Ian Edmundson UNTRUTHS

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Ian's 2022 blog archive:

January 1st:
A very Happy New Year to my reader. The roofer didn't show to quickly price the job up. Not entirely surprised with it being New Year's Day. He sounded keen enough to pop out and have a quick look when I rang him, but...

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January 2nd:
Well, the roofer didn't materialise... again. I texted him in the morning and he said he'd ring me an hour before coming. He didn't. I will try another name I have been given tomorrow.

Strange goings-on at the jam night... Myself on guitar and our guitarist Ian on bass at the jam night, backing Bill Inglis. There was a time when I wouldn't pick a guitar up in front of some of my guitarists. I was never the most confident guitarist in front of people. I am a bass guitarist first and foremost. Some people don't even know that I can play guitar! I'm not a great lead player (I can do bits and pieces, especially whe I play all of the guitars on my own home studio recordings where I get several goes and see no need to use anyone else), so you won't usually get long widdling solos from me.

The Three and Bill Inglis

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January 7th:
Since I last blogged, the roofer I went to next came out and looked at our roof. The result? It's what we were afraid of. The roof needs re-doing. Completely. We don't have a choice. It is not going to be cheap, either. Oh well. I am not at all anxious about it now. I know what has to be done and it will be done. We have told him to do it please... and in 2-3 weeks (weather permitting) we will have scaffolding around the house and a team of roofers making it great and safe for another 25 years or more. Plus new guttering and fascias.

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January 11th:
I've had enough of a rest from writing, after finishing off the Slade epic. All that remains to do with that is run the odd advert. I have my WHO discography book to get on with now and no real excuse not to get on with it.There has - of course - been a glimmer of excitement off in the dim and dusty corners of the internet. The Sun (known for its piercing and instructive, but often - allegedly - mainly made-up coverage of world events) decided to run a story that Noddy Holder was trying to interest the other members of Slade in reuniting to play at Glastonbury. It has - of course - been confirmed that Noddy Holder never even spoke to The Sun.

The hysterics and wetting of trousers and questions about where to get tickets has been amusing to watch. The time for them to do this - if they were ever going to bother - was 1991. Four men who don't like each other that much (in various permutations) will never perform live together again. Everything has its season.

That being said, my own level of participation in the Slade world has reduced to keeping the forum and website ticking over. I don't really need to view or participate in any Facebook groups or pages, now that the NOIZE book is done and dusted. It's being advertised sporadically, but I've no real desire or need now to keep going into the Slade internet world, watch rubbish tributes or answer daft questions about a dead group.

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January 16th:
Saturday's gig was interesting as we turned up to find another band set up on the stage. We've not had that happen for a good while. The landlady assured them that they were not on until April and they left, a bit upset. We waited until they had finished packing up and set about setting up and were just ready in time to play. The gig went well, except the crowd were a bit unresponsive most of the way through.

The jam night was at The Half Moon, the smaller venue across the road and it was a great night, all in all. We Christened a new song, Whitesnake's Here I Go Again, with me singing it. It went quite well, despite that, apart from the ending going slightly wrong as the version I posted to learn it from wasn't followed.. A good turnout and we went down really well.

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17th January:
My first wife Julie would have been 60 today. Everything stopped for her at the age 24. She could have been the best mother of my kids and still my wife, but it wasn't to be. A source of huge sadness to me.

In other news, I sold a bass guitar today. I'd seen a post about the other Retrovibe bass that looked similar to it, but with a less accurate configuration that was unfinished and sold off as parts.

I got the only complete one that was made in a silver sparkle finish. After I posted, people said how much they'd love it.

I have 4 real Rickenbacker basses, so I decided to let it go.

I took it to a gig and jam night recently and my guitarist charmingly refused to use it, saying it made him look gay. It wasn't the bass that did that, matey, but never mind. I'm up a fair amount, to go into the roofing fund.

Julie Edmundson

Someone has made noises about buying my Prince Cloud-type guitar, just before the weekend, which would net me a reasonable sum - if it comes off. I also agreed a sale on my Warwick Streamer Chrome Tone Bass just before covid took hold and we started having lockdowns. The buyer hasn't come to buy it (though I did say to him that there was no rush, as he spends a lot of time working abroad and we have been in occasional communication) and I am on the verge of just using it a lot and keeping it, as it's still possibly the best sounding bass that I own....

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January 20th:
Lynda hasn't been well over the last couple of days. Her heart has been speeding up too much, but she won't speak to anyone from the hospital and she ignores me when I tell her I am going to ring for a doctor and says she won't speak to them if they come. If it was me being like this, she would tear me a new one. This is life or death type serious.

The Whitesnake song came up in conversation. Our guitarist has proposed an ending that isn't on the version I put up to learn it from. He also has said by the way, he thought he was supposed to be singing it. Well.... the less I have to sing, the better, as far as I am concerned. Result. It saves me some effort anyway.

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January 24th:
A new local-ish venue for us on Friday. Our two previous gigs there had been cancelled - once by a double-booking and the second time, because I'd caught COVID. A decent stage setup and easy load-in. Parking nearby and we could watch our cars. A nice enough crowd. Thanks to the people who came especially to see us.

Saturday was the first full long walk with Tom that I have managed this year.

The band played at one of our favourite venues on Saturday evening. I'd asked them a couple of times in advance to let us set up near the door instead of on their cavernous stage area, as the sound up there can be a truly horrible mire for the band and it caused some bad arguments between us last time, about the unmanageable wash of sound. Of course, we landed and they'd totally ignored me. The other guys were already there and were setting up, so we were stuck with going on that stage. I had to take quite some time setting my bass sound to not carry much, which defeats the object of amplifying it, but I made it so I could at least hear it. We did an alternative set list and played a blinder.

Sunday was brightened up by my Daughter Rachel and her daughter April coming round for a couple of hours. The jam night on Sunday was a bit fraught as my vocal mic was set too loud and my bandmates decided not to tell me, which would have sorted the issue out. I only found out about it being too loud later on. I am now back to insisting on proper soundchecks. I don't mind them at all - they avoid problems. The half hour ordeal that I had to endure when I was in the 60's band was an utter pain, but for a trio, it's easy and can take 5 minutes or less. No more backing vocals from me at jam nights will solve the problem and give me less work to do - result....

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February 7th:
Awakened at 8am by the roofers arrival (at last!) and the resultant dogs barking. We have had crappy weather for the last couple of weeks, so the fact that they are starting today is a relief. I had to call out a plumber to look under our kitchen sink, as a pipe is leaking.

The weekend consisted of a gig on Saturday and the jam night on Sunday. The gig was ok - we went down very well to a decent sized crowd and the landlady was happy enough with us, but we had an idiot bothering the WAGS and making a prat of himself while we were playing - one of those who wants to become the show. The venue is currently awaiting their entertainment budget for the second half of the year.

The jam on Sunday was notable mainly for the discussion afterwards, in which we decided that we are going to get half a dozen new songs together and freshen up the set, look at reviving some of our old stuff to an extent and to do soundchecks to relieve any onstage quibbles about sound. We are well aware of the fact that we don't really play any current music (unless by chance an old song suddenly gets revived) - in my opinion, there is very little recent actual new music worth talking about. I'm sure none of us listen to the charts at all. The radio is terrible on the whole.

This week, like last week, I have withdrawn from adding backing vocals at the jam when other people play and I am stuck up onstage on bass with them. My mic now gets unplugged and so I have a job less to do. I've also stopped talking a guitar with me, as I have been told that one of the regulars absolutely hates me getting up on guitar with him, as it shows that his guitar is usually out of tune and also he has to listen to what I'm doing. I do like playing guitar with people at the jam, but I'd rather not have the aggrovation that goes with it.

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February 10th:
Our roof is done. What a brilliant job. Now all I have to do is replace the amount that we paid out for it to be done.

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February 14th:
Valentines Day. Hmmmm.

Our well-attended weekly jam night is going to include a 'Play Your Cards Right' session in the middle of the evening, starting from next week. The landlady's brainwave. It will just make sure our jam night remains unique.

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February 24th:
The Play Your Cards right thing didn't happen on Sunday.

I've been working on some photo restoration for someone else's project. It will be very good if it comes off.

Not a lot to report from the last ten days, except that Russia's leader appears to be being very stupid. I am sure that people around the world are talking about whether to launch missiles or not - I really hope they don't. A third world war is not really required. If they launch missiles and it turns out that I don't see you again, it's mainly been fun.

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March 1st:
Friday's gig was a bit meh. It's not really a listening venue, until it's nearly time for us to go off. Then we got some drunken woman walking on stage disrupting the end of the gig, demanding to sing Bat Out Of Hell with us. Needless to say, we don't play it. It is absolutely NOT a gig we look forward to and it will probably fall out of our diary next year, as nobody looks forward to doing it.

Saturday's gig in Glazebrook was really good. Our first time there and they very much want us back. I hope the woman who said very loudly that we were shit because we don't play 'Whatever You Want' by Quo isn't there next time, though. She scored two strikes during the gig.

In other news, once again, the Play Your Cards right thing didn't happen (again) at the jam night on Sunday. We had enough people wanting to get up to make us have to over-run.

One of our good gigs in Blackpool is booked up on all of our remaining Saturdays, so they are looking at whether to open up Fridays to us. It's a long way to go, but we go down well. One of our local landlords is just failing to answer messages except to say that he will get back to us. I think he's getting a bit out of his depth. Our diary is filling up, but it's hard work, because a number of venues are only booking a short way in advance. You have to nag the landlords to get a response, which makes you unpopular with them. The alternative is going back to them later on, when they have forgotten you when they fill up the diary, so you end up with nothing and so I start to resent the venue. God bless those places that give us 4 gigs a year.

I end up with all of the booking headaches, as the other two guys don't bother with bookings on the whole.

Yes, Russia's leader, Vlad the Putrid, has really got his silly-arse head on properly. He's very pissed off that the world is imposing crippling financial sanctions on the Russian people because of his stupidity. They are not very impressed with him either. He needs to be thrown out, before this foolishness all goes too far.

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March 5th:
Yesterday was our first gig as a band at The Musketeer in Leigh. We've all played there before, but not together. We played well and the crowd liked us, despite my voice starting to go during the gig. Fortunately, our guitarist Ian picked up some of my slack and we did a bunch of the songs that he sings.

This morning I woke up with practically no voice at all and I was coughing some horrible stuff up. There's been no option but to cancel tonight's gig for a bike club. I hate doing that, especially to one of our favourite venues. I passed the bad news on by message, then rang the guy at the bike club up to (try to) speak to him. He sounded a bit horrified when he heard my voice. At least they got fixed up with another band. A very good weekend suddenly turned to crap. The jam night tomorrow doesn't need me singing, as long as we have enough players in. Crosses fingers.

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March 13th:
We got through the jam night last week because enough players came through the door. I played a lot of bass - no problem, but no vocals.

Since I last posted, I have had to cancel the Friday and Saturday gigs this weekend, as my voice had not improved enough. Tonight I played at the jam again, but my voice was recovered enough to sing some songs. I did feel it cracking a little towards the end of the night.

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March 24th:
I've been busy working on book stuff, so I haven't been posting here. Significant progress with one project. I managed to get a nice copy of Pete Townshend's rare 6CD Lifehouse box set from 2000 from a seller in Italy via Ebay.

My throat is not behaving at all. It's claggy and itchy and I am quite worried about this weekend. This cold will not go away. I'm going to try to get some antihistomines while I am out later today. We managed to gig last weekend (19 / 20) and my voice was a bit fragile in places. I can't sing School's Out, as it just trashes my throat.

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March 27th:
We gigged last night in Accrington at a venue that's new to us. My voice was rough all week, but I got through the gig. We went down really well, but it was a slow night for the venue.

This morning, my throat is a bit blocked up, but I should be ok for the jam night.

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March 29th:

I've been listening to this box set a lot today. Pete Townshend's Lifehouse Chronicles. The box set was released via PT's independent label Eel Pie in 2000. It's quite hard to get hold of. The music is absolutely transcendent. These are not my photos.

Lifehouse Chronicles

Lifehouse Chronicles.

Pete Townshend - Lifehouse Chronicles

Pete Townshend - Lifehouse Chronicles

CD 1: The Lifehouse Demos - Running Time 65:58
Teenage Wasteland
Goin' Mobile
Baba O'Riley
Time Is Passing
Love Ain't for Keeping
Bargain
Too Much Of Anything
Music Must Change
Greyhound Girl
Mary
Behind Blue Eyes
Baba O'Riley (instrumental)
Sister Disco


CD 2: The Lifehouse Demos cont... - Running Time 66:41
I Don't Know Myself
Put The Money Down
Pure and Easy
Getting In Tune
Let's See Action
Slip Kid
Relay
Who Are You
Join Together
Won't Get Fooled Again
Song Is Over

CD 3: Lifehouse Themes and Experiments - Running Time 68:21
Baba M1 (2nd Movement)
Who Are You (Gateway remix)
Behind Blue eyes (new version)
Baba M2 (2nd Movement Pt.1)
Pure and Easy (reworked original demo)
Vivaldi (M5)
Who Are you (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire November 1998)
Hinterland Rag
Pure and Easy (new version)
Can You Help The One you Really Love (demo)
Won't Get Fooled Again (Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire November 1998)

CD 4: Lifehouse Arrangements & Orchestrations - Running Time 70:21
Townshend: One Note - Prologue
Purcell: Fantasia Upon One Note (Quick Movement)
Townshend: Baba O'Riley
Scarlatti: Sonata K:212
Townshend: Tragedy
Corette: No. 4 Aria
Corette: No. 2 Giga
Corette: No. 6 in D Minor
Corette: No. 3 Adagio and Allegro
Townshend: Hinterland Rag
Scarlatti: Sonata K:213
Purcell: The Gordion Knot Untied
·Overture
·Allegro
·Air
·Rondeau minuet
·Air
·Jig
·Chaconne
·Air
·Minuet
·Overture Reprise
Townshend: tragedy Explained
Townshend: One Note - Epilogue
Purcell: Fantasia Upon One Note

CD 5 and 6: Lifehouse Radio Play - Running Time 107:14
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on December 5th 1999 and described by Pete Townshend as 'a play with music'. An apocalyptic journey set across the industrial wastes of Britain on the last day of the millennium. When his daughter goes missing, the disillusioned Ray leaves his wife and rural hideaway to find her. He heads back to the city, magnetised by the voice of a pirate hacker calling the like-minded and lost to the Lifehouse - a subversive music event.

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April 4th:

Some people just have to let you down. They can't help but do it. You invest a small part of your life in following some musician or other and make the mistake of getting involved to whatever degree. Then they turn out to just be arseholes. Just like the hard-nosed, power-grasping, sycophantic people who fight to be around them. No names, no pack drill. I haven't been shat on personally, but I know someone who has and I caught some of the fallout from it today. Just disgusted.

Don't meet your heroes. They can sometimes just be shitty people, polished up for a moment to be made to look good on a TV screen. Even when one of them has the reputation of 'the nicest man in rock music'. Nope. He's not. He's an arsehole. Just like his ex-mate who sacked him and had a good reason for doing so. Unhappy birthday to the ex-mate today.

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April 6th:
Another day, another blood test. My review of my PSA level after my prostate cancer op in April 2016. My PSA seems to be creeping up, which isn't great at all, but it is not rising at what they would call a disturbing rate. Urology seem to be unconcerned, but that doesn't mean I don't have to be worried by all of this. I get my results in the morning on the 14th.

I booked a ticket for the Roxy Music reunion tour last night, after quite some dithering.

Our beautiful tabby Cleo has been unwell since before Christmas and lost weight to the extent that she was almost a tiny bag of bones. We managed to get her eating again and she'd done quite well, though she occasionally got a bit lethargic.

She never really put much of the weight back on and she felt really fragile, though she was eating well and jumping up and down off windowsills and furniture right up to this evening.

I went outide to look for her and found her collapsed at about 8.50 and brought her in and we cuddled and stroked her as she passed away at 9.07.

We gave her 10 years of love and she more than gave that back to us. Of our 8, she was the one that was MY cat and I'm heartbroken.

Sleep well, little girl x

Cleo

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April 14th:
I got a phone call from a rather jolly Urology nurse at 8.30am. This was to discuss my general well-being and to give me my PSA reading. It has gone up again. She said my result was 'lovely'. I said it was almost back to what is considered a recurrence. Another 0.02 and I would have been down for radiotherapy, which is a one-shot deal. No doubt when I see my Consultant in October, he will try to skirt around the issue. Last time I dealt with him, he tried to immediately put me on annual reviews and was rather put out when I insisted to sticking to 6 monthly reviews for the first couple of years, like is meant to happen, or going back to the Christie in Manchester for my monitoring and treatment. After further mishaps with his team, I complained and was eventually put under the care of a Urology nurse, with the obvious proviso that if anything went wrong, I'd be back to a Consultant.

Sparks at The Albert Hall, Manchester.

It was pretty much inevitable that they would kick off the show with SO MAY WE START. It's purpose built for the start of their shows and I don't think we're going to be surprised by them removing it from pole position for quite some time. It's a quirky enough song, varying between driving rock and cod-opera to set their stall out and let you know what they are going to to serve up.

