A Rock n Roll Diary

The critically acclaimed warts and all account of British band, A Shortage of Heads’ American tour in 1974. For 5 months lead guitarist and singer Curtis Trimble kept a diary in which he recorded all the highs and lows of being in a Rock and Roll band on the road.

This is the story of The Heads on tour!

 Thursday December 12th  1974

Oh Christ, I hate this godamned tour. Note to self: be more assertive next time (if there is a next time) over transport, tour dates and venues and, like, maybe insist on a fuckin’ tour bus with a heater that WORKS. I mean we don’t see the Rolling Stones or Led Zep scraping the ice off their windows after a gig, do we?

And what about the bloody itinerary? What a bunch of shit holes!  how were they chosen? Darts and a map I reckon.  Probably at the hand of our manager, Tony de’Ath, who is primarily a business man and  therefore knows fuck all about music. He is also our Tour Manager. At the moment we are randomly hop-scotching  our way across the States in a shagged out tour bus and  getting mightily pissed off about it. The result: gigs too far away from each other to travel comfortably in one day.

Note to self:  Ask Tony if he is drawing two salaries, since the departure of our original tour manager, with the first month’s tour takings.

Our US fanbase is centred around the industrial heartlands of Minneapolis, Indiana and Detroit for Chrissakes , We don’t wanna play to half-full  arenas  in Vermillion South Dakota,  Enid Oklahoma or butt-fuck  Idaho.

And You know what? I fuckin’ swear I’m gonna kill Alan. Note to self: If he makes another crack at telling me that he wants more of his songs on the next album. I’ll say: fine . WRITE SOME FUCKING DECENT SONGS THEN!

And Cally! Merciful Jesus, everything they say about drummers is true Man. Have I known a few slobs in my time. Cally beats them all hands down. Do you know one of  the things he does? When he is desperate for a fag in the morning, he goes round all the ash trays on the bus, retreiving the tobacco left in all the dog ends. He then splits the foil from its backing paper, and makes a roll up! Gross!

As for Scrubber, his party trick is really beyond the pale. He ‘caps’ farts. In  otherwords … no, I can’t. Suffice to say that the recipient gets an unpleasant surprise and a gift that keeps on  giving.

But there is good news! I am still off the drugs this time. I’m much more Tooting Bec than tooting Coke these days  (Note to self:  There’s a song in there somewhere) Yes, since my septum fell out in the shower and went down the plughole back in Albuquerque, I’ve been a bit more circumspect in my dealings with the old chemicals. Out goes Coke, Crack, Amphetamines, Whacky Baccy. I’m working on the booze and the Mandies. I only really use them to get me to sleep. God knows you need something  on this loony ride.

Oh pissflaps! That’s all we need. It’s starting to snow. What are the chances of making it though to the end of the tour and having Christmas back in the UK with Kate and the cats? 

It’s not looking good.

Four 5 minute story writing excercises

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The Mafia At Home In Brooklyn

‘Ey Tony, Ey Tony? When do we gotta taker down these xmas decorations I can never remember is it the fifth or the sixth? We don’t want bad luck.’

Bad luck! bad luck? What is it wichou, stoopid?  Every year you axe the same dumb question. Why I oughta slap you good and proper you bozo. Was it is not for that lovely picture of our sweet Mama lookin down on us I swear I’d crack your Godamned skull …

Ey !Careful with those baubles, dey were your Uncle Frankies.’

Man afflicted with Quiz Answer Syndrome at his fathers death bed

‘Amen corner’ were his last words to me. I have no idea what he was talking about . There’s an Amen Corner in London and another one in Newcastle. He could have been talking about Amen Corner,  the band ‘ ‘Bend me Shape me’ which featured, who? Steve Winwood dunno. Don’t give upon me now, don’t you die and give up on us  – David Soul, partnered by Starsky and theme music by Tom Scott . Ooooooo Funky! Huggy Bear, Padding ton bear, Mornington Crescent…..

Fading movie starlet Dolores Valium

As soon as the director yelled ‘Cut!’ she screamed:

 ‘Youre nothing but a jumped up hack! You wouldn’t know what a movie was if it dropped out of your ass. Harvey Hampersand , you are a fake and a  fink to boot.’ She took a sideways look at the cameraman who had begun to snigger.

And what the hell is wrong with you glass eye? And with that, she walked straight off the Columbia soundstage, through the parking lot and out of sight.

‘’ Don’t worry said Harvey, she’ll be back tomorrow’

‘ I wouldn’t be too sure about that’ muttered glass eye

Toast

So I walked through for the last time….I ain’t gonna lie. I was sad. I picked up the toaster with which she had toasted her breakfast bread for almost half a century. It only worked on one side, and unless you got the controls exactly, exactly right it would leave bread carbonised on one side and untoasted on the other.

