Tourbus japery

It's me again! I'll keep it short as I'm at work and even though I've done my work I want to go home and have a shower because I smell. Sorry to tell you, but it's always important to set the scene…

Andrew's away in Croatia at the moment (or he may have got back, I can't remember), and John's off on holiday next week- somewhere ridiculously exotic no doubt- which means we're sort of on hold for October. This is, for me, a bit of a pity, as one of my friends is over from California and is enough of a fan to have bought five copies of Shiftwork, but never had the opportunity to see us live. She leaves the day John gets back, so until we get that US tour going, I fear she'll never see us! Sorry Kelly!

We have been playing gigs since the last entry though- two of our best, in fact. And it's all down to a message we got on myspace about five months ago from a chap called Neil in Edinburgh who runs the Teviot live shows for the uni. Veteran readers will remember that last year we had a jolly time at Teviot playing with Lucky Luke thanks to Amy's generosity and trust in a pushy band she'd never heard (can we ever repay her? No, I don't think so). So we decided to repeat our tour for 2006. This year, learning the lesson of last year's day-long drive from Glasgow to London after the second date of the 'tour', we decided to play it slightly safer and find a gig in our native country so that Sunday wasn't too packed with six disgruntled, grouchy musicians. Luckily, another fellow called Neil came up trumps in Leeds and we were on for The Cardigan Arms

As last year, Andrew managed to secure us some luxury transport- a nice six-seater van with plenty of room. Even better, since Kerry decided she'd drive up in her car with her friends, there's be ample room for the remaining five. Right? Wrong. Once all the guitars, synths, laptops, cymbals, last-minute bass amps and glockenspiels were in, it was small wonder there was room for all of us (had Kerry actually travelled with us, we'd have had to have left some stuff at home. Like Sharon.). Nonetheless, we somehow traversed the highways of Great Britain, making good time to Edinburgh and no road rage incidents (that's me).

The gig itself was amazing. As I've noted in the gig archive, the stage was enormous, the lighting machine was very professional and the smoke machine was just great. From where I was stood, I had a space the size of the Windmill stage all to myself. And I made damn sure I used it! Being acustomed to have to stay still, lest I accidentally batter anyone's face with my guitar, this was akin to being let out of my cage. We all certainly felt that freedom which was reflected in our spirited performance- one of our best, as I said- and the sheer joy of getting our teeth into Cricket Bat, which is probably my favourite Flyers song now. Likewise, it was a nice thing to finally perform Higher Education live, a whole 15 months after it was initially slated to appear.

After Martin, Sharon and I stayed with our pals Kristin and Jonny again (though sadly not again- they're moving out of their beautiful flat very soon), we picked up Waz, Andrew & Kerry, we made our way to Leeds- again without incident, other than some cross words from everyone else when I talked over the football scores. The Cardigan Arms, where we played was, by contrast, a smaller place, with an upstairs live room. It did smell a bit, but it didn't put us off. Kerry's friends were impressed with Friday night's performance, and equally impressed (I think) with Saturday's set, which we managed to make almost totally different from Friday's. I think there were only four songs that got played both nights. What was even better was that Sharon's entire family turned up to see us. Only her parents have seen us before, and that was at our first gig, so it was quite a treat for them all to see her belting out Foolscap and Red Nose Day. Even without them however, I think we drew quite a crowd- my friend Georgie (who I havne't seen for years) bravely showed up on her own, as did our hosts for the night- Lauren Christopher and Ker. Even Jens managed to put in an appearance from Berlin! We certainly have Lauren and co. to thank for letting us have their beds, and also for taking us to their local post-gig, which remained open suspiciously- but not unwelcomely- late. Hooray!

So, all that excitement in one weekend has meant it's been a hard couple of weeks without anything going on. We spent all of last practice playing Martin's new one 'Give it Up' (bit of a polish and it'll be ready, I reckon), and we'll be back in the saddle on Wednesday for more rehearsal-room japes. We've got three London gigs coming up, and a spot of recording, though I'm still looking for Christmas gigs and stuff for January. If you have any ideas, let me know!

