Monthly Archives: November 2014

To Go Or Not To Go? – There She Goes Again!

To go or not to go – that was the question trundling through my head at the start of last week.

None of my usual partners in crime were showing the slightest sniff of interest.

If I went, I’d have to go alone. Was that even “normal”? (That particular thought lasted a split second as normal doesn’t usually apply!)

Logic – if I didn’t go then I would spend Thursday evening sulking and wishing I had. If I did go and it didn’t turn out too well then I’d wasted my money and given my detractors ammunition to last until Christmas.

Well, you only live once. So I decided to go!

Those of you who have been following my posts should’ve figured out by now where this is heading.

The cause of my great deliberation was, of course, another gig. This time it was The Quireboys 30th Anniversary gig at The Garage, Glasgow.

I loved their first album – still do – and have loved their last two but I have never seen them live. The latest CD came with a live CD and a DVD. Both of these are great but did leave me slightly concerned that this 30th Anniversary tour may involve just too much beer, if you catch my drift.

At the end of the day, there was only one way to find out. Cue another log in to Ticketmaster and Hey Presto once more I held a concert ticket in my hands.

This was going to be a first on two levels. First Quireboys show but also the first gig I’d gone to on my own – unchaperoned!

As I boarded the train, I have to admit it felt a little odd heading off into the darkness without at least one of my usual chaperones. Being the creature of habit that I am, once off the train, I set off in search of caffeine to fuel me for the evening. Sitting in iCafe on Sauchiehall St on my own, I watched the world go by as I topped up my caffeine levels. It was beautifully peaceful and relaxed.

Outside the venue, shortly before seven, I joined the end of the short queue that had formed. There were a couple of familiar faces ahead of me that I recognised from other recent gigs. Once inside, and after a quick stop at the merchandising stall to purchase the obligatory t-shirt (slightly disappointed at the lack of choice and that the only shirt on sale didn’t have the tour dates on the back), I headed into the hall and wandered leisurely up to the barrier. Standing there with no concert buddy beside me felt weird but then the first band stepped out on stage and all thoughts of being unchaperoned vanished. I was soon lost in the brilliant opening set by Irish band Preachers Son- highly recommend them!

Behind me the hall was filling up nicely.

The Vargas Blues Band were on next and I have to slip into “girlie mode” for a moment. I’d kill for their lead singer’s hair! Long thick blonde curls. Why do the guys always get the best hair? He was a blur of hair for most of their set as he lost himself in their music and danced in his own hair encased world. Another really great band worth checking out.

By the end of their set, the hall was suitably filled. It wasn’t getting any warmer, mind you! The hall was decidedly chilly- another first for a gig!

As the earlier caffeine had worked its way through the system, I abandoned my barrier position and made my way through the crowd to the ladies room, bumping into two colleagues from work en route. Surprisingly, I was able to return to my previous vantage point with no problems. Now, however, there was a familiar face standing behind me. A FB friend and Scotland’s biggest Massive fan had arrived with his friend. It was great to meet them both and to have some company for The Quireboys set.

Shortly before nine The Quireboys took to the stage. And so began an hour and three quarters of good fun RnFnR J

Yes, Spike had his pint of beer to hand on occasion but, from the spark of mischief in his eyes, he was having as much fun as the crowd were. He sang. We sang. He forgot the lyrics at one point. We sang the correct lyrics back – much to his great amusement.

Hearing “7 O’clock” round off their main set made me regret never having been to a Quireboys show before.

Their encore ended with a rousing rendition of “Sex Party” and, with an anxious glance at my watch, I realised I was tight for time to get back to the station to catch the train home. With a hurried farewell to my fellow Massive fan, I shot off through the crowd and into the night. (Not quite Cinderella trying to beat the stroke of midnight as I kept both Converse on but you get the picture!)

With my mother’s words of warning about staying away from dimly lit streets and not talking to strangers echoing through my head, I trotted briskly back to the sanctuary of the Central Station, catching the train home with time to spare to buy a much needed bottle of water and a cereal bar aka dinner.

As I sat on the train flicking through the photos from the evening, I reflected on my deliberations of earlier in the week.

To go or not to go? Hell, yes! And I can’t wait to go back again when they return next year!

Quireboys collage

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Lost Socks Looking for Sole Mates

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I’ll confess to being ever so slightly OCD about certain things. One of these is the washing – or laundry, if you prefer.

