belfast this weekend, to do my "other job", you know, the one I do occasionally that has a point and a purpose rather than the one I do day to day for no other reason than to keep a roof over our heads. Not been to Belfast for a couple of years and only done gigs there on 2 previous occasions so it'll hopefully be a good night. The opening band is Cornershop about whom I know nothing except "Brimful of Asha" so I think I'm quite looking forward to seeing them.

Other than that not much to report I'm afraid. No new music to advise on, it's been conspicuous by its absence recently. Oh Louis Eliot is going on tour opening for Thea Gilmore in Sept/Oct. I'm torn on whether to get tickets as I may run the risk of bumping into that odious fiddler, be cool to see Louis again tho'

Toodle pip...

Monday, July 26, 2010


First time in an Airport in around a year. It has not become a more pleasurable experience in any way, shape or form and unfortunately I have to repeat the experience in around 10 days time

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Birmingham,United Kingdom

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

It's that time of year again...

...if you don't know what I mean check here. I didn't report on last years mainly due to the fact that it took me a fortnight to dry out and by the time I'd achieved that state of comfort I'd forgotten what had happened.

There's a bit of a crowd of us attending this year, 8 in all, so it should be a fine time. Anyway I shall report on the weekends shenanagins next week.

Not much else to report otherwise...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Million Dollar Fear...

Age, it's all the rage.

I remember a saying something along the lines of "you know you're getting old when Policemen start to look young". I know what that means but with me it when Professors start to look young.

Take, for instance, Professor Brian Cox, he is a particle physicist, a Royal Society research fellow, a professor at the University of Manchester and he works on the Large Hadron Collider (that big thing under the ground in Switzerland that was gonna create a black hole that would swallow the planet when it was switched on but just broke down after a few hours). He also makes very interesting TV documentaries about the Wonders of the Solar System. Hell's teeth he even found time to appear on a number 1 single (D:Reams "Things Can Only Get Better").

But have a look at some pictures of him. He barely looks old enough to be out on his own on a Friday night let alone have done all that stuff...or is it just me ???

It's a funny thing age. Another saying springs to mind, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Up here in my head it feels the same as it did when I was a teenager but when I try and do the things I did then the flesh does indeed creak and whine and begs me to stop.

Not sure why any of that matters just needed to get it off my chest !

In other news...

The Universal released their debut album this week which I am digging in a big way
The Chords (original lineup) are reforming which I am uncommonly excited about

And errr...that's all really x

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

And The Winner Is...

...I sometimes think I don't want to know

For those of you not in the UK, there is a general election here tomorrow (6th May).

My son will be voting in his first general election tomorrow.
He's quite excited by the prospect.
He's about the same age I was when I first voted in a general election (1983).
Please, please, please (insert your preferred deity here) he and the country doesn't end up suffering under a Tory government like we did under that evil witch Thatcher after my first election!

If you were thinking of not voting THINK AGAIN ! It's important. It's your one chance every five years or so to have your say and if you can't spare a few minutes for something this important every 5 years then you really need an attitude re-adjustment.

If you were thinking of voting Tory cos you don't like Gordon Brown or you think all the parties are the same or you quite like Blue THINK AGAIN ! A cursory scan throuh their policies will show you what they think of ordinary people and how it's ordinary people that will suffer under them again.

Whatever you do tomorrow make sure you have thought about it.

Here endeth the public service announcement...without guitars...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Will Be... can read Amsterdam singer Iam Prowse's blog about the recent Wonder Stuff tour here (not sure what the Kylie Minogue post is about tho')

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Night Though...

Well here I am back at my "real" job and reflecting back over the past few days

Gig Of The Tour
A closely fought for honour between Glasgow and Leeds, it's difficult to separate the two. Had the miserable bouncer not denied us entry to the pub post-gig I may well have gone for Leeds but given the redeeming nature of the night in Glasgow I'll give it to them.

Antic Of The Tour
Has to be PM's antics in Newcastle. Having a bouncer kick in the door of the cubicle in which you are performing and managing not to get thrown out of the bar or have your head caved in by said bouncer is some feat.

Beer Of The Tour
Definitely the Barnsley Bitter in Leeds which should make up for it not having won Gig Of The Tour.

Onstage Comment Of The Tour
You might think it would be the Newcastle U2 comment but I'm going for Glasgow's "my brothers nickname for me all my life has been Titch. Hey Russ! in Glasgow they call me Big Man"

Personal Highlight Of The Tour
Writing this blog to be honest. I've promised to do it before and not delivered. There may not have been too many gory revelations but it gave me something to think about each night and made me take more notice of what was going on around me instead of getting lost in my own little world.

It's been a blast people, normal service shall now be resumed...

Location:Hagley Road,Birmingham,United Kingdom

Monday, April 26, 2010

Th-Th-Th-Th-That's All...

It's all over. The London/US troupe left for the smoke directly from Bournemouth. We dropped our fantastic TM at the airport at stupid o'clock this morning and narrowly escaped having the bus invaded by 50 returning tourists and luggage.