ANGST IN MY PANTS is a chugging rocker which has a humourous lyric (like quite a lot of Sparks' work). It also has an irresistible tune and halfway through, they simulate the effect of a record skipping. I'm glad they keep that little touch in the live shows.

TIPS FOR TEENS was a single back in the early 80's. If it actually charted it was a minor UK hit. Most of their business was being done in Europe at that point. It contains the important advice "Don't eat a curry, before a vurry important date". They fly through it with a vigour that you would not expect from two men in their 70's. Their backing band is mainly much younger, all truly proficient players.

UNDER THE TABLE WITH HER is an album track, a deep cut I would never have expected them to be able to play live. It is based around strings and they reproduce it pretty flawlessly. Russell's falsetto vocals are as near as dammit perfect. He has kept using his voice and has not lost any range. If that song surprised me, the clicky-drumsticks intro that took them into a barnstorming version of GET IN THE SWING with the second keyboard player proving his worth utterly floored me. I never thought that they would be able to play that song on a stage. but they did.

Russell takes a breather, sitting on a stool to sing I MARRIED MYSELF. The way the song (and indeed the Lil Beethoven album) is constructed with endless repetition of various lines is something other bands have always left alone. Other people obviously disappoint Ron Mael, so he wrote about a binary relationship. It's part fo what make them unique.

I PREDICT is a stomping, chugging rocker with hysterically funny lyrics.
'Lassie will prove that Elvis and her had a fleeting affair. I predict.'
'They're gonna find The Queen is a man and that Philip don't care. I predict.'

I could go on. It's brilliant.

The delve back their first album, released 50 years ago. WONDER GIRL is a chugging rocker that, while reproduced faithfully enough, gets a new lease of life in this outing. Ron seems quite pleased to be revisiting some of the older songs that they have neglected on recent UK tours.

STRAVINSKY'S ONLY HIT is received well enough, but is the first point in the set where people's attention may have waned slightly. I'm not amazed that they play it perfectly - just really impressed. The band are so well-drilled and I don't hear a bum note all of the evening.

Stevie Nistor on drums, starts SHOPPING MALL OF LOVE off, using some syn drums at the side of his kit and Ron comes forward to vocalise the verses while Russell sings the choruses. They then delve into the FFS album period and play JOHNNY DELUSIONAL and the place erupts.

They slow the pace down for the emotional balled WE LOVE EACH OTHER SO MUCH from the Annette soundtrack. Originally a duet, it doesn't suffer at all from Russell singing it alone. EDITH PAIF (SAID IT BETTER THAN ME) is another highlight. Sparks seem to manage to write strong and original new melodies without plagiarising themselves and 20+ albums in, that's such an achievement.

LAWNMOWER is a frankly daft song with frankly daft lyrics and the crowd greet it like it is their biggest hit. MUSIC THAT YOU CAN DANCE TO sold badly but is their best ever dance track It is greeted like an old friend. THE RHYTHM THIEF shows off their skill with that repetition thing again. Semi-classical, slow-paced and plain bizarre and it shows why there's nobody like them.

Getting into the home stretch they play four of their most well-known hits: NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON MOTHER EARTH is treated as per the single from 1974. You can hear a pin drop in the hall and the woman in front of me a quarter tone flat throughout. Everyone's a critic, dear.

WHEN DO I GET TO SING MY WAY is played straight, without the My Way intro they used last time around. It's transcendent pop music and the audience are loving it.

They break up the run of hits for a few minutes to play MY BABY'S TAKING ME HOME. This song has the most repeats of a single line in any Sparks song ever. Russell does a spoken line or three at the end and then the group launch into repeating the HOME, MY BABY'S TAKING ME HOME, MY BABY'S TAKING ME HOME mantra over absolutely transcendent music. Grown men cry.

I recall once shaking The Mightiest Hand after one of their Manchester gigs some time ago in the 90's, as they play the second half of the epic THE NUMBER ONE SONG IN HEAVEN. Everything sounds flawless.

The hall goes bonkers as they play THIS TOWN AIN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF US and they take a standing ovation that goes on for eons after it and then they leave the stage.

A few minutes later they return and thank the crowd profusely for their support, then they play SUBURBAN HOMEBOY. A daft song but the crowd seem to all know and love it.

Recognising the struggles of the last few years, the band finish their show with ALL THAT which has very appropriate lyrics. The backing band are introduced and Ron and Russell pour their appreciation on them and they leave the stage. Ron and Russell hang on a while afterwards and would still be there now taking deserved applause if they hadn't cut the crowd short. they again leave the stage and that's it. Music comes over the PA and the houselights go up.

A woman who shouted for Amateur Hour al the way through the show goes home having not heard that one, and I reflect that we didn't get a few that I would have liked to hear, but the set list was full of excellent surprises for me, as I avoided looking at what was being played, though I did notice, (but not watch) videos of certain songs appearing. I can go back and watch some of them now.

I trudge to the merch stall and am sorely tempted by a signed art print of Ron and Russ. I stand with £20 cash visibly in my hand and wait, until a seller tells me 'You're next'. No I'm not. Some one walks right up in front of me with a venue lanyard on pushes in and buys a stack of stuff. Once she's served her, the girl moves onto dealing with everyone else in the known world and I give up and go home with the cash back in my pocket.

I took my son Paul with me and I imagine that with him not knowing many of their songs, that it was quite an experience but that a lot of it went over his head.

One of the very best gigs I have ever been to.

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April 15th:

We took a gig for this evening, at short notice via Facebook messenger just the other day. The White Horse in Adlington. It turned out to be reasonably good. Our start time was put back a little (from 7pm to 7.45pm) to allow the duo on before us to finish. Their set was suddenly curtailed by a fight and damaged gear. Our sets were trouble free, though for a while the crowd was distinctly dead. One girl was on her hen do and kept shouting for us to play something by the Foo Fighters. We don't play their stuff in this band, but I put a few of their songs on afterwards over the PA, so she was happy enough with that. Tonight marked the introduction of my black flat cap to my stage wear, to quietly mark the 50th anniversary of Noddy Holder doing the same thing to far more effect.. The venue want us back, so I have texted over our availalble dates. Happy days.


The rock and roll lifestyle #971.
On the way home, I drove down the A road into Horwich in search of late food. The post-gig arguing pissed up couple in a chippy in Horwich. The one who has the money has just flounced and their big order is ready. Interesting. AAAND.... she's just dropped the lot while leaving the chippy. You're not going to eat that, are you?

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April 16th:

Awake fairly early, but not with quite enough energy to take Tom for the long walk. It also looks like it's going to be too hot - I have to be careful not to take the dogs too far in hot weather. I did go down with Tom to the Vets to collect Cleo's ashes. They made quite a fuss of him while we ere there. Our beloved little tabby came back in a very pretty shopping bag and matching cardboard box. Surreal When I got home, I was psyching myself up to scatter her ashes, but Lynda had got a very nice box for her, so she's in the back room and the box has rose petals inside and out. I was supposed to go to a mate's to collect some dog food in the afternoon, but I was quite tired today, so spent an amount of it asleep.

I woke up a little while before I had to set off for our gig in Blackpool. I gulped my tea down and then got changed into my posh frock (black shirt and black jeans and new black trainers from Primark). The drive to Blackpool was uneventful and I was there before 8pm. It was still nice and light, as we are getting towards summer now. The drive up the main promenade always reminds me of my couple of childhood holidays there with my Mum and Dad.

I got to Abingdon Street via a quite circuitous route which is now necessary to avoid tram / car crashes. I remembered that parking is always really awkward at this venue. Graham was there already and loaded in. Ian was just putting his bits inside. I stopped on some double yellows and quickly went in to check which way to load in. A parking space was available when I was walking back out, so I moved my car to get to it. Damn. Someone dived in and nicked the space, so I had to drive in a big circle round the North end of Blackpool to get exactly back to where I just was and then start again. After loading in, I had to drive again for a few minutes to find a parking space. Then it was a brisk walk back to the venue and rush through the set-up.

We (that means I, as nobody else gets involved in that kind of thing) coupled up our PA to the house PA at the venue's request, and so our disembodied voices and the bass drum could be heard all over the pub, which is a big U-shaped set of rooms. We put our own PA speakers in for the second half to make it sound better in the part of the room that we were playing in. A DJ desk mainly obscured the crowd's view of myself, but I was past caring about such trivialities at this point. It's just how it is sometimes.

We started playing at 9pm and played a good well-disciplined and not-too-loud pair of sets. The crowd were far more receptive in the second half (which started at 10.30pm) than the first, which was just a bit of a seance. I asked where they were from. Blackpool locals don't often drink in the main touristy pubs.... Bradford, Burnley and surrounding areas, basically.

After we'd finished and had broken the gear down, I walked quickly for about half a mile to where I had to park up my car. As we were loading out of the fire exit, the pub security told us we'd now have to load out another way, as they were locking the fire exit which is the only convenient way out - and they were doing it now, not in five minutes, which would have been better for us. It was a fairly dreadful load-in and now it was being made into an even worse load-out, though all the punters for the length of the pub. Oh well, there's no real point in complaining about anything, as it makes no real difference to people like that. Jobsworths. I just get on with it. One of the bar staff asked us why we were loading out the hard way and was a bit mad when she found that they had done that. She didn't really see the point either.

They want us back, so we'll go back. It will of course be a different set of punters that we play to. The guy who ran the bar that evening said he's trying to build up the place as much more of a music venue. We're up for helping with that. He's building up a PA system and I gave him some advice on balancing the sound and where to put the speaker cabinets.

I drove onto the front just north of the rather grand old Metropole Hotel and went along that stretch of road for the fourth and final time. People were still milling about on the front after midnight and various food places were still cheerfully extracting people's money. I called into a chippy just off the prom on the way home. I had it all to myself and it was nice to let my head calm down after the evening's racket.

Fortunately the drive back home was as uneventful as on the way out (you really don't want EVENTFUL on a long motorway drive inn the pitch black, do you) and I hit the hay as soon as I got in.

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April 17th:
I worked on the current book project quite a lot today. Lynda isn't well and won't let me look after her. She's either lying down asleep all day or up during the night and not eating very much. I know better than to tell her offf for not eating, but I still beg her to eat something. I just stay out of the way and edit images and type text. The time flies by.

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April 19th:
I spent the afternoon watching Boris Johnson repeatedly apologise for his mistake, say the Government needed to get on with their job and to generally bluster and windbag his way out of trouble. The Opposition keep getting pulled up for calling him a liar in the House Of Commons, which is insulting to the intelligence of all. Calls for his resignation were simply futile. He has no shame. This blathering idiot will hang on until he is forced out. He have each and every one of us a lecture daily on TV about what we could not do... then he did it himself and says he didn't realise he had broken any rules. Eton should not be proud that they are turning out corrupt knuckledraggers like this.

I am reminded once again of the way that I was very publicly castigated for calling someone out for attending what was definitely an illegal gathering at a certain point in covid times. He had done a number of things to me and I was a bit miffed with him. What I saw was a last straw and he would have done better not to have put it on Facebook. However... while I was maybe indeed correct to call him out, I would probably have been better off leaving it well alone. He was quite pissed with me and I rang him up and we cleared the air, but he had passed the matter onto other people who decided to try to make my life difficult. The person shortly afterwards contracted covid and is as a result now no longer with us, which left me quite bereft. My name is sh*t with some people as a result. Some idiot girl actually said that I had wished Covid on him. I am astonished at how utterly stupid some people can be. I have not made any comment in certain areas since then, out of respect for his family and also for my own mental well-being..

Borsi Johnson does not seem to realise the seriousness of what he did. He also has no remorse.

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April 20th:
The last few days have been spent on some long hours of very consistent book work. I am going to take a week off from book work, before I start on the next gripping instalment of the series I am working on. My Who project is backoning and I am beginning to feel a lot more confident about attacking it.

I haven't been playing much guitar or bass at home, as I am developing quite worrying carpal tunnel type pains in my left wrist, so rest is good for it.

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April 25th:
Well, the weekend was what it was. Friday night's gig was well-attended and everyone watching loved it, but for the group it was torture. Sound on the stage area there can be awkward. Graham thought we sounded quite good.

I felt ill all day in anticipation of the next evening's gig, but Saturday was a lot better, but we played to a half empty pub. The punters had all been at Cheltenham druing the day and decided to go home rather than watch a band, so a load walked out en masse just before we started. We played properly, at least with no great issues.

The jam night on Sunday started with us playing a longer intro spot and we went through a bunch of songs that we haven't played for a while and a couple that needed tidying up and we played them all really well, except for me stumbling badly over the words to Dancing With Tears In My Eyes, which has remained untouched so far this year. The usual procession of talent turned up and did their bits.

It's now six years since my life-saving cancer op. Guys of a certain age, get yourselves checked out.

I went to the Ear Nose and Throat department at Royal Bolton Hospital today. I have a tiny - and fortunately harmless - cyst in my left ear, but unless it does anything, it can be left alone. I had a hearing test while I was there and I have significant hearing loss confirmed. Hearing aids possibly loom in my future at some point.

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May 1st:
The weekend's gigs were quite good.  We had a trip up to Lancaster on the Friday to play at the John O'Gaunt in the town centre for the first time since the whole COVID debacle kicked off. It's a very small pub and there's bugger all room to set up. The punters are practically falling into you all evening and there isn't room to breathe. We love it. I nearly got my teeth knocked out by some over-enthusiastic punter knocking my mic stand BANG into my face while throwing himself around a couple of inches from us most of the evening. We repeatedly told him there was a line he shouldn't cross. Did he listen? Not really. I'm amazed he didn't go flying over my monitor, even after I moved it right back. Great fun. Great crowd. We played well.

On Saturday, we were at the White Lion in Heywood and it's usually full of kids who ignore us, but not tonight. We had a good listening crowd, who clapped in the right places. We finished at 11.30pm prompt as instructed and got home reasonably quickly afterwards.

Spoke to Jack's Instrument Services about getting one of my basses repaired - only a minor thing to be done, but a little beyond me. I want it done properly. That's going in on Thursday.

The jam night was good fun too. We did another of our sessions of playing stuff we haven't touched for a while and it worked out very well. A good run of people getting up. I played for three and a half hours - on almost every song - no bass players in. Sore fingers now. Off at 10.30pm sharp to hand over to the DJ as they were open until 2am because of the bank holiday. Loaded in at home and sat down to watch some TV and do some chilli Philadelphia and crackers (my current vice), then it all kicked off in the street outside the nearby pub. Noise. Two guys scrapping and a daft pissed-up woman trying to get involved. Someone called the police and a car and a van came out to mop them up.

Tom's 4 years 'Gotcha' anniversary is on the 5th.

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May 6th:
The last week's gone by in a bit of a blur. Where does the time go?

Book and web work have taken up a lot of my time. I've been putting some full days into that at the expense of sleep and the rest of my life.

Thursday was noteable for taking my bass into Manchester for a little TLC. Thanks to Jack Ellis for a nice quick job and a lovely chat.

I've not used this particular bass for a while as its original, rather crappy jack output socket was crackling quite disturbingly and putting out a really high pitched squeak - not much use at all when you're out there gigging.

Tonight we played in Morecambe and we had a good, attentive and reasonable-sized crowd, despite Saturdays being the better night than Fridays at the venue that we played at.

We went down well and we played well. We had dancers and the landlord was well happy, saying he'd slot us back in before the end of the year.

Another venue - a new one we played at quite recently - have asked us to come back - and fortunately we were free on one of the two dates they offered. Deal done.

We still need to fill December up a little bit more with dates - we had one cancelled and it looks a bit thin.

New Year's Eve hasn't gone yet, but that will probably go with no problems.

Fender Squier 50's P.

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May 7th:
No gig this evening, though a slightly vague offer came in in the afternoon. I said we'd got plans for the evening, as I was feeling really tired when I read the message. Ian would probably want to go and watch his girlfriend's band playing and Graham would probably not mind a night off either, so I made an executive decision. I took Tom for a long walk today and as a result, I went to bed knackered mid-afternoon and had three hours of good sleep. I feel really tired a lot these days, so I wasn't inclined to start ringing around.

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May 9th:
Someone thinks it is hysterically funny to send me hundreds of spam emails per day. Fortunately I don't ever see them, as I use Mailwasher and with a couple of simple instructions, I never see them, unless I go into the program's recycle bin. So that's his time wasted.

Sunday's jam night started off a bit thin on the musician front, but they all turned up later on. We did an hour ourselves to start the proceedings off and we played a whole bunch of stuff we never usually touch at the moment. Good fun. Some good players as usual. We got roped into playing Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis. A band we don't usually touch. Some visibly dull geezer sat staring at a table in front of us shaking his head all the way through us backing Dave on I Fought The Law. It didn't deter us from  playing it for a single second. Grouching at us over something we play doesn't work. Once we've started, you'll hear it to the end.

I took Tom for a bit of a walk this morning, after getting up rather late. I'm still really tired. It's now 2pm and I could do with a good lie down.

