Sunday, December 31, 2006

"Another year over, and what have you done?"

The final lap of this year's journey through the pub rock underworld arrives with a gig in our home town on New Year's Eve Eve, and an opportunity to celebrate with friends, each other and people we don't know. The John Bull has us dripping with sweat after three songs and wondering where to go after five since a young lady has taken it upon herself to read the setlist at The Singer's feet and announce each song as it comes up. For some reason I take umbrage at this and we decide to skip one just to throw her off the scent. There wll be quite a lot of skipping going on during the course of the evening, both by us, who are having the time of our lives, and by a large and enthusiastic circle of Billy Bunters, who are determinedly also doing so. Everything is good natured, however, and after a few shouts and a good few Guinesses, The Singer and I decide that maybe a run through a Take That song really is just what the situation demands? Fortunately the rest of the band are also game and, as ever, a cobbled together non-song gets the biggest cheer of the night. Still, it's not often that 'Back For Good' gets an outing, and doubtless theirs will be added to the list of CDs that an attentive fan has been collecting based entirely on our set list, which is a tribute of sorts and helps us feel that perhaps we really are putting something back, although how REO Speedwagon sits next to Graham Coxon in her collection is perhaps a matter for the more Gambaccini-minded amongst us. The party atmosphere takes over and we delve into singalong mode, to the point where we eschew traditional entertainment mores, take the Robbie route and simply let the crowd sing for us - they particularly enjoy an ad hoc 'All You Need Is Love' medleyed into 'Cum on Feel The Noize' which was certainly not on the set list I had. The New Drummer is bayed at to play his triangle, which he solos on admirably at one point before our chum Andy Trill takes the stage and simply rips through 'My Sharona' while I look on simultaneously awed and nervous - I have to go on again after him, after all and it's all I can do to handicap him with a long guitar strap, an unfamiliar amp and a guitar he doesn't like just to keep him in some sort of check. At last we close with an Undertones song and are let go. We don't really want to, but we've never been keen to outstay our welcome at the best of times. And this is the best of times. Five blokes, making a loud noise with bits of wood and wire and of skins and hearts. That's all we are, but at times like this it feels good. It feels better than good, it feels like home. We pack up the gear, we wish each other a happy new year. And we go home.

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