Reminiscences 2001-10

Tonite we're gonna party like it's 1999

I was feeling a bit stressed around this time and managed to divest myself of topiary with an attack of alopecia. As you might imagine, it was another shock - wedding photographs were not that flattering (see opposite).

With the millenium past (what a non-event!), and myself and Janet married, I got a call one day from Paul Shuttleworth. He had been offered the chance to tour with the Naughty Rhythms 2001 tour, featuring the Feelgoods, Canned Heat and John Otway, and wondered if I wanted to be part of it. I think he missed the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. I had been missing the live stage as well, and so I agreed to have a go. Having no hidden agendas this time, we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Driving round the country in a draughty Transit van was like being given a chance to revisit our youth, this time with no tantrums, and it was good to see people who had come to see us years ago. I had managed to hawk a few G2 CDs on the road. The band photograph shown opposite was one featuring Richie. We had a couple of rehearsals and a gig up in Macclesfield for which the support band pulled more punters. I think after that, Richie said that a big job had come up for which he'd have to drop out of the tour. Paul knew of a replacement bass, one Trevor Newham, who was an excellent player. The tour went ahead. The band was not really representative of the real Kursaals - but what the hell! I did meet Richard Holgarth, who was playing sidekick guitar to John Otway. Being Tottenham afficionados, we got on extremely well. it was good to see him get the gig in the latest version of the Hot Rods.

The Kursaals did a few gigs in the early part of the noughties to little or no punters. We got offered a chance to revisit Sweden which sounded like a good idea. Trouble was, there was just as little interest in Sweden as there was in the UK, so it was pretty disappointing, in terms of the live performances and absence of more than 10 audience persons per gig. The audience were magic and tried their best but it didn't feel right on stage; I didn't feel I performed very well and thus I was left with no choice but to leave. One of the problems was that there was no groove in the playing - I was trying to adapt to what I heard, but, for competent musicians, there was no feel, just chord charts on stage. Nothing against the guys, who were all pleasant enough, but not enough enjoyment, no buzz! Paul knocked it on the head for that version of the Kursaals, and formed the Ugly Guys, with Vic, Bobbie Clouter and Andy Farrell, the original bass for Eddie and the Blizzards, who are playing basically what the Kursaaals started out playing, eg country rock covers. Probably a wise decision, as the Kursaals without Vic was never half as good.

I did do a solo performance in the summer of 2008 at the Brownstock festival in the wilds of Essex. In recent years it has become quite popular.

In late 2008, My brother, Andrew, managed to attract the attention of a very beautiful actress, one Lenore Thomas. He invited most of his blood family to LA for a wedding in Santa Barbara. Our visit included a stopover in NYC, where Lenore's brother, Richard, and his wife, Tammi, provided us with accommodation for a few nights before we both joined Andrew and Lenore in LA. Janet was quite taken with Manhattan; I was pleased to be back in the City as well, so we did a bit of sightseeing. MOMA, Gulbenkian, Empire State, 5th Avenue, Chinatown, Battery Park and Bleeker Street. CBGBs had disappeared but it all brought back many happy memories.

On to LAX, to be met by bro' Andrew and Steve Haisman. Couched at his house just off Los Felis, Janet and I had a chance to visit some new parts of LA that I, previously, hadn't managed to get to on my last visit. A day at Universal Studios and a visit to the Griffiths Observatory later to have a starring role in Star Trek - First Contact, together with the open-air wedding ceremony at Shutters on the Beach just along from Santa Monica Pier again, a favourite location for numerous Hollywood movies. were the highlights. One or two photographs opposite are evidential of our visit.