Thursday, 13 December 2007

Loopy Christmas Do 2007

Present: All

Venue: The Chestnut Horse in Easton

Armed with crackers with footballing snowmen in them [thanks to Minty], the Loopy boys managed to clear the pub with an impromptu table top soccer match.

Actually, that didn't happen. The Loopy Boys waited for all the other diners to leave before they dared to get the footballing snowmen out and even then they were scared they'd get told off.

Set List:

Ad - Avacodo & Bacon Salad, Chicken Supreme Forestiere
Eg - Avacado & Bacon Salad, Steak with Peppercorn Sauce
Fea - Moules, Scallops with a risotto
Gi - Avacado & Bacon Salad, Rib Eye Steak
Tom - Salmon and Prawn parcels with an Avocado Purée, Scallops with a risotto

Extras: 'Jenga' chips, unordered (but happily accepted) Fries, a couple of salads
Desserts: Brulées, Chocolate Fondant and some cheese + coffees

[From left to right: Felix, Eg, Tom, Ad, Gi]

The bill was paid with Loopy funds thanks to the Wootton Bassett gig in August. Ad was going to be denied a starter due to the missing of one of the year's gigs. But rapidly earned it back when he pointed out that he had been the link that got the Wootton Bassett gig.

Topics of Conversation: How to choose a wine [check it's the cheapest], the general deportment of the waitress, plans for next year [EP], the science behind getting the best seats on flights,

Monday, 5 November 2007

Gig: The Bear, North Moreton, Oxon

Order of Play: Loopy, Elvis Wannabes, Loopy

The Bear. A pub in North Moreton. It receives the CAMRA's Pub of the Year Award for 2007. What better way to celebrate than to get Loopy to pop out some banging toons.

Only to be sabotaged by four very different impersonations of Elvis Presley by the boys. Well, Giles, very sensibly, opted out of this latest piece of baffling buffoonery while the others each sang a song from the Elvis discography.

The first set suffered a little from guitar-string breakage and the fluidity of the set collapsed. But Eg was on home turf and the locals seemed to enjoy watching, as if at a zoo, the five pop gods stand around looking embarrassed. Ad's Purple Platforms and Hot Pink Leather Flared Hipster Pantaloons seemed to keep their eyes focussed.

Plenty of people watched and as the evening drew on more ventured on to the dance floor.

Then the four Elvi went on. At first it looked likely to be cancelled due to a skipping CD Walkman until a local lad stepped in to nip home and get his. Like a Lamb to the Slaughter.

Felix began with Always On My Mind. Ad howled out Heartbreak Hotel. Tom camply savaged The Wonder of You and Eg saved the whole idea by swivelling his hips in the direction of two young ladies who immediately rose to the challenge and danced to his interesting rendition of Suspicious Minds. It was almost as if they had been paid.

The second set continued with a full dance floor until the end. Many appreciative folk thanked the band afterwards. Which is nice.

Oh yes, and there was free beer. And food.

Gi's car battery, the Pair of Pants joke, Firework Night, Phoebe, Jessie and Shelley running out as Father and husband Eg, started his Elvis song. Shocking.

Whatever came to mind at the time.
Elvis set - to be available in a forthcoming popcast.
Fea: Always On My Mind
Ad: Heartbreak Hotel
Tom: The Wonder of You
Eg: Suspicious Minds

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Pre-gig Practice

Present: All

Eg had a prepared set list to run through. Amazingly. Though the gig on Saturday is being held at his local. He's got more to lose than the rest of the band.

Tom's delayed, something to do with the wrong type of Bex on the tracks.

Amp volume issues are discussed in a lively manner.

Felix leaves before pub-time.