‘Why the hell didn’t we buy her a new one? Nah I know what would’ve happened. It would still be sittin’, in its box. ‘For special occasions’. Darn it what kind of special occasions would you want a toaster for anyways?’

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‘Came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan’

Remember these lines?

Ziggy Stardust. If you are having trouble. I have an image in my head circa 1971-2 of myself  listening to the album. Everyone else had gone to bed. Except my dad.

‘Do you understand the words he  asked? ‘Of course I do said’, mildly affronted that my relationship with Bowie’s music and lyrics be called into question.

OK I lied.

But I made damned sure I found out pretty quickly

So ‘Well hung‘, slang for a gentleman of generous proportions in the trouser department, while ‘came on (stage) so loaded ( under the influence of drugs or alcohol) Snow white tan, a reference to Iggy Pop, a performer not averse to bringing his ‘Ol Feller’ out on occasion. And it’s quite  a slonker too – I’ ve seen it, along with half the known universe.

Now, I curated an exhibition recently at a nearby gallery. Well, I say ‘curated’ I just arranged some pictures and hung them up on the walls. Thankfully we had all the gear necessary to complete the task. Which makes a change. Step ladder, Staple gun, Staple remover, Frame hanging wire.. and my trusty metre stick and spirit level.

During her speech of welcome,The director of the gallery, as well as telling the audience something about the fascinating history of the venue, also  happened to point out to the assembled that yours truly was responsible for the layout. Of which I was quite proud, I have to say.

Bottles of wine were duly opened and everyone began to circulate, as they do; when  I was accosted (very gently ) but accosted nevertheless by a woman I guess in her late 60s, about five foot tall, dressed in dark trousers and a grey sweater. she looked me square in the face and said

‘Well Hung’

Now, I must admit she took me by surprise somewhat, she hovered a little longer as I wrestled with the problem: question or statement of fact?

I smiled inanely but by the time I had thought of a witty repost, she was long gone into the crowd.

My witty repost? The best I could do under the circumstances

‘It’s not a lot but it will fill a pram’

donk

Brexit under the spotlight

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Confused?

Well you have landed at the right site to answer all those tricky Brexit queries. Such as.

  • What is Breggsit? (pronounced BREXIT by other EU countries)

Answer:

No, no… don’t tell me. Errr ok ok I remember. It’s something to do with Europe. Being able to make a lame joke about Basques in an exit, eggs in a basket? No I give up, let’s move on.

 

  • What is a Remoaner?

 

Answer: Hmmmmmm. Tricky one this. Let’s come back to it, if time allows.

  • What is a Brexitteer?

 

Answer: It’s harder than it looks, this.

 

  • What is the Backstop? And why the implementaton of same could lead to tensions in Northern Ireland regardless of the efficacy or otherwise of the Transition period and the impact on trade tariffs wth a non-frictionless border?

 

Answer:  Fucked if I know

 

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Jude takes a trip

 

It was a hot afternoon, last day of June and the sun was a daemon

(Bobby Goldsboro 1975 in case you are struggling) Dreadful song.

It was a hot afternoon, last day of June 1976. I remember it well. The long hot summer. The local reservoir was so low that it began to reveal the mill, houses and cobblestones of the village that was flooded to create it. On that last day of the month a rain cloud allowed a bit of respite, in the form of a heavy shower.

Jude (Judith)  and I went to different schools. She was in the year above me. The gang she hung around with were so much more sophisticated than my mates. We were just silły little teenage boys really; hung up on the Goons, Monty Python, chart music and swailing.

Youth, so wasted on the Young.

What was she like? Well, she had a big personality, big sunny smile and a big boyfriend. Double denim (jeans and denim jacket) just faded perfectly, in all the right places, white t shirt or cheese cloth, leather sandals. Tanned feet and toes. Bracelets and patchouli oi. Long blonde hair and dark sapphire eyes. She was, as my mate Stash recalls a

‘Bonny looking Lass’

We met through a mutual love of art. The local college in a visionary move opened its doors to children of local schools and ran Saturday morning art classes. We used to meet up at the break and discuss music, then we would hang around the town’s alternative Record shop, deliciously dark and subversive place which went by the wonderful name of Black Sedan. And maybe buy a single. Or something from the cheapies box.

Anyway
One Saturday, she announced to my surprise that afternoon, she was going to drop a tab of acid and would I like to come along and see what happens? And ‘no’ her boyfriend wasn’t going to be there unfortunately.

Shame.

