I’m writing this to the soundtrack of multiple versions of Begin The Beguine; my granddad once told me a story about how when he was on shore leave and at a dance, a sailor hopped up to the bandstand, gave the band a key to play in, and sang a version of the song so brilliant, it topped any other version he’d ever heard.
Fast forward 60-odd years and we have no similar stories, since no sailors on shore leave have invaded our stage and asked to sing (were they to do attempt such a feat, I do believe Martin would give them a thorough shoeing, and rightly so). What we do have is a satisfying, energetic result from the first third of 2009. In short, it’s been a helluva success; since the last blog, we’ve played five more gigs, meaning that we’ve already played more gigs this year than last, and we have a few exciting ones coming up. The best gig of the year so far has probably been 93 Feet East at the end of last month, not least because we’ve got to tread the boards where Radiohead and plenty others have previously trod, but also because we sounded terrific and shared the bill with three ace bands, namely Little Ghosts, Strange Fruit and 18 Carat Love Affair. It wasn’t until after we’d played that we found out that Peter Perrett from The Only Ones was in the audience as his boys are in Strange Fruit (and used to be in Babyshambles apparently). One can only ponder what he made of the Another Girl Another Planet-esque intro to Blackwall Tunnel. 18 Carat Love Affair were definitely my favourite band of the evening though; they’re a bit Art Brut, a bit New Order, a bit 586 (Stephen the singer’s old band, funnily enough) and other things I can’t bring to mind right now. They also have an electronic drum kit, complete with fab drummer. And a bassist with the same bass as me. And they’re jolly lovely people, all of them. Whether they do a cover of Begin The Beguine, I’m not sure. Top marks.
We’ve also ventured out to Oxford last Friday, uncharted territory for us. It went well enough that we were asked for autographs. If you missed us, we’ll be back.
In the meantime, it’s all rehearsing and songwriting. It’s been a while since we debuted any new songs, but the three that we have – Taggart, Trouble At The Garden Centre, Your Friend – have all started feeling like old friends already. I submitted five new songs back in March, and we’ve finished working up one of them, which we may play next Friday if Sharon’s as confident with it as the rest of us are. Speaking of Sharon and next Friday, she’s taken the plunge and finally written us a song. And, as we all knew it would be, it’s ace. It’s very Flyers, but also something totally new – I certainly don’t think anyone else in the band could have written something similar, so it adds a new string to our bow. It’s called Weekend Works. Look out for it.
More excitingly, we’re returning to the studio on Saturday. It’s been over six months since we recorded anything, so the backlog is growing again. We’ve got a new four-track EP in the pipeline, so we’re recording for that, and if we’ve got more time, we’ll put some other backing tracks down. I’m especially looking forward to walking along Brick Lane in the sunshine and grabbing a bagel for lunch. James, meanwhile, is looking forward to three or four lunches from the food stands near Rough Trade. Alas, there’ll only be four of us in the studio as John’s away, so we can’t finish anything, but it’ll be nice to get some songs at least half finished.
Oh, by the way, what do you think of the website? Isn’t it pretty?