Hopefully see you at
Saturday 11th Nov: The Archway Tavern, Archway, London
Saturday 18th Nov: The Bull & Gate, Kentish Town, London
Friday 24th November: Barden's Boudoir, Stoke Newington, London



Where were we? Here we are.

My my, time flies. It’s been an absolutely band-centric six weeks since the last blog entry, but in reality there’s not much I can tell Johnny Public that’ll be of any interest, I reckon. Our first birthday has been and gone without much fanfare, but we’ve managed to record four new songs (all of which are available to listen to in varying versions at our Myspace site) including our best recording so far. Go and take a listen to Foolscap and you can see why we feel like proud parents.

The actually quality of the recordings belies the fact that the initial recording was quite a trying task. We decided that instead of doing our usual trick of recording and completing two songs, we changed tack and decided to put down four basic tracks in one day, then come back a bit later and polish them off. This was technically more convenient; Sharon tends to spend most of the day sitting round adding her keyboard and vocal parts at the end of the day, which means seven hours of boredom for her. This time, it meant a day at home for her while we did the basic stuff.

So, we booked a usual ten til six session at Soup Studios with Simon, whose magic fingers and endless patience are an asset we always value. Since it takes about an hour to set the drums up, I decided to take a leisurely train journey up and get to London at ten. 9.55, my phone rings- Kerry’s having trouble getting into town, so has to head back out to get some more petrol. Fine, I say, I’ll see you in an hour. By the time I get to the studio, Waz, Andrew and Martin are there, so we set up the guitars. Kerry calls- she’s stuck in traffic. So we start telling some stories, and before we know it, it’s midday. Kerry is slightly closer, but still inching along. A coffee break follows, and by the time we’ve called Kerry again (still in traffic) and got back to the studio, it’s one. My famously cool temperament is starting to melt a little- we’re nearly halfway through the session and nothing’s been done. We later find out that there were anti-war demos, a triathlon and a carnival all in the very local vicinity, so it’s not Kerry’s fault, merely a horrendous stroke of bad luck.

So, 2pm rolls round and at last Kerry’s here and the drums are being set up. Options are being weighed up; do we stick to Plan A, or just choose two tracks to record and admit defeat? We decided to see how we’d go. And somehow, we get Theme… down in three takes. Everyone Has To Meet… takes four goes, Suits manages to go down in one almighty take. Foolscap is slightly tougher, as the basic track has to be done to a click-track and my psyche-damaging guide vocal (no, it hasn’t been preserved, masochists). Still, seven takes is pretty good going, and by now any pent-up anger I’ve stored in response to the horror of the morning’s events has swiftly dissipated and replaced with an unreserved love for everyone in the room. And it’s still only 4pm! Overdubs (Andrew, Kerry and my synth parts, Martin’s guitar, some other stuff) go quickly and we manage to run over time by a mere 45 minutes. Simon, sympathetic to our cause, waives the overtime.

It takes a couple of re-arranged sessions to finish them off, but given the nature of the sessions, we decide to take a few risks; on Foolscap, I’m allowed to add not only my live MicroKorg part, but also a Rhodes part that I hadn’t worked out until I actually sat down at the thing. For Theme… the beers and wines consumed by Sharon, Waz and Martin (not teetotal me, though!) were enough to coax us into the vocal booth to improvise some ‘Bonanza’ vocals for an otherwise-instrumental performance. In the end, Simon refined our two takes of unpolished bellowing into something quite listenable- check it out! For Everyone has To Meet Somewhere, the plan of having a lead vocal by both Sharon and Waz as a compare-and-contrast exercise worked so well that the band is split down the middle as to who’s provided the definitive version; we’ve put Sharon’s attempt up, which is the first time she actually sang the song properly. I prefer the ‘proper’ version of Waz singing. Andrew says that if Sharon’s vocal were more polished, it’d be the keeper. Sharon says she can’t do it live and play her keyboard parts, so Waz’ll have to do it for now, but it’ll be fun to chop and change at some point. Martin, who wrote the song, remains uncommitted. Kerry only realised there were two versions last night.