We are now parked in exactly the same spot we were 11 days ago waiting to load the backline into storage.

I think everyone agrees this has been one of the most enjoyable tours we've ever done. I'll try and write more later but right now I need to chill.

It was a good night though...

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Branston St,Birmingham,United Kingdom

Sunday, April 25, 2010

20 Life Sized Smurfs...

Bournemouth appears to have changed from a place where elderly folk come to live out their remaining years (although the town still contains a fair few oldies) into stag/hen night hell.

Whilst walking to a bar last night to meet the rest of our gang we encountered multiple groups of men and women in fancy dress ducking in and out of brightly lit bars playing terrible music on underpowered sound systems, including 20 chaps dressed as life sized Smurfs and an equal number of "ladies" (I use the term loosely) in black leotards and pink or lime green tutu's and leggings.

Maybe I'm turning into one of those people who should be heading here to live out my remaining years but I just don't understand it.

Sorry for not posting from Leeds but circumstances, time, opportunity and inclination conspired against me. Needless to say it was a blinding gig, on a par with Glasgow. It was noted later that when you see Leeds on your intinerary you never think it will be anything special but recent visits there have all been memorable.

We awoke yesterday morning parked in an alley behind tonights venue (ahhh that glamorous rock 'n' roll lifestyle !). We had a lazy day off in a sun drenched seaside town. We walked along the beach, paddled in a frankly ice cold Channel (our TM went for a dip again and confirmed it was colder than Falmouth) walked along the pier, all that stuff you do in seaside towns.

Today is the final show of the tour and afterwards our gang will break up and spread across the world as usual, hopefully until next time. I'll try and wrap all this up tomorrow

Good morning people...

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Undercliff Dr,Bournemouth,United Kingdom

Friday, April 23, 2010

OI! Bono...

Not only did our singer stay up until 9am boozing (singer "why didn't you tell me it was 9am" Tour Manager "you didn't ask") he was heard to have the following exchange with a member of his audience:

(Singer explains why the band will be playing some cover versions)

Audience Member: "Do some U2"

Singer: "I will...right after I come down there and kick your f*ckin' head in"

Oh how we laughed!

We managed to spend even more money in Britains finest Doctor Martens shop(Scorpio Shoes for those that are interested). Our shoe addiction may yet be the ruination of us but we now both have very comfortable sandals.

This is the scene that greeted us over breakfast

You gotta say that's a beauty. Reminded me of Edinburgh. Shame breakfast wasn't as impressive !

Tomorrow we look forward to investigating a cheese and chocolate shop a friend told us about. And we have kidnapped the support bands giant poster and plan to ransom it.

-- posted from my iPhone

Location:Windmill Way,Gateshead,United Kingdom

Thursday, April 22, 2010


We always had a great night in Glasgow. We always used to have the Glasgow show early in the tour so we would be guaranteed a great night that would set us up for the tour ahead.

Then a couple of years ago we had a bad, bad night here that soured our relationship with the city. Tonight we returned to the scene of that bad night.

I don't think I was the only one feeling a little apprehensive about the night ahead but...Glasgow and the band delivered in equal measure. Tonights was a storming show the like of which I haven't enjoyed in a while.

Random thought...I must try and get a copy of Paul Weller's new album in Newcastle tomorrow.

I've just been to the 24 hour shop across the street and bought an entire box of Freddo's to keep us company on the road. The shop was next door to the chippy where earlier I dined on battered haggis and chips...lovely.

Thank you Glasgow and goodnight people...

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Bath St,Glasgow,United Kingdom

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bring Me Sunshine...

It's been a beautiful day. Clear blue skies, sunshine, beaches, harbours...beautiful. Shame we had to do a gig in the middle of it really!

Our tour manager went for a dip in the sea which was apparently invigorating. He swears his teen like complexion is a result of seawater and iodine produced by seaweed. He also told me people were looking at him like he was nuts when he emerged from the briney.

The venue itself was s strange one. A pavillion with a garden feauturing a stunning display of yellow tulips and a bandstand, look...

Unfortunately we didn't get to play in the bandstand.

We are now rolling north heading for the Shropshire hills to spend a day off in good company at one of the finest hostelries in the county, if not the country.

Goodnight people...

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Kenwyn,United Kingdom

Monday, April 19, 2010


We have Neu! on the stereo and I've just eaten half a chicken and stuffing sandwich, a packet of Tomato Sauce flavour crisps, poured away a bottle of Carlsberg (foul "tasting" pish) and am considering a packet of M&M's (no peanuts).

Earlier this evening the bass player found a pair of discarded mens undergarments (used) in a corridor behind the stage and immediately identified them as belonging to the drummer. I'm sure you are asking the same questions we did.

I've just seen off the M&M's incidentally.

I met Emma with a Batman tattoo tonight. I've never seen anyone quite so excited at the prospect of buying a tea towel (visit the merchandise stand and it'll make sense).