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May 16th:
The last week has been busy. On Tuesday I met a friend for lunch. On Wednesday I went to a funeral - but i went a week early. Thursday I had my head down again, doing book work, like I have been doing several hours a day, and the phone rings. Our drummer Graham has unfortunately had a fall and has hurt himself badly. I cancelled Friday night's gig and we arranged drum cover for Sunday's jam night. Graham had an x-ray on Friday, no broken bones but he feels awful. He was hoping to still do Sunday, but he sounded shocking, so I didn't give the covering drummer word back.

One Saturday, I attended an impressive exhibition dedicated to local music at the Wolverhampton art gallery. Some members of the Slade forum attended and a good time was had by all. The Slade section was the largest and by far the most impressive. My co-author Chris Selby helped singnificantly with the vast majority of the content for the Slade room and it was excellent. The Noize book got a prominent mention. He also liaised with Jim Lea and Don Powell and they provided some personal items for display. Dave Hill and Noddy Holder didn't bother.

The jam night on Sunday went ok. I went out to Tesco earlier in the day to buy an extra long 4-way with a 30 foot cable. We had Ian Fletcher from Company Of Strangers helping out on drums and he did a great job. A good time was had by all. Spoke to a couple of venues. I think one of our local Bolton venues is now off the cards for us, because the landlord doesn't like us asking him for gigs! I think it's all getting too much for him. The venue are advertising for new bar staff as they seemingly can't put up with the place. We agree that it's like plaiting fog trying to deal with the boss. I haven't blocked his number yet in case he wakes up and smells the coffee and does his job, but I really just feel like washing my hands of him. Talking to landlords is like juggling cats.

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May 25th:
I did a deal with a local shop to take a few signed copies of my books. Last Monday. I must chase up the payment for them. The last weekend's gigs went well, despite Graham being very sore after his fall. We helped with the carting in and out of his gear and with some of the setup. A couple of gigs came in. I keep messaging landlords and they keep reading the messages and doing nothing. I'm coming to the end of playing in a band where I book all the gigs.

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May 31st:

The weekend's work was quite pleasant. Number 39 in Darwen, a small intimate venue with a really good listening crowd where we went down really well again. The landlord was a bit gobsmacked that we aren't booked in later in the year. One to sort. Sunday's jam night was a good one. A couple of venues have been in touch, but haven't read replies. You just can't get the staff.

Mostly work on books this week. I'm putting a lot of hours in. The local shop that I have given a set of books to still hasn't paid me for them.

I'd blocked all of next weekend off (except the Sunday), but people keep offering us gigs. I've weakened on the Saturday, which meant me hurriedly rearranging a visit to my step-daughter's house. I couldn't weaken again when an offer came in for the Thursday early evening, as that was when I had rearranged the family visit for. Can't mess that up twice. A pity, as the money was really good.

Our friend Roy's funeral today. My wife played cupid for him and his wife Jan in either 1971 or 1972 when they all worked at the same place in Bury. A very sad service, filled with love and sorrow at his passing. Nice for my wife to see some workmates she hasn't seen in years. The reception afterwards was at Bradshaw Cricket Club, which I haven't visited for about 40 years.

Shaken this morning to hear this morning that another good friend of ours is dealing with lung cancer.

I found some every interesting future Slade release stuff out, but I am sworn to secrecy. Don't ask.

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June 3rd:
I have been busy doing book work this last couple of days.
I'm quite pleased with the results and so is my co-conspirator.

Current projects lined up:
* Some pen name work.
* Through the years, through the lens. Rock photography book. My photos.
* Jam Night photos - limited edition book for The Christie cancer hospital.
* Slade In Flame at 50. What it says on the tin.
* Slade memorabilia.
* My guitars - no title yet.
* The Who Discography - I have a proper title for this, but I am not revealing it yet.
* Status Quo at Manchester Apollo 2014. I might need to negotiate putting this out.

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June 6th:
Well, if Heineken made weeks, they wouldn't have made this last week.
Families - who invented them? They should uninvent them.

Our gigs were good this weekend, but I was too stressed to enjoy them properly.

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June 8th:
I'm currently reading (admittedly in fits and starts, because of long spells of book work making me want to rest my eyes and brain afterwards) DIARY OF A HYPERDREAMER by Bill Nelson. It's a collection of his blog entries for his website from around 2000. I really like his writing style. I have been reacquainting myself with his excellent music with the Be Bop Deluxe box set reissues on Esoteric which are superb. I ordered his RED NOISE deluxe box set the other day, but that's not out for ages, yet. It's one I didn't buy at the time, so I am looking forward to that coming.

I've given myself this week off from book work. The local shop to settled up with me for the books today.

Current listening:
Kalie Shorr: 'Open Book' unabridged.

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June 14th:
The weekend's gigs were quite good, although the Saturday night gig was rather patchily attended. The venue asked where our posters were. Good question. I'm sure I dropped some off. I remember taking Tom for a walk and dropping posters in.

The jam night was what it is. We sometimes have a drunken guy who harrangues us to play some Beach Boys, Jim Reeves or Perry Como. He wound us up so much this week that I played an impromptu verse of 'There's A Heartache Following me' by Jim Reeves. Thunderous applause from the crowd. El Pisshead didn't recognise it.

Another possibly chemically altered woman came up while we were performing and asked if she could sing "Whole Lotta Love" - but did we have the words? She was most put out that we didn't have the words, but I suggested she got them up on her phone. Also, she got rather annoyed that we had started a song by the guest who was currently on stage. Later on in a quiet moment, I said if she could get the words up on her phone, she could sing it shortly. Because we didn't kick the current guest offstage, she was screaming out loud at us that we were dickheads. That's her NEVER EVER getting up with us.

This is the cover of the 'Slade In Flame At Fifty' book. We have approaching two years to get this written and published. All sorts of plans for it. No doubt someone will try to make us change the cover, but that will just make me 'approximate' it. We're trying to get this incorporated as part of an official project. We will see.

Slade In Flame At Fifty

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June 20th:
The week's been a bit of a blur.
Met a couple of friends for lunch on Tuesday. A funeral on Wednesday. A really lovely young lady (in her 50's and far too young to pass away) who used to be so enthusiastic about my old part-time band. She was related to the singer who passed away a couple of years back, followed by his Mum a short while after.  Now it's her turn. In a while it will be my turn. Life is what it is and that's that, we're all going to die, but it seems so cruel some times.

There's a bit of paper in a desk drawer somewhere with all of our end dates on it and whatever we do, those dates won't change. To quote the Beyond The Fringe joke: I can hide upstairs in the theatre, but the number 28 bus will still get me, so wouln't it be better if I simply went outside and met my final destiny, rather than forcing the number 28 bus to come and get me, demolishing the theatre when it comes to get me, while I hide there?

I'm very aware of my mortality at the moment. After a recent attempt to cut my drinking down to nearly nothing, I find that Brewdog beers often come with a Tesco Clubcard reduction. The beer fridge next to my desk in my studio room is full of them.  I've just quickly chugged down two small cans after doing the jam bnight and then some band admin.

It was good to catch up with two of my surviving former bandmates and a couple of people from other bands, after the funeral.

Paul Carr from State of Quo said that he was seeing the end of that long-running band, which I nearly joined at one point, in Blackpool next year. I said he should finish the group in Bolton and he practically spat out that Bolton has ignored SOQ for years. The place IS short of venues and the ones that remain to be honest aren't up to much. I don't really try too hard to get us into them.  Paul was also bemoaning that he had somehow lost his false teeth and had a gig in London the next night.

The bass player from Twin Lizzy said hello. He'd been to my house to try out a bass rig that I was selling and he agonised over whether it looked right for what he was doing. He didn't buy that rig, but was he very keen on a Precision Bass that I let him use to try the rig. I coincidentally played it last night and the night before. That's going nowhere.

I was talking to Daryl Easlea, author of the forthcoming Slade book. I had just got the brand new Elton John 'Madman Across the Water' box set. He had written the excellent sleeve note essay and messaged him to congratulate him on being a large part of such an excellent project. He mentioned the Elton John 'Jewel Box' 8CD collection which he had also written some sleeve notes for. Elton John is being served with some excellent reissues. It's a crying shame that some other prestigious acts aren't served as well as Elton has been and that they just pop out the same stuff again and again in the hope we'll buy it all over again.... At least give give us something to make the re-releases interesting.

Friday night's gig was at a new venue - the Oddfellows in Swinton. When I took the gig, I thought it was a pub on the A6 in Swinton. A good job I used my Sat Nav. I ended up at a totally different pub. We were immediately made to feel welcome and the evening was a good one, with a good, listening crowd. The people who have the place couldn't do enough for us and were really impressed with us. Always good to break new ground. One of the punters who has long-standing connections to the Apollo in Manchester and the pro's said that we showed them all up. We beamed at him modestly. Back again on December 16th.

The Oddfellows

I got in at about 2am from that gig, even though it was local. I woke up properly with hay fever at 6am and at 7.40am was queueing in Walkden for Record Store Day at the Sticky Black Tarmac record shop. I got the album I wanted (It's Hard by The Who in an extended 2LP set on coloured vinyl with a poster). I caught some sleep up later on in the day.

Saturday night saw us at the White Horse in Heath Charnock, near Adlington and Horwich. We arrived and some kids were sat where our guitarist was going to need to be setting up. The situation was calmly resolved by the landlord moving them to other seats. The PA played silly buggers on one side, but it would be patched up to get us through the gig. We were well received on the night and we're looking forward to going back there. I called in for chips and garlic mayo in Horwich on the way back and I could still taste it the next morning. Mental note - forget the garlic sauce next time!

I rather hopefully sent a polite text to the landlord of the Bolton venue who has got fed up of us asking him about gigs at his venue. He seems to be put off by being asked for work by us, even though we've been a favourite band of his. If he doesn't reply, I won't be asking him again.

White Horse, Heath Charnock

Sunday was Father's day. I got up early and checked out the PA speaker that had been playing up. It was working normally after some tweaking. At 1pm my son called round and we collected my daughter and family and we all went to the Trafford centre to eat. Afterwards I gave my son Paul some LP's from my collection as he's statred buying vinyl records. I hope he likes them.

In other news, my stepdaughter ignored father's day as usual, as she doesn't really have much to do with us, which is sad.

At the jam night, I ended up using some brand new cables to connect the PA system together and it all worked fine all evening. The jam night went well. At one point Medusa were up and playing a couple of Foo Fighters tunes and this young bloke came up to me with such a thick Manc accent that I couldn't understand him. He seemed to be parping on about what they were playing. I told him to talk to them. He was not impressed with me telling him to talk to them and he just seemed as confused as I was.

In at about 11.45 and I set about reading Justin Currie's tour blog - I must look out for footage of Del Amitri at the Isle Of Wight on Sky Arts.

It's just gone 2am. I should really go to bed.

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June 27th:
Monday saw me at another funeral - James Carroll - much loved singer with 2-Toned. A lovely, lovely man. His funeral was absolutely paced out with three times as many people stood outside as there were inside. I went for a drink afterwards at the Botanical Gardens and didn't manage to get a second drink, as there was no way of getting served at the bar.

Tuesday I met my mate Mike, who swaps Union tales with me - I still do their website. Always nice to go see him.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I got migraines. So I colled it on the book work a bit, but had a good session on Friday.

On Saturday, we played at Windle Social Club. Always a nice place to play, though attendance could be so much better there. They were saying that the Bingo place opening up round the corner really hurt them. Then Covid joined in. I filmed the gig, but the camera had a problem with the sound, so the footage is useless, except to grab some still images from.

We had two interval guests performing - Eloise and Jan Beaumont. Annoyed that their sound didn't come out.

The Three at Windle.

Sunday was The Jam Night. We ended up running over time as the landlady asked us to play a few extra songs. Back home at midnight. I felt particularly sorry for Ian, our guitarist, who has to get up really early for work. Bed a little after 1am after trying to do something with the footage. To no avail.

Today has seen me clattering away at the book and taking a couple of gigs.
We now have only two Saturdays left this year. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

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June 29th:
Yesterday was an utterly wearying 9 hour book-writing session (split into two parts, the first being from about ten til five) and I didn't even get a migraine. When Lynda went to bed, I did another couple of hours. I got to bed some time after 2am and had to put some music on my ipod to get to sleep.

Today I was up around 9.30am as we had a visitor. When she went, I threw myself into writing until about 3pm, when I wearliy called it a day. I did a lot of book work instead of tidying up a 1977 Slade live show from a cassette, as I had set myself the task of doing today. I am putting off listening to that, despite quite a few people waiting to hear it.

I then spent a couple of hours in the bath with Bill Nelson's Diary Of A Hyperdreamer book (the first volume). It's a collection of his online website journals. Bitingly honest and very interesting.

He was talking in 2002 about the stresses of getting a show ogether with backing tracks to play over and back projections. It took me back to my earliest gigging days, when I supported a friend's band - Torn Dreams - who I had helped out by writing some tunes that were put to my friend's lyrics. I did the demos for him. He wasn't actually at the recording session in my studio, as he had told his band that he was.... He was busy having obtaining carnal knowledge of his mate's sister instead. So when it came to demonstrating the tunes to his band, he couldn't play them. I don't know how he explained that one away. But he did.

My support slot with them involved my dragging a TEAC 4-track reel to reel machine and and 12-channel mixing desk, plus guitars and mics and assorted garbage to Tyldesley British Legion. The night is now a foggy memory, but it was a success of sorts, attended my lots of friends from work - but I declined the offer to join them all and go to an after-gig party at my friend's place. I just took my studio gear home and laboriously reinstalled it. A good job too, my friend had his car broken into and both of his guitars and his amp were stolen from outside the party. He never got them back.

Bill talks about early gigs and I must say his reminscences take me back. He agonises over the very smallest details and his workload at length, taking up valuable time that could matbe be spent clearing his workload. Writing for the internet is addictive, even if you think you are the only audience for your rambings and mutterings.

I mean, who is it that actually reads the crap I put on here? 
Now that's a question. Let me know.
I'd love to hear from another human being. You can answer it by emailing me here.

I took two gigs the opther day and was asked to post to get some other bands to contact the venue. This led to lots of people contacting ME instead of the landlord. I was quite clear in my post that I had nothing to do with the actual bookings and that they needed to ring the number, but people who obviously couldn't read and make any sense of my post were asking me how much was on offer and other daft questions. This eventually led to me deleting all shares of the post, except on my own timeline.

Still getting lots of spam email. As I said, I never see it as it gets filtered out my mailwasher, but I can see how many are sent to me and check any that I need to.

I'm just destroyed to read that the wonderful Deborah James has succumbed to bowel cancer as she knew she eventually would. Far too young at 40 and how very beautiful and what an example in her courage.

How very very sad for her husband and children and her family. Life is so cruel.

Having been given another chance at a decent length of life after prostate cancer surgery, I am really touchy when I read about anyone else who is up against it because of cancer. I do get very emotionally involved and was very close to tears every time I saw her battle on TV.

Deborah James

I'm not going to make this about me. BUT I do talk about my own cancer situation on this website, it's often on my mind that my own PSA is almost at a recurrence level (0.20), which does worry me. When I was given my latest reading in April, I had to tell the person who rang me that my result was NOT "a lovely 0.18" as she called it - It's 0.02 short of a recurrence. A danger sign. The person audibly gulped and told me that I would be speaking to my consultant in October anyway (Yeah.. in another six months) and got off the phone as fast as humanly possible. I was so taken aback, that I didn't ask to speak to someone who would know what they were talking about. I'd only be told that they are going to watch it anyway. I will bring it up when I see my consultant anyway. Then he will probably try to fob me off for another six months, or worse still, a year. Watch this space.

I know that the chances are that the cancer will either stay at a tiny enough level for long enough for me to die of old age - or it will just say it's bored with me and spread to another part of my body and finish me off. I'm pretty resigned to it and I'm probably old enough and have seen enough now to not be scared of dying, as long as I am not in horrible pain. Hospitals don't let you go through that, anyway. They stick you on a morphine shunt and stop feeding you and you're blissfully out of it until you've gone. We all have it to do at some point, unless we go through some serious accident and die instantly. Why worry about it?

I love my wife and kids, our pets and my life in general and the idea of me leaving them behind is a sad one, but it comes to all of us and I'm trying not to be scared of it like I was when I got my cancer diagnosis.

It's funny, I just remembered that my ex-wife looked very concerned when she spoke to me at my daughter's wedding (not long after my prostatectomy - I probably looked quite frail at that point) and she asked how I was doing with it all. I'm some way forward from back then.

Oh. Nearly 2am again. Time for bed.

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July 7th:
I've been quiet on the blog front for a short while. My excuse remains book work, migraines, hospital trips and my band and also struggling to be arsed to write a blog! Sorry.

July 1st was a local gig at The Musketeer in Leigh. Our last there this year, as we missed out on the back end of the diary. We took 4 for next year, which is nice. We played well, went down really well to a packed house, who came in just as we were getting ready to start at 9.30pm. It's what they do.

July 2nd was The Broadfield in Leyland. Down the road from our drummer, Graham. Again we played really well and look forward to arranging gigs there for next year. I called in at another venue in Chorley on the way. They have messaged me through Facebook as the landlord and also as the band page. I've replied to both, they haven't got back. They do Fridays, so I want to get us in there. All of our Saturdays this year are gone now (except for Xmas Eve and New Year's Eve). I left a card. Let's see if they get back to me.

July 3rd was our jam night - I did something very unusual at the jam night. Ian and I swapped over our guitar and bass and I led the band through a totally unrehearsed four songs, which suffered from severe butterfingers on my part. I'd only picked the songs to do that morning and I think everyone could tell.

A variation on Always the last to know by del Amitri. A mash up of Coz I Luv You / Look At Last Nite by Slade, which I really should have worked the solo out for. There's A Heartache Following Me - The Pete Townshend version of the ancient Jim Reeves track. I forgot to do Everyday by Slade, Which I knew the solo for. Damn. I finished with Tattoo by The Who, which I am delighted to say, went right over the heads of all who heard it, just like it did in 1967.

The next couple of days were book work and a break to take Tom on part of the long walk (the weather started looking a bit iffy). Oscar doesn't do the long walk as he has only got little legs. His skin is irritating him at the moment, so he's has a couple of baths in the last few days. We have got some new Oatmeal shampoo coming for him today. He won't go to the groomer and hates me trimming him, but I'm not going to have to give him any choice in the matter. It needs doing and it will be done. Amazon are providing a harness that will keep him in place while I do him.

I got up this morning and the comedy of the Conservative party has reached a new exciting peak with Boris Johnson sacking the slimy twunt Michael Gove for 'being a snake'. What about the rets of them? Anyway, Boris appears to have fallen on his own sword and has resigned as leader of the Tory party and will step down as PM in six months. Plenty of time for him to do even more damage. He should have stayed on longer, so they could ALL have resigned. Why on Earth did they ever choose him? He's a total buffoon and it was only ever going to end one way.

This was a quick run-through today in The Workhouse Studio.

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July 10th:
The week's flown by in a massive flurry of nothing.
I stopped work on the current book on Tuesday, as my bit was complete.
I took my mate Dave for an optician's appointment in Bolton on Thursday.

On Friday we played at The Pendle Witch in Atherton. I had been told the place was tiny, so I brought my Trace Elliot bass rig with a smaller footprint, but which weighs a ton. My normal rig would have fitted in quite happily. It sounded really good, though. Looking forward to going back there at some point later this year.

On Saturday, we gave Oscar another bath with his special shampoo. His back has been irritating him a little bit. He rolls round on his back sometimes when we walk him and there are little bits of grit in his fur that won't come out. He's a very furry dog and Lynda was trimming him down a bit and found a small hard lump under the skin on his thigh, so I will be ringing the vet on Monday to get him seen to. Our pets are our priority. Thank God I've caught the roof costs up in our savings.

I set off early to get to Southport as our stage time was 8.30pm.  Every gremlin in the world was with us during that gig. The stage space was really cramped, so Ian and I couldn't get very comfortable, or move at all. Guitars stopped putting sound out. The PA had a deep hum on the drum mics - even with nothing going through them (God knows how THAT happens - it simply shouldn't happen). We are bedding in a new setlist and we haven't got the flow between the songs quite right yet. The new setlist will work nicely, but it just takes a little bit of getting used to. It was so hot that it was ridiculous. My fan was at home and there was no room for it anyway. Everything added up to an uncomfortable gig. The crowd enjoyed it, but we struggled.

Trace Elliot rig.

Home via McDonalds in Golborne, where I failed once again to get any food. Why do I even try to get food there? It never works out. I was home before 1am.

Sunday:
A gorgeous sunny day. That means the cats are hiding in the shade where I can't find them. It's far too hot to walk the dogs. Lynda is beside herself with worry about Oscar and isn't speaking to me. She shuts down when she's anxious - goes to bed and turns all nocturnal. Lynda didn't think much of my suggestion that I apply the hoover to Oscar's back to get the grit out of his fur. I used the mini vac we have in the car and it's very gentle and has a brush attachment. It isn't too loud and Oscar sat patiently while I bruushed his back gently and removed nearly all of the little bits. He doesn't get upset if I touch his back now. Vets tomorrow, hopefully, and more baths with his special shampoo.

There are other things going on as well that are really upsetting Lynda. I think next Sunday will be very difficult. I have to go to the jam night for 6pm that day.

The jam night went ok, despite a very thin turnout of players. The weather was obviously too nice to travel. Thanks to those who did make it. All of the PA issues yesterday didn't happen today. Weird...

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July 11th:
Another very hot morning. None of the pets are very comfortable. Fortunately, it cooled down later on, towards lunchtime. Lynda is now saying the do at our house next week is off, as people are backing out. She's quite upset. I was up early and booked Oscar in for a 2.30pm appointment at the vets. He's going to have some teeth out, flea treatment and the lump will be removed. That will happen on August 1st.

July 14th:
I took Tom to the vets today. He's having the flea treatment just in case and he's going to have some teeth out. Apart from that, he's a younger model of health. The teeth extraction will happen the same week as Oscar's op (and Tom goes for a pre-op check, when I take Oscar in for his surgery). Oscar doesn't have a pre-op booked, which baffles me.

A very stressful day with some family stuff that is escalating out of control. My side of the family is fortunately quite ok, but Lynda's is less so.

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July 18th:
Continuing one of the most traumatic weeks I have had in a long time, a family member is causing untold upset. Getting an extremely ugly text from her before I went onstage on Saturday evening left me feeling both livid and sick. My mind was hardly able to focus on the gig itself.  I was seriously worried about even leaving home and going out to our two gigs this weekend.

Some friends came to our Saturday night gig in Diggle at the Road Wizards MCC. They have an utterly fantastic venue. The heat cost us a lot of punters at night, as they had probably been enjoying cheap beers and sunshine in the daytime. Our new setlist is a slight problem, which needs to be worked out.

Sunday night was, once again, inevitably, the jam night. A reasonable turnout of players. Funny to watch the power struggles and rivalry between a couple of the players. We sit above it all as the top dogs - the host band.

Monday evening saw our cat Smudge turn up after she had been absent all day. I'd been a little woriied, as she's usually a homebody. The heat is making them all retreat to shade and lie down. When Smudge reappeared, her front right paw looked wrong. She had some milk, but bolted over the fence before I could get hold of her. She wouldn't come back and I was calling until 1am. She meowed back, but remained a couple of gardens away, probably not wanting to try to find her way back in the dark. I wasn't going to knock people up at that time.

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July 19th:
I eventually went to sleep downstairs - cooler and more convenient for trying to see our Smudge. I was up at 5.30am calling her, then walking round the block to see if I could see her from the front of our neighbours houses. I saw her tail going back over our fence and bolted home. I got her inside and her paw was still looking useless.

At 8.30am I got onto our vet, who had no vets in that day and passed us onto another vet (a hugely expensive one). We went and a lovely vet dealt with her. She had x-rays and when we were called back in the afternoon, he said her paw isn't broken, but there may be nerve damage, which may not correct itself. They are keeping her overnight - we ordered a play pen to contain her in as she is to be kept under house arrest for 6 weeks while we see what her paw does. If it does nothing, then we are looking at amputation. Lynda and I are both in shock. It's not about the horrific amount of money, but about the very idea of this happening to our beloved pet.

Smudge

An evening of TV and worrying. Neither of us have our minds on anything properly.

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July 20th:
Smudge is home.
The vets have said Smudge needs 6 weeks of cage rest to see if her paw improves.

Tom was fascinated by the idea of Smudge in a cat carrier, probably smelling of exotic drugs and metacam and her now having a resale value of 1500 vet pounds.

She seemed quite dopey until Tom got too close sniffing her and she suddenly made a run for it, while the front room door was open. Out of the house she went at lightning speed with Tom chasing her, barking. I called him something impolite and unrepeatable as she went over the back fence, propelled on 3 good legs.

I grabbed the cat carrier off the sofa and legged it round the block and asked this lovely Asian lady if she could see if Smudge was in the back garden. She said 'just pop through the gate' and Smudge was there, hiding in a bush. I'm so grateful she let me go look. Smudge played evasive for a couple of minutes, until giving up to capture.

I got back home and, as if by magic, the Amazon Prime van appeared with her temporary mog prison. She will be allowed the run of the front room under very controlled circumstances only. Panic over. OK heart, slow down now. I slept downstairs with her that night. It didn't make for a good night's sleep. I kept waking up to check her.

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July 21st:
At about 8.30am, Lynda came downstairs and I went up to get a couple of hours decent sleep. The heat has subsided, so I took the dogs out for a bit of a walk. Oscar won't walk far, with his little legs, so it's round the local lodge for him and when he gets home, he knows he's been for a walk. Tom will walk for miles. I went to meet my mate Mike for a beer at lunch and had a couple of hours sleep again late afternoon. I found a DVD that I hadn't heard of by Clint Eastwood called 'Cry Macho' - so that was an instant purchase. Smudge seems a lot more comfortable and has started using the litter tray. A day of catching up TV and keeping an eye on Smudge. I slept downstairs with her again.

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July 22nd:
Got an hour's catch-up sleep in bed. Booked the first follow-up appointment for Smudge at our local vets. She's happy enough in her little mog prison at the moment. She's getting some chicken as a treat, even though it pains Lynda to cook it. A day of not doing a great deal. Watched quite an amount of TV. Went to sleep very late. Slept downstairs again with Smudge.

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July 23rd:
Awake at about 7am and went upstairs to get a little proper sleep. My phone alarm is switched off at weekends, so it was about 10.30am when I woke up. Lynda said Smudge had been trying to use her damaged paw to stand, so let's hope that's a good sign.

I put some heavy gauge strings on my Buttercream Fender Precision bass - one of my main current gigging basses this morning (I usually use quite light gauge strings) and I'm not sure exactly what I think about them yet. I might try the bass that's got them on at our gig this evening and see how they feel. At first attempt, it feels like there's a little bit too much resistance when I'm playing. I will find out later on, I guess. I carry spare basses at gigs, so if they don't feel right, I will just quickly swap basses and re-string it when I get home.

The evening's gig at Dobbies club, in Radcliffe quite near Bolton, was good fun. They looked after us really well. It is a really lovely venue with a good, enthusiastic listening and dancing crowd and we went down really well and we are looking forward to going back to play there again later on in the year.

The jury is still out after the jam night on the heavier gauge bass strings. They sounded great and I probably played well enough using them, but there was definitely less give when I wanted to bend strings slightly. Not as comfortable as they could be. We started the jam with our spot and we have taken to doing some slightly light jazzy shuffle struff, including a version of the old jazz standard Summertime, which Ian sings. I chucked in a particularly odd version of Led Zeppelin's Rock And Roll and some of Whole Lotta Rosie.

July 26th:
Monday morning was marred by me getting a migraine first thing when I got up and started on some book work. I started with the shimmering rainbows in front of my eyes, making it so I couldn't concentrate. If I don't get it fixed, I can start feeling sick. That put a stop to that for the day. 3 Zapains and a darkened room and no computer screen for a while - as my migraines are quite capable of coming back. The online shopping came mid-morning via Tesco - well about half of it did. There was a long list of stuff missing, so we went out to our local Tesco and bought what hadn't been delivered off the shelves. Odd how we can get it at our local shop, but there's a shortage of potatoes for the first time since the Irish famine in the last century,when it comes to delivered groceries. Lynda is talking about not bothering with getting our shopping delivered anymore, as the substitutions can be really odd and the missing items ridiculous.

On Tuesday I went into town to meet Mike for a couple of lunchtime beers. While I was waiting outside of our old office, I was approached by a few people I used to work with, who all say how utterly crap a place it is to work at now. Lots of people retiring and getting out. Like I always say, I miss the people, but not the foolishness.

Smudge is trying to walk using her front right paw in a normal way. It still gives way an amount. It's good that she's trying - but I don't know whether she's really getting much actual use back yet or not.

TV in the evening. The oddest episode of Better Call Saul that I have seen so far involved a supremely bizarre overnight robbery of a department store in a shopping mall.

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July 29th:
Wednesday and Thursday passed in a bit of a blur of actual work-type effort. Wednesday was a good solid session of book work from when I got up until it was time for our evening meal. Lynda was in the front room with various cooking and house removation shows, plus the scrapping over men that consitutes Love Island.

The books that I am currently working on need a lot of (sometimes difficult) image restoration and an amount of research. I am provided with a timeline to work on and a number of images, which I then add to. I assemble / compile the books and look for missing stuff in my archives and on the internet. I can't really talk about them at present as an author 'pen name' is being used. There is a small market for them and the meagre income from them is all going to pay vets bills at the moment.

Great to see the utterly delicious Anna Torv back on TV in The Newsreader on the BBC. I was a fan since the point she did Fringe, but I lost track of her career a bit, after that.

The Newsreader

BMG seemed to send me a year's worth of emails about Slade things this week. That makes a nice change. There's quite a flurry of activity there at the moment. Some of the email content is embargoed, so I had to schedule releases of the information on social media and do instant website amendments. While they are in a chatty mood, I put a couple of decent ideas across for future Slade releases which were hopefully quite enthusiastically received.

Thursday was a little book work (mainly restoring quite a few images in Photoshop) and then I took Tom for part of the long walk. On the halfway point, I decided not to do the country park part of the walk as both Tom and I were getting rather hot, so I got him home.

There's a pub near to me which serves Sam Smith's beers. I was going to call in for a quick one, then I remembered that the guy behind the bar usually insists on chucking the pub rules (dogs straight into the beer garden, no use of phones or such like in the pub) at me the very second that I walk up to the bar, in a rather blunt manner. If I answered him back in the manner he makes me feel like doing, I'd just instantly get barred. We just carried on walking home. I mentioned the place to the landlord of my local as I was walking past and he knew about those rules!! We had a laugh.

Smudge is getting about reasonably well, considering her leg injury. Whether she's getting use back remains to be seen.

The evening was more TV and when Lynda went to bed I watched the first episode of Fargo, which has been recommended to me and I saw it was on Netflix, so had a go at it. The first episode was really a very good watch.

A bit of Super Challenge Freecell and Sparks music before bed. I caught up this blog entry that you're disinterestedly skimming through now and went to bed at about 2am. I always seem to be up this late. I get up around 10am (or later) most mornings. I'm dreading Monday morning, as Oscar has to be at the vets for 8.40am.

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August 1st:
Saturday morning's lie-in was disturbed by a call from our drummer, Graham. He'd seen a message flash up and then disappear about that day's gig. Had I seen it? No, I was asleep, but I said now I'm awake, I'll get right onto it.

I took the booking at a pub in Padiham a while ago through Facebook messenger. They came back to me a couple of weeks ago and said would we mind starting at 6pm, as we were playing outside (there's no room to set up inside). I checked with the guys and went back and said it would be ok.

The message that had been sent said that the weather looked awful and we wouldn't want to get our gear wet, so dependent on weather later in the day, the gig MIGHT be off. I have NEVER EVER taken a weather dependent booking, especially at a venue in the Rossendale Valley area, where it rains to biblical proportions. I let the guys know and Ian wisely said we would be as well looking for a cancellation. I posted on Facebook and was quickly advised to contact the lady singer from a friend's group. Her voice was gone as far as singing went, so they'd had to pull a gig that night and the venue were struggling to fill it. She spoke to the venue and we were on that night. At a better fee than the other venue, with a proper start time and INDOORS.

I called 'Venue A' back and said the weather definitely looked too grim and it wasn't worth risking it. They are looking to build a shelter for the bands for next year. I'm no longer at all confident about the venue, so I won't be asking to go back.

Relief. The gig went very well and the venue said they'd report back to the agent they use.  That was a bit of a crossed wire. The act we replaced had actually booked direct with the club, but the Concert secretary at the venue said the agent will get us a decent amount of work, so we let it ride on this occasion and paid over 15% to the agent first thing on Monday.

The Three

The Three

Sunday was the jam night and it was a late start, due to the ladies football final and the resultant half hour of extra time. One of the girls on the team was local to the pub, so they showed willing and opened for that and put it on all the TV screens. We started at 8pm and soldiered on until 10.30. After we'd finished, someone came to tell me to turn The Sensational Alex Harvey Band off, when I was playing a song by them over the PA. Philistine! There will be no more PA music played there now. We can pack up and go home at 10.30 on the dot.

We have another jam night (potentially) on the cards, though the new venue are fudging about talking to us about it. He who hesitates is lost.

Smudge is still getting about on the injured paw quite well now. Is she getting the use of it back? Dunno.  She might just be adapting. She's still under house arrest at present.

Monday morning was an early start to get Oscar to the vet for 8.40am. A waste of time us getting him there that early, as it was well after 9am when he was called in. Tom came down with us for a pre-op appointment (and was a bit sick in the car on the way) and they didn't even bother to see him. He's having some dental work done on Wednesday. Getting a bit fed up with our local vets. They've been sold out to a chain and a few people are beginning to complain about them now.

We got Oscar back at going on for 5pm. His stitches haven't been done very well at all. He's ok, though.