On the live front, we’ve veered wildly; our second appearance at the Bowlie all-dayer the day after my birthday being unanimously nominated as our best show ever, whereas we agree we didn’t do our prestigious slot at the launch party for the How Does It Feel compilation justice. We’ve added a new song to our set, which is one of Waz’s, called Red Nose Day. Kerry gets to show off her bass-playing skills, while I get to do my best Stevie Jackson jangle on the Telecaster. We’ve got another three songs entering our live repertoire- the long-threatened, never played Higher Education (which was supposed to be in the set for our first ever gig), the Pulp- inspired Clockwatching, and Waz’s absolutely storming Cricket Bat, which I cannot wait to get my teeth into onstage. The lucky denizens of Edinburgh (Teviot Hall- Friday 29th) and Leeds (The Cardigan Arms- Saturday 30th) will get the first airings of some or all of these songs. On top of this, we’ve still got the mythical Aggregate Horse, Waz’s Farnborough Trolley Dash and FOUR new songs from the pen of Mr. Martin Hall. By the time we hit London again in November, we may not be recognisable…


P.S. This just in: we've been asked/ put ourselves forward to possibly appear on a Sparks tribute album. We're not sure entirely what we're going to do yet (though the tantalising prospect of recording The Number One Song In Heaven in a Wedding Present-esque arrangement has been mooted), so if anyone has any nominations or ideas, just send em in...


Happy birthday to us...

So. 365 days have passed since The Gresham Flyers first got up on the stage as a nervous, inexperienced sextet, and Martin struck the first open E string that beings 'Theme From The Gresham Flyers'. Since then, we've had 15 gigs, eight completed recordings (including three officially-released songs), one lineup change and a welter of congratulatory words from our friends, converted fans, other band members, record label owners and proud parents (not to mention the turned-up noses and 'this is shit, Thom' faces of my younger siblings). As a celebration, I've spent the evening copying all our blogs from the homepage onto our myspace page, to make it a more interesting read instead of the rather businesslike fount of information it is now.

It's been one absolute cracker of a year, and it only really feels now that we're getting into our stride. The single has been out for two months, and we've sold about 100 copies. Rough Trade, Sister Ray and HMV Oxford Circus are all stocking it, and sales have gone surprisingly well. Rough Trade were startled at the speed with which it sold out, so much so they had seven people waiting for it when we brought the next batch in!! We've also managed to get practicing with our autographs;, which feels both immensely gratifying and a bit silly at the same time.

If you haven't bought our single yet, you can buy it from our homepage- just type in www.thegreshamflyers.co.uk and follow the instructions- you can get it on 7inch or mp3 as you wish...

We're keeping the momentum up this weekend with another visit to the recording studio to put down the bones of four songs; if we manage it, that puts us up to 12 properly recorded songs, but only eight for the album (about 2/3's then I suppose).

And still we roll on; the end of September's return to Edinburgh will be a most welcome gig, as last year's Lucky Luke support slot was one of the highlights of our live show (and the photos from that gig are among our best). We're still looking for a place to play on Saturday 30th September in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham...anywhere between Edinburgh and London, so if you know of anywhere we can play, let us know!

That's all for now, other than to say we're still putting together the new tunes; two are nearly finished, two are in need of lyrics, and another is yet to be rehearsed. We're also entertaining the idea of a couple of cover versions...you never know what you'll hear!



What happened next...

We spent the first three or four hours after the last blog entry in absolute inner agony. Having waited for roughly three months for the records to show up (artwork issues- our fault for being new to this, GZ Media's fault for not being clearer in their demands), here they were. But we were all at work, and only Waz had them, in an office with no turntable. His first email:

From: John Waring
To: Thom, Sharon, Martin, Kerry
Cc: Andrew
Date: 31st May 2006 14.37
Subject: *quietly*

The singles are here…

was met with frantic emails from Sharon, Martin and I alternately hyperventilating over their early arrival (we'd been told they'd be shipped on the 31st, not delivered, but had been fobbed off by GZ with dates before), and ensuring they looked okay. Mercifully, Waz assured us they looked great, and, even better, we would be rehearsing that night. Come half six, Andrew, Kerry and I were sat in Running Frog studio in Windsor, impatiently awaiting the London contingent's arrival with a box of freshly minted singles. Trepidation filled the air. They looked okay, but how did they sound? When John, Sharon and Martin rolled up, we marched over to Phil the proprietor's office, set the 7inch in the deck, turned it on, put the needle on and held our breath…

Our mouths fell open when we realised they were running too slow. Oh no!! Mercifully, Andrew noticed the pitch control wasn't set properly, so we adjusted it to the right speed, and we had a note perfect, loud, rocking Shiftwork. The collective grin that overwhelmed us was almost too much as we stood there listening to something we'd made, on our own, pressed 500 times onto beautiful blue vinyl. I'd advise anyone who's thinking of joining a band or making a record or starting a record label or doing something musical to do it simply for a moment like that.