When hanging up wet clothes to dry, whether outdoors on the clothes line or indoors on the clothes drier, radiator or pulley, there is one absolute must. The be all and end off of “washing etiquette”. Socks MUST be hung in pairs.

On the rare occasion that a member of the household assists by hanging up the washing and doesn’t hang the socks in pairs, I can feel myself twitching to fix them. In fact, I have actually been known to re-hang whole loads of washing if they haven’t been hung up to my standards. Crazy, I know.

Girl Child seems to be on a lifelong mission to tip me over the edge when it comes to many things – particularly socks.

For as long as I can remember, she has been a total nightmare with socks. As a baby/toddler, she would haul them off at the first opportunity and hurl them from the pram. Once she got a bit older, she would pull them off and run barefoot until I caught up with her. As she grew older, she developed a new bad habit- one that is still continuing.

She will go to bed wearing her socks (sometimes multiple pairs) then kick them off in her sleep as she becomes too hot. The result here is, of course, a sock graveyard at the foot of the bed.

This is almost bearable as long as the pairs find their way in to the laundry basket.

The occasional odd sock I can deal with- as long as I take slow deep breaths and its mate turns up in the next load of washing.

Last week Girl Child went one step too far. As I hung up the socks, I had not one or two odd socks– not even three. Six!

Six odd socks had come out of one load of washing and were all hers!

An immediate sock hunt ensued in her “bat cave”. More socks were located, lurking under the duvet and cowering on the floor at the foot of the bed.

The next load of laundry resulted in three sock reunions (I love a happy ending).I was almost breathing easily again.

Now, however, several loads later, I still have three sock “orphans”.

Does anyone want to adopt?

images7BBS21EG

The Night That Was Meant To Be

Ever get the feeling that some things are just meant to be? Perhaps it’s fate. Perhaps it’s luck.

A few months back I secured tickets to a concert that I felt sure was going to be “the one” that would realise a lifelong dream for me. (Well, twenty seven years long to be exact so not quite lifelong)

I was wrong.

A little over two weeks ago, a show was announced that was to be held in a small Glasgow venue on 7th November and would be for fans only. Pre-registration via the artist’s website was required in order to qualify for a code that would then allow you to attempt to purchase a maximum of two tickets. In my excitement and haste, I screwed up my registration. I realised my error less than thirty minutes before registration closed. Too late.

The lack of an email landing with a mythical code confirmed my error.

Gutted doesn’t begin to cover it.

Tickets went on sale the next day at 10am. From reports online there were technical glitches with the codes and subsequent sales. Lacking the necessary code I could only sit back and watch my fellow fans try to secure their golden tickets.

Ok , let’s be honest here, I sat back and sulked quietly, trying to console myself that I would get to realise the dream on 4th Dec.

Tickets were duly snapped up and I genuinely thought that was an end to it.

A glimmer of hope emerged around Tuesday lunchtime when a fellow fan hooked me up with another fan who had details of an unused code. There were rumours of balcony seats still being available. However, despite my best efforts online and via phone, I failed to secure tickets.

Gutted for a second time in five days.

Still sulking (big time by now) I was watching TV on Tuesday night, idly playing around on social media on my phone. A post by the artist caught my eye. There were limited tickets left! All I had to do was email the address quoted in the post. You’ve never seen an email sent so fast in your life!

Lady Luck was smiling on me and within ten minutes, amidst much screaming for joy, I held two tickets for the 7th November show in my trembling hands.

All day Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, I silently fretted that perhaps it had been a hoax. Worried that the tickets were fake and I’d been de-frauded out of my £20 and my credit card details. (Blame the paranoia on all the years spent working in a fraud team)

Even on the Friday evening on the train, chaperoned by Boy Child, I was doubting that this was real.

As I stood in the lengthening queue outside the venue, watching Boy Child chitter with cold in his t-shirt and jeans (yes, bad rock mum let him out without a jacket), I doubted that it was really real.

It was only once we’d cleared security (Boy was it tight!), entered the hall and I was standing in front of the merchandising stall that I allowed myself to believe that it might actually be happening.

Lady Luck was still keeping an eye on me as we took our places, two rows off the barrier slightly to the left of centre stage. Almost my ideal spot in the hall.

So who was I there to see? Who had I waited all these years to see play live?

The one and only – Slash.

Ever since I bought “Appetite For Destruction” on vinyl when it was first released, I’ve wanted to see him in concert.

