Thursday, May 5, 2011

That Wedding Day.


























As the enthusiasm fades, quicker than the light at the end of the tunnel, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my Royal wedding day.

I woke up feeling groggy (Groggy is NOT a dwarf) after a damn fine but late gig the night before. K had stayed the night and I strolled into the sitting room with my sarong on, turned the TV on and sat down to see what stage of the proceedings we were at. The first thing that struck me was that the bloke that looks after the weather, God I think he's called, had been kind to us.

My timing, unlike in my drumming, was impeccable and we'd arrived at exactly the right moment to witness our future Majesty entering the Abbey. K and I watched sporadically. We checked people out, like the Beckhams and the two ugly sisters, Prince Andrew's daughters, sitting behind the Queen. I'm sure they're lovely girls but they just remind me of Cinderella's two sisters.

Actually I lied there; I'm far from sure they're lovely girls.

I chuckled, and still do, at the mention of Elton John "and his partner, David Furnish." That phrase "and his partner..." has stuck in my mind as funny. Every time they're pictured together, which is pretty much most of it, those exact words are used, yet everyone knows that David Furnish and the big fat piano playing queen are a couple.

We had a bite of brekkie, watching the crowds, the flypast and everything. For K this meant that she had to break off from Facebook and whatever else goes on onscreen for lengthy periods, sometimes as long as a minute, no mean feat indeed.

Then I dropped her back. The streets were quiet as church mice, just not the ones in Westminster Abbey, who were probably excited and noisy and crapping all over the show. We drove past pubs with Union flags out, the local high street festooned with bunting and flags and then, when we got to the girls' road, found it closed to traffic as there was a street party going on.

I drove round the back and dropped K, to walk down their road to get to the house. The street party was in full swing. There were tables out, people milling around and chatting and it made me smile in a "nice to be British" way.

We have these occasions frequently here, as often as once every twenty years. They make communities come together and people behave as if they like each other. Food gets cooked and shared and everyone makes a beeline for the food cooked by the one Indian family in the street. Drink and conversation flow freely and endless promises are made to get together more often and cultivate the new found friendships.

Then we don't. Instead we wave to our neighbours when we have to and complain about the way they park their cars if they're half a millimetre over the imaginary line. Such are the joys of suburbia here.

As I drove back to RD Towers I felt very glad that I had a gig to go to that afternoon, or I would have felt exceedingly sorry for myself. My complex just isn't the sort of place to have a party. It's the foreigners there you know, they're just not British.

I watched the rest of the show, being particularly touched by the scene when the couple left Buckingham Palace in the Aston Martin and drove to Clarence House (or was it St James' Palace?). It was my most definite highlight of the whole thing, a view shared by many, I've since found out.

I loaded up the car and set off for my gig, after a poo of course.

The shortish journey to the venue was weird, weird in a funny, interesting and fascinating way. I was on my own in the car, well apart from Mr Grohl, Hawkins, Smear et al, but there was an atmosphere to the streets that was unique.

I must have passed between five and ten roads that were closed for street parties, all of which were in full swing. There was barely any traffic out anyway and the sun beamed brightly like the smiles on people's faces. Being Britain there wasn't much in the way of whooping and ahollerin', more a quiet and reserved air of friendliness, peace and goodwill to all, except Muslims of course.

The gig was at a cricket club. There had been a match going on all day and we were scheduled to play from early evening for a couple of hours. The clubhouse was festooned with flaggery and, as we set up underneath a semblance of a marquee, my attempts to check my drums were rudely interrupted by spectators politely clapping fours, wickets, tries and whatever else they have in cricket these days.

As far as sound goes outdoor gigs are often a nightmare. This one was no exception. As my drums weren't fully miked up a brief soundcheck led our sound man to conclude that the way to balance things was for me to play every song as loud as possible. For most drummers this isn't a major problem, that's what we're like. But it depends on the choice of songs. And I tell you, it's pretty hard to play Golden Touch by Razorlight and Adele's Rolling in the deep as loud as possible without making them feel like AC DC songs. I wish I knew how to type a lightning bolt.

Still I did my best. My monitor mix was non existent, which comes from not having a monitor and relying on hearing the mix in general, something that's almost impossible outdoors. We fucked up a couple of usually easy songs as if we were an act on a reality talent show that gets through to the next round purely out of sympathy.

But fun was had by all. The rapidly enveloping darkness meant that I could only see a front row of people dancing and hear the applause. There was quite a lot of the latter and things were received well. The English weather dictated that, come the early evening, those that weren't dancing were sitting and freezing in the wind so many opted to go into the clubhouse and listen to us from there.

I had what was probably my best ever moment with this band too.

A kid (not to be confused with Kid A) and his Dad came to the left side of the stage and were watching me and / or our lead guitarist intently. I smiled and looked at them and they ignored me. Fair enough, I thought, as there are about sixty three guitar fans for every drum fan, and realised that they must be two of the sixty three.

B, our lead guitar player, being like most lead banjoists, played up to them for a few songs. He grimaced his way through solos, put his leg up on his monitor like a dog trying to pee, ever wary of pulling a muscle, and generally did all the things that his guitar idols do at proper gigs.

In between two songs he said something to the Dad, who replied. His reply was this:

"Yeah, it's okay, we're watching the drummer actually". Fucking brilliant. Really.

We finished, did an encore. Or perhaps that should be; we did an encore, then finished. Either way, we packed up our instruments and received the accolades. Our keyboardist was even asked for an autograph, something that flummoxed him big time.

I cruised home and enjoyed a relatively early night.

And that was my Royal Wedding day. Spiffing, as The Auf would say.

4 comments:

. said...

Gosh, I never thought i'd say this...but I was so sick of the royal wedding...to the point where I saw it in my dreams and felt like gagging when I saw it every freaking where I looked... I was relieved when they 'GOT' laden...because they nipped it in the bud and finally stopped talking about those royals over here. ( It was a beautiful wedding though... and I would surely make anyone proud to be british)...

PS : What do you mean your drumming is not impeccable ? your writing sure is, hard to believe you'd not be impeccable at something you appear to love so much ! maya `

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Maya, or should I call you . Thank you for the compliment, really. I too got sick of the actual wedding at times, but it was the general day and occasion that I enjoyed. I couldn't actually sit through watching the whole event as parts of it bored me silly.

I certainly do love playing the drums, but if I ever got to a point at which I thought my playing was impeccable, that would be the right time to worry!

. said...

i understand ( about the drumming),... and find it noble of you. There's no greater turn off than someone who's full of themselves. ( ps : i dropped my name in the hopes of being a bit subtle).

aufidius said...

Canny aye mun!