Category Archives: music

Has the entertainment industry suffered?

I have friends who work in a wide range of industries from Construction to music and solicitors to beekeepers (yes really I do know a professional beekeeper!) all of whom have said how their particular industries have suffered during the last 5 years of the recession or credit crunch, whatever you choose to call it.

But how has this impacted the entertainment overall? Now I appreciate that this is a much bigger question than I could comprehensively cover in one post, so I may be back to elaborate in the future, but for now, here are my general observations.

  • Theater Productions – Have had a bit of a mixed impact dependent on exactly what they are. For example, the big shows seem to be carrying on regardless, I suppose their audience are predominantly more well off and are therefore less financially affected anyway, likewise the small local productions who are generally seen by friends and family of the cast and are usually very cheap anyway are also unaffected. The ones which do seem to be suffering somewhat are those which sit somewhere between the two, often attended by normal people but who need to travel to get there.muddy at a music festival
  • Music Festivals – Have certainly suffered in the last few years, but this is probably also due to the weather, we haven’t really had a good long summer since the recession started. On occasion some events have been cancelled due to flooding of the sites, but I know from personal experience that a lot of people hold off until the last minute before buying tickets, to see what the weather will be like and then only go if it’s looking fine. This has no doubt had an impact on numbers.
  • Corporate Events – Have certainly been scaled down to some degree. Probably very much dependent on the success of the company overall and how much budget they have for events. An example being Sage UK, they used to host huge annual events for all their partners, but even a FTSE100 company has restricted these more recently, both in the sense of numbers attending and the entertainment provided.

Overall I’m sure that the industry overall and the smaller ones which support it, from the legal teams who write contracts to the guitar string manufacturers and the make up professionals to the PA and lighting rig hire companies, have all seen a difference in the last few years. So lets hop that things will start to improve again in 2013!

A Day in the Life of a Function Band – Part 2

The journey was pretty incident free, and after a couple of boring hours on the M5 we all enjoyed a fabulous fry-up at the utterly brilliant Woodleigh Coach House on the A30 near Cheriton Bishop. This is a superb family-run B&B, Café and Tea Rooms – pleasant surroundings with friendly staff and delicious home cooked food. I would highly recommend this hidden gem to anyone needing a stop-off on their travels.

Back on the road, and we found the venue with no problems – well done Satnav!  The best man welcomed the band to the family farmhouse home, and showed us where to set up. The barn had divided into two sections – the first was the dining area with circular tables and chairs and a long table to serve the buffet. The main high roofed area to be used for the band , bar and dancing been beautifully decorated with home-made bunting, wild cow parsley flower displays which smelt divine, and bails of straw placed strategically which softened the harsh concrete floor and added a real sense of country comfort.

A stage had been provided in the performance area, and so after unloading both vans, we set up our gear ready for the 6 piece band performance. A quick sound check confirmed everything was working, we balanced individual instrument volumes to ensure a good mix, and then popped on some cool jazz background music whilst wedding guests entered, mingled and then took their seats ready for the wedding breakfast. We tidied up the stage area, taped down leads, hid our boxes and then made our way to the B&B to settle in, get changed and be ready for the evening performance. I quickly rang my son to say hello, catch up on his news, and of course send my love and tell him I miss him.

We made our way back down to the barn to perform, waited for speeches to finish and then got the party started! The band played the Bride and Groom’s first dance request live (You’re just too good to be true – Andy Williams)  and then blasted out two rip-roaring sets of party classics to a packed dance-floor!  The brass section definitely makes a difference to the band’s overall sound, and hearing them play together in harmony on soul tracks such as on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ and Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ is amazing. The combination of the sax and trumpet is a wonderful addition to our standard line-up, allowing us to include other tracks that feature brass such as ‘Move on Up’ (Curtis Mayfield), ‘I Just Wanna Make Love to You’ (Etta James) and they can also be incredibly effective on more modern tracks such as Beyonce’s ‘Crazy Right Now’.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We received a standing ovation from the wedding guests, and after much kissing, hugging and thank-you’s, the Bride and Groom made their way to their Hotel and Mum provided the band members with hot Cornish Pasties! Eventually people started to wend their way home and close family guests climbed onto a classic 1950 bus which was taking them back to St Agnes.  We packed down, (slowly because we were all shattered)  loaded up the vans and arrived back at the B&B at 2.15am. We watched TV for a while with cups of hot chocolate and then got our heads down. Rock n’ roll eh!

