I am very late with this month’s blog, but I guess I can be forgiven because of the time of year. Christmas is notoriously a busy time for musicians and this December has been no exception.

The month started with a trip down to Somerset for a wedding on 03 December. This was a quiet affair, but enjoyable all the same. For those, who follow me on Twitter, you will understand my excitement to find out this very night, Zildjian were to have the picture of the day competition. What was I to do? With an empty hall and a few hours to kill, I was sure we could come up with a winning picture of my cymbals. After some crazy ideas and plenty of help from my guitarist Paul Gallacher, we finally settled for the picture below. Of course we won the competition, so thanks to Zildjian for creating an opportunity for a fun evening.

Talking of pictures, on the way back we stopped off at the marvellous sight of Stonehenge. I have never been to Stonehenge before and I wasn’t going to miss a photo opportunity like that. What a fantastic sight, I really must return one day for a closer look.

Not only was it a great gig, but for those of you who have read my previous blogs you would have noted that I was expecting our album “Liquor fuelled Rock & Roll” to be released on the 01 December. It seemed that I had got the date wrong and the album was successfully released on 03 December. This is something I have wanted for a very long time, so what a great start to the month!
Two days later I was lucky enough to be invited to play for a great bunch of Motorcycle enthusiasts from Daventry in Northamptonshire. This was a good gig for me as it’s only an hour away from home. This aside, it turned out to be a long evening due to an incredibly early sound check, but worth it, because we don’t often get the chance to play with the full PA. The band sounded brilliant, but the only downside was slightly drunken audience trying to get up on the stage. Annoying, to say the least, but all sorted with a little gentle persuasion.

My next outing as a drummer was on the following Tuesday. At work we often discuss how the music world has changed, especially locally. Rather than doing nothing about it, my work colleagues decided that an acoustic jam would encourage local musicians to meet each other and hopefully create some great music. For sure it did and we all had a great night. Playing Nothing Else Matters with brushes was the highlight of my evening!

Back to the run up to Christmas and I was off to central London on 10 December. It is always exciting to head to London, as you never exactly know what will happen. It was to be a Christmas party for a company called Proximity. They deal in advertising and certainly do very well. We arrived very early only to find the smallest stage ever. Quick thinking and I turned up into a standing drummer for the night. The staff were very helpful and everybody was in a great mood. We were given food, drink and even a changing room. The whole event had a space theme, which included every single member of the audience partaking in fancy dress. I have mention this so many times, but if somebody dresses up, they instantly start enjoying themselves which makes it a great night for us. Thanks Proximity, a fantastic evening.

No sooner had we finished with Proximity, it was time to head back to London again. This time we were to perform in Victoria Park. It was a marquee especially set up for functions such as weddings and parties, not the usual famous outdoor gigs that it is well known for. Once again we arrived very early to the most fantastic venue I have been in for some time. Two halls set out ready for guests the size of a football field.
As we were getting excited about the night a tip off from the wedding planners dimmed the mood a little bit. There was a big age difference between bride and groom and neither of the parties were very happy about it.

What can I say, later on we received zero to none feedback and a very cold reception. My expectations were high at the beginning and I was devastated this was not the gig I thought it might have been… The venue, caterers and the wedding planners were lovely people and it made us all realise that sometimes we are just there to do a job without all the niceties and polite manners.

The two nights in London was a brilliant experience as it always is. Having a laugh about it made the journey home a lot more bearable.
It was then back to teaching for the next week before a Saturday show in Lewknor. As with most bands, it is always great to help friends. My bass player Hugh has the loveliest of partners and she was given the job of arranging the Christmas party for her work. Warranty Management Services deal with insurance covering your new car after purchase. It had been arranged that we join the guests for their meal and also enjoy a room for the night. Of course we agreed, so Barbora and myself spent a lovely night celebrating Christmas with them. The gig was brilliant and everybody was in the Christmas mood dancing the night away. To make things feel even more Christmassy, the snow was falling outside. Life doesn’t get any better, thank you Jeanette.

This was to be our last show before Christmas and boy, we needed the time off! My Christmas was a little different this year. I spent Christmas day and Boxing Day helping out at a Hospital in Derby. I think this needs a blog on it’s own, so I shall be filling you in on the details later.

Before you know it, we are celebrating the New Year and another show to do. Although I am sometimes ready to rest, as soon as another gig comes I get completely excited about playing again.
Stowe on The Wold is a truly beautiful market town in Gloucestershire. We pulled up outside The Old Stocks Hotel on the square to find the most reassuring welcome we had so far this Christmas. With the greeting “how would you like your steak?” I had a feeling that the night was likely to go well. The reason for me mentioning this is purely to make the point- it’s nice when we get looked after. As with the Victoria Park gig, sometime you don’t even have the face-to-face contact with the client. It makes you feel good if you do and then, of course we play with much more enthusiasm.

Because of all the larger gigs we have done recently, it was very comforting to be playing in a small area. We started the gig with our usual set to find the audience dancing almost immediately. I say this in a very surprised manner, let’s face it, they had just had food.

As the old year ticked away the night got more enjoyable. I couldn’t help but think I would like to come back. Not just as a musician, but also as a guest. It was fantastic! Later that evening as 2010 came upon us; we joined the local people in setting off the Chinese lanterns across the Cotswolds. Remember I told you first, head out to Stowe on the Wold and visit The Old Stocks Hotel, you will be glad you did!

New Years day was spent with my good friend Hugh again and later we made our way home. December was brilliant and Christmas was better. There wasn’t much time for relaxing though as it was no sooner time to head for Leighton Buzzard for another gig with Wild. A great way to start 2010…

Happy New Year!