Still, she was going to meet up with some friends, have a drink first for ‘Dutch courage ‘ and then go to the primary school down the road where she knew a place you could get through the fence and into the playground. I think she thought, with its painted concrete pipes, swings and roundabouts  it would be a good place to trip.

By the time I got there, (l didn’t partake, incidentally) It was me, my mate Stash and Jude. nothing seemed to be happening much. That was, until the spiders arrived. Big ones too. Judging by Judes increasingly hysterical descriptions of them. About four foot long and crawling  down the rainbow painted playground concrete pipe! To where Stash me and Jude were sitting keeping dry out of the rain. She was having a very bad trip, with vivid and disturbing hallucinations.

We just stayed with her into the evening, talking to her and trying to keep her calm until she came down.

I mention this because just recently (as a long term user of Leva Dopa the main anti Parkinsons drug, whose side effects include hallucinations ) I’ve been getting them too and and it is very wierd. I als often get the the feeling that somebody is always behind my shoulder. Also, any small bits of detritus, crumbs etc will often appear to my cauliflower brain as scuttling little insects.

You just have to rationalise it and tell yourself that they are not really there. It is a bloody good job I’m not scared of spiders I have to say. Mind you if they were four foot long coming down a concrete pipe, I might be forced to reassess my viewpoint.

© Andy Daly 2018

 

THE PACHYDERM IN THE VESTIBULE

The Pachyderm in the vestibule

Regular readers (Both of you) will attest to my healthy disdain for superstition and pseudo-scientific knowledge in place of hard fact. Not only that, but my steadfast and unbreakable determination to grab the bull by its whatsits, avoid all sorts of squeamishness and lily-livered cowardice when it comes to writing about feelings and suchlike.

As my old great grandmother used to say

There’s no fool like an old bird in the hand when it comes to beating it about the bush.

Now, I feel I should offer some sort of explanation for the almost year long hiatus. It all started with a bump. A bump on the head. A quite sizeable bump it has to be said. I was falling a lot at the time; legs just washing out in front if me and down I’d go. I usually though some sort of instictive reaction for self preservation, managed to avoid head injury, praise the Lord.

Yep. Nothing more serious than a trip to local A and E .The top and bottom of it was I was booked into Queen Square for a second insertion in July 2017. It was always on the cards that I would have a fresh insertion at some point, when I felt that I was getting no more from the original DBS (Deep Brain Stimualion) set up as it was. And so it was.This time, they used the Boston Scientific hardware a new generation of kit, which allows the ends of each electrode to be moved to focus the therapy and means it is much more accurate.

The surgery itself was…. ‘uneventful’ I think is the correct term.

And then spent the next month in hospital. And do you know what? It seems to onl y to have worked beyond my wildest dreams!

and now, bizarrely,I find myself increasingly reluctant to talk about it for fear of’Jinxing it’. (I know ). So, i will just collect my stuff, my lucky rabbits foot. My four leaf clover and stick my head down for a little while.

The lore and language of schoolchildren

We used to sing some funny little rhymes when we were at school didn’t we?

Remember this one?

‘Yellow belly custard, green snot pie

all mixed up in a dead dogs eye

spread it on a butty, nice and thick…’

I’d like to see what fucking Jamie Oliver would make with those five ingredients.

Trainspotting

I love trains don’t you?

Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson designed the first train, the iconic Flying Scotsman they have got faster and faster. The train speed record was set by the Mallard with its modern looking sleek lines on its qway to the city of Truro. Some enthusiasts wear anoraks, hang around stations and copy down the train numbers. They are called trainspotters. But be warned, many trainspotters are actually out of their heads on heroin, crack cocaine, crystal meth. Or all three.

Not ‘arf

The Car Is The Star

I love cars, don’t you?

The first car was invented by Bob Marley and the Wailers, hence the BMW roundel and logo that all modern cars have today.

Originally, cars had two wheels and were called motorcycles

Cars have a dashboard and a steering wheel, where you will find all the instruments, such as the horn.
One of the most iconic cars ever was chitty chitty bang bang who starred in “The Italian Job” along with Herbie the love bug, otherwise known as a De Lorean
To drive a car, you need a road, which is bit like a railway made out of Tarmac. Some  cars have a dipstick, which can be found behind the wheel. Not ‘arf.

SWEARING

God I love swearing, don’t you?

There’s nothing like getting your tongue round some pithy gutteral ancient Anglo Saxon to relieve stress and tension.

But did you know that swearing was introduced to these shores by the Normans, who invaded in 1492 in attempt to steal back their Danegeld?

Or that a ‘minced oath’ is where you use a flippn’ alternative to the flppin’ curse you were going to flippin’ use and to not mince your words, therefore means you are forthright in expressing your views.

Note: only one of the above is true.