So the initial hyperventilation-inducing shock of receiving our own record has subsided, and we're done checking every milimetre of the sleeve, playing it twice both sides to ensure it's not been pressed backwards, admiring the deep-blue of the vinyl, and giggling childishly at the etched text we've put on the run-out grooves (if you care to hazard a guess at their meaning, feel free…), and now it's time to get on with being a Proper Band. After all, we have a record to sell. We were hoping to have the single ready for our gigs at the Windmill for Fortuna Pop! or our last minute fill-in at King's Cross Water Rats (with Michelmas who also have their own single out about now), but it wasn't to be. We also played up in Nottingham the weekend before the the singles arrived; truly one of our best gigs with the superb stylings of Lardpony, The Scarlet Tuesday (on their farewell tour) and Pete Green.

Fortunately, fate seems to be doing us some favours at the moment. Lizzie, who helps organise the Conceited nights at The Pleasure Unit (which we played in January) ran into some trouble that meant her proposed headliners The Loves had to pull out. Fortunately, being the wonderful person she is, she asked us, and of course we were only too happy to oblige. So, Saturday June 10th saw the first public sale of Shiftwork, and our first ever headline set. We got to play with Pete Green again, as well as the impressive Josh Weller & The Availables, and Strange Idols, who're probably our new favourite band. Despite the prestige, our performance veered from inspired to daft as we ran through every song we curently have in our current catalogue (and I'm afraid to report Plastic Bag may not be making a re-appearance). It was so hot up there! Even in my best Hawaiian shirt, I was still sweating like a beast, and rambled a bit during Cat Hits Car. The synth decided that it would make a bid for sentient life and made decisions when to hold down notes by itself- mostly contrary to what notes were required. Waz told a funny story about his couch being set on fire, and blaming Hale & Pace. You know, the usual stuff. The sound out front hampered the vocals a bit, but the general impression from those watching was a good show, and a big increase in confidence. That makes me happy.

We even sold about twenty copies of the single, and some of Andrew's spiffy badges. Mostly this was due to Sharon's irresistable grin charming the punters who were clearly under the influece. Well, I hope they like it. If you want one, keep checking the page entitled 'Music'. They'll be ready soon.

Now, after the false start of a cancelled gig with Bricolage on Sunday (alas), we've got possibly the biggest gig of our career to look forward to. US Merge/ Elephant 6 legends Great Lakes and Ladybug Transistor are playing their sole UK date at Water Rats on July 13th, and we're opening the show. Sharon- who's a big fan of a lot of Merge stuff (and who isn't?)- is especially exuberant. So even if you're not familiar with our stuff and came here by accident, hopefully you'll come along and see this great double header and dig our set. You can buy tickets here.

Did I mention the recordings we did at Soup Studios? No? Well they're ace. Detailing the recording process has been done before on here, and it's uninteresting to the outsider, but we put down our two set closers (Factory Records Museum and Pretty But Not Beautiful), and they're amongst our best recordings. I got to drum on the former, while Andrew played bass, and we swapped over on the latter. Kerry, against all odds with a car leaking petrol, managed to make it down and spend enough time in the studio to put down the best glockenspiel part I've ever heard anyone play. Sharon sequenced her MicroKorg to make Pretty… sound like it's been recorded while we're sitting on a beach with the waves lapping around us. We've put the former up on myspace, so let us know what you think. We're going back in August to put another four tracks down, which will pretty much give us a complete album (though we've got a few more tricks up our sleeves yet…)

Onwards and upwards, we have four songs on the go right now, only one of which has a definite title of 'Red Nose Day'. It's a gentle little thing and sounds more twee than anything we've done yet. On the contrary, the new one we tried last night has the potenntial to be the noisiest, squelchiest thing in the world- like Oasis humping Goldfrapp. You have been warned.



