Ian Edmundson UNTRUTHS

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Ian's 2020 blog archive

In which I try to write something new every day for a change.... 

Monday January 1st:
Happy new year. I spent an amount of today with my band*, firstly finishing off our sold-out New Year's Eve gig in Lostock. Then we all went home, got a bit of sleep and then we were all back out again and off to Tyldesley to do the jam night, which lasted 4 hours, finishing at 10pm. We are value for money.

New Year's Day is usually a day at home with family for most people, but my lot don't seem to do family stuff at Christmas. I don't like Christmas-time and if I could go away every year and ignore it, I really would. I have been away to Egypt and Austria over Christmas and both trips were superb. When I am not in a band anymore, I am going to make sure that I go away over Christmas every year and avoid it all. The best Christmas I've had at home for a few years was - bizarrely - when we had had a power cut for a few days and my son Paul (who was living with us at the time) was there with us as we struggled to get through it was given the choice of going elsewhere, where it wouldn't have been so makeshift. He stayed here with us. I love him for that. Rachel always goes to her mum's on Christmas Day, without exception. We work around it.

*I say 'my band' like everyone else in a band does, but I am one third of it.


Thursday January 2nd:
Today, after several attempts over the last week, I managed to get to Bolton tip to get rid of a load of cardboard. Everyone in Bolton seems to have had the same idea for the last week or so. I was greeted at the tip by the lovely chap (Reluctant John) who gets up at our jam night to do an Elvis song. A nice suprise.


Friday January 3rd:
The ridiculous seasonal workload of the band has taken its toll on Ian, our guitarist. He has arranged cover for the jam, as he is exhausted. He's working full-time as well as doing all of the gigs, so it is no wonder he is worn out. Christmas and New Year were very tiring.


Saturday January 4th:
The Bank Top Tavern, Oldham. I was feeling knackered in the run up to the set. I was so utterly dog-tired that, when we sound-checked with Are you ready? by Thin Lizzy, I had trouble even getting the bass rhythm to feel right. The crowd thickened up a bit for when our gig started and I got a bit of adrenalin from somewhere.


Sunday January 5th:
As mentioned, Ian, our guitarist, wasn't at the jam today, so we had the pleasure of playing with Steve Mulvaney, the excellent guitarist I was in The Kerbcrawlers with. I put him to the test on a number of songs (that I pretty much dropped on him out of the blue) and he did brilliantly well, considering how long it had been since we played some of them. Versions of Alice and Sylvia's Mother were included, seeing as Alice is definitely expected. I was told that I did Alice very well. A good evening.

As I type, I am, co-incidentally, listening to a live recording of The Kerbcrawlers at the Town Hall in Eccles from May 2005. We were a good little band.


Monday January 6th:
Out of bed very late. Exhausted. An evening of TV. Dracula.


Tuesday January 7th:
Out of bed very late. Exhausted. Spent the afternoon doing some serious writing for a book. I also edited another photobook that I am working on a little. More Dracula in the evening.


Wednesday January 8th:
Not one of my best days.

Alan Mosiezny's funeral at Radcliffe Crematorium. Nice weather for it, but I sat at the back in the crem, close to tears. His lovely wife Sue, spoke very fondly of his love for his family and their love for him, enduring his love for aircraft, amongst other things from all of their years together. She showed great strength and love to do that for him. Some years ago, Alan joined a secret society with codes and odd handshakes - DWP.

I first met Alan when we both trained on Jobseekers Allowance at the old Bury office some years ago. He was a brand new entrant and I had just gone from working on IT support to paying benefits, after managing really well to avoid it for many years. We both struggled with the training and supported each other through it all and afterwards. We became good mates and socialised a bit outside work, when he came to my gigs and we went to the pub at lunchtime at the drop of a hat.

Alan was always the most patient and easy going fella. He saw the best in everyone and, when Alan was put on a team with the well-known and much-hated office f*ckwit, lots of people warned Alan about him. Alan refused to believe that anyone could be as spiteful and as buggardly as they all said, until he almost provoked an apopoleptic Alan into spreading him all over the wall of his office. The f*ckwit would delight in playing mind games with people and Alan, having the patience of a saint, was something of A CHALLENGE for him. The office f*ckwit was left under no delusions that he was down the road if he kept winding people up and he was moved away from Alan and watched closely.

We had the same sense of humour at times. One office dress-down day, we decided it would be a hoot to both come in wearing formal dinner suits, wing-collar shirts and bow ties. He would play Santa at Christmas, wearing the Santa suit, which had been previously vacated by the office paedophile, who moved abroad. It was probably newly-fumigated, so Alan could wear it.

Alan's retirement, several months before my own retirement, prompted me to think quite seriously about whether I could afford to do it myself. Like myself, Alan had had enough of all of the daily petty foolishness. He had worked in very responsible roles in industry in THE REAL WORLD and the ridiculously futile Civil Service brand of foolishness, in the most foolish office in DWP did not suit him that much. He said he had had enough of us all being needlessly treated like school-children. He went and he left a big hole.

Without Alan there, to keep us all amused (and vice versa) it was nothing like as much fun and all of us Union Reps were being harrassed and battered by management. I started to plot my own escape. I did the math and then, after an imbecilic acting line manager tried to bust me after taking time off for necessary recuperation from a hospitalisation and operation, I started working harder on getting out than staying in.

Alan had been fumbling on guitar - his words, not mine. He said he had 'sausage fingers'. So he moved onto drums and was doing reasonably well at learning to play and he came along to brighten up our jam night a few times.

We kept in touch and still had occasional lunch meetings, but with Alan's freedom came the chance to go plane-spotting a lot more, so bless him, he went to the airport when he could. When I left, we continued to meet some of the guys from work. I was fairly regular, once a week, but Alan less so, as when Sue retired, they spent lots of time together.

Recently we saw him a lot less, as he became afflicted with motor neurone disease, which, as illnesses go, is about as cruel as it gets. It, at first, mildly affected his co-ordination, but then moved onto his speech. It must have been beyond awful for such a well-spoken, intelligent and life-and-soul-of-the-gathering type chap.

He considered and sometimes discussed his own mortality a lot when we saw him and he then went a bit radio-silent for a long while, but I managed to arrange to go to see him at home, a couple of weeks before Christmas with another friend and I was saddened to see how the disease had prgressed. He was in good spirits but struggling. I said was going to get Christmas out of the way and then go back to see him again, with a couple of work mates that he would have loved to see, but he didn't make it into the new year. We lost him on Christmas Day morning. It was quite a shock. But at least he is not struggling anymore. Considering how much he must have hated how his health was, I can live with that.

Good turnouts at a funeral are not the measure of a man, even though lots of his friends were there (not so much from work, as he'd left a few years ago and the joke is still told about problems getting time off, even for your own funeral). Some of us who were closest to him at work turned up to see him off and I am glad I was there for him, even though it was extremely sad.

In the car on the way back, I muttered something about my own personal wish for a wicker coffin and playing a few songs that everyone wouldn't like. "Everyone?" joked Lynda, caustically, gently mocking my natural assumption that anyone would come to my funeral. I might not even get the time off to go...


Thursday January 9th:
After we got back from Alan's funeral, I had several glasses of wine and, for a nightcap, I had a large measure of toffee vodka. The glass it goes in is deceptive. I was in a poxy mood before I went to bed (very early hours) and when I woke up this morning, I felt so utterly rough that I have sworn off the toffee vodka for a while. I had to go into Bolton at lunchtime to meet Mike and Steve. I ended up having one solitary pint of Fosters, as that was enough for me. I'd have been happier with a coffee, really. Two at lunchtime is too much for me anyway.


Friday January 10th:
Tired out, but set off for the gig at the Stock Dove in Romiley, bright and early and I was there for 7.45. We were due to start at 9pm, so I was set up pretty much before the others arrived. Graham was generally first to arrive at gigs, but since he moved house and teaches drums Fridays and Saturdays, I now sometimes beat him to the venue - but not every time - and not always by much, though.

We played a decent show and there was some rather good punterage entertainment for the band while we played. We went down really well. Nice venue, nice landlord and land lady. Back there once more later this year. I am now looking at the diary and feeling like calling it 'full' for this year. One Saturday left in July and I just want to blank off that weekend. Next year will have even more weekends off built in. We are all getting tired.


Saturday January 11th:
Up very late after last night's exertions. Ignored alarm at 10am. Lynda came back to bed and we both just decided to sleep again.

Spent a good amount of the day updating the Slade book, THE NOIZE, which I wrote with Chris Selby, for the forthcoming 2021 second edition. There will be lots of new stuff to go in. More illustrations, more reviews and quotes, more details. All done to improve it and keep it as the book we would have wanted to buy. I have a fantastic cover design all done and ready to go. It was originally designed for the 2019 Convention edition, but when we talked about what could go in a second edition of the book, I decided that I had to do another new cover for the Convention book and save the unseen new cover for that new second edition.

Tonight, we played at The First and Last bar in Leigh. Our first time there and we went down quite well with the crowd. A fairly easy load in and out, though the parking nearby isn't as easy as it could be. We got our first and last drinks free, seeing as we were playing there, which was very hospitable. People were filming us. I can never seem to find the footage. I wonder what they do with it?

We got the gig through a recommend from our friends The Hats. That same night, they played a pub in Bolton where the DJ plays music at a dangerously high volume, while the band sets up and between sets and while we are breaking the gear down. It makes us sound puny. We have taken a couple of gigs there this year (and turned a couple more dates down, once we found out that DJ is still there). It is a horrible experience and last time we were there, I nearly asked for the accident book.

I don't want my tinnitus to go out of control. It's down to cymbals. My ears have a noticeable audible whistling sound going on all of the time, as it is. I can just about tune it out but it does annoy me sometimes, especially when it's time to go to sleep. Ian Hunter has put his music career on hold because of it. People have taken their own lives because of tinnitus and to inflict that kind of volume on people is just plain dangerous. Thinking what to do about those dates. Earplugs, for a start.


Sunday January 12th:
My wife Lynda is feeling quite down at the moment. She absolutely hates winter and long nights and dark days. She got up early and took the dogs out, then came back to bed. I stayed in bed awhile, mooched around then came back to bed 'til early afternoon. Luxury. I cheered her up by saying we will take the dogs out tomorrow to Heaton Park in Prestwich to give them a proper outing.

We did our jam night and had a very good turnout. Quite a few players and a pleasant evening was had by all. It was good to see Bill come back, though he clearly still isn't match fit. We did Sylvia's Mother again and it wasn't anything like as good as last week. We don't have an alternative venue for the three weeks off that are coming up, due to building work at the venue. We were told somewhere nearby may be able to take us on for those three weeks but that didn't come off. I wouldn't mind a rest for those dates. it would be nice to be able to do what other people do on Sundays - like meeting friends for a curry.

After the break, the venue is starting to do food and we will have a slightly later start and finish. This means I will possibly get my tea with Lynda - usually, it's too early for her to eat with me, before I set off at 5pm. There are some people the slightly later start will not work for, as they have early starts the next morning, but we intend to make the jam go no later than 9.30pm unless we have to.


Monday January 13th:
Another particularly grey and nondescript day. Our trip out to Heaton Park with the dogs didn't happen. Lynda said it was too dull to go out. Did some writing and played an amount of Super Challenge Freecell. It is grim out there.


Tuesday January 14th:
Grey again. Lynda spent most of the day in bed.


Wednesday January 15th:
Vincent and Edward - our beautiful brothers from Bosnia.

Vincent and Edward


Thursday January 16th:
At last.. Heaton Park with Lynda and the dogs in the morning. I got told off for parking on what turned out to be a heli-pad and so I had to move the car. Lynda got a bit breathless, so we only went for a shortish walk and got back to the car. Lunchtime in Bolton with the chaps. Curry in the evening with some very good friends of ours. Excellent food and excellent company.


Friday January 17th:
A day spent mainly lazing around doing very little. My late wife Julie would have been 58 today. The Three have just been offered a slot on the bill at the next Slade convention in 2021. This means learning some Slade songs for it, which isn't the end of the world. Slady will be headlining the event. This means the tribute band Slade UK have been deposed from the top slot - I just don't feel it when I watch them.


Saturday January 18th:
The Royal, Farnworth. We didn't have much of a crowd, as it's not been the payday after Christmas and New Year yet, but those that were there paid attention and clapped in the right places. We played well. Our mate Donna got up and joined us for one song at the end. Earlier in the day, Facebook reminded me that it was exactly one year ago that I ordered the first proof copies of THE NOIZE. Crikey. It's been one hell of a ride.


Sunday January 19th:
Jam night again. Again, a good turnout and as we often do, we over-ran the finish time. My car was jam packed full of gear and as I was tuckered out before setting off, getting all the gear in wore me out and I was struggling a bit during the jam itself. It was great fun, though. Looking at some photos taken during the evening, I look absolutely dreadful in them. Quite ill.

Ian Edmundson


Monday 20th January:
Afternoon. I am listening to the Listen like thieves album by INXS. Tom is looking up at me. First from the left of me, then from the right. He is totally fascinated by the small plate I have in front of me. It had a wrap on it a few minutes ago. It doesn't now. I ate it. He jumped up at it when Lynda was handing it to me at my studio desk. I wasn't impressed. Tom got a little tiny scrap of it when I had just about finished it. It went down so fast that he couldn't even have tasted it. I don't encourage him to watch me eat. I can't really enjoy my food if he is trying to get on a chair arm or, worse still, my knee, to look at what I am eating, or to beg a bit from me. Five minutes later. Tom is now two feet away from me, quietly refurbishing himself. He has not given up on the plate, though. He seems quite obsessed by it, which will do him no good at all. He is staring at the plate. There are a few drips of hot sauce on it, which he wouldn't enjoy at all. I know that when I get up, he will have a go at getting to the plate, unless I get up facing away from him.


Tuesday 21st January:

Shopping in Farnworth. Missed parcel delivery. Bugger. Form left for me to collect it from Bolton tomorrow. Good job I am in a car.

Off to the hospital to have my shoulder looked at. The doctor told me (from the scan that was taken last September, that they never called me back two weeks later to discuss, like they said they would) that my calcium buildup in my left shoulder - I am crumbling due to my age - is worse than my right, which I already knew. I am being referred for physio excercies on my damaged shoulders, rather than corrective surgery. I stopped physio to go back for the hospital to sort my shoulder out. They seem reluctant to do anything until I go through physio and get referred back to them again. (Bangs head against wall). I feel very badly like I am being fobbed off. I do like the physiotherapist that I have asked to be referred to, so I will discuss it properly with her. She managed to get my arms going quite a bit after my surgery. I think that she will be slightly dismayed that I stopped a round of physio to go back to the hospital, who have scanned me and just sent me back for physio.


Wednesday 22nd January:
Picked up the parcel from the sorting office in Bolton. Nothing interesting. Spent most of the day messing about on the net and doing some new graphics for my websites. Also assembling new playlists for the PA at gigs. I think we are all bored with what I normally play.

I have a 'bad taste' playlist, which I wish I could use more often. Here it is:


XTC's 'Pink thing' isn't actually that bad)


Thursday 23rd January:
Went into town to meet the chaps. Had a couple of pints of HAGGIS HUNTER. Quite a nice beer that I will probably never encounter again. Called in at the charity shop with some swag that Lynda had bagged up for them. An evening spent catching up TV. New Amsterdam is a current favourite and we are really enjoying His dark materials.


Friday 24th January:
Up very early. Off to college for a 9.30am start on my photography course. That finished at 12.00. I was quite surprised that some of the people who were meant to be on it didn't turn up for the first class. They will be the ones who are not paying for it, of course. One particular guy's attendance was really patchy on the beginner's course. He was the one who always asked the tutor for a pen, turned up with a camera with a flat battery and never ever had a folder for his work. he will turn up next week and take up time catching up and distract everyone all through the class. After that, I nipped home and went to Ray's mum's post funeral wake in a club near me. Freda was lovely, she was mad about Quo and turned up at a number of our gigs and we always had to play Quo stuff for her. She's with Ray now, if you believe in all that. I didn't stay long at the wake. I was feeling a bit headache-y. I sat down and nursed a pint. A few people said hello and then sat elsewhere. A guy from a local trib band said hello, sat one seat away from me, with his back turned to me, gabbing with his mates. After half an hour of being totally ignored, I went out and got something to eat. Sorry, Freda. I had a rest in the afternoon and pulled myself together. I quite fancied another drink while I relaxed, but I had some stuff to do which involved driving.

Our evening's gig was in a village pub. It's a gig I don't really look forward to that much, because we turn up and the stage space is never ever cleared for us. Even though I got there later than usual, I was still the first there. For a change, I decided not to go ask the bar staff to clear the space - which usually results in pulled faces and excuses - and did it myself. It only took a couple of minutes, but it's stuff we shouldn't have to do. We're not paid for it and, with two knackered shoulders, moving tables and chairs around and stacking them just doesn't work for me. It hurts afterwards. The venue also always have to be reminded what our fee is.

We had a natter at the soundcheck. Our guitarist Ian is mindful of how long the Roadhouse Blues medley is and wants to cut how much we play of School's out down (again) in what is a long medley. Both Graham and I think it's the best part of it, but I was tired and just said cut it out altogether, then. I'd like to do it complete - as a song on it's own. I have been lobbying for some time for us to put No more Mr Nice Guy in the set, as I've done it before. Ian mucks around with the riff, but says "Don't get excited - this doesn't mean we're doing it." Nice. There is some discussion about new songs. Sure-fire cracking rock songs don't make the cut because the other two don't know them. The audience probably would. Suede's Can't get enough is a great song - fantastic riff, charted etc. If a band doesn't change its set, it becomes a museum. We agree to try I can't take my eyes off you again. We have attempted it before at jam night and we have never quite got happy with it. Jet took us two and a bit years to pull together. I resolve to re-learn it at some point before Sunday afternoon. Probably on Sunday morning.

The crowd were a bit dead, as crowds go. One of our supporters turned up with a friend and danced around a lot. The rest of them were not whipped up into any sort of frenzy by Diane doing the twist all over the place. I introduced the band after five songs like I usually do, but I pointedly said "We are The Three and we are here to entertain you tonight... or die trying." It was lost on them.

Playing two sets of going on for an hour each when you are bone-tired and not in the mood for it is a skill. I really exercised that skill tonight. When we finished at 11.30pm, I put a few songs on the PA and then, as we packed up, we watched as a loud girl decided that she wanted another drink. Last orders had already been called a while before and the till had been taken out from behind the bar. She got really snotty with the bar staff and they asked her to leave. She wouldn't. In desperation, they called her Dad. I've never seen that done before. The scene played out again when her Dad wandered off back home. She got in a taxi with some mates and they presumably went into town to find somewhere that would let her in, to finish off getting totally hammered.

I was unable to give a chum a lift to and from the gig and so I was able to unwind properly on the way home. If I get a quiet drive home, I can go straight to bed and get to sleep, pretty much on my arrival at home, as I am then tired enough to be able to just nod off. I do like company on a long drive, but I like to get proper sleep even more. I always like getting into my own bed and dropping off ASAP after a gig. Playing somewhere a distance away from home and then sleeping somewhere else is even worse and means means I get a rubbish night's sleep. I avoid that whenever possible.


Saturday 25th January:
A bit of a lie in. I am better after a good night's sleep. I didn't do very much during the day. I was in a better frame of mind for tonight's gig, because I had rested properly the night before. I'd also had a lie down in the late afternoon.

Our evening gig was at the Duke of Wellington in Lostock, where we have a gig booked most months of this year. It's a small set-up area at the end of the bar. It makes the sound a little difficult for me, as the bass tends to boom a bit there and I am very conscious of that and so I have to keep adjusting my sound to try to stop it. Tonight a bunch of young lads were sat along the end of the bar, with their backs to us while we set up. They did move along a bit when we had to put our vocal mics in place, behind their backs. People were watching the band through them. There was a 40th birthday party going on, so it was packed.

Graham had said he also wanted to keep School's out in the medley, as he watches the crowd and they prick their ears up at that. So it remains in the medley for now.

Some friends turned up to watch us and - following a conversation I'd had with someone else recently - I asked how much of my own book they'd actually read. Not all of it. Not that it matters. I think a number of people simply humoured me by buying it. I'm not that interesting.

We started a bit early at 9.15 (though it said 9pm on the venue posters). Usually it's 9.30. And our first spot was a good 50 minutes. We had a break and started the second spot with us singing happy birthday to a nice young lady called Caroline, who also got the chorus of Caroline  Because we'd started early, our second spot looked like finishing a bit early, so the landlord kindly offered us some extra dosh to keep going 'til midnight. We are always willing to oblige and a few 'emergency songs' crept in - Summer of 69, I saw her standing there, Fire brigade, Honky tonk woman and Alice were slotted in.

I was home a little after 1am and went straight to bed.


Sunday 26th January:
Up at 10.30am. Our kitten Baby was nowhere to be seen. Panic stations for me. She has started going over the fence to next door's garden shed roof on little adventures, but she always comes back. I had a look round for her later and she was snuggled up to Lynda, who had gone for a lie down. Sent some of the morning running through I can't take my eyes off you and writing catch-ups on this blog.

Jam night at 6.30pm: I can't take my eyes off you went reasonably well. I will need the words, or a prompt for a while. My fingers know where to go, most of the time, when I am playing that one, which is the most important bit for me. That comes first when I have to sing and play. I am a bassist, first and foremost. We also had a go at Battleship chains by The Georgia Satellites, again with me singing. I've done it before, but not singing it. It's not going to be hard to get together. We are also looking at Saturdays night's alright for fighting, which I have sung before. That will be good if we get it right.

The rest of the jam was really excellent, with good attendance and participation. One woman (you can always tell when they are going to be trouble) came up to the front when one of the acts was about to start his econd song and demanded that she get up and sing. We said it was this act's turn at present. He'd only just started, and so we'd get her up shortly. If she went to see our guitarist, he'd talk to her about what songs we could do with her. That wasn't good enough. She got stroppy. This is a jam night, so why weren't we getting her up to sing? Graham tried to contain himself. She left in a huff. An obvious not-right. She will no doubt reappear in a couple of weeks and do the same thing again. They always do.


Monday 27th January:
Up reasonably early. Something to eat and then off to my physio appointment at the hospital. The physiotherapist is quite nice. He went through my shoulder's history - five or six years of problems. Shoulder op on right shoulder a couple of years back, physio, then back to hospital, then more physio, then back to hospital, MRI last september - no follow up meeting, now they are trying to avoid doing anything invasive, so I have been referred back for physio on what I consider to be a compromised shoulder. We have agreed that what I need to do is build up the muscle strength on my shoulders, as they are quite wasted and my shoulders feel quite boney. I have been given a basic simple exercise to do to start with, a couple of times a day.

In the evening, we watched the 'Michael Hutchence Mystify' DVD that I got for Christmas. It is quite tragic that he isn't here now. How he went is beyond tragic and what happened to him in his last few years was utterly awful.


Tuesday 28th January:
Up at 10am. Not bad, seeing as I finally went to bed at 2.30am. Lynda has not been well today and has spent a lot of the day in bed. She's been getting some crappy headaches.

Called round to my mate Dave's house in the afternoon for a quick visit. It was fun to horrify him with a bit of rock music from the Supergrass box set. The music is tremendous, but some of it is a bit rowdy for Dave. Seeing as he has spent a lot of money on various guitar distortion pedals, it's funny to see him disturbed by a distorted guitar. But, they are pretty noisy and he's a bit of a folkie at heart...

Lynda didn't eat very much of her evening meal. I ended up resorting to a takeaway curry at 8pm, as she had gone back to bed. After she picked at her bit of it, she went back to bed. I found myself channel-hopping and watching some of the TV awards show, which is generally pointless. Jodie Comer was pipped to the post for her award for Killing Eve, by Peaky Blinders actor Cillian Murphy. I suppose he was the only one who could have taken it from her. Ant and Dec took the annual award for the best show hosted by Ant and Dec and I ceased to care what was happening. Emmerdale won best soap for the fourth year and I started to nod off.

Dogs out and then lights out and off upstairs to play Super Challenge Freecell.
Starting with a shitty cold. Worried about my voice.


Wednesday 29th January:
Some really bad family news which I can't go into, but which caused me something of a sleepless night.


Thursday 30th January:
Into town to meet the guys... well, Mike, as Steve is is the USA at present.


Friday 31st January:
College at 9.30am. A morning of general confusion and apertures. Lynda has another heart operation scheduled for 8am on February 21st. In Liverpool.

The afternoon was made interesting by our central heating boiler deciding to pack up and go on strike again, when I went for my pre-gig bath and so I found the water to be freezing cold when I put my foot in it. I was not impressed. We tried various things to resurrect it, but to no avail. I rang the heating guy who sorted it last time and he said he'd pop round early tomorrow morning if he could to have a look at it. Amazing. He said it would probably be about 8.30am. Not as amazing, but if I have to get up to get the heating sorted, so be it.

I washed my hair in the kitchen sink, using a kettle and a jug and guessing temperatures, which was also not amazing, but at least I went out with nice hair, instead of looking like Wurzel Gummage. Our gig was interesting. My head was all over the place, with various family worries and residual panic about the boiler. I messed up songs throughout and my recall of lyrics was a joke. I forgot where I was on I want you to want me and it was pure comedy. On the drive home, I decided I'd call in at MacDonalds in Haslingden, rather than coming back via my outward route, up the M61. Mistake. The motorway was closed and I had to come off at Edenfield and drive down A roads into Bury then across to Bolton. I hadn't even bothered with Macdonalds after all that.

We have done a bit of juggling on a gig, so I could go to watch Sparks in Manchester in October, seeing as I managed to get two tickets. Another venue cancelled us by text message for a gig we had booked with them in April, as they were having a party with entertainment already provided. It is one of my least favourite and most rubbish-paying venues and it is actually a real pleasure not to have to play there. It's a long way to go for little money and to play to a small, but not mentally-formed audience. If we can lose the other gig later in the year, my life will be complete. Bed after 2am.


Saturday 1st February:
Up at 7.45am when the doorbell rang. I got dressed and struggled downstairs. Our central heating was fixed quickly and cheaply and I could now relax. I ended up going back to bed after a while. I slept a lot today.

We went to pick Kay up as she and Lynda were coming to watch us play at The Veterans Garage at Manchester City airport. Once we shoehorned her into the back of the car with all of the gear, we made very good time getting to the gig. The gig itself was an absolute pleasure - apart from the stairs to get up to the room we were playing in.... We don't usually do stairs. We were told there would be bikers around to help us in with the gear. Where were they? Anyway, the room we played in was really nice and we were pleased to see that we had some supporters there. We fixed up a gig in April, to replace the date that we lost at the other venue (thanks to Eloise for asking, as I didn't know who to chat to about it). I only got lost slightly in one song, because I got the giggles at one point. A fun evening.

The Three


Sunday 2nd February:
Up late. Updated the website with various gigs added and subtracted. I have a bit of a laze around watching some TV then at 5pm, I set off for the jam night. It's a 15-minute drive at most, with hardly ever any traffic. Parklng when I get there is either dead easy or a total pain.

The jam night ran pretty much as usual. Graham and I arrived at 5.15pm and loaded in and set up. Graham set up his drums and I set up the PA and chased some electricity over to the stage area from behind the DJ booth in the corner. Then I put the PA cabling in and power up the PA and play some music instead of whatever noise it is called that the bar have on. Graham plays totally unrelated drums over it. Then it's set up my mic, a guitar amp and my bass rig, check the sound balance on Graham's drums, tune two guitars and two basses. Ian usually turns up at around 6.10pm as he has quite a long drive to get there and is pretty much plug and play, ready to go. We sometimes start a couple of minutes late, as I am still running round doing stuff - I have been working at fever ptich for over an hour, non-stop.

I hate the jam night setup, as it is the hardest work I do all week and we do it every Sunday. It is a regular weekly absolute ball ache. I'm getting too old for this shit. There you go. I finally said it. If it wasn't such an enjoyable evening, once that hard work was done, I would opt out of it.

Despite the calls for us to play Busted, or Freebird, which we cheerfully ignore, we start the jam night off with a couple of songs that we need to get into the set - Battleship chains and Saturday night's alright for fighting. They go fairly smoothly and we pat ourselves on the back. Next weekend we have to use a dep drummer (Redders) for Friday night at the beer festival, as Graham is doing a reunion gig with his old band. Redders plays a bunch of songs with us that he thinks he needs to check are right. He's played with us before, but it's a while ago. They go quite well.

We get various people up. I change my mic for a spare, so I don't get anyone's lurgy. At one point, I change back to my own personal mic and this guy down at the front asks if he can come on the mic. I say no, because I'm on it, it is my own personal mic and I can't change it while I'm playing. He ignores me and comes on stage anyway. Fortunately, I have a third mic. The same guy decides it would be nice to play guitar with one of the regulars, to save me the job. I like playing guitar at jam nights, but it's not MY stage after the first few songs, so I happily plug him in and head off to the bar. My first drink is free and one of the guys from one of the bands buys me one.

The regular guy's face is a total picture as they go through the songs. It's errrmmm... different from what he was expecting. He does like it to be fairly consistent every time. I tell him afterwards "I like to see you suffer!". That's the great thing about jam night. It should never be the same. I personally like it when it gets a bit mixed up at jam nights. Anarchy is good for you. You learn from it and improve. At one point I sneak out, go a few doors down the street and get myself a portion of chips. I used to know a local band who lost their own jam night, as they wouldn't get other people up. That's NOT us at all.

We jog on with the evening, giving all of acts their turn and, of course, we usually run well past 9pm and we are still getting people up. All this unpaid overtime.... Graham has done a sterling job of organising who gets up next during the evening. The last couple of people to get up onstage come and go and the crowd start shouting for us to play Alice and Purple rain. We have run really late, so I stick some music on the PA instead. Not every week should be the same, nothing should be taken for granted. Always leave them wanting more.

After the last song, I always put the PA music on for 3 - 4 songs and then everything's off. In the meantime, while the said music plays over the PA, I am frantically breaking gear down and packing it away. Graham also gets on with it. There are always people who want to chat to us after we play and I always politely pass, as I have to get away. Ian has to be up at 6am for work. The bar staff want to get away, too. I am also very mindful of that.

We should have finished at 9pm. Allow 30 minutes to get the gear in the car and 15 minutes to get home. Of course that doesn't happen. I get home around 11pm. In April, the jam night will be starting a bit later. It will finish right on the dot every time from then.


Monday 3rd February:
I ignored my 9.30am alarm, as I am still knackered from last night's exertions. I really do feel it these days. Up ridiculously late - 11.30ish. I go out with the dogs for a good walk round the local lodge to clear the cobwebs. Three Gaz Coombes albums have arrived for me to listen to. Probably not all today. Lynda is doing a serious battle with defrosting the freezer, so I do have a limited window of opportunity. I catch up my writing on this page for the last few days and edit a couple of previous entries.

I get a phone call from a friend with close connections to various Slade members. Jim Lea has had his black Fender Stratocaster (Contemporary Japanese HSS model) stolen, somewhere in central London. So, we have to make the media explode with calls for the return of the guitar. I do the necessary on the website.

I spent the evening catching up TV with Lynda and missed the REAL Slade explosion of the century. Dave Hill has sacked Don Powell from the band by 'a cold email'. Those two had been together in bands since 1964. Now, while Slade may not be the name on everone's lips today, for some of us, this is a bit of a milestone and it is certainly a shock for Don. I had been emailing him over recent months and I got the feeling that something was amiss. Certainly, he wasn't speaking fondly of Hill.

On Facebook, Slade fans reaction varied between astonishment, outrage and also calls for a full reunion (from the particularly dim ones). That has been off the cards for so many years it is a nonstarter today. Hill has not come out of it well at all. It is their personal business, but I think Hill has made a mistake. The internet loses interest in Jim Lea's stolen guitar, as Slade are now over.


Tuesday 4th February:
Dave Hill responded to Don's announcement with a 'not accurate' response. The small corner of the internet that Slade inhabit was still going mad and the press had got hold of it and had asked Noddy Holder for comments. I emailed Don Powell to offer some support and web help. Lots of TV. Bed.


Wednesday 5th February:
Edward managed to get himself hurt. He came into the house with one of his rear paws bleeding and a hole in his onther rear leg. Off to the vets. We don't know what has happened. He ended up with painkillers and sedatives. On top of this, our central heating boiler packed up again. I tried to get the heating chap to come out, but he is mad busy with work.


Thursday 6th February:
Into town at lunch to meet with Mike. Took a carload of cardboard boxes to the tip, as Lynda is re-doing the kitchen so that everything in it is red. Chased the heating chap, but he's still busy. He said he may be able to come on Saturday.


Friday 7th February:
Edward limping miserably around the house. His rear paw is still giving him a bit of gyp. My son Paul popped around, which was nice - we haven't seen him for a bit. We talked about the heating problems. The guy is supposed to be coming to fix it tomorrow, so panic averted.

Philip Schofield, the TV presenter, bravely came out as being gay on morning TV. Cue a much bigger Internet explosion. Frankly, it is a matter that really only needs to be shared between himself and his family. But, however he feels the need to deal with it is totally up to him. I really don't feel the need to go round announcing to random people that I am straight, because what I get up to into the bedroom is nobody's business but ours. Public figures always seem to torture themselves over this kind of thing. Needlessly.