I got a text mid-morning advising me of a Urology Consultant chat on Monday. I had no idea about this appointment, but I am free for it. I rang Urology reception and asked if I needed a blood test. Yes. So they said I could pick up a blood form from their reception at the hospital and take it to Pathology to get my blood taken. No appointment needed. Sorted within an hour. Now to wait for the chat on Monday.

The evening was a bit fraught as my daughter Rachel rang from the hospital and I ended up making another trip out there as they looked like they were admitting her with pains in her side. In the end they said they would examine her properly on Tuesday.

Back home. Watched the last two episodes of the first season of The Newsreader. I hope they do more. It's been great.

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August 2nd:
Up earlier than usual today. I was awake and too hot to go back to sleep. I had a few things to do before I went into town to meet my friend Mike. I am doing some scanning and restoring of music paper articles to contribute to yet another music book.

Oscar is not quite himself. He's had a lot of teeth taken out and he does NOT like his stitches on his thigh at all. He has been running round like something possessed and also he's panting quite a lot, so it's a bit of metacam to calm him down a bit. He's drinking lots of water.

I'm very wary of saying that Smudge is looking good at the moment, with her problem paw, but she appears to be better than she was. She's still under house arrest - in fact most of the cats are spending a bit more time indoors, when we lock various things to keep Smudge in and let her have the run of the house. The cats can still get in and out freely, when Smudge is properly contained in the front room. She's enjoying the fuss and is lying down with us, which makes a nice change from her hiding in the back room.

An evening of TV. The Better Call Saul series looks to be coming to an end. No spoilers, but it is now overlapping into the Breaking Bad storyline, so I can't see it having another season. A shame, as it is every bit as good as Breaking Bad, and I never thought it would even come anywhere near. I originally treated the show with suspicion, but was quickly plaesed to find out how excellent it is.

Witness Number Three is a scary TV show about a girl and her family being harrassed because she was a witness to a crime and is the only witness not to back out, despite horrific pressure for her to do so. It's a very hard watch.

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August 4th:
I took Oscar to the Vet today, to see how he's doing after his operation. There is some swelling around his stitches. He's still on his metacam and antibiotics. He's going back on Tuesday morning for another look. Tom was not happy to have some teeth out at all. He's recovering better than Oscar is. But then again, he's had less done.

I'm pleased with how Smudge is doing with her leg.

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August 7th:
Oscar is sleeping so much. He's metacam'd and antibiotc'd to within a millimetre of his life. He's now walking a lot faster than he did with that lump there. The last couple of years, he's sort of dragged along behind me and Tom on walks, now we're struggling to keep up with him. We got Oscar a whole 6 years ago yesterday.

Smudge has taken up residence on my studio room windowsill. Not the best place for a recovering kitty, but never mind.

Friday was brightened by my daughter and granddaughter visiting us and then we had a short but sweet afternoon trip into Bolton to have something to eat and to visit the museum. No gig in the evening. We've had a bit of trouble filling some Fridays, though the rest of the month looks good.

Saturday was a gig at a pub in Heywood that we've been playing at for years. The set-up was unusually smooth and some of the audience were quite attractive. We had some listeners in, too. Nice to see some people who always come to see us there and have a chat with them. I was really pretty tired out and at half time, I just went behind the gear to sit down. I was not being deliberately stand-offish, but sometimes I just need a rest. The gear set-up tires me out. I carry a lot of gear... PA top speakers and poles, bass rig, some lights, cabling in Stanley toolbox, basses, monitor, pedalboard, etc. It just about fits in the car. I also get Graham's heavier gear in, as I arrive around the same time as him. I am quite prone to finding a quiet corner away from everyone at jam night. Graham has no qualms at all about leaving the schmoozing to Ian. When I'm tired out, I am not good company, so I had a good sit down and limped through the second half.

Sunday (today) was up early, dog walks, a bit of book work and the jam night. The jam was distinguished by this rather lovely woman's husband making a total tit of himself, annoying everyone. He was quite pissed and wanted everyone up dancing. Graham got a bit fed up. A couple of people looked ready to smack the guy a good one. I was first to pack up and escape. Our jam on Sept 18th is off, as there is a heritage music festival event in Tyldesley with 5 bands in each of 4 or 5 pubs. Grrr. I will investigate that. I didn't bother putting any music through the PA after we finished playing, as I just wanted to get out and get home. Home for 11.15. Typed this quick blog entry up and thought vaguely of an early night... Consultant is ringing me tomorrow.

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August 9th:
My consultant rang yesterday... well, one of his minions did. A nice chap called Abdul. Apparently, the Macmillan nurses had spotted that my PSA is rising month-on-month and decided something should be done about it. My result this time is 0.20 - officially a recurrence. So, I've got cancer again. But only a little bit. I'm still fuming at the person I spoke to last time, who couldn't wait to get off the phone and away from me when I pointed this out. I'm currently digesting this information. Something will have to be done at some point, but they are going to watch it a while. I'm having my regular review in October, so we will see what they say then. It shouldn't have time to go up that much.

I passed the information onto my children today. I don't believe in giving them nasty shocks and I have tried to be honest about where I am up to with all of this. I could get to a nice old age before this has any effect on me. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. If it starts going rogue, I would hope the hospital would get quite a bit more actively involved in sorting it out. I don't really like the idea of chemotherapy, but it is better than the alternative.

Book work yesterday and today. The dogs went to the vets and both seem to be doing well.
Smudge has taken up residence on the back bedroom windowsill. Her leg seems to be doing quite well.

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August 15th:
I met Mike on Wednesday with another of the office reps in tow. Always good to see them. The old workplace seems to have gone downhill since I left. Not in any way because I left, but because the management are getting progressively worse.

Well, that's another weekend out of the way.

Friday saw me doing a drop off of some goods for an animal rescue. We went to the wrong address in BL3, first of all, with a slight mix up with the house postcode. Our instructions were to drop stuff in the garage. A house owner asked us why we were looking at his garage. He seemed happy enough with our explanation. We then went to the correct postcode, in BL8, several miles away. This left me with very little time before I was due to meet friends for lunch in Bolton at 12.30. A bit of a rush.  A nice meal and a glass of wine, then a bath. I fell asleep in the bath for a couple of hours. I felt a bit muzzy for the rest of the day.

The evening found us in Wardle, near Rochdale. I annoyingly played well below par and I think we were all too hot and bothered. I took my Danelectro bass and a Precision with heavy strings on it. Mistake. The gig wasn't one of our best, as the venue is always hard work, 'til we get near the end, then the crowd wakes up. Roadworks on the M62 on the way back saw me diverted out of the way through Middleton. Home 1.30am.  Zzz.

Saturday was just too damn hot all day. Up late. Pottered around. Out at 7 to get to our gig in Darwen. I'm usually the first there, unless Graham beats me to it,which is a 50-50 thing, but at 7.35pm, I was the last to arrive by a minute or two. We loaded in and set up on a small stage. The crowd were great and we went down really well. We played a decent show. The landlord was really pleased and so were the bar staff, so hopefully next year we will be back a few times. We are the first band they've had on - it's usually duos and solo singers. See the video below.

Sunday was more loitering about indoors to try in vain to keep cool. I changed out those heavy bass strings first thing. In the bin with them. I had made up a fairly safe playlist to keep the landlady at our Sunday jam night happy. The jam went quite well, as it usually does. There was a bit of sniping and a couple of dirty looks between a couple of the participants... who both need to grow up.  Some people take it all much too seriously.

Home at about 11.20. I tried going to bed, but the bedroom was like a sauna, with our resident hot-dog Tom lying right up next to me and Smudge meowing at me from my bedside cabinet. I went downstairs and got on the sofa and got some sleep.

I was woken quite early by Lynda going to let one of the cats in at the front door. I crawled off upstairs to bed. It was late when I got up.

Did this blog and pottered around a bit. The heat is still there, but not quite as bad as it was. 13.35 and it's started raining. Good. Cat food shopping calls...

Picked up cat food, beer, crisps, orange juice and some chocolates. Success. Did some book work on a compilation volume of some other things I have published. There is no set timescale for it yet. I lost all track of time and was summoned downstairs for my evening meal at 7pm. After that it was TV for the rest of the evening. We caught up on The Good Doctor and New Amsterdam and also (after I had taken both dogs for a quick walk in the light rain, which felt just lovely with this persistent heat) finished off The Loudest Voice, which was superb. It's disturbing and sickening to watch, but great to see Ailes getting his comeuppance.

The Loudest Voice

Did the catch-up on this blog. I should get to bed now. It's going on for 3am.

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August 19th:
More book work, dicking around on the internet, shopping and at last - earlier today, finally getting Tom on a decent length long walk, which he loved but which nearly killed me. It's been too hot to take him on the full long walk and the one today was fourth fifths or thereabouts of the full thing.

Took a gig for December at a new venue. I have messaged about 60 or so places regarding gigs for next year over the last couple of days. No gig this evening. Finished the first season of Fargo, which was excellent.

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August 20th:
Up at 10am or thereabouts. A day of gardening, weeding, surfing the net, having a lovely long bath and thinking deeply about nothing.

Our evening gig had an 8pm stage time, so I made sure we were at the venue for 7pm. It had changed into a charity event for Wigan Hospice along the way, so there was some slippage on our time. At around 8pm, we were told we would be able to load in shortly and use the PA provided. I was getting my bass rig together and wheeling it in when I was told "There's a dumpy girl singer got on the stage and set up." I approached said girl singer and tol her that we were on next. She informed us curtly that we were NOT on next. She was. So we sat through her set. I was assured that the lovely but dumpy Rebecca would be off shortly and her karaoke backing track set did seem rather curtailed. Someone then said over the PA they were setting the stage for another act... who wasn't us.

I smiled sweetly, said "fuck this, we're off" and wheeled my gear back to the car, followed by the event organisers who had seen me do a traffc light impression. We set up quickly, without any fuss or dawdling and got onstage next around 9pm and set about playing. Our first song was interrupted halfway through by a pair of in-bred local Leigh meatheads fighting and Ian's vocal mic went over and so we stopped dead on the same beat and just stared them out until someone ejected them. I then said "Ding ding, seconds away, round two" and we started straightaway on the next song. We effectively did a severely shortened first spot and ran it into highlights of our second spot and had an interruption for the raffle. We watched a signed Wigan shirt get auctioned for £550. All good.

A good friend of ours generously paid £60 to make us play Freebird, and £30 each for Purple Rain and Alice. So that was £110 in the charity kitty that wasn't there before. We finished in time to quickly break our gear down and to let another act get a meaningful hour in and we had the place rocking all the way through. They want us back.

I got home and heard a local glam rock band in my local and decided to go in to watch them. Lynda had left me a note to say she was in there already. They were just finishing off as I went in. Had a word with them afterwards, as I know them. Nice guys.

All was well until I checked my phone and found out that a good friend is in hospital in a serious condition. Shit. All of the fun of my day evaporated, just like that... I feel like his life is about to get rather complicated. I feel utterly deflated and powerless. I'm not a physician. there's nothing I can do. My head is mashed.

2am - time for bed. If I can sleep.

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August 20th:
Up at 11am. Rang my friend's wife to see how he's doing. It could be a lot better. We are taking her to the Salford Royal hospital tomorrow. It might just be her who goes in to see him when we get there, which is ok. He sounds really upset with his present condition and he might not want to see others yet. That's fine with us. The main thing is not to stress him and that he recovers. Happy to just play taxi until he is ok.

Jam night in the evening. Rang my mate's wife again, during the jam night. Monday has turned into Tuesday - presumably as they will be doing all sorts of scans tomorow. Changed some plans quickly to accomodate this - not a problem really. He's understandably in a low way with this stroke happening. She has posted on his Facebook that he says he wants to die. Understandable, but it is early days yet. Not looking forward to Tuesday now.

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August 24th:
My mate's health has been uppermost in my mind the last few days. I've tried to get some things done, but to be honest, my head is in another space at the moment.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from his wife saying the hospital had just rung her, asking her to come down urgently and she was being given a lift there, so I wasn't required later that day.

Tuesday evening, I got a migraine.

I took Smudge to the vet this morning to see about her teeth and that's, again, going to be expensive. She's having them done on September 1st. We have had to change vets for her, because our regular vet hardly has any vet cover now and can only see her on September 27th, which isn't really good enough. We have had to get signed up to a pet plan for her, which at least gets us a discount on the operation itself.

I met Mike today at lunch (put back a day because of the expected but cancelled hospital run). I've had griping pains in my stomach all day, so I didn't finish both of my drinks. I bought Morrisons version of Gaviscon to see if it helps. Stress?

It's now Wednesday evening and I haven't heard anything else about my friend. Hopefully no news is good news, but I don't know. I've popped a message through messenger to his Facebook account, which she is using, but no response yet.

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August 25th:
I've been getting really worried about my mate who's in hospital after a stroke. I cracked and sent his wife a text today and she's replied to me. He's sedated in critical care and isn't breathing for himself. The stroke was a big one on his brain stem, which took movement on one side and his swallow reflex out. I'm just mind-blown at the awfulness of this. The body can do great things, so there's always hope.

Another migraine this afternoon.

A venue we played recently got in touch with us asking how much New Year's Eve would cost them. We are not over-priced. They want us, but their brewery have asked them to go and get quotes from other people - so the brewery will just make them get a dreary cheaper solo act with backing tracks. Screw the punters that go in there, they obviously aren't important.

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August 26th:
This evening we played at a new venue for us in Hazel Grove, just south of Stockport. The evening was slightly marred by me getting yet another migraine, just before we were due on stage. Three Zapains and 15 minutes in my car in the dark sorted it out so that I could play. There was a short panic when I rooted through my pockets and found empty pill-strips. I thought I'd taken all of my tablets and had none with me to use, but it all worked out. I had some in my wallet. We stuck to the crowd-pleasers. Although there were a lot of their regulars missing, because of holidays and such, we went down a treat with those who were there. One of the more involved crowds we've had for a short while. Back there in November and hoping to break into the pub chain that has that venue.

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August 27th:
One of Smudge's problem teeth has come out by itself.

The evening saw us at one of our regular venues in Leigh. The PA was overly bassy and boomy - even with recorded music with a flat EQ on the player and bass rolled right off on the PA - and I ended up having complete nightmares with my bass sound. I practically had it on nothing for a lot of the second half.

We invoke what I call 'The C**t Code' when someone in the crowd falls into the gear. Of course, there was the inevitalble pissed-up bald guy. You know the type, big stupid grin, shaved head, trying to take over the show from the band, who inadvertently turn into their backing. Yeah, he's the one.... The punters usually give up and move on, not that the prat ever notices. He had probably been drinking all day and was idiot dancing wildly in front of us to impress all the punters in the pub (he failed miserably - they all thought he was making a total cock of himself).

We knew it was coming. He fell into my mic, so I stuck my bass sharply into the back of his head and shoved him roughly away. So... out comes the code... I announced the next song as the last one - and so it was. The crowd were just limp. The sound had been too much of a problem for us and we were glad to stop and get out a little earlier than expected.

The prat came up to me as we were putting the gear near the exit and slurred incoherently at me (probably to ask if we were doing any more, so he could carry on his grisly cabaret), so I told him about the C**t Code and thanked him for saving us 20 minutes playing time. He just looked confused. Take the money and run, I say.

Very late on, I messaged another of my friend-in-hospital's best mates, who is in touch with his wife. I am being really careful not to pester her for information or anything, so I asked if he could keep me posted. He's in contact every couple of days.

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August 28th:
My mate is breathing for himself again and conscious. Has movement back on his left side. Compus mentis, thank Gawd. No speech at present, but it's early days yet.

The jam night in the evening started late, as the Christening function in our venue didn't want to stop. It's good that they were having such a good time. They carried on until the jam night punters started pouring in through the door around 7pm. We were a number of the usual players down, but you might not have been able to tell that on the night. We made the best of the players that we had and I ended up singing a few songs and had some surprise help which was nice.

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August 29th:
Bank Holiday Monday. I got a text from my mate's wife. She's not been at her best with all that's gone on and she'd be grateful for some lifts to the hospital. It will be good to see my mate, but I'm slightly dreading seeing him struggling. Naturally, I just want him to be well again, but that's going to take some time.

My son Paul popped around for a visit and that was nice. We were having a good chat until he ended up succumbing to his allergy to our cats after a while and an anithistomine tablet didn't make that much of a dent in his eyes watering and him sneezing.

I walked the dogs then I had a bath and at around 2pm, we set off for St Anne's On Sea, just south of Blackpool. We got there around 3pm and met up with drummer Graham and his wife Lesley to spend some time with them.

We were asked if we could go on a bit earlier as the band before us had rather a lot of a mishap with their guitarist failing to turn up, because he said he didn't know about the gig... and then he said he felt that he was was too drunk to come along anyway. So they sacked him and they didn't play. We were asked to cover their spot for an increased fee. When our guitarist Ian arrived, we hustled onto the stage and played a longer-than-expected set. We went down really well and we look pretty certain to be doing it again this time next year. Lots of compliments from audience members and other musicians, as well as the organisers. A day well spent.  Nice that my wife managed to come along for this afternoon, as she is struggling with quite a lot of severe pain and is struggling to eat or drink at present.

