Various Lies

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fairwell, dear Charlotte

I've been playing drums, off and on, for a long time. I am nearly twenty-fourteen, so that makes it more than half my life. I have played many, many, many gigs with many bands. I've got a lot of stories and a lot of fucking great memories. Some may appear on this site from time to time. In fact, one of the driving forces behind me leaving the lab bench was to try and get my life back, meaning I could join a band again. I haven't played drums in anger for two years now. I even have two kits; an accoustic and an electric. Gathering dust.

Ho hum.

Anyway, I was saddened to see this article, mailed to me by my chum NorthernStu, who had the undefinable honour of being my first bass player. This is the venue we played our first ever, real life gig at...

The Princess Charlotte is going to close. The Charlotte is a brilliant, raggedy, shit hole of a pub in downtown Leicester, UK. It's the city I grew up in, after leaving home at 18.

I remember the gig vividly. I was so fucking terrified I think I actually pissed myself a little bit. You realise very very quickly, within the opening bars of the first song, that pricking around for a couple of months, getting high and "jamming" is not the same thing as actually learning and rehearsing songs.

You realise even faster, the sound man is drunk and probably a cunt, and your monitor mix is so wank you can't even hear your own drums, let alone the vocal cues you're relying on.

You realise that when bands posture on stage, and the guitarist comes right up the drums and headbangs and it's so fucking cool you want to die and go to rock heaven, that what they're really doing is signaling each other because they need the cues to stay in time and on tempo. Because they can't hear a fucking thing.

Years (and bands) later I was proud of my ability to sit behind my drums, alone in a rehearsal room, and play an entire set from memory, with no accompaniment.

I learned a hard lesson the first time I played The Charlotte. It has stood me well, in bands and in life. Practice Hard, Prepare Hard and Play Hard.

We'll you miss, you beer-sodden old bitch.

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