Yesterday I told you I paid £3.30 for a pint. Today I got 2 pints for £3.58. And people wonder why I hate London.

That was a screen capture of the Peterson tuner app on my iPhone. Those of you who know will see that the B-string was a little sharp.

Just some random observations from a Sunday in Bristol. We're headed for the seaside now. Goodnight people ...

- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Loxton,United Kingdom

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Here is our colour co-ordinated bus and trailer basking in the Bristol sunshine

Home on wheels

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:A4,Bristol,United Kingdom

Members Only...

I like Shepherds Bush Empire. Not because it's in London, not becase it's our capital but because it has a bloody big stage and I get to spread out a bit, like this:

Beautiful isn't it ? Not everyone gets as excited as me about pictures of guitars in stands but hey, arrest me.

I woke up in an underground car park this morning, I saw a chopper, bought a new Fred Perry, paid over £3 for a may detect a sense of the day not being filled with excitement, which is true but not a bad thing. But it means I'm struggling to tell you anything exciting.

We're now on the bus, a full complement at last after all our volcano based travel difficulties. All is remarkably calm. Usually we have loud music but tonight it's conversations about lip balm and comments about members of our party's members!

Tomorrow we will be in Bristol and I have just been reminded that on our last visit to this venue myself and a lighting chappie had a "frank exchange of views". I wonder if he'll be there again ? Better go get some rest and polish up my cutting remarks...goodnight people.

- Posted From My iPhone

Location:Maidenhead,United Kingdom

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Volcanoes, Ferries, Carpet Slippers & Fitters...

We eventually all converged in Oxford. Two by ferry, three by car and the rest of us on a big green bus replete with colour co-ordinated trailer. The volcano tried to keep us apart but we prevailed.

Right, now enough of the pompous shit and down to business.

First days of tours I tend to find are quite fraught but this was a breeze. Everything done and dusted before 5.30 and into the nearest pub. No food to be had apart from "some stuff I've had in the freezer for 18 months" which was respectfully declined.

All the usual suspects had assembled by the time we'd been in the pub for an hour or so. Every-ware, Giggman, J and Mrs Buckley and Dave, who had made a gargantuan effort to arrive on time from Inverness regardless of what Icelands finest threw at him.

By 8 we were in the venue to witness the mighty Amsterdam fire up the crowd. If you're coming to a show and have never seen Amsterdam, make the effort to see them, they really are something special.

Our show passed uneventfully (I like 'em like that). Crowd and band seemed to enjoy themselves in equal measure.

And now we are back on the bus, London bound. I'm sitting in the front lounge in my carpet slippers (home comforts are important) listening to the playback of Dirty Rays album from the back lounge.

And the reason for mentioning the carpet fitter ? The local crew had to completely clear the stage once we'd finished. Lou Reed is playing there on Sunday and he will only play on a carpetted stage. So the Academy have a carpet fitter coming in tomorrow...HEY! Lou wrote "Walk On The Wild Side" so he can do what he likes.

Goodnight good people.

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:High Wycombe,United Kingdom

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Icelandic Volcanoes...

...have never previously been known to cause much of a problem to bands touring the UK, but...

The current eruption of a volcano underneath a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull (try saying that after a few pints!) area of Iceland has sent a cloud of volcanic ash heading south which is causing major disruption to all flights in the UK.

How does this affect touring UK bands I hear you cry ? Well, one of our crew is currently stranded at Schipohl Airport in Amsterdam , en route from the USA, unable to enter the UK due to said cloud of volcanic ash !

Could you all face north and start blowing it away please ?

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Countdown Has Begun

Well I've had a call from the tour manager, a man of impeccable credentials and previously of my acquaintance, so it looks like we are good to go.

Look out Oxford, the Groovers will, very shortly, be on manoeuvres.

-- Posted From My iPhone

Location:King Edwards Rd,Birmingham,United Kingdom

Thursday, April 08, 2010


...3 months. I know I'm sorry but I've been otherwise distracted. I'm also sometimes unsure whether there is actually anyone out there reading this stuff or whether I'm just shouting into some virtual darkness ?


You may recall a couple of years ago I went on tour and promised, via the wonder of internet cafe's, to Blog the tour. After a couple of days of hunting down said internet cafe's in dark, dank corners of backstreet's in unfamiliar towns, I gave up.

Well, I am back on tour in exactly 7 days time and having just taken delivery yesterday of a shiny new iPhone, and upon discovering that there is "an app for that" (posting here on Blogger I mean, it's called BlogPress if anyone is interested) then I shall once again make the outrageous claim that I will "Blog the tour". This will of course come at great personal cost due the the aforementioned app costing me the princely sum of £1.79 !!! I trust you will all feel suitably grateful for my sacrifice.

So what to expect ? Hell how would I know, but I hope I can assure you it will not be dull. Names will be changed to protect the guilty and all that kind of stuff but I hope it will, nevertheless, be a ripping yarn.

Right, let's set the SatNav for Planet Rock...