Monday, 27 May 2013

A Little light Reading - Some Recent Poems

Well now, a lot of my recent blogs have centred around bands & gigs and the such and why not? 
However, one of the reasons I started this blog was to share some of my poetry in a more communicable medium as I don't often 'Do it' live these days (Stevenage festival in June will be the next one), so here, without further ado and in no particular order are a few recent poems.


I love the silence that comes with snowfall
I revel in its cool embrace
The uniqueness of every snowflake
Settling as one upon this place
It fills my heart with a warming glow
To see the land cloaked so in white
No footprints upon the virgin snow
Such beauty is my true delight
To wrap up warm against the cold
To sit and watch the world transform
A blanket of the winter’s spirit
Laid down for us this very morn
Tread carefully upon this day
Respect nature’s beauty cold and stark
And when the daylight fades to grey
The snow drives away the winter’s dark.


                        I saw a flash of red beneath the full Moon
It may have been the port-light of a plane
But then again
It might have been a Dragon

I saw the dark shadow of wings
Silhouetted against clouds stark and white
On this cold and blue-black night
Could it have been a Dragon?

I heard a sound from somewhere far away
Like the beating of enormous wings
It could have been one of many things
But it might have been a Dragon

In the silence that comes with snowfall
I listened for signs of wonder
Stopping for a moment to ponder
Are there really any Dragons?

History relates epic tales of Dragon slaying
Encounters with fabulous beasts
And not least
Treasures hoarded by Dragons

I saw a flash of red beneath the full Moon
It may just have been a passing plane
But all the same
I’m sure it was a Dragon.

The government’s spent all the money
Before any penny has been earned
Me, I’m not exactly paranoid
Just a little bit concerned

The polar ice caps are melting
The glaciers are in retreat
But I’ll only start to worry
When there’s water lapping at my feet

The Siberian permafrost is melting
Releasing methane by the ton
It’ll speed up the global warming
The future weather should be fun

Religious fundamentalism spreading
Causing revolutions and wars
But should we be concerned at all
Unless it’s just outside our doors?

Famine and malnutrition
Can only happen overseas
And surely we don’t have a problem
With uncontrollable disease

Extreme politics get a foothold
Out there on the left or out there on the right
While the centre buries it’s head in the sand
The future’s looking bright!

Has history taught us nothing?
Are there no lessons to be learnt?
Me, I’m not exactly paranoid
Just a little bit concerned.

Me, I’m not exactly paranoid
Just a little bit concerned.

 got to
 got to
 the kitchen
Whatever you do don’t let the bugger in
Better take heed about what they suggest
Don’t leave any food lying around your desk
Not one single crumb is to appear upon the floor
Or that pesky little mouse will pop in from next door
He’s got an antenna for food located on his head
They tried to poison him but he’s alive, alive not dead!
But we don’t want him in here among the mechanisms
For pro and anti-mousers can cause the widest schisms
But it’s easy to see if a mouse has been around
For little black torpedoes will surely abound
It’s better for everyone if the mouse lives outside
If he gets in here there’s so many places to hide
And mice cause mess as well as carry disease
So don’t encourage the mouse for all our sakes please
But if you’re caught breaking any basic hygiene rule
It’s you not us that will be taken for the fool
And we’ll pillory you and put you in the stocks
Throw mouldy                     tomatoes and a pair                     of smelly socks
And a live                          mouse shoved right down                       your underwear
Mind you                              that might put him off                      coming in here
In the first


It’s great that we all think about ecology
Recycling, energy saving and such
But some of the new technology employed in so doing
Well, it really is a bit much
For example in most new buildings and offices
Lights turn on as you enter the room
And they stay on while you’re inside there
Not a patch is left dark and gloom
But there’s no switch to turn the lights off
Presentations with the beamer are fun
No bugger can see the screen clearly
Didn’t think of that now did you my son
And which clever sod went and decided
To fit lights with such sensors in loos
They light up spectacularly when standing
But go off when you’re midway through poos!
It’s OK if the sensor can see you
But as soon as you’ve disappeared from its view
Like when you’re behind the closed door of a trap
Trying to pass a most difficult poo
Out go the lights and your stranded
Sitting there helpless in the pitch black
And wiping yourself clean in such circumstances?
God help if the Klingons attack!
Has the paper gone into the bowl?
Or is it at your feet stuck to the floor?
You’ll soon know when you try to stand up
And fumble or slide for the lock on the door
And you exit like some manic creature
Waving your arms about so frantically
To set off the sensors and turn on the lights
Thank God no one else in here can see
So all you architects and interior designers
With your best intentions and your well meaning
Leave a manual switch for the lights in the loos
It’ll save, just on the cost of the cleaning!

