Sunday, August 13, 2006

"...and now, please welcome on stage - Nun's Gussets....!!"

It is the third and final day of our three day tourette, and we are in the garden of The Steamboat Tavern in sunny downtown Ippo readying ourselves for an acoustic session in the sunshine. Thing is, after the privations of the previous couple of days The Other Guitarist and I have sneaked a couple of amps and electric guitars on stage, "just in case". The Singer whacks his acoustic through his pedal board, previously employed as the world's most digitally complicated guitar tuner, fiddles with some buttons and pronounces himself satisfied with the resulting fuzztoned buzz. The Bass Player regards his now-redundant elaborate two speaker cross-wired acoustic guitar foldback system sadly. It's nice in the barn-like shelter and we are happily playing, free from the restrictions of decibel meters and themed gigs, able to take ourselves wherever our whimsy guides us. Naturally, this means that we play a couple of Eagles songs and revisit the Noel Coward-does-The-Clash experience of last night, chatting to the happy crowd and inadvertently being rude about a couple of other local bands. "If there's anyone else you'd like us to have a go at", I quip, "Write their names down on a piece of paper and we'll do it in the second set". The so-called acoustic gig is becoming louder by the minute, much to the chagrin of The Drummer, who has stuck to the party line and just set up the minimalist kit he was playing last night, having treated himself to a couple of extra cymbals which give it a nice sense of symmetry if nothing else. But like The Ghurka kukri, once it is unsheathed it must be used, only with less deadly effect (usually). It's much harder to play a small combo than a big one and still make it sound good, especially when The Singer announces a number which traditionally starts with a big roll round the (missing) tom toms. He improvises masterfully before discarding the soft sticks and bringing out the 6A hickory big guns. Still, there's food, a bar tab, and a number of our collective offspring milling about, doing colouring on the patio and each other with thoughtfully provided chalks and complaining about having to sit through Dad's old rubbish again when they could be watching Star Wars. Kids today. They don't know they're born, eh? A number of small children seize the opportunity of the break to familiarise themselves with the percussive possibilities afforded by the stripped-down set up as he looks on happily, safe in the knowledge that he is creating an army of junior batteritistes which will one day surely take over the world, led by their spiritual leader, a sort of pied drummer of Hamelin. There is a faint sound of nervous squeaking as the dockside rats convene to discuss the inevitable forthcoming putsch.
An all-girl cabaret trio set up, plug in their iPod and perform a number of swinging close-harmony songs with stage props and hat changes a-plenty. Someone has clearly been listening to our stage banter however, and hands me a piece of paper. I unfold it to read three words, the name of the group, The Nun's Gussets. Some of the children look a mite confused at their introduction and there is a degree of dread amongst the grown ups about having to go through the trio's moniker before Gusset number two helpfully points out that it is, in fact, a cocktail of sorts. Mainly involving Guinness, I believe. I was quite taken by the blonde one in the jaunty stetson actually, but there is a strong suspicion within the group that I'm not her type. My wife seems sure, anyway.
High on chilli, caramelised sausages, chicken wings and sunshine, we retake the stage, blast out a few more less-than-acoustic numbers and bid our adieus. It's been a funny old weekend, but I love a happy ending.

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