Post-Practice Pint Topics of Conversation include: Tom's holiday from which he has just returned. The buying of a new pedal. The pathetic late night fight between the full bladder and the desperate desire to continue sleeping and it's inevitable victor. Ad sets off a burglar alarm in quiet Boxford whilst trying to let a coughing cat out of friend's seemingly light-switchless and very dark house earlier this week. The position of the coin that needed to be placed on flexi-discs. Tom's pornographic flexidiscs. Gi's fleece, the difficult-to-reach headlining band of the previous gig and the major Tom/Ad faux pas [unwittingly warning the wife of the lead singer of the next band that his band was awful]. The difficulty of sleeping on long and short haul flights. Eg finds it easier to sleep on short haul. Fancy that. The Elvis performances this Saturday.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Gig: The X, Exeter Hall, Oxford.

Order of Play: Cyrus, Loopy, Non-stop Tango.

We had an audience. Which is always nice. Though Non-stop Tango managed to drive them out onto the street a short way in to their set after us. Earlier, during the sound-check, Ad, Gi and Tom witnessed this experimental electro punk group do a sample of their thang and remained open-mouthed until they realised it was their turn to set up.

Leo was on hand to help. Eg turned up last.

We were blessed with a Sound Engineer called James [who claimed to recall seeing us at The Point twelve years ago] and a compère, Richard [who booked Loopy to play the Zodiac at the end of March last year].

Cyrus, one man and his guitar, had a nicely comfortable and relaxed stage presence. He apologises for his short cover of Dancing Queen.

Quote of the Gig: Sound engineer to Eg during the set regarding his active use of the microphone stand. "It may be rock n roll to you but that stand is 45 quid to me"

Eg puffs out his chest in pride.

Faux Pas of the Gig: Ad comes off stage and garrulously informs a friend and her female companion about the awful experience awaiting them with the next band. Yes, the female companion was indeed the wife of the lead singer of that next band.

Second Faux Pas of the Gig ('Pas de deux'): Tom comes off stage and urgently informs a friend and her female companion about the awful experience awaiting them with the next band. Yes, the female companion is STILL the wife of the lead singer of that next band.

Post-Performance Pint Patter: The Elvis impersonations each Loopy member must do. Fea's upset he can't do Always On My Mind. Gi claims he doesn't want to play. The butter nut squash incident.

Blue Cortina
The Smile
Better Off
Lay Your Table
Kids in America
Meet Me In The Corner
Too Late
Evel Knievel

Audience wanted more? Check.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Full Pre-Gig Rehearsal with an Audience

Present: All

We had a guest this week in the tall, looming shape of Big Dave. Friend of Ad who had nothing better to do this evening.

Full pre-gig rehearsal continued under the mellifluous influence of Tesco's value lager. 2%. Gi informs everyone that 'they can't call it beer' because of it's alcohol value.

Dave owns up to having given his copy of This Year's Evel Knievel to his maid in South Africa, who loves it. Then makes up for the unwitting faux pas by asking to buy a copy later.

Fea left before the pub. Three and a half month old newborn Edith needs feeding back at home.

Post Practice Pint Topics of Conversation: The forthcoming gig at the Exeter Hall in Oxford. Where should the Loopy Christmas Do be held this year. The Mexican food served up at the Mongolian Wok, not. Eg's ideas for the next Loopy Popcast - each band member do an Elvis impersonation and we all judge a winner. Tom to get the backing tracks.

Big Dave isn't quite sure this is real.

Friday, 5 October 2007

It Must Be Love Under An Umb-er-ella

Ad, Eg, Gi, Tom

A clutch(?) of four songs has become staple practice process recently with our shared desire to release them as a CD maxi-single type EP thingy. Maybe that should be the collective noun.... an EP of four songs. No. Sounds terrible.

Four songs. We practice them regularly. Want to release them. Corner of My Mind, Lay Your Table Bare [Tom's Song], Somersaults and The Smile.

Ad introduces his new Zoom H2 handy recorder. Eg brings along the music to Rhianna's 'Umbrella' and Madness's 'It Must Be Love'.

Post Practice Pint Topics of Conversation: Tom's [Diner] Kitchen - Eg's pessimistic prophecy that it would be ready in the summer turns out to have been an optimistic one. Disney Land - paying to have your photograph taken with Minnie Mouse. High School Musical - it's a cross between Grease and Kids from Fame [Ad perks up, Gi looks bemused], the kids love it [Eg's Jessie and he have scripted the next two films - bedtime stories aren't what they used to be].