In the evening, the band played at the 31st annual Bent and Bongs Beer Bash. We went down really well and we look set to be back on there next year. We play stuff everyone knows and can do the jukebox of hits as required. Nice work, when you get it. Steve Redmond helped us out on drums, as our own drummer Graham was otherwise engaged with playing a theatre reunion show with his old band, Shabby Tiger.

Hartke rig

After the gig, we managed to get a couple of free drinks, very nice too, but having to drive back home means having to avoid the strong stuff and keep it to a legal amount.


Saturday 8th February:
Woke up early, feeling rather rough (I'm tired, not hungover) after last night's exertions. I woke up thinking about the damned central heating boiler. Spoke to the heating chap again. He got me to order the sensor part for the heating from Ebay. That's going to be another couple of days now without the central heating. Not what I was expecting. It's cold and Lynda is getting quite fed up. I want a warm bath more than anything else in the world. I get myself a shallow bath ready, using a kettle, but it's not a good soak in the bath. That's what I really need. As well as for the heating to be working. Lynda is going quietly mad about all of this.

I had some more very stressful bad news before our gig at The Hulton Arms in the evening - Graham will be taking a break again - and I played the gig in a total fog. I just wasn't into it, because of that. On top of the stress about the boiler, I was left in such a low state and feeling rather sick that I just functioned, rather than performing. There was quite an amount of talk to punters going on after we finished playing. I packed my car up and spoke to Graham and just went home, rather than waiting around.


Sunday 9th February:
Woke up feeling hideous. Stress manifests itself as nervous stomach with me and I just feel sick. Spoke to Lynda about everything that's going on. I'm just dismayed by it all. I checked Ebay. The boiler part is probably going to be posted on Monday and will be due here on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I am 'slightly distressed' to hear that the venue that recently cancelled us for a forthcoming gig, has flooded. The jam night in the evening was quite decent. Graham on good form. Lots of people showed up to play and watch. Funnily enough, some of the guys that normally play were gigging across the road, so we sneaked in and did the last song of the night for them with their bassist 'Reluctant John', singing Elvis as only he can.


Monday 10th February:
Central heating part is in the post. Boiler guy advised. Rest of day spent watching TV, walking dogs and stuff and in the evening I went for a takeaway curry, but Lynda retired ill to bed. Later on, we watched JOKER. What a superb and odd film.


Tuesday 11th February:
Started on Season 5 of The Wire, from the box set. I watched the other seasons and have left it a year or so to come back to it. It is REALLY BLOODY SLOW. But then again, so is police surveillance work. The boiler part arrived, so I rang the chap. The main event of the day though, for myself, was getting the heating boiler back on at 9.30pm. The amount of misery in my household surrounding its failure can't be described in mere words.


Wednesday 12th February:
The main event of the day was having a long soak in the bath. Did an amount of web work and some new writing for the 2021 update to THE NOIZE. Walked to the hospital and back. Physio appointment at 5pm. Two more exercises. Caught a lot of TV up in the evening. New Amsterdam and The Good Doctor. Both are capable of bringing me near to tears. Just remembered I haven't watched any of the last season of The Walking Dead yet. It has not changed my life.


Thursday 13th February:
Woke up in pain from new exercises from yesterday. Still did them all again today. Met Mike in town. Steve wasn't there today. Ged has given up drinking til Easter to save money and his liver. Did some shopping on the way home, then some more writing when I got home. Hope to put some proper recording time in next week. Watched two one hour shows about Universal Credit - they actually made me start feeling anxious. I always felt for claimants who were in dire straits. I cannot understand a society that has to have food banks. The funny part was where the man in charge of Jobcentres magicked some recruitment up for Toxteth Jobcentre after a visit. Just like a fairy tale. Hoorah. That's not just for good press, is it? Other Jobcentres will be ripping if they don't get some more staff.


Friday 14th February:
College in the morning. We look at posting to the college forum and the rules for doing that. Then we look at various aspects of Photoshop.

After college, we take Edward to see the vet to have two staples removed from a wound on his leg. The Vet doesn't find them. He thinks Edward has taken them out himself. He is still limping on his other leg and we are told that if we areinsured an operation will cost £1500, but that he will be recovered in a while anyway.

The evening's show was in a lively enough venue in Lancaster and we usually enjoy doing it, but I wasn't in a great mood all day (for a change) and when I got there first and set my gear up, I at least felt a bit of peace. Then the others turned up. Eloise came with Graham bearing an acoustic guitar. Time was tight and I fretted about timings.

We started later than we should have for an 11pm finish and so, the acoustic slot became out of the question. As the gig went ahead, there were some problems with the sound balance. I couldn't really hear what I was singing. I boosted my voice in my floor monitor, but I got told off for doing that, as the stage is the size of a postage stamp and any increase in sound fills the stage. Down it went again. Someone actually came up while we were playing, to try to help and fix my mic by taking it off the cable and putting it back on again while I was singing into it, or by messing with the desk, as my voice couldn't be heard out front. I don't want anyone touching the band's gear when we are playing, but thanks. I just like to hear what I am doing. Other people may have perfectly valid objections to prominent volume - so do I - but I wasn't too loud at all. My monitor doesn't affect the out front sound. It's for me. Other stuff threw me and I didn't enjoy the gig much. I drove home in a bit of a mental fog. I stopped at a MacDonalds for fries and a vanilla milkshake, just outside Lancaster and cooled down as I drove. In and straight to bed.


Saturday 15th February:
I should have got up earlier, but I was home in the early hours of the morning from Lancaster and I felt like total rubbish. I didn't want to wake up and have to think. Last night's bad mood was still hanging over me and I was really tired.

Anyway, I got up quite late today and sulked around the house awhile. Nothing much to do. I caught up some TV and messed around with various cats. Cleo - in particular - sometimes seems a bit lonely. Lynda has noticed that. The dogs tend to take over being in the front room with us and various cats spread out in various other places around the house. I always fuss Cleo whenever I pass her or when she appears, though she seems doubtful of being around the dogs sometimes.

My mate Kevan rang me. He is DJ-ing at the private party we are playing at later. He's getting his gear to the venue later this afternoon. Do I want to take my stuff down and get it into the venue? I said no at first, then I thought it was a good idea, rang him back and agreed to meet him there.

1.45pm - The place had stairs. Steep ones. Very steep ones. They were not very safe-looking. I made several trips up and down them with all of my gear, except for my basses, which would arrive with me. We discussed where the band should set up and I opted for a place near the entrance where we wouldn't have to cart gear through any seating. Tables were moved around and I got everything I could done, finding power points and laying on mains power, setting up my bass gear and what I could of the PA, including trailing the cables ready for plugging in, so there would be little left for me to do later, except help the others in with their gear and finish off connecting the PA system. It would be a rush to be ready for 8 otherwise.

I got there just around ten to seven and it was pitch-black, really windy, and the rain was lashing it down mercilessly. The doors were still closed and some young kids wearing hardly anything stood in the pouring rain with purses held uselessly over their heads. The others arrived and we got the gear in. We did manage to set up for an 8pm start but actually started a little bit later. The party was for a 76 year old (who we had a nice chat with about his Shadows guitars and about music gear in general) and also for a 15 year old. Kevan introduced us as "that band from TV". It hasn't changed our lives.

Kevan played music for all ages. We didn't. In front of me, a table full of stick-thin young girls, all dressed in the tiniest skirts imaginable, with 'interesting' eyebrow designs and made up in their mid 20's, but probably still grappling with puberty, looked miserably at their phones, while we clattered through some Status Quo and Who numbers. The older folks all got it. The kids just ignored us. Even our party songs were far too old for them and just went over their heads. One girl started making DJ requests while we were still playing. "Death by a thousand cuts,"  I said to Graham and Ian afterwards. At least the sound was not a problem. Full marks for having cheese pasties in the buffet. The little girls probably don't eat solids, so there were loads left over. Once we finished, Kevan played some absolutely awful stuff that had been requested and the kids all started waving inflatable guitars around to music that was probably made by some retarded 8 year old on a laptop, rather than people playing actual guitars.

We were away at around 10.30pm. Home and bed early. Lynda has found the two staples that the Vet had said had come out and we grappled with getting them off Edward's leg ourselves.


Sunday 16th February:
Up late again. I really need my sleep these days. Lynda seems to think I just like rotting in my bed. She gets up earlier than me every day. She might be right, but the morning after a gig night, I am usually truly knackered. I couldn't do this AND a 9-5 job anymore. Slack living.

Storm Dennis has done a couple of things in our back garden, so I go outside and sort them out. I catch up writing my blog for the last couple of days, while Tom barks at anything and everything, including the Amazon delivery guy and take the dogs for a good walk. I expected the road to be flooded again when i got to the deep dip in Mort Lane. It wasn't. The sky was an odd, dark metallic grey on the drive there and it looked like it was going to heave it down the second i got there. The landlady let me in after a minute or two from when I arrived at 17.10 and I got straight on with setting up.

The jam night tonight was mad busy. Everybody in the bloody world turned up to play. This is good, right? Graham counted 8 drummers. We ran over by an hour and, despite Graham's best efforts as ringmaster this evening, we found out afterwards that we hadn't got quite everyone up. A snotty comment on the page and a string of Facebook messages complaining about a drummer's omission from the running order have gone down as you might expect with us. We do our best. We are human. We can't be 100% perfect all of the time. We are not the jam night that the drummer mentioned that don't let him up. We are the one that does let him up. Tonight he didn't get up. Some full bands arrived. We can't split them up to let other people in. We do our best. Gimme a break.

Off to bed. The bed was full of dogs and cats and I had very little room and was too hot. No sleep.


Monday 17th February:
I was still awake at 5am and nodded off again, probably around 6.30am. I got up around 10.45, after Tom decided to bark at everything in Farnworth, while a couple of feet from me. I felt sick-tired, so left coffee 'til just after noon. An amount of writing. My bass rig wasn't working properly at the jam - one of the output jacks is damaged, but I assembled the bass rig in the house, used a new cable and it works ok, so I taped the cables firmly in place inside the rack case. I had visions of having to drive to Warrington to get it sorted out and then again to pick it back up - and the expense involved. The time taken would be more of an issue than the money, though. An afternoon killed going and another coming back with it.

Also I haven't seen Tilly for a few days, so I popped round to Bill's house, which is just round the corner, twice - and there she was. Phew.

After our evening meal (we call it 'our tea' up here in The Peasant North), I started dropping off to sleep, annoyingly missing an amount of the point of the second episide of The Pale Horse - an Agatha Christie mystery that  I'd been watching. I will catch it up. Watched New Amsterdam - It was just awful to watch Max's cancer getting on top of him and the treatment not being effective. Very upsetting. Seeing as I was nodding off, I made sure I wasn't late out of bed.


Tuesday 18th February:
Having set my alarm for 9.15am, in preparation for a 6am wake-up on Friday, Lynda told me to turn my alarm off when it sounded, so I didn't just snooze it for 10 mins and get up. This meant I fell back asleep and so I was up quite late again. I really want to sort out my sleep patterns, but everything conspires against me. Weekends with really late nights don't help at all.

Someone commented on Facebook that my Slade live photobook is rather expensive at £22.00 and they would only pay £10.00 at most for a book. That's a lot of books that that particular someone is never going to read. He got very sniffy indeed when I pointed out that the book costs £9.56 each to print and that Amazon take a 40% cut of any leftover money after that. I think you have to charge about £16 to get a 1p royalty, using their system.


Wednesday 19th February:
Nothing much to write about today. I got up at a more sensible hour and did some bits on the book. I am getting some contributions from Don Powell, which is nice of him.


Thursday 20th February:
Up at a sensible hour again. I am quite dreading tomorrow's 6am get-up and early start, but it has to be done and I will do it cheerfully. No lunch meeting today. Popped round to my daughter Rachel's house for a quick hello. The evening was spent catching up an amount of TV. I can get very emotional watching The Good Doctor or New Amsterdam. Bed at about 12.30 am as we weren't tired. Bodes well for the morning...


Friday 21st February:
I must have got to sleep at about 1.30am. My phone alarm went off at 6 am. No snooze. I sat bolt upright, stopped the alarm and got dressed immediately. It was just pitch black outside. I really surprised myself. I took the dogs around the park. Lynda got herself together and we set off at about 6.20am. I went up the East Lancs Road until Lowton with the Sat Nav arguing with me all the way, until we cut across the A49 to Warrington, then we hit the M62 and the sat nav calmed down- Rylan Clerk Neal was on the radio, being unbelievably and un-naturally cheerful. Lynda and I were not speaking, as we were both so tense about the day ahead. The M62 was not busy and we were at the hospital in Broad Green, Liverpool nice and early.

At 8am they checked Lynda in and I stayed awhile until there was nothing much to do. They went through a list of what could go wrong and I felt quite sick. God knows how Lynda felt. Having a hole in your heart closed is a serious business. The number of things that can go wrong during and after an operation is too high and it is testament to their wonderful care and skill that the percentage of incidents is so very very low. Lynda was told that she would be staying overnight, so I didn't need to hang around 'til the evening to collect her.

I went to my mate Mark's and we had a lovely veggie breakfast at Leaf, walked round awhile, took in a guitar shop or two and then went to The Blackburne for a pint. After that, I said my farewells and drove home at about 2pm. I got home at about 3.15 as traffic was more dense on the way back.

I was quite nervous about what was happening at the hospital and I spent most of the day looking at my watch. I rang at 5pm and they told me the operation had gone well. Lynda's heart was in good shape and the piece that they had put in to close the hole was properly in place. I celebrated by walking the dogs again and then having something to eat. Then I fed the menagerie. I was so relieved that all was well that I went and had a long soak in the bath. A soak usually de-stresses me nicely and I fell asleep on the sofa at around 9pm. When I woke up, it was too late to nip out and see some friends playing at the Jolly Nailor in Atherton. I let the dogs out at the side of the house and when they had concluded activities, all of us went to bed.


Saturday 22nd February:
I woke before my 9.30am alarm, seeing as a cat jumped onto my stomach. I think it was Silver, who is quite small, but it really hurt. I was crushed up to the edge of the bed, as Oscar and Tom decided they needed to stretch out and take up all of the bed. I got up at 9.30, seeing as other cats wanted to jump on me too. I woke up tense and nervous and went downstairs to feed the rabble. At 10am, I rang the hospital to see what time I could collect Lynda. How long was a piece of string? The Doctors were on rounds, so more would be known later and they would get Lynda to ring me up.

I walked the dogs, fed the menagerie, did a couple of things to the car with coolant and oil. At noon, I decided to head for Liverpool to go see Lynda. If she rang me when she was ready to go, it would be an hour or more later when she got out. I went all the way up the East Lancs Road this time and headed down local roads for the last few miles. A nice drive. Graham Norton had some good guests on his show, so he wasn't as nauseating as he usually can be.

When I landed, the nursing staff did everything possible to get Lynda ready for discharge. The difference between the hospital staff and those on one of the wards in Bolton is like night and day. We were home fairly quickly - M62, M6, A580 was our route.

We watched the third programme about Universal Credit and it was very nice to see a couple fo people I know at Bolton Jobcentre come across as the good, caring people that they are. It is a crappy and often thankless job and the circumstances of people on UC are just difficult (customers and staff). The scandal of huge advances and then repayments was outlined. One woman took a huge advance and had to repay it over 12 months. She spent it on bills and some nice things, getting her hair done (though you couldn't tell) and she had an ever-present fag in her mouth, as did her fella. When her payments went down, she regretted taking so much, as she managed somehow to get a second advance, so it would take until some way into 2021 to clear.

In the evening Graham had a hospital appointment (at 5pm) and he was nervous of being late for the gig. He was on time and all was well. Lynda came out to watch us and a nice evening was had by all.

Bed at 2am,


Sunday 23rd February 2020:
The tensions of the last couple of days have caught up with me big-style. I went and unset my phone alarm and decided to let nature take its course as to what time I woke up. As a result, I woke and paid a loo visit at 9.30am and shortly afterwards, Lynda got up, followed by some cats and dogs - meaning I actually got enough bed to lie on comfortably. I awoke to 2 dogs and 4 cats on the bed, all sort of leaning on me, When they all followed Lynda in the direction of food, I hoped this meant I could lie in comfort for a short while.

What it really meant was that I could spread out in bed, fall back asleep and be woken up by Tom coming to lick my face, Oscar turning round and round at the bottom of the bed, before dumping himself on my legs and then a number of cats surrounding me, to make sure I was still breathing, or walking on my hair to make sure I was alive to react.

Lynda came back to bed, as she is sore and exhausted and it got to lunchtime, when I woke up and around 1pm when I got up again. We had some lunch and watched a little TV and had our early evening meal. I did a little web work before it was time to head off to the jam night at 5pm

The jam night was the usual parade of people getting up onstage. We were a few regulars short and they were much missed. There were a couple of flash points during the night and I think a couple of egos need calming down. Later on, the host band (us) briefly discussed the evening and rumblings were made about not sticking to time limits, as some people were missing. I think THE (imaginary) BIG CLOCK needs to come out again. We over-ran horribly and I got away from the venue at 10.35pm - about 45 minutes later than we needed to. We STILL didn't get everyone up. I count that as a failure, but hell, we do try.

I called at the chippy on the way home. Before hitting the hay, I watched the penultimate episode of the first season of New Amsterdam. The chief Doctor at the hospital, Max, is going through highly aggressive doses of chemotherapy because of throat cancer and it is killing him. The end of the episode is overwhelmingly heartbreaking and shocking and I nearly broke down in tears. Cancer is horrible and anything to do with it can set me off. Programmes about it, the mention of it affecting people. Anything. I think I just (understandably) worry about going for my reviews and it all going wrong again. It is happening to someone quite close to me now and I worry a lot. Bed at nearly 3am. This is going to bite me on the ass tomorrow (well, later today).


Monday 24th February 2020:
Up before my alarm this morning, well, by a few seconds anyway.. Reasonably awake. A huge kitty tree arrived and I put it together with Lynda. The thing is massive and also really heavy. The cats seemed to take to it quite well during the day. They couldn't exactly miss it, so most of them went for an explore of it. It has hammocks that dangle over the radiator, so that will be good in winter and in summer, they can stare out of the patio doors.

Called for some parcels that came on Friday, while we were busy at the Heart and Chest Hospital. Nipped to Rachel's for a quick visit. And I made another one of my 52 allowed trips to the tip on Raikes Lane. Booked the car in for a service tomorrow morning. Lynda is exhausted still - the op is really catching up on her now. She has a massive dark bruise on her leg, where they put the feed in, to go up to her heart. She went to bed after our early evening meal. It's the best place for her. She tries to carry on, but she's been through quite a lot this last week. I walked the dogs round the park opposite me at 7pm and then set a bath going, for a soak and relax....

An evening of TV, then some writing work, as Lynda went to bed. I created a new image for the 1974 section of the book, using some photoshop techniques to adapt and album cover - reasonably pleased with it. I took the dogs out again very late, 9.30pm, then again almost at midnight. Bed at almost 2am.


Tuesday 25th February 2020:
Up in time to get the car in to the garage for its service and walk back home for 9.30am. Lynda spent some of the morning back in bed. She's still rather sore and tired. Teatime in the evening: I suggest Lynda doesn't cook and I get a chippy tea. I bring it back and Lynda is in bed. This operation has wiped her out.


Wednesday 26th February 2020:
Up really late.
Supergrass in the evening. Excellent.


Thursday 27th February 2020:
I was up this morning before my alarm (which went off at 10am, so don't cheer for me too loudly). I went and did some pet food shopping and then spent the afternoon working on another book, that will probably be coming out later this year. I resisted the temptation to go and watch Supergrass' second night in Manchester and so I missed Johnny Marr getting up with them.

I have run into Johnny Marr twice - once I was with my kids and looking at Gretsch guitars at a now-closed guitar shop in Manchester (Music Ground). I was talking to the guy behind the counter about how the control knobs were loose on a few of them and JM walked in and had a chat with the sales guy for a while. I nodded hello, but left him to it. He wasn't on duty, so I left him in peace and then felt very self-conscious about any relatively inept guitar noodling emitting from me. I also ran into him backstage at a Who gig at Manchester Arena. A friend had got us backstage passes and we were in the hospitality room (which the principal band members wisely avoided, so we didn't meet them) when Zak Starkey, who was playing drums with The Who, Rabbit, their keyboard player and a certain Mr Marr appeared at the door, just as I was thinking of finding the dressing rooms. They told me the band had gone back to their hotel, but Zak and Rabbit signed our programmes. I didn't ask Johnny Marr, as he wasn't on the bill and it was a night off for him. Not fair game. Next time... I do have a signed copy of his book, but that came signed, rather than me getting it signed - not the same thing.

In the evening, we watched the final episode of New Amsterdam and it was more shocking than the previous one. It finishes on a massive cliff-hanger and I was an emotional wreck, close to sobbing. We also watched a programme ('Hospital') about a day's work for the surgeons at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Unit. A day of mixed results with two patients having operations, one being put back a week. One of the patients had the same operation as Lynda, but his heart failed and he died during the operation. If we had seen this show beforehand, we may not have gone. They are the best at what they do, but the programme was mortifying to watch.

Bed very very late - again. I do like writing.


Friday 28th Febuary:
College. I unwravelled a few functions on my camera that I needed to know about, this morning. A very useful session.

I spent some of the afternoon doing a good spot of reading and I finished off Linda Ronstadt's autobiography. She hints at the end of the book, about how she has been robbed of her singing voice, but doesn't really talk about it at all. She probably felt unable to, at the point when she was writing the book.

The evening's gig was at the Rose and Crown in Westhoughton. I arrived to find the stage area full of tables and chairs. The guy behind the bar was only expecting us at 9.30pm - our start time. After a short discussion, we cleared the area. The stage area there is a bit naff, as we are playing out of the corner and there's a big supporting pillar in the way, so we can't see half of the audience and they can't see two of us. But I persevered. Home late, bed late. Zzzzz.


Saturday 29th February:
Up late. A rather grey miserable day. It was warmer in bed, so I stayed there. Slack living. I took the dogs for a long walk in the afternoon and popped down to my mate John's house. He is having some heart problems and so he hasn't been to see the band for quite a long time now. Good to catch up with him and to hear he is getting better, slowly but surely.

Ian Edmundson

Our evening gig was at The Ship & Anchor in Southport, which is opposite the old Fox And Goose venue that we used to play at. That venue is still closed and looks unlikely to reopen. The Ship & Anchor have done a great job in opening the room up and having a tremendous roomy and well-lit stage with a great PA on one side of the main room, though we were asked last minute to bring our own PA. It's a really superb rock venue now. Biker-friendly and, though I say it myself, we went down well. Very good to see some friends there, who had come specially to see us.

Home just after 2am.


Sunday 1st March:
A bit of a downer to get a message that Don Powell has suffered a stroke. The indications are promising that it was not a serious or damaging one, thankfully.

Tonight's jam night over-ran by more than an hour, as we were again mindful of getting everyone up who wanted to play. Mixing and matching players can be quite difficult, as some people are basically limited in who they can play with and what they can play. One guy who has to travel some way to get to the jam (for example) just likes to play some laid back blues guitar in A, which makes it slightly difficult to place him with other people for three songs. If we have to come on and play to just accomodate him, that's 15-20 minutes gone and other people then get cut out. We did our best. There was some over-running, which we didn't keep a proper grip of, but you can't stop someone, mid-solo. We told one band (who took ages to set up their effects pedals and tune up) that they had done all of their four songs, so their time was up, and the singer asked the crowd if they wanted another. How do you contend with that? First time there, so we let it slide. It ate into time, though.

Jam Night on Tour

Then I saw a guy we know called Glen leave, carrying his guitar case, right at the end of the night and I realised we had somehow missed him out. I had seen him there, but I hadn't even seen him turn up with his guitar. Bollocks. We can't win. For me, the jam night can be an utter headache. I tend to always worry about the one person that we missed out, because other people wasted time, or over-ran. Speaking of the jam night - it is moving home for three weeks as we were told the venue would be closing for work. Now it isn't. We arranged to play somewhere else for those three weeks.

We'd want to keep our jam night crowd for those three weeks, so we hoped our regular venue would be putting a normal act on, instead of a jam night, for the people who did show up in our absence. As we were leaving. the landlady asked us who we could think of, as a jam night act to cover in our absence... I think our mates Medusa will end up covering. We want to keep our jam night as it is and where it is, despite a very tempting offer to take it elsewhere for more money, as we have worked really really hard to build it up to what it is. We like to be thought of as being reliable, organised and having proper loyalty to our venues.

Apart from next week's Sunday jam, it's a weekend off for the band. I am wary of overdoing it and us getting 'burned out' as nearly happened at new year. Ian, our guitarist, hadn't realised this and he looked a bit disappointed. Graham is taking the opporunity to slot in another reunion gig with Shabby Tiger that hasn't been publicised at all, that I have seen, anyway. Not an issue.


Monday 2nd March 2020:
An amount of writing work again. A long soak in the bath with a huge thick book about 10cc. The days seem to all mesh into one at the moment. I need to find a few things to do that break up my week. I have Thursday lunch and Friday morning in college, but need to find more pastimes. Lynda is still whacked after her operation. The bruise on her leg, (where they went in with the catheter and the mesh piece to block the hole in here heart) is a sight.


Tuesday 3rd March 2020:
An amount of writing work during the day. I am updating THE NOIZE with bits that I can find that are going to be valuable addtions to the book. An amount of stuff that I am finding is getting ignored, as it duplicates content that is already in there.

I have another book project that I keep dipping into and working on. I have to make up my mind about whether it's actually going to come out or not. That decision will come when it is a bit more complete.

TV later on. The Good Doctor is one of the best shows on TV, with a tremendous cast, beautifully written and paced, dealing sensitively with the daily life of an autistic resident surgeon on a small and competitive team, with his behavioural and emotional issues. His team mates all have back stories and problems, too. Shaun Murphy has occasional little triumphs and roadblocks in his life and I really could cry for him at his high and low points. His current issue is his close, but platonic, friendship with the seriously-sexy Lea, who he uses as a sounding-board for thinking through some of his problems, which upsets his girlfriend Carly. The Shaun - Carly relationship is not without loads of problems, as Shaun is not the easiest person to be in a relationship with..

The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor

A good article about The Good Doctor is here. The Shaun and Lea situation is examined here. I think they are really good friends who look out for each other, but Lynda says I am sometimes a bit thick and miss a lot of obvious stuff. I'm shallow and I guess I'd just go for Lea. Lea would probably freak if Shaun started to try to get a relationship going with her.

Meanwhile, Inside No 9 (created by some of the 'League Of Gentlemen' team) is one of the best shows on TV. Tonight's episode had a real twist in the tale and dealt with a multiple personality that turned murderous.

Bed stupidly late.


Wednesday 4th March 2020:
Up early (for me), considering how late I went to bed last night. I got the car off the drive for Lynda to drive to look after our friend's cats while she is on holiday.

My mate Chris, who I did the Slade book with, has been talking to Don Powell today. The update Chris got about his condition, after his stroke, is a big relief, but I will leave such news for proper statements via his own website.

Lynda came back late morning and after lunch, we went to my stepdaughter's place in south Manchester to see her and her baby son, Jamie. Lynda and Susan don't have the easiest relationship and it doesn't take much to set one of them off. We took a couple of things for Jamie and Susan's parting shot was that we don't really need to take stuff for him and she gave us one of the things we had taken with us back. I was utterly speechless at this. It is not what normal people do. Lynda went into a dark mood for the rest of the day.

After our evening meal, I fell asleep on the sofa. Lynda started to get ready to take the dogs out and Oscar wouldn't go to her to have his harness on, so Lynda just set off determinedly with Tom. I put Oscar's harness on and tried to catch them up, but Lynda didn't wait and I didn't have a coat on. It was freezing. Oscar got the short walk and Tom the longer one. Lynda went straight to bed when she came back in, as she is not recovered from the debacle at ther daughter's house. I was now wide awake and my planned early night was now destroyed.


Thursday 5th March 2020:
Bed at 1am, after catching the last few days scribblings of this blog up. I had lunch in town with Steve and Mike. Lynda went cat watching in the afternoon. I watched the first episode of the brand new 'Better call Saul' series. Went shopping to Tesco for beer and stuff as my studio fridge is empty. Promptly fell asleep after our evening meal. Caught some TV up in the evening - including the first episode of The Stranger from Netflix.


Friday 6th March 2020:
College in the morning. I got a call while I was in class from Graham about the three nights we are taking the jam night elsewhere. We have decided not to upset the landlord that we are going to for the three weeks, as he has gone to particularly great lengths to accommodate us.

Being the rock star that I am [laughs], I got home and trimmed the holly bush at the front of our house, potentially in full sight of many of the ordinary non-rock star people who also live in the area where I live. You see, I have that common touch. *

Lynda has lost her reading glasses, so we nipped into Bolton and bought some more from the pound shop. Even more mingling with real people.

No gig this evening. TV and a relax were the order of the day. Watched the second episode of The Stranger - filmed in Bolton, Stockport and Bury - I recognised several of the locations.

Jam Night on Tour

* = Tongue firmly in cheek


Saturday 7th March 2020:
A bit of a lie in after a tiring day doing nothing, yesterday. Shopping and TV. Stayed in, in the evening. I was looking for where Graham was playing, it turned out to be a secret gig in the North East, so I couldn't have made it. Jam tomorrow, which I am a bit nervous about, because of the scheduling kerfuffle.


Sunday 8th March 2020:
The jam over-ran by some time. A nice, relaxed evening. All is turning out well with Wigan rockers Medusa covering in our absence. We usually get them to cover when we aren't doing it anyway. The one time that we didn't use them, we used another local band, Riff Raff and they let the venue down, so the venue closed for the day. Absolutely appalling. I haven't recommended them to anyone since. Our drummer Graham is going to be taking a little time out from the band for health reasons, so we have to arrange some cover. I hoped we would do a few together to finish the jam night off, as it's going to be a while before we all play together again, but the other Ian had "his lazy head on", so we didn't. Got away at 11pm, after a chat with the landlady.


Monday 9th March 2020:
Starting divvying up the drummer cover. We seem to have a couple of weeks where we are going to have to draft in someone from outside of our pool of three reserve drummers. Stress.

Current listening is still Supergrass. Lots of it.


Tuesday 10th March:
Equator day, as Sparks fans will know. Spent most of the day relaxing. Went with Lynda to check over a friend's cats while they are away. I've been with her a couple of times this week. Lynda's reading glasses have turned up, under a bed, where she was trying to find one of the cats. She's quite tired. I think her operation hasn't exactly set her back, but she is feeling the effects now. She went to bed quite early and I went quite late. We seem to run of different shifts. Got some lovely video of Edward and Baby playing today.


Wednesday 11th March:
Up at about 10.40. Slack living. I had physio today at 3.30pm. I haven't been doing the exercises regularly as I have had quite a bit of shoulder pain. Did them this morning, watched by Tom, and at least he didn't bark at me. Sometimes he does, as he probably thinks what I am doing is a bit scary.

Went with Lynda to check over our friends cats - all of them seem perfectly ok - and then a dash to Asda in Farnworth. From there striaght to the hospital, for the physio appointment. The way the physiotherapist played me like a violin..  We agreed my shoulder problems can't be rectified by surgery, as they will keep occurring anyway. I need to keep up the exercises and then move to a stronger band to do them with. It was agreed I could self manage these exercises, so he discharged me.

I got the bus home and then sat down and dealt with the horrid aftermath of a post that is up on Facebook about the jam night. A friend has posted, announcing that his band will be covering the jam that we normally do - as it is 'now back on' - and then misled the readers as to which area we were playing in and said it was great news except for us setting up elsewhere for 3 weeks. It was a bit insulting and condescending, whether it was deliberate or not.. He then told people that the Corona virus was rife where we were going to be. I counted to 1000, cooled down and corrected where we will be playing for the next three Sundays.

His own drummer told him it was rather a bad post. Lots of people got confused by it.
I asked him politely to take the post down and to do another one. He said no.

My drummer Graham saw it, flipped out at what he saw as a set of digs at us and then righteously tore him a new arsehole, telling him the facts of life. Again, he said no to removing the post when I asked , digging his heels in. He was fuming. So was I.

A bit of to and fro went on from there and my heart just sank... I again repeated my polite request for him to take the damaging post down. He said no once again.

Then HIS guitarist (who he will listen to) saw it and he went nuclear. So, THEN he thought about it and took it down.

I then put up a statement of events that was factual and polite, considering the strained circumstances and the fact that I do not like airing band business in front of people who have no reason or need to know that business. It was also the venue's business that was being discussed and I thought that was completely wrong:

"STATEMENT : Due to another recent post, elsewhere on Facebook, which contains an amount of disinformation and which also is causing a fair degree of confusion and annoyance, we have been asked if Bar One Ten is closing, if it is being sold and a number of other questions.

WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING: Bar One Ten is adding food to the services it provides and it will - at some point soon - be changing its name. There are NO other changes taking place. They are NOT closing down.

