Theme Time Radio Hour

I've had a stinking code (cold) since Xmas day so haven't been out much. But I have been thoroughly enjoying Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, currently being repeated on BBC Radio 2. Checking out the playlists, I'm pleasantly surprised to see he plays a Bonzo track on 'Halloween'. I hope he does a 'Trains' programme sometime soon!

Yvonne's tour diary

All the back-stage gossip and photos of the Bonzo's tour I didn't see - from Yvonne Innes on the Neil Innes Music website.


Filming Axed Arts Centre

Irony Of Film About Axed Arts Centre (from The Argus): "A documentary on the last months of an arts centre is being funded by the organisations whose cuts contributed to its closure. Award-winning film-maker Michele D'Acosta will shoot a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the final season at Gardner Arts Centre in Brighton. The film is being funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and the Arts Council South East." As Nick pointed out, Londoners wouldn't think twice about travelling 10 minutes to see a gig or concert! Shame on Brighton!


The Lovely Brothers

lovely, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

My camera went bananas at the Pog gig at the Cowley Club last night and produced some weird ghostly images of The Lovely Brothers (I'd set the flash to 'slow'!). I'd already missed openers We am Janet but caught a fine set by Asbo Derek (check out their anthem 'The night James were excellent' on MySpace), an energetic Wob, and then after another personnel shuffle (Paul's sister Kerry seems to be in most bands tonight!) it was Pog, playing for the second time that day (most of the bands had played earlier at the Albert to celebrate Paul Stapleton's birthday). Then, fresh from an engagement in Shoreham, The [incognito] Lovely Brothers exploded onto the stage area to finish another fantastic free event at the famous anarchist club in superb style, lubricated on my part by Dark Star's excellent Solstice and Pale ales (cheers Rich!). I'd missed the Sussex County Arts Club xmas party to be here, but no regrets (there'll be a rant about parties and group meals another time, suffice to say that IMO while parties drain the energy out of you, live music continues to be exhilarating and life enhancing - support it whenever you can!). So tired this morning I missed my regular Clarion ride...


Is The Gardner Arts Centre too far from the City?

Is The Gardner Arts Centre Really Too Far From The City (from The Argus): my letter about the closure of the Gardner Arts Centre at Sussex University, Falmer. Can someone explain how the excellent Gardner Arts Centre in Falmer is considered too far away from the city centre for Brighton and Hove City Council to continue funding it ("Arts centre faces closure", The Argus, December 8), but that the proposed football stadium, across the road in Falmer, is close enough to be treated as a city resource? Do sports fans exist in a different space/time continuum to arts enthusiasts? Alan (Fred) Pipes, Gerard Street, Brighton


The Gift

The Gift, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

What do you call a tribute band with one of the original members? The Gift is Rick Buckler, drummer with The Jam, along with Rickenbacker wielding Paul Weller substitute Russell Hastings and Bruce Foxton sub Dave Moore. They were playing at Concorde 2 in Brighton, not my favourite venue as it's a bit of a cycle, but redeeming itself by having a single Harvey's pump on the bar among the ubiquitous lagers. Support when I arrived were local mod rockers Young Soul Rebels who sounded just right for this audience of hardened Jam fans. Then a gap and on came The Jam, err The Gift. To a chant of 'we are the mods' from an audience possibly too young to have been first-generation (or even second-generation) modernists, they launched into 'This is the Modern World' and from then in it was Jam song after Jam song, much to the delight of the ecstatic audience who sang along to every one. Half way through, unannounced, on walked the real Bruce Foxton, and the crowd went mental. Dave handed over the bass and took up rhythm guitar and we had the great Kinks cover '(I wish I could be like) David Watts' played by two-thirds of the original Jam. Finale, several hits later, was the rousing 'Eton Rifles' and the three-song encore finished with the crowd pleaser 'Down in the tube station at midnight'. That's entertainment! A fantastic gig, with all the energy, drive and freshness of those Jam gigs way back when, twenty-odd years ago. On the way home, along Madeira Drive, police were out keeping an eye on boy racers with pimped-up cars, and inspecting (and towing away) stretch limos! Brighton on a Saturday night is a very strange town.

Minor rant: the ticket price was a good value 12 quid, but I paid 13.50 at the Dome Box Office. Why the extra 1.50? Booking fee, that's what (I should have bought it at Resident Records, who only charge a quid). If I'd bought it on t'internet I'd have paid booking fee, credit card surcharge, postage, etc etc. Never mind outrageous bank charges, this needs to be looked at! Rip off, I say!


A Jolly Xmas

A Jolly Xmas, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Have a great Winterval!



Bonzo photoset

Some superb photos of the Shepherd's Bush Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band gig I didn't go to!

The King Blues

king_blues_4, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

It's not often you find a new favourite band. The last time was when I ventured bored from the Wooden Bridge in Guildford in the late 1970s up to the Royal and was captivated by my first hearing of The Vapors. The same thing happened at Paul Stapleton's garden party where I first saw and heard The King Blues. They'd sold out of CDs then so I bought one off the website and it's been buzzing round my head ever since ('Taking over, taking over' etc). So tonight's gig at the Albert was no disappointment. The gig started with We am Janet, an Anal Beard spin-off, followed by the consistently entertaining Pog, whose line-up seems to change with every gig. This time, Paul's sister had a new string bass. They did all our favourites and allowed us to join in alternate tracks. Someone at the Catalyst Club once said that the best thing about going to church was that you could sing as loud as you like and nobody would mind. It's the same at a Pog gig. We la la laed and went vegan (you cow sucking pervert) at the top of our voices! It was a relief too to hear his song about football. So, it is allowed to oppose the stadium at Falmer, after all? Phew! What if it were a Bingo Hall, said Paul? Eh? What would Attilla think?

The King Blues were another gear up. Any band as political, and with whistling and ukulele action too, is fine by me. What's with the name though? They don't do blues as we know it - it's more like do-wop ska punk folk reggae rap really. I asked Itch and he said it was a reference to those big Rizlas. The climax was that great community sing-along 'Taking over' with Itch dividing the room into competing halves. The encore had a fine voiced Fruitbag taking over the mike to sing an empassioned 'Bella Ciao' which everyone loved to bits. They are somehow involved with the ongoing Smash EDO protest in Brighton too. So If they are appearing near you, get along there - you are in for a treat.


I noticed when unlocking my bike that someone had vandalised the Banksy kissing policemen outside the Prince Albert, but strangely left George Best alone! This area of wall is usually meticulously conserved, so will it be restored, I wonder?


Roger McGough and Andy Roberts

Roger McGough and Andy Roberts, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Despite being cream crackered from a 21-mile bike ride round Chichester harbour with the Clarion (no, I didn't cycle all the way there, we got the train!), I managed to hobble (cycle) down to the Komedia's new back entrance to see Roger McGough and Andy Roberts. Liverpool poet Roger McGough was consistently laugh-out-loud entertaining, flitting from chair to chair, so as not to confuse the audience, with readings from his poems old and new, and extracts from his autobiography Said and Done. Brighton resident Andy Roberts took time off from the Bonzos tour, to accompany Roger and perform some of his own songs. The second of two sets started with Andy in a Chinese robe accompanying Roger's hilarious extracts from the diary of the friend of Confucious who invented hiakus (didn't catch his name, but he had a young wife!). I also bumped into my old chum and neighbour Curtis Tappenden and his daughter Tilly who were sketching throughout!

