Thursday, 26 April 2012

A day in the life of a sound engineer...Those poor bastards!


'You've only got 4 mics, oh dear, we really wanted the whole kit mic'd up. We're a metal band. We like our sound fucking huge!'

'Can you turn the keyboards up, no down a bit, up a bit more, and a little bit...a little less.... It’s just not quite there yet...'

'We need 4 DI's, 6 vocals, oh shit sorry, and we've forgotten to bring the kit!'

'We haven't got any back line, any chance of using yours?'

'Oh sorry, thought that kick drum mic was ours, we'll bring it back next week.'

'We've got a mate who's a sound engineer who's happy to do the sound for us and use your desk. Even though he's never seen a desk like yours, he'll pick it up in no time. Press a few buttons, yank a few leads out...piss easy!' 

'Who are they? What, those 4 blokes behind the desk? Oh them,! ...Yeah they're all helping with the sound. They're monitoring a channel each!'

'If we can't put our drinks on the lighting desk or the mixing desk, where can we put them?'

'We thought the gaffer tape on the walls looked rather nice, actually.'

'God, can you turn the lights off please? Anyone would think we'd want to be seen on stage...'

'Oh that under age lot over there, they're alright to be in here for sound check ain’t they? They'll be gone by the time the gig starts...'

'Yeah a mate of mine will be at the door. Don't worry, they'll totally keep to the 200 capacity rule...'Er, it's actually 100 people'....'oh right, 100, yeah, yeah. No worries mate, it's all cool! Chill!'

'Can you get the vocal up any louder? What, you want us to turn our back line down?'

'Don't you worry; we'll definitely be off by 1:00AM!' (Live music is meant to stop around 11.)

'Oh, those cans over there? The ones my band mates and me have been drinking? Despite the fact you sell booze....'

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

But who actually do the Beatles belong to?

Music, for some people, is perceived as a possession. Some people become very protective over their music. But the question is, what is it that makes it their music?

You may be thinking 'Well surely the fact that a person has written a tune makes it their music?' And in this case, you'd be right. But I'm not referring to individuals that have written their own music. I'm referring to individuals that claim famous bands or songs belong to them. 

Here's an example

DJ Yola Treadlightly: "Aaoohh, wot-a-bitch! That DJ, Ali Footlington's only gone and played me song, the caaa!"

Di Goosebody: "Oh my gawd. What a tart! What tune was that, Yola?"

Yola: "Braaan Sugar by The Rolling Stones. Everyone in this taaan knows it's my tune and that I play it every Saturday night, and that rotten swine's just gone and nicked it! Can't play it naaah"

"Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it."

A quote from a one of the songwriters from MY band.......Joke! Christ, if the Beatles belonged to only a handful of people, we'd all be fucked off. I know a load of Beatles fans, especially from working at The Railway, and I love it. We're constantly swapping facts, lyrics, and YouTube clips on Facebook.  No one thinking, 'Yeah but I’m a bigger fan than you are because I've actually got Lennon's nipple hanging up in my toilet, which makes me the bigger fan and therefore they belong to me. What have you got? A badge? You can't possibly call yourself a Beatles fan.'

It's bollocks. The Beatles or any other band or song for that matter, don't belong to a specific group of people. They belong to everyone.

I must admit I have been guilty of such a thing from when I was about 18. My sister and I had just started getting into music and decided one day that we'd each have a band that would define us. Having heard a few tunes from The Who, my sister liked them and decided she'd be the twin that has The Who.  I remember thinking, oh fuck, I love the songs from The Who, but now I can't get into them heavily as she's nabbed them, so I'd better have the next best thing. And because I liked their tunes, went with The Ramones. 

Looking back, that was ridiculously childish of us both.  I stopped myself from buying records and clothes which focused on The Who thinking they were her territory and instead focused only on The Ramones, thinking they were my territory, and as result missed out on loads of other music that I could have got into, including The Who. 

Imagine a world where you couldn't cover songs because you hadn't actually written them yourself? Some of the best tunes that I've heard, I've later learnt were actually covers, and bloody good covers at that.

Here are a few examples:

*Jack White- Jolene originally performed by Dolly Parton.... 'And people say she’s just a big pair of tits'
* Moody Blues - Go now originally performed by Bessie Banks
*The Searchers- Love potion number 9, originally performed by The Clovers
*Beatles: You Really Got A Hold On Me. Originally performed by The Miracles.
*UB40- Red Red Wine- originally performed by Neil Diamond.
*Cream- Crossroads. Originally performed by Robert Johnson.
*The Clash- I fought the law- Originally performed by Bobby Fuller Four
* Jimi Hendrix- All along the watchtower- Originally performed by Bob Dylan

There's nothing wrong with calling yourself a massive fan of a specific band or song. But that doesn't mean you are the only fan of this band/song. The whole world should be able to cover, play, sing, squawk, beat-box, hum and burp along to any song that they wish to without feeling the need to justify their reasons or level of dedication.