Special delivery?

Waz has just taken a special delivery.

Can you guess what it is?


Keep checking the main site over the next week or so for more details!



Enough of the Phil Collins references already.

Last Sunday the Flyers went to Soup Studio to record Falling Down and Student Nurse. These songs have come ALIVE!

But you're not having them yet.

Instead, here's some Flyer action in picture form:

Kerry's first recording with the Flyers, whipping Student Nurse off in one take (oo-er)

Thom and Martin action shot

Discussions on the merits of more cowbell

Sharon makes herself useful

The money shot


Phil Collins would be dead jealous.

Hurrah! Against no odds at all, people still took a look at us yesterday at the Windmill in Brixton; a highly enjoyable gig for all concerned, with no disasterous wrongdoing on anyone's part and a lot of good fun. Fortuna POP!'s bigwig, head honcho, grand fromage, el presidente etc Sean Price was kind enough to put the Flyers on slap bang in the middle of a Fortuna-fest, and it was only fair of us to repay his kindness with a decent set, notable of course for Sister Kerry's first Flyers outing. Anyone of less fortitude would have crumbled under the pressure, but the Flyers' latest addition displayed nerves of steel, and pushed us forward, making us play as well as we ever had. Well enough even for random people to approach us after the gig and say what a great drummer we have. Hurrah again!

Alongside a few classic oldies, we debuted three new songs; two from Brother John and one from Brother Martin, all of which went over well. We dropped Pretty But Not Beautiful from the set for the first (and probably only) time, since some people noted its' absence, and voiced complaints. Instead, we closed with John's F.R.M.- this went down well enough to have people coming up and asking if it was available yet. We take this to be a good thing and may have to push it ahead in the recording schedule. Meanwhile, three older songs have been dropped, and one or two may not return…if you miss Suits, Plastic Bag or Blackpool, let us know and we'll think about rehearsing them again.

I even managed to sneak behind the decks to spin a few choice choons, and though it no doubt outraged every attendee to be subjected to 'Come On Plane' by Silver Feet (aka 10cc), I hope that the rest of the tunes (Dexys, Deerhoof- yes, Deerhoof- Architecture In Helsinki, The Move's 'Fire Brigade', 'Statue Of Liberty' by XTC etc) made up for it.

Looking forward, the single is to be delivered shortly, and we were thinking about having a party when it does arrive. After all, people have parties when they have babies, and since this particular child has been the subject of a tumultous gestation, it deserves a welcoming celebration. A celebration of sorts, with live music, DJ sets and a free copy of the single to all attendees. So, here's a challenge for you, dear reader:

If we were to play a cover version, what would you want us to play? Obviously Run To The Hills would be top of the list, but there must be some others…let us know in the comments!

We're back in the recording studio next weekend to make some more beautiful music, aided as ever by the magic fingers of Mr. Simon Trought. Falling Down and Student Nurse are the two nominations to be immortalized forever on the 21st-century equivalent of magnetic tape. In June we'll put down Pretty But Not Beautiful and that'll then be our original set recorded in full, bar Dan's song Carefree, which we never finished. You'll also be pleased to know that alongside the single, another of our recent recordings will soon be available to buy. I can't reveal any more right now, but when it's out, I'll let you know…

Brother Thom

P.S. Nottingham residents; what better way to spend the end-of-May bank holiday than watching us play at Junktion 7 with Pete Green, Scarlet Tuesday Lardpony? Be there!


"I'm just double-tracking the maracas"

Hello again!

I’m working on the premise that more news is good news and should at least keep you interested, dear reader. If I’m writing too much, let me know.

There’s not a lot going on visibly, but behind the scenes, things are going into overdrive. Firstly, we’re waiting for confirmation of our next gig, which will mark the stage debut of The Gresham Flyers Mk. II. I’ll know more by the end of the week, so keep checking back. We’ve settled on a setlist now which is a mix of the ‘classics’ and newer stuff and is apparently ‘very pop’ according to Andrew.