The mention of 'closure' probably comes from when building work was scheduled for a 3 week period in February, which was delayed until mid-March, because of movement of builder schedules.

Karen at Bar One Ten has tried her very level best to keep us fully abreast of these changes, as soon as she has become aware of any developments. Thanks.

We arranged to move the jam night for those 3 weeks in March and the owner of The Hulton Arms in Over Hulton very generously moved a number of other acts and events round in his venues to accommodate us. Thanks.

The 3-week closure for work to be undertaken at Bar One Ten in March was suddenly cancelled, but we have reasoned that we are honour-bound to undertake the move to The Hulton Arms, as it would throw the owners other venues and acts into a degree of chaos if we reneged on our arrangement.

After some discussion with us about whether they would host a jam night or not, Bar One Ten are booking the excellent Medusa to cover the gap that has now arisen.

The Three will therefore be playing our jam night at:
THE HULTON ARMS, OVER HULTON on March 15, 22 and 29.
BAR ONE TEN, TYLDESLEY on April 5th onwards.

The intention is that the jam night will be entirely 'business as usual' from April 5th.

We sincerely hope that this clarifies matters for everyone.
Our jam night schedule is in the photo attached.
We hope that people will support both of the jam nights."

The Three

I shouldn't have to waste time clearing up messes like this. If this continues, it will make our position untenable and we will re-think doing the jam nights. We will not go back to a stink about this whole thing.

I had a couple of Coronas with my evening meal, regardless of the obvious risk*, clambered over about 1000 toilet rolls stacked in the hallway* and shifted boxes and boxes of hand sanitiser off the sofa* and caught up with some TV. The Good Doctor progresses nicely. Shaun has told Lea that he loves her. She walks out, leaving Shaun confused - and the way clear for me.

Lynda went to bed early again, as she keeps getting exhausted. Mind you, she gets up pretty early most mornings. I walked the dogs around midnight, once the slashing rain and high winds had subsided, tapped out this entry and got to bed before 1am, as I am pretty shattered too.

* = only joking.


Thursday March 12th:
I met Mike and Ged at lunchtime and we had a nice hour. Then off to Tesco to get some dog food.
TV in the evening. Lynda sacked it off and went to bed early. Her throat is getting sore and she's tired out.


Friday March 13th:
I woke up thinking about Graham and his operation today and then I spent a lot of the day coming back to it. Without going into what his actual condition is (though he has told some people, so it is not a total secret), it's a big deal for him.

College. We did portraits today and I kicked myself for not taking a guitar along with me. I felt a bit foolish posing without one, even though I tried quite hard not to feel totally self-conscious and did my best 'Mr Catalogue man' poses. A rewarding session. Only one photo of me got put up on the students forum. I just mustn't be very photogenic. Must be the double chin. I can't put the photos I took of other people up, unfortunately - as what happens in College stays there. I think I got a few good ones.

Ian Edmundson
WAITING FOR THE BUS TO COME
Photo by Hayley (Thanks)

I went to do a quick shop at Tesco after college. The locusts have comletely emptied it of toilet rolls. Why? Off to Maureen's to look after the cats. They are back home from Cyprus tomorrow. Ken and Maureen, not the cats.

I got a text from my GP surgery telling me not to expect to be able to attend face to face, as they are keeping the appointment slots to a minimum. No change there then. My surgery don't like anyone going in. This set me a challenge, however, and I rang them and successfully booked a (required) PSA blood test appointment for next week. They warned me that it might not go ahead, though. While that's understandable, it's typical of them.

We played at The Black Bull in Haslingden in the evening, with Graham's son Dan helping out on drums. Dan hasn't played with us before - no rehearsal, so, Dan was just like a few of the people who are going to be helping us out, we are relying on the deputy drummers checking our website and taking in what we play from the videos that are on there. It throws me slightly when a song is played differently from what I expect - and I either recover from this or I don't. It was great playing with Dan. he is a lively, forceful and expressive drummer. You can tell whose son he is, when you hear him play. We have given Dan all of the slots that he is available for, as he is quite busy gigging in his own right.

Between the first and second halves of the gig, we got a message (via Dan) that Graham's operation had started at 10am and he had gone into recovery - so his operation went on for something approaching 12 hours. Wow.

The audience didn't spot the join with a different drummer and the landlord came over, clutching his diary when we had finished. He hadn't realised that we had booked gigs with him through the year, until I told him.

Dan needed to get away pretty much after we had finished playing and we packed up pretty smartly ourselves and I was home for 1am.


Saturday March 14th:
Up at a sensible time, but still tired. My shoulders have been hurting in the night, much more than usual and I have been trying to avoid using strong pain killers.

Dan messaged me to say that Graham had been in touch, with him a bit groggy from the drugs, asking how last night's gig had gone.

My daughter Rachel popped around with April and we all had a lovely morning. We haven't seen April for a short while at ours and she was in a really good mood and enjoyed the cats and their toys.

April

Our evening gig was at the refurbished White Lion in Heywood. They have done a really nice job on it. Still not a great deal of room for the band to set up (better than we find at a couple of places, though), but we can adapt to good sized and to postage stamp stages.

Andy Williams (no, not that one) helped us out on drums and did a quite sterling job, so we are going to be offering him some more slots. Again, when something sounds different, I am quite capable of losing my place in the song and so I missed the first section out of I can't explain and made some comedic errors on a few other songs too. Unusually, the girls in the place were having a damned good boogie down to us. Fun fun fun. One of them asked us if we could play BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY and was massively disappointed when I said no.

Again, we got a speedy pack-up done and were away bright and early and I was home for 1am.


Sunday March 15th:
Up before 11.00. Shoulders really painful. Resorted to two Zapains. Caught up the blog for the last few days.

I've seen the first mention on Facebook of a local venue pulling gigs because of Corona Virus. It is one in Leigh that isn't one of our venues, as they mucked about umming and ahhing until we had filled up our diary, so they didn't get us. Some venues will persevere with hosting bands as it can be a good money-spinner for them. Some others will take the opportunity to not have to pay bands. It remains to be seen whether the Government start telling pubs to cease with putting on entertainment. It could be utterly disasterous for a number of pubs.

Personally, I don't know whether it is a great idea to start telling pubs what to do, but if it came to it that we couldn't play for a short while, then so be it. Protecting lives is far more important than some band clattering away on a stage. Plus, I could use a break, if one came along. A few weeks off. Mmmmmm...

I have been posting on Facebook, telling people to bring their own microphones to the jam nights. With all of the hoo-ha about the plague, etc, better to be safe than sorry.

Bring your own mic.

The turnout at the first of our three jam nights at The Hulton Arms was very reassuring. A good number of our brilliant regular players and watchers turned up and stayed for the whole evening. The others were doing the jam back at our old venue. Two more to go and then we look at going back to Tyldesley. Ryan played drums with us and played a blinder. Singers, with one exception, brought their own mics. One woman who jumped on someone else's microphone, very much against their wishes. She asked. He said no. She ignored him and just started singing into it. Odd behaviour. Thanks, everyone. Another fairly speedy pack-up and home for 10.30pm after a 9.35pm finish.


Monday March 16th:
Up early and into college for 9am. I had stupidly left a 128gb camera memory card in one of the laptops (I discovered it was missing while I was in the actual college class on Friday and thought it would be in my PC at home, but of course it wasn't) and when I went and looked through the laptop safe in the classroom, it was still there in the laptop front slot from the class a week before. That was really lucky. A guy in the class that was taking place said he had seen it the previous week (but apparently he didn't have the wit to think to hand it in to the office). Phew. I do keep regular backups, but all the same, a 128gb SD card is a bit expensive to lose through such dumb carelessness. I ordered two smaller Ultra SD spares over the weekend, just in case the original card didn't turn up. The cards now all have my name on them.

A quick nip to Tesco. All the paracetamols are gone. All of them. Called in Asda and their supplies were not quite as ravaged. On the way out, I found a set of keys on the car park, so I had to troll back to their customer services. This daft panic buying of bog rolls and anything else is REALLY irritating. The Amazon delivery lady tells me that there are 3 confirmed CoronaVirus cases locally, so she didn't need me to sign for the parcels.

In a moment of madness, I have arranged to part with this rather lovely guitar tomorrow. I think I might just regret letting this one go.

Mad Dog Custom Telecaster

I got a message on Facebook about Boris Johnson being on TV, telling people to stay out of pubs. So, off I go downstairs, to have a look at the news on TV. Then my landline phone rang, upstairs, while I was just sitting down, trying to watch it. It's my idiot ex-roadie, asking if I had seen the news, that's on right now?"No, my phone went, so I had to go back upstairs, away from the TV " I said."Oh that would be me", he said.

Give me strength.

He says we are basically not allowed to go to the pub. (Well, that's my Thursday lunchtimes fucked forever then... ) I don't think this is right, but before I can say so, he asks me "If you can't work, are you going back to work for DWP?"

FFS.
He thinks I can just walk back into the building, sit at an empty desk and start paying claimants. What colour is the sky on his planet?


My other mate has said that if he is issued with a taser, he will go back to work for the Police. If I am issued with a taser, I will go back to work at DWP.

Unless BoJob makes this going into hiding compulsory, or if a venue decides to cancel, we currently assume that we are playing.

TV and bed.


Tuesday 17th March 2020:
Up very late (12.30), as I woke up around 9am with a blinding migraine headache and decided staying asleep was the best option. The world is going into lockdown around me. Some Hospitals have stopped visiting.

So this is it we're all going to die.

Our venue for Friday night is deciding whether to cancel us or not. I said "Tell us on Thursday." I can't blame anyone for putting safety first. Some nights off from playing do not really concern me. The band are going to carry on playing, as long as the three of us onstage are fully fit. However, we would naturally also expect our audiences to be sensible and to stay home if they had lurgy.

I am pushing the no microphone, no getting up to sing policy at the jam night, as it seems the best way forward. Last week, all but one person brought a mic. She still jumped onto a vocal mic after asking and being told no. That will NOT happen again. She will be told.

I took my Telecaster into Manchester and Michal, who sometimes attends our jam nights, is now the pleased owner of it. Gave him a lift back home afterwards and enjoyed the traffic jam on Mancunian Way on the way back- but the roads and the motorway were ok after that.

Some TV and a bit of Facebook work. Facebook marked one of my posts as going against community standards. Possibly because I called stockpilers DICKS. I do not apologise. Facebook staff are dicks.

Dicks


Wednesday March 18th 2020:
Message from one of our landlords that he is stopping entertainment at his venues, possibly even closing them for the time being. So our gig calendar is affected. Safety first.

Went round Tesco and got a few days shopping done. No panic buying from us, though I did get two large bags of crisps. Lynda says we have lots of chocolate in, so I refrained..

Saturday night's gig is now off. I expect Friday's gig to go, as well. There's no jam on Sunday for us and I won't be going out under current circumstances. I have messaged all of our April venues to check their thinking. I expect more cancellations, at least over April and May.

My college course has effectively stopped, as we can't attend classes. They mention online learning. Right...

Here is the news...

The News

Toffee vodka and bed very late.


Thursday March 19th 2020:
Happy birthday to my Mum. She would have been 89 today. We lost her far too early.

No beers today, Mike is self isolating, as his Missus is unwell. All the best to her for a full and speedy recovery.

Graham gave me a ring. It was lovely to hear from him. He is recovering from his operation in hospital and doctors are pleased with his progress. He has had some of the tubes they had put in removed. He is going to be in a little while yet. Only Lesley, Graham's wife, or another family member (one per day) is allowed to visit at present. With the virus / bugs going round at present, visiting is a risky proposition. Graham says he has read people's good wishes on the band's pages and said thanks to people. The internet in there isn't what it could be, so he hasn't managed to give all the posts a like, but he does like them all. He's tired, which is only to be expected and the pain relief drugs sound like great stuff. Graham is pleased that the jam night went well at the Hulton Arms. I told him not to worry about the current concerns over gig schedules. What will be will be. If we don't play for a little while, in the interests of public safety, so be it. He says hello to all his mates.

The music store I was going to go to today in Walkden has closed down. Well, that saves me a trip. I was going to buy a gadget that is the equivalent of an EBow for guitar. I have looked at the prices of these on the net and I am not totally convinced it is an essential purchase, or that I would really use it a lot. Not enough, maybe, for it to be value for money. I had use of one a long time ago and it was great for a track I was working on. How much I would use it, I really don't know. If the band ends up being down for a while, I can do some home recording and then I will probably snap and buy one.

I have to nip into college tomorrow morning, so we will see what happens about this online learning. Personally, I expect it to be next to useless for the purposes of the course, but I am hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised.

Writing this blog, later on in the day, I caved in and bought this. Venues have messaged back, stating they will persevere with bands, unless made to do otherwise by the Government.

Our evening was spent catching up some more TV: episodes of War Of The Worlds, The Outsider, The trouble with Maggie Cole.

On Newsnight, hints were made that suggest that the next couple of months will be totally gig free. I can live with that if it saves lives. I would MUCH rather the decision to cancel gigs is taken out of my hands.

More news


Friday March 20th 2020:

I saw in the early hours of this morning listening to the self-titled debut album from the local (Wigan) band LOTTERY WINNERS, who used to alternate at a local jam night week on, week off with us. The album is the well-earned and deserved result of many years of f***ing hard work, which has culminated in their getting signed to Warner Brothers. It arrived the other day and I ripped it onto my PC and filed it away and then forgot to listen to it, as I just can't stop listening to Supergrass.

The  Lottery Winnners seem to me  - on the first impression - to have adopted a slightly new sound for this album, re-arranging the best known tunes, like their catchy The meaning of life.

The production on it has some strategic oomph to emphasise the big choruses. I probably need to give it a few more listens to get used to it. I've heard a number of the songs before, as they have been used as singles, and one was on their recent EP.

While I say that they have recycled some songs, that is not in any way at all a criticism, as they are certainly all good enough to be on the album and also, most of the people who end up buying their album won't have bought or even have heard those old singles. Now they have their shot, they should use their best stuff.

The album clocks in at 39 minutes (just right for vinyl - and it comes on attractive pink vinyl, if you are that way inclined), and there are 12 rather good pop songs on it, none of which outstay their welcome. More songs would probably have been overkill and there are no ridiculous overblown guitar solos. The album is certainly a result for the band. For some reason, the band are not on the front or rear covers. If you search, you'll find them hiding behind the CD.

What must be really irritating for them is that their promo launch tour has been totally cancelled because of the current virus issues. That is a really unfortunate and absolutely undeserved shitty stroke of bad luck. Hopefully their string of dates planned for later in the year, will come off, so they can properly promote their record.

More about them can be found at their predominantly pink website www.thelotterywinners.co.uk/ - including their video for the song 21, which prominently features our very own drummer Graham thumping away on their drum kit.

Lottery Winners   

I had previously announced our intention to perservere with our own gigs going forward, at least until we were told to stop.

I was seriously starting to consider pulling some dates as the necessary, if very difficult, way forward for us. I was getting more and more worried about safety at jam nights and taking germs home to my wife, who qualifies as vulnerable. While I was thinking about it all and messaging asking the others what they thought about all of this, the Government stopped pubs from opening after tonight, removing the responsibility from me.

We have to hope that it doesn't have to last for too long and that our venues will keep our gig dates in their diaries, so that we can always pick up again and get on with it when this particular crisis is over. In the end though, life's too short, without shortening it even more. Worrying times.

While that was all very rock and roll and all that, I was coming around to really worrying that persevering and playing was maybe not the best way forward.

College today was interesting. Our tutor showed the class some Photoshop techniques, including a couple of tools I was shown but that I never use, so that was quite interesting. Keeping in touch via a forum while college isn't open will work for a short while and we have been given a couple of things to do to keep us busy, but to be honest, getting back in class at some point is what I really want, even if it means signing up for the course again

Third migraine in three days. Partly dietary, partly stress. TV and bed early.


Saturday 21st March 2020:
A bit of a nothing day. I woke up wih a migraine, took some tablets and then stayed in bed until late morning. The new songs recordings I was thinking of doing haven't started yet, as I feel a bit too drained to sit hunched over a computer screen, doing drums and keyboards at the moment. The Ebow copy arrived, but I haven't even opened it yet.

TV in the evening and bed quite early for me.


Sunday 22nd March 2020:
Mother's day. We nipped round to my daughter Rachel's house with the dogs late in the morning and then kept a respectful and safe distance for a chat for a moment or two and then walked the dogs home. Nice weather for it, so we are going to try to do this every day.

Graham is home from hospital. Probably the best place for him at present. Hospitals are full of sick people. He rang me for a quick catch-up which was nice. He sounded a lot better than last time we spoke.

Managed to sort Skype on Lynda's phone for video calling. An achievement.


Monday 23rd March 2020:
The much-anticipated recording hasn't started yet. I'm just not in the mood for it. I checked in with my son Paul, who has been off the radar. He's ok. Thank God.

Lynda has started struggling with severe back pain. Possibly sciatica.

Bolton are closing libraries and parks. Not sure how that works with the park opposite my house, or the park we walked down with the dogs to again today. We'll see. I got a text saying my GP appointment is still on for my blood test. I bet they turn me away.

Still ploughing through the massive 10cc book.

I am processing the fact that I'm effectively not going to be a working musician for a while. It leaves me feeling a bit numb, to be honest. I don't have song ideas to work on, on my own. Collaboration is out of the question, as nobody can come here. I feel in a bit of a void, at the moment. Social distancing means I can't find something to replace it and if we get locked down, with just a trip out to buy food allowed, well.... It just leaves me nervous and depressed. I know it has to be done and I am not rebelling against it. I am sure lots of others feel just the same.

Is the band going to re-start in the same shape as it currently is, or are we going to try to change things up a little? Something to think about. I feel a bit distanced from it all at the moment (like going on a holiday and leaving everything to do with work at  home), but as we re-group, I am sure I will get more back into the band frame of mind.

A long bath.

Lynda had given up to her back and had gone to bed when Boris Johnson spoke to the nation at 8.30 and basically told us to stay home, except for one walk a day to exercise. It doesn't put me out at all, as this is what we are doing, anyway. He delivered his speech in a very calm way, but you could see that all the crowds of people heading out for nice days out at the beach, treating this like it's just a day off work is really winding him up. He can't just say, "Don't you stupid people realise that you are going to kill each other?" as that is not what a Prime Minister is supposed to say. Watching the House of Commons live until they closed, I was impressed at how everyone is now working together. No party lines, no political divides, just getting the work done. Makes a change.

Bed very early - 11-ish.


Tuesday 24th March 2020:
Up late. 11.15ish. I woke up earlier, but Lynda came back to bed and I just thought sod it and rolled over and went back to sleep.

Lynda's back is really playing her up badly, so I took the dogs for a walk myself. Less bunches of kids hanging around today, persumably, as I didn't see any out at all. They tend to congregate on the local parks, but they were both quiet today when I was on them. Very few people around and I kept a sensible distance from all concerned.

Lynda got a text saying as she is in a vulnerable group, she shouldn't leave the house. Our online shopping comes from Tesco tomorrow. We tweaked the shopping list a little, as we can't get another delivery slot in the next three weeks, so I am probably going to have to make a journey to the supermarket. Lynda has been going to our local corner shop, which has adequate supplies of various things we do need and also they have lots of toilet rolls, not that we need any. We are not frequent fliers in the bog roll aisle at Tesco, but we are ok for them. I worry about cat and dog food, so I made sure we had what we were allowed to order for them.

With Lynda being vulnerable, I don't know how she is going to take advantage of the special opening times for vulnerable people at the local supermarket. Maybe I will have to go down, clutching her Liverpool Heart and Chest Unit hospital letter and wearing a pathetic expression, I dunno.

Looking at Facebook, people are either being rational, in denial, or hysterical about the current crisis (there, I said it.... crisis). I thought back to the woman jumping on a mic at our last jam night and shuddered.

Spoke to a couple of muso mates via messenger. We are all feeling a bit dislocated. My mate Stu is champing at the bit to get at it again, where I am not. I will try to see if I can conjure something up in the studio tomorrow. I am not going to force something out, though.

On TV, Donald Trump is saying he wants to open America up by Easter, as it is too big a nation and economy to be locked down - this is quite an alternative strategy to anything based in reality. New York is struggling to cope with the number of cases they have and lifting restrictions is just going to make the virus spread even faster. But you can't really tell Trump anything. If you did, he would only interpret it in his own utterly bizarre way anyway.

I haven't had a drink for a few days, as I am working hard on not getting a migraine. I am also stopping off the Balsamic vinegar crisps that seem to help set them off.

Lynda went to bed early again (and she's always up really early). Back stopped play. I looked at being in bed before midnight.


Wednesday 25th March 2020:
Another mundane day. I still don't feel even remotely like picking a guitar up. Lynda spent quite a lot of the day in bed as her back is absolutely killing her. Apart from walking Oscar and Tom, I caught up an amount of TV. I am working my way slowly through the very last season of The Wire, which is so slowly paced that it is like watching paint dry. The Good Doctor is getting really interesting, as Shaun begins to emotionally unwravel.

He's fantastically talented as an actor. I just get so involved in his struggles.

Here he is, talking about playing Shaun. It makes you realise how superbly talented he is.

Bed extremely late. 2am-ish.


Thursday 26th March 2020:
Awake at 9.30am, but I didn't get up til about 10.45. Lynda was up very early, but came back to bed, because of her back.

The fence panels bordering on to the rear of our garden are slowly falling apart. That fence is our neighbour's responsibility. He originally took down the privet fence that divides our properties without even asking us, to put up a wooden fence. We didn't think it needed changing. He did. He went ahead. Sod us.

A few years ago, he was demanding a contribution from us for some new fence panels. We said no. Our neighbour put up a new set of panels, then a set of higher inner fence panels on his side of the new border fence. The fence panels on our side of the divide can't be seen (or presumably maintained) from his side. That doesn't make them our problem. Looking at guidance on this, we can't make him do anything, as it is HIS fence and he can do what he wants to with it. This is probably why he has put the inner panels up. This is stressing Lynda out on top of everything else. Her stress is my stress. Plus, the locking parts are sticking on our UPVC front door.

I am just feeling totally dislocated from everything. I almost feel sick with nerves at some times. I need to get my sleep patterns under control. I'm almost at the point of trying to get my old job back, seeing as there is a crisis with the current immense workload on Universal Credit. Lynda being vulnerable makes that quite a bad idea and I don't think they are in any position to be recruiting or reinstating staff, anyway.

I have just contributed a track to a Sparks tribute CD that is being put together.

I took the dogs out three times today. Lynda's back is killing her still, so off we trotted. Oscar seems less keen on the long walks - and sometimes on the short ones. Practically nobody else was around for the evening walks and not many for the first one, thankfully. Lynda retired to bed early. She's hardly eating.

The Shakespeare pub near me has been named and shamed for having people in after the pubs were all closed down. Someone (not me - I don't give a shit) ratted them out. I did see two guys knock on the door, the other day and say, rather theatrically and at an excessive volume, that they had come to read the electric meters. The person inside asked to see ID (also rather theatrically) and then let them in. Presumably not to read the meter. They should have gone in the back door, like everybody else has been doing. They appear to be losing their license.

I haven't had any alcohol for about a week. I am doing quite happily without it. I wish I could say the same about biscuits and crisps, but I will do better at self-discipline and maybe lose some weight while this is all going on. I shaved this morning for the first time in a couple of weeks. I usually keep it as clear of growth as I can, but I had let it slide. I had this daft idea of growing a beard and shaving it off for my next gig. My neck was getting rather irritated by the beard growth and it just looked scruffy, so off it came. Out went the bin for tomorrow morning.

At 8pm, people went to their front doors and clapped the NHS. The Government should give them a pay rise, but they won't. While the death toll goes up, the NHS are the saviours of the nation and the heroes of our Government. As soon as this fuss has died down, the Tories will go back to year on year cuts and sell-offs. They are still struggling to even get staff masks and PPE.

Before I went to bed, I picked up a bass and a guitar for the first time in a short while. People are doing live internet broadcasts. I'd like to film one song and put it out as a video. I am thinking what to do? Something new, or something I already have a backing track that I can sing and add guitar to? I am not going to just sit on a stool with a guitar and sing otherwise unaccompanied. Nope. The world is not ready for that.

Bed really late.


Friday 27th March 2020:
A lovely sunny day that I entered into at 10.30am.
No college today.

Lynda really isn't well. She very much doubts it is COVID19, but her throat is sore and she feels totally drained of energy - possibly something to do with not eating very much.. She is only coughing occasionally. Not very much. We are both dealing with mild colds and such, so it's probably from that. It doesn't mean it is anything more sinister. She wanted us to drive to Cheadle earlier with a swing for her grandson Jamie (keeping our sensible distance when we got there), but I explained that it's classed as non-essential travel and that we'd get fined and she got rather low about it.

Our friend lost one of her cats to a car last night. We went looking after them while they were away and the one that has passed away was very young and a real cute little rascal, but not one to stray too far. That really upset both of us. It's things like this where you can't go put your arms around a friend that show what weird times these currently are.

Boris Johnson has tested positive for the virus. So, that goes to show that it is out to get us all. These prats who think that it is a hoax really need to give their heads a wobble. There are lots of them.

Our black bin (general waste) has just been emptied. Our beige cardboard bin was ignored last week and they didn't touch it this week. Worse things happen. Small things that are just annoying.

Lynda spent most of the evening in bed. After taking the dogs for a walk and having a quick word with Ian, the landlord of the local pub that's quite near to me, I settled down on the sofa with Tom and we binge-watched season 6 of House of Cards. No Kevin Spacey was to be seen, as he managed to disgrace himself and get himself removed from the programme. Season 6 turned out to be the very last run of the show, as a result.

I watched til about 1am, then Tom took up most of the sofa, leaving me uncomfortable and sore and feeling just a bit stupid for not sending him upstairs to get on the bed. But he does keep me warm. What a good dog.


Saturday 28th March 2020:
My alarm went off at 10am. I lay there semi-awake with my eyes closed till around 11am. I was warm and didn't want to move.

Took the dogs for a walk with Lynda, who is trying to get past her bad back. We only went for a short walk, to the local shop, I waited outside while she went in for the odd thing - bread and banana milk, etc. The shop are allowing 4 customers in at a time and one in, one out. Very sensible.

I watched the last couple of episodes of House of Cards and it ends really suddenly. Wow. You could see the series winding towards a final conclusion, with everything wrapped up. It didn't end on the congratulatory note I expected, with Claire Hale sitting aloft in total control of the Presidency and all her foes vanquished, or dead. The episode ended and I was looking where the next episode was - and there just isn't going to be one. The ending leaves a lot of questions to be answered, which is both a good and bad thing.

I have been trying not to think about where the band should be, but we were booked at The Duke Of Wellington, Lostock this evening. One of our favourite gigs. I have had the odd contact with Graham, but nothing with our guitarist Ian - but then again, we don't just natter very much for the sake of it between gigs, anyway. I posted in our Facebook chat group, so we have started talking.

Tom keeps following me around the house and whereever I settle for a moment, he curls up next to my feet. Very devoted. He displays visible separation issues if Lynda goes out, getting up on the sofa and looking anxiously out of the window 'til she comes back.

I gave Oscar a slightly overdue bath. He now feels lovely and fluffy again.

I posted some more pages from my autobiography on my 'A Glittering Career In Music' auto biography Facebook page. The Kerbcrawlers period is covered in full. I missed a bunch of pages out, which cover the period when I was with a very busy 60's / cabaret band, because I parted whilst on very bad terms with them and I don't think that that part of a strictly limited edition book is suitable subject matter for Facebook. I have had enough threats from them in the past already. It's all water under the bridge now, but there's no need to pee in that particular stream again. I also missed out the Roadrunners pages, because there's no need to rake up bad feeling from the end of that band, either.

Speaking of that book, I got an email from the drummer whose name pointedly doesn't appear in the book. He was sorry to hear about my cancer issues. He clarified the removal of his name from my YouTube videos, by saying he didn't feel that his performances represented him as he is now. He asked about meeting up when the current crisis is over. I responded rather non-commitally, saying we'd have to see how long this went on for.

Finished the 10cc book. Had my first bottle of beer in about a week. Corona.

Bed late. We managed to get a 'click and collect' spot for shopping on April 17th, which reduces the need for us to go out anywhere, near people in the meantime. We have to go to Tesco in Little Lever to pick the shopping up. Not quite the end of the world. Ten minutes each way in the car. I want to avoid the supermarkets in Farnworth as much as possible.


Sunday March 29th 2020:
Up late, as the clocks went forward an hour today. But I was up late anyway, regardless.  I slept back upstairs again last night, as the night before, spent on the sofa, was so uncomfortable. My first job on getting up was some coffee. The milk had gone off, so, off I went to the corner shop. I'm so glad they were open. The people who run it are really nice and it was good to nip in and see people. Bread (well, 4 barms) and milk. Then back home.

I spoke to my son Paul. He is working away next week, somewhere North of London. He will probably be staying in a Holiday Inn. He reassured me that he's taking proper care of himself and that, seeing as everyone will be carrying a chainsaw at work, they will be keeping a sensible distance from each other. It is, of course, my job to worry.

I spent a lot of the afternoon on my current writing project. It is going very slowly, by my standards. I could probably get a lot more stuck into it, but I am trying not to just live on the computer. I don't want headaches or eye strain.

I have ordered a keyboard stand, so I can do some computer music sequencing work.

It's been announced that an NHS consultant from Derbyshire has died from COVID-19. The NHS staff should be issued with proper personal protective equipment as a priority, or this is going to happen more and more. Such sad news.

We are probably looking at (at least) 13 weeks of the extraordinary measures that are currently in place. Some utter fools are still pretending that there is nothing wrong. They will just make this isolation period run for a longer time. I think it is beginning to sink in with some people that this is serious, but it is taking time for others to get it. there are some flat-Earthers out there who think this is all a hoax. Imbeciles.


Monday March 30th 2020:
Up late again. Some TV during the day. A bit of dog walking. I am struggling with watching any news updates on the virus and the numbers involved - it makes me get very jittery indeed. I went to bed quite early but was reading for a good while, while Lynda did battle with getting a slot for online shopping. Online shopping for food is our current obsession.

Alan Merrill from The Arrows has succumbed to the virus. America seems to be waking up to the facts now and Trump is now advising caution, arther than saying it's not much of a problem.


Tuesday March 31st 2020:
Bed was warm, so, even though I had resolved to get up with my alarm, I snoozed it a few times. I did venture out in the car to go to our GP surgery to put in Lynda's prescription and to drop in a prescription request for myself for some pain killers (through the letterbox by the front door, you can't enter the surgery unless some bit of you is falling off). The pharmacy was open, so I bought Lynda some Aspirins. They allow two people in at a time. I didn't see the notice and being person #3 to enter, I got some stern looks when I went through the door. You can't see in through the door anyway, so I was bound to get the stare. They are very good at that at the Stonehill pharmacy. The shop floor is marked with tape in a grid pattern, to make people stand well apart. There's a lot of "Get behind the middle line" going on, from the counter staff - who are quite brusque at the best of times, yet the counter staff hand you coins without having any gloves on. Not a lot of cars are out on the road. It was good to drive a little. I was worried about getting stopped and being asked where I thought I was going.

A turning point in The Good Doctor?

Time to get things done:
While I was talking to Chris, who I did the Slade book with, I sent an email to Jim Lea of Slade's brother Frank, asking if he would see if Jim wanted to do a Forum Q&A to tie in with the release of his Biographical DVD, which comes out later in the year. While I had Chris on, I also got Chris to also check with Dave Kemp, who is the other main communication point, about getting this Q&A done. This led to some needless and annoying confusion and I get rather disturbed by things. Why the fuck do I even bother? Bed with a headache.


Wednesday April 1st 2020:
My alarm went off at 10am and I was up and at it before 10.30am. The morning saw the resolution to last night's problems.

Lynda had a little bit of a bad do on the way to the shop in the early afternoon and her heart was really racing. She got home, looking in a state, but refused to let me get an ambulance, as it would mean her going to the hospital, where she thinks she might pick up the bloody virus. I personally thought she was better getting her racing heart sorted than dying, but I was fiercely over-ruled. She went for a good lie down and seemed much better later on, but I see it as a warning.

Speaking of the hospital, the cancer ward I have a review appointment with next week rang me to confirm that my appointment will go ahead, but it may be over the phone. I told them my GP surgery had cancelled my PSA test as they are not letting people in their surgery (not much different to before the virus, actually). They said GP's should be taking bloods for cancer reviews. I said it makes them look bad. So, I rang the GP's back and I repeated my conversation with Oncology, so they said the new advice, as of yesterday, was to not do blood tests, as the hospital would now do them. Well, the idle fuckers at my GP's cancelled the blood test well before that advice. And everywhere I listen, the advice I keep hearing is NOT to visit the hospital. They gave me a number to ring at the hospital. I have to ring that in the morning, as the line is closed for today, as of lunchtime. My first job for tomorrow morning.

My keyboard stand arrived. I haven't set it up today. I need to sort the cabling first. Tomorrow. I really should write myself out a TO DO list. I have an amount of stuff that I should be doing for college, which has been left in the dusty area at the back of my mind.

