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One gig, one wedding and two injuries…

We had been looking forward to this bank holiday weekend for a while, featuring as it did a friend’s wedding, to be held in a beautiful RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden that we’re lucky enough to have nearby, here in North Devon.

But that wasn’t to be until Sunday lunchtime and I hadn’t got anything else planned, other than a spot of payday weekend shopping for a wedding present and a smart pair of black jeans to go with my jacket for the wedding.
And Elaine needed shoes.

As it happened she didn’t find any, but while she was searching for them I retired to the pub to escape the hordes of grockles in the high street and while I was there I bumped into an old friend, one who had starred in a previous post, the one with the samurai sword.

I was sitting on the decking, enjoying the sunshine, when I heard a familiar voice loudly proclaiming that;
– “I don’t go looking for trouble you know”
I couldn’t resist;
– “No, it just comes looking for you doesn’t it Terry”
– “That’s right mate. See?”, he said to his unseen companion “I told you, it’s not my fault”
– “It just better not come looking for you when you’ve got a sword in your hand though, huh?”, I hazarded.
“Oh THAT’S RIGHT, bring THAT up again why don’t you!” he shouted in (I hoped) mock-outrage.

His displeasure vanished as quickly as it’d appeared however, leading him to regale us with another episode of DIY surgery-themed lunacy;
Whilst showing off his authentic, razor sharp, Japanese katana samurai sword to his girlfriend’s young daughter, Terry drew the lethal blade vertically out of its scabbard, holding it in front of him.
Unfortunately for him, he had neglected to check which way round the blade was facing before doing so and, as the weapon came free of its cover, the end of it sliced up the front of Terry’s stomach.

Now, far be it for me to cast aspersions on his character, but I suspect that he may have consumed a few beverages prior to his impromptu disembowelment exercise, rendering him mercifully anesthetized and, as his girlfriend put it when she arrived mid-way through the tale;
– “I said “For fuck’s sake Terry, you’ve cut your stomach open” he just looked at me and said he was fine. I said “look, you’ve cut right through your t-shirt and your stomach” but he was pissed and just told me not to be so bloody stupid”
Terry then returned to the conversational fray;
“Brand new bloody Animal t-shirt it was too. Anyway I went to bed, coz I’d had a few drinks, and when I woke up I couldn’t move. Couldn’t roll over. I’m lying there on my stomach going (shouting) “Kelly! Kelly, I can’t fucking move!””
Kelly interjected again at this point;
“And I said “That’s because you cut your stomach open last night and the blood’s stuck you to the sheets”

Nobody likes an I-told-you-so.

It turned out, when they finally reached the hospital, having peeled him off the bedsheets, that had he gone there the night before, they would probably have stitched him up. As it was, lying face down and unconscious for several hours on the clean cut inflicted by the deadly blade had effectively sealed the wound and he required merely to be taped up and sent on his way with, no doubt, weary shaking of heads and amusement from the hospital staff.

As we were there and she had our attention, Kelly also proceeded to tell us of the time Terry had thought it deeply amusing to push her out of bed in the morning, sending her sprawling naked on the floor.
Waiting until he had nodded off again, Kelly returned to bed and after a suitable period to lull him into a sufficient sense of security, turned side-on and used both feet to propel him bodily out of bed and onto the floor.
At least it would have been the floor, had Terry not left an empty pint glass next to the bed the night before.
As Kelly cheerfully explained;
“He was bent double in the corner of the bedroom for about half an hour going “Oooooph! Oooooph!”, it was hilarious. When we got him up the hospital the doctor said it was lucky it wasn’t a cheap, thin glass, it would have smashed and killed him instantly. But it’s ok, it was a good strong one, it broke three of his ribs instead”

Well, quite.

As if that wasn’t enough entertainment for one day, that same evening, as I was waiting for a takeaway, a rare payday treat, friend, ex- colleague and musician Steve Conway strolled past and asked if I fancied going to see a band in town that night.
So Friday night, I was in the upstairs room of a local Mexican restaurant called Jalapeño Peppers, listening to the angular and energetic indie rock of a band Steve had been a member of last time I’d seen them, CAPTAL.

It was a really good set, the evening having what Steve described as “an historic feel”, so if they suddenly hit the big time tomorrow, we can say we were there at their breakthrough gig.
Anyway, check them out at the link above and here are a few photos I took on the night.

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And so finally to the main event, Jon and Lisa’s wedding.
Sadly the weather let them down, as it veered between overcast and downright wet all day on Sunday, meaning the wedding photographs had to be cut short.
This was especially unfortunate given the setting, RHS Rosemoor, a large and beautifully maintained garden in Torrington.
They had chosen to have the ceremony in the thatched building in the English Cottage Garden and though the rain kept off just long enough for them to tie the knot, immediately afterwards the skies opened and we all made a dash for the extremely enjoyable reception, but not before I’d taken a quick, damp stroll around some of the grounds to take a few snaps.

So here’s a brief taste of Rosemoor in the rain, starting with the picturesque thatched hut where the ceremony took place..

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…which stands in amongst the lush planting of the cottage garden..

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..with its ornamental pond and pergola..

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…and as part of a Tolkien exhibit that is currently on show throughout the grounds, an unexpected guest watched from the roof of a gazebo.

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There are more formal parts of the garden too, bisected by imposing avenues of clipped hedging…

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..leading to distinct “garden rooms” such as the formal rose garden and the vivid and eclectic planting of the sunken garden.