Also of interest is news that the most recent recordings are finished. Due to horrendous traffic and studio nerves, we ran over time on Thursday so were left with very thin-sounding unmixed versions of Blackpool and Plastic Bag (we didn't have time for Theme... and since Kerry couldn't make it to the studio, there seemed little point in doing it). Sharon, Martin, John and I went back to the studio last night to polish the tunes up and add sundry percussion parts- handclaps, tambourines, double tracked maracas all went on and spiced the track up no end. Sharon doubled her vocals, and John added a few harmonies. The largest offender was my own backing vocal on Blackpool, which was hurriedly added at the end of the initial session. I could ascribe the horrendous results to nerves at being in front of a vocal microphone for the first time, and under considerable pressure, but even so it’s taught me to damn well practice singing before doing something like that. In the event, part of it was useable enough to paste over the woeful parts and it sounds okay now. But listening to the original in isolation and on the rough mix is akin to walking naked into a room full of strangers. Ouch. However, the experience hasn’t dissuaded us from doing it all again, so the next studio session is booked for late April.

A late arrival for today's news is our radio debut! We received an email from The Unofficial Student Internet Radio for Greenwich, who apparently downloaded Falling Down from our Myspace page and played it on the 51ยบ North show last Sunday. You can download the show from the site above- just choose show #9 from the 12th March. We're played third apparently. Anyone who heard it- your views are most welcome!

On the social side, last weekend was significant for two ex-Gresham Flyers. Our former keyboard/ sax/ bass player (and now chief Flyerette) Jess Shaw got married in a lovely ceremony in Shifnal (which I’m told is near Telford), and is now Mrs. Andrew Rowson. Sharon, Andrew and myself represented the Flyers, and Sharon has posted a detailed account of the day on her blog, and hopefully will put some more nice pictures of the day on her Flickr account. Congrats to Jess and Andrew! In other news, Dan made the brave first step of his travels on Sunday, and has a fantastic, insightful blog which everyone should watch for updates.

Lastly, the single is being pressed for sure. We apparently have artwork issues to sort out, but I assume that means that everything else is going smoothly. I’m counting the days!

More news as it comes in, but for now that’s yer lot.




So it seems that the book of Flyers has been left to gather dust on the proverbial shelf for the last two months or so; a round up of our previous gigs that now seem like a lifetime ago. We’ve been making moves that will turn us into a Proper Band, with songs out and stuff like that, but until it all slots into place, there’s nothing that I or anyone can add that’ll make it seem exciting. However, since you’re taking the time to come and see us, and read all about our mythical lives (lucky for you, we leave out the bits that don’t involve music; no one needs an insight into where we have our ‘proper’ jobs or how often we shave or whatnot), it’s only fair that we should impart something of substance into this electronic diary. So, off we go:

The past:
Dan has left. We’re all very sad, and we mean that. As I’ve said before, Dan is the musician that I’ve worked with longest in all the time I’ve been a musician, and we were a formidable rhythm section for half a decade on and off. Peach, Crack Mansion, Dr. Yes, Cartell and finally The Gresham Flyers were all built on our simpatico power and ability. Or so I like to think. But he’s off traveling for a year, and good luck to him. Had I not already been on a global jaunt, I’d be tempted to join him.

We had a good send off though; our friend Lizzie put on a fabulous gig with Syrus, us and The Michelles at the Pleasure Unit at the end of January. Lots of people were there, including my parents and brothers, but mostly people we didn’t know, and weren’t brought along by Syrus’ coach party. But they stayed and packed the place out. And liked us. Without wishing to sound big-headed, we were really, really good. No huge glaring mistakes, a load of enthusiasm and three cheers for Dan meant we came off stage feeling like it was the best gig we’d played. However, some people thought that about our Beat Hotel gig in December, but I’m not so sure there. What made it even better was that the soundcheck was atrocious beyond description. Maybe it was nerves, and not having played together live for over a month, and under the scrutiny of a potential drummer (who subsequently said he didn’t want to join), but I came off stage in a foul mood that lasted until the gig. Then I felt better. For an interview with us and Lizzie, see here

The present:
Kerry has joined! We had about five serious applicants for the drummer role, and Kerry was the only one we all agreed on unanimously. We met up, she liked the songs, we liked her, it all falls into place, especially as she’s an amazing drummer. She’s also a good multi-instrumentalist, which fits the bill nicely, and we’ll get her profile up soon, and some pictures if she lets us. We’re currently rehearsing up the old songs, and writing new ones. More on them later.