Lots of TV in the evening. Finished The Stranger off. Watched a couple of episodes of the Tiger King, which I initially thought was a spoof from watching a trailer for it. It's real. Oh my God.

Bed early, but I couldn't get to sleep for all the cats and dogs on the bed. Still up at 2.30am, doing this blog.


Thursday April 2nd 2020:
Up at a sensible time. I managed to sort an appointment for an urgent blood test with the wonderful pathology lab staff. I could have had one today, but happily settled for tomorrow.

Dithered around the house. All of the days are very much rolling into one at the moment. The TV is full of corona virus bulletins, with everyone saying the same thing over and over. It's cheaper than running the TV programmes that they have stored up, I guess. The message does need to be got across to the thickos that they can't just go wherever they want, whenever they want. Those people are now being exposed for what they are.

I am missing my Thursday lunchtime meetings for a beer in Bolton.

An evening of TV, again.

Bed at a sensible time. I finished the book - The Ox - that I am reading about John Entwistle of The Who. It was 100% lacking in any insight into what made him so highly regarded as a bassist, but had plenty of details of his life on the road - the sex and drugs bit. I was disappointed that there was nothing about what a great bassist he was and why, nor much about his songs. I would have waited for a thicker book with that detail in. While the book had lots that I didn't know in it, it also missed out lots that I knew that was important.


Friday April 3rd 2020:
Up early, gloved up out and off to the hospital for the blood test. I set off as late as possible and parked very easily. They let me in, once I waved my blood form at the staff on the door and I hardly breathed the whole time that I was there. The person in front of me at the lab counter queue had some COVID samples from patients, which doesn't exactly make one feel better about being there. I had my blood done and was out of there like a shot.

I called in at the convenience store on the way home and managed to polish off a small shopping list, except for onions, which I got from our local shop - the last on their shelf.

The afternoon was spent on the computer, tinkering with a couple of websites, listening to music, etc. Moved some of my studio kit around a little bit, for when i pull myself together to start doing some new recording. I still have no ideas for songs.

The early evening onwards was TV with Lynda. The Nest is turning out to be very good.

Bed extremely early. Started reading Bruce Thomas' book Rough notes. Written so far in a more straightforward and much more easily-readable manner than his book (The Big Wheel) that made him fall out with Elvis Costello (twice). How does anyone casually shrug off an invitation to join Pink Floyd?


Saturday April 4th 2020:
Woke up bright and early, totally hemmed in, with Oscar and two cats in the centre of the bad and Tom practically lying on my left shoulder. He is never more than a couple fo feet from me. I went back to sleep and woke up again at 9.45am with what felt like a hangover. Ridiculous. I had one small bottle of Guinness at teatime last night. Got up at noon and went downstairs with a couple of tablets. Told Lynda my head felt like it was in a clamp. Maybe a coffee was not the most sensible way to start the day, but I needed one.

In a sudden fit of activity, I put together my new keyboard stand this afternoon and I've also got a new director's foldaway chair for the studio, as my old chair was falling to bits.

I reviewed the Supergrass Box Set for Amazon and then it was downstairs for TV for the evening with Lynda. Lynda was watching Masterchef, so I put The Kids Are Alright on. I would finally watch the second 'extras' disc for the first time since getting the 2DVD set on release, at nearly midnight.

Bed very late.


Sunday April 5th 2020:
Up late.

Facebook reminds me that I finished my radiotherapy, which I had at The Christie in Salford, two years ago today. It's coming up to the fourth anniversary of my prostatectomy - which will be on the 25th. My radiotherapy blog is here. If you have the stomach to read it.

I have a cancer review on the 7th. I live in dread of it all going wrong again, as that means chemotherapy, or simply sitting there waiting for it to take me. There's no more surgery options and I can't have radiotherapy again. If it does reappear, I have been told that it would take many years (probably ten years) before I got any symptoms. That doesn't seem like I would be that old, before I start worrying about going downhill and getting really sick.

I am scared of ever feeling confident that it won't come back, because if I do, it will probably jinx it and then bad stuff will happen (like when I had the 'one year clear' guitar picks printed). I try not to worry, but I am quite good at worrying about stuff - whether I can do anything to change it or not. I'll get the phone call on Tuesday morning, so it will be a case of holding my breath when the phone rings.

I just downloaded the latest issue of the American record collector's magazine Goldmine for free from the internet (here). I ordered a copy of our Slade book - THE NOIZE - for their reviewer in March of last year and their review still hasn't appeared. I imagine if I had taken out an ad (as their emails suggested) they'd have reviewed it. I just messaged the reviewer, Ken Sharp, who I sent the book to, but I don't really hold out much hope of a useful review appearing now. It's well after the event. He kindly replied quite quickly though, saying he will have a word with his editor.

Watched The Who Live At Kilburn 1977. The band thought their performance was scrappy - Townshend said so onstage - but it was restored for DVD and apart from a fluffed line or two and a scrappy ending to one song, they were on great form.

Spent some of the afternoon transcribing a rather old Slade interview for a book project. They talked over each other a lot during the interview, which was a pain in the arse.

My guitarist put a fairly amusing video up. The lockdown is obviously affecting him quite seriously. He is playing a banjo, fer Chrissakes. The comments went mad afterwards.

The evening was spent watching TV. The Nest is taking a dark turn at episode 4.

I walked the dogs and there was a street party going on, on the estate near me. Loud music and someone DJing. I heard a girl say that people were out in their gardens. As long as they were keeping their distance, it's ok with me. I didn't go onto their street to see.

Bed at a sensible time. Lynda tried to get a Tesco delivery slot at midnight, but didn't manage to.

I carried on reading the Bruce Thomas book for longer than I should have. I'll pay for that in the morning. What a brilliant read it is, though!!


Monday April 6th 2020:
My alarm went off at 10am. Very tired. A couple of snoozes later and I got up at 10.35am. Just in time for it to start raining. That might keep some of the clowns in.

Reading my Facebook messages, I got one from a chap called Paul Lythe, who was upset that his name wasn't in the thanks section on my Slade website. I added his name onto the list. He did some of the Fan Club interviews, but disappeared off the radar after a short time. He wanted to be thanked, so I added his name. He wasn't one of the fan club people that I ever met, but life's too short.

I borrowed a bed sheet and did some photography for college. I think my qualification from this course will be a total washout and I will end up doing the course again.

Cleo

V

I mentioned an advert that I came across on Facebook for fresh fruit and veg deliveries to Lynda. She followed it up and two hours later, this impressive little lot turned up. I was very honestly quite emotional. Lynda has asked them for a weekly delivery. Not much of a day to write about, really, besides the wonderful veg turning up. The weather got a bit better, so I walked the dogs. I read quite a lot of the Bruce Thomas book, then I watched a lot of TV with Lynda. We went to bed quite early.

Food


Tuesday April 7th 2020:
Up very early by my current quite slovenly standards - before 9.30am. I got my call from Urology - all clear for another 6 months with a PSA reading of 0.01. A huge relief, but I will be ready to worry about it all again in 6 months. A related appointment I asked for 6 months ago, with another part of the Urology team, never happened. I reminded them about this and basically, with the current situation, I have to raise it when i have my next appointment in another 6 months.

I reckon the CoronaVirus lockdown will be with us until at least September, so there's no real point in me wasting my time worrying about it until then. Lynda was busy on the computer for part of the day, so I got an acoustic guitar out and recorded this for Facebook.

It was the second full take, done after a few quick camera angle trials. The voice isn't quite as loud as the guitar, but hey, it's not meant to be perfect. It is what it is. I NEVER do live solo acoustic stuff in front of people (not without other musicians backing me at least), so this is an actual first for me, after God knows how many years of playing. I was very hesitant to put it up. For a long time, I wouldn't even play a normal 6-string guitar and sing onstage.

Bruce Thomas Rough Notes

I have just finished the Bruce Thomas book off. A very good read indeed. In case you don't know who he is, Bruce played the distinctive bass on the more distinctive records by Elvis Costello.

Bruce goes through his long and very varied music career chronologically and, I think, quite honestly and evenly. His writing style jogs along at just the right pace for me and he drops in some details that I was keen to know about. He went through early bands that got ambitious and made the move to London with £8 in his pocket and sure enough, that early band eventually broke up.

He played with all the right people, but in the wrong bands (mind you, he supported The Who and and trekked round the USA supporting Elton John), saw some real music legends play and did some incredible things, but without chart success, until he finally answered an ad in Melody Maker, placed by Stiff Records.

There's the fascinating early days. His immense contribution to the classic Costello sound is made loud and clear. 

The story is gripping. the monotony of the road is broken by enlightening stories from the road.

He seems to be rather disappointed that Elvis Costello behaves as he does with his long-term band members. Costello seems to be a bit of a cock on the whole and rather a long way up himself. Costello also comes across as rather prone to making sardonic and acidic comments which probably make him feel a few inches taller than he actually is. Costello's behaviour when he - and the Attractions - attended the ceremony to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was pretty pathetic.

The one time I met him to speak to, back in 1984, he seemed to be pleasant enough and the band seemed to be happy enough in each other's company. The Attractions were total gentlemen. It all came to an end though.

What happened later.... well I suggest that you all buy the book and see for yourselves. He doesn't seem to have any chip on his shoulder and, unlike me, he has not had to change a bunch of names when writing his book. What you read is what it was like. Tell me what the last brilliant Elvis Costello song you heard was? Bruce was on it. A Costello record could be by just about anybody now. Bands? Pffft.

Lynda went to bed early, tired, so I caught up with some more of Homeland. On the computer for a while, with the brilliant music of Supergrass for company. I tend to stay up too late and listen to the last pair of albums a couple of times, then I suddenly realise what time it has got to. Bed late.


8th April 2020:
Awake early, so I got up. DPD dropped a parcel off and then Lynda's mate Kay rang the doorbell nice and early for a 'properly-distanced' chat. She works as a carer locally, so we are on her way to and from.

One of Lynda's friends, who works at the hospital and has been dealing with patients with the virus, suspects she may have the virus, because she has a very hight temperature. No cough yet. She's going to be tested. We wish her well. Lynda was utterly disturbed by this all day.

Noddy Holder is trending on Twitter, but Suzan, Mrs H, assures us that he is fine and dandy. Good.

Lynda and I were talking about when the lockdown is going to stop. She's totally worried that it will be done too early and that pubs will start to re-open before the virus has finally had it and it will all kick off again and that I will bring it home to her. She's not ready to die yet.

According to TV, some countries in Europe are already talking about relaxing their lockdowns. The crisis is still escalating here - and it's probably going to snowball in about a fortnight, just in time for the situation to be reviewed here.  Madness.

We watched the season finale of The Good Doctor - incredible television. There has to be a fourth season. Filming and writing is currently totally disrupted by the virus. There are far more important things in life than making an incredible TV show.

Looking at the live video I put up the other day, there has been little or no reaction to it. There won't be more.

Bed after 2am. Daft. I blame Supergrass.


9th April 2020:
Up before 11am, suffering from last night's too late night and being kept awake by all and sundry during the night.
An anniversary day:
1978 - got together with my lovely late first wife Julie, at a Slade gig at Blightys, Farnworth.  
1979 - started work at DHSS Farnworth - a job I had for 37 and a half years.
1992 - My son Paul's birthday.

A lovely sunny day. A distance chat with Kay again.

I spoke to Paul for a while today. I really missed seeing him on his birthday. I don't see him a lot, but I think we will have to make up for that when this virus foolishness is over. I also gave Graham a ring to see how he's doing: Slow but steady progress, a couple of not too long walks and trying to get off the opiates.

Watched Dirty Harry for the first time in an age. I'm going to work my way through a bunch of Clint Eastwood DVD's over the next couple of weeks. When Lynda felt unwell in the evening and went to bed, I caught up with The Enforcer.

Looked for some drums tracks on the computer to use for recording tomorrow. I have quite a number to choose from.

The Churchgate Pub in Bolton have announced that their managers are leaving Bolton. Times are really hard for landlords at present and I am fairly sure that a number of landlords will desert their pubs as this lock down progresses. That's not a derogatory remark. I think running a pub must be a horrific thing to have to do at present with the income totally dried up. I assume that all of our gigs there may now be cancelled. They do respond quickly to my message, to say they are leaving the diary with the new people, so unless we hear otherwise, the gigs still stand, when the venue re-opens.

Bed very late.

Drum tracks

Friday 10th April 2020:
Up before 10am. A prolonged sneezing fit was a bit of a fun way to start the day. Lynda's back is giving her grief, so she's gone back to bed. Which is where she spends most of the day. She's hardly eating at all. She's freaking out at the idea of the review of the lockdown, in case it is lifted. I tell her that there is no way it will be lifted, as the PM is still in intensive care. Then someone on TV says it too and she calms down a little. She's actually frightened for her life. It is understandable, too. Lynda's not being hysterical. She's classed as vulnerable.

In the afternoon, Lynda starts to fall asleep on the swing seat in the back garden and goes to bed. The weather outside is quite pleasant. The dogs get a walk and Tom really is not in the mood for other dogs at all. Oscar, meanwhile loves everybody and all other dogs, but Tom is really NOT in the mood. I watch Sudden Impact.

Lynda gets up and makes the evening meal, has a few bites, then goes back to bed. I catch up with some of Better Call Saul, just before the Firestick decides to lose the network connection to my wireless router. I later noticed the signal expander filed in a display cabinet. I reinstalled that and the signal in the front room now seems a little better.

The planned recording didn't take place, as it would not be fair for me to be making a godawful racket with Lynda in bed in the house.

A bit of rain from 10pm onwards. On Newsnight, they mention a member of the Government's (uncredited) prediction that the lockdown could last for a whole year. God forbid that we have to do it, but if we do, then we do. Apart from driving us round the twist, it would badly affect the band. We'd have forgotten the songs to a degree. It would mean starting all over again with all of our venues. I just don't want to think about it right now. It's too depressing. There's just going to be a mad rush when this ends.


Saturday 11th April 2020:
I sit staring at the computer at midnight, waiting to be allowed to shop online with Tesco. When it finally lets me into their website, there are no delivery slots or click and collect slots left in our area any time in April. I can see me having to actually go into a Tesco at some point. Bed very late.

Up at 10.30am. Lynda was already up, but came back to bed shortly afterwards. She wasn't well yesterday and this morning, she was coughing all over the place. She went back to bed and isn't coughing, thankfully. I have been on the edge of a cold for a while now, sneezing with a vaguely tickly throat and I think / hope that's what she has. We have self-isolated quite strictly, so we shouldn't have anything to do with the virus.

The UK has reached 100,000 deaths from the virus and there are still people thinking it is a joke or a hoax or something and just carrying on as normal. I despair. Hopefully, all the fuckwits who are carrying on as normal will spread it amongst themselves and the virus will take its toll on them - they've asked for it, so let them have it - and then the herd immunity will kick in. However that works. If it works.. Various scientists are saying lift the restrictions and let the virus get on with it. Of course that wouls swamp the NHS and vulnerable people would be even more at risk.

I do some messing around on the website - tidying up pages and so on. I added the live video I did on the 7th to the Home Studio page, as I can't really think where else to put it. There has been practically no reaction to it, but I didn't expect much of one anyway. This is why I don't make records now.

Lynda made our evening meal, then promptly went straight to bed without even putting hers out. I tried to interest her in eating, but she was too tired. I ended up with a quick trip to the shop, walking the dogs, then watching The Dead Pool - the fourth Dirty Harry movie.

Bed at 1am.


Sunday 12th April 2020:
I woke up at 9.30 after a really bad night's sleep. Both of my shoulders were giving me lots of grief and I couldn't get comfortable at all. I have two dogs who felt the need to be on either side of me, hemming me in and making me too hot. Tom feels the need to breathe in my left ear. Plus cats who either sleep by my feet, or decide to come and stand on my chest. I can forgive Cleo anything and she can keep me awake all night. I don't mind. Edward snores away behind my knees.

Lynda was already up when I woke up. I came downstairs a bit later and Lynda put me some fruit out and made coffee, which made for a lovely refreshing breakfast. She had already had some egg on toast. Lynda went back to bed for a couple of hours. Her back is still murdering her. I wish there was something I could do for her.

It's Easter Sunday. You wouldn't know it, though.

The TV is full of lots of clever people theorising about when we should all just give in and catch this potentially fatal virus and about when the restrictions should be lifted. Whatever they do with the restrictions, I have no intention of putting Lynda or myself in harm's way. Looking at today's date, I can go and collect an online shop in 5 days.

Sitting here in the quiet, I can hear my high-pitched tinnitus whistling away quite loudly. It's very distracting. I try to tune it out at night, but if I think about it too much, I will end up listening to it and it keeps me awake. I am hoping that the time out from playing live helps my ears to recover a bit. That would be one tiny silver lining to all of this.

I go through our Facebook events for May and cancel them. I am working a month ahead for canceling. It's a bit depressing doing that, but it would be worse to have event reminders popping up everywhere. I am working on the principle that we will maybe be back at it in September or October, though I am well aware it could be a lot longer. How long is that piece of string?

I think hard about the book I am currently writing. It's an unauthorised biography.
Do I write it under a pen name, or just as myself?
Do I go for a lighter touch or really dig in?

Tricky. It probably isn't going to go down too well with its subjects either way. I will think more about it, as I go along. The right decision will be made. Or not.


Monday 13th April 2020 (Easter Monday):
Up at 10am. Long walk with the dogs. Spent most of the day watching the first box of LOST. I had forgotten how well written and filmed it was. Went to our local off licence and got beer, bread and some cookies. Isn't life just utterly tedious when you have to report you've been to the shop and bought some biscuits?

An evening of regular TV with Lynda who seems a lot better than she was. I ate no chocolate. Lynda went and booked a home delivery slot from Tesco at 12 midnight. In May.

We finshed off the Dawn French 'Maggie Cole' series that has been running, and also The Nest, which had excellent twists and turns right up to the end. I read some more of the Steve Howe autobiography, All My Yesterdays. Nicely written and moves at a good pace. He talks about his guitars a lot. Good man. I was lucky enough to snag a signed copy.


Tuesday 14th April 2020:
Up at about 10.45am. Amazon delivered some toffee vodka, so I am ok there. Chatted to and fro with Chris about a number of Slade things that are going on. There will be announcements at some point, but my lips are firmly sealed for now.

The two Slade books continue to sell at a sort of  trickling rate, which is more than we ever thought that they would do. One Slade Facebook page has about 10,000 likes, but we haven't sold anything like that number of copies. It makes you wonder if any real committed fans actually visit that page. Chris is a bit more ambitious for the book than I am and would like to really push the book in some other regions like Japan, so I have put some feelers out. I actually like the trickling sales, as it keeps the taxman uninterested in me. I achieved my purpose when I got one physical copy on my bookshelf.

I ordered a book about The Who which should be a massive help with the discography book that I am always thinking of returning to work on.

An evening of TV.


Wednesday 15th April 2020:
Nipped round to my friend's house with a couple of books, which I handed over from a respectable and safe distance. He had some shopping for us, which was kind of him. Gave the dogs a good long walk. Saw my daughter Rachel for a couple of minutes - again, from a good safe distance.

Watched quite a lot of season 1 of LOST on DVD.

An evening of TV. A chap on Peston predicted that we will be doing distancing for 12-18 months. I spotted, just before I went to bed, that I had missed the the advance tip-off re the announcement of Don Powell's new band (The ExMen) in our Slade webmaster's group. We usually get 15 minutes notice of these things, which is not a lot. It can go on the website tomorrow. Reading the press release, it's as badly written as they usually are. Loads of punctuation and grammatical errors, as if a 5-year old is in charge. I will have to correct most of it before I put it up.

Bed.


Thursday 16th April 2020:
Up late. Joined Lynda walking the dogs. Did some web work, dicked around on Facebook a bit. Not really very productive. I spent an amount of the day watching episodes of LOST. It's as good, if not better than I remember.

The evening was made interesting when I rang my mate John to see how he was doing. Lynda got on the PC for a bit and spotted on Facebook that there was a cat in distress, about a mile from us. Its legs were down a grid. So Lynda scooped me up and got us and a cat basked into the car and we drove a short way to find this cat. There were approaching 15 people stood in the street looking at this cat, but none had the wit to even pick it up or attend to it. They all stood around looking froma distance, with their thumbs firmly stuck up their butts. The RSPCA had been alerted, so Lynda scooped it up and we got it to the vet in Bolton  The cat was a lovely ginger one, very well looked after and perfectly groomed. It was seizing and appeared to be in shock. The vets took it off us and we went home again. That's the longest drive I have done for ages.


Friday 17th April 2020:
Up late again. Nearly lunchtime. Balls to it, why bother getting out of bed? I don't think Lynda really approved very much. I wasn't exactly required for anything, though. Rang my local dentist to see if I could get in, as I have a chipped tooth that's really bugging me. They are not seeing anyone at present. Bugger. I will try to get an emergency appointment on Monday.

My Status Quo deluxe 3CD edition of their 1989 album 'Perfect Remedy' turned up. I don't know any of the songs on that album. The other two discs contain a bit of stuff I know and a live show from the time.

Status Quo

Ordered the other two latest Quo reissues later on. These other two albums (Rock Til You Drop and Thirsty Work) also passed me by at the time.

More LOST in the afternoon. I can't see me doing all 7 of the boxes one after the other, but binge-watching is the way to watch these 7 season sets. I have a few good box sets that I want to go at, while I have the chance. Fringe, The West Wing, Mad Men, 24, Hex, Heroes, Breaking Bad.

At 4pm, I whizzed off in the car to Tesco in Little Lever - ten minutes from our house - to pick up our shopping - we had a click and collect order placed with them.

We spent the evening catching up TV. We quite happily watched the last two episodes of Gogglebox again, as we really don't mind repeats of it. Lynda is faintly in love with Giles from Wiltshire. Caught up the blog, while listening to Supergrass. As usual. Bed really late. 2.30am.


Saturday 18th April 2020:
I have been trying not to think what the band should have been doing at weekends, but today I failed. I recall that we were originally booked into what I call 'one of our duff venues' in Padiham - a long way to go for little money and to be ignored.  We had to cancel a gig at short notice last Christmas and the landlord wasn't that impressed that my voice had totally packed up. He was pretty sniffy about it actually. After a short while, they cancelled the gig that was due to take place today , claiming a party booking with entertainment selected by the people booking the venue. We replaced it the next day, with a return gig at the place we played that evening - the Veterans Garage at the City Airport, near Irlam.

The weather today wasn't particularly fantastic, so I settled down and finished of the first box of LOST. It ended with a suitable cliff-hanger and I have been gripped all the way through. Lynda isn't interested in watching it again. She pretty much lost interest after the first series, anyway.

In the evening, we walked the dogs and settled down to watch some TV. Gogglebox remains a good watch. We are persevering with Save Me Too, which is about a man trying to track down his young daughter who has been kidnapped and placed captive in the sex trade. It is quite a harrowing and depressing watch. It also moves along very slowly. I am trying hard to make myself care about this programme and failing. I also am losing the plot a little with Supergirl. They had multiple Braniac 5's in the episode we watched this evening and (it messes Lynda's head up, as that defies logic) I simply failed to care if all of the multiple characters in the show got zapped or not. Supergirl cover her legs up with blue tights these days and the show is repetitive and treading water.

Bed early. I had a good read of some more Steve Howe's book about his music career. He is so genteel about the who thing. If one of Yes is being an arse, he doesn't say much about what they have done, or name them. He goes as far to say that Chris Squire went on stage a but drunk once. He's being so tactful and careful in what he says that the bottom falls out of the book. It is rapidly turning into a list of recordings, guitars and gigs. You don't really get to know anyone in his book, not even him. He seems devoted to his art, a lot of a guitar connoisseur and certainly a family man. There is a lot of talk, but not a lot of insight. You have to be a Yes fan to really love this book. I am not.


Sunday 19th April 2020:
I woke up at 7am. Oscar wasn't on the bed, so I went downstairs, just to check he was ok. He was lying down on his bed in the front room downstairs. He came up to join us, shortly afterwards. I finally got up about 10.30, after going through Facebook on my phone for a bit.

I was determined to make today more of a productive writing day. I had a good go at the biography that I am working on in fits and starts. I copied a few lists over to use as prompts for filling in the detail. I set up the word document I am doing it in to reflect that the book is going to be 6" x 9". Then I did some writing. The work I did took me from lunchtime to around 6pm.

We had our evening meal and I got the first episode of season two of LOST watched. I took the dogs for the longer walk around the lodge. I only saw two people while I was out. People seem to be taking the lockdown a lot more seriously. We managed to watch some TV before Lynda hit the hay. I caught up with another episode of Homeland  I am just one behind at present. Killing Eve has started again and I am going to save up a couple of episodes before I watch it.

Bed very late, as is usual.


Monday 20th April 2020:
Up at 10.30am. Lynda had 'a bit of a discussion' with the man over our back fence about the fact that HIS fence is rotting and he won't maintain it. I kept well away from that 'discussion', as Lynda has no time for him at all and demonstrated it admirably.

Lynda was busy doing a load of stuff, so I settled down to watch rather a lot of season 2 of LOST. We do like a good binge watch in our house.

Lynda was meant to attend a hospital appointment in Liverpool today, but as it is a specialist heart and chest hospital, she is terrified of going anywhere near it at present. We were meant to be there at 10am, but that didn't happen. I asked Lynda to ring them several times, but I don't think she did. Our only contact with the outside world today was a huge delivery of shopping from Tesco (our next is due on May 4th) and dog walking - and Facebook.

Lynda fixed the sticking UPVC front door. I'm not saying how.

We had a go at watching some stuff on Netflix. We started on The Imitation Game, but I think we have it on DVD. The Tiger King show is really really getting on my wick now. We have got as far as 4 episodes in and I am not sure how we got this far. It's probably time to give up on it. Joe Exotic is a rather pathetic and ridiculous figure. An utter loser. He decided to try to steal the name Big Cat Rescue from the rival attraction and eventually lost, owing a million dollars in legal fees. He stood no chance at all. Dork. He gets upset when parts of his estate burns down and makes TV shows attacking his rival's owner, libelling her and accusing her of killing and disposing of her millionaire husband. The show is really the emperor's new clothes and anyone who thinks it is any good must really love car-crash TV.

One of our venues has announced an all-dayer with lots of bands in July. I think they will be lucky to be open for that. Very lucky.

Having failed to get America open for business in time for Easter as he hoped he would, Donald Trump is getting the more dim-witted of the American people to protest against lockdowns. He must want all of his people to die. He really is a total fuckwit. Story here on the BBC news. There is a school of thought that suggests he may actually try to delay the elections later in the year - Story on BBC news here.

Lynda tried for another Tesco delivery at midnight, but missed out. I went on the PC, playing Super Challenge Freecell until I finally beat a game I was really struggling with and listening to a lot of Supergrass and got to bed a little after 2.30am.


Tuesday 21st April 2020:

I was awake quite early, despite getting to bed really late. The Heart and Chest Hospital in Liverpool rang for Lynda and I explained she is isolating seriously and didn't ring about her appointment and assumed it would be cancelled. She spoke to them. She will have the suite to herself when she attends, doesn't have to walk through the hospital and her scan will be followed by a proper phone consult. I took the dogs out for a good walk.

I watched a lot of season 2 of LOST again for the afternoon. We had a Skype chat at 4.30pm with Lynda's daughter, then after a while, we had our evening meal. Lynda was not at her best and went to bed.

I ended up going upstairs and doing very badly at Super Challenge Freecell, which is what happens when I can't focus. I also did some photo retouching for college.

I avoided going to bed for as long as possible and it was suitably late when I caved in and went to bed.

Ian Edmundson


Wednesday 22nd April 2020:
Today carried on where yesterday left off. I got up at 11am. A friend contacted me to say he had had a home delivery of some food and groceries that he wasn't going to get through, so I gratefully collected it and dropped it off at my daughter's house. The dogs had a long walk and Lynda was still pretty much not there the whole day and retreated to bed very early on, after our evening meal. She's not up to being around people. I mentioned going to Tesco for some cat food and she said she doesn't want to die, so I can't go to Tesco. I ordered an enormous box online from Amazon instead.

Two Status Quo albums that I ordered have turned up - Deluxe mutli disc editions of Rock 'til you drop and Thirsty work. Albums that largely passed me by at the time of release.

I watched a lot of LOST, finished Steve Howe's book, thankfully. I think mine was better than his. He's a very busy man and the book turns into a list of live engagements, recordings and of people he has worked with. You learn little about most of them. The late Chris Squire was apparently often late and sometimes had a cfew drinks before going on stage. Howe briefly attempts to flesh out his personality with details of his favourites books, films and macrobiotic food, etc etc, as an afterthought, before his story ends. You can tell he got utterly sick of writing the book, as he suddenly cuts off and says his life is now private.

Bed dead late.


Thursday 23rd April 2020:
Up at 10.30am. Rang 111 and was told I can't get a filling for some time. Still reeling from the announcement that the lockdown could still very well be in place for the rest of the year. It isn't totally unexpected. Lynda and I had discussed it several times. I was just willing it to go away, unsuccessfully, as it turns out. The enormous box of cat food came.

I watched some more LOST. The Who Press Archive book that I ordered turned up. It covers their start to 1979. It will be very useful. The Suprgrass 'Glange fever' DVD also arrived. I had been asked to put an advert image together for the two books, so I did one. It took ages, but it turned out really well.

Slade Books on Amazon

I put the bins out, then went to bed at about 1am.


Friday 24th April 2020:
Up at 10am. A lovely sunny day. Lynda not feeling too great. She is having some temperature issues.

I watched a couple of episodes of LOST, then walked with Tom down to Rachel's house with some toys for April, keeping a safe distance when I got there. It's going to be strange for young children growing up this year. Little or no tactile contact, except with parents. Grandparents hardly able to visit safely and unable to hold the babies. Rachel's mum decided to go and live on the Wirral, so she's not really likely to be popping over that often, to stand at the end of Rachel's drive. Strange times.

I keep wondering what the lockdown will do to venues and bands, mine included. I suspect some venues will not bounce back from this and also that some bands might not either.

Me today...

Ian Edmundson

Apart from meal times, Lynda has spent the day in bed. She isn't well at all. In the early evening I finished off LOST season 2 and started on season 3. I spent some time with an unplugged bass, plunking along with records. I am going to have to make myself do some recording . Bad after 1am.


Saturday 25th April 2020:
Four years ago today, I had my prostate gland removed in a life-saving operation that took several hours. More information here.

Today I got up at 10.30am. Lynda had been up during the night. We took the dogs for a good walk, out in the sun, as she was complaining of feeling cold. I watched some LOST on TV. The afternoon was passed doing Facebook and other stuff, playing super challenge freecell and I basically frittered the time away. Lynda had gone back to bed, so I listened to some music at low volume: Joe Jackson, The Rainmakers, Madness and Kisrty MacColl.


Sunday 26th April 2020:
Up around 10am. I was sent photos last night of some Jim Lea clothing that is going to be auctioned for charity. I won't be bidding on them, as I am not interested in anyone else's stage wear - not my thing. I am sure it will do well, though.

Some writing on the next Slade book. I put a drum track onto my 24 track recorder and I dithered about my song choice and stopped work. It's one our guitarist Ian usually does, but I think I will press on with it tomorrow.

An amount of TV today. I was anxious at times as to where Marvin was, but he sneaked in and went on Paul's bed at some point during the day.

Bed at a sensible time. Lynda didn't get a Tesco shopping slot again. This is getting really annoying now.


Monday 27th April 2020:
Up late again. Woke up with my lungs feeling quite sore. This was accentuated by cats walking all over me at various points in the night. The day involved taking some brand new children's toys for my daughter to distribute (the local women's refuge, FortAlice couldn't accept them, as their donations centre is closed). I also did the regular amount of dog walking, watching LOST and an evening of TV. We failed to get a Tesco slot at midnight. I'm getting a bit despondent about Tesco. Sainsburys won't even let me register, even though Lynda is classed as vulnerable and they already send me emails, as I am already registered with them in some way.

Did my most recent college homework assignment, though I don't see how they can give the class a meaningful pass for the course. We are not even picking up the skills I joined the course for, so I think I will end up doing the course again, if college re-opens next year.


Tuesday 28th April 2020:
Up at noon. My lungs still felt quite painful and I didn't really feel like getting up and walking around when my alarm went off at 10am. I just thought fuck it and went back to sleep.

I spent the afternoon trying to record guitar and bass parts for a version of I'm not in love by 10cc. The parts I was playing were right, but I was tryting to fit them over a 120BPM drum beat and it just wasn't hanging together. The original has a hint of a pulse to it and practically no rhythm, except for keyboards. I got fed up and scrapped the recording and wiped about 7 guitar parts and 2 bass parts. 10cc originally demo'ed it with a samba beat. I may have to resort to that. Anything I do will sound wrong, though, if I do try it again - there's only one way to do it - how they did it. It was good to get back into recording though.

Ian Edmundson  Ian Edmundson

Ian Edmundson

An evening of TV. Lynda triumphed with a click and collect spot for May 13th at Asda in Daubhill, a short drive away.