Download and Listen to this month's Gig Alert

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Ad, Eg, Gi, Tom

Tried a new song - Not Too Late and another stab at making You Are The One a bit more universally enjoyed. Ben left Tom with the key to the studio as he left early and there was no-one else in the place.

Post Practice Pint at the Pub Topics of Conversation included: Gi asks 'Do fish sleep? - Eg thinks so, Ad reckons that they must 'sleep-swim'. The success of the previous weekend's gig. Spraying essence of Basil over your meal in a restaurant. Eg's superior Gig Negotiation Skills by allowing a venue owner to barter up our gig fee from an initially acceptable £0.00 to £250.00. The outrageous invariability of the shape of your average supermarket tomato.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Fattened Up Practice

Ad, Eg, Fea, Gi, Tom and Paul

Stand-in bass player Paul has his final practice with the band before Saturday's gig. Odd having two bass players on the go.

Car park unusually jammed this evening.

Fea has to leave before the Post Practice Pint.

Post Practice Pint Topics of conversation: pensions, Gi leaving his job, Eg's terrible idea for a television slot on an Ant 'n' Dec Saturday night TV programme, Fea gets a puncture on his way home and phones Eg for help, while everyone is talking about Pot Noodles. Ad remembers using his collection of empty Pot Noodle pots as a spare bed leg back at University. Paul didn't get a cold till he was 16 years old thanks to him being breast-fed. Remarkable

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Practice, yes, slimmed down, yes,

Ad, Fea, Tom

Practised playing songs without vocals with the view of speeding up our recording sessions later. 'The Smile', 'Somersaults', 'Found By You', 'The Corner of your Mind'.

We also tried 'I Can See Clearly Now' and played 'Change', 'Sparkle and Shine'.

Fea went home before the post practice pint at the pub leaving Tom and I to talk nonsense at the bar.

Topics of conversation for the evening: Tom over-estimating the size of his eldest daughter's school after claiming she was the best in the school at 'x', Ad should be a primary school teacher but always looks deflated when that is suggested, the podcasting business and to improve one's product. Rock and Roll.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Gig: Wootton Bassett

The Wootton Bassett Carnival. Or Street Fete, or whatever.

Two sets. One at 1245hrs and the other at 1545hrs.

Elvis supported us. Weather fantastic. Small thronglette of support.

Wayne the village 'character in the street' was our Bez.

Cricklade was mentioned a few times.

Lots of people requesting CDs afterwards. Which is always a good sign. Apart from the woman who desperately wanted an Elvis CD not a loopy one. Ad informed her that he believed Elvis already had a couple of albums in the shops. She slapped him with the back of a loopy CD and walked off saying that she was Cricklade too. Odd.

Thanks to Wendy, Jan and Ash for the help with the photos.

Kids in America
Corner of my mind
Ordinary Life
The Smile
Lay your table
Town called Malice
I'm a believer
Saw Her Standing There
Mustang Sally

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Full Practice: at The Ilsleys

Ad, Eg, Fea, Gi, Tom

Squeezed in before the gig the following day. Gi looking refreshed from his Spanish Holiday. We met at 10am. We set up in Fea's classroom. And enjoyed the space. We cracked on through Eg's initial set list and, worryingly, it all went rather well.

We had a halfway break in the staff room. With no milk. Ad and Eg continue to display some sort of thought harmony by both appearing with those travel mugs for the day. Topics of conversation included Academic Qualifications and what they really mean. Fea tried to interest everyone in his school's achievements. Eg vowed never to send his children there.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Slimmed Down Practice V: Gig Approaching

Ad, Eg, Tom

Ad arrived four hours early. Talk about one extreme to the other. Ben's looking a bit tired thanks to his slightly overweight baby boy. It also appears that someone has pinched the sound desk from the room we've been using. Eg hands over some Big Red from Chattanooga for Tom whose car is overheating. We find out that Fea's guitar, with which he's been lovingly playing for years under the impression it was a Fender, is actually a Squire. Fea's mortified. Ad is back from South Africa.

