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Blog: All Aboard The Enterprise Allowance

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It was lovely being on tour with Mr G Osborne last week, the only downside of it was that I was a bit too busy to fully enjoy the experience in my usual way i.e. by loafing around in bed until midday, relaxing on trains, and then getting drunk. All right, I did most of the second two, but ENGAGEMENTS meant I had to keep DASHING to places during the daytime.

For instance, last Wednesday morning there was barely time to WOLF down a cooked breakfast (with oddly UN-cooked tomatoes - I mean, I like tomatoes as they are but surely cooking them is implicit in a "cooked breakfast"?) in Northampton before I had to trundle off back to London to attend a meeting about the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme. For LO! I'm going to try signing up for THAT in an effort to not have to go and Sign ON quite so often and/or launch the business of ME as a proper business. The general idea seems quite groovy, but GOOD LORD the company doing the "training" were APPALLING. All the information was half-arsed, we spent AGES just sitting in rooms with nobody telling us what to do (until certain Concerned Attendees HEM HEM got fed up and chased people along corridors demanding to know what was happening) and the "business talk" was TERRIBLE. The guy giving the talk didn't have a clue what he was on about - I'd GOOGLED the scheme for ten minutes and knew more than he did, especially when he answered people's questions WRONG - and then when it was all done I had to wait ANOTHER hour for a "one to one mentoring session" which involved him saying "Have you got a network?" me saying "Yes" and... er... that was it. It was utter bollocks, but having spent over 20 years working in a University I am ideally equipped to cope with byzantine idiocy and hoop jumping. It's a transferable skill!

With that all finally done I headed home once more to pack and re-pack, by which time i was KNACKERED (not much sleep the night before PLUS an incoming COLD) and, to be honest, would not have been DEVASTATED if the gig had been cancelled and I could have just gone to BED.

Luckily this didn't happen as (*SPOILERS*) the gig was AMAZING. I rolled up at The Rose And Crown expecting a stinky old Camden pub that would either be a) grotty and scary b) poncy and expensive c) all of the above. Instead it was DELIGHTFUL - lots of nice beers, friendly staff, a mix of people, pleasant seating and all round GOOD TIMES. I found Gav sat with a whole bunch of pals, featuring The Hewitts also, and things continued in this RATHER PLEASANT style. I did worry that the basement, where the gig was happening, would be a DANK HELLHOLE but it was perfectly pleasant, and we even got to set up the PA system ourselves. This might sound counter-intuitive as a Plus Point but i actually LIKE it when you get to do this as a) it's another transferable skill and b) it meant that I got the best seat in the house for Gav's sections of the gig i.e. by the side of the stage at the sound desk!

We'd somehow manage to SELL OUT of our alloted 40 tickets, much to the surprise of us AND the landlord, so when the doors opened all I had to do was stand there with the list, ticking off names. Gav and I came up with a plan to do two sets each, a short intro and a proper long one, and so I kicked off the proceedings THUS:
  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • I Come From The Fens
  • Back For Good

  • Man, I have GOT to do Back For Good more often! I usually decide not to because I forget the chords for the middle bit, but this time I simply pointed it out before beginning and everyone SANG ALONG acapella. It was GRATE! Gav then came on and answered with a ROUSING rendition of "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" which continued the singing along and before we knew it that section was DONE, with just time for some more BEER purchasing and then my return to the stage THUS:
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • That Guy
  • In The North Stand
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • I've said it many times but it bears repeating - the healing power of ROCK is an INCREDIBLE thing, as my cold temporarily disappeared for the duration of the above. It was a lovely audience who went along with everything I had to say and - continuing the plan the day before of saying new, non-age-obsessed, things between songs - I felt ten feet tall talking to them. And once all THAT was over Gav came back on and STORMED the room. Hoorah!

    Afterwards several people came over and said variations of "I had a LOVELY time", which pretty much summed up the evening for me. The landlord even bought us a drink, that almost NEVER happens!

    A little while later there were more hugs and, as we left, an agreement to tour again in the New Year. When you're having this much fun, why stop?

    posted 11/12/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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