Attending a gig like this can work out expensive, what with the entrance fee of £12.50, a couple of bottles of Newcastle Brown at £3.50 each (Komedia kindly supply some decent bottled beers to augment the young-persons' continental lager on tap), a paperback copy of Roger's book for 9 quid (1p above the rrp - Amazon price £7.19 for those thinking ahead) and a copy of the GRIMMS CD Sleepers (for the bonus tracks) for another £12 (Andy was the R and Roger one of the Ms in this short-lived band). But it was signed by Andy (but not by Roger); I'd earlier got my 1967 Penguin Modern Poets 10: The Mersey Sound (already signed by Brian Patten, but unfortunately not by Adrian Henri RIP, which originally cost 3/6d) and After the Merrymaking (1971, 60p) signed by Roger.


Are iPods telepathic?

To see if my iTunes was telepathic, this afternoon I set it on shuffle. Out of 10,828 tunes to choose randomly from, it chose the following artistes:

Elvis Costello
Bob Dylan
Elvis Presley
Neil Innes
Tragic Roundabout
The Only Ones (so far, so good)
Steve Earle and the Del McCour (!!)
The Kinks
Dylan (again!)
The Flaming Lips
Viv Stanshall
Free Up Session - Sharleen Boodram (!!)
Others - Stan Bowles
The Rutles
The Exciters
John Lennon
John Prine with Iris DeMent (nice)
Carly Simon
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Viv Stanshall (Radio Flashes - longest track so far)
The Mull Historical Society
The Pipettes
Boy Blue (Boogie Children)
Bonzos (again - fantastic)
John Shuttleworth (at last!)
The Beatles
Barry White (!!)
Neil Innes (again)
Duncan Lamont
Car 54 where are you
Charlie Rich
The Beatles (again)
British Sea Power
Elvis Costello (again)
Sly and the Family Stone
Gilad Atzmon
Little Lights
Bonzos (yet again)
Lemon Jelly
Andy Williams
Ben Bernie (Violin) & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra
Platform Six
The Departure
Kaiser Chiefs
The Miracles
Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
The Church
The Who
Michael Nyman
Michael Nyman again (the first time two in a row by same artiste happened)
Jimmy Vaughn
The Kinks (again)
The Animals
The Byrds

Conclusion: pleasantly surprising, made good choices, tho no Steely Dan (but there again there are none in my collection) or Bruce Springsteen (only 4), but where were The Smiths/Morrissey and David Devant?

It's a Bonzo life

It's a Bonzo life: On the road with Phill Jupitus: an online diary of the reformed Bonzos tour by one of its guest artistes. I decided not to attend the Shepherd's Bush gig as I thought it couldn't live up to last january's Astoria gig. Will I regret it?


Bury's Lowry to be auctioned

Bury council is determined to sell off their Lowry to cover a budget deficit. Here is an online petition for you to sign if you are as appalled as I am: Flickr: Bury Lowry

Up North again

Up North again, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

If it's Thursday, it must be Tahiti. Well, it would have been if the John Otway world tour had gone ahead. So, I'm back in chilly Brighton after my world tour of the North West, home of interesting pies and superior (and cheap) beer. The first gig, at Liverpool's Cavern did go ahead, tho I had to leave while Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze) was doing a mini-set, as I was being put up by friends in Crosby, in the house once lived in by Captain Smith, commander of the Titanic.

'Trudging slowly over wet sand' I sang as I approached the sand dunes and beach at Waterloo, between two lakes of wild birds, to cop the Antony Gormley installation 'Another place' last Friday. Not exactly Angel of the North, but impressive none the less, tho the locals have started dressing the more accessible ones. Then it was onto the train for the Liverpool experience, first a trip on the Ferry across the Mersey (excellent value at less than a fiver for an hour's cruise) in the freezing rain, then for a swift pint of Bowland's Vertigo in the White Star on the edge of the 'Cavern Quarter' (I'd had a pint of Bombardier the previous night in the splendid Volunteer Canteen in Waterloo, a great old geezer's pub), before embarking on the Magical Mystery Tour (again a great value two-hour Beatles-related coach trip around south Liverpool). A swift drink in the FACT cafe, where an Oxjam and some Biennial events were going on, then down to the hotter than hell Cavern 2 for Otway.

Saturday, I was going to explore the Wirral where Grandad was born, but the left luggage at Lime Street was £5.50 and my feet were killing me so I headed to Bolton, via Manchester (the train was a bit crowded - never travel on a match day!). Sunday, I discovered it was a steam event at the East Lancs Railway, with seven locos advertised, including Princess Elizabeth. She wasn't, as it turned out, but 71000 Duke of Gloucester was. Wow, I didn't see much of her (him?) but what a beauty, with the most sublime sound at rest, like someone blowing across the top of a stoneware sarsaparilla jug. I'm not really into tanks, but 80135 (made in Brighton) was also quite good looking in BR green and quite a monster with its backwards pacific wheel arrangement. Also in steam were the lovely jub 5690 Leander, mickey 45157 The Glasgow Highlander, jinty 47324 and class 4 oldie 44422. And the weather was perfect! Had a pint of Gunpowder mild at The Good Samaritan in Ramsbottom, and a tub of hot black peas from the kiosk by the station. Monday, I had a wander round Bury charity shops and Tuesday headed off to New Mills, where I had a quick tour round the spectacular Torrs Millennium Walkway over the energetic River Goyt. Home yesterday was by a long circuitous route (via Barnham) because of a fatality at Haywards Heath.


Veggie black pudding

By heck! R. S. Ireland are making a veggie black pudding. I used to love black puddings when I ate meat - a boiled one in newspaper on Bury market with the skin pulled back and a dollup of yellow English mustard in the slit! I shall have to look out for them when I go Up North next week. (Technically, I suppose it is possible to make black puddings without killing an animal if one's vegginess is on moral grounds?) What next? I vote for veggie faggots (if they can do veggie haggis, they can surely do faggots, savoury duck and saveloys?) and veggie 'steak' and 'kidney' puddings (like the gorgeous wild mushroom suet pud I had in Terre a Terre a while back).

Wet weekend in Brighton

Wet weekend in Brighton, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I've been a bit lax on the old blogging front lately. 'Winter draws on' as the vicar once said. I got soaked yesterday cycling down to the Fishing Museum to see an exhibition by the Sussex Art Collective, featuring Lesley White's landscapes, Katherine Morton/Smith and the ubiquitous Nick Orsborn, who told me all about how the famous Festival posters started (his was the first in 1987). Got some nice haddock for my tea from the smoked fish man while I was down in the Old Fishing Quarter and had a quick cycle up and down the front.

A funny thing happened on the way home from the Catalyst Club on Thursday (excellent value as usual, with a free Viv Stanshall Sir Henry CD thrown in – of course I had them all already, but I'm always up for a freeby!). I was cycling up my road about midnight when I passed a chavvy-looking young lady on her doorstep shouting down her mobile telephone. 'Mister, mister!' she paused to shout after me. 'Can you open the door for me,? I can't turn the key cos I've just had me nails done', she pleaded displaying a full set of talons. I did the deed and she was very grateful, but didn't seem to understand me when I said it was a neighbourly thing to do!

The Indy was a jolly good read yesterday, lots of interesting articles (Spamalot, Ian Rankin) and of course the latest instalment of Chris Ware's Building Stories. Genius!

Finally, I had two days without internet last week thanks to nt-hell cutting me off inexplicably. It took over a dozen phone calls and three hours of my time, backwards and forwards between customer 'care' and tech support to get me back online, albeit with a new user name and password! Grrr. What a fragile world we live in dot dot dot



EnvironMental, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

While shopping at Sussex Stationers on London Road yesterday, I heard a European woman's voice shouting down at me saying I wouldn't be disappointed if I came up. Naturally I fled - to the safety of a nearby Co-op. Today I ventured back today to what I now know is part of the Brighton Photo Fringe. Fringe to what you may ask? Why the Brighton Photo Biennial, taking place all over town. Back to our local show: it's an exhibition called EnvironMental, curated by Denise Felkin (website www.denisefelkin.com/36a now appears to be working) in one of those amazing Georgian houses hidden behind shop facades, comprising photos and videos mainly by local women plus sculptures by the Mutoid Waste Co, an outfit I remember organising warehouse parties back in the 1980s. Well worth a visit, and you get a good view of Brighton's other famous Banksy! Popped down to the Art School to catch some official photo art, but they're shut on Sundays!


Sounds in Space

Sounds in Space, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

After a pleasant afternoon sitting outside Capers on Gardner Street with a cappuccino and toasted teacake, popped along to the Jubilee Library to culture up with Sounds in Space, a performance by 20 musicians from CoMA Sussex plus New Music Brighton, part of Brighton Live. My old mate Gus Garside was on bass. It started with Library Hollers, for voice and books, but then went on to more musical pieces, albiet mostly improvised, with instruments dotted around the libary, up on the balcony and generally wandering about, for a truly quadrophenic experience – ending with everyone except the tuba and accordian players trooping outside to finish in the drizzle.


Jailbait, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I can't believe I only got to my first Brighton Live event last night after a whole week of free gigs! It was to see the Gretsch twangin' snare snappin' bass slappin' raw rockabilly rock'n'roll of Jailbait, fronted by Mark Stoller (of Dorset fame), at Audio (formerly The Escape Club, and before that The Royal Escape). And what a great set it was too. I'd earlier joined Critical Mass for a bike ride from the Level down to the Corn Exchange where I had to queue to get into the second-night PV (for the plebs) at the Brighton Art Fair. Have you ever had the nightmare that you drop a full glass of red wine at a PV? Well, that finally came true (sorry Kate!), tho no artwork was damaged in the attack! Bumped into lots of old friends and checked out lots of fine art, tho it was a bit of a rush to get round before chucking out time at 7.30pm. Today Gus Garside is among the 20 or so musicians performing at the Jubilee Library, the finale to Brighton Live. If I'd found one of their wonderful orange brochures sooner (only saw my first one last night at Audio) I wouldn't have missed Jacob's Stories, The Poppycocks, etc etc. Ah well.


Otway World Tour cancelled

Well, the John Otway World Tour 2006, late October, early November, has now been cancelled for the second time! Otway was still £100,000 down and Air Tahiti from whom he was hiring the plane were mucking him about. Will I ever get around the world? The Cavern gig in Liverpool on 27 October is still on, so see you there!


The Pipettes

The Pipettes, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

With a name like The Pipettes how could I not like them! At the Corn Exchange last night they were more than ably supported by The Hot Puppies, a band with a sexy gorgeous singer and some theramin action. The sound at that barn of a place was however appalling. So was the beer! I'd met Carol Seatory at the Waggon and Horses for a pint of Harvey's before the gig, while we watched the youngsters queue to get in. Doors opened theoretically at 7pm, but we had to stand around (no chairs!) until 8.30 when the support came on. The room was thinly populated at first by girls in polka-dot dresses and lots of young lads with multi-purpose phones, some tiny kids with their mothers, a few dykes dressed as boys (in school uniforms) and the odd old snogging swinging couple (not you Jo and Laurence!). The Pipettes came on at 9.30 sharp with a Ronettes type drum beat and went through their album 'We are The Pipettes'. I'm not that familiar with their repertoire, but I believe they are all originals, albiet with remnants of 'Teenage kicks' and 'Oh Mickey (you're so fine)' rattling in my head during 'Pull shapes'. The Shangri-Las they are not, but with their sychronised dance routines and catchy tunes like 'Judy', 'Your kisses are wasted on me' and 'I Like a Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)' how can they fail? Love to see them with a big Phil Spector band with brass and string sections. Shame the monitors hid their sparkly shoes. And I don't know which one of the three I fancy most...


Bicycle Ballet

Bicycle Ballet, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Car free day! Shame nobody told the motorists. Those two drivers who crashed head-on outside the Phoenix gallery would have been a lot safer on bikes! I spotted the mayhem as I was on my way to watch the Bicycle Ballet, which was actually quite entertaining (apart from the smelly coloured smoke!) from my high-level vantage point. It was pissing down earlier on, but the sun came out just in time. Spotted Nick Sayers amongst the 'dancers' - with clothes on! Off to see The Pipettes tonight at the Corn Exchange.


Up North

Up North, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Just back from the North of England - land of cheap beer, black puddings and black peas. I went up for a family wedding (congrats Lee and Kasia!) but stayed on for the LMS weekend at the East Lancs Railway. I was hoping to see Princess Elizabeth, but alas the excursion it was on wasn't cancelled. I did see the Jub Leander, 4F 44422 and Jinty 47324. Overheard a couple of old trainspotters talking about seeing 'Semis' (why?) at Preston and I'd forgotten that's what we called the Duchesses, the most beautiful locos ever built!

On the Monday afternoon I visited Bury art gallery, where I was appalled to hear that the council was planning to sell off the family silver - their Lowry - to cover some debts! The gallery staff were resigned to it happening - it's already been removed from view.

Also visited Lois in the Peak District and had an exciting Tuesday afternoon in Speedwell Cavern, on a boat, 200m underground, in an old hand-hewn lead mine! It felt like a Disneyland ride but every so often I had to remind myself it was for real! We were in a metal boat floating on icy water in a tiny underground cavern! The hard hat earned its keep, scouser guide Paul kept up the banter and Lois's two-year old son Joe loved it! The Peak District is awsomely gorgeous!

Wednesday I travelled on the Wirral Line via Liverpool to see the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight. It was closed last time I tried to visit but this time it was open and what a joy it is, crammed with top-quality Pre-Raphaelite paintings and other Victorian delights, including lots of marble naked ladies! On Thursday I took a day-saver to Rochdale to visit their gallery. All Northern towns have collections of Victorian art - that's where the money was back then. It's a lovely museum, and unlike Bury is proud of its industrial heritage, with fascinating exhibits on King Cotton and mining. Loved the architects' drawings of mills and their model villages. But why oh why do museums have to give themselves silly 'modern' names like Touchstones? Sounds like a themed young-persons lager pub! Nice to see the cafe serving Fairtrade food tho. Talking of food, I managed a 60p cup of black peas at Ramsbottom station on Saturday and took in the world black pudding throwing championships, also in Rammy (or Tupp's Arse as we used to call it), on Sunday. The idea was to knock off giant Yorkshire puddings from top of some scaffolding - a photo on Flickr. Hope the food wasn't just thrown away at the end of the festivities.


Patrik Fitzgerald

Patrik Fitzgerald, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Ain't Brighton brilliant? Where else could you enjoy an afternoon Bank Holiday mini-music festival in a bungalow back garden for a minimum donation of 2 English pounds? Well, probably lots of places, for I didn't realise that there's a whole network of 'house venues' around which bands and solo performers can organise tours. This was the final date of Brooklyn-based Mia Riddle's UK tour (with 3-piece backing band), supported by 3-piece band Little Lights – xylophones (or metalophones) are big this year, both Mia and Little Lights were using them! Another tour that culminated here (because they had no London date) was the phenomenal The King Blues from Hackney, whose name doesn't convincingly convey what they play, which is a sort of urban reggae string-band punk folk, with lots of whistling and ukulele action from the lead singer with the sweet voice Itch. They were the headline act and rightly so (they were followed by an indoor session from Brighton's Jacques Brel Phil Jeays) - they even sold out of CDs before I could get one, but I did get a badge - and you can get a signed CD for less than a tenner from their website.

Surprise addition to the bill was legendary punk poet Patrik Fitzgerald, who's been living in New Zealand. I did manage to grab his CD - and get it signed. He was very impressed by my 'All sewn up' badge from way back in the 70s. The whole event was put on by Pog's Paul Stapleton and as well as their full-band excellent sing-along set ('la la la... go vegan, etc), band members Deacon Brown (who opened the proceedings on keyboard and guitar) and Wob (my nephew ex-Anal Beard Richard went and hid when it was suggested he made a guest appearance!) did spirited solo sets. Tim Holehouse also did a great acoustic set, and local hero Attila the Stockbroker read some poems. It didn't rain, tho it was a bit windy! So, what a great way to spend a Bank Holiday -10 acts, 2 CDs, a Quorn hot dog (ta Tammy) and a badge - thanks Paul for a great day out. More photos on Flickr.


Edinburgh observations

Edinburgh observations, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Two observations about my 10th visit to Edinburgh this year (11th if I count that VLSI conference in the 1970s).

Pies: Edinburgh is a great place for pie eaters. The health food shop Real Foods at Tollcross where I got my mueseli has two whole long shelves of pies and pasties in its chiller cabinet (too nervous to take a photo!), including Henderson's branded ones (tip: unless you like soggy pastry, don't let the wee lassie at Henderson's microwave them for you!). The 99p pasties and 80p samosas from Real Foods were fantastic! Why can't we have the same variety down south? Edinburgh also has the Piemaker shop on South Bridge (sadly the Tollcross branch has closed) for a quick street snack.

Smoking ban: yes it's great there's a smoking ban now in force, but if you just like sitting outside a pub and watching the world go by with your pint of 80/-, you'll have difficulty finding a table these days, cos they're all occupied by the smokers!


Edinburgh 2006

Edinburgh 2006, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Edinburgh this year was intense - all that walking (mainly up hill) and drinking - but was probably the best yet. The following is a bit of a list - sorry!

Wednesday 16 August: flew by Airbus 319 G-EZAA from Gatwick - the easyJet experience (my first) was painless, but the airport was a nightmare - long queues for check-in, longer queues for security. Had to remove my shoes and belt! But after a bus journey, a traditional pint of 80/- was waiting for me at The Caledonian Bar at Haymarket, then it was the traditional walk along the Quarter Mile to the Pleasance for the traditional first-night's entertainment. Saw them recording The Edinburgh Show in the courtyard, but please, someone tell me what is Zina Saro-Wiwa for? She's neither use nor ornament, and Matthew Sweet is not much improvement. Why do they have to try to be funny in the presence of comedians? Bring back Mariella, I say. Then went to see Ed Byrne's 'Standing Up and Falling Down' at the Grand, who was really great.

Thursday 17 August: went to see AL Kennedy at the Stand upstairs, got picked on, but not as much as Sam's friend Finlow from the Isle of Man. She was better than the reviews made out, but why oh why would a successful author want to do stand-up? Popped next door to the portrait gallery for the Harry Benson photojournalism exhibition, pricey but well worth it (Sam is a 'friend' so got in free anyway!). In the evening saw Luke Haines at the Underbelly - he sang about Sarah Lucas, Gary Glitter and the Brighton Trunk Murderer amongst others, plus there was an erudite Q&A session.

Friday 18 August: raining! Saw 'Moon the Loon' at the Pleasance (no reference to Viv Stanshall, but an entertaining play none the less). Made the traditional annual pilgrimage to The Stand for Simon Munnery's AGM, and was treated to an extra hour in the garden of the nearby Star Bar afterwards, in the pouring rain! Great value - see photo above. In the evening it was 'Political Animal' in the Underbelly Baby Caves - compered by Andy Zaltzman, our night featured Aussie Steve Hughes, surreal Tony Law, and the very funny Stewart Lee. Great venue!

Saturday 19 August: art day. Started at the Fruitmarket with the subtle work of Marijke van Warmerdam (too subtle for me! but thankfully the film loops were quite short). Then it was over the road to the City Art Centre for two floors of gorgeous Art Nouveau posters and three of Albert Watson's fantastic gigantic photos. Popped over to the Gilded Balloon to check out Ben Rowe's pictures, then to the Spiegeltent for more drinks and celeb spotting (eg Keith from The Office!). In the evening we made the traditional pilgrimage to Peter Buckley Hill's Free Fringe gig at the Canon's Gate. When in doubt, this is the one to make for - four perfectly acceptable comedians and it's totally free! Top of the bill was Robin Ince and on the strength of his performance we decided to see The Book Club the very next day.

Sunday 20 August: The Book Club at the Underbelly, with Robin Ince and others (including the batty Josie Long). We'd been thinking of seeing some dance, and this gig fulfilled the ambition, with dance (and free-form accordian) to Danielle Steel's poems. There was also a great Gnarls Barkley running gag (literally) and Dr Who trivia. Top night (afternoon) out.

Monday 21 August: day off, knackered and all cultured out.

Tuesday 22 August: day trip to Glasgow to visit GoMa, Rogano, the wonderfully refurbished Kelvingrove, full of gems, and the Museum of Transport. Dumplings at Chop Chop back in Ed.

Wednesday 23 August: more art with David Shrigley's prints (his activities sheet for kids was hilarious), some obscure paintings at DoggerFisher (what do you expect!), then Ron Mueck at the RSA - amazing! and very creepy seeing those giant and wee hairy people almost breathing! We'd already done the galleries on Fopp Street (Cockburn Street) - one on rave culture and another with not very interesting cartoony paintings - and had decided to give Adam Elsheimer, Mapplethorpe, Van Gogh and the sexual politics thing at the Talbot Rice a miss. Popped along to the Book Festival to celeb spot, then to Roti for a sublime slice of red snapper, and to The Canny Man's in Morningside for a wee bevvy, before Daniel Kitson's C-90 at the Traverse. Unfortunately as we were going in, the usherette spotted our tickets were for the Tuesday! I got a refund!

Thursday 24 August: trip to Leith to see Sam's mother and an exhibition in the Corn Exchange that was literally a load of cobblers, err cobbles. Why? There were also brass rubbings of manhole covers too and a nice wee goody bag with free magnifying glass (Lauren Kirkman). Also caught an exhibition of erotic B&W photos by Michael Wildman at the A1 Gallery. He was there and gave us a guided tour. Wee couple of drams at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and then back to Auld Reekie for Andrew Maxwell at the Pleasance Cabaret bar. A great finale to a great week.

Friday 25 August: more long chaotic queues at Edinbugh airport and home on G-EZID.


Luke Haines

Luke Haines, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Just back from just over a week in Edinburgh, for the festival. One of the highlights was seeing Luke Haines at the Underbelly (with a Q&A session thrown in). Saw lots of great comedy and art - a list will follow - and not a dud amongst them!


50 over 50

Finally got to see the 50 over 50 exhibition at the University of Brighton Gallery, Grand Parade, part of the Celebrating Age Festival. I was very impressed by the standard (why am I surprised?) and enjoyed almost all of the exhibits. Chris Stevens' oil 'Versace', depicting a young black man against a wall decorated by NF grafitti, is a worthy winner of the 5 grand prize and I loved another big canvas 'Turkish market' by Judith Jarvis. Most of all I was drawn to the pencil works: David Crew's 'Hidden Past' of a graveyard (worryingly, quite a few of the exhibits studied illness and death!) and the thin reversed out abstract lines by Geoff Catlow, who must get himself a life! Liz Skulkina's graphite-like prints on draughtsman's paper are wonderfully subtle, but two layers would have sufficed. There are also a few pieces of sculpture: notably Michael Allen's giant fabric flea, and Joan Ainley's multiple of a camouflaged poppy 'Search: recall reflect remember' stood out. The only local I recognised was Roger Bamber, and there was quite a lot of outstanding photography besides his. So why wasn't judge Cyril Mount represented? And why only 50? Maybe next year it'll be 60 over 60! The exhibition continues until the end of August. Don't miss it!


Fort Rox

Fort Rox, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I'm not one for festivals - I like my home comforts too much - but Newhaven Fort was an inspired location for the first Fort Rox, curated by British Sea Power. The prospect of seven bands for 10 quid, from noon to 6pm on a Saturday afternoon was very appealing - the only downer was that rain had been forecast for the south east! I arrived as Jacob's Stories were half way through their set: a beardy bloke on guitar and a lady cellist Abi Fry (who joined BSP later). I liked what I heard very much, and later bought the CD from the merchanise arch (the only CD for sale!). The shop also sold BSP badges and wonderful silk-screened posters by BRAG (British Rock Artists Group), a collective inspired by the gig posters exhibition in the Festival. Next up were local band Charlottefield, who made a bit of a racket, then The Research, a tuneful low-fi threesome (two girls and a boy) from Wakefield, who I absolutely loved. Nick arrived at this point, an hour late. I'd already been disappointed by my visit to the bar - the only beer on offer was pissy Carlsberg in a plastic bottle for £3.50. Also spotted Erica and Melita who were on their way to the VIP area (where beer was also £3.50 a bottle) and Nick's ATP friends Georgina and Michelle who were on the same train as me but I didn't properly recognise.

We then decided to take advantage of a one-quid tour of the ramparts, which was far more extensive than I'd imagined. We went right up to windy precipitous heights above the cliffs overlooking the Channel with fine views of Seaford Head to inspect the gun emplacements, under the expert guidance of a French lady called Francoise. From the hills above the fort, we heard the wonderful Scottish songs of My Latest Novel, which came as an unexpected pleasure. Back on terra firma, it still hadn't rained and in fact was sunny off and on (and I hadn't packed a sun hat!). But during The Duke Spirit, a kind of 70s-feel band with a blonde lady harmonica player, a fine drizzle started to descend. Excitement was mounting for the headliners, with women in 1940s outfits distributing home-made fabric flags and twigs to the awaiting hoards, including the Mayor (favourite band Staus Quo) and Mayoress of Newhaven. BSP didn't disappoint, even with the absense of Eamon, gone to The Brakes full time. No twigs or birds on the dark stage, but they were joined towards the end of the hour-long set by a Great Bear. Things started to get a bit out of hand and Who-like at the end, resulting in Noble breaking his guitar! A great day out, polished off by a welcome couple of pints of Harvey's in the garden of a public house by the docks called The Ark. Next year Lout Promotions, please install comfy chairs for the oldies, and a barrel of Harvey's in the bar and it'll be perfect!

The band I missed was The Honeycuts from nearby Lewes. They are all on MySpace, so make up your own mind!



Devant fan Mr Peekaboo mentioned over coffee today that he'd always thought I'd taken my name from the BBC mockumentary Ghostwatch, which starred a Mr Pipes, so called because he made noises in the plumbing. The spooky thing is that when I tried to 'blog this' from my browser, it failed, twice!

Mr Solo

Mr Solo, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Mere worthless words cannot describe how marvellous it was to see Mr Solo at The Engine Room, Brighton last night. It was a packed bill, starting with Foz? accompanying various strange people from the Las Vegas Mermaids in something involving balloons, teddy bears and popcorn (I love yummy things?). More balloon action from balloon man Ryan Parker, doing a doggie workshop, then it was The Utopians, starring our promoter for the evening Heidi Heelz. Another interlude of balloon nonsense, then a caped Mr Solo took the stage for an hour-long set comprising almost everything off his album (on sale in the corner) 'All will be revealed', including two goes at his single 'Number One' aka 'Home sick home'. For 'Distant stars' he was joined by two angelic ladies called Sparkle Motion. Foz? was guitaring in the dark throughout, but took to the stage for the encore, during which unfortunately I had to change video tape! A tremendous night out, and all for three English pounds. Many thanks Heidi.


High Society

One of the perks of getting old (no - I don't have my bus pass yet!) is getting into things free! I thought it might rain yesterday, so popped into the Duke of York's cinema for a free-to-oldies showing of High High, High Sauce Eye, High Soss Eye Ah Tea, part of the Celebrating Age festival. What a toe-tappingly spendid film, and Grace Kelly has to be the most gorgeous actress who ever lived. She was sensational. Well, Did You Evah? And that's jazz! We were also treated to a 1950s travelogue on Brighton which caused much mirth by the contemporary usage of the word 'gay', eg 'The Palace Pier has to be the gayest pier in Britain' etc, and much overt sexism in the commentary. Plus there was a Pathe news item on The Promettes, trainee models dressed as air hostesses working out of a caravan and giving helpful advice to tourists (but not single men!). We got a scratchy animation from the National Film Board of Canada called Blinkity Blank (1955). And in the intermission three ice-cream girls, dressed in period costume, appeared - but unfortunately they didn't venture up to the balcony where I was sitting with my wobbly glass of Budvar so I couldn't tell if choc-ices were on offer. Come to think of it, they didn't have bars in cinemas back then, so I got the best of both worlds! No 'Buttons' to throw out unruly customers. No B-film, but I'm not greedy! Many thanks to the DoY for that lovely gift, and I'll be along to see Cars, presently.


Critical Mass cuts crime

Critical Mass cuts crime, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Have you ever wondered where the coppers are when you need one? One concerned citizen couldn't believe his luck when he spotted this month's critical mass accompanied by its usual huge number of cycle bobbies and their van. He'd just witnessed a couple of dodgy looking geezers half-inch a bag from a marquee in Brunswick Square. Immediately six of our cycle bobbies sped off on their Smith and Wesson police bikes in pursuit. As we looped back onto the seafront we saw the alleged thieves helping the police with their enquiries. Tip to would be criminals – avoid Brighton seafront on the last Friday of each month between 6.30pm and 8pm.


Watts Gallery

When I lived in Guildford it was always a treat to visit the nearby village of Compton. It was great for jumble sales, antique shops and homely tea rooms – and The Watts Gallery. Watching the Restoration Village TV programme on BBC2, I was surprised to see The Watts Gallery listed as one of the buildings under threat. It always was a bit run down, a secret place you could take people and watch their eyes light up as we ventured inside. The curator at the time was Wilfred Blunt, brother of the famous spy Anthony Blunt, later replaced by Richard Jeffries. It was built in 1903-4 by George Frederic Watts and his second wife Mary in the Arts and Crafts style. His short-lived first marriage was to the 16-year old actress Ellen Terry – his famous portrait of her shows her smelling camelias, a flower with no scent. Victorian symbolist and allegorical painting may not be everyone's cup of tea, but this gallery, purpose built by 'England's Michaelangelo' is a gem and my kind of museum, with its mixture of important pictures (as well as the Watts, some lovely ones by Albert Moore and Edward Burne-Jones, I seem to remember) and domestic items - plus fabulous back studio rooms containing many maquettes and two full-size plaster sculptures: Physical Energy (in Kensington Gardens, London and Cape Town) and Tennyson (outside Lincoln Cathedral), which we were sometimes allowed to peep into. I visited the Gustave Moreau museum in Paris recently and in my opinion, Watts gallery is the more important. Mary, as well as repainting some of Watts' pictures after he died, to cheer them up, started a pottery to help the local unemployed and the more talented of them helped her to build the marvellous Art Nouveau memorial chapel in the nearby graveyard, where GF is buried – it was a favourite subject of mine to draw and paint. The outside of this remarkable red building is covered in intricate Celtic designs in terra cotta; inside it is decorated in sumptuous blue, red and gold gesso with pictures of angels, and an alterpiece by GF. Well worth a day out in Surrey. So vote now and save the Gallery!


Artwork deaths

It's not often people are killed by works of art, but this inflatable I saw in Edinburgh a few years back took to the air in Chester-le-Street, Co Durham on Sunday and two women inside fell to their deaths. Artwork victims 'fell to deaths': "The Dreamspace sculpture, created by artist Maurice Agis, comprises several rooms, made of translucent PVC sheets, which are interconnected and inflated to allow visitors to walk about inside."

Shyneford revisited pt2

Shyneford revisited pt2, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

It was Graham Clarke's surprise 60th birthday party over the weekend, first at l'auberge at the Onslow Arms, West Clandon on Saturday night, then a picnic at Rack's Close, Guildford, on the Sunday (with a few of us going to the King's Head for a pint after). Some photos here, on Flickr (tho it's an invite-only group). I had a very quick wander round Guildford and took some photos of familiar landmarks: the new building where the Art Deco Odeon once stood, the derelict Civic Hall, and some pubs that have changed their names! There should be a law against it! The Rats Castle on Sydenham Road is now blandly The Guildford Arms, and The Two Brewers (which was The Three Tuns a couple of weeks ago) is now called Mustard! Thankfully The Royal Oak, Robin Hood and King's Head are names that endure.


Hanbury Ballroom closes

Kemp Town gig venue, the Hanbury Ballroom is to close and be replaced by a private members' club aimed at Brighton and Hove's 'creative community' - annual membership is expected to cost about £250 but local artists, authors and musicians will pay £100. Whatever happened to that club for creatives in the old music library?


Open House - First Sale

Dan Thompson was keeping a blog of his Worthing Open House, which finished last weekend. Here's the entry about my record sale: I Hate Dan Thompson - Open House - First Sale.

Christopher Corr

Christopher Corr, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

If your eyes need a holiday, get down to the seafront and the wonderful Christopher Corr exhibition at Castor and Pollux. Here there are around 85 framed paintings spanning the past 10 years of Chris's travels around the world - from Brighton to Bolivia and Cuba to Madagascar - plus over 60 unframed works, sketchbooks, and signed books (many with original drawings) to buy. Since his first book Wel-come to India in 1988 (on sale), Chris has been constantly on his travels, sketching the locals at work and play. Vibrant is too weak a word to describe his work, which looks Day-Glo in places, but all - Chris assures me - done with gouache and acrylics that won't fade! There's lots to look at in every painting, and most will make you smile with all the eccentric detail. They range in price from £300 to £1650 and are flying off the walls, so get down there and give your mince pies a treat. I was down there on Friday night for the PV, and back again Saturday for a second look (and to buy a book!). It's open every day 11am til 5pm, untl 6 August 2006.

I must also put a word in for the exhibition at Brighton University Gallery, entitled 'The Art of Hip Hop... past, present and future', part of the Brighton Hip Hop Festival. It finished on Saturday after only six days, but it was a revelation - intelligent graffiti! BiG's own Nirm was represented, showing his visual diaries, and there was sculpture and photographs alongside stencils and spray paint images. I'd love to have a go, but spray cans are sooo expensive!


The Birds

bird, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Brighton is full of baby seagulls, mostly on roofs, but some fall off before they can fly and wander about the roads until they get squashed by cars in a hurry. This one made a lot of noise as it lost its feet on my Velux window, but I think it got back on top OK.


tinies, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Haven't been out much this week (except to the shops) - now the heatwave has moved on, I've been able to work again. These are two miniature watercolours for the No 18 Gallery in Worthing, to replace the one I sold last weekend! Top is Seven Sisters; bottom is Worthing Pier - very imaginative, I know!



My letter to the Argus on Wednesday 5 July 2006 about not doing away with the West Pier. Letter: Make it a reef: Brighton and Hove City Council is talking about removing what's left of the West Pier at great expense. Other seaside resorts are busy sinking redundant ships and even old bin lorries into the sea to create reefs for wildlife and divers. Why not just tidy up the shore-end of the wreck and leave the rest as a romantic ruin above the waves and a haven for sealife below it? We've become used to the old dear and you'd never consider carting off what remains of Stonehenge to the scrapyard, now would you? Alan (Fred) Pipes, Brighton"


Kingsway Square

Blimey! My old college, Battersea College of Advanced Technology, formerly Battersea Polytechnic, then University of Surrey, later renamed Westminster and Kingsway College, is to become yuppy flats! Thanks to Robin Bradbeer for the alert...


Thompson Towers

Thompson Towers, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Well blow me, I'd just arrived at Thompson Towers, hung my miniature watercolour of Worthing Pier in No 18 Gallery, Dan Thompson's 1/12th scale gallery and sat down to a slice of Tracey's banana cake in the garden, when it sold! Fastest sale in history for a Fred Pipes and the first sale in Dan's Open House. Popped into Sheila Guyatt's Open Cottage on the way to Lidl (stationery week starts on Monday, guys!), then back to a strangely silent Brighton. Checked out the Hip Hop graff jam guys at the station site repainting the hoadings, then home to watch the pathetic penalty shootout.


Baby seagulls

Baby seagulls, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

On the house back to mine - note all the shit on the velux


Emu, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Award-winning Ricky Gervais looky-likey Dave Stonestreet spotted in Sydney Street, North Laine, Brighton


On the Edge

On the Edge, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

The great thing about Brighton is all the quirky little clubs, if you can find them. The Catalyst Club is one, down the Joogleberry every second Thursday (when it's not) - with Dora Bryan next month! Another is 'On the edge', a night of improvised music etc by Safehouse, which used to be downstairs at The Sanctuary Cafe but is now at the Open House pub. Last night for a modest four quid we got 20 minutes of the Wildcard Quartet, comprising names pulled from a hat, this time my old mate Gus Garside on double bass, and blokes various on cornet, soprano sax and electronic ukulele. Next up was a Song-Picture-Performance with Mr Eugene playing electric violin as Nickova attacked a miked-up canvas with black and white paint (all around was shrouded in polythene!). The resulting painting was put up for auction and made 26 quid, I think. Last on was Hugh Metcalfe, renowned for The Klinker, and his work with Bob Cobbing and Lol Coxhill, amongst others. We got film, guitar, violin and voice from Hugh and keyboard accompaniment from Darren Morris. It could have been Guildford Arts Lab circa 1969, but I don't think they had synthesizers back then!



Zimmer, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Last night I went to the launch of the Celebrating Age festival in the 20th century design section of Brighton Museum - all those chairs and nowhere to sit! My 'Artistic licence' got me in and there was plenty of free wine, but disappointingly little scoff. I'm still a bit ambivalent about this whole thing. Even tho my painting of 'The Seven Sisters from Seaford Head' is in the Open Houses brochure, the entertainment at the PV included a 'jazz' band playing tea dance music and loads of young girls dressed as Nippies. I'm too young to remember these, but I think they were waitresses at the Lyons Corner Houses. Anyway I thought I'd draw a Zimmer frame for the perplexed, while I ponder on whether it was patronising to the over-50s or not...

July exhibitions

July exhibitions, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I'll be showing work at two lots of Open Houses this July. On 1 & 2 and 8 & 9 July I'll be in Thompson Towers, 18 Chancton View Road, Worthing B11 5JR, not far from West Worthing station, along with Dan and Tracey Thompson, part of the Artists and Makers Festival. This is also your opportunity to view a chancton or two (Dan's joke). On 22 & 23 and 29 & 30 I'll be in Jackie Jones's house, 51 Upper Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 3FH, part of the Celebrating Age festival. Yes, it's hard to believe I'm over 50!


Brighton Cross

A fascinating piece of psychogeography, a walk east to west through the centre of Brighton: Pikle - Brighton Cross


Wild orchid

Wild orchid, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

On the Save The Shoreham Toll Bridge charity bike ride on Sunday 25 June, I became all Nature Boy and shot some snaps of wild flowers. Being an urban lad from Up North, I'm not sure what they are called, and I can't really tell the difference between a flower and a weed, but I do know what I like! The field of poppies on the Downs Link by the River Arun was spectacular, and I spotted my first wild orchid, identified on t'internet as Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis). Woo yay!

Shyneford revisited

shyneford1, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

On Saturday I had a wander around Guildford to see how much it had changed in the 19 years since I left. The Odeon has been demolished, so has the Surrey Ad building! The High Street looks much the same, so does the Castle, and there''s still a market on North Street! Many shops have disappeared: Bretts Burgers, Andertons and Dick Middleton Music have all gone, but EastWest is still there, by the youth centre! The Civic Hall, site of many a fine gig, lies deserted and dark. The Bull's Head on the High Street is now a jewellers, and the Two Brewers has an extra one and is now called The Three Tuns! It was hot so I popped into The Kings Head for a pint, but the football table was nowhere to be seen! The Star is still there, as is Phoenix Court, but no Bonapartes Records. Guildford has become the sort of place they give things away: I got given a free peanut KitKat bar and free bottle of fruity water on the way to the station (Bridge House is different too, and where's Len Ferrar's barbers shop, and the Orphanage Hall?) and outa there! Phew! For a nostalgic view of Guildford, see my Shyneford site.

Mary and Lewis Elton

Mary and Lewis Elton, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Returned to my alma mater the University of Surrey on Friday for a 100th anniversary of the physics department event. Arrived early but couldn't find anything open in that grim brick campus. After a lecture by Jim Al-Khalili, we went off to Roots, under the great hall where I saw The Who play, for a free glass of Pimms and a wedding reception type buffet, including a revolting chocolate fountain device. It was great to meet Prof Lewis Elton and his wife Mary after all these years. It was down to him and his art exhibitions in the Physics dept corridors at Battersea and Guildford that I became interested in painting. Glad to see he now has a gallery on campus named after him. I got him to sign my PEMS notes from 1965. He looks great for his age and was on great form during the speeches, you can see where his famous son Ben got it from...



A photo of mine, taken after the NUJ beach party last year when the moon was unusually large is illustrating this story by Chris Paling on Un-Made-Up.


Helix ephemera

More stuff about Helix on my British Blues pages.


Helix, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

I did promise, on my British Blues page, a history of Helix, the poetry and jazz band (don't laugh!), starring Yours Truly on harmonica and poems, Rick Welton, also on poems, Chris Brunt on flute, alto sax, clarinet and guitar, Peter Panayi on bass, Peter Jackson on guitar and Terry Raven on drums. I'm off to a Physics Dept reunion at the University of Surrey in Guildford tomorrow and, rooting through some ephemera, found a cutting of an ad in NME (or was it Melody Maker?) showing us supporting Joe Cocker on 24 January 1969, our greatest achievement!

It all started in the folk club at UoS (then Battersea College of Advanced Technology) where me and Chris did a double act: he (Blind Willie Brunt?) on guitar and me (Whistlin' Walshaw Fred) on harmonica, singing the blues. Also playing regularly were duo Pete Panayi and Ronnie Hicks (wife of Rick Welton). Eventually we all got together to perform Dylan songs with Ronnie as vocalist. Rick was the roadie (he had a van) but started adding his poetry to the mix. Then Ronnie left and we decided to go electric. An ad in NME (or was it Melody Maker?) produced Peter Jackson, who'd been playing the US bases in Germany, and part-time Horror film actor Terry Raven. By now we were doing poems (me funny; Rick serious) and the odd Mose Allison song (plus 'Scarborough Fair' I think!). There is one recording extant, made at All Saints Hall in Notting Hill, recorded by Ronnie's new bloke, film sound man Tony Jackson, but we never made any records.

We were represented by Pete Jenner of the Blackhill agency (who'd managed Pink Floyd before Syd left) - Lynne, a booker there, was married to my friend Adrian Boot, who went on to famously photograph Bob Marley and others. We did gigs at Canterbury (supporting Third Ear Band), Bradford (with Liverpool Scene), Chelsea Town Hall, somewhere in south Wales, in Battersea's Courland Grove halls of residence where I met an American girl called Claire, and in Guildford, at the university with Roy Harper, and the Stoke Hotel where I met Jenny Parsons and was introduced to Guildford Arts Lab. Two notable concerts were the Jazz Poetry Song Package at Battersea Town Hall on 28 November 1968 and Guildford Civic Hall on 8 December, both with the Michael Garrick Quintet featuring Don Rendell and Ian Carr with various poets, including Jeremy Robson and Vernon Scannell, and Pete Brown (of Cream lyrics fame) and his Battered Ornaments (inc Chris Spedding and Dick Heckstall-Smith).

The Stoke Hotel gig may have been our last. Rick moved to Guildford to run the first Guildford Festival, and I followed some time later. Chris teamed up with Ronnie and Eric Johns (brother of Dorris Henderson) to form Gallerie, who played with Roy Harper and Michael Chapman in the 1971 Guildford Festival, the one I directed. By now I was reading poetry with the Arts Lab and about to get married. To be continued dot dot dot

Shoreham Toll Bridge cycle ride

I'm doing a charidee bike ride (only the wuss's 10 mile one) on Sunday and they sent me a bit of paper for donations and sponsorship. To save my embarrassment if they discover all the names on it have been made up by me, can any of my readers out there spare a few coppers? I'm afraid it's not for cancer or anything worthy, it's to save an old wooden bridge in Shoreham! They're not even savvy enough to have a JustGiving page I'm afraid, so send any pledges to me Cheers - you'll make an old bridge very happy!


World Naked Bike Ride Brighton
My first excursion into YouTube!


Tube logo designer

Display honours Tube logo designer: "Ditchling was home to calligrapher and type designer, Edward Johnston, who designed the famous Underground bullseye logo and typeface." I shall have to visit this exhibition!


For the love of Adur

For the love of Adur, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

No sooner is the Brighton Festival over, than the Adur Festival begins. Last week I went to Glastonwick, this Sunday it was over to Shoreham-by-Sea again to visit the Open House-boats, including the huge ex-minesweeper Fische. We had a lovely cream tea next door on the ex-landing craft Valeur, to the sound of The King in Vegas. Unfortuunately the African drumming and circus in the marquee was cancelled but we had a stroll along the beach looking at the wild flowers then I had a private tour of the Art in Ropetackle by residents Bob and Angela.


Brighton Naked Bike Ride

Brighton Naked Bike Ride, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

The Brighton leg of the World Naked Bike Ride set off from The Level at around 10.15 after much body painting and disguising of 'naughty and rude bits' under the supervision of a handful of police bobbies (far fewer than on the average Critical Mass). It was a scorcher of a morning and about 160 people cycled down to the seafront, west to Hove, through the North Laine, into Kemp Town and finally to the nudist beach where they could get dressed again. Some were off to London for the rally in the Big City. More photos on Flickr tho none of the ride itself cos I was too busy videoing it.


On My Desk

Well, I couldn't resist entering my desk as the messiest so far on Linzie's fab blog: On My Desk: Creative folk share the stuff on their desks. Thanks to Dan for directing me there!

Les Cyclistes

Les Cyclistes, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Les Cyclistes, devised by David Furnham, is a play of two halves: Danny Schlesinger opens with an amiable Jacques Tati-type mime based around his Brompton with a flat front tyre, improvising with all the weird and wonderful tools that come with a puncture-repair kit! Then Simon Hedger, dressed as a hard-core cyclist takes over and does a Reg-type monotonous monologue about his Audax exploits as he brews a cup of tea in the cyclists' kitchen. There's quite a bit of Clarion interest - first thing he does is shout Boots! to the audience (I replied Spurs! which identifies me as a Clarionnette). Great entertainment - and it's all free - on Hove Lawns by the Peace statue. There's also several films on the go, in the marquee and in the Citroen van next door, including hilarious archive Pathe footage and the company's own film Allez, Allez, Alllez. There's also an interactive bike taking you on a dicey ride around some suburban streets. It's on until 18 June (not Mondays) from 10am until 6pm. Shame the sunshine is proving to be a bigger draw!


John Otway

John Otway, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Last night went by train and bike to Shoreham-by-Sea for the Glastonwick beer and punk festival in the Art Deco splendour of Shoreham Airport. Headlining was John Otway, assisted by Attila the Stockbroker doing a simultaneous German translation of 'You ain't seen nothing yet' amongst other interjections. An excellent set including 'House of the Rising Sun' and all his hits, including the requisite number of forward rolls and head butts of the microphone. Also on the bill was ex-Pirhana 'Boring' Bob Grover's new band Dates who also did a sterling set. But it was a lovely evening and we drank beer under the big blue sky to the sound of planes taking off. More photos on Flickr. As you may guess from the uninspired review, today I was all cultured out, missed a Clarion ride, but managed to take in Gus's birthday lunch and a trip round the Art School degree show to pick up some postcards. Did I mention the BIP PV with Pimms and fairy cakes at the Fishermen's Museum Friday night and the PV of Les Cyclistes on Hove Lawns Saturday afternoon? No? I need a night in!



The Don Bradmans

The Don Bradmans, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Finally got to see The Don Bradmans at the Cowley Club on Saturday night. Arrived at the mosh pit just as they launched into 'Hunting Tigers out in 'INDIAH''. They also did other Bonzos songs, including 'Mr Slater's Parrot' and 'By a waterfall', as well as their infamous MySpace ditty 'Bill Oddie's Body' and a song for Nick, called 'I'm Nick'. Nick bought me one too many pints of Straw Dogs so I was a bit drunk. Thoroughly enjoyed it tho, despite being lashed by flailing dreadlocks. This was after watching Joe Boyd and Robert Wyatt chew the fat about the 1960s at the Corn Exchange with the delectable Miranda Sawyer (who is a Turner Prize judge next year). Joe read from his book White Bicycles and told some amusing anecdotes about Jimi Hendrix jamming with Miles Davis. Robert Wyatt couldn't seem to remember much about the 60s, which is ok, cos as they say if you can remember it, you weren't there!

Blogging me, blogging you

I get a mention in Stephen Drennan's blog: steviecat: Friday 26th May 2006. There's also a photo of Mark Pawson in action on the RAG website. Other hot news: The Dragonfly House was voted Best Open House at a ceremony last night, more to follow!