This evening was spent going through the songs we were planning on playing for the following Sunday's Festival in Wootton Bassett.

Post Practice Pint Topics of Conversation
Tom's concerns over people's false sense of Self during Karaoke - thanks to the clamouring of wives and girlfriends [although not his]. Public performance liability insurance. The Loopy Facebook group. Eg's changing rooms. Podcast possibilities. Leaving copies of Evel Knievel in places around South Africa and the US. Someone asking us to stop sending them our mailing list emails. Webstats telling us we have a Chinese audience out there. In China.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Slimmed Down Practice IV

Ad, Eg, Tom

With Felix on paternity and Giles unavailable the only record we're spinning tonight is the number of consecutive 'Slimmed Down' practices. Which is very 'exciting' seeing as we're rapidly approaching another gig. August 5th. Wootton Bassett. Festival. Which probably means it's a village fête or something.

Tonight we were in the back room again. And in view of the recent spate of Pub Last Order Failures, Eg brought some tinned Tanglefoot. Genius.

Songs of note: 'I Can See Clearly Now' cover.

Oh. And Studio Rehearsal fees have gone up.

We did indeed make it in time for a pint at The Willow Tree.

Post Practice Pint Topics of Conversation: Ad finds out he's lost money on shares in MICE. Fraud Squad involved an' all. Eg's off to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Tom's weekend street gig. How to do a management buy out. Grooming young boys to sing our songs.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Slimmed Down Practice III

Ad, Fea, Tom

Another three out of five evening.

Started off with Ben filling us in on his new born and how big he has already grown [Arlo, not Ben] in just eight days. We set up in the back room, the old 'control room'. There's still that massive duvet in there. Or is it a futon?

Muscle memory is a wonderful thing - we churned out some oldies tonight. Emma Wray, Naked, OX4[failed] and 'Someone' into 'Startin' Out' again. 'April 30' and 'Change' soon followed.

Tom added some subtle and strategic piano to 'Sparkle'.

We nearly missed last orders at the Willow Tree, our new favourite post-practice pint pub, and enjoyed it in the suprisingly spacious garden at the back. Round tables and parasols, a warm evening, great company and as Fea pointed out, it felt like we were on holiday.

Topics of conversation included: GoogleGroups. Tom misses the way the Alsatian used to greet him at the other pub. How Good We Really Are. Squeaky cigarette butts. Tom's Bex going to see George Michael at Wembley for free because she's a nurse. Gi helping Tom learn to ride a motorbike. Ad being sure that everyone was there when he, sitting on Eg's front door step in 1996[?], had to phone Viv, our lovely ex-backing singer, that she was no longer required and was in fact, from then on, an ex-backing singer.

Oh the memories.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Another Slimmed Down Practice

Ad, Eg, Fea

Well, what's going on? This week it was Tom's turn to join Gi on the list of absentees. This time we were in the old recording studio. Ben had his son, Arlo, last week and is currently enjoying that glazed look that new fathers seem to get soon after child arrival.

Fea discovered he had lost some metal thing that goes under his strings off his guitar. The very moment he noticed it, Ben said that he had found it last week. A successful impromptu attempt at covering 'I Can See Clearly Now' [after Eg had picked up the words and music off the floor from another band's rehearsal] went rather well. Easier to learn than the newly attempted loopy classic-to-be 'Gallery of You'. Progress made on 'Sparkle' and another great 'Someone' into 'Startin' Out'. More accurate remembering of '24 Hours' too.

Panic ensued as our attempt to find that End of Night Pint was thwarted by the early closing of the three nearest pubs. What's going on? So we ended up sitting by the river, on a bench enjoying the Emergency Beer Supply that Ad keeps in the boot of his car. The teenagers skateboarding over on the other bank looked awfully envious.

