Last night I ordered a new DMX light controller. This will give me more control over my LED par cans, enabling me to produce better quality light shows for my own band and performances, not to mention other performers I work with.
Another par can has arrived.
It will be used has a new addition to The Backtrackers stage lighting. It is also available to hire on it's own, or with other lighting effects.
PA and Stage lighting hire. Also great for parties.
I recently went to eat in a pub near Bude, Cornwall. It was a place I often went to eat, but on this occasion I was forced to complain because they insisted on a minimum charge on my Visa card.
Partly due to the rude treatment from the management I emailed Visa to report the fact the establishment was trying it on with their customers by trying to charge a minimum payment.
This is what I said.
I wish to complain about the Stables http://www.stablesbar.co.uk/
On Monday, they refused to accept my Visa card unless I purchases a minimum of £20. I understand my contract with you is my card will be accepted without minimum charge. How are you able to help me with this matter. It lead to an embarrassing situation, ending in me being told to leave in front of the other customers.
This was the reply from Visa.
Thank you for contacting Visa Europe.
Visa has certain regulations that all merchants accepting Visa cards must follow. One of those rules is that Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items.
If you run into a problem like this with a merchant, please notify your Visa card-issuing financial institution. Visa Member financial institutions have access to the appropriate Visa rules and regulations. They also have access to the Notification of Customer Complaint forms that should be used by the financial institution to document and file this type of complaint.
Thank you for writing,
Consumer Support │Visa Europe
I'm now waiting for Nationwide to send me the relevant form to take my complaint further.
Watch this space.
The Vaults Bar used to be underneath the Collingwood Hotel in Ilfracombe,
North Devon. It was an L shaped room with awful acoustics. As a young band in North Devon, it was a great venue. It could be hired, with the bar for £20. Bands would charge £1 on the door, and always get 100 or 120 people through the door. The ceiling was very low, the walls were a very rough texture, but despite the acoustics, the atmosphere was always electric. Sweat would be dripping down the walls.
The first band I saw there were Cut & Run. This was the tail end of 1985. I had not long moved to Ilfracombe, from Great Wyrley, Staffordshire. I thought they were great. I remember them playing Silly Thing on that occasion, still one of my favorite Sex Pistols songs. I later became friends with members of Cut and Run.
My own band, The Pyromaniacs From Outerspace played many gigs there, both as headline and support act. I have many videos of the gigs. Sadly, they are all on VHS, so consequently, have not been seen for years.
Some of the other bands I saw there were, Cult Maniax, Fatal Attraction, Beat the Retreat, Burning Fantasy, Blyth Power, The Gotham City Gangsters and The Stan and Eddie Chain. The first time ever saw Jive Turkey was at the Vaults Bar. They were a Torrington band, doing Stranglers covers. They went on to to become a great band with Radio 1 air play.The last gig I played at the Vaults Bar was with The Backtrackers. It was a party for the Sure Start. Someone stole my capo at that gig.
Of course, the Collingwood Hotel is now knocked down after a fire, and the Vaults Bar was closed years before that. Whenever I walked past the derelict bar, before the fire, I would have a tear in my eye, and a lump in my throat. I could hear the muffled sound of ghost bands still bashing away. But they've all gone now, not even the ghosts can be heard.
There is nothing like it in Ilfracombe now. I do miss the venue and the great times I had there as both a performer and as a member of the audiences. What memories of the Vaults Bar do you have? What bands did you see gig there?
The Backtrackers http://paulclews888.weebly.com/backtrackers.html
This video contains some of the bands that played at the Vauls Bar. It was recorded about 1986, on Ilfracombe sea front, next to the Carousel Bar in the Victorian Pavilion. Also knocked down, and replaced by the Landmark Theatre. It was uploaded by Guy Roberts. See me with the Pyromaniacs From Outerspace at 1:55 with my Tokai Strat. I am still using it today. You can also see Eldon Evans on drums. Beat the Retreat, Fatal Attraction, and Burning Fantasy are also featured.
50 Dollar Bill
Never Say Goodbye Johnny Ray
Cult Maniax (do not watch if offened by strong languge)
No More Beach Boys
Road To Nowhere
The Amazing Adventures Of Johny The Duck And The Bathtime Blues
Poison Pen Letter
Cool Cats Dancing
Inside the Horse
The Bishop At The Gate
I have been meaning to write this blog for a long time. A couple of years in fact. I keep putting it off because I know it's a little controversial and I want to get it right. In other words, I've done my research. Many of you may disagree (I have had many debates on Twitter and Facebook about it). It makes my blood boil.
Now just to be clear, when I say 'why you should not play them', I also mean, you should not watch them, or eat or drink in the venues that promote them.
The pub landlords that promote such events will tell you, they put them on
'to give new talent an opportunity to play in front of an audience', as if they are doing the 'new talent' a favour. Well let me tell you, this is a big fat lie, they put them on for profit. Now profit is not a rude word, but everyone contributing deserves a slice of it. They are using the musicians skills and talent to line their own pockets, and not share any of it with the musician. Okay, they often give you a 'free pint'. Let me tell you about that 'free pint', it's not free, you worked for it. I wonder if the landlord pays his plumber and staff in pints. Pints do not pay your mortgage, kids shoes, or even a packet of guitar strings. They should also be declared to the VAT man by the landlords because, as an accountant informs me, they are in effect making a taxable supply to the musician in exchange for services, so the VAT on the full value of the pint should be paid over. I hope you landlords are declaring them. Equally, musicians should be declaring them to the tax man. You are accepting beer as income. I suspect the whole thing is a hot bed of petty tax evasion. I suggest musicians should try going down to Soundpad in Barnstaple and offer them a couple of flat pints of beer for a packet of Ernie Balls. I can ensure you they will laugh you out the building. Musicians are consequently 'paying to play' as the old musicians slogan used to say.
Another trick that the landlords and agents use to pull you in is, 'come
play the open mic night, and we'll see how good you are. If you are good enough I will book you'. This is another lie. They rarely give gigs this way, although they will deny this. I know many venues that book a whole year or seasons entertainment on this basis, abusing the good will of hopeful entertainers.
Entertainers need to stand together, say no to this rip off, and put an end to this awful practice, that is in all but name slavery.
People have argued 'but they're fun'. I don't think putting musicians out of work and treating them as slaves is fun. I take no pleasure in it. Where are your principles? It's a nobel art.On occasions, I've had other musicians tell me, 'I only play for fun, I work in the week, I don't need the money'. Again, I don't see how putting other musicians out of work is fun. How would you like it if I go to your boss and say to him I'll do your job for free, because I work as a musician, therefore I
don't need the money? There is a minimum wage law, some how musicians fall through the net. Has this musician got public liability insurance? I have never
met one that has. Therefore any accident, such as taking someone's eye out with
a guitar neck, or burning the pub down with your untested (PAT) electrical equipment, is not usually covered by the landlords insurance policy. You're taking a hell of a risk.
When it comes to these practices, I want venue owners to give up, and pay up!
I'm off for a walk to calm down.