Wednesday April 29th 2020:
I didn't pick the guitars up today to resume recording, as I was too disillusioned with the day before's efforts. Our friend Dave came up trumps again with some shopping boxes, which was superb of him. Our evenings are very samey at present - TV and bed too late.


Thursday April 30th 2020:
Up after noon. I felt rubbish when I woke up this morning and got up. So the alarm went off and I went back up to bed. An afternoon of watching LOST and then I did the same again when Lynda went up to bed at 9.15pm. Bins out and head down. Bed very late - but I was up very late.


Friday May 1st 2020:
Up at 11am. Spent most of the day watching the end of season 3 of LOST and then the start of season 4. We watched some TV together and then took the dogs for a good walk, before Lynda went to bed. The landmark episode of Coronation Street where Yasmin snaps back and fights back at her horrible belittling, bullying husband should have had people clapping at their front doors for her at 8pm. I must confess, even though it is acted fiction, he made my skin crawl and when she retaliated, when he went down - a big part of me cheered.


Saturday May 2nd 2020:
Up at 11.15am. Spent most of the day watching LOST season 4. Took Tom for a good old walk and met up out in the open with my son Paul near his house. The evening was TV with Lynda and a soak in the bath. Still reading Tom Doyle's 'Captain Fantastic' biography. Various people are mentioning Zoom video-conferencing to me, which involves getting a webcam and microphone. Currently listening to: INXS Rocking the Royals. In bed before midnight.


Sunday May 3rd 2020:
Up at 10.45. A bit of a nothing day really. I didn't feel too great and didn't really want to do very much. I am finding it hard to get going with anything. I did manage to do several guitar tracks and a few bass tracks on a cover of Living next door to Alice which I had been dithering about recording. That took ages to get consistent, believe it or not.

Ian Edmundson

I had a bit of a read while Lynda cooked and fell asleep on the bed.

We had our evening meal, took Oscar and Tom for a good walk (carefully avoiding the bunch of lads in a big tent near the lodge) and watched the final episode of the first series of Blood, then Lynda sacked the evening off and went to bed. I paid Chris his book royalties - they take 6 weeks after the period end to clear and for the exchange rates used to show, so we are always working from behind with them.

I am going to try for earlier nights for a while.


Monday May 4th 2020:
An interesting day in that the Police started a raid on the former Al Hira premises, which made me look up from my binge-watching of LOST season 5. A police car spent the evening and then all night outside the former venue.


Tuesday May 5th 2020:
The day was spent watching most of LOST season 5, apart from us taking advantage of the afternoon sun to walk Oscar and Tom. I heard that 600 plants were recovered from the Al Hira weed farm, which I am slightly annoyed that I had no idea about. I thought they were just using it for storage. Lynda went back to bed at one point and I stuck my face in the TV for the evening.


Wednesday May 6th 2020:
Up nearly at lunchtime, though I was awake from about 8am til nearly 9am. An unusually productive day as far as I was concerned. Our new KingSized bed turned up and after an amount of to-and-fro with Lynda, I ended up assembling it. This was not before we went through the utter pantomime of dismantling and emptying the water bad that it was replacing. Carpet got wet, buckets were emptied out of windows and handles were casualties. We laughed.

The Al Hira, the previous bane of my existence, was indeed emptied of zillions of dope plants and Greater Manchester Police posted photos of their enormous haul. They had been stealing the woman next door but one's electricity. The building owner (Mr Parvez) must be shitting himself. Good. We laughed.

image

image

I celebrated this absolutely momentous and totally joyous
occasion via the medium of Photoshop Satire:

image

The new bed was assembled and after our evening meal, Lynda made the bed, lay down on it (she's not at all sure I will like the new mattress), went off to sleep and that was her evening gone. I got stuck into watching the last season of LOST. I got to bed really late and for various reasons, I couldn't get to sleep, so at 3.30am I was back downstairs, watching more LOST.


Thursday May 7th 2020:
Last night's sleep weirdness led to me sleeping in late. Lynda was keen to get the drawers assembled to go under the new bed, so we did that between us, as I slowly came to. I watched some episodes of LOST and got a migraine. I went up to bed to  get some quiet away from the dogs and after a few minutes they followed me upstairs. At 8pm, all hell broke loose as people celebrated our lovely NHS by setting firewoks off and it sent the dogs into barking overdrive. Good for the headache, if you want one.


Friday May 8th 2020:
Up 11.45am. Spent the afternoon writing a bit of the biography I am trying to get into writing. It is quicker to write from the mind than to transcribe a taped conversation with the subject. We took the dogs out in the evening - a few VE day parties going on. No wonder the death rate is going up. Some TV, then bed.


Saturday May 9th 2020:
Farewell Little Richard. Rock music owes you an enormous debt.

Lots of photos of crowds of people gathering in parks in the news. A slap in the face for the NHS and these people really deserve what they get. I called round at my mate john's house for the first time in a short while and kept a proper safe distance. A bunch of Asians down the road from him were all over each other and I had to be careful leaving the street as they were nearly banging into me. They had no concept of space at all - yet they wonder why they are four times more likely to get the virus and die from it?

My day consisted of a lot of TV, walking the dogs and getting to bed very late.


Sunday May 10th 2020:
Up at 10am. An overcast, sort of grey day. I finished off the final season of LOST. God, that was emotional.

I did some work on some songs that the band have sort of agreed on. I have no idea when we are going to be able to get together and play any of them, though.

Boris Johnson is announcing relaxation of some lockdown measures (too early, I think, so watch for the death rate going up again, followed by the lockdown being toughened as much as before, if not more so). Some measures will be starting from tomorrow - shops re-opening in a safe way, etc. Lynda is terrified of pubs opening up again before the virus is properly got rid of, or controlled. It could stop me being in a working band and the stress of it is making me ill if I think about it too much. I am losing money hand over fist, week on week, with this and I daren't look at my bank statements anymore. While money is not my main concern, being in a band is very much what I do. Who I am. Well, who I WAS at the moment... My sole vice and joy. If I lose that, I may as well just give up. Bed very late. Depressed.


Monday May 11th 2020:
Up late-ish, as my back was hurting a bit and I was also very late getting to bed. Spent the afternoon on the internet doing this and that and I can't remember what. Mainly grumbling about the partial lifting of lockdown when doing so in Germany after mass protests to lift the lockdown has led to a rapid second spike in virus-related deaths. Everyone seems to think that it won't be them that it happens to.

There is lots of debate about the idea of public places opening up again by July. On the one side, we have the people who quite rightly want to get back to normal and can't afford not to. On the other side, we have those who have noticed that the virus hasn't changed its tack at all and are therefore naturally rather scared of getting it.

I have seen notice of an occupation of Hyde Park and several other places being organised. It strikes me that if so many people want top make a fuss so that the lockdown can be lifted for them, what should happen is:
* Everyone registers their preference at a polling station.
* Expresses a preference to fully abide by lockdown measures - or to ignore them.

Those who decide to abide by lockdown get the support and therefore can isolate and maintain their own safety.

Once they have voted to ignore lockdown, they carry on their lives with like-minded people. However:
* They cannot opt into any Government financial aid or support.
* They cannot opt in to NHS treatment for the virus.

Personally, even though, as I said, while I can't wait to get back gigging, as a large part of me is dying inside without it, I have a responsibility not to be so selfish and to therefore put my wife in danger and that priority comes first. If the band is actually able to gig again in July, I won't be able to - and that creates a really huge problem for me. It just gives me a headache thinking about it.

Dogs walked. Lots of TV watched. Bed late.


Tuesday May 12th 2020:
Up late again. Filmed a couple of lines for inclusion in a video project. More later. Started watching the first season of MAD MEN again and managed two episodes before stopping. I'm not sure that I am in the right frame of mind to immerse myself in another really long box set straight away. I think I will more likely just dip into it when I am at a loose end. Watching all of LOST was quite exhausting and I felt a bit selfish, just shutting myself away in another room for a few hours a day. It was the right way to watch it, as far as staying involved with the plot went. Binge-watching is a good way forward. But antisocial.

I am now reading Bob Geldof's autobiography 'Is that it?' At present, he is re-living his childhood and early teens, where he is beaten by his schoolmasters and his father and he does tend to fall back to a default position of spending a lot of his spare time wanking. When I was his age, I must confess I wasn't wanking all the time. He lost his virginity to an older woman down the road at 13. The kind of thing us lads dreamed of happening to us, but alas, it never did.

An evening of TV and walking dogs - bed around midnight. We have a click and collect shopping order that I have to go for tomorrow morning. Joy of joys. I just had a look on the map and have found the place. One I have never been to before - Asda in Daubhill, Bolton. The street view on google maps shows the location of the click and collect spaces. Easy Peasy.


Wednesday May 13th 2020:
Up shortly after 9am. Did a couple of things, then set off to pick up the online shop at 11am. Asda's car park signs give you a phone number to ring when you get to the click and collect spaces, but then they don't answer it. I got glared at by the queue of people waiting to be allowed in the supermarket by going up to the security guard to let him know I'd come to pick up the shopping and that their C&C number wasn't doing much. A lady popped out with some shopping for the next car to mine. She returned a few minutes later, bearing some shopping for me. I thought it was a bit light, so I asked Lynda what we had ordered when I got home. We checked the last email from Asda. Half of the shopping was missing and we had been charged for it, so I rang them back. The click and collect extension number still didn't work, so I rang their main switchboard number. They looked and half of my shopping was still in their warehouse space at the back of the store. So off I went back, to pick it up. The click and collect extension number still didn't work when I landed. Security had my shopping by the door. They didn't offer to help me to get it to my car. Well, this is Asda, not Tesco. Off to Dave's to pick up a few boxes and then I called briefly at Rachel's and then at Paul's. Breakfast at about 1pm.

An amount of the world appears to have gone back to work today, over-crowding onto buses, tubes, trains, whatever. Just wait for the news: when the hospitals start to fill up with the next bunch of patients and the death tolls start to go up. I asked when people thought pubs and clubs will reopen in my Facebook musicians and Venues group. Some people optimistically said July, but most were picking the option of next year. I think that's how it is going to be.

I caved in and ordered some new fencing to replace the man in the neighbouring garden's crumbling mess. Legally, I maybe shouldn't do it, as I don't have the rights to touch his fence. However, he did approach me to make a contribution to the replacement once. I said I'd have to to think about it. He's told Lynda that I said I was getting divorced, so I couldn't afford it. I think I'd remember that. Maybe he was talking about Craig the builder, who used to live next door to me, who made a sharp exit when he found out Tracey was having another builder around when he wasn't there.

We are ordering a skip for Monday, for everything we don't want to be taken away.

An evening of TV. After we had caught up the final episode of Westworld, we both said that we had wondered what was going on all the way through the thrird season. It was like a bunch of writers independently wrote scenes with no knowledge of any plot (except who would be in those scenes) and they were filmed and edited together by a man who was blindfolded.

Bed just before midnight.


Thursday May 14th 2020:
I was looking back over what I have written recently and. compared to my radiotherapy blog, it is all just turning into a sort of repetitive 'Got up, went out with the dogs, TV and bed' type stuff most days. Do I continue to keep writing something every day? This is meant to be a reflection of where I am up to, personally. So that's what it is.

I didn't sleep very well last night. I was reading until 1am and Oscar decided to sleep between me and Lynda. We now have the KingSized bed, so he wants to fill it up. This means him lying inbetween us. I had trouble getting the quilt over me and as a result, I had trouble getting to sleep. I think Cleo was sat on my chest when I finally drifted off. I woke up with a sore back this morning. I got up at 11am as I tried to straighten my back out a bit before moving around. My shoulders are also giving me some grief. I need to get with doing my exercises regularly again to build the muscles up.

It's a lovely sunny day, so I might take the dogs for a constitutional this afternoon and get some of that sun on my back. Much gardening occurred with Lynda doing most of it and possibly fdoing a little too much and early movement of stuff that will end up in the skip, which os paid for and will land Monday or Tuesday..

An amount of beer and TV also occurred. Bins out. Bed very late indeed.


Friday May 15th 2020:
Up just after 10am. Success with our green bin and cardboard bin. Paul called around on his way to do a job for my mate Dave. Lovely to see him. Thanks to Rachel for the scones. Not much to talk about, as nothing's happening. Sent another video clip off for a Slade-related video that's being compiled. I put a watermark on it that will either make people laugh or stop it being used.

The afternoon and evening sort of passed in a whirl of TV and chat. As they do. I had a go at Zoom on my phone with Chris Selby and that worked quite well. I installed it on my PC and followed some instructions to make my phone into a webcam for the PC, but we didn't get sound. The conversation may have been muted. I don't know. I could do with some help with it, but social distancing makes a balls of that. I really need the webcam that I have ordered to turn up. The sooner the better. I bet they can't make them fast enough at the moment.

The new Sparks album dropped today. I'm not really in the mood to listen to it at the moment. Physical copies land in July (unless the virus delays our signed items).

Lynda abandoned ship early and went to bed. Watched a documentary about Queen's News of the world tour from 1977 before going to bed. What a nice bunch of blokes they were, supremely talented and the rest of it. Adam Lambert doesn't convince me and i wouldn't go to see them without Freddie, but that's my problem not theirs.


Saturday May 16th 2020:
Up late again. Back pain stopped play when my alarm went off. Loads of stuff is ready to go in the skip when it arrives. I have a small re-organisation of the desks in my back room planned, but am picking my moment to get on with doing it. It will make recording easier for me, by giving me a little bit more desk space and by having a couple of longer cables connecting things.

We should have been playing at The Bath, Morecambe this evening. But we didn't. Lynda went to bed early again. I watched a random episode of Game of Thrones, plus the latest - and possibly best so far - episode of Killing Eve, which revealed a lot about her, before she snapped and the inevitable happened. Re-strung my SG junior.

Ian Edmundson


Sunday May 17th 2020:
Up at a reasonable time, if I recall correctly (I'm writing this after midnight on Monday, going into Tuesday). I took Tom for a really long walk which he seemed to relish. All the way to my mate's house, where we had a suitably distanced chat for a while.

I ended up going back in the evening, as he asked to borrow some pain killers. He's taking a lot of them - 12 a day and so is his wife - I'm nervous of the bloody things and only take them when my shoulder is giving me real grief. I gave him 30 tablets and he later asked me for some more - enough to keep them going until Wednesday. That would be 48 tablets. I don't have enough and I need to keep a few back for myself. What I get for a month, he goes through in just over a week, which is scary.

Watched a disc of The Comic Strip. Some episodes were great, but others were a bit rubbish. Interesting to watch them all again. Killing Eve was rather splendid. Villainelle encounters her mother and brother in Russia and struggles with the reality of having a family and emotional ties. It all ends as you might expect.

I got to bed at a sensible time, but it was gone 4am when I got to sleep. My tinnitus and shoulders were all at top note.


Monday May 18th 2020:
Up at 8.10am. Our skip had come - blocking our car on the drive - and I wasn't going to let Lynda do all of the fetching and carrying herself, so I dragged my weary self downstairs and got on with it. I resisted just going back to bed when the work was done, or conking out on the sofa during the day. Spent a lot of time working on something for the jam night in photoshop, then took the dogs for the long walk round the lodge. Lynda went to bed most of the day, so I watched some TV - I caught Better Call Saul right up to date - there can only be one more season to go, before it merges into the timeline for Breaking Bad. I thought a spin-off would be rubbish, but it's every bit as good as BB.


Tuesday May 19th 2020:
Up after 10. Long walk with Tom again - dropped my prescription in and walked to Kearsley. TV and stuff.

I have a couple of things brewing in my head at the moment - one is a new song I've written and need to record, before it goes out of my head. The other is a superb guitar chord I happened upon when tuning one of my guitars the other day. Mucking about today, I felt I need to use that chord, so I'm going to change the key of the new song and use that chord a lot in it. More soon..

Lynda went to bed feeling ill again. Photoshopping. I've been working on a secret 'special project' related to our jam night. God knows when we are going to have our next one. It made me end up in bed dead late again.


Wednesday May 20th 2020:
Up before 10am. Collected the click and collect order. They only made me wait nearly half an hour this time, while they got their act together. Popped round to collect some food for the kids. Walked the dogs and spent some time in the back garden, seeing as today's weather has been lovely. Fell asleep watching some TV in the evening. Did some more work on the photoshop thing. Talked to the band about it. Found some more people to add in. Trying to avoid anyone whining that they are not on it.


Thursday May 21st 2020:
Up before 10am. Took some stuff to the food bank. Lynda wrote something nice about me on Facebook for a change. A lovely sunny day. Gave Paul some hedge clippers and had a couple of beers with him late afternoon - at a sensible social distance. Some TV until I took the dogs out and Lynda gave up and went to bed. I keep working on the new song and sat with my SG guitar on my knee all eveing quietly strumming it.

I watched Question Time live, as it happened and I foolishly tweeted on their topic that some lady journalist - Camilla Tominey - seemed upset that she had to stay home with her kids and she would rather have all of them in school. This seemed to me to be driven by her desire to get back to work. Something correctly shared by many people. I said this, unfortunately, instead of just thinking it. She then took umbrage at my obviously clumsy tapping and called me a d*ck in one reply, then highlit my absolute naughtiness with her own twitter post, directed right at me in which she called me a tw*t.

This woman writes a pile of bile for the Telegraph (Torygraph) and seems prepared to sacrifice her 3 kids in the name of Tory propaganda. She sang the parises of those working to get kids back in schools, trusts washing hands, temperature testing and came out with a load of guff that kids seem not to be infecting anyone else, even when they get it. If someone has the virus, I don't want them anywhere near me. Neither should she.

Someone available to catch the virus  is available to pick it up and pass it on. Someone who doesn't have the virus who mixes with people who may have it, risks getting it. That's how germs work. She can deny that as much as she likes. Although she did say that children may pass the virus on to vulnerable adults when answering another question... Boris will have her drinking bleach next. I will set the video for that.

Obviously, I totally misread her attitude to the necessity of placing her children back in school, when everyone else is keeping themselves completely distanced and separate, when balanced against the demands of her career. I ended up removing my post comments and replacing them with something slightly watered down and only slightly bilious, though pointedly stating that her kids may get the virus. If they do get it, I hope they don't have problems. And if they pass it to her, I hope her extreme discomfort doesn't last long and that she eventually makes a full recovery.

I really don't like upsetting people, but she said what she said, looked pretty bad and was caught out. My comments got more likes than hers, but who's counting?


Friday 22nd May 2020:
After all of that excitement, I got to bed really badly late. I was up about 10am, but I just felt like shit. Bad winds all day were threatening to take the garden furniture apart. I did some stuff with cable ties to the swing seat to keep the canopy on it. Some of the neighbour's fence came down. We will be waiting for the new panels for a while as they have told us there will be quite some lead-in time. They even rang us to make sure we are ok with that. I wasn't going to give them a hard time about it. Everyone deals with stuff the best way that they can.

Two of our friends, Kay and Steve have been tested for Covid. They have another virus instead. Phew. Get well soon.

Apart from the winds, it was a lovely sunny day. I am getting towards recording the new song. I have a 160bpm drum beat chosen for it. I just need to think of a solo progression to go in the middle and at the end of the song. I finally moved the studio room stuff around as I had been thinking of soing for an age.and made some room and it looks a lot tidier now.

Ian Edmundson

Lynda went to bed, so I did some internet stuff. Bed late and a disturbed night with my shoulders.


Saturday 23rd May 2020:
Up late, dinnertime-ish. Shameful. But when my shoulders give me a bad night I try to catch the extra sleep up. I was up at 9am, but went back to bed. When I did get up, I spent an amount of the day in my studio, finally working on the new song. I have changed the key of the whole song, just to suit a single ringing chord that is in it. Maybe that was a bit of the wrong way round as it is going to be 'fun' singing it, as it is not my usual key.

Ian Edmundson

An evening of TV. Lynda disappeared upstairs for a while and left me with the Sky News bulletins on about Corona Virus and I just felt like slitting my wrists. There is no good news. I have trouble watching it. I don't want to have to settle down to a life of isolation, not hugging my family or seeing them and not going in each other's houses. Watching Michael Gove slither his way out of questions while Johnson's pal Cummings constantly breaks the law just makes me want to vomit.

I came upstairs to do this and listen to some music. It's a bit too late to do any more recording today, with Lynda in bed.


Sunday 24th May 2020:
Up at a reasonable time. Still locked down, just in case anyone is reading this light years in the future and wondering. No real inclination to do any recording work today. Repaired an old faulty light fitting on our upstiars landing with parts from a brand new one. No fatalities were caused. Good job.

The awful news came through that one of our jam night regulars, guitarist Glen, has passed away. The band upstairs has one more guitarist now.

Glen Ince

Ian Edmundson

Walked the dogs, did an amount of college course work (and got mugged for my answers by some of the others), watched some TV. DEVS is excellent. Great to see Alison Pill reappear, as she was superb in The Newsroom - which I have on DVD and certainly must watch again.

Ian Edmundson

Bed awfully late. Again, I will pay for this in the morning.


Monday 25th May 2020:
Up 10.30am. Went out to meet Lynda and the dogs while they were halfway round on their morning walk. Chris and I have arranged to do a Zoom Q&A session - hopefully on Wednesday - with Slade's Don Powell - the only one of the band who really gets entusiastically involved in communicating with the fans. Chris is doing the techy side of it this time, as I am still waiting for my webcam - I'm going to have to take part in it on my phone.

Some more college work:

Ian Edmundson
Click image to view full size.

I forgot to go pick up and drop off some prescriptions this afternoon. First thing tomorrow.

The world appears to be going righteously bonkers at Dominic Cummings driving the length of the country when we are not supposed to do so and Boris Johnson, in a splendid display of Trump-standard stupidity, is covering up and making excuses for him in every way that's inhumanly possible. It's iundefensible and he won't even admit he's done anything wrong. To divert our attention away from this PR fiasco, the Government propose to open up shops in phases over the next month. Social distancing is still a huge must. I just see this all going tits-up.

I predict here and now that, seeing as this follows the style of the embarrassed Tory party's murmours of "Oh, it's only Boris" over the course of many years and many fuck-ups, that Dominic Cummings will be the next Tory to stand for Prime Minister.

Bed at 1am.



Tuesday 26th May 2020:
Up at a sensible hour, just after 10am. Went with Tom for the long walk to our GP surgery to drop Lynda's prescription off and pick mine up. I have to have a review of my meds before I can get any more. That should be fun. Why do you want these opiod drugs? Because they stop the pain and the dark thoughts that go with being sleep deprived. Gimme my drugs now.

Spent an amount of the day catching up college stuff, so my course work is complete. We are not going to get any make-up sessions, just certificates if we bothered to do the homework tasks we have been set. They do show what we have learned, plus I got to expand my use of photoshop. One of the tasks was finding something to represent the letters of the alphabet. I started off trying to use studio and music stuff for mine, to make it a bit of a challenge, but I lost heart after a short while, as the lockdown got to me and I lost who I was and all impetus to get on with things for a short while. It hasn't really come back properly. I hardly record now and I should be revelling in the chance to do it, but I'm not.

The result of the task was this (click to view full size):

Ian Edmundson

Cheap Trick have put in a short string of UK tour dates (Well, in England, anyway) for next April. Will they happen? I don't know, but I will get up and book for two shows on Friday morning - in Manchester and Wolverhampton. Lynda says they won't go ahead. She sees lockdown stretching on into the future like some long piece of cable going into the sea. If Cheap Trick don't come over, I will be beyond depressed. Not because they don't come, but because it will mean that live music hasn't started up again and it is what I live for to a large extent. I don't want to stop playing.

I watched the Boomtown Rats documentary from the BBC. They should have been touring, but lockdown has closed venues for now. Thinking about all this just makes my head hurt. I don't want to be the guy who used to be in a band for at least another couple of years yet. I have got good at it. It is what I do. I resent the idea of it being taken away from me.


Wednesday 27th May 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Put off recording vocals on the new song, as my throat is a bit scratchy. I had checked on where my webcam was up to - and it's not coming, so I got a refund and ordered another, due tomorrow. I spent the day feeling a bit ill, on the whole. My stomach was off, so I didn't eat much. Good for the diet, but it annoyed Lynda. Did a Zoom conference with Chris Selby and Don Powell in the evening. I was content for Chris to lead the questioning and to chip in as need be. Much better than talking over each other. Don was very open and relaxed and I think these sessions will be very good, as we get more used to doing them. I got through it ok. I had to use my phone, which isn't good in a 3-way conversation, as you can't hear very well and you don't think your own voice is coming over..... Bed a bit earlier than normal.


Thursday 28th May 2020:
Up before 11. Lynda wasn't in a great mood today and spent a lot of the day in bed. The webcam turned up and I got it working in Zoom fairly easily and did a quick sesh with Chris to test recording and finding the file afterwards. I sat twittering through Question Time, where Helen Whateley showed herself to have the empathy of a breeze block and to avoid answering questions. Bed late.


Friday 29th May 2020:
We should be at Burnley Bikers tonight. Obviously, don't go, because we won't be there. I got myself a ticket for Cheap Trick in Manchester next April. That's 11 months away, just about. We will see what happens. I didn't book for Wolverhampton and I might just see what happens nearer to the time with that gig. Lynda spent most of yesterday and today in bed. She is up really early and I'm not. It's too hot for her. She has been complaining of chest pains for two days, on and off, but if I mention getting an ambulance, she says she will die and gets hysterical. I say she might die from ignoring the chest pains. She goes quiet, goes upstairs and I go check on her after a while.


Saturday 30th May 2020:
Up late, but a slightly productive day. Got the polls for the Slade forum done. Listed out questions for Don Powell on Wednesday. Awaiting the video file to look at from the first interview. Went to Dave's for a bit. Kept a suitable distance. Lynda spent an amount of the day in bed again. She really isn't well at present. Some TV in the evening


Sunday 31st May 2020:
Up before 11am. Pottered around awhile. Did an amount of redesign on www.the3.co.uk which didn't go badly at all. It might be more phone friendly now. Lynda got stung twice by a bee and wouldn't hear of going to the hospital, even when she was nearly passing out. Because if she goes to the hospital, she will get Covid and die. I just despair. The world is going to hell in a handcart. Idiots on beaches mingling with each other, leaving trash everywhere. They don't think the virus exists, because the weather is so nice. Re-strung the newer Les Paul.

On Facebook, some fuckwits decided to jump in and argue about the possible restoration of women's pension rights. People that I would have thought were adults and would maybe have known better acted like twats, moaning at women about wanting equality and then moaning when they too have to work longer. We should be aiming to get them back to retiring at 60 and then getting men to retire earlier too. Another guy, who comes to our jam nights, went a step too far and called me a do-gooder for making the mistake of posting about it. It is a really good job there are no jam nights at present. That's all I can say. Prick.

After our evening meal, Lynda watched some TV with me, but gave up and went to bed and I took the dogs out and retreated to the PC to do some more work. I had a quick bath and read some more of the Bob Geldof book. Then back onto the PC to tap this in, before bed. Ordered the Andy Summers book - One train later.


Monday 1st June 2020:
I got the video file for our Don Powell interview and looked at it. An amount of bad camera-work at my end. I decided (made an executive decision) to make this first one an audio interview and put an image on top of it. After creating an audio file, I did some rather judicious editing, and it went up. Chris suggested another edit, which I would do first thing on Tuesday morning. The day was glorious and the distancing was not plentiful amongst the masses. Lynda got two bee stings and frightened me. Would she go to hospital? No. Did today's rather long blog entry and didn't save it before closing and found out the next evening. Bed early.


Tuesday June 2nd 2020:
Up before 10am. That's something for BBC News. Andy Summers' book turned up. Edited the audio for the interview again. Just snipping some off the end. Another scorchio day. Lynda watched a load of TV (Downton) in one room and I watched a few episodes of House MD in the other. Walked the dogs in the evening. Lynda still wasn't that well. She hit the hay a bit during the day.


Wednesday June 3rd 2020:
Up early again. Went to Dave's early afternoon for a sensibly distanced visit. Then I nipped to Rachel's with some food. Spent some time doing webstuff and preparing the studio room for the evening's chat with Don Powell. The evening chat went very well. Over an hour.


Thursday June 4th 2020:
Up before 10am. I got on with editing the conversation from last night. I took out a couple of glitches and a bit where Chris had to leave the chat go to look after his wife. I've loaded it up to Youtube today, ready to post the video on www.slayed.co.uk. I spent the afternoon finally finishing this off. I'd been dithering a lot about singing it, as it's not in a usual key for me. My voice isn't as strong as it could be at the moment, with the band being out of action. I might do it again, with a slightly different arrangement, in a better key for me. It's out there now, for better or for worse. I should think about the next thing.

Watched Starfish with Lynda, about a man who gets sepsis and it isn't caught quickly enough and he becomes quadraplegic and loses part of his face. It is so appalling a story, you have to feel better about your own life. I nearly wept at several stages during the film. I got ill with sepsis very quickly after my prostate biopsy and if I hadn't been warned that I might get it, I could have just gone to bed off-colour and died. The hospital saved my life. Bed.


Friday June 5th 2020:
Up before 10am, just. Halfway through this shit-storm of a year (nearly). My Bluray drive failed on me and a fix took out my keyboard. Luckily I have a spare keyboard, so I moved over to that as a temp fix, but it doesn't have a Print Screen button (which is why it's a spare) and I use that button a lot, so I ordered a DVD drive and a new keyboard from Amazon. Fucking computers. We watched the Motley Crue film - The Dirt. Bed after 2am.


Saturday June 6th 2020:
Up at 11am. The new keyboard and disc drive arrived from Amazon. I spent the day sorting the studio out a bit. I am going to re-record that demo in another key. I am not happy with it at all. It's not a comfortable performance or a good mix. Stared work on the next set of questions for Don Powell. Walked the dogs with Lynda and we watched an amount of TV.


Sunday June 7th 2020:
Up late. Pottered around awhile doing little of importance. Not started properly on the remake of the demo yet, except to re-add the drums and to wipe all the original tracks completely. Had a siesta mid-afternoon. Did a Zoom meeting with the band, but the sound was rather problematic - the drums and guitar kept breaking up and fading out. Trying again Tuesday evening, having followed some tips re sound settings in Zoom. Some TV with Lynda and bed quite early.


Monday June 8th 2020:
Up at 10am.

I awoke from one of my frequently occurring dreams, where I am back at DWP, usually sorting out some urgent payments. I really do miss being in the 9-5 grindand, apart from the fact that leaving work saved my life, because Lynda spotted the first tell-tale sign of my prostate cancer (peeing a lot), a lot of me wishes I was still there doing it now. I do feel rather cut adrift from life and somewhat bereft of a routine.

I only left DWP after thirty-seven and a half years because a completely idiotic girl called Tixa continually harrangued me after I had a thyroid operation, as she was determined to discipline me for taking the recommended two week recovery time after the necessary operation as sick leave, instead of proper recovery time, as per the DWP guidance. A real supervisor (She was acting into the grade long term without any real management training, except in which buttons to press and was utterly clueless and probably still is) wouldn't have begun to think of doing that. Referring her to the clear guidance which contradicted her didn't cure her stupidity. Some team leaders read the guidance in a way that suited them and wouldn't be contradicted. It was all about beating the staff up. She actually wore me down to the point where I gave in my notice to take early retirement. She didn't win that particular little battle - and once I'd said I was going, I was left totally alone....

Shortly afterwards, I moved onto another team, away from her. It could all have been so different. I'd have been there 41 years now and would have had a full pension to look forward to, in a few years - but then again, the prostate cancer would probably be getting me around now....

Another manager once tried to discipline me because I had used a discussion group on the DWP Intranet to ask a sensible question. It was what it was there for. Bolton management at that time wrongly saw using the Intranet as 'pissing about on the internet'. Totally incorrect. They also probably saw traffic lights as witchcraft.

Anyway... I had raised the point that all benefit processing sites had lost access to the online directory of Jobcentres that we 100% relied upon to do our jobs. I suggested proxy copying it onto a couple of servers as a solution, which would cost nothing at all and varied server access could be given to different sites  - problem immediately solved. I remarked in passing that it was 'a shambolic situation' causing us huge operational problems. Fair comment. The manager in charge of that part of the Intranet read my 'highly abusive' comment, answered the question properly and that was that.

However, an underling of that particular manager, one particular Devonian Dimwit from Plymouth called Sally, took HUGE offence at what I had said, got upset that someone had actually disturbed her sleeping giant of a boss with a valid question and upon finding (probably) that she couldn't get the Intranet shut down to stop it ever happening again, rang our office manager to complain that I was cheeky.

Jacqui, the HEO in charge of squawking at Bolton woke up and answered the phone and, once The Devonian Dimwit had stopped shouting at her, immediately started to get the scaffold erected. She set the acting floor manager, Mary, off in charge of investigating my terrible misbehaviour, ready for the hanging.