St Annes Music Festival

TV in the evening.  New Amsterdam and the first episode of a new series of Married At First Sight UK.

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August 30th:
Up at 10am. No gig today. A chance for my throat to rest up a bit. Met Mike in town at lunchtime and lubricated my throat a little, then went doing some shopping. Dog food, cat litter, various other bits. Nothing too exciting.

TV in the evening. Classic Corrie, Married At First Sight UK, Fargo season 2. Bed late.

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August 31st:
Went to take my mate's wife to see him in Salford Royal. His speech is bad at the moment and it's very quiet. I couldn't hear a thing. It made me realise how deaf I am and what a crying shame it is, what has happened to Dave. On the way back, we talked about how (after being an in-patient at Christies cancer hospital) I had wanted to do hospital volunteer driving for patients, but couldn't because of the car modifications and insurance issues involved. His wife Sue asked if I could take her again tomorrow, but was disappointed that I am taking Smudge to have some teeth out and would be collecting her at visiting time. It costs her £40 for taxis to Salford and back. Next week is going to be a bit messed up too. Vets, Mike, unable to go at weekend. Plus, I have to enrol on another college course.

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September 1st:
Took Smudge to the new vets for 8.45 this morning to have some teeth out.

I did the accounts and sorted out the book royalties from Amazon for Chris and myself, as they had credited to my bank account. The royalties were from June sales. I can't retire yet. Just a trickle of sales for THE NOIZE at present. There are supposed to be thousands of Slade fans out there, but where are they when it comes to buying books? Either they can't or won't read. We have tried advertising on Amazon, but it is little use as it just goes to random people. The Facebook pages don't all support (or even mention) the book, or any other Slade books, because there is nothing in it for them and BMG own one of the main pages, having bought 10,000 likes for it. The Slade fan community is basically fucked. It's all a power struggle.

I rang the vet surgery at 2pm as instructed, but Smudge's temperature was worryingly a bit low after the anaesthetic, so they said I should ring back in an hour. I rang again, went to pick her up and she was fine. The vet bill was fortunately well below the £700 estimate I had been given. That was a relief. I didn't query the difference. I paid them by card and just got out quick. I intelligently left her pain meds on the counter. I am occasionally an idiot. I had Smudge in her carrier over one shoulder and was struggling to do what is the important bit for them, paying them. I told them on the phone that we have enough Metacam to get her through 'til I take her to be looked at again on Monday afternoon. I can pick the meds up then.

TV.

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September 2nd:
Today would have been my wedding anniversary to my second wife. I never think of her at all, unless her face comes looming up unexpectedly in one of my daughter's posts on Facebook. I hardly recognise her these days.

She didn't get anything more than a passing mention in my book, because she basically didn't deserve it. I did write an account of our marriage, but thought better of publishing it. The children didn't need to read a long list of her dirty tricks and nastiness. She saw me coming and took a house off me. She's somebody else's problem now. I saw her at my daughter's wedding (a monumental waste of our money) and I'd not long since had my cancer operation. I looked and felt like crap on the day, but got through it. By the time of the evening function, I was a damp rag. She said she had been worried about me. I simply thanked her and didn't say what I really thought. I said when we split up that we were just a vague irritation on each other's skin, which shook her a bit, but was quite accurate.

She's married again and moved off out to the Wirral, well out of the way of me and any responsibility for stepping in to help our children, when things go wrong. I won't forget her summoning me back to the house that I bought with my first wife to inform me that she was getting married again (I'd heard the glad tidings from everyone else some weeks before) and asking me would I take our son in, or he would end up living in a shitty bedsit somewhere, because she was shrugging off her responsibility for him, now that the child support had just about finished.

After a stupidly late night last night (3am), I woke just before 10am, then got up at 10.30am this morning. Anti-histomine taken, then I set about my day. Blog. Too hot to walk the dogs just yet. Gigging tonight.

We played in Great Harwood in the evening and though we played to the satisfaction of the venue and the crowd, I made some gaffes when we were playing. I was worried about my voice starting to crack up after a 4 on the trot run, last weekend.

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September 3rd:
The evening saw us in Walkden, not far from me and we went down great, and once again I played a bit rubbish at the odd time and got some songs a little bit wrong. I was still pre-occupied with my voice problems. No doubt I will ask to go through some of the mucked-up songs at the jam night.

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September 4th:
Up at 11am. Bone-tired. Croaky throat. Bah. Did a good stint of writing on the latest book. There are also rumblings of a one-week availability of a slightly updated version of my autobiography, with an extra chapter included, which brings it up to date. I've been tweaking an extra chapter, so let's see what happens... I might put it in a new cover, too.

I took Tom and Oscar for a walk this afternoon and a lady with a small yappy dog warned me that her dog was a snapper. I was pulling Tom back when Oscar walked up to this dog and it bit Oscar and drew blood behind his nose. Why can't people with dangerous dogs muzzle them? It may have been partly my fault that I didn't just pull both dogs right out of the way, but if her dog had been muzzled, Oscar wouldn't have been bitten.

I called into a venue in Atherton on the way to the jam night. They are keen to have us back and they offered us a free date later this year that we are already booked on. They aren't quite booking next year yet. A guy who is beginning to ring me (and Ian guitarist) up regularly to see who's booking what says he's got gigs there for next year. I think I am going to have to get slightly more vague than I usually am on the phone. I smell bullshit.

One of our regular venues that cooled off on us slightly, despite us always doing really well there, has put out the call for local bands on FB. I replied and we night be back in again. We'll see.

The jam night did indeed see me get the guys to run through the songs I buggered up at this weekend's gigs. We play Are You Ready by Thin Lizzy way too fast. The rest went ok.

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September 5th:
Up late. Spent some of the day doing book work. Recent product is doing okay  - not fantastic, but okay. Gave Rachel a lift into town as her car's playing up. Took Smudge to the vet to have her gums checked. I have to take her back again next Monday. TV in the evening.

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September 6th:
Up late again. Quite a good day of book work. TV in the evening. In contact with a couple of venues, beavering away, regarding bookings. Hopeful of filling some final dates this year. Christmas and New Year's Eve are both free at present, but I am fairly sure NYE will get taken in the run-up. It's often like that.

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September 8th:
Went to see my mate in hospital with his wife. We didn't stay that long. He is heavily sedated again. As his swallow reflex is gone for the time being, he keeps getting fluid on his lungs and chest infections. She was called to the hospital late last night, but after discussion, didn't go. She was told to expect the worst as he keeps getting the chest infections. When I heard that, I sank. At present, they are looking at doing a tracheostomy tomorrow. They don't have to be a permanent thing, but sometimes they are. He's violently opposed to the idea of having one. We came home rather deflated and I did my best to keep her spirits up, saying he's a fighter, but it's hard to be upbeat when things look so black.

To put the absolute tin hat on the crappiest of days, we lost The Queen. A truly good woman. She never really put a foot wrong (except keeping quiet for a few minutes too long after Diana's passing). She kept our nation on an even keel and in the higher regard of the rest of the world, despite the best efforts of some of our crappy politicians and her family to sabotage everything... and now we are in the hands of The Dysfunctionals that she has spawned.

I am truly saddened. She was a force for good and had very good morals. This is the end of things as they were. The phrase is used a lot and often in a rubbish way... but this is totally the end of an era. Things won't be the same ever again.

Bed very early, 10pm-ish, as I was falling asleep on the sofa.

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September 9th:
I awoke to a message from tonight's venue saying they have closed their doors for good last night. I had a really bad feeling about that gig, as the landlord hadn't replied to any of my messages for ages. I made some efforts to get the gig replaced, but I thought we would be realy lucky to get anything, as a couple of venues have cancelled their weekend entertainment because of HM's passing. I ended up staying in.

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September 10th:
A day of 'mucking about' on the net - chasing up band bookings and watching season 2 of Fargo on the computer. My friend's wife asked if I could take her to Salford Royal on Monday. I've already told her I will be at the vet with Smudge and suggested Wednesday. She counter-suggested Thursday. He's conscious again. He's had a tracheotomy, but hopefully it's not permanent. It depends on his swallow reflex coming back, but the trauma of a tracheotomy might slow that down.

The evening was a gig at my local pub. We played quite well on the whole. I concentrated on the job and didn't make any real goofs. Some friends came to watch, which was nice. The pub wasn't exactly full - this weekend has been a weird one.

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September 11th:
I always remember being at work in a Government facility in Lytham St Annes on this day and being called along with everyone else to see what was going on in New York, on TV. It was surreal. I rang my wife at home to tell her about it. It was like watching a horror film. The thought of what those poor people endured on that day, thanks to the utter evil that was inflicted upon them, is still just chilling and sick-making, all these years later.

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September 12th:
I got an amount of book work done today and took Smudge to the vets to have her teeth checked in the afternoon. I trapped her in the back bedroom with me for a couple of hours, so she didn't wander off when it was time for her appointment. I finished season two of Fargo in the evening.

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September 14th:
Book work in the morning, plus walking the dogs and stuff.

The early evening was totally ruined for me, because I rang up a concert secretary who hadn't been responding to my texts regarding bookings. He said that he had a bunch of complaints about us playing obscure stuff when we played at their venue. I was utterly dumbfounded and hours later, I am still really angry. When we played there, we were complimented by lots of people on playing some proper music for a change, instead of the utter clunge they are usually forced to endure. There is video of a lot of people dancing. People came up to us and thanked us for playing. He said he was on the verge of cancelling us, unless we could play some nice music that people know. Instead of saying stick your poxy fucking club up your arse, and just booking us in somewhere else, I bit my tongue until it bled and said, yes we could do that. I told the group and they weren't happy. I might still replace the gig and ring them on the day to cancel.

I went on to our website and checked all of the chart positions of the songs that we play.
We can play 43 top ten charting records.

Thye group had a bit of discussion about what we play in clubs and some pubs and how we go down. There's a feeling that a) we should do some lightweight pop songs and stuff that everyone else does for a quick easy win, and b) we shouldn't. The comment was made that doing songs that I like is a mistake, because they fail. They are top 20 songs, just like the rest of the set.

The upshot of this was that I then turned a New Year's Eve gig away at a Conservative Club that I have played at before because a) the distance and b) I don't feel confident to book us anywhere at present.

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September 15th:
I went to see Dave in hospital. Following his tracheostomy he's silent and I can't lip-read at all. I just ended up looking concerned in the right places.

Our drummer has pulled out of two gigs at the end of this month as he is being obliged to go to a wedding. I inwardly died at the thought of losing two new venues. He offered to find us a dep drummer to cover. I hate the band going out and limping. There's too much going wrong at the moment. I don't feel at all comfortable.

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September 16th:
Well, we have drum cover for the two gigs and they should go ok. No gig tonight, so in with Lynda, TV and the dogs.

Supergrass' self-titled abum arrived (the 2CD set) and Suede's new one, Autofiction, also arrived. The Supergrass set is excellent and the Suede one turned out not to be Night Thoughts Part Three, as I feared it would be. It's quite new and fresh.

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September 17th /18th:
Up very late on Saturday, I felt quite tired. Shopping at Farnworth Tesco during the day. Played in Ashton In Makerfield in the evening - a good enough gig. We played ok, but it was very dark onstage. We took four gigs there for next year, but race meeting dates mean two of them need to be rescheduled, as Haydock Park racecourse is quite nearby and the pub is full to bursting when the race meetings are on. No room for a band in the pub when the races are on.

Up at nearly 11am on the Sunday. Did some web work and had a quick bath. Got to the all-dayer gig we were playing at and set my gear up, loaded in and ready-to-play in about ten minutes. A good crowd and we played well and got the nod to slot one quick song in past our finish time. Twenty minutes after we walked off stage I was on my way home and the evening was devoted to a curry in Bolton with some friends. We used to do a lot of Sunday evenings at this restaurant, but the jam nights have interfered quite badly with that. We're looking at doing some midweek visits.

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September 19th:
Up reasonably early. Did quite a lot of work on formatting images for a new book project. It's going to be a three or four book project and every page is an image that needs cleaning up. The first book is going to be about 330 pages. And it's going to be a not-for-profit job.

We confirmed that the gig dates that needed changing to new ones are now all ok.

The Queen's funeral went on all day. It was a bank holiday. I took Tom for a bit of a walk around the edges of Farnworth in the afternoon and called at my mate John's house. His sister has got heart failure and a hole in the heart. He was saying she was told there was nothing could be done about it and I told him about the mesh implant that can be put in. He started blustering and saying he had actually talked to her about the two mesh implants it would need - one in each chamber - to seal the hole. I listened to this arrant bollocks for a moment and corrected him to tell him it was one hole, one mesh implant. He makes things up just to hear the sound of his own voice sometimes. I got him to change the channel from Babestation too. Between that and his little dog going berserk, I got a headache. I came home, we watched some TV. Lynda went to bed at about 11pm and I went upstairs doing some photoshop work and the last couple of days blog.

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September 26th (the catch-up):
I've managed to sit down to blog a little to cover the last week. It's been a bit hectic at times.

20th: I went to meet Mike in town at lunch. It's nice to have a relaxed hour with company. I got home and Smudge was out and about. She was setted on the summerhouse roof next door, over the fence. That was all very well, but she had a vets appointment at 4.15. She looked at me angrily and flicked her tail. She knew what was going on and wasn't going to come to me. I rang the vets and described the scene and they laughed. They have a sign up saying how many missed appointments there have been in the last month - polite finger-wagging. They do have a point, though...

21st: Lynda and I went to see Dave in the hospital. The parking was absolutely attrocious. But we managed it in the end and when we got to the ward - joy of joys - Lynda can fortunately lip read pretty much perfectly, whereas I can't. They had a good chat and I tried to look encouraging.

22nd: Lynda had her 4th Covid jab. I'm going for mine next weekend. We dropped some prescriptions in at the pharmacy, so sometime next week I will get texts telling they are ready.

23rd: Up early and off to Bolton town centre with Rachel and April. While Rachel went off to the opticians to be told her sight is improving, Lynda and I had a great time with April in the museum.

In the afternoon, I rang Urology reception and asked for a blood form to be made ready, so I could have my PSA result ready for the telephone call on October 3rd. They told me the appointment had been cancelled (seeing as I had been spoken to in August because the Macmillan team had seen my rising PSA and were concerned about it, unlike Urology and had put in an EXTRA appointment) and so I will be spoken to next in February next year. I saw red and politely argued the toss about the fact that my cancer is officially back, but they were not for budging. They don't see patients if they feel they don't have to. They are sending me a blood form anyway and I can go and get the blood test done, then get back in touch with them and they will print it off. No promise of actually speaking to me, though.

I wrote to Patients Advice Liason Service who basically sort messes like this out.

24th: Lynda went off to Horwich with her friend Kay to rescue a cat that is being fed by some locals. She pried her away from a sausage roll, got her in a cat carrier and it was off to the vets to see if she was chipped. Nope. Back to our house then. The cat is quite lovely and is sort of a golden tabby. She isn't fazed by the other pets we have here. She spends an amount of time in the little pen we got while Smudge was under house arrest. If we end up keeping her, I want to call her Mary, but Lynda is calling her Elsa (as April is a huge fan of Frozen and there must be an Elsa in Frozen), so my vote obviously doesn't count.

I went off in the evening to gig in St Helens. Before we went into the venue, I got a text telling me a woman I used to work with has had a heart attack and had died. That put me off a bit. As for the actual venue, we don't have a lot of space to set up there, so I didn't take my floor pedal board or fan. The obvious result of that was that my bass sounded a bit horrible to me and I was far too hot. We played reasonably well, but I don't think either myself or guitarist Ian were that happy with our respective sounds.

I had put together a provisional new first set for the club gig where we had a complaint about some songs being 'obscure' last time. Not the songs we would usually go out and do, but hey, we are a band. these are songs we do, so let's go out and do them and get paid. We discussed the list for the return gig and, apart from a couple on my list being swapped out, it looks like we will have a unique set for our next gig there.

25th: I woke up quite early (8.45) and went to the bathroom. I felt a bit rubbish (a persistent cold that isn't going away and a resultant itchy throat), so it was straight back to bed. I woke up again at nearly noon. Still not feeling too great. Coffee didn't really work to kickstart me. We went round to Rachel's for April's birthday party and spent a nice hour. I stood around feeling a bit rough for that hour and we came home via Asda, where we stocked up on cat food. I went back to bed, had another sleep, and got up again at 5pm. At 5.30, I set off for the jam night. I parked up at 5.45, realised I had left both of my basses at home and drove back. I was back at the venue for 6.15. That's what happens when you're too knackered to do things.

The jam night was good. It usually is. I was a bit tired throughout, though.
Here is some of the Boys In The Corner's spot.
I was playing bass most of the rest of the time, so this is all that I managed to film.

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26th: I hardly slept at all last night. Various noises and a bed full of pets kept me awake most of the night. Up at 8.20 and straight out to the local tyre place. I went to get a new tyre for the car first thing (nail in side wall = tyre kaput) and then I dropped the car off for its service. The brake pads have just started to REALLY sound like they need changing. And there is a problem with a sensor that needs resolving. Expense.