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It was a pity the English bank holiday weekend weather made us cut our visit short, but I will return in the summer when the sun is out to give you a more extended view of Rosemoor. In the meantime, if you want to visit and see for yourself, click on THIS LINK or the one above and discover the other delights this beautiful place has to offer.

{The Tolkien exhibit runs until the end of August}

 

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Double century musical rewind…

I was pleased and somewhat amazed to note that my last article was the 200th post on Diary of an Internet Nobody, a milestone that, back in June 2012 would have seemed like an unreachable goal.
Back then the only thing I was sure of was that there would be no theme to the blog, and that the one thing it wouldn’t be was an excuse for me to rant evangelically about all the music I’d been listening to.

Well, since then I’ve blogged about everything from faith to photography, Easter to etymology and movie mash-ups to magic mushrooms, but even with that wide range of topics, music has never been far away.
No matter if it was shoehorning a tune into a post with the intention of illustrating a point, embedding video clips of bands playing at festivals we attended, or simply cramming as many songs as possible into a  tenuously linked, stream of consciousness daisy chain, just for the hell of it, I don’t seem to be able to resist dropping a musical reference in there somewhere.

As I’d given in to temptation a couple of weeks ago and devoted two whole posts to the glorious days of ’80s synth-pop, and never having been one to pass up the chance to promote talented artists I admire, I thought I’d take the opportunity afforded by my double century of blog posts to look back at some of the musically inclined folks I’ve met since opening the door onto the Great Big Internet just a few short years ago.

Even as I began writing this post it occurred to me that I’ve been lucky enough to meet, or be introduced to, a great many gifted musicians through the magic of cyberspace.
Whether it was via friends I already knew, fellow bloggers, or new acquaintances I made on Facebook, there’s no shortage of talent out there just waiting to be discovered.
So today I’d like to present my very own showcase of audio-visual highlights from my time spent trawling the ether, for your delectation and enjoyment.

Roughnecks.

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One of the many local bands that we are fortunate enough to have around North Devon are these hard rocking, heavy riffing dudes who play classic rock, blues and prog covers. Fronted by a work colleague of mine, Richard Woods, the unusual twist is that not only does he belt out an very creditable Robert Plant impression, he also plays bass and theremin, (strange, spacey electronic gizmo, played by passing one’s hand through the instrument’s invisible magnetic field) allowing for some other-worldly effects on songs by gig favourites, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

In this suitably psychedelic clip they take on Led Zep’s You Shook Me.

Duncan Virgoe.

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An old friend of mine and consummate singer/songwriter/musician (plus a couple of roles in successful stage musicals) Duncan has featured previously on the blog as the subject of a video experiment we made to accompany one of his own compositions. Since he has made a new, improved version of the video, I thought I’d remind you of the song, the deeply funky He Come To Pass.

Katy Virgoe.

Music clearly flows in the veins of the Virgoe family, as Duncan’s teenage daughter Katy shows in this clip of her performing her own song, Please Don’t Cry.

Jono Harrison.

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Almost as though I was back in Tenuous Lynx mode, the chain of connections goes on, as my next clip is from Jonathan “Jono” Harrison, compatriot of Duncan from their touring band The Freaking Musos and rising star in his own right.
A singer/songwriter who has in recent months toured with big names such as The Cutting Crew and 10cc, I first met Jono when he came down with Duncan to play some busman’s holiday gigs at pubs on the North Devon coast a few years ago.

Here he is with one of his own songs, Josephine Waits.

…and the daisy chain continues with the multi-talented drummer from that same touring band, Joe Caple.
Under his pseudonym of Caveman Genius, Joe works as musician, producer and owner of Paper Bones records in Brighton.
In the first of two clips, here’s a video made by FishBoy for the Caveman Genius track, Jim.

…and from one of Joe’s other projects, indie band Wild Cat Strike,  another FishBoy video for Buried at Sea.

Continuing the Brighton theme, here’s a treat for any lovers of British hip-hop, the more-street-than-I’ll-ever-hope-to-be, mischievous stoner rap of Benaddict on Yogocop records with Anomeric.

….and the equally weed-stoked Rain

After all that herbal high-jinx, how about going Up on Acid Mountain with the fabulously twangy sound of my friend Banjo Dai, a man who really knows how to pick those strings…

LISTEN HERE

…as does one of my acquaintances from across the pond, Mike Mando. Here he is with the band he plays in, S.P.I.N. (Soul Patch Is Neat)

…and for those of you that appreciate something a little more experimental and electronic, how about the trance-like soundscapes of a Gareth Farmer aka Carbonates on Mars.

CHECK OUT “CYBERVILLE” HERE.

But if you want something a bit grimier, sample a taste of The Dark Lord of Dance himself, the enigmatic, reclusive and currently dormant Ludwig Hiscariot.

Here is his take on Danny Elfman’s theme to Beetlejuice

…along with an original piece, Candle Dance, which he was good enough to compose for one of my early experiments in stop-motion animation.

Finally, here’s a link to a friend and ex-workmate (and shoo in for the next Dr Who) Steve “the Dr” Conway, veteran of many bands and still finding time for composing and playing solo music, despite his fancy new job at our local college.

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There’s a link to a fine selection of his songs below, please take a listen to those and all the other artists’ material, because supporting up and coming, local and underground talent like this can only help ensure our rich musical heritage stays alive and vibrant for the enjoyment of generations of music fans to come.

STEVE CONWAY’S REVERBNATION PAGE.

Thanks for listening, hope you found something to interest, excite, or intrigue you.

{Additional artist photos courtesy of Duncan Virgoe, Jono Harrison and Steve Conway}

 

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