I guess everything does come to she who waits. And, in true recent concert going for, shows are like buses – two have come along at once!

After a fabulous ninety minute set from Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, which literally saw me swept off my feet by the crush in the crowd, my dream was only thirty short minutes away.

Boy Child had his eyes set on the mayhem that lies in front of centre stage and, with my nervous blessing, disappeared off into the crowd in the hope of finding a mosh pit. He did.

Standing in front of me was a young man in a checked shirt, who turned round and said, “If I stand here you’re not going to be able to see, are you?”

My reply was, “No and I’ve waited twenty seven years to see this guy live.”

His face was a picture and, in the perfect act of chivalry, he gave up his spot for me. Thank you, young sir!

Now I was one row off the barrier with a perfect view of the stage.

A creepy freak show intro played, closely followed by a blaze of lights, then there he was. Dream come true – Slash was on stage in full view playing “You’re A Lie”.

And the icing on the cake was that Myles Kennedy was out on stage doing the vocal chores! The cherries on this particular “rock” cake were, of course, the Conspirators themselves – Todd Kerns, Frank Sidoris and Brent Fitz.

For ninety minutes, I was held utterly spellbound as my dream became a beautiful reality. The mother in me did start to fret a little as the crowd surfing began and, with my heart in my mouth, I watched for Boy Child appearing over the crowd. Whew!-he didn’t…this time.

Hearing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” played live for the first time was incredible. A moment that will live with me for a long time. That song is possibly my all-time favourite song). Seeing Slash coax his numerous solos out of his guitar was stunning. Watching Myles strut his stuff alongside the super talented Conspirators was breath taking.

Only as the show came to a close with the wonderful “Paradise City” and I, along with everyone and everything in the building, was showered in confetti did I truly believe that all around me was real.

The dream had come true.

And, to return to the cake analogy, this rock chick is allowed, on this one occasion, to have her cake and eat it, as I am now counting down the days until 4th December when I get to live the dream all over again.

Some nights are just meant to be.

SMKC collage

Time To Take Stock And Enjoy The World Around Me

I’m taking a slight departure from the norm here so forgive me.

The last seven days have been quite something in my wee world and have seen a dream come true. (I promise I will post about it later in the week) For now though I want to share another of my passions with you – sunsets.

Yesterday I headed off for a walk, camera in hand, iPod in ears to take stock of the week just past. It was an hour alone with my own thoughts and music (yes Haylee I will get that Crobot review to you soon! ) as the sun set over the Argyll hills.

Here’s some of the photographic results of my meanderings. Enjoy!

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A Mad Mental Musical Cultural Week in October

If you’ve been reading my weekly posts of late you’ll know that “Rock Mum” has been out to play once or twice.

Well, last week, she escaped several times to attend some quite diverse musical events.

I’ve been looking at the last week of October in my diary with a mix of eager anticipation and silent dread for several months. How would I make it from Saturday to Friday in one piece?

Ok, I’ll start at the beginning –

Saturday 25 October – up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight from Glasgow to London, Heathrow for a day out with the Big Green Gummi Bear. He had bought me tickets to the West End musical Miss Saigon for my birthday back in June. Secret confession – I love musicals! I’ve been desperate to see Miss Saigon for a long time. We arrived in London to a beautiful autumn day – a total contrast to the cold wet windy day we had left in Glasgow. By now it was late morning, so we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park, Mayfair, down Regent Street and eventually made our way to SoHo and theatre land. I say leisurely – the Big Green Gummi Bear does not know how to take a leisurely stroll. Military style route march is closer to the truth! (Only kidding, darling).Our tickets were for the matinee, so after a well-earned caffeine fix and a bun, we walked round to the Prince Edward theatre. I’ll not give away any spoilers regarding the show in case you haven’t seen it and want to. It was fantastic! The performance was breath-taking and emotional. By the closing scenes, the tears were flowing freely down my cheeks. A rapturous standing ovation. Loved it! Cue return route march to Paddington then on to Heathrow airport for dinner, some vino and our return flight home. Fabulous day! Thank you, Big Green Gummi Bear.