PALS at Royal Bolton Hospital rang me back about my email to them. They are forwarding it to someone in charge at Urology, who will hopefully get in touch.

I sorted out some issues with a photo order Lynda made, which took several emails and eventually a phone call, during which I got lectured. I was quite pooped at the end of it, having hardly slept last night.

Urology (having been contacted by PALS) rang me back and explained what they were doing to muck up my appointments and why. I then explained my take on things and they back-pedalled. They are setting MacMillan on me to explain things to do with my PA reading, I have a clinic on Oct 3rd, and I can get my blood test done then and I will get a follow-up call about it a few days afterwards. I have theactual date, but not in front of me.

I saw a text from Mike asking if I could meet him today instead of tomorrow - or on Thursday. I will be hospital visiting on Thursday. It was too late to get into town today, especially with the car being worked on. Friday looks taken up, too. So it will be next week. As I type, it's 13.30 and I'm not sure exactly what I have done today. I'm that tired. The Supergrass album Road To Rouen is keeping me awake, as I type.

The afternoon passed in a fog of doing bits and bats to a book (which I have been working on for a while and have now finally finished off) and designing a cover for it. I can just about do book covers in my sleep, which is a good job.

I picked up the car and handed over approaching £500 for the work that was done on it and a service. It's booked in for some more work on October 10th. There's a sensor that's botched (which makes a warning light stay on) so I have to get a part replaced. More expense, but I am sick of that light being on.

I had my evening meal with Lynda and then started to fall asleep on the sofa. At 7.30pm, I gave up on the idea of staying awake as a futile exercise and went to bed amd slept 'til about 11pm. It's now 2.15am Tuesday and I am typing this. Wide-awake and forced out of bed by various dogs taking all the bed up. Tom INSISTS on sleeping between Lynda and myself. I end up nearly falling out of bed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

September 27th:
Well, I went back to bed at about 3.30am and was awake again around 9am. I got up at 10am and did a few things. I am struggling with a heavy cold and have warned my friend's wife I may not be able to go on Thursday. Dave doesn't need this when he is so unwell anyway.

Some other book work. Some knob caps arrived from America for some of my bass amps. I fitted the missing one and fixed a loose input volume knob.

14.30 and I'm yawning again. I'm going to try to stay awake until 10pm at least this evening.

Here's a photo of Mary..

Mary

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

September 29th:
Lynda's birthday. Nobody was that well, except Lynda, who doesn't like fuss, so a trip out for a birthday meal was abandoned. I spent a lot of the day in bed and was unable to go to see Dave in hospital. You don't take heavy colds onto a Critical Care Ward.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

September 30th:
I spent most of the day in bed. I pulled myself together in the evening to play a gig at the Talbot in Atherton. I felt sick for an amount of it, but seeing as we were using a reserve drummer, Stu, who did a great job for us. I concentrated hard on the music and tried to look like nothing was wrong - as it only needs one of you to be falling over and the gloom spreads to the rest of the band, so we got through it reasonably well, with me still in one piece. I only had one pint while I was there and stuck to iced water the rest of the time. I sunk into bed when I got home and slept the sleep of the dead.

The Three with Stu Fielden guesting on drums

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 1st:
I again spent an amount of the day in bed. I was up early to go get my COVID jab. The queue was horrific when we drove up the first time, so we went to our local Tesco and did a bit there and called on the way back, when there was practically no queue at all. I was in and out in 5 minutes. No after effects except for the rather obvious sore arm. Back home and back to bed for a few hours.

The evening was taken up with a gig at The Comfortable Gill in Glazebury, with Graham's son Dan guesting on drums.  We did a rather good show there, for a quite mad and lovely audience and got two bookings there for next year.

 - - - - - - -

October 2nd:
I spent the day feeling tired and ill, still. The evening was the jam night. I remembered my basses this time. We seemed to have a loony convention in at the venue, who insisted on asking us for stupid requests and wanting to shake our hands and tell us how great we are every few minutes. It's interesting to watch chemically altered people from a reasonable distance, but when they are shouting at you to stop and talk to them while you are actually singing a song, it gets a bit wearing.

- - - - - - -

October 3rd:
I went for a clinic appointment at the Urology department which was quite constructive. I'd waited a few years for this, so it was good to be seen. I had my blood taken while I was there. I had previously complained to PALS about a telephone appointment today being cancelled and a Urology nurse rang me this afternoon to discuss the complaint.

The extra blood test that MacMillan put in as they were concerned about my PSA did not mean my regular 6-monthly check should therefore be cancelled by Urology. I eventually got this across to them. 

I got my PSA result - 0.26 - a rise of 0.06 in just two months. I just felt sick. I discussed the new reading and it was agreed that the nurse would check with my consultant to see if scans are required. I then felt even more sick. Every ache in my hips is now 'cancer in my bones'. Even if it isn't. I will INSIST on scans and will be on the edge of my nerves until I get results back.

I pulled myself together and messaged my children, being as positive as possible, but honest. I slept a lot during the day as I was just frazzled and exhausted.

- - - - - - -

October 4th:
Still nervous about my PSA result and so on... Mike couldn't meet for lunch today, so that will have to wait until next week now.

I listened to some of the Ultravox Rage In Eden 5CD and DVD Deluxe box set that landed yesterday that I was in no fit state to listen to. It's really good and the new mixes are rather special, but the multitrack tapes for a couple of key tracks are missing, so they didn't get remixed.

I tried to book Mary in at the vets to be chipped and checked over and see if she has been neutered or not. Our vet is not accepting any new patients, as they have no vets, so we will have to find another vet.

Ultravox

I managed to get the band booked for Christmas Eve. I started falling asleep on the sofa. I went to pick up a prescription in the late afternoon. Rang my mate Mark to talk about my worries. TV later on. Bed very late.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 5th:
I'm still on edge about this whole thing with the possible scans and my PSA going up. I went to college in the afternoon and really was not at all in the mood for it. We had to log into the sytem for the first time and I had to try it on three laptops before I got anywhere near to being admitted to the college system. I was fuming and ready to get in my car and come home. It took us more of the class than anything else and we only got partway through our work before it was time to shut up shop and leave the class. These two hour sessions aren't a lot of use.

I'm still not sure whether this course is for me, but will persevere. I don't think there's a remote chance that I will be tackling level 1 or level 2. But I will do my best on this 10 week course.

Home. Watched TV. Did some band admin work. Watched some more TV. Lynda came to bed early. I did some more band admin work.

Every time we get a gig:
* It has to go in my diary.
* I post details in the band's secret Facebook group.
* Then on the giglist in our secret Facebook group.
* It has to go in the list on the band website.
* I have to do a poster image and send it to the venue.
* I have to do a Facebook event.

If I take more than one gig at a venue, multiply that by up to 4.

Next year's list is building up on the website, but isn't readily visible to the public yet. God, I'm tired.

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October 6th:
I avoided getting up this morning. I didn't want to have to think. I just wanted to sleep.

The phone rang and it was the GP surgery for Lynda.

It rang again later on and it was Urology for me. I will get a call from my consultant next Thursday. In the meantime, they are going to look at whether I need scans (although I am going to insist on having them) and also my next steps regarding treatment. I asked what it would be and she said radiotherapy. I told her that I have had that already and can't have it again. She said it would be chemotherapy in that case, but my consultant would confirm it all with me.

I settled this down in my head a bit and prepared myself for communicating this to my children.

We went to see my friend Dave in hospital. He was back on a normal ward and they were taking good care of him. A physio kicked us out for 10 minutes while he did things to clear Dave's chest. Dave was in good spirits and amazingly his rather knackered left hand was working quite well - causing me to joke that he'd be trying to buy some of his guitars back from me at this rate! He got rather tired out and we left him to have a rest.

The evening was spent watching some TV.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 7th:
I woke up with the shimmers in front of my eyes and took a couple of Zapains and went back to sleep. It was around 3pm when I came to. I ended up having a bath and walking the dogs before going out for our evening gig in Todmorden.

We had a good crowd and got some dancing going on at various points. The bosses were happy with us, which was nice.

The Three

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October 8th:
Our Saturday gig at the Hatter in Warrington turned out to be probably the best crowd of the year so far. What a bonkers crowd! After spending most of the day feeling shit in bed, this was just what I needed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 9th:
Most of the day asleep in bed again. The jam night went OK. The landlady had a word with us afterwards, saying we didn't have a lot of players in. She's going around all of the other jam nights looking at what they are doing and she suggested that maybe busking stuff we don't know (how hard can it be?) to back kids on quite recent music.

Maybe we need to think about ways forward to get more players in. I'd be the first to admit - and maybe even moan - that it's a bit 'Groundhog Day' at times, but it has survived six years with the same people coming along week in, week out without fail. I do Facebook blitzes with imaginative and funny posters. She doesn't really advertise it, except on her own page, which you have to go look at to see anything. We need to think of ways forward.

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October 10th / 11th:
The car went in on Monday for some work that I have been putting off for some time. I got it back late on Tuesday. The band have been messaging back and forth about the jam night and various things. The interesting posters are going to be replaced by more generic ones with a clear message on them. I have been booking some more gigs for next year. I'm still in a bit of an anxiety state over my PSA level and the possibilities of things being badly wrong. I met Mike at lunch on Tuesday and I think it shook him a little when I told him.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 12th:
Roxy Music in Manchester. Say no more.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 13th:
Lynda and I went to see Dave in hospital.  He was doing ok (as I judged at the time, but what do I know?)

My Urology consultant delegated ringing me back to one of his underlings. He rang me (an hour late) to tell me that my cancer can hopefully be contained and some scans will dictate the way forward. I have been referred to The Christie hospital for the scan. Wait and see.

Got quietly very pissed this evening. Thank you, Brewdog.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 14th:
Woke up in the morning feeling absolutely rubbish. We got a call from Dave's wife. He had a very bad night. I am not going to go into more details, but I am a bit shaken.

No gig this evening, but we went to our drummer's son's 50th bash in Rochdale. I had kept the date clear so we could all go, but our guitarist didn't turn up. There was an opportunity to get up and play, but I was a long way down the pecking order, and didn't really feel much at all like playing anyway (I didn't even pick up a bass to take with me  - quite deliberately) and a friend was playing in the main pub downstairs. We went to watch a few songs downstairs then crept off home.

October 15th:
I got a phone call just as I was about to set off for our gig. A guy who insists on calling me up regularly and giving me every last detail about various problems with his band. Even though I told him I was just getting the car off the drive to go to a gig, he held me up for 20 minutes, talking about running auditions. I - at one point - may have been called on for bass duties, but I know all the songs they play backwards. I don't need to have someone agonising to me about it at such length. I did get off the phone and tell him NOT to call our guitarist, as he would be driving - but YES he still did it. Our guitarist doesn't answer calls that he doesn't want to.

So. We played a return show at the venue where the Concert Secretary was going to cancel us for playing 'obscure songs' (according to some misguided belligerent old crusty). We tore the place apart with a toned-down first spot, which I think we all enjoyed. I will try to sort some bookings with the Concert Sec in a few days - but I'm going to let the message reach him that we won big style.

October 16th:
I spent a lot of the day in bed. It was jam night in the evening and the guy who phoned me turned up and auditioned some players. They hadn't conferred that the guitarist was tuning a semi tone down. He was singing sharp. I went for a pint across the road. The guy left early in a very visible angry huff with those who had turned up and his second option bassist hopefully didn't appear.

Still no word from Dave's wife. I have asked her to keep me posted, but she hasn't.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 17th:
An update on Dave:
Dave had a bad night last Thursday and Sue rang me quite upset the next morning. Dave's tracheotomy (the hole in his throat) had sealed up in the night with various stuff, depriving him of oxygen, and he had lost consciousness. This will be down to his swallow reflex either not being back yet, or very weak. Fortunately, he was found and the crash team had to work on him. In the process, they broke 11 of his ribs. He's still very much with us, but in a fair amount of pain at present. The planned sealing of his tracheotomy obviously has not gone ahead. Hopefully, the ward staff will keep more of an eye on him now. I'm not sure why they had taken him off the Critical Care Ward when his breathing is an issue. I've been waiting for the update and go-ahead from Sue before posting this. We will be going to see him on Thursday. We will give him people's love.

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October 20th:
One of the main events of the last few days was taking Mary to the vets On Monday. The vet found a microchip this time, which the other vets a couple of weeks back didn't. They contacted the owners and on Wednesday we got a call to drop the cat off at the vet. We said to just give them our address and phone number, so they did. The owners didn't turn up to collect her. A good job we didn't take her back to the vets. On Thursday, the vets rang us again and asked her to drop her off with them. We said the owner could collect her from us. We did get a phone call and the owner came to us later on to reclaim his 12-year old cat. We will miss her, but you really can't hang onto someone else's pet. She had been missing for 3 weeks before she was rescued and we'd had her for about 3 weeks.

Lynda was too unwell to go to the hospital on Thursday. I offered to drive Dave's wife there and she was going to go with me, but she changed her mind.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

October 21st:
My birthday. I stayed in bed til 11am, although I was awake much earlier. We went out for lunch with my son, daughter and her partner and my grand-daughter. We came back to ours for a while afterwards and it was a really lovely afternoon. I had a long bath in the early evening and then we watched the film adaptation of Stephen King's 1922 novella. I couldn't remember the original story (though I've definitely read it) and I haven't seen the film. No gig tonight. I don't work on my birthday.

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October 22nd:
Shopping in the morning. Tesco in Walkden. We stocked up for the next week or so. Our gig in the evening was at Windle Social Club in St Helens. We played well, and some of it is on video on the band's page.

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October 23rd:
I stayed in bed late again. I'm always really tired in the mornings. I messed about, trying to sort out my video footage from last night for most of the day, to little avail. The sound was a bit distorted to be honest. The vocals were overloading the camera mic. The picture came out odd, too. I gave up trying to sort the issues out. I might have seen what can be done with the audio, but there is some slight distortion from the PA on the vocals.

The jam night was absolutely packed with players - some of whom we haven't seen for a good while. Even better than last week. I wasn't playing for a lot of the evening and I got really bored. Sitting around looking at my phone is ok for a while, but not that long. Away at 11.15.

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October 27th:
The last couple of days have been a blur of activity / inactivity. I met Mike and Steve on Tuesday. A long walk with Tom yesterday.

I have set another book to publish - both in paperback and hardback - a collection of Slade's Fan Club magazines from between 1979 and 1981. 20p from each low-priced book that is sold will go to kidneyresearch.org in memory of the late Slade fan and magazine editor Dave Kemp. I have restored all of the pages to best possible quality. I am working on the second volume now.

The Collected Slade Newsletters.... Vol 1

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October 30th:
We went to see Dave on Thursday. He's possibly getting a little bit of use back on his right side which is glorious news. It looks like visiting is down to family only, according to his wife, so it may be a while before we can see him again. His recovery is the most important thing.

Friday saw us at the Hulton Arms, Bolton. All dressed up for Halloween. I wore an impractical mask, so my vocals were a problem and the mask went partway through the first song! I put it back on whenever I didn't have to sing songs. I didn't think we played that well on the night - there was some very sloppy playing - but the crowd didn't spot the mistakes.

Saturday saw us at the Ship 'N' Anchor in Southport. We turned up early to be able to set up all the Halloween stuff. A DJ was on before us and we couldn't get in until 8pm, which set us back somewhat. We put together an extra long setlist of rock classics and it turned out to be one of our better gigs. I got home, via what seemed like every C road in the world, at approaching 2am and went straight to bed.

The Ship N Anchor Southport   Ship N Anchor Southport.  The Ship N Anchor Southport

Sunday morning saw me taking advantage of the clocks going back an hour. I spent the day doing book admin, carving up royalties which are due next week and working on a couple of new songs. The jam night was a success, with a few people going the extra mile, dress-wise, which we appreciated. A new acoustic player who was quite excellent, and a good time was had by all.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 4th:
I have spent most of the week feeling dreadful. I've got one of those colds which has badly affected my throat and makes me feel a bit sick. I missed college on Wednesday and also going to the hospital visiting Dave on Thursday. It's quite a good job it's just the jam night this weekend, (because I'd made myself not available Fri / Sat to keep the dogs calm during the fireworks). I doubt my voice would be up to a full weekend of gigging, plus I just feel like dropping. My alarm went off after 9am and I stopped it and slept on until about 1pm.

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November 5th:
An evening in with the dogs both going crazy until I caved and took them upstairs in a room with the curtains closed and music drowning out the fireworks hell. Lynda says the dogs are barking to protect me from the fireworks, so next year I am going to be gigging.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 6th:
My throat was still a mess and I was getting worried about going to the jam night. I did a Covid test in the faint hope that it would be positive and explain my illness. Our guitarist asked me about two venues that have messed us about with double-bookings - he actually asked if I have vetted or played these venues recently? He's been in the same band as me for the last six years. He knows where we have played.... I hope.

I wasn't well at the jam night and I wish I had just stayed home. The jam night was otherwise great. One bass player came along and showed me (again) what my bass amps could sound like, if I was allowed to get the sound that I want onstage. Depressing. I hope to make it through doing this until my State Pension kicks in at 66. Another two years, nearly..

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 8th:
I published this...