We’re going into the studio next Thursday. We were supposed to go in a month ago, but events have been tumultuous recently and things out of our control needed to dealt with. But this session will be special as it’ll potentially be a historic recording of a seven piece Flyers lineup as Dan will be in attendance, as will Kerry. We’re going in to record Dan’s contribution ‘Plastic Bag’, and Waz’s ‘Blackpool’, which would make a great future single. If there’s time, we’ll try for ‘Theme From The Gresham Flyers’, which is the instrumental song we open our shows with. Interestingly each song will feature a different drummer (Dan, Andrew, Kerry respectively), and hopefully we can get all seven of us on one track and have our very own ‘Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun’ (look it up).

Speaking of singles, the delay behind getting Shiftwork out has all the hallmarks of our perfectionist nature; the artwork needed to be a certain format, the colours needed to be exact, yaddah yaddah yaddah. The upshot is, we’ve paid for it, the factory has the masters, they’re printing it up. It’ll be with us soon. And you’ll be the first to know.

The prospect of holding a seven inch single that we helped create, and has OUR SOUND in its’ grooves is still too impossible to believe and I have nightmares it’s going to sound awful. Even so, we’re selling it cheap and giving away a digital download to everyone who buys it so you can put it on your computer and MP3 player.

The future:
We’re aiming to get back out on ‘the circuit’ in late April/early May. We’ve vague plans to return to Scotland due to overwhelming demand (i.e. a few lovely girls have asked us back, which is good enough for me) and do a few dates in the north, including the Deeply Vale Festival if we can get on the bill. I’m itching to do more gigs, really to get back out there and do it over all of you, and spread the love.

We’ve been offered TWO compilation appearances for some people whose ideas and tastes we firmly support, so we’ll be recording a few more songs over the year; we’ll let you know as and when as we can’t say too much right now. But it’s a great honour to be asked on both counts.

Importantly, we’re all upgrading our equipment. For the technically minded, here’s what we’ve recently purchased or will soon get:
Kerry and Andrew have both bought new drumkits.
Andrew’s also got a laptop to aid with the synth and sampler.
Sharon’s bought a Microkorg to replace her clapped out Casio.
Waz has upgraded to a Fender Telecaster (the classic yellow with black scratchplate)
Martin has threatened to get a Tele too (though I’m of the opinion his SG is the daddy).
I’m splashing out (hopefully at the end of the month) on a Rickenbacker 4003 bass- but should I go with black or sunburst red?

The songs. The most important bit! We’ve got songs coming out of our ears. Martin has popped his songwriting cherry with a fantastic power-pop song called ‘Everyone Has To Meet Somewhere’. John has provided two more enduring anthems that are ready to go. ‘Foolscap’ was initially titled “The Visage one” and has a much more icy, synth-y sound thanks to me and Andrew playing dual keyboards and Sharon’s vocal. It’s brilliant. His other contribution ‘Factory Records Museum’ was something that was supposed to be throwaway, but has ended up as the song we all end up with going round our heads after practice is over. It also gives me my drumming debut, which is, of course, fun for me but hell on everyone else no doubt.

For my part, I’ve got four new songs on offer, including one that we’ve been playing since before our first gig but hasn’t been finished, and Kicking Down The Door, which hopefully will do what it says on the tin. My listening tastes have been informing my writing, and my current kicks of The Zombies, Ooberman, Sparks The Cars and 60s British psych have also provided the template to a further two songs on top of these…hold me back!

Sharon and Andrew have both threatened to provide new songs, and Sharon’s obsession with Canadian quintet The Organ seems to be spurring her on to complete her song, which can’t come quick enough. I want to hear it!

Anyway, I hope this missive makes up for the spectacular lack of correspondence over the last couple of months. I thought it’d be brief but I still haven’t covered everything. I’m tempted to suggest Andrew puts a Q&A section on the board, but we’re not that big yet.

Love to all,


P.S. It’s John’s birthday on Saturday and Sharon’s on Wednesday. Happy birthday to them both!