I gave my hapless team leader, Gill, (a sort of bland vanilla drone of a woman, who would do anything really stupid because she was told to - and who always had eyes wide like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming car) various dictionary definitions of the harmless word 'shambolic' and provided every instance of the word being used on the Intranet, so that everyone else who had used it could be disciplined too. In the formal interviews, she came down firmly on the side of management, knowing on which side her bread was buttered. Once, while the process was going on, I asked her, in a minuted interview, which part of my statement made me guilty of the charge being raised. She said "all of it." I enjoyed playing with my food sometimes, even when in such great mortal peril. I went through the statement and even giving my name and staff number had made me guilty as charged. All Serious Misconduct.

Add the rope to the scaffold now, it won't be long.

A Senior local Manager, Ann Garth - no longer with us and much missed - was given responsibility for making a decision on my fate. and she sensibly said that a line manager may indeed have been vexed (good word) to read what I had written, but my comment was not totally unreasonable and I should maybe choose my wording more carefully in future. No action was taken. Thank God I got the sensible one.

My former floor manager, Mary, who was so intent ongetting me, came to watch my band in a pub a couple of years back and cheerfully apologised for trying to do me over this farcical charge, saying that "it was so competitive between managers at the time, so I had to do it."

I am surprised I kept my cool, even now. I didn't just tell her to fuck right off. She knew she was doing something totally wrong and probably immoral, yet she did it, because at that time, it was all about doing it to the staff. Someone with half a brain could have hauled me in and had a quick word with me about the wisdom of annoying other managers and that would have cleared it up. But I was one of the Union reps, so I was a target.

It was a totally nonsense complaint and it was a totally nonsense investigation. The other Union Reps thought it was hysterically funny all the way through the sad process. A referral to the Union Head Office at Leeds would have stopped all of this in seconds.

"Shambolic".

On my last day, I wrote a stinging couple of paragraphs about all this and added it on the Intranet, more seconds before I handed in my smartcard to my last line manager, before leaving for an afternoon TU meeting.

In other news, I took the dogs (Oscar and Tom) for a longer walk than usual, this morning, calling at my daughter Rachel's for a suitably-distanced chat. We passed their old house on the way and Oscar started to go up her old path. A couple of years on and he still remembers. Rachel agreed that all the people doing the mass demos against protecting themselves from the virus are cockwombles.

Our Asda online-shopping delivery turned up over lunchtime. Deep joy. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, doing some web stuff, working on questions for the next Don Powell web chat, looking at Bill Wyman's steal of the book design for THE NOIZE. After our evening meal we watched some TV, took the dogs for a long walk and Lynda went to bed early. Bed at 12.30am.


Tuesday 9th June 2020:
Up at 10.30am. I was awake at 8.30am, but stayed put because my back was really hurting. I think it got uncovered and a bit cold during the night. I recorded a basic backing track for the new version of There's a hole in my soul. I got guitar bass and drums down, then tried two takes of the 'chiming chord' guitar (with the capo at the 8th fret). One take was dirty and the second, which I preferred, was cleaner. I used the ESP Cloud guitar for two Ebow harmony solo parts and the bound-neck SG for the other parts, plus the Precision Lyte thru the Fender combo. I stopped playing, as Lynda went for a lie down.

Ian Edmundson

Ian Edmundson

In the evening, the band tried another Zoom meeting - despite taking various steps, we were still struggling with bad enough latency issues. Depressing.

The Three

I still worry about when it's going to be safe to resume the band. Lynda is petrified of getting the virus and sees this going on for years, ruining civilisation as we know it and effectively stopping me from being in a gigging band. If I go out where the virus is, I can forget living at home. When she said that, I just felt totally depressed. Bed very late.


Wednesday 10th June 2020:
I woke up at 8am. Didn't get up. Lynda came back to bed before my alarm went off, so I switched it off and we both had a bit of a lie in. Nipped around to my mate Dave's after lunch, then to Rachel's for a quick flying visit. Did a zoom meeting with Lynda's daughter Susan and baby Jamie at 4.30. Watched Boris Johnson answering (and avoiding) questions about the pandemic. Lynda is just getting more and more depressed about it all. Lynda went back to bed again and was actually sick later on.

Seeing as the evening had suddenly became available to me again, I threw myself in head first and rebuilt one of my websites in blogger, so it can be accessed from the relevant places.The workplace in question blocks Plusnet sites for some bizarre reason.


Thursday 11th June 2020:
Up at 8.30am. Lynda spent most of the day in bed. Not being able to hold the grandchildren is stopping her seeing them. She's been really badly down since the Zoom chat on Thursday when she saw Jamie. She's doing the not eating thing and is snapping at me, so I am giving her some space until she comes out of it. I spent most of the day watching House MD on DVD. Now on season 2. Bed at 2am.


Friday 12th June 2020:
Up at 11am, as my back was aching. Watched the DVD of Does everyone stare, Stewart Copeland's film about The Police on tour. It's got me listening to them again, though there are a few awful tracks on their albums. Beautifully played tripe like Canary in a coal mine.. No excuse. Zenyatta Mondatta (their third album) is mainly crap.

The guitar shops open up on Monday. Don't know if there's any point in me even looking at new guitars again. I spent most of the afternoon watching House again, while Lynda had other stuff on TV in the back room. I couldn't get her interested in going out with the dogs. We had our evening meal and watched a little TV, then Lynda went to bed really early.


Saturday 13th June 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Lots of TV. Got an approach to see if I was selling any basses. Said I'd think about it. Had a long soak in the bath in the evening to de-stress, as things have been getting on top of me a little lately. To bed a bit early with the Bob Geldof auto-biography, Some very uncomfortable reading. He charmingly puts himself down as being a very ordinary guy, yet he has done some truly extraordinary things in his life. He won't pat himself on the back for it, preferring to say it is what many of us would do. Too many of us change channels or talk over distressing images and look away from the TV, because the charities all advertise on TV with the most competitively doe-eyed child, dog or whatever it is that we need to support with our money. Compassion fatigue. Getting quite near to the end of the book now.


Sunday 14th June 2020:
Up at 10am with my alarm. Nice sunny morning. Took the dogs for a walk. Rachel was out. Working my way through season two of House MD and finished the Bob Geldof book, which cuts off about a year after Live Aid. Jim Lea of Slade is 71. Some TV with Lynda in the evening. She went to bed about 11pm. I went at about 1.30am.


Monday 15th June 2020:
Noddy Holder of Slade is 74, so I got up at 10am. Not really, that's just when I felt like getting up. Our online shop from Asda came an hour early. It turned out to be incomplete. Today I had Glen's funeral. He didn't go from Corona Virus, but it probably contributed. Glen was quite regular at our jam night and a good guitarist as well. When Corona Virus closed all of the pubs, the jam nights stopped and a highlight of his week went. People who aren't currently in a band have a chance to play with other people at a jam night and it's great fun. I was told he was badly missing that like we were and still are.

It threw it down when I was driving on my way there and afterwards it was blazing sunshine and heat. I didn't manage to get into the chapel as it was full with the maximum 18 socially-distancing people and obviously, family and his very closest friends should come first, though I saw some of his good friends not get in. Some of us watched through side windows, not beng able to hear or see very much. It was about being there, rather than being there, if you get what I mean. He had My Way played and You shook me all night long was blasting away as people came out. After a chat with some of my friends who come down to the jam, I came home. Glen was a year younger than me, which is a sobering thought.

The afternoon was spent watching people being treated by House MD and Lynda mentioned that our online shop from Asda was 10 items short. No way to do anything on the site, so I found a number and told them what was going on. We want the missing 12 items, not a refund, as we are shielding. They will feel my wrath tomorrow.


Tuesday 16th June 2020:
Up at 10am. Sorted out the Asda refund with a real telephony person, first thing, because the website isn't co-operating and they won't deliver what we ordered. I will watch out for that refund coming.

Watched a number of episodes of House, walked the dogs after I got myself into a bit of a state about the future of the band as far as playing in pubs goes. It's out of my hands, but until it is declared properly safe to do so, I can't do it. I can't bring the virus into our house. Lynda and I had the circular conversation about it all again. I can't put her at risk. I don't want to move out, but I don't want to stop being a musician.It is all I have left of my life, apart from my family, most of whom i don't really see much.

John Foden rang me up to tell me that Steve Priest, the bassist with the classic line-up of The Sweet is dead. John doesn't do Facebook, so he is at least a week behind on everything. When the phone rang and he'd announced himself, I asked him who had died. It's what he does. He rhapsodised about the Sweet as a truly marvelous band. As a number of people had done since three of the four original members of the band passed away. A death in a band brings them back into the public eye better than a great new single. Everyone gets all nostalgic and praises the particular band's output and plays a couple of their records for the first time in 20 years. Then they forget about them until another one dies.

An evening of TV - watched a couple of episodes about the Salisbury nerve agent attack. Gripping stuff, brilliantly done. We also watched some Big Brother from 2006. Car crash TV with Nicki Grahame at her childish immature worst,

Thunder driving both of the dogs nuts. Bed late.


Wednesday 17th June 2020:
Up at 10am. One of my more stressful days. I got downstairs and Lynda told me she had found us a rehearsal room that is re-opening soon through friends. This was to help sort out my utter gloom from yesterday. I was very grateful and then I mentioned Graham's practice room that is being finished off at the moment. She was annoyed that I hadn't mentioned it to her before, though I am quite sure I had, There have been some breakthroughs on the COVID treatment and vaccine fronts, which are promising.

I was supposed to be doing a zoom meeting with the band tonight and then more again with Don Powell and Chris later on in the evening. My webcam mic sound would NOT switch off and I was getting a horrible echo from it, which I simply couldn't get rid of. The band meeting was pretty dreadful as far as playing in time went. My voice was a nightmare with the delay, even just speaking. I have never read anywhere that you can do band stuff in Zoom. I spent all afternoon trying to cover my mic and to get rid of the unwanted echo. No joy.

I had to cancel the Don Powell Zoom meeting. Embarrassing. Chris was going to be busy at the time that Don wanted to do it, caring for his wife. I was totally unable to host the meeting because of the sound issues. I gave Chris a ring to let him know. Lynda came in to suggest checking all of my connecting cabling and it later turned into a row, because 'I ignored her'. I was talking.

I had some bad news about my son moving some distance away from us to live. He has just moved out of the house he was living in, which was conveniently near to us. My daughter is going through quite an amount of stressful stuff at the moment and it is all getting right on top of me. They leave home, but they are still always going to be my kids.

Lynda went to bed early in a low mood, I looked at laptops and tried to work out more about doing Zoom on my phone if Chris hosts the meetings and then sends me the files to edit afterwards. I got to bed late and ended up getting dressed again and going downstairs, as I just couldn't get to sleep in bed. Then I had a couple of cats and a dog sleeping on me on the sofa until 6am, when I went back upstairs and got back in bed.


Thursday 18th June 2020:
Up at 10am. Lynda would prefer I kept away from her. We spent the day in separate rooms. I sat and watched 4 episodes of House MD season 3. The afternoon was spent having a nice hot bath and then a lie down. We convened in a room at teatime, though she wasn't eating anything - Lynda never does when she is in a black mood. I resigned myself to working through episodes of House til I went to bed. One of the dogs attacked some of our kitchen flooring during the evening.


Friday 19th June 2020:
Up at 10. I detect some thawing, but I am being careful. Binged on some House MD in the morning. Went to Rachel's with a box of food that she was going to collect from us yesterday. Some conversation during the day.

I am considering a new desktop PC as this one won't close down properly and won't apply windows updates. I am also having to bypass the login screen. I could do with a laptop for Zoom meetings. Rachel offered me the use of hers, but I do need to sort myself out.

Oscar appeared in the front room at one point ini the day, with a floor tile from the kitchen in his mouth. Lynda disposed of all the soft floor tiles.

My mate Steve Fielding rang me up for some self-publishing advice, using Amazon. Good to talk to him. We watched some TV after our evening meal and Lynda went to bed quite early. More House, believe it or not... Bed just after midnight.


Saturday 20th June 2020:
I was up at 7.15 am, bleary eyed, unshaven, bed-hair and clad in a bathrobe (therefore looking pretty ravaged after last night's generous nightcap measures of toffee vodka and Budweiser beer), as a new oven was being delivered. The delivery men couldn't get me on the phone. That was because I have a do not disturb set on it - except for certain numbers - until 9am. I'm retired. That's my one perk.

Lynda fancied a new oven, so off to ao.com she went. And why not? I struggled with the bulky parcel a little and got it into the hall and then went back to bed. Until 10.30am-ish. I didn't get much shut-eye, as I was in pain. Unlike House, I don't have truck-loads of Vicodin tablets stashed around the house. I do have a supply of Zapains, but I try not to take any, unless I am struggling to sleep. They are opiates and I don't want to become dependant on anything. It's brilliant that they work really well on migraines, when I get them and they are cheaper than Migraleves. I gobbled a couple down before lunch to try to get rid of my neck ache. A cloudy and not too attractive day, which will involve some dog walking in the afternoon.

After I typed that out, I got a migraine and retreated to bed. Just goes to show, eh? The day brightened up a bit. Warm and sunny, but I daren't go out and set my head off again. I got rid of the migraine, came down and wired in the new cooker. Lynda had a bit of fun using it, as it has an extra control on it, which probably renders me incapable of using it.

The Government seem to be trying to get us back to normal in July, with places opening up again, even though the death rates are still far too high. I understand the pressure on the economy and paying people not to work, etc, but this is far too soon.

Bed very late. I did some work on another general rock concert photo book that I might put out. I haven't started registering it on Amazon yet, though, in case I don't bother with it.

Ian Edmundson
A photo I took today. I think what's on someone's bookshelf says a lot about them.
(Click to view full sized)


Sunday June 21st 2020:
Up at about 11am. Neck ache. Walked the dogs, watched an amount of House MD, had a nice chat with Paul - We will be seeing him next weekend. Rachel called around with April. An evening of TV. I think Lynda gave up and went to bed.


Monday June 22nd 2020:
Up at 10am. The Government are busy removing all of the sensible COVID lockdown restrictions as fast as they can, including putting an end to shielding. Yet there is a steady, but not as high, death rate. It is still a lot higher than it should be, but Boris wants the country back at work and earning as soon as possible, if not before. Lynda is seriously worried about all of this. She's not eating, not talking and she goes to bed. Earlier on, she went out on our street and had a scream at a guy sat on the park wall across the road. He spat on the pavement and seemed to be waiting for a man in a car to come 'with a delivery'. Lynda shouted at him to go away and do his drug deals somewhere else. He quickly buzzed off. When Lynda came in, I told her this was a risky strategy and that it draws unwelcome attention to us, but she was on top note. Lynda cooked my evening meal for 6pm and then went to bed. I finished House MD Box 3 and started on The Newsroom Season 1 for a break. I am sick of sitting watching TV. Even quality TV. I want to go out to places and to do things. I want to see my family and I want the band to be able to play. It isn't safe to do all these things yet, though. Bed 11.30pm.


Tuesday 23rd June 2020:
Awake before my alarm, but Lynda came back to bed, so I switched it off and ended uo getting up after 11am. On the TV, Boris Johnson is over-ruling the scientists, who still believe it isn't safe to do so yet and is opening all sorts of things back up. Lynda went back to bed. This is all going to put me in an awkward position. My bandmates are going to want to play and earn again if pubs are actually in a position to put us on and I am going to have to want to hold out for longer for Lynda's sake. Stress.

Another cause of stress is watching the whole Black Lives Matter controversy. I have to admit that I am totally confused by the whole Black Lives Matter movement controversy of why the statements White Lives Matter and All Lives Matter are preceived to be racist. I have no problem at all with saying that Black Lives Matter. I recognise the struggle of black people for equality over the last couple of hundred years. They matter exactly as much as any other colour. No more, no less. Equally. We are all just people. That is surely what it is all about. But it is now apparently racist to say that all lives matter, because that doesn't match their message. Three white men in Reading are stabbed by a Syrian asylum seeker with mental issues, who was on the suspect terrorist list recently and there is no explosion of white lives matter. It is one man killing three men. Probably randomly and not because of race. The whole world is going mad and a policeman in America has set the world off being more divided again than you would ever believe to be possible.

The very presence of slavery in history is abhorrent, though removing all mention of it doesn't right any of the wrongs, it does effectively take the slavers out of sight. Taking people from their own lands was absolutely wrong and while it can be argued that once abroad many of them became staff, rather than slaves and some 'owners' loved their staff / slaves and even married them and have them arguably better lives, etc, the removal of those people's free will was definitely criminal. I think we should get the statues of slavers moved into museums and have informative plaques on the statues, explaning what these people did, to show that they were morally wrong. The statues would not be on display to glorify them, but to show that we have learned from their mis-deeds.

I had a walk out this afternoon to pick up a magazine and went into Asda for the first time since mid-March, with some trepidation. And then into two paper shops. No joy.Finally I trekked to Tesco in Farnworth and picked it up. Another first visit since March. It was a little bit emotional to do something normal, even if I was wearing latex gloves to do it.

Looking into a very limited record release project for later in the year. Not my music.

We watched some Coronation St and Lynda went to bed partway through. That was it until morning. Two venues had confirmed cancelations with us - there is still a ban on live performances, so we obviously expect everything remains totally off until the ban is lifted.

I got to bed just after 2am, as I was doing a series of updates to a book and got really into the work. I will get an earlier night tomorrow.


Wednesday 24th June 2020:
Up at 10am. Lynda looking decidedly wobbly, as she's been stung by a bee again. She won't go to hospital, or even let me ring the NHS number and she went to bed to see what she was like in an hour. After lunch, I nipped to my mate Dave's and then round to Rachel's. Today was scorchio. the hottest day of the year. Lynda was better, but still not great when I got back.

A bit of TV after the evening meal. When Lynda went to bed, I decided to change the font throughout the project I am currently working on. Saving it to pdf, it lost all of the bold text on over 200 pages. I've never had that happen before. Hours wasted. Bed at 2am, depressed. The earlier night didn't come off, did it?


Thursday 25th June 2020:
I treated myself to a lie in, as it was so hot and I kept waking up during the night. 11.50am. Went for a walk to get some special t-shirts done and I had to go home and email the images to them as they didn't want the white logo on a transparent background. They wanted it black on white. So I walked back home and waited for the PC to be available then emailed the 3 images. I'll go back tomorrow.

The Prince Sign O The Times superdeluxe 8CD plus DVD set has been annopunced. Want. Scorchio again. Did Cntrl + A on the text in the book and set it back to Arial. Now all I have to do is check the layout on over 200 pages. TV in the evening and then bed late. I didn't get any sleep until 7am.


Friday 26th June 2020:
I woke up almost at noon. Shattered. I went out for a walk early afternoon, scorchio again. I went to Rachel's and played at a distance with April. Picked up the t-shirst that I had done. Later on, one of our cats destroyed my Ian Hunter tour tee from 2015. I was very upset. Ordered the Prince 8CD+DVD set from Townsend Music, as it's gone up by a whole £50 on Amazon UK, so they can get stuffed. I splurged before the price went up even more.


Saturday 27th June 2020:
Up at a more sensible time. Quite tired. Paul called round and stood in with us, which was really nice. Kay also came over for something to eat. Really good to have some company here again. We kept a safe distance, though. Ordered a new laptop. A breakthrough with the vinyl pressing thing. I found a place that would press up 50 copies. TV, including Jodie Comer's excellent spot on Alan Bennet's Talking Heads. Bed late. Didn't get to sleep until 5am


Sunday 28th June 2020:
Up about 10.30am Shattered. Walked the dogs to wake myself up. A fairly miserable day, weather-wise.

In the evening, I did the latest interview with Chris and Don Powell. It went quite well and we got to the end of 1970.

While I was doing that, I could hear raised voices. Next door have got what looks like all of their relatives round. Lynda counted 30 of them. Their front garden was full of them. Lynda hasn't seen our grandchildren in the flesh since March and is really quite depressed about that and everything else that is prolonging our isolation from our family, so she pointed out that they shouldn't really be doing this. They were verbally threatening and abusive, accused Lynda of filming them, because she had her phone in her hand (she didn't tell them that she doesn't even know how to video with a mobile phone, especially one with a dead battery) said they haven't got the f***ing virus and if we tell the Police, they will kill our cats. The man next door (apparently) helpfully added that he hates us, because we are white. Lynda is absolutely broken by this. She doesn't want me to go round to speak to him. I feel quite sick. Lynda doesn't know why she is even carrying on living. That's not how we should be feeling.

I almost forgot to mention that the people next door are Asian, but I will now. I have no problem with Asians. I don't think about people's race or colour, just what sort of people they are. Asians seem to being doing the worst at surviving the corona virus, so 30 of them congregating in a small semi-detached house seemed just a little bit insane to me. But, it's a free country, of course, and they quite specifically threatened to start killing our cats, so they can do whatever they like about congregating and infecting each other. I won't stand in their way. If one of them had it and now all of them have it and are passing it on to all of their pals, we are still isolating and so we are unlikely to get it. That's freedom for you.

Bed late.


Monday 29th June 2020:
I woke with my alarm at 9.30am. Lynda stayed in bed 'til approaching 10.30, so I stayed put.

Yesterday has really taken the steam out of her sails and she has spent quite a lot of the day in bed. I am still blazing about it. Apart from therapeutically venting, here on my blog, that practically nobody ever reads, I have gone quiet on the subject. I feel like I am being blackmailed. They definitely broke the law by having such a massive gathering in their house. They broke the law by racially insulting my wife and I. They broke the law by threatening to kill our cats. If we do anything about it, they won't be moved - they own their house too. They will at the most get a finger wagged at them. It will just set them and their mates off, working on making our lives miserable. We are powerless to do anything but let the situation simmer down and go away. Better than it escalating to a dangerous point. Which it could easily do.

I spent most of the morning and afternoon stewing about this really irritating problem to no great purpose, while watching a lot of season 4 of House MD. I still feel sick. I don't feel like doing anything at the moment. I have a record to get pressed up, a video interview to edit, a number of things to do... and I feel like just lying down.

Bed 1.30am.


Tuesday 30th June 2020:
Up before 9am, to accept a delivery of a new washing machine, as our other one died a few days ago. We'd had it some years so it didn't owe us anything. Lynda cleaned up the space where it was going to go, once I had pulled the old one out, so I could plumb the new one in. I'm trying to work out how to get it into the car to take it to the tip. It weighs more than the car.

I sat down and mutely watched the final episode of House MD season 4 where Amber gets killed in a bus crash. I cried. And cried some more. I think I am so emotionally worn out at the moment that I was just susceptible to every tear-jerk on TV, and this was one of the worst. One of the best characters in the show got killed off in an utterly horrendous way. When she realises that she is going to die, it's just horrible. Read about it here.

House and Amber

Anne Dudek

Late in the morning, I got a phone call saying the new fence was coming in 20 minutes. The old fence didn't take that much effort when dismantling, as the guy over the back bought cheap and then put screen fencing on his side of it, so he didn't have to watch it rot. One set of panels remained to be put in place when I stopped for the day. Putting those panels in may involve going in next door's rear junkyard, so I am really not looking forward to that conversation.

The new laptop turned up, so I set that up at various points during the day. A good day's work getting things done. The new Sparks album in limited book format with a signed photo turned up too. Started on House MD season 5.

TV in the evening. Dogs out. Lynda went to bed early.


Wednesday 1st July 2020:
I switched my alarm off at some point the other morning, so I woke up around 10.30am and got up and lurched around in a comical fashion, with my eyes half-closed for a while. I had a couple of things to do today. I went over to Dave's for just over an hour, called at Rachel's on the way back and then drove to the recycling centre and got stuck in a long queue and gave up. Watched some House. Had our evening meal and caught up a little TV. Everyone's life seems to be a cycle of The Same Old Shit at the moment. Lynda went to bed.

An attempt to get some singles pressed up for a project failed as their website disagreed with me about numbers. They have a deal on there and the website doesn't let you get it. I emailed them in a polite huff an then I dicked around on a card game and listened to some Nick Lowe for a while before hitting the hay.


Thursday 2nd July 2020:
Up reasonably early. Crap weather. Stayed in most of the day. Read some of If It Bleeds by Stephen King. Set about finishing off my end of a project that I have been working on that involves getting some records pressed up. At the end of the day, my payment wouldn't go through. Check again tomorrow.


Friday 3rd July 2020:
Up at 10.30ish. Tired out, though I got my head down early yesterday. Set about getting stuff done. Went to the bank and put enough money in to pay for the records to be pressed, taken from my guitar stash. When will I ever need to buy another guitar?? Approved the label art. Completed the payment to the pressing plant. I edited the third Don Powell interview, to remove a bit of unnecessary chat and and hide a couple of internet hang glitches. A productive day. Must do some recording tomorrow. TV and stuff. Bed before 12.


Saturday 4th July 2020:
Up late morning. I pulled myself together and set about getting a few things done. Recorded some new guitar parts and three vocal parts for the new song There's a hole in my soul. I might get it pressed as a vinyl single if I can get it finished sounding good enough. It need a decent guitar solo and some e-bow guitar parts re-recording. That remains to be seen. We did a Zoom chat with Lynda's daughter Susan, partner Andrew and grandson Jamie.

Ian Edmundson

TV in the evening and to bed late, after watching Scarface until 1am with Llynda.


Sunday 5th July 2020:
Woke up at 8am. too early to get up. My alarm got switched off, instead of snoozed, at 10am, as I was dog-tired. I finally got up very late. Nearly noon. I woke up aching from head to foot. Put some extra bolts on our garden gate to stop it warping. Rachel and April popped round, which was lovely. Lynda hasn't seen April for a while and she's been really unhappy about the necessary loss of contact due to the virus.

Ian Edmundson

Rachel and April with Tom

I caught a couple of episodes of House while Lynda had a rest and in the evening we watched a couple of episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, which turned out to be a surprisingly good watch.

Before I went to bed, I read on the internet that the Government is preparing to bail out venues, as it is unlikely they will be able to open until next summer. Where does this leave musicians? My head is going with this. I am losing money hand over fist - about £200 a week. I was thinking of doing a special series of 7" vinyl singles with one of my tracks on the A-side and a well-known song on the b-side. But the above news has knocked the wind out of me. Safety first, but I'm coming up to the end of my music career and I would prefer not to fade out and be forced out. It's just heartbreaking.


Monday 6th July 2020:

Ian Edmundson

Today would have been my 35th wedding anniversary with my first wife, Julie. She passed away before our second wedding anniversary. I still feel robbed if I think of her. I do think of her sometimes, but like all things that give me pain, I forget any dates that are bad dates and don't look at calendars unless I have to. I'd like to say she was still alive within me, but I don't make my life painful if I can help it.

I would start thinking that she should have been my children's mother and then mentally slap myself for in some way depriving them of their actual mother, who I never think about at all these days, as the very thought of her and the way she treated me makes me angry. I don't forgive and I don't forget.

I did some shopping at Tesco - got a new blue shirt and some wine and some odd bits. Then I made a trip to our local recycling place and called in at Carrs Pasties on the way home. I have used about a quarter tank of petrol since March. I've hardly been anywhere at all in the car.

Lynda 'abandoned ship' in the evening and went to sleep on the sofa. I left her asleep downstairs and went to bed at 11.30pm.


Tuesday 7th July 2020:
Up about 10am. Lynda still not looking like she felt up to much today. She said the pubs are locking down again, as the misbehaviour is just causing problems and will lead to another spike in the virus. I looked at BBC news and 3 pubs have shut back down. Lynda thinks we are now all going to die and it is slowly killing her. She's just totally depressed and angry about everything. Our neighbours drive her mad. It's her deceased best friend Marg's birthday tomorrow (Lynda doesn't ignore bad dates and birthdays, she dreads them all year and then spends those days in pain), the world is coming to an end, she worries constantly about every animal in hardship and she's basically not fit enough to cope with all of this stress and isn't eating. I said the wrong thing - she looked like she was falling asleep while eating. She back went to bed angry, after spending a lot of the day in bed. I ended up watched a bunch of episodes of House MD again.

12.30am. Trying not to go to bed.


Wednesday 8th July 2020:
Up just after 10am. I let myself wake up a bit then I paid a visit to my mate Dave's and then went to Rachel's, Paul was round there and he came back with me to our house and we set about replacing the damaged fence panels with the new UPVC ones. It went a lot easier than I expected. The woman next door glared dimly at me through her kitchen window, as I replaced one of the old adjoining panels with the new ones. Lynda approved of the new fence panels and then retired back to bed. She spent almost all of today there. I just don't know what to say to make anything better. At 7pm I did the Zoom chat with Chris and Don Powell. Disappointingly, Zoom cut us off at 40 minutes, mid topic. I edited it later on and posted it on YouTube. A good revealing session. I watched the final episode of House MD season 5.


Thursday 9th July 2020:
Up late. Very late. Lynda spent most of the day in bed. Her body clock seems totally out of whack and she feels sick a lot of the time. I haven't seen her eat at all, but she was up well before me - very early.

I spent most of the day waiting for the rain to stop so I could walk the dogs. I made a trip to the huge Tesco superstore in Walkden for the first time since March, They had one pair of slippers in my size, so they ended up coming back home with me. A cautious nip around the store and then home. I put some petrol in the car for the first time since March. It will still over 1/4 full. I finished season 5 of House MD and started on season 6. He goes into a psychiatric unit voluntarily and is there for three episodes. I think they could have stretched that out and have made more of it, but they were probably nervous of deviating from the hospital theme of the programme at the start of a new season. My mate Mark rang up for a good chat in the evening. Bed before 1am. Accompanied by most of our pets.


Friday 10th July 2020:
Up very late again. I was awake from 5am, when I woke up feeling a little sick - until 8am, when Lynda got out of bed. Then I went back to sleep for a while, to catch that lost sleep up.

Her daughter Susan rang us to talk about bringing Jamie round to our house tomorrow, with the proper distancing in place. This perked Lynda up a bit and afterwards we talked a little about what is ailing her. Our next door neighbours broke her with their racist abuse the other weekend - she hasn't been the same since that. Not being able to hold the grandchildren is making her depressed, plus not being able to live a normal life. We didn't go out much anyway (except for when I was gigging in my case) and Lynda's routine and contact with family has been taken away. I think she felt a little better after we talked about it. I realised a while ago that I'm depressed. I have no energy. Outdoor gigging is possible, but most of our venues have no way of doing that.

I tell you, not being able to gig with Ian and Graham in The THREE is driving me round the bend. The 'loss of earnings' thing is one thing - I'm luckier than some, who have nothing else as income to fall back on. I don't pick a guitar up much at the moment, as anything I do, even the home recording I keep fitfully starting and stopping, is a bit weak compared to the group. I miss making a great noise with the guys. There will be an end to this, but like a lot of my generation, I am in the last few years of trawling round pubs playing what we play, and to have that period of being good at it (arguably) snatched away while we are in our stride just feels cruel.

Our 2020 gig list is painful to look at (first because of how much work there was, then because of how much work there wasn't)....
My shoulder is ok in the day, but it can hurt at night (same as it was), but what hurts more is the removal of who I am, because of what I do being chopped away like this.

The Three

Lynda retired very early as usual. I sank into the sofa with a huge bag of crisps, a can of Budweiser and House MD. Bed very late.


Saturday 11th July 2020:
Up mid-morning. A brighter day, today, as we had visits at our house with both of our grandchildren.

April
April

Jamie and Susan
Susan with Jamie

Susan and Andrew were very careful with the social distancing and I was glad to see that they aren't being at all lax about it. They need to protect themselves and Jamie from the virus. We spent the visit in the back garden, until Jamie started getting a bit tired. Rachel was confident to come indoors, as we are all shielding and we had the most fun visit yet with April, who is getting more vocal. After both visits, Lynda returned to bed. I went to bed at 1.30am.


Sunday 12th July 2020:
I got up after 10am. Lynda was up quite early but came back to bed soon after I got up and stayed there all day. She's not eating. I don't know how to get through to her, or how to cheer her up, or how to interest her in food. When she does this, she usually eventually cracks and eats something. At the moment she says the thought of food makes her feel sick. Bed late.


Monday 13th July 2020:
Up late. Lynda throwing up if she even drinks water or takes a bite of toast. She won't go to see a doctor. Went out to Tesco to do some shopping. Spent some of the afternoon sorting website stuff out and watching episodes of House. 35 years ago, I was at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid. Chris and I did a Zoom interview with Dave Kemp, who is connected to Slade and Slady. Edited it and got it online in the evening. Bed very late.


Tuesday 14th July 2020:
Up late again. This is getting to be a habit. Lynda was up early and spent most of the day up. She seems to be getting a bit better, though still having trouble with looking at her evening meal. Talked to Chris about who else to interview for The Noize Interviews. We have a few ideas. Paul popped around to see us, which was really nice. Started on box 7 of House MD. We watched an amount of TV together in the evening. 3 episodes of The Secrets That She Keeps, a drama about a baby abduction in Australia. Quite horrifying, as it could happen so easily. If you put yourself in the position of the parent who has had their child taken for a moment, it can be really upsetting. Bed at about 1am. Toffee vodka as a repeated nightcap was possibly not my best idea,


Wednesday 15th July 2020:
Up fashionably late. I'm not really driven to get out of bed when I wake up feeling a bit of pain. Went for a good walk to pick up my prescription of pain killers and took Tom with me. He loves a good walk. Watched some TV with Lynda. She appears to be getting a bit better than she was. It pissed it down for most of the day. Late on we watched Battle for the planet of the apes. We have it on DVD, but seeing as it was on TV, we watched it. To bed earlyish with a book. Makes a nice change.