London Collage

Sunday 26 October- another eagerly awaited event was upon me. This time it was Black Stone Cherry, a rock band from Edmonton, Kentucky, at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Yes, Rock Mum and Rock Friend was out to play! Having rounded everyone up, we headed off into the rainy dark night towards Glasgow. (Huge thanks to my friend who drove us there and sincere apologies again for the contraband Mars Bar that was left in the car) Among the group (there were seven of us) we had a “Rock Concert Virgin”. Lady Luck was shining on us and we managed to secure a good spot in the standing arena near to the front of the stage. The four older teenagers escaped into the centre, hoping for and ultimately finding, a mosh pit or two. Yes, Rock Mum’s heart was in her mouth as she silently fretted over Boy Child’s safety. (He eventually emerged slightly damaged around the shoulder area) Black Stone Cherry were supported by Theory of a Deadman and Aussie rockers Airbourne. Quite a diverse choice of support bands but both excellent. I had thought that I’d prefer Theory of a Deadman but Airbourne were great fun- total RnFnR! After their set, I turned to the “Rock Concert Virgin” to ask what they’d thought. “That guy’s fucking mental,” came the immediate reply. Comment of the night! Black Stone Cherry were fabulous and it was a privilege to be there to enjoy their first ever UK arena outing. They played a blinding set that included all my favourites. “Hollywood In Kentucky” played live was every bit as good if not better than I had hoped it would be. I loved Ben Wells’s hat! The night ended with the Glasgow choir helping front man Chris Robertson with “Peace Is Free”. An awesome gig to lose your concert virginity at! Hurry back, boys! Missing y’all already!

BSC collage

Monday 27 October- almost glad to be at work! The day was powered by caffeine and magic beans!

Tuesday 28 October – a half day at the salt mine then out to play again at night as Rock Mum and Rock Friend. This was not my gig of choice I hasten to add. Girl Child had pleaded to be taken so, in good Rock Mum fashion, I agreed. I must be insane! Accompanied by a close friend and her teenage daughter (another concert virgin), we headed back to Glasgow to a small city centre venue called The Garage. And the headline act this time? – post hardcore heavy metal band Escape The Fate. One look at the crowd and I could tell we were in for a rowdy night! A couple of songs into the first support band, New Year’s Day’s set and the girl children bailed out to the far side of the room. Both in agreement that this was not the place to be seen with their Rock Mum’s. Their loss! Trying not to panic about the girls’ whereabouts as the circle pit opened and closed repeatedly, my friend and I genuinely enjoyed the gig. All three bands (second on the bill were Glamour of the Kill) were brilliant. Not my music genre of choice, a bit too heavy for me, and I’ll never be a fan of growling but a great and memorable evening all round!

ETF collage

Wednesday 29 October- a muffled day at work as I was deaf as a post! My ears rang and hissed merrily til bedtime. Another day highly caffeine fuelled with the additional support of multiple handfuls of magic beans.

Thursday 30 October- final outing of the week! This time it was neither Rock Mum nor Rock Friend who went out to play. Instead it was Proud Mum. Accompanied by my folks (Parents 1&2) and the same friend from Tuesday night, we headed along to the school for the annual Jazz Night. Watching Boy Child playing his trumpet with the Jazz Band and playing his solos with confidence made me glow with pride. Jazz certainly is not my favourite genre of music but it was a fabulously entertaining evening as staff and pupils shared the stage. Jethro Tull will never be the same again after a memorable performance by one music teacher. Loved it!

Friday 31 October – I’d survived! Four nights out in six days and I was still standing.

West End musical, rock, metal, jazz – I’d seen and done it all and loved every note of it!

Suddenly a Halloween sleepover for half a dozen fancy dressed teenage girls seemed like it was going to be a walk in the park….. but that’s perhaps a story for another day. My poor Boy Child may never be the same again!

Silently Watching After Dark

I’ll start with an apology – the last week around here has been ridiculously busy and I haven’t had time to write my usual blog. I will endeavour to post something mid week .

What I have written though is a short story. A bit of dark fun and a follow up to my earlier dark angel tale, Silently Watching.

So fetch yourself a coffee and enjoy!

Silently Watching After Dark

As the last colours of a stunning October sunset faded and the full moon began to rise, she sat on the moss covered dry stane wall hidden from the world by the overhanging branches. Silently she watched the cars whizz by, their exhaust fumes masking the tantalising smells of the rich variety of warm metallic blood of the drivers. Deep within her she could feel her hunger stirring. It had been too long since she had last fed on human blood. Sheep and deer were all very sweet but they never satiated her thirst. Crossing her long slender legs, she sighed and continued to watch and wait.