Topics of Conversation: The gig that will clear our debt to the North Moreton auction that Eg committed us to. How many GCSEs is a degree worth? Religious schools advertising for teachers with their specific faith: is it legal? Having a beer with your daughter. The naivety of new cooing new fathers and the smugness of the listening older fathers.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Slimmed Down Band Practice

Fea, Ad, Tom

Valley Studios

Newer songs practised. Enjoyed reviving 'Someone' and 'Starting Out', plus we tried to remember '24 Hours'. And failed. Ben [Mr Valley Studios] was practising with one of his bands, passing the time while he was waiting for his girlfriend to give birth. Indeed, her waters had broken at 2pm. But no contractions. By tomorrow he should be a father. Bless him. Paid him for both the night's practice plus the short notice cancellation of last week. D'Oh!

Finished off with the usual pint at our new favourite local. Topics of conversation: Loopy blog, an inability to cope with technology, being on a stag weekend, an over-sensitivity to narrow-minded people.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Band Practice Cancelled: Bloody Rayners

We are family. And indeed we are. We haven't seen the absent Rayners Bruce and Tobin for ages. Tobin's still banging on about a certain bass player needing a new bass and a certain bass player looking more rotund than when he last saw this certain bass player. But there he was looking as emaciated as ever. Exactly.

We all met up in the Queen's Head in Newbury Market Square. Talked about names for babies, ebay, the girl who kept trying to take our empties, Bruce's partner's dressing gown [Where did it go?] and mobile phones making that annoying shutter noise for when they take pictures ['it's The Law' according to Eg] ['Really?' gasps everyone else]['No it's not, you plonkers' according to Ad].

First time in quite a while that all Rayner brothers were in one place at one time. Yawn. Must be nice for one family to share such a responsibility for the World's overcrowding. There's always Tom and I to keep it real. As ever. Though we clearly missed the opportunity to reduce the Rayner genetic footprint that evening.

Anyway, all this meant Ben at Valley Studios had to go without our rehearsal noise. So at least someone's happy.

Ad, Eg, Fea, Gi, Tom,
Luisa, Bruce and Tobin

Friday, 11 May 2007

The Hobbit, Southampton

Fruitbat screeching behind the bar, the awkward parking, the paddling pool to get through to the urinals in the gents, the late night three setter. No changes back at The Hobbit then.

This time we had Oxford's very own Shirley to kill off the first set for us.

And how good were they? Tight, poppy quality songs. We loved them. With our old pal Alan on guitar. I think this was when Eg decided we were going to get Alan to do a turn on stage with us. Teenage Kicks would do.

So our 2 set performance was the usual mélange of Loopy old and new with plenty of covers thrown in. And whilst Shirley were clearly the 'musicians' of the night, loopy - as headliners - were always going to enjoy the audience at their drunkest. Though I have to say, after we had called Alan from the audience for his Teenage Kicks stint, thereafter the audience shouted 'We Want Alan' after nearly every song. Very funny. Perhaps.

Quote of the evening:
"I've just worked out why we're all acting so happy: it's the band" girl at the bar, heard by Tom during the break after the first set.


Mixture of classics ... and other [popular] classics.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

The Railway, Winchester

"This is our last gig, cos in a few months time we're all going our separate ways to University" was what the fresh-faced lead singer proclaimed before launching into the last number. I'm Widely Spread. That was their band name. There were a lot of them on stage too. They were indeed widely spread. And they were supporting us. Though to be honest, we should have supported them. Good songs, a good feel and, most importantly of all for these small venues, a good following.

It was Fea who was the first to break his silence. How he longed for that youth again. And, to be honest, they were a seemingly good advert for it. Bastards. And let's face it. Fea is getting on a bit.

When I'm Widely Spread left the stage, so did their fans abandon the floor. Leaving seven of ours old faithfuls looking somewhat embarrassed at their shoes. We've had lower attendances but the years have made them seem few and far between, and this was one of the funniest. So we treated it as a band practice with friends. Which is always nice.

Sound Engineer:
  • Isaac - often seen at Valley Studios.

Support Acts:
  • I'm Widely Spread
  • Parcel Force
  • Hearts Pumping
  • The Smile
  • Ordinary Life
  • Wish I Was Someone Else
  • Wonderful
  • You Are The One
Catrine Barry