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Making Plans for Nigel

Ged Lynn, Making Plans for Nigel

XTC uber fan, Ged Lynn learning the chords for Making Plans for Nigel. In typical Liverpool style, the wedding band learned the song to play it as a surprise at Ged & Bev’s wedding. This, with view that Ged would get up to play it. Then they realised they had to make sure he knew the words and chords. Someone had to tell him, thus spoiling the surprise, sort of. However, he did know the words (and does for pretty much EVERYTHING by XTC), but admittedly had to resort to the music book he bought in Rushworth’s (RIP), c1980.

The book is lovely. Great cover and photos, as well as music printed in deep red ink, reminiscent of Gestetner printed school hymn sheets.

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The Ballad of Peckham Rye

Phil guitar, Peckham Rye

It’s a cold rainy night in Peckham Rye Lane. The Bussey Building bouncers are wearily attempting reasoned communication with munted people stood in the road. One boy is trying to put his phone in his eye.

Two massive queues of ticket holders one side and walk ups the other. The walk ups queue is not moving. They stand shivering behind the crowd barrier, hands digging deep into their jeans for warmth.

Amidst the chaos, a bluesy strain threads through the faint bass rumble from the club, the rattle of car engines and the clatter of voices. It gets louder and more bluesy still. A fully formed tune meets the ear and I turn to see an electric blue Epiphone attached to man entertaining the walk ups mob. Also attached to the man are a pair of gloves that appear to be on a string through his sleeves.

This is Phil. He plays the blues in the rain on Rye Lane, at 3am. His guitar lead is a bit of 2 core electrical flex, the kind more suited to a desk lamp than a musical instrument. The red light on his amp, clipped to his coat pocket is fading on and off. Possibly rain related.

Phil gets 3 nights out of a 9v battery. Those pound shop ones only last 20 minutes, he says.




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Living Brain at Brian’s Diner

living brain at Brian's Diner 1995

Living brain’s first ever gig at Brian’s Diner

Just found some old ‘analogue’ photos from the first ever living brain gig at Brian’s Diner. This is when the band was a two piece with Ged Lynn and Lars Gabel.

We drank as much tea as The Rutles at their peak
– Ged Lynn

See the photos here, or read on…

Brian’s Diner was a large café bar squirrelled just off the main drag of Liverpool town centre on Stanley Street–Just beyond where the music shops are, or where: Rushworth’s, Hessy’s and Curly’s.

Outside is the Eleanor Rigby statue. Make a point to sit with her when you visit town.

Brian’s Diner was the place to plot after visiting the music shops. Escaping the hustle bustle of the town centre (especially on a Saturday!). Always a good feeling going in the door and up the steps. You’d be greeted by a good tune, animated conversation and maybe a hello from Gloria, Ben or Brian at the counter. Weaving through the thick green-glossed pillars and over bare floorboards to a booth and sitting under the large steamed-up windows with a pot of tea in that place was bliss. There was a giant oompah band bass drum on the wall. There were other instruments I think too, but the bass drum was enormous.

The gigs at Brian’s were legendary. There’d be the build up. We had no phones then, so it was all in the street: You going? Yeah, You going? Yeah. Sound, see you laters. la. What was better was when the living brain played: You gonna see the brain at brian’s? A dyslexic’s nightmare and I’m sure a few photocopied flyers did actually say living brian at brain’s diner.

The night gigs would usually have at least five bands playing. It would be £3 to get in, which was already pretty cheap. You’d get a raffle ticket when you paid. At midnight, in a break between bands, there’d be a mad rush around the bar and kitchen as producing your raffle ticket at midnight got you a plate of veggie curry. £3 for five or six bands AND a plate of curry.

Just found these pictures. I should point out that the graininess is not a limitation of the analogue film technology, but ironically, of a more modern analogue to digital conversion in a high-speed scanner. At some point, I’ll have access to a darkroom again and hand print these properly. Kind of like the ghostly look though :-

living brain at Brian’s Diner photos

Further reading

Life at Brian’s

Beautiful vignette about Brian, Gloria and some colourful Liverpool characters, as well as early Echo & the Bunnymen jams in between:

Part One

Part Two


A little on Rushworth’s:

Curly’s seem to still be going:

A little nugget of video on Hessy’s. This is where my guitar came from– the one Lars is playing in the living brain pictures:



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Jam night @ The Dizzy

jam night at the dizzy 3

Monday summer night in South London. 30 degrees at midnight. First heatwave and the heat is still dry. The place is heaving inside and out, people spilled out onto the pavement. In the corner, a whole load of guitars, mandolins, violins, musical saw, clarinet, bass and box drum. Shoes off, barefoot on the deck. Hollering and harmonies. Birthday cake, sleeping dog. The regulars hold up the bar in their regular stools. Businessmen and bus drivers. It’s jam night at The Dizzy.


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The Stairs

The Stairs

Spent a very sunny Bank Holiday indoors, down in a basement via a lift with a code – like Thunderbirds, with The Stairs practising for their upcoming tour. Pretty honoured to have a ‘private gig’ to be honest. It was great to see the inner workings of this monster music machine.

The Stairs tour dates include:

  • 2 June 2016 ABC, Glasgow
  • 3 June Gorilla, Manchester
  • 4 June Concorde 2, Brighton
  • 5 June Hare & Hounds, Birmingham


Liverpool Psychfest 2016

Go see them, they are ferocious live.

Click below for more.

Also, check out the great Silent Radio review of the Gorilla, Manchester gig.

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Marseille Figs at St Aloysius’ Social Club

Marseille Figs

The Marseille Figs playing at the amazing St Aloysius Social Club, off Eversholt Street. Roller skating tea waitresses, cake baking, stitch n’ bitch and jive classes all rolled into one. This photo was actually taken on a camera phone. Having not seen the band in a very long time, I caught this discreetly before they spotted me. I am honoured to say that this photo ended up in the cover art for their album, The Dirty Canon. The pack is a gatefold card cover, and this photo is featured when you pull the CD out. It delights me every time I play the CD.

You can buy the CD here: