The B Team: There Is No Plan A


Have you ever wondered why haemorrhoids are called haemorrhoids and asteroids are called asteroids? Surely it should be the other way round. I demand an inquiry.

And speaking of annoying pains in the ass I have two grievances today, well more actually but I’m being concise. First, I am sick to death that my birthday, September 11, has been co-opted, yet again, as an international day of mourning. It used to be a time of celebration but not anymore. I do agree that we should honour the dead and all that, and there were thousands who died, but come on, it was a long time ago. Get over it. I am, of course talking about the Battle of Stirling Bridge on September the 11th, 1297. I know a lot of English and Welsh were killed that day, fairly brutally, but I think that some of the blame has to lie with English Foreign Policy. You can’t act like an imperial invader and not expect some blowback from those terrorist Scots.

Exactly. Grievance number two. If you ask us to come and play at your event, or your wedding or Bar mitzvah, have the courtesy to spell the band’s name correctly. It’s with a K people, not a C, because we have been called many things but at our heart, we are Ska, not Sca. No one likes Sca music to the best of my knowledge, because it doesn’t exist probably. This other band, Bombscare, whoever the fuck they are, bunch of fucking assholes probably, (who else would call themselves something so provocative and clearly stupid), are the ones who are heavily influenced by Sca. You heard me, they like Sca. Now far be it for me to call someone an asshole, although I just did three lines back, but anyone who listens to Sca music, well, I rest my case. What particularly bothers me about it is that our name with the only correct spelling is all over all our websites and emails and everything. So why so stupid, stupid?

I want to mention some people for high praise now. First up is our old buddy Arak (Arkadiuz) down at Hoots in Brixton. Last month we played down there again; the place was mobbed, busiest one yet, with East Park Reggae Collective in support. It was a great night but Andy lost his hat. Arak found it the following week and sent it back to us. Dziekuje. Second mention is our new pal Andy Whyte, an Englishman who is one of life’s true human beings. On the way back from London, we played at our friend Fiona’s wedding in Cambridge. The reception was in a yacht club and all went well until we were loading gear into the service lift afterwards and the lift broke and was stuck in between floors with our guitars and drum kit inside. We were leaving in the morning and we couldn’t get the lift engineer out until the following week so we were snookered, until a friend of Fiona’s and stranger to us, stepped in and saved the day. He had planned on getting the train up to the Edinburgh Festival but, star that he is, volunteered to drive with all our gear from Cambridge to Edinburgh. Thanks again Andy, we are in your debt. Also thanks to our Vini for depping for Sam both in London and Cambridge.

And then we went to the Eden Festival. As mentioned before we had been asked to move our slot from Friday to Saturday but were unable to do it, so we were moved to the second stage, which as many of you noted was a bit small. The size of the stage didn’t bother us, we’ve played smaller believe me. What bothered me initially was the Steam-punk PA system, a mono stack of what looked like home made speakers with clocks built in to some of the holes instead of tweeters. It actually looked pretty cool, like Jules Verne built it, but as soon as we started sound checking I realised it could be trouble. We started the set with my microphone not working, stopped for a bit while we fixed another mic and the monitor levels, and then everything was working, for a bit. Second song in I broke a string, ran off to fix it and was back just in time for the end of the song. The microphones started cutting in and out again and we couldn’t tell if it was just on stage or out front as well. We still couldn’t hear any keyboards on stage and throughout the set mics were cutting in and out until at one point all the horns were playing into one mic. Later on at one point Murray’s vocals were inaudible and we couldn’t get the engineer’s attention because he seemed to be eating a pizza (!), I shouted at him through my mic which got him into action, but we realised at the end that someone had kicked the cable out of one of the monitor power amps which was why half the monitors on stage cut out. Anyway overall as a result we played, by our standards, a terrible set. It was interesting to read the review that said we played a blinding set. Maybe we did. I just couldn’t hear anything. To be fair, these festival gigs are difficult for both bands and sound engineers. There’s no sound check time and so for the band especially there’s almost no chance to sort the sound onstage, the engineer at least has the whole weekend to sort out most of the front of house sound. I was pretty angry afterwards and needed to be heavily sedated. Anyway to add to that, Gil-Scott Heron, who was the main stage headline that night, was a no show. We could probably have played our agreed slot on the main stage after all.

On the other hand, it was a nice festival, a much better spot than last time and the weather was good. Also the best haggis, neeps and tatties stall of any festival that I can recall.

One last thing, we’ve been arguing amongst ourselves about which band member got to meet the Pope when we was in town. Obviously Andy was the band representative when the Dalai Lama was here, Colin got Nelson Mandela, I got O.J Simpson. This time we decided Joe should meet the pope, mainly because Joe lives a five minutes walk from the palace. But wouldn’t you know it when he presented himself as Papa Joe fae Bombskare at the gate he was huckled away in handcuffs by Special Branch. Unbelievable. Do we have to spell it out? It’s with a K, dummies! Anyway you know who the real loser in all this is; that’s right the Pope.

Cheers to David Donnelly for the pictures from Eden. We certainly seem to be enjoying ourselves. Our next appearance is right close to home in Dalkieth. See you there.

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