Thursday 16th July 2020:
Up just after 10am. I'd set my alarm and only had a couple of snoozes. I spoke to Graham about trying to get the band all together in one room. We may be able to do that on a Sunday soon. Lynda doesn't want to join in any such get-togethers, as the virus is just waiting for her to do that. I went to my mate Dave's in the early afternoon and Rachel popped round to our a bit later. I recorded a few segments for a video for the Slade convention page. Looked up details of my level 2 photography college course. There is no information on making classes safe yet and my tutor hasn't got back to me, so I'm not enrolling until there is some guidance that I can read. I don't want to enrol on a course that will just turn into a load of home learning and exercises, like the last course did. I learned absolutely nothing in the second half of the course and the certificate I will get is worth nothing to me. I wanted the photography skills, not a piece of paper.  TV with Lynda in the evening. Grey bin out. Bed late.


Friday 17th July 2020:
Up around 10am. Lynda is not in a great mood, giving me black looks and snapping at me whatever I say, so I avoided her for the majority of the morning and afternoon. I know she's depressed. It's really getting to me, though.

Our beloved idiot PM is now muttering about certain indoor performances going ahead from August 1st. I can't see that including bands playing in pubs. Something else to stress about. We need to be playing again. Lynda still says the virus is airborne, which is abnother cause for conflict about me gigging again, or even going to watch anyone. It's not. It's just been discovered how long it takes to fall to the ground.

I worry about my band folding. Two bands (including my old band Wizdom) have given up in the last week. Interestingly, Wizdom have just declared that they are 'coming off the road'. It has taken them since March to realise that. It's now July. They do sound like they have thrown in the towel completely, though. They have been going out as just a father and son guitar / drums duo, as they can't keep a bass player for long. It's a stressful band to be in and I was glad to get out of there. The guitarist must have got a job.

In the evening I messaged a guy who had been asking me, a while ago, if I was selling any basses. I sent him photos of seven or eight basses. Of course he asked me if I was selling some basses I didn't send photos of, or don't have. I badly underpriced one bass when he asked me about a price on it and so I changed my mind on it. It is the most I have paid for a bass and looking at the prices on Ebay, I got it cheap.

Bed very late.


Saturday 18th July 2020:
Up nearer to 11am. Can't remember which side of 11am. Walked the dogs and spent most of the day watching House MD season 7. Before we setlled down to watch TV, I walked the dogs again. We watched 3 episodes of the new Penny Dreadful City Of Angels series based in Los Angeles, starring the astonishing and totally exquisite Natalie Dormer, who has no less of an effect on me, than when she was involved with Henry VIII, some years ago.

To cool down after that TV treat, I walked the dogs again, avoiding the man next door, who I still have not spoken to yet, since his outburst at Lynda. I am still raging at how he spoke to Lynda and I really have to be careful how I am going to react to him. The sight of him gets me wanting to thump him at the moment, so if I see him on the street, I have to walk the other way. Bed extremely late.


Sunday 19th July 2020:
Up around 11am. Exhausted. Did a few minutes in the front garden, trimming a holly bush, as Lynda was tidying the garden. The weather is quite nice, so the dogs may get a good walk, dependent on whether Oscar feels like joining in. He only has short legs and long walks aren't his thing. I sometimes end up almost pulling him along, which feels awful, but he can get really stroppy if I try to pick him up. And he is also a little fatty.

A decent enough day of getting some TV watched and a few things done. Chris and I did a 40 minute Zoom chat with Don Powell and I managed to edit it and get it online this evening.


Monday 20th July 2020:
Up after 10am. Not sure how much after. Had a nice soak in the bath in the afternoon and started to fall asleep. Some House MD and later we watched some TV together. Had a chat with Dave Kemp about various things and sent him the footage to use. I put three guitars on sale on Facebook. A 5 string Retovibe bass, a ESP Edwards Cloud guitar and my Agile double neck guitar / bass (which has only been gigged three or four times). Bed at 1am.


Tuesday 21st July 2020:
I was woken up before my alarm went off, by drilling and digging up the pavement in front of our house and looked out of the window to see I couldn't get the car off the drive. Not that I was going anywhere today.

I watched some episodes of House MD and dealt with a couple of people who seem to want two of the three guitars. I don't know if they are time wasters or not. I had put that it was buyer collects, but they don't seem to have read what I posted. One is in Bologna, Italy. He says he will arrange courier etc on the 5 string bass (but I'd have to get a new hard case for it and add that to the price, as it is currently in a gig bag). I can see he is a real person from his profile. The other is in Louisiana, USA and he doesn't seem to have much idea about arranging couriers. I also can't see anything much on his profile.


Wednesday 22nd July 2020:
Up not long after 10am with a couple of snoozes on the alarm. Watched some House MD (I'm now onto Season 8 - the final season), waited for the rain to give up to walk the dogs, did some internet work, listened to some music and updated my music library. Sent an email off to Edsel Records asking why the signed HotRats CD / DVD set I ordered in April from Amazon isn't coming. A number of people seem to be being disappointed. I know who to talk to about this. Pestered Amazon late on too. There's some interest in my doubleck guitar / bass. It will be interesting to see if it goes, I got to bed at 1am, but Tom takes up so much bed and Smudge insists on padding and purring and such for ages, next to me before she lies down. I ended up unable to get to sleep, though I was dog-tired and caught my blog up and did some Slade forum posts. 3.35am - I guess it's time to try to go back to bed...


Thursday 23rd July 2020:
Predictably, I was up late. I went downstairs in the end and slept on the sofa. The day passed in a sort of haze of me feeling rather ill, due to the tiredness. Our car was blocked on our drive by work on the pavement outside our house, so I couldn't get it out. We watched the final episodes of Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels and it has just been such a ride. I hope they can continue it. I got to bed stupidly late, as I couldn't get tired and ended up having to go sleep on the sofa again.


Friday 24th July 2020:
I woke up at 8.30am when Lynda came downstairs. That was my cue to say a mumbled good morning in a sort of fog and then go up to bed for a few hours. I went to Dave's at 2pm, having to remove the barriers that were blocking our drive to get the car off. I stayed at Dave's for a couple of hours. The barriers were down when I came home.

Graham rang me around teatime. It has been suggested that we restart our jam night shortly, as the venue we do it at is reopening under its new name and he was contacted about us playing our jam nights again. Two snags. One is that the Government say that pubs and clubs can't host live music yet, except outdoors with appropriate distancing involved. The other snag is the virus. It just isn't safe to do it yet. I have written this year off as far as live music goes. We will be lucky to be doing it next year, at this rate. I think Graham is one of those who hold the view that the virus is a bit of a conspiracy theory and I imagine that Ian would just go out and play and take the risk, because (like me) playing is what he does. Graham wasn't that impressed that I didn't automatically say yes to playing. Telling him that pubs and clubs aren't allowed to have bands on, prompted him to tell me who's playing where. They still aren't allowed to. I messaged him the relevant Government guidance paragraphs that say bands still shouldn't be playing in pubs and clubs. Those venues will have their licenses revoked. I said our main priority at the moment is to get into a room and to finally play together again for the first time since March. Jam nights will be the very last things to come back. They are hideously unsafe.

I made this mistake of mentioning this to Lynda, who went into her prophecy of doom about us all being dead (the virus will kill us all) and if I decide to go and play live, then I can find somewhere else to live. She went to bed out of my way. Bed very late.


Saturday 25th July 2020:
Up near 11am. I got a much better night's sleep last night, in our own bed. Walked the dogs a few times during the day. Mapped out the next Q&A session with Don Powell. Watched a couple of episodes of the final season of House MD. I was getting rather despondent about the signed Supergrass HotRats box set via Amazon, so I caved in and snagged one (at a slight mark-up) from Ebay and cancelled the Amazon order. I had said I wouldn't go on Ebay, but Edsel Records and Supergrass seemed not to care at all and were doing absolutely nothing to remedy the situation, so I took matters into my own hands.

Had a laugh to myself that my ignorant pig racist next door neighbours rounded up a bunch of their mates to dig up the abandoned and filled in driveway at the front of their house. They have spent some hours on it today. The previous occupant of the house gave up on the new front drive when he found out that you need special planning permission to drive over a pavement. The front drive that was dug out is next to a pedestrian dropped kerb on a street corner, so there was no chance of getting the planning permission for another vehicular dropped kerb. Still, I am enjoying watching them hard at work, even if, in the end, it comes to nothing at all. They have had a bunch of unsightly and dangerous flag paving stones piled up in their paved front garden for most of a year. It looks like they may finally get the things moved. So I am saying nothing. At least their bombsite front garden will maybe be cleared up at last.

Once they have finished the work and made their bombsite garden somewhat tidier, I will contact the Planning Department.

Lynda went to bed at about 8pm, after nodding off during a particularly exciting episode of Married at first sight Australia, which I have been watching with her. I walked Oscar again. Tom was messing about and wouldn't have his harness on. So it was just Oscar that got the walk. Still hard at it next door. Great. They gave up when it went dark, so I had a long chuckle to myself about it and watched some more House MD and then wentupstairs and watched INXS Live baby live on the PC. Went to bed about 1am


Sunday 26th July 2020:
Up around 10.30am. I messaged Graham to give him my blessing to restart the jam night without me if he wished to do so. I suppose the same goes for the band as a whole, until I consider it safe to return, when a vaccine is out there. A couple of bands are taking August 1st as an excuse to get back into pubs and clubs, yet the Government website only mentions select trials of pub gigs, so I think people are being very premature.

Lynda and I took the dogs for a walk and it started to pee down a couple of minutes after we set off, so it wasn't a long walk. Watched an episode of House MD and another episode of Married at first sight Australia, where it is coming up to crunch time for the remaining couples. Next door are moving things round in their garden again in a rather desultory and half-hearted fashion. I am rejoicing at any of this very slow progress.

Lynda went to bed early again. She's often up at 6am. I stayed up til around 2.30am, fiddling rather pointlessly with my music cataloguing system. There are loads of various artists compilations on there and I want to get rid of a load of duplicates. With the amount of stuff that I never listen to, I could get rid of a lot of it.



Monday 27th July 2020:
Up at 11am, we then walk the dogs awhile. We manage to do the longer walk today. I sink into watching some more of House MD and i am getting very near the end. Rachel pops round to collect something and I'm pleased that she's feeling better than she was on Sunday. She spent some time in A&E and has been prescribed some antibiotics to clear up her ailment. At the buyer's request, I make a short video of the bass that is going tomorrow - played through a guitar amplifier - and take some photos of it, in front of a black bedsheet, with a stage light on it.Quite a few of the photos turned out a little blurry, but I took enough for my needs. I finish disc 5 of 6 Of House before I go to bed tonight, a little after 12.30am. I can't get to sleep. My mind is working overtime. The bed covers are not straight and pets on the bed and noise make me retreat downstairs to the sofa again.


Tuesday 28th July 2020:
I wake at 7.30am and walk into the back room, where Lynda is watching TV quietly. I sort of mumble a good morning and she tells me to got to bed for a while. It takes me a short time to drop off again, as dogs and cats follow me upstairs and hem me in, in bed. I get up at around 10.30am after several snoozes of my alarm. Dave isn't fit to make the trip with me and Lynda seems unwell, too. I grab a shave and then put on a pair of skinny jeans for the first time since March, instead of the straight and often baggy things I have been waering since.

Text messages are exchanged with Joe, who's buying my bass and then I set off for Lancaster. He'd like me to throw in a small A-frame guitar stand with it, as I won't need it when I have sold the bass to him. The other 50-odd guitars that fit on it can make their own arrangements. I look for it again in the loft in a desultory fashion, but I'm damned if I can actually find the bloody thing. It is in the house somewhere, but where? This is not really a good sign for the 50-odd other guitars that I don't want to start falling over. I decide to stop looking for it, so it will suddenly turn up. In the meantime, I will contune to use the 3 guitar rack stand that I use with the band when we are out, for anything that needs to be used. I send him a text saying I will meet him at 12.30 as arranged at a hotel near Lancaster University, where he appears to be studying. The stands are £6 on Amazon and he has a link to them.

I set off and the roads were not too bad. I realise that I haven't been on the M61 since March. Crikey. The M6 looks as familiar as usual. I considered taking a detour up the A6 via Garstang on the way there, but decide against it, to be early and eat Lynda's thoughtfully prepared sandwiches in the hotel car park. There's some light rain, but not a lot. The sat nav gets me there at 12.10 and I eat half of them.

I watch for Joe turning up. He arrived bang on 12.30, seemed a very mice chap and he was full of questions about the guitar, which I did my best to answer. He had made sure he asked every relevant sensible question in advance. I really like it when people do their proper research on new guitars. Just picking one off the shelf and hoping for luck doesn't always cut it. It was nice to watch his face when I opened the case. It really is a looker, mint condition and all things considered, a fair enough bargain at my asking price. We talk for 30 minutes, finally exchanging a much-liked bass for much-liked money and I am back on the road at 1pm. I don't feel any pangs at parting with it. I am at the pint where I'd much rather someone had it who wants it more. He seems very pleased with his purchase, despite it being a lot for a guitar. It's a lot of guitar. Far exchange. He messages me at home later saying he's plugged it in and wow. Great stuff. I am so glad he is pleased with it.

Agile 4/6 doubleneck

I considered driving back through Garstang, to get a glimpse of the golf club I played at with the 60's band and The Crofters where a man died at a LV function and the crowd danced around him, as he lay on the floor and his wife screamed. I only considered it very briefly and I got on the M6 and watched everything around me as if it wanted to collide with me. Motorway driving.... I ain't done that for a bit now.

I get home at 2pm, after a stop at Lancaster services to polish off some more sandwiches and Lynda is fast asleep on the sofa. I put House MD on quietly and watch the last episode. I am quite taken aback that it is the last one, when it starts, as I thought there were 4 on the last disc, not 2 and some special features. Emotional.

House MD s8

Lynda goes upstairs after a while and gets in bed.I run a bath and start on the Andy Summers book 'One train later'. It seems to flow very nicely. Tom lies down next to the bath, as if to guard me from potential harm. My winnings from the bass go in a drawer for now and I think about plastic sheds and bases to put them on. How very rock and roll of me. Not.

Andy summers book

TV in the evening. I finished House MD season 8 and started on season two of The Newsroom. Lynda was very shut down. She's totally depressed about Covid and she's saying things like she wants to die all the time. In the evening we needed some stuff from the shops, so I packed a very reluctant Lynda up in the car, complete with face mask. I took her into Tesco, which wasn't busy, and a chap came up saying he was a medic, if we needed any assistance. That's how wrecked Lynda was looking. She's not been out like this since March. I wanted to show her it's not all dead bodies rotting on the streets and that people are coping ok, thank you. It didn't go well, but at least she took some interest in what was on the shelves. I hoped it would make her feel better. It probably didn't.

The Newsroom s2


Wednesday July 29th 2020:
Up 10ish. tried to get a few things done. Went to Dave's at 2pm. Paul was there. We went to Rachel's after he finished what he was doing there. He called around at ours afterwards.

Chris and I did the Zoom interview with Don Powell. There were problems with Don hearing us. I couldn't get my mic loud enough for him. Neither could Chris. Chris suggested Don turned his speakers up, so he did. My mic was a bit loud throughout because of that. We covered Slade's busiest year. They toured the world, released two albums, a film and several singles. He is a joy to talk to.

Bed early. 12.30am


Thursday July 30th 2020:
Up late. My alarm went off and Lynda had come back to bed, so I switched it off and went back to sleep, getting up at 11am. The HotRats 3VD and DVD with signed print turned up. I edited the Don Powell interview from last night. I cut approaching ten minutes out of it, but it is a very good, clean edit. Got it onto Youtube. Watched some TV with Lynda.

After Lynda went to bed, the BBC news website announced that Greater Manchester is locking down again. Brilliant. I blame my next door neighbours.


Friday July 31st 2020:
OK, so we are locking down again. We had two visitors today and they sat at a respectable distance in our back garden for an hour or so in the afternoon and it did wonders for Lynda's mental health. She actually felt like she'd has a fairly normal day for the first time in an absolute age and that left her feeling a lot more cheerful. We walked the dogs and nipped to the corner shop later on, caught up some TV like Little Fires Everywhere. Lynda went to bed at about 9pm and I finished season two of The Newsroom.

Oscar

I got to bed quite late and then the next door neighbours started turning up at 2am with loads of guests and kids for Eid. Bearing in mind their threats against our pets, I won't report them, but I wish every single one of the fuckers a long stay in a mass grave.


Saturday August 1st 2020:
The landmark date for the so-called return of live music went by without me even picking a guitar up. Up after 10am. Our black bin was emptied. The online shopping came in the afternoon. Lynda went to bed early as she does. I didn't. My late bedtime involved toffee vodka, a lot of season three of The Newsroom and still listening to the people in the beer garden of the pub at 2am.


Sunday August 2nd 2020:
Up REALLY late, after 11am. I woke up feeling rough. Something to do with toffee vodka, I think. Lynda and I took the dogs for a couple of good walks today. She's been a bit up in mood since Friday. Her daughter Susan rang. There's supposed to be a zoom chat between them tomorrow.

We watched some TV in the evening and that was interrupted by Baby (one of our cats) bringing a tiny bird in. It is in a cat basket in our back bedroom, probably waiting to die of shock at the moment. Sad. I've collated the questions for Don Powell for a zoom chat on Thursday. I got to sleep really late as Bella was outside in the torrential downpour that was going on. She didn't come home when I called. I tend to panic when I can't find some of the cats.


Monday August 3rd 2020:
Up at 10am. Felt like crap. The bird survived, called for its parents and then flew off when Lynda took it outside. Brilliant. Bella reappeared during the night, according to Lynda, though she was out on patrol when I got up.

Bella

The postman delivered early copies of the new Slade 'Cum On Feel The Hitz' 2LP set and 2CD set which are released on September 25th. I sat down and wrote a review for the vinyl LP. The DVD of the TV series Vinyl also arrived.

Slade Cum On Feel The Hitz

We took Oscar and Tom out for their long walk in the early afternoon and Lynda called in the corner shop. We did the zoom meeting at 4 and it was quite nice. I finished off The Newsroom season three box set. There is no more. A very emotional ending to it.

The Newsroom s3

In the evening, we took the dogs out and we had been thinking about going in our local pub for a while, Lynda agreed to us popping in, as it looked quiet and we had a sit down for half an hour or so. Result.

Bed early.


Tuesday August 4th 2020:
Lynda came back to bed, so I switched my alarm off and got up just before 11am. I made a trip to Gee Electronics in Warrington to get my damaged bass amp speaker output jack sockets repaired. Once I got home again, I decided I had the 'going out bug' and went to PMT in Salford. I was met at the door and it was explained to me that I'd need to wash my hands, follow a one way route around the store and that they were taking card payments only. No cash. The sales counter is now suitably screened. Great to see them open and acting so responsibly, regarding the safety of their staff and customers.

They also have a 'no touch' policy unless you seriously intend to try before buying. When Covid is done with, I really hope they keep that last new piece of policy - it will protect new instruments from timewasters with cheesy fingers. I wish they would put prices on all of their instruments, though. At least one of their bass amps and maybe one of their Fender basses stayed put today, as I am not going to have an inquest in the shop, putting someone to the trouble of checking the prices of individual pieces. I'm sure most people are the same. I want to look at something, see a price tag and then think about buying it, not just think 'oh, this all is too much bother' and walk out frustrated.

Lynda went for a lie down and I started on the Beatles Anthology on DVD, watching the first two episodes..

The Fabs

Bed extremely late.


Wednesday August 5th 2020:
The weather wasn't playing ball with us today, so our plans to take the dogs out to the local park in the car were scuppered. Tom gets quite car sick, so we are trying to acclimatise him to short trips with something good happening at the end, so as to calm his nerves. Oscar is fine in the car.

Oscar and Tom

Mogs

I nipped round to Dave's for a while and we watched some XTC videos from the bluray sets.
I watched quite a lot of the Beatles Anthology and we shared some TV in the evening until Lynda gave up and went to bed.


Thursday 6th August 2020:
Up late. Weather dismal, so we weren't going to get the dogs out. Later on it brightened up, but Lynda is having eye problems - she thinks she has an infection after her cataract treatment, but can I get her to speak to anyone? No. So she goes to bed to sleep off the pain. I pissed off to Manchester to see if a shop was open. It wasn't. Home via Tesco. A afternoon of the Beatles Anthology. I fell asleep when they were in Rishikesh, which is about the right point. Finished the set off. The back end of the Beatles career was SO dismal. Started on Boardwalk Empire season 1.

Boardwalk Empire s1

I was passed some info about a guy who is just an unncessesary problem to a number of people. He is threatening everyone on Facebook with the West Midlands Police. I have finally blocked him. Someone has set up a YouTube page spoofing him. Why bother? Who has the time? Obviously he has seriously upset someone in the past and now the chickens are roosting in a daft tit for tat battle. He is now acting like a damaged ten year old and making videos attacking Slade fan Dave Graham, in case it is him that's done it. He is blocked from every Slade site on Facebook, as he seems to be an unhinged volatile psychopath. He has numerous false accounts on Facebook and in forums. Everyone one knows who Cathy Barker is now - him.  He joined my Slade forum under an assumed name (as he does every now and again) so as to infiltrate and post complaints about Slade products and people. You can tell it's him a mile off.

I am considering approaching WM Police myself with all of my history of his messages and threats. He needs to be put away for everyone's own good. Apparently, he is going mad at one of the admins of the Slade Facebook group, who is foolish enough to not ignore him. Those same admins expelled me for the cardinal sin of actually mentioning that I had a book on sale at a Slade convention, so I hope he takes his mental problems out on them a little while longer, rather than me.

Later on, Lynda and I watched the end episodes of Married At First Sight Australia - Most of the couples were in disrepair and none of them stayed together in the end. A couple of them were particularly loathsome - reminding me of some of the utter shits I was at school with. They were just as immature. Bed around 1am, but there was no room in the bed, due to dogs and cats, so I came to do this write up and got to bed at about 2am..

Friday 7th August 2020:
I get out of bed at 10.20, feeling pretty grim after last night's toffee vodka excesses. Nothing to do, so I went for a soak in the bath and read some more of the Andy Summers book.

In the afternoon, I check the progress of the small run seven inch single record that I am involved in. The 5 test pressings are ready to ship. Exciting.

The evening sees us watch all 4 episodes of a TV drama, The Deceived. It's excellent overall and you don't see how it is going to end. I did pick up on one main plot twist in the third episode. The net have been speculating about a possible second series already.

The Deceived.

Finished off the bottle of toffee vodka that came earlier this week. Bed at a sensible time.


Saturday August 8th 2020:
Up just after 10am, feeling a little groggy, but hey ho, up and at 'em. I am losing track of what day it is. That's what the band being down is doing to me. Preston is going into more severe measures for Covid, so the end of this goes a few steps further into the distance. I get a sinking feeling when I think about ever playing on a stage again. So I try not to overthink it.

Lynda has declared today to be too hot to take the dogs to the park in the car. The weather is conspiring against us. I do want to get Tom used to traveling in the car without being sick, but no chance at the moment. He's a very nervous dog at times, and he's never more than a couple of feet from me. he follows me around the house, as if he needs me like oxygen. Oscar just likes to find somewhere comfortable and to flop down. As long as he knows we are somewhere close, he's ok.

I'm typing this at 11.42am and I'm getting disturbances in my vision - I think I'm starting to get a migraine, so a couple of Zapains and a lie down should hopefully clear that up.

The migraine went away fairly quickly, but I got another one later in the afternoon. In the evening, we watched a couple of episodes of Fort Salem. I quite enjoyed that, once it got going. We folowed that with a couple of episodes of a show about Laurel Canyon.

I ended up having another migraine attack, so I had a couple more Zapains and when I tried to get to sleep, Tom decided to take up some of my part of the bed. I was going to move him, but Lynda said to leave him be, as he wasn't doing any harm. I wasn't going to get comfortable with him sprawled out in between us, so I went downstairs and slept on the sofa in the front room.


Sunday August 9th 2020:
Up just before noon. Went to bed with another migraine and two Zapains last night. Tom decided he wanted my half of the bad and I was too out of it to argue. The sofa was comfy and cool. Head was banging when I first woke up at 8am. So I went upstairs and reclaimed the bed. Now my head just feels like it is in a clamp again. I am incommunicado most of today. Lynda blames it on toffee vodka, but I have run out. She also comments publicly on Facebook about the 5 bottles of Becks in my office bin. Becks doesn't give me a migraine. I think it's the bag of sea salt and black pepper crisps that I had last night, personally. I spend a lot of the day crashed out, avoiding the light. We watch a film called The Kitchen with Elizabeth Moss in it, then some more of Fort Salem.

Fort Salem


Monday August 10th 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Too hot to take the dogs out. Everything felt very sluggish and I ended up having a couple of hours siesta in the afternoon. I get really tired recently. I don't know if my thyroid is playing up or what. Chris and I did a very enjoyable Zoom session with Don Powell at 7pm. It went very well. TV in the evening (more Fort Salem) and bed early.

Tuesday August 11th 2020:
Up late, had trouble waking up at all. I got a phone call from Gee Electronics, as my bass amp is ready for collection. I set off at about 1pm and collected the amp. There was a huge fallen tree branch in the road in Leigh on the way, but nobody was attending to it yet, so it must have just come down. I'm glad my car wasn't under the fallen branches, someone could have been killed. I called in at Sainsburys in Leigh on the way home - gort a meal deal and a few other bits. It's nice to have a drive out. I spend most of my time isolated in the house.

I edited the interview with Don Powell and got it up on Youtube.

We finished Fort Salem off later on and also started on the new Australian Married at first sight. The papers are already full of who didn't make it, as it was filmed in 2018. I really hate spoilers on TV shows. Bed late-ish and had a read as it was too hot to get to sleep.


Wednesday August 12th 2020:
Up late-ish. Too hot. Did quite a lot of web work. Too hot to walk the dogs. Watched a couple of episodes of Boardwalk Empire. The Klu Klux Klan are in it, proclaiming at their meetings in their silly uniforms that they will rid the world of ni***rs (having strung a black man up in an earlier episode, it looks like they are serious) and if that wasn't shocking enough, some of the violence in it is quite sickeningly vicious.

Ouch

It's maybe a bit too vicious at times. It can be quite upsetting when someone who is just effectively an innocent bystander gets hurt like this. She gets so traumatised by the injury and the scars that she takes opiates to numb the pain and soon shoots herself. This is what you get for sleeping with someone who hangs around with Al Capone, I suppose.


Thursday 13th August 2020:
Up late. Really tired. Too hot to do very much of anything. I caught up with some TV, did some book work. Nipped to Dave's for a while in the afternoon. Lynda and I watched a film about East End gangsters in London, which had some pretty grim violence in it, ending with The Krays coming into a club and sorting a fight out by beating everyone in sight up, without even creasing their clothes or a drop of sweat. We walked the dogs late on, as it was too hot during the day.


Friday 14th August 2020:
Up 10.45am. The test pressings for an EP that I am involved with turned up. I played one of them, which sounded great, sent a video to my business partner and later on put a couple in the post to him. I have approved the test pressings for the main batch to be pressed. Exciting times.

Test pressings

Lots of TV in the evening. We stayed up really late watching Sunset Boulevard.


Saturday 15th August 2020:
Got up near to noon, exhausted. The band has had an offer of resuming some work, so we have to work out the safety logistics of actually doing it. Put a load of my old releases on Discogs. Lynda and I watched ep5 of Little Fires everywhere, then she hit the hay at 9pm. Bed late. Couldn't get to sleep.


Sunday 16th August 2020:
Up a little after 11, which wasn't bad, seeing I was still awake at 6am. Caught up some more of Boardwalk Empire. Did some web work. TV in the evening with Lynda.


Monday 17th August 2020:
Up late. Felt crap. Took it easy today. Had a video chat with Chris as his test pressing discs had landed. He's well chuffed with them, the same as I am. TV in the evening with Lynda.


Tuesday 18th August 2020:
Up early. Picked up my mate Dave and drove him into Farnworth. An email came that says our order of EP discs has been shipped out to us. They are going to Chris, so I forwarded the email to him. I have been having trouble with the second version of 'There's a hole in my soul' - everything overpowers the vocals, so I wiped everything but the drums and started from the ground up. I tried doing the guitar and the main vocal both at once, with a cleaner sounding guitar, so I could hear how it is going to sound, as I was doing it. Got guitar, bass, lead and two backing vocals down and it sounds much better than before. It's quite a radical thing to do to wipe a track and start again. There were some very good features on the previous version that I just got rid of, but it was frustrating me. I wouldn't have finished it as it was. TV in the evening with Lynda. Bed very late - after 2am. I am going to have to get my sleep patterns back on track.

Wednesday 19th August 2020:
Up around 10.30am. Did a few things, mucked around on the internet. Watched Bob The Builder clearing the debris behind his shed out with some dismay. He didn't seem to look at our side of his shed, where I deposited an amount of his old rotting wooden fence. I do think that maybe I should slowly recover it and dispose of it at the tip. That would avoid him turning up at my door, blazing mad and dumping it on my drive and eternal bad feeling. When I get a chance, I will make a start.

The afternoon brought a surprise for the Slade site, which I think will go down very well indeed. Chris and I were both quite pleased. We are interviewing the legendary Don Powell again tomorrow evening, covering the end of 1975 and then 1976. Looking forward to that. Again, an evening of TV and then walking the dogs with Lynda.


Thursday 20th August 2020:
Up around 10am. Took the dogs for a good walk, called in on Rachel and then on John and then I went to Tesco to do a very quick shop. We announced the Slade surprise - We have been given two Zoom sessions with Noddy Holder, which came as a total surprise. We have now gone public about it and are plugging the Q&A, which is sure to generate a lot of interest among fans, especially as we have now invited their questions.

A couple of friends popped round for a while, which cheered Lynda up no end. A bit of normality. I had a siesta in the afternoon as I was feeling a bit tired. I got up and set up for the Zoom chat with Chris and with Don Powell. It went really well. The rest of the evening was TV, walking the dogs. Oscar decided to dive into a bush, because he saw a hedgehog and getting him out was a total adventure. Then Lynda and I went into the pub next door. A guy near us started coughing, Lynda's eyes went wide and we left. Apart from the coughing, more normality. A good day.


Friday 21st August 2020:
Up after 10am. Edited last night's Zoom chat and uploaded it. Promoted the forthcoming Nod chat a bit as well. Lots of new forum members. The Lottery Winners CD 'Songs From Isolation' arrived this morning too. Gave it a listen. It sounds really good. It's all cover versions, really well recorded. The postie also dropped in a signed HotRats box set print, which Paul can have. I was contacted by Paul - He's on his way to Switzerland. An evening of TV, 'til Lynda went to bed quite early.


Saturday 22nd August 2020:
Up about 10.30am. A rainy day all day, so I didn't get to walk the dogs. We have sorted out Chris and I doing the Noddy Holder chat for Thursday next week. Sorted and tested some of my gear for the band rehearsal tomorrow. I had a siesta in the early evening. Lynda went to bed early. I didn't.


Sunday 23rd August 2020:
Up at about 10.30am. Lynda decided after to-ing and fro-ing about whether to come today that she was coming to the rehearsal and meal at Graham's house. We ended up taking Oscar with us and he was a little pleasure. The meal was lovely and Lynda had a good time while we rehearsed. We were pretty together at the rehearsal, though a couple of lyrics eluded me. I had pretty much forgotten Highway to Hell and did 'blah blah blah' on the second verse. We came home and were both tired out. A very good day. Bed at 12.30am.


Monday 24th August 2020:
Up late as Lynda had been up and came back to bed. I took the dogs for a good walk. Lynda didn't come as she was complaining of chest pains again, but refusing to talk to anyone medical about it. She watched some early morning TV and declared that Covid is spiking everywhere and we are all going to die. I am getting really fed up of this now. It is NOT spiking everywhere. Figures are, of course, up on what they should be, but that is because of some people who don't think the rules apply to them who keep carrying it round to their mates and infecting them. I mentioned us playing at a Slade convention in October next year and she said I wouldn't be going to that. I WILL be going. As soon as the band is able to go out again, I'm doing it. My life is not stopping because of Covid. Chris took delivery of the records that we have had made.


Tuesday 25th August 2020:
An absolute nothing day. Lynda was in a deep fog and spent a lot of the day in bed. I sort of took to the sofa and lay there with Tom cuddled up and I just kept quiet. The evening was some TV and Lynda retired early again. My copies of the record turned up. Quietly pleased.


Wednesday 26th August 2020:
Up at a sensible time. I went round to Dave's during the day. I stayed for an hour or so as he was getting weary. Some Boardwalk Empire in the afternoon and did some disc sales for the project. The very small run is about half gone.