Vol 2

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November 11th:
I got up mid-morning and my drummer, Graham, rang me. He had his Covid jab earlier this week and it has knocked him for six, and put him in bed all week and he wasn't fit enough to play tonight. I could have done with being told earlier, but never mind. I have a head cold / sinusitis and my face hurts and my voice is not too good, so I am not too bothered about playing this weekend. I spent an amount of the day trying to sort out a group to cover the evening's gig. Fortunately, with some help, we managed to sort cover out.

Saturday night's gig looked doubtful. Graham didn't want to say we wouldn't play until the day itself, which made my life immensely difficult, but I forewarned the landlady that we may be unable to play and she's been quite ok about it. I had no idea if he will be fit on Sunday, but I worried that we may end up cancelling the jam night, for the first time ever, as I am not going to run around trying to find a dep drummer if nobody else is going to get involved.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 12th:
I was awakened from my slumber curled by a croaking Graham, saying he would be able to do the gig this evening. He's like me in that the show must go on, if it is possible. I let the venue know we would be coming and all was well. My sinusitis was still hurting when I tried singing and I have a constant dull headache, but I hoped that a good dose of pain relief would see to that in the evening. I went for a walk mid-afternoon to try to clear my head with some fresh air, but to no real avail.

The gig in the evening went fairly well, we mixed up the first set quite a bit and we played well enough. I was asked if the band had fallen out with each other, as someone had remarked that we weren't speaking to each other. Graham was still under the weather, as was I. We had a chat at half-time. I said I would send the landlady 5 dates for next year.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 13th:
Up a bit after 10am. Croaky after last night. I never seem to get on top of these colds and throats. Did an amount of book work during the day. being quite productive. The new book will be ready to go next week.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 14th:
Two new sofas.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 15th:
I went to the Churchill cancer unit this morning. My urologist has rang inbetween to cancel the CT PET scan I was due to have, as he thought it would make no difference to the treatment. I always thought knowing what you're dealing with was better, but hey ho...

Basically, my PSA is extremely low (0.26 at last check). While it is a sign of SOME cancer activity, they are not too worried.

I am being referred for a 'sensitive scan' (to replace the one that my urologist cancelled) - but there's an 8 week wait at present. That will show what's going on. I have a follow-up appointment in February. They wouldn't propose serious medical intervention until my PSA is higher.

I met Mike at lunch (well, 2.30pm) and I had calmed myself down a bit by then.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 16th:
I got to bed at about 3am. I was working on finishing off the third book in the Slade newsletters series. I set the paperback to publish then found that I hadn't prepared the cover for the paperback.

Vol 3

I did the cover after I got up again. I found out that there was a typo on the cover of book #2, so I have shamefacedly corrected that for the hardback and paperback versions. Neither Chris nor I spotted it. The hardback is STILL not showing as available in the UK... one of the things I was trying to sort out very late last night. It happened with the first book too. We went dropping some Christmas presents off and did a bit of shopping.

I booked a couple of dates for next year for the band.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

November 21st:
The hardback of Volume 2 became available on Amazon a couple of days ago. Volume 3 was available straight away, which saved me chasing them up on it, which seems to be the case with every hardback that I publish. I'm working on the final book, Vol 4. I've done the cover for it already and I am quite pleased with it. It harks back to the first edition of THE NOIZE.

I received a copy of Volume Two from Chris, which he had got signed by Jim Lea from Slade.

On Thursday, I went to see Dave in hospital. I was a little apprehensive, because he is currently silent and my lip-reading is utterly rubbish. We got by quite well, fortunately.

Friday night saw us play in a pub somewhere on the outskirts of Rochdale. It's quite often a dead gig and it is not really one we massively look forward to. However, we had a good enough crowd that evening.

Saturday saw us play at The Monument in Southport. It's a drag of a drive to get there. There are always a few problems with space and the bottom end reverberating like mad there. I managed to get round them by trimming the bottom end off the drum mics a bit. There was a lot of scrabbling to turn amps up and down during the first half of the gig. Ian's effects pedals kept coming undone for some reason, so his guitar cut out a couple of times. We got over it, though. Some friends kindly came to watch us play, which was lovely and we had a nice photographer catch us in the act. We also had a birthday party and a girls night-out which were very helpful. A good time was had by all.

Monument, Southport

Sunday was the jam night. It was a good night. I get annoyed a little, sometimes, because of the faffing about that goes on. One person just spent ages noodling, staring at us and not even starting a song (like we have loads of time for that when there are people queueing to get up) and so I took the opportunity to hand over my bass to someone who's played with him before and go out to the chippy. Shortly afterwards, a girl singer kept whispering into the mic, while getting a vocal level and she ordered me to keep turning it up. When she started singing properly, her voice was then far too loud, but of course. I didn't fix that. Just trust the guy on the desk; he knows what he's doing. I left my multi-bass stand behind at the jam night, as our occasional helper brings anything he thinks of, out of order and said the room was clear. Fortunately the bar staff found it. So I have to use a regular stand until next Sunday. Not impressed.

Once again, I am a bit coldy with a bugger of a rough throat this morning. I'm doing this blog and a bit of book work and am going to assess the weather later on to see if Tom will get a decent walk. Oscar doesn't like long walks. Fresh air is good for you. Laziness is not. The weather did not comply. More book work.

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November 24th:
Volume 3 of my reissue of the Slade Fan Club Newsletters in book form arrived today. The hardback looks beautiful. Book 4 is not far from finished. I have done a couple of long days restoring the pages.

No doubt some mental midget will email me once again, complaining at great length about it. I got emails from him wailing away about the first book, also accusing me of stealing the magazines from a website. No. I have had the scanner out and I am doing it the harder and better way. Having looked at the website in question with the Fan Club stuff on. It is just about a decent enough resolution to read online, but not good enough to work on and to copy into a book. He emailed about the second book, saying he wouldn't buy it and he was sending a donation of the exact cost of the book to a charity just to spite me. We have done the books for a charitable cause, so it's good that he is flipping his wig, spouting some rather hideous bile, and donating the full cost of the book at the same time.

He was also angrily threatening to expose me as being the author of another series of ten Slade books written (according to him) under a pen name - which is by no means illegal. He has sent me quite a lot of verbal abuse and has done the same to that author's Facebook page. His logic that I am this other author hinges on my use of Microsoft Word's multiple page display in screen grabs. I've seen other people do it and I have copied that technique. And Young Sherlock thinks the use of a font that is readily available as a download is a big clue. I blocked him on social media a few years ago, but have not blocked him by email. People send me screen grabs of whatever crap he is posting on Facebook.

If I WERE this other author, then I perhaps would be awarded medals for putting so many good books out. It appears that people are just telling him to shut up. Saves me a job.

Rachel and April came round and a delightful afternoon was had by all. I stayed up until silly o'clock publishing the final book in the Collected Slade Newsletters series. All done. Thank God.

The Collected Slade Newsletters.... Vol 4

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November 25th / 26th / 27th:
We have agreed to cover for a friend's band at a gig on Saturday, so bang goes my night off.

I went into Bolton with Rachel and April and she loves the museum and aquarium. We called in at the best record shop in the area and they hadn't done the Black Friday Record Store Day thing at all. I got home and we were very very upset by more trouble, coming from elsewhere in the family. We were recovering from the last mess with them and it's all kicked off again.

Friday evening saw the group in Hazel Grove, setting some gear up at half-time during the England vs USA World Cup match. We started pretty soon after and played until almost midnight. Talking to them about next year on Monday evening.

I have never done as many requested revisions on a book as those that Amazon have demanded from me with the fourth Newsletter book. Margins askew, illegible text (because of the original magazine's poor print quality, and not my fault). I had to actually retype and replicate a few pages to get it to take. It took about 9 revisions to get it to publish. I was totally fed up at this point.

Saturday evening saw the band play at a new venue to us in Lowton, covering for some friends who were unable to appear due to illness in their band. A good enough gig on the whole, only marred by a rather bass-resonant stage and someone idiotically heckling me while I was thanking the audience for being a good one. Totally uncalled for. Fun moment of the night: The lady who was going to try to walk through the band while we were playing, to get to the ladies loo. Actually, she was heading for the kitchen. The ladies loo was at the other end of the pub.

I was slightly late getting to the jam night on Sunday, as the mood at home was still really low. We just about managed to get set up in time. I set up the PA, my bass rig and ran just about all of the stage cabling and fed the main mic cables to the drums. And pop! it was time to start playing. I hate being in a rush. I got my stand back. Some great players. A really good night. Home. Bed.

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November 28th / 29th:
The Monday was a write-off. Still problems with the fallout from our erstwhile relatives. I managed to order the Ultravox Rage In Eden 2CD RSD set with a disc of unique instrumental mixes (that are not available elsewhere) from Rough Trade at a normal price (£13.99), instead of the £40 plus that scalpers were trying to get on Ebay. I forgot to ring the pub in Hazel Grove on Monday evening, as family matters came first, and so I did it on Tuesday morning. They have put me off 'til next week. I was going to meet Mike on Tuesday lunchtime, but he was on leave, so that scuppered any plans. We look like we are doing it tomorrow instead.

I redesigned the front pages of this site and www.the3.co.uk

I bought a vocal harmoniser pedal on Ebay the other day and that has just turned up. I have unpacked the box, but I haven't plugged it in yet. I have to work out some space on my stage board for it, then I will see what it can do for me.

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November 30th / December 1st:
I met Mike at lunchtime.

Thursday was a trip to Salford Royal to see Dave in hospital. He's on a ward with three other guys and says he is 'lucky' compared to them. Opposite him is a 27 year old who can just move his eyes. It's shocking. Caught up some TV in the evening. I still haven't messsed with the new gadget. Probably tomorrow.

December already. Where has this year gone?

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December 4th:
The last few days have been particularly difficult. My wife's been going downhill a bit over this family issue and I have only managed to get her to eat a little something today after 10 days her being too upset to be able to look at food. I plugged in the vocal harmoniser pedal and it doesn't do what I want it to, so it's back on Ebay. No gig on Friday. The band played in Walkden last night and we went down really well.

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December 9th:
I managed to get Lynda eating a little. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent helping with moving my daughter into her new house in Horwich. I had to drive a huge transit van and drove it like a granny as it was a hire van and I am not used to transit vans. All went very well, but at the end of two days slog it didn't look to me like we had moved much stuff out of the old place.

On Thursday I went to see Dave in hospital with his wife, who asked me if I could take her, and I ended up sitting on my own in a (just closed) cafeteria for 45 minutes while he went for physio, as only she could go to observe. 45 minutes of my life that I won't get back. Oh well.

I'm met Mike at lunch today. I gave another friend some Amazon publishing advice, as he is looking to get a book out through them. The evening was spent catching up on some TV and dealing with a venue that have double-booked us on a date later this month. I have the full message audit trail of when we actually took the gig and when I supplied the poster images in October, etc. Bed quite early.

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December 10th - 12th:
Snow. I sold the vocal harmoniser pedal on Ebay, the buyer paid and so I went to get it in the post straight away via DPD. My sat nav on my phone took me down some unnecessary treacherous icy streets, but I finally got it posted. I helped Rachel with moving some more stuff and a tip run. Her house completed for the new buyer at 1pm on Sunday. No gigs, but we did do the jam night. Attendance was slightly sparse, player-wise, but we still had a really good night. I took my Vox AC15 for my side of the stage, when I played guitar.

I unpacked my car on the Monday morning, as I was a bit late back from the jam night, having started late, due to the venue having a function on and us only getting in at 6.30pm.

I saw that The Loom in Burnley, who badly screwed up their diary, have removed my replies to their posts regarding Dec 23rd when they have double booked us. They still haven't got back to me about the date, or to confirm the two dates that we took for from them for next year, back in October and I don't really expect them to get back to me now. I don't choose to deal with ignorant and incompetent venues, so I have simply scrubbed all 3 of the dates that I took from our diary. If they ring me up on the nights asking where we are, I will just say that 'we have gone over to Google calendars and must have lost their booking'. That's what they said to us. Pricks.

We are replacing the gig on the 23rd with an additional jam night at our regular venue.

The last jam of the year.

My stepdaughter is due to be induced for the birth of her second child about now. As she hasn't been talking to us for several months, we have heard nothing. I hope all goes well with the baby and that at some point in the not too distant, she decides to speak to us again. That remains to be seen.

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December 15th:
Well, here we are on another Thursday. 'Baby X' was probably induced on Monday and we've had no word at all. Sadly, he or she will now never meet his / her great-grandmother, who passed away on Monday, aged 91. The funeral is being held next Wednesday and we very much doubt that my step-daughter will attend, so soon after a birth - not that she cares about any of her family anyway. We have done a joint will, specifically excluding that branch of the family tree. Sad.

Mary / Maggie is back with us. She avoids her owner's house and was sleeping outside in the current awful sub zero temperatures. She ran away on the couple of occasions that he tried to get hold of her. Lynda and Kay went to rescue her and some tuna had her lured into a cat basket in 30 seconds. She's sleeping and eating for England.

I did some digging yesterday and found a beer festival programme from 25th April 1992, with my old duo Go Crazy (before it was a full working band) paying at Silverwell Street Drill Hall (now gone) in Bolton. 30 whole years ago. Crikey. Rough estimate: 2014 gigs done so far. A number of my early gig dates are missing from the total, due to the absence of a number of stupidly-destroyed ancient diaries.

1992 Bolton Beer festival

I went to see Dave in hospital. His wife dropped out of the visit as she was feeling unwell. Once again, Dave was taken off for physio while I was there, but this time, I was allowed to go with him. He went on a cycling machine and it showed that his ailing right leg was doing some of the work. If that's correct (and I suppose the machine should know) it's a bit of a result. Dave was quite happy to have more goes on it.

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December 16th - 17th:
A bit of shopping during the day on Friday and in the evening a local gig. We went down like heroes, with the crowd dancing right up to us. I had visions of people falling over my monitor and whacking into my mic stand. The landlord has booked up to next April. I messaged him again when I got home with our free Fridays. We'll see what happens.

Saturday night's gig in Darwen was a good one and we're looking forward to going back there next year.
Sunday's jam night was very enjoyable too. The next one - on Friday - will be #50 of this year.

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December 20th:
Bang on cue, I am getting a bad cold and a manky throat. Doing my best to not lose my voice.

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December 22nd:
A family funeral yesterday. We found out that we have become erstwhile grandparents again, to a little girl. Wishing her a long and happy life.

After a couple of days of worrying non-stop about my ever-decreasing voice, I reluctantly bit the bullet and cancelled our Christmas Eve gig. I guess the guys won't be too happy about it, but they'd have been more unhappy if we had gone, been crap and not got paid at all.  The venue were quite ok about it, especially as I helped them get another band to cover. We can still do the jam night tomorrow night and other people can sing.

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December 25th:
The cancellation of our Xmas eve gig didn't go down well in some parts. I was told by my guitarist that it wasn't worth us booking Christmas gigs. Fortunately the venue were ok with it, as I helped them to get another band. My throat is still a mess today and my chest infection feels bad. My daughter, granddaughter and my daughter's boyfriend came to ours for a while, which was lovely. I kept a discreet distance so as not to pass it on. Hoping and praying that all is ok with my voice for next weekend.

If you're reading this, Merry Christmas. If you're not, the same anyway. Nearly another crappy year over and done with.

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December 28th:
My throat is a little bit better than it was (still coughing a lot and my chest is gurgling when I breathe) and I think I will be able to get through the two gigs this weekend. I will have to make a decision on whether to go to see Dave in hospital tomorrow. If I am coughing my guts up, it seems like quite a bad idea.

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December 30th:
I didn't end up going to the hospital. My throat is getting there, but not good yet. There has been a lot of sitting around watching TV these last few days and I have let computer book work slide for now while I get better. Just as well, as I had a migraine, brought on my some strongly-flavoured crisps.

Had a brief phone chat with Graham, our drummer, about chat groups. My phone signal was rubbish.

Our evening gig at Georgia Browns in Hindley was great. What a transformation the venue has gone through. My voice worked, very much to my relief, though I was worried that it might give out at some point. It didn't.

The Three

The Three

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December 31st:
I spent the day feeling sick and in a state of mild panic about the evening's gig in Whalley. Our first time there and doing New Year's Eve.... What would the setup be like? What songs to play? How would my voice do? Did we have to bring the new year in? My throat was again not behaving properly and I was still coughing a lot. I set off with a bit of heavy heart and almost dreading the prospect of the evening's gig. New Year's Eve isn't just any old gig. it's quite a responsibility.

We played three sets and the crowd were fantastic. The venue have one of those awful Parking Eye systems on their car park and so I had to move my car just after 10pm, to avoid a fine. I managed to park pretty close by. My voice held out, fortunately. I dressed up a little for the final set. The lurex jacket still fits, thankfully!! We finished playing at 11.45pm for the hotel guests, and also so the crowd could go outside and see the new year in and so we were packing up before midnight. A job well done and the venue were delighted.

Beware Of Old Men In Shiny Jackets.

And that's a wrap on 2022....
Happy New Year to anybody reading this.

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© Ian Edmundson, 2022