Breakfast was perfect, and we set off back home at 10.30am. Unfortunately Woodleigh Coach House was too soon in our journey to stop, so we ended up at Taunton Deane Services for a quick comfort break and a large Costa, and we arrived back in Swindon at 2.30 on Sunday afternoon.

My son was waiting at home with his Grandad who had looked after him in our absence, and I then spent some quality time with him for the rest of the afternoon playing a Wii game with him. You guessed it, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Music and Film Pub Quiz Questions

I got collared to do a pub quiz last weekend, I’m not quite sure why!  Possibly not for my intellectual wit, probably more likely because the usual quizmaster was on holiday.  Anyway, here are the questions on music and film, just in case anyone can reuse them:

1.    Which childrens TV programme was first broadcast in 1969, had a further 25 episodes made,  then an additional but final episode was a four minute election special on October 10th 1974? – – – The Clangers
2.    What is the combination to the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? – – – 666
3.    In the Tarzan films, what was Jane’s last name? – – – Parker (Porter in the books)
4.    What role was actor Elmo Lincoln playing when he stabbed his co-star to death while filming a 1918 movie? – – – Tarzan (He stabbed a lion that attacked him)
5.    The car in the Knightrider series was called KITT. What does this acronymn stand for? – – – Knight Industries Two Thousand
6.    Which famous Hollywood actor was buried in his Dracula costume? – – – Bela Lugosi
7.    Who is the only character in Eastenders who has been in it since it was first aired in February 1985? – – – Ian Beal
8.    Spats Columbo is the bad guy in which popular black and white film? – – – Some Like It Hot
9.    What was the name of Sonny Crockett’s pet alligator in the TV series Miami Vice? – – – Elvis
10.    For each of the following real names, give their stage name:
a: Declan Patrick MacManus (singer-songwriter)
b: Brian Hugh Warner
c: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (singer-songwriter)
d: Maurice Cole
a: Elvis Costello
b: Marilyn Manson
c: Lady Gaga
d: Kenny Everett

Tunes and Artists

Fail to snog the bird/bloke from accounts who you thought fancied you and you invited along in the hope of finally getting some rumpo after all these lonely, godforsaken years? Go home and cry? Thought so. Well, take heart because at least you’re not ELTON JOHN. What a miserable birthday the poor lad had this year. All his mates – including BILLY JOEL, CHRIS REA, NEIL TENNANT, JANET STREET PORTER, BRIAN MAY, CHARLIE WATTS, JASON ORANGE, RONAN FROM BOYZONE, BOB GELDOF, TONY MORTIMER and EVERY FAMOUS PERSON ALIVE TODAY turned up at his fancy dress 50th birthday ball dressed like twats. Elton arrived in a removal van the inside of which was done out like a Louis The Somethin’or other boudoir with rugs, antique paintings, flimsy furniture and three strapping ‘servants’ in togas. His costume was so grossly extravagant that his pompadour made him over nine feet tall and the train on his satin bedjacket was 15 feet long, hence the need for the lorry limo. And not because he’s a stinking rich fat bastard or anything… 3 COLOURS RED and GENE were spotted at GOLD BLADE’s 100 Club show… sorry, we mean ELASTICA, NEIL HANNON, SHARLEEN FROM TEXAS, GENE, KENICKIE, GENEVA, EMMA LUSH and CRADLE OF FILTH all came out of the closet as fully paid-up members of the SUEDE fanclub when they turned up at the Suedester’s Obsessionists Only gig at the Kentish Town Forum at the weekend. Those ever-flamboyant Kenickie girls proved themselves to be the biggest Suedettes in the world by screaming the words to the entire B-sides-only set and bullying everyone in the balcony to “get up and dance, yer wusses!”