Thursday 27th August 2020:
Up with my alarm pretty much and I walked the dogs and did various things, but the main event of the day was always going to be doing two 40 minute Zoom chats with Noddy Holder of Slade. He is often the hardest of the band to get in touch with, but is usually an excellent interviewee. We did a first session of fan questions and we failed miserably to get through them all, as we had had far too many for that to be possible. The second session we did more as a regular NOIZE interview, concentrating on the earliest days of his career, which has never really been discussed in sufficient detail for us historians. The videos are online here.

The evening was spent relaxing. Some TV with Lynda. I got to bed quite late and finished off the Andy Summers book that I have been reading. A marvelous read.


Friday 28th August 2020:
Up at a sensible time again and I edited and uploaded the second video to Youtube and made them public. The views went through the roof and just about everyone loved the video interviews. There was some consternation from people whose questions were not asked. I took far too many questions. Hopefully we will get to do it again. The day was spent walking dogs, relaxing, watching the comments come in and dealing with correspondence about the record release I have been dealing with, with my partner.   In the evening, Lynda and I watched Ordinary Love, starring the wonderful Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson. In the film, she deals with breast cancer and it's just harrowing. I have checked out the soundtrack and Jade Vincent is part of The Unloved, who did the soundtrack music for Killing Eve. Call me a fan.

Saturday 29th August 2020:
Up late. 11am-ish. Lolled around the house most of the day. I dealt with a bit more of the order correspondence anout the record release. We watched a couple of films in the evening - John Travolta in Fanatic, which was unbelievably good and another Independence Day type film. To be extremely late.


Sunday 30th August 2020:
Up at about 10.20, though I was awake before 10am. I nipped to Paul's friends house, where he had been staying, to collect a few things. After that, I just hung around at home a lot, mucked about on the net. I was still tired in the afternoon and felt like hitting the hay again. This mucked me up for getting to sleep before 2am.


Monday 31st August 2020:
Up late, really tired out. Facebook. Computer. Work. editing. Listened to a lot of Prince.

I was dithering about enrolling on the Level 2 photography course, in case it ended up being done by distance learning, which the whole class thought would be no use at all. I went on the website and tried to enrol. I have a place on the course, but need to get it paid for. The website didn't co-operate. I have emailed them to tell them (and also my tutor), so we will see what happens. It may be that I don't end up doing the course, which wouldn't be the end of the world.

I'm also dithering about buying the 40th anniversary deluxe edition of the Ultravox Vienna album. Lots of discs, but will I listen to it? Demo's and stuff don't interest me that much unless they are fantastically different. I am wondering if I will eventually crack. Nobody is offering signed editions or anything, so possibly I will not, until the price goes down. Which it may not.


Tuesday 1st September 2020:
Up at a sensible-ish time. More attempts to enrol online after my tutor rang me up (while I was in the bath) and asked me to try doing it. The Learner hub didn't seem interested in letting me in. Oh well. More emails. Eventually I got sorted with an appointment to go register tomorrow afternoon. We have been given another 40 minute chat with Noddy Holder next week. I have sent the questions for him to pick the best ones to answer from them.

TV, dog walking and so on. Not an extraordinary day. Oh, and this was announced...

Jam Night With The Three


Wednesday September 2nd 2020:
Up early and my daughter Rachel popped round with April at 11.30am. Went to register at college at 1pm. Paid up. On the Photography Level 2 course. Done. It has been dropped on me that I have to do a one thousand word essay about a photographer. I polished that task off with a nicely illustrated paper on Gered Mankowitz.  The evening was TV as usual. Whenever we watch Married At First Sight (Australia) I howl at the TV, much to Lynda's amusement. Some of the couples are quite awful. I feel sorry for others and root for some of them. Watched the third Hobbit film.


Thursday September 4th 2020:
Up early. I was intending to meet a couple of friends in Bolton, but they decided to meet in Bury instead and I find parking there a total pain, so I said we'd meet up next week. They expect me to just fall in with their plans. Bolton is locked down, so going to Bury seemed a bit daft, plus the driving and parking as well as having a drink... No.

My collage for the jam night has got a couple of people whining that they aren't actually on it. I haven't got photos of them (especially if they haven't been to the jam this year, in which case, fuck 'em), so if they will provide images, I can work on them, if not, I can't. I am not arsed either way. If I had known they were going to kick up, I wouldn't have done it. Fuck 'em.

TV, lazing about, and did the Zoom chat with Chris Selby and Don Powell, covering 1977. Always a pleasure. TV in the evening for a change. Bed ultra-late.


Friday September 5th 2020:
Up at about 10.30am Did an amount of web work. Got the Don Powell interview from last night edited and uploaded and did a good front image for it. Interest shown in two of my guitars that are up for sale. Nipped to Dave's in the afternoon.

TV in the evening. Married at first sight (Australia) is hotting up with some of the people turning into complete arseholes.


Saturday September 5th 2020:
Dog walks. Boardwalk Empire. TV. Wine. TV. Bed.

Sunday September 6th 2020:
Up earlyish. By my standards, anyway. Dog walks. Boardwalk Empire Season 3 started. A good chat with Lynda. Lynda seems to be coming round to treating covid as being something for her to be rather wary of, rather than terrified of.

In the evening, I was taken up with answering some criticism on The Slade forum. It is known that Jim Lea played a lot of guitars on their final few albums. Noddy Holder has said so. Jim Lea has said so. Don Powell has said so.

Asked the other day about dealing with the thorny subject of Dave Hill allegedly not playing on certain Slade recordings in what may be a theoretical future chat with The Man Himselfl, I had said I didn't want to rake up a hornets nest and cause offence.

I said: "I personally would not want to try to effectively get what could be construed as "the dirt" on the band's internal workings. It's an uncomfortable subject, it tarnishes the image of Slade as an actual band in the long run. Unproductive."

The response came back: "As you say it is unproductive, but the forum is taking as fact what Don is saying and therefore IS dishing the dirt and IS tarnishing the image, is it not? This is not your fault Ian and Chris, but Don is having this weekly platform to say these things without challenge? You surely can't expect Dave to agree a forum interview after this."

I spent AGES writing, editing and re-editing a reply. This is it.

"I appreciate your points. The forum will obviously listen to whichever of the band talks to them. A lot of recent talk on here has centred on what the band have said on radio, in the press and on the net, etc, etc. The band's image has mainly been dented outside of here to a degree.

Don has been extremely willing to talk to us and has certainly had the platform of our interviews to himself, until Nod came on board. Don has done his on an ongoing basis and we intend to carry on doing the year by year interviews as far as we can, though I personally think the parting with Dave will forever be off limits. The idea of getting Don and Nod together in a chat is very attractive indeed, but probably a bit unlikely.

We're really grateful to both of them for the time they are prepared to give us. Don having the lions share of the interviews does - in effect - give a bias towards his thoughts and opinions. On the whole, though, the majority of his conversations with us have not led to any controversial comments about who did what in the band and in the studio and we haven't asked him for a breakdown of who did what and when. We may have mentioned Everyday and My baby left me, as they are tracks that were well-known to have been recorded without Dave.

If we ever get Dave to do a chat with us, he would be treated with the utmost respect, not backed into any corners and we wouldn't dream of pulling his immense contribution apart. There are ways of putting the subject of his appearances on Slade records to Dave, without being blunt and hurtful about it. We can ask a question that would lead to that point being fully answered without insulting or upsetting him. Which is something that Chris and I have spoken about. If the fact that we have an ongoing dialogue with Don would stop Dave from taking part, that's sad. We'd love to talk to Dave for what he has to say, as we are impartial and just want to do good interviews and to inform people (not least of all ourselves) and to please the fans. These interviews are shared all over Facebook too and the reaction in all of the groups seems to be really positive. I think a Dave Hill interview with us would mean a lot to fans.

Nod's chats have been excellent and the reaction has been beyond what I had hoped for. I certainly take his excellent points on historical accuracy on board and they will be quoted in the author's notes in the second edition of THE NOIZE, when that appears at some point in the future. One thing that became very apparent talking to Nod was that the more of the band we speak to, the more balance we get. Nod brilliantly addressed the matter of a balance being given, when he gave us some thoughts on how we had to research our book using press cuttings. As far as these interviews go, anything purporting to be representing the story of four men really needs all of them to take part.

We are grateful to have one more Zoom chat booked with Nod and we are doing a selection of fan questions in that. We hope he will get bored with daytime TV and reach out to us again at some point, to do something more focused. Fans would love it.

As I have said, Jim Lea will hopefully do something when he needs to promote his next product. Hopefully our conversation will be able to get some comments about studio work throughout their career (not just the controversial last few albums), but I am loath to create a situation where anyone gets picked apart.

I look forward to what comes up in the future, as I never ever thought I would end up interviewing the band members, or people connected to Slade (just like I would have laughed at the notion of me writing a book about them a few years ago). Getting prostate cancer made me decide to go for it and get on with it, instead of dithering about like I used to at times.

PG wrote: Again 3 cheers for Ian and Chris. They are making Slade events appen agen
The group are the ones who make Slade events happen, not us.

Another lengthy response, I suppose... Yes. We will see what future opportunities arise and what more can be done.
We do strive to get and achieve a balance and as time goes by, we may hopefully have four viewpoints for people to judge their history from."

Knackered.


Monday September 7th 2020:
Up at about 10.15, very tired after last night's late night. I didn't sleep at all well as we had dogs all over the bed.

Things are happening tomorrow. Lynda is supposed to be going to Nottingham during the day with her friend to collect an imported rescue dog for another friend. The person who is giving the dog a home is also going. I am going to get a day to myself. I can get some things done. I have something to do in the morning, but that can be moved if need be. Lynda wanted to drive to her friend's house and set off from there, leaving me without the car to do the thing in the morning and effectively trapped at home all day. I have a 40 minute Zoom chat booked for 2pm with Noddy Holder and Chris Selby.

This is all well and good until the friend whose car it is that they were going in suddenly has to be at work at 6pm in Bolton and the dog can't be collected in Nottingham until 4pm, because of quarantine regulations.

Lynda turns to me and I once again mention the chat with Noddy Holder that is booked. There is a visible degree of annoyance that we really can't go until after I have spoken to him. I also mention that the engine light is on in the car (it's probably just a filter, but you never know) and there's no way I want either Lynda or myself to drive it all of that way to Nottingham with the risk of a breakdown.

The kennels send a message to Lynda to say they will keep the dog overnight with no extra charge, so the original plan could go ahead on Wednesday instead. I would not need to be involved in the process. Hoorah. Saved. Even though all of the plans have gone completely fubar, there is a way out that lets me off the hook.

Lynda retires to bed at 7pm and I later find out by chance, looking on Facebook, that I have still been roped in to drive.

Bed extremely late.


Tuesday September 8th 2020:
Up at a sensible time.Nipped over to my mate's house. He had a bereavement just the other day and it's been a shit year for him. We did the Noddy Holder chat in the afternoon and that went well. Then we drove to pick up the rescue dog. About two hours each way and it was a pleasant enough drive in both directions. Traffic was ok and we were back home for 7pm.

Lynda went to bed exhausted. I edited the interview and put it on the website and forum.

News came through that the Government are pulling their socks up and banning all gatherings of more than 6 people as of next Monday.

Bed before midnight.


Wednesday September 9th 2020:
Because of the banning all gatherings of more than 6 people, Lynda is rather jittery about me doing the jam night on Sunday. We have worked out how to do it safely and I want to carry on with it. There won't be another this year. Bolton is the Covid centre of the universe. Wigan is practically untouched. Lynda spends most of the day in bed worrying about it all.

I took two bookings for The Bath Hotel Morecambe, for next year. Fingers crossed.

Boardwalk Empire, Dog walks and a double helping of Married At First Sight (Australia).


Thursday September 10th 2020:
Happy birthday to Don Powell, known for being the drummer with Slade.

Had a drive out to Tesco in Walkden and I was amazed at how many people in there today were either wearing masks under their noses or not at all. Obviously, store staff can't approach people and ask them what their disability is. I'd hazard a guess at stupidity or not giving a flying fart.

Lynda in a bad way about the new lockdown, about me doing the jam night on Sunday (despite every reassurance) and not seeing our grandchildren very much at all this year. It's particularly hard on her.

Other bad news of the day: Today we lost a superb woman who I thought was the best thing ever when I was growing up. I have no words.

Diana
Diana Rigg


Friday September 11th 2020:
Up, dressed and downstairs before 9am. I can't remember the last time that happened.

I can remember the day that the Twin Towers went down, though. I was working for the Model Office and I was building replica customer claims onto the Jobseekers Allowance test payment system in a secret bunker at Lytham. It came on the news on a TV there and we all stopped and watched. Then they went live and another planve hit the second tower. I rang home, stunned and asked my wife if she had seen it. She thought it was a film at first. Then they kept repeating the collision and then the second collision happened. I know I got my job done that day and drove home, but I was in a total fog. It's footage that we never should have had to see.

I went to Ikea at Ashton Under Lyne in the car and had to stand, fourth in line, for half an hour, in a freezing, suitably distanced queue, until a little after 10am, when we were allowed into the store. I got what I was after - a shelving unit - two sides and three shelves, though when I got it home, it seems they have stopped making the taller shelves. Oh well. It still looks great in the room. I dismantled the old wardrobe that it was replacing and put that ready to go to the tip tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I popped to collect my mate and took him to the Dental Hospital in Manchester. When he had radiotherapy at The Christie, they gave him too low a dose at first, so stepped the radiation dose up significantly, but unfortunately this nuked him and totally fucked up his spine and his teeth. The Christie are denying all responsibility.

In the evening, Lynda and I watched some more episodes of Married At First Sight (Australia) season 5. After that Lynda went to bed and I edited the Don Powell Band interview and passed it on to them to share. It's on the forum now, but they can post it on Facebook first.


Saturday September 12th 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Off to the tip with the remains of the old wardrobe from the back bedroom. Then I called in at Carrs Pasties and bought 4 Cheese and Jalopeno pasties. Yum. Eloise and Kay called around later. Eloise was clutching Luna, her new rescue dog. They went for a walk around the park opposite us and it was all too much for Luna, who took a chance when Eloise dropped her lead and bolted back to her car. and promptly hid under it, then moved to hide under Kay's car. Fortunately, we live on a very quiet road. A pantomime ensued, while I helped Eloise pull the petrified pooch from under the car. They then went home.

In the evening we were going to watch our friends The Hats at the Comfortable Gill in Glazebury, but, seeing as we have a Bolton postcode and were therefore forbidden to travel outside of lurgy-stricken Bolton by law, we decided not to risk it (or a hefty fine). I bought a bottle of wine from the local off licence and we watched various Australians falling out with each other big-style and an amount of Coronation Street. Lynda went to bed at about 10pm and I mucked around on some very quiet guitar and got to bed at about 1am.


Sunday September 13th 2020:
Bump bump bump...... crash. The sound of our little cat Baby knocking a very old vase down the stairs to meet its eventual death at the bottom. Lynda had already returned to bed in a huff, as I had stupidly looked at her the wrong way, or commented on her eating some peas, so she didn't see it happen. Today is the day of the jam night and I am going to be treading on eggshells all day, as Lynda was still declaring yesterday evening - while I was trying to watch arguing Australians - that the virus is never going to go away and that we are all going to die.

I reinforced the top canopy of our swing seat, which fills up with water when it rains, by putting a piece of board on top of it, preventing a buildup of water. It badly needs a new canopy and I ordered a new one.

Lynda was getting a bit fraught with child noise from next door, who seem to have half their extended family working as building contractors for them, sorting out the shitpile that is their side 'garden'. I suggested we take a walk with the dogs to get out of their way for a while. We ended up taking a detiur and a double-length walk which Oscar coped with very well for a dog with little legs and which Lynda enjoyed, but it wiped her out when we got home and she had a sleep. I quietly packed my gear into the car for the jam night and selected my guitars. It was fun remembering what went where. I took a guitar amp less then usual, but still managed to fill the car up. Then it was a nice soak in the bath.

I set off for the jam night at 5.3pm and got there well before the 6pm load-in time, but was able to get started. It was a nice relaxed set-up. PA first, get some background music on, then do my bass gear.

I did the opening chat line: "Well, I didn't think I'd be saying this again, this year, but welcome to jam night..."

The turnout was really good. Graham had printed up rules for each table on stage etiquette and what people had to do to get onstage and how to behave when they or another act was on. The social distancing offstage was the venue's responsibility, but they did a very good job, with just about eveyone having a seat.

The musicians were well behaved and stuck to the three song rule. The only time I got pissed off was when someone decided (seeing his amp was at the side of the stage) to join in with another band and play a terribly loud and inappropriate fretwank guitar solo right in the quiet part where all the instruments drop out on 'Crazy little thing called love'. He was told off in no uncertain terms.

As usual, we over-ran a bit, but hopefully, we got everyone up who wanted to get up. That was one thing I was really worried about. I know a few other people had been intending to come and we would have been in trouble time-wise if they had come. A successful evening. I found out something useful about my amp settings by accident - I usually have the inputs on full to boost the sound levels. I got my amp back from repair and the inputs were lower and it allows the tones to contour somewhat and Graham said it was the best sound I've had, so I will just leave the inputs alone.

Home for just after 11pm. In bed at 11.35pm.


Monday 14th, Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th September 2020:
A triple-dose of blogness for you, all in one fetid go, as I just have not thought to sit down and write every day. My head's not been in the best place. The reaction to the jam night was very good. Lynda is rather panicky about it happening again, but I have done all I can to reassure her that it was as safe as it could be. Monday and Tuesday were scorchers and there wasn't a chance to walk the dogs as much as we'd like, until early evening.

Someone I know in the Slade world has spoken out about being bullied by a particular form of exclusion and I responded that the Slade world is full of nutjobs and Little Hitlers. This set off a series of private messages from someone who mistakenly thought I was talking about him. Actually, I wasn't and I spent what seemed like eons reassuring him that it wasn't him. My friend's aggressor doesn't inhabit the Slade world either. Why do these people do these things?

Lynda wasn't very well on Tuesday evening and she retired to bed really early.

Wednesday morning's TV news was apparently all about Bolton's dreadful place in the Covid league of shame, as well as Donald Trump saying 'herd maturity' is upon us and that the virus will get fed up and buzz off of its own accord sometime soon. Even his own people are asking him what he's going on about. It's pure comedy that nobody can remove him from office. I suspect that at the next election, his party supporters will all turn out and vote for his party and he will get another 4 years in office. It's terrifying, but a charismatic enough opponent is required and the opposition don't seem to be able to field one.

I walked the dogs round our local lodge with a feeling of foreboding about the weeks to come. Lynda thinks her hospital appointment in Liverpool will be cancelled because of our Bolton postcode. We will see. I think that's entirely possible, though her appointment really needs to go ahead. Her last one was cancelled. The car has been booked in for some recall work on October 6th - Vauxhall Zafiras sometimes catch fire if they don't have a air con part modified. We changed cars to a newer model to avoid this. It didn't work out.

We did a quick zoom chat over Wednesday lunchtime with Lynda's daughter Susan, so we could see Jamie climbing around the furniture. Lynda would like nothing better than to hold her grandson and it's physically killing her that she can't at the moment. Our postcode is feared the world over.

We spent the evening watching some TV. Bed after 2am.


Thursday 17th September 2020:
Up at 10.30am. Cream crackered. Took the dogs for a good old walk at dinnertime. I ended up doing the Zoom chat with Don Powell on my own this evening and recorded a bumper 58 minute chat regarding 1978 - 1979.

Quite excited by the Elton John 'Jewels' 8CD set coming in November.


Friday 18th September 2020:
Another one of those do-nothing days. Got up and edited the Don Powell video chat and put it online. Finished 'Breathing the same air' which is a book about a guy who found out that XTC were in a local recording studio and he kept going down to watch the incredibly tolerant band at work. Well-written. Dog walks and very late TV. The last episode of DES, starring the excellent David Tennant as serial-killer Dennis Nilsen (he worked in a jobcentre, you know). A film called 'Villain', the adventures of arguing Australians. Bed after 1am.


Saturday 19th September 2020:
Up rather late. Lynda said she wondered if I had died. She didn't come up to check, though. I did a little bit of sales work on the record. I have finally cancelled my Adobe photography plan package, as I have an older version of Photoshop that does the job perfectly well. Our Tesco online shopping was delivered.

I spent the afternoon listening to a bit of music and in the evening we watched John Richardson's Old Man tour - something Lynda recorded and I haven't worked out why yet. I enjoyed it, though, along with Enigma with the lovely Kate Winslet..


Sunday 20th September 2020:
Up late. Apart from catching up with Lynda who had taken the dogs out, I spent the day hanging around the house as usual, pretty much until it was time to head off to do the jam night.

I'd had some messages from the guy who annoyed a lot of people last week, interrupting other people's spot. This time, he wanted to know how he could get 3 songs with us and then 3 songs with the guy who was coming with him. I told him either do his or the duo thing first, then wait until his turn came around to do the other. In other words, take his turn. He also contacted the others about taking his own amp. He didn't contact me, as I have already said no. We said no to him as the floor area is required for seating, not for his amp. It turned into a bit of a back and forth. When he landed at jam night, just as I was unloading, he mentioned that his amp was in his car 'in case anyone else's blew up'.

Again, the jam night was run like a military operation. I'm quite proud of how we did it right. The landlady has decided that a plant on a stand has to go where my microphone goes and she gets upset if I move it. She'll get more upset if I don't do the jam night. One of the bass players who was in had his bass pack up on him, due to an issue with the battery connection and I refused to let him use mine for a second spot, for safety reasons. He wasn't best pleased and I felt quite sorry for him, but them's the rules, amigo.

Home before 11pm, despite the usual ritual of two of us working our tails off to break the gear down, while the other one socialises and joins in to pick up the last few sticks of gear.


Monday 21st September 2020:
Up late, after a comical night with badly disturbed sleep. Oscar was under my pillow when I got to bed and he didn't move, so I slept with my head at the bottom end of the bed. It wasn't comfortable, so I eventually cracked and shifted Oscar at 6.30am.

I gave my local medical centre a ring, so I could get bloods taken for my PSA test. Got an appointment on Oct 6th. The arguing Australians had the ir final dinner party as a complete group and it was not without the anticipated fireworks.

Bed late


 

Tuesday 22nd September 2020:
Up around 11am, as I had trouble getting comfortable and then off to sleep last night. Walked the dogs over lunchtime. A lovely sunny day, so I spent an amount of it in my studio room, working on a new cover of an old Slade song.

Recording at the WorkHouse

Late evening was spent watching TV and the final exploits of the arguing Australians. Since the series was filmed in 2018, none of the couples have stayed together. I was rooting for some of them and am sad for them that it didn't work out. I did a lot of work on book revisions for next year and finally got to bed at 4am.


Wednesday 23rd September 2020 / Thursday 24th September 2020:
Up just after 10am, despite last night's late night. Too rainy to walk the dogs. Too tired to do any recording work today. I did go out ooking for a birthday present for my wife, but with little success. I called at a friend's house, as I hadn't see him since March

Loads of conflict in Slade-land, as various people are moaning about the new Hitz album, as they have the songs. They want a rarities and unreleased collection of stuff that doesn't exist. I am trying not to get caught in the middle. BMG are not in any way as focused on working with the Slade sites as Salvo was. I am getting rather sick of social media now and my aprt in the whole Slade thing. When there is competition between the various web presences to get stuff out in front of each other, instead of collaborating like we used to, not to mention some pretty bizarree behaviour from the principals, it just tires me out. I didn't even get the animated videos, the band photos or the TV advert from BMG. Suzan Holder kindly sent me Nod's portrait, taken with the new release. Otherwise, I am working with my hands tied behind my back. I have to ask BMG to let me help them, rather than them telling me what is going on. I can see this coming to an end.


Friday 25th September 2020:
Up and down stairs before 10am . Got on with the business of the day and attended to some web work. Looking at Facebook, the world  of Slade has gone Noddy Holder 'tour and album' mad. He's not going to record or tour. We all know that, but the idiots are searching Amazon and crashing TicketBastard, just because he mentions picking up a guitar to brush up on his playing technique.

The prince Sign I The Times SuperDeluxe box came today. Gorgeous. Lynda's second Heart and Chest hospital appointment since her operation has been cancelled, so she's going to have a telephone consultation, presumably about the heart scan she's now not having. Are they going to talk about the fucking weather? They rang me to confirm the appointment. I mentioned it to Lynda and she just had a thromby and went to bed. Her anxiety about going out is terrible. I've got a number to ring about her not being seen since her operation. She doesn't want me to ring it. I've not to interfere. If she dies, what happens?

Off to bed late, as usual.


Saturday 26th September 2020:
Up before 10am. Caught Lynda up, walking the dogs. Did the usual lodge walk. Once back home, I did some web work. I went for a drive to Edgworth and picked up some ice cream from Holden's. TV in the evening.


Sunday 27th September 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Paul came roumnd in the afternoon and we attacked the hedges at the rear of the house. While he was there, I got a text saying that someone close to our family has passed away. That was a total shock to us and Lynda was stunned. Later on, I popped round to Rachel's with some presents, as it is our granddaughter April's second birthday. Lynda wasn't up to coming along.

The jam night went quite well again. Stricter rules about masks in the venue when not sat down and a 10pm curfew.

The Three

Home at 10.30pm. There was some food left in the oven for me. Lynda had gone to bed.


Monday 28th September 2020:
Up about 10.30am. I checked my phone as I heard it buzzing earlier. One of my friends has just been dagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He's been through another cancer fight and now he's got this to beat. Fingers crossed for him.

I got myself together and went out and got some photos printed in Farnworth and bought some frames. Lynda wasn't feeling too great and went to bed really early. I haven't seen her eat for a while. She sits there with Sky News on and sits there saying we are all going to die. The evening was a bit of a dead loss really.

It's Lynda's birthday tomorrow and we are taking the dogs (and meeting some friends) in an enclosed exercise field in the afternoon, so hopefully she will feel up to that.


Tuesday 29th September 2020:
Up around 10am, Lynda's birthday. Despite her protests that she didn't want anything, I gave her the things that I had bought for her and a bit later we took the dogs out to a local field for some exercise and met some friends there with their dogs.

Lynda and the dogs.

Later on, Rachel called around with April. A really lovely visit. Lynda agreed to a take-out for the first time since March and after eating half of hers, she went to bed. I did a little more work on the track I have been working on -  a slow process these days. I did it with headphones on, seeing as Lynda was in bed.


Wednesday 30th September 2020:
Happy would-have-been- 88th birthday, Dad.

Up late. 11.30ish. not much of a day really. It chucked it down unmercifully. Parcels I was expecting didn't arrive. Any dog-walking was done late on. Lots of TV, including the excellent Nurse Ratched on Netflix.


Thursday October 1st 2020:
Another rainy day. Pubs are re-opening in Bolton at the weekend, so we will see how that plays out. I am quite worried about how many people think this is just a bad cold and that the Government are trying to control us. Yes, they are giving people money to self-isolate - some hoax. Dicks.

Our Zoom chat with Don Powell didn't happen. He turned up an hour late and after Chris and I had had a rather good chinwag between us. Never mind, it gives us a little more time to prepare.


Friday October 2nd 2020:
Up at 11.00am. Sloth.

Walked the dogs. Parcels started coming that I was waiting for. A book I have been told by email is coming today is, in fact, in Swindon.  Not that I'm going to read it just yet anyway. It's in a queue. Another of those days which just disappear into the ether.


Saturday October 3rd 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Went round to my mate's house in the afternoon. We watched the Sign O The Times box set live DVD, The day was fairly rainy throughout.


Sunday October 4th 2020:
Up at a sensible time again. I was awake during the night again. This seems to be getting into a bit of a pattern recently. It leaves me really tired after I have been up a while. The jam night was good. I was on stage all night. I took the 12string bass out with me, so I ended up taking my 4x10 cab to play it through, as it just is too trebly through two 2x10 cabs. I somehow lost my face mask at the end of the evening, which is REALLY irritating. Nobody went near it on stage. I ordered another from Amazon, which won't land for a few days. Bed at midnight. Lights out. Zzzzzzzz.


Monday October 5th 2020:
Awake really early , well before 9am, and I got up after scanning my phone for anything that might be happening in the world. I have a blood test at 8.50am tomorrow and then the car has to go in to be looked at for some recall work. This blog lark is hard work if you leave it too long to write things down. My short term memory isn't what it should be, when nothing much happens in a day, especially in the mornings. It may go weekly again next year. The evening was spent doing a little internet work, watching Ebay regarding a Slade disc and TV with Lynda,


Tuesday October 6th.
Up just after 8am. Off to the doctor's surgery for a blood test. I was sure they were going to cancel it, but they didn't. I got the car to the Vauxhall dealer on the way into Bolton just after 9.20am, for some recall work that I had been putting off. They checked the car over for anything else they could screw money out of me for and said there was nothing that needed doing, when I collected it at 2pm. A nice walk home (1.9 miles) after dropping it off and then the same again, to collect it.

Wednesday October 7th 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Managed to get the dogs out and about before it started raining. The evening was a bit frought for me and I didn't sleep well that night at all. I have a couple of life decisions to make.


Thursday October 8th 2020:
Up at 10 after a very patchy night's sleep. Exhausted. I was going to get the bus into town for my college course, but our internet went off, so I rang Plusnet up. After about 25 minutes, they told me there was a fault in our area, so BT would be out to fix it and have everyone back online by 3.30pm. I hurtled off to college in my car and steeled myself for the parking charges on the NCP car park. As it turned out, it's only 3.15 now, as my course lasts 3 hours. I was slightly early and took the chance to grab a sandwich in town, which was largely deserted. College was full of people complying with wearing masks, though one or two kids didn't bother and that worried me a little. The class went well, with only 6 of us this week, as opposed to the 9 that there will be next week. Chris and I did a Zoom session with Don Powell. I was falling asleep in the evening, but held out until after 10pm before going to bed.


Wednesday December 23rd 2020:
I've taken a rather lengthy break from Facebook and from writing this blog, while I have sorted myself out somewhat. My break came about after a fallout with someone, who I had a largely unwarranted go at on the net. I did manage to sort things out with him to a degree by talking through it with him afterwards. I have also spoken to other people at length (in a proper counselling manner, which I have to really thank some people for - you know who you are) about what was going on in my head for me to throw such a wobbly. They find my behaviour slightly more explicable than I do. I don't know where the angry tirade came from. I know why I was mad, but not why I went so mad and also why I acted as I did .

What happened was I was a bit pissed late one night - stuck in the house, at the computer, with the beer fridge too near to me - and I saw this guy on Facebook, pictured at a gathering with three other people, one of whom had only just had covid, and for some in the room it was very inadvisable to meet up indoors (and not to drive distances to do so) especially with no masks involved and little sign of distancing. I can't say any more about this, as it would mean betraying confidences about the various health conditions of those people involved. It was also actually quite illegal for them to meet indoors as they did at that time. We have not seen our family properly since March 2020 and so I saw red and blasted at him. I think I removed it after a while. If they had been outdoors, I would have just ignored it all. It was nothing to do with me, but I thought it was so inadvisable and I lost the plot. He contacted me later on via messenger to pull me up about it and I admitted to it. I spoke to him properly on the phone the next day and went through why I had had a go at some length, plus I sent him a written apology.

He said that he remained rather mad at me, but that he basically accepted that apology and I think he may have understood my reasons for flipping out. Even though he said in a message that he was going to keep it between us, leave it at that and let it drop, he then decided he needed to take a couple of little acts of revenge and to tell a couple of people about it, two of whom who have leapt on the opportunity to broadcast it and accuse me of doing all sorts of fanciful things that have upset them. I think they should look at each other, as they have done for many years. I quite honestly don't care enough about either of them to involve myself at all in their lives.

I can't say any more about the person I had a right pop at on Facebook, except that at that time I thought that he was not being careful enough around gathering indoors during all of the covid restrictions. We won't be speaking again, as he got covid and passed away, and it truly saddens me greatly, along with many others. If I hadn't seen that post, we wouldn't have fallen out with each other. I know some people are highly pissed at me, for what they believe to have happened between me and him. Fair enough - I have earned it by having that unwarranted go and if they want to take sides and 'unfriend' me, fine.

One of the things that I have decided is that I need to be much less involved in what are actually unimportant things. I need to drink less when I am sat around, bored and also to spend less time on Facebook. I'm going to talk to real people more. I want to hang around real people when we can do it again, not masses of virtual people, making thumbs-out salutes, saying 'Keep on rocking' at each other. I will also only do this blog occasionally. I don't need to grasp at some kind of an audience for whatever happens in my rather meaningless life. The World Of Dead Pop Groups on Facebook is treacherous and can be venomous and I have opted out of it. As a result, I spend more time doing real things in the real world and less time being a virtual person and feeling more connected as a result. What is really important is all within my four walls. Writing this down at last has been quite therapeutic for me - and I don't mean that in a pseudo-intellectual way. It doesn't matter who reads it.


Thursday December 31st 2020,

I have tried not to let myself get too down about the band not playing for most of this year. Tonight we should be playing at The Duke of Wellington in Lostock, but it isn't happening. The lights will be out there and the doors are closed.

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021. It has to slowly get better.
If you're reading this, please take care of yourself.


© Ian Edmundson, 2020