Two miles to the south west of where she sat, one of her potential victims was preparing to go for a run before enjoying a late dinner. Unbeknown to him, the dark angel had been silently watching him for months, stalking her prey but biding her time until the conditions and her desires were aligned. It had been a long dull day in the office and, having had no opportunity to grab some fresh air at lunchtime, he was impatient to get outside.

Lifting his iPod and beanie from the arm of the couch, he called out, “Will be back in about an hour,” then he was gone out into the chill dark evening air.

Two miles east of where the angel waited, another potential victim was throwing on his training gear, muttering sourly under his breath. It had been a lousy day from start to finish. The trains to Glasgow had been messed up in the morning, causing him to be late for work. They had still been running late when he arrived back at the station shortly after five o’clock, killing all hopes of getting the early “fast” train. When he had finally arrived back at his car and driven to the gym, the gym car park had been full. He hated to run outdoors in the dark but he had a schedule to adhere to. Now, as he yanked the laces of his trainers tight, he was silently cursing the cold autumn weather.

“I might be back,” he growled as he left the house, slamming the front door behind him.

From her perch on the wall, the angel picked up on the scents of both runners as they approached her. The younger one, approaching from her right, was moving swiftly, light on his feet and teasing her senses with the richness of the blood pulsing in his arteries; the older man ran with a far heavier tread but he too was approaching at a steady pace. She could almost taste his blood on her lips. It may be older but there was something ambrosial about it. With one graceful movement she was standing on top of the wall, sniffing the air around her. After a few moments deliberation, she decided to investigate both potential victims before choosing her moment to dine.

One of them was going to satiate her hunger before the moon had fully risen in the cloudless night sky.

With two strong beats of her powerful black wings, she soared over the trees and followed the treeline in search of the older man. She spotted him easily, his bald head glinting in the moonlight. Circling round behind him, high above and hidden by shadows from the cliff face opposite, she drank in the smells of his body – his exotic metallic blood musk mixed with sweat. Running her tongue over her fangs, she hung in the air for a few seconds watching and fantasising.

Soundlessly she glided high above him, following the winding trail of the pavement as it passed the popular beach picnic spot until she spied her other potential victim. He was completely focussed on his run, oblivious to the world around him. Risking being seen, the angel dropped down to earth among the cluster of pine trees opposite the garden centre. As he ran past, she drank in his rich sweet scent and sighed. Her senses finely tuned, she could hear the music that was blasting into his ears. She listened to the song for a moment or two before stepping back further into the trees.

Out on the pavement the two men were in sight of each other. A fact unknown to their silent witness was that they knew each other. As they ran past each other, they called out a friendly greeting and promised to watch out for each other on the return leg of their run.

When the older athlete drew level with the stand of trees, the angel made her decision. Hunger burning deep within her, she let out a low hiss before taking flight to pursue her meal. Just a little more patience and she would reap her reward. She knew the perfect spot to attack. There was an incline just beyond the old gamekeeper’s lodge, unlit by street lights. For a few yards she would be totally concealed by darkness.

Taking up her chosen position, she watched the pavement in silence, listening for the laboured breathing and sniffing the air for hints of the distinctive scent.

Thud. Thud. Thud. The steady rhythm of her chosen runner echoed through the night.

Fangs bared, wings spread out majestically, the angel stepped out from the shadows. Her bite was deep and deadly as she ripped out the man’s throat, rendering it impossible for him to scream for help. Wrapping her wings round him, she crushed his thrashing limbs as she drank slowly of his rich warm blood. Its strong ferrous taste teased her own taste buds. This was not a kill to be hurried; this was a banquet to be savoured. As she feasted, his struggle ceased then he hung limp in her deadly embrace. Greedily she drained the last drops of blood from his veins before it grew cold, his life force now spent. As the fresh blood pulsed through her, the fallen angel became aware of the other runner’s footfall approaching.

Time had run away from her in her greed. With her fangs still dripping, she scooped up the lifeless, drained corpse and soared into the night sky. Gently beating her wings, she floated high over the pavement as the other man ran along the road beneath her.

Again, as before, she could hear the music he was listening to. It was a song she had heard him listen to before, “Watch Over You.”

“Oh, I’ll watch over you,” she thought as she dropped down onto the road a few yards behind him.

With a final glance down at the drained body in her arms, she displayed a rare tenderness. The dark angel kissed his cheek before dropping his corpse into the pile of dry leaves that was banked against the dry stane wall. As she beat her wings and soared up into the night sky, the draft blew a covering of leaves over the man, leaving only his hand uncovered.