That is all. 

Monday, 23 April 2012

8 legs a week!

As I lay here, in total relaxation in my bed, I'm looking around the room. Looking at the many objects dotted (or rather hurled) about. The hats randomly nailed to the wall, the records wonkily leaning up against the window facing passing traffic, the many socks and shoes scattered over the floor making this grownup room look more like a teenager's squat! Then suddenly out the corner of me eye I see it come down. Further towards me. Its tiny body bobbing in the air, hanging on by just a thin thread. It moves a few inches closer to me, and then stops dead. Whilst dangling on the thread, it slowly turns around. I'm getting bleeding scared by now, even though it's a tiny little thing, it's still a spider and has more legs than me!
Then it crawls back up again, nearer the ceiling, waits a few seconds and once again crawls fitfully back down. I wonder if this is the normal procedure for making a web. Does a spider go up and down, and up and down?.. 
It decides to return down once more, crawling  faster than the last time. It looks like it's flying in the air, as I can't make out this barely noticeable clear thread. 
It must have let go of its web this time, as the spider, which is now on the dresser, has started crawling around. 

Getting rid of all that hard work already? I thought. 

The only thing worrying me now is that the gangly little twirp is only half a meter away from me. Even though I'm incredibly tired, I can't seem to rest.
What if it crawls onto my pillow, I'm thinking? They do say people eat on average around 8 spiders a year in their sleep. Crawl into your gob apparently whilst you're snoring away.
 Might be bollocks, but I'm not lying here to wait and find out...

So I got out of bed and reunited myself with the couch.

And that's the end of that little story.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Thinking about the good, the bad and the ugly!

You don’t know what you’ve got, until it's gone. Well if I thought about it...

What I would miss the most from working in this boozer 

Wearing the various unusual hats that we have lying around. There's always one to pick up and throw on. The Bowler, The Top Hat, The Policeman's's like working in a curiosity shop here sometimes !

Leffe! I fucking love that stuff! S'pose you can buy it elsewhere, but I wouldn't be able to pour it myself eslewhere and that's half the fun!

Pressing loads of the buttons on the jukebox a million miles an hour. Love that feeling! 

Random conversations with people that I wouldn't normally have the opportunity to talk to. I've learnt many an interesting thing from the odd customer. I once had a really long chat with a punter about Geology; learnt loads that night, I did! More than I did at school! I've forgotten it all now, but that's not the point..

Playing music till a stupid hour in the morning to an audience who clap and are genuinely pleased to hear us play. (Apart from the lady down Princes street, of course!)

Cutting candles. There's something incredibly therapeutic about splicing a bit of a wax off a candle. You should try it.

Banging the last bell! You'd be surprised what power you feel when hitting that iron thing! Making a racket out of one gong, it's immense... 

Eating anything and everything in our kitchen. Poor Del, he only has to make a salad dressing, and I'm at it like a tiger. 'What's that Del, can I try it?'...'Fi, it's only vegetable stock'...I'm there with a tablespoon and a drooling gob!

Cooking...Can't believe I wrote that. But I've recently started really enjoying it. Probably because most of the meals I cook are for me and I love eating, so that's that!

The Beatles Convention. One of my all time favourite events of the year! Along with Dandy Bloom and our film festival all nighter- which by the way this year is May 6th.

Fraping staff when they forgetfully leave their mobiles lying around...They never learn! 

What I wouldn't miss at all from working in this boozer!

Putting glasses through the glass washer. Ground Hog Day? Hell yeah!

Locking up. Finding the padlock along with the bolt is like finding a needle in a haystack. 

Getting change for the weekend. Dunno about you, but I find that a couple of the women at Southend’s HSBC are so fucking miserable. They act as if we demand their pension money when all we want is a bit of change for the weekend which we're happy to swap them notes for. Moody cows!

Changing barrels of beer. Specifically ales. So many outfits of mine have been drenched with beer after tapping a fucking barrel of ale. I hate the stuff. Tapping and venting and all that bollocks. 

Getting ice for the ice bucket. The thought of having to trudge all the way downstairs, through the kitchen, into the hallway, down the rickety steps, through the puddle of water leading to the ice machine, which, if it's having a good day, will be full of ice. Your hands freezing as you scoop up the ice into your bucket. You walk back upstairs, freezing your tits off, only to plonk 1 cube of ice into a glass because the customer you've got likes '1 cube only please!’ That was well worth the trip!

Cleaning the ladies loos on a Saturday night. No details needed!

I would add more to this list, but it's getting pretty light outside, and if I continue adding to this blog, then I'll miss out on my all time favourite task, which is getting change from those delightful ladies down the road tomorrow.  So I'll bid you farewell...until next time. x