The Other Side of the Sky

 So near yet so far
But here we are
On the other side of the sky

We looked forward to
Things we wanted to do
Sadly they all pass us by

Time races past
Does nothing ever last
Excuse me while I start to cry

Memories are fine
But fade with the time
On the other side of the sky

It’s no surprise
That when I close my eyes
Something inside softly sighs

We can’t change what’s been
Or the things we have seen
On the other side of the sky

How can we really see
The truth of reality
Rather than living a lie

So near yet so far
Beneath our little star
On the other side of the sky

That my friends is it for now, until the next time, cool runnings one and all.

All poems above Copyright Grant Meaby 2013, Snow Picture also Copyright Grant Meaby, all other pictures blagged from the Web.

Friday, 24 May 2013

BURLESQUE at The Crown & Cushion

Now who would have ever thought that a little country pub way out 'In the sticks' at Great Gransden would be the venue for some of the best live music around!
Apparently Great Gransden is a popular village for retired or semi retired rock stars, anyway, the pub is lovely with some excellent beers but on this particular occasion it was the setting for Burlesque to play only their 2nd gig in a year and something like three months (According to Penny) since their last rehearsal, not that that seemed to make any difference!

Burlesque, like Penny's other bands, Nightshade and White Rabbit are so much more than just another cover band, you could say, they are all consummate musicians that get together to play other peoples music, to give some measure of this, the pub was pretty damn full, people had travelled from as far away as Peterborough, London, Cambridge and even Stevenage, Stotfold and Langford!

I was there of course, with the Fellowship less Paul (Who was plastering) and Chris (Who was plastered, er, perhaps not, was away on business way up north), Peter, Kevin & I certainly made the trek and well worth it it was too.

Burlesque rocked, the very effective but bright lighting played havoc with photography at times but made for some interesting effects.

If you get the chance to see Burlesque go and do so, you won't be disappointed,

The astute among you will instantly recognise the 'structure' of this ditty, based on a song by a popular beat combo of yesteryear:

Burlesque at the Crown & Cushion

Penny Lane is singing at the Crown & Cushion
With her band Burlesque you know it will be good
And the people all crowded stood
In the corner there’s a Fellowship there gathering
Their cameras are all going click click flash
What a jolly hoot a splendid bash, in a country inn
Very splendid din

Penny Lane sings in a band that’s called Burlesque
Spangly in black is how she’s dressed
We sit or stand and listen in

Penny Lane there is a lot of blokes a goggling
And bopping as she sings those old rock songs
We like to all sing along
Such a merry throng

Penny Lane sings in a band that’s called Burlesque
We don’t give a fig for all the rest
We drink and dance tonight

The band are very tight and play great songs alright
People have travelled here from very far away
It’s so good and well worth it I must say
Such a lovely day
Penny Lane looks stunning in her basque tonight
She moves around so lovely as she sings
Stunning thing

Penny Lane sings in a band that’s called Burlesque
White Rabbit and Nightshade too are of interest
We rock and sing right back
Penny Lane sings in a band that’s called Burlesque
White Rabbit and Nightshade they are the best
Penny lane

Grant Meaby
Yours truly taking a break.
Peter (In blue) & Kevin (Stripes) relax and enjoy a pint
And that's just about it for now, so until the next time, have fun, enjoy, cool runnings one and all.
Grant - May 2013

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Matt Stevens
So the review meetings at work went well and swiftly thus allowing me to escape at 16:10.(I love flexi-time).
I dash outside as fast as my stick allows to catch the bus home, thinking, a shower, on with the gigging gear, dash back out to catch train to London, alas, shower occupied by youngest daughter so it’s a ‘Glasgow Shower’ for me, shhhhhhh, psst, psst and I don’t smell too bad.

A quick change and then goodbye’s to the family and I’m off, I pick up a pastie and a couple of cans of from  the local Kandola then a quick bus ride and I’m at Stevenage station waiting for the fast train to Kings Cross.

The train ride allows me to catch up with one of my colleagues I don’t see much of at work these days which is a nice start to the evening, that and the giant Cornish pastie!

Arriving at Kings cross I set off following my route map (courtesy of Google Maps) to find the venue, Kevin B has trained me well.
I’m about 2/3 of the way there when I pass the Lucas Arms, well I didn’t actually pass the Lucas Arms as sitting outside supping on a pint was a certain Matt Stevens and several of the Celbr8 / Camrock crew.

The Lucas Arms

Matt was as pleased to see me as I was to see him as he thought, as did I initially, that I wouldn't be able to make it along tonight,  so there we were sitting outside the pub enjoying a couple of pints of Golden Hen, chatting about prog, Celebr8, Camrock etc. the time soon passed and it was off to the venue, Westminster Kingsway College Theatre literally just down the street.

The college of media / arts is a splendid building and the students involved with tonight's show seemed a lovely bunch, with the entrance a mere £6 and also buy a raffle ticket for £1:50 and exchange it at the ‘bar’ for a dumpy beer or a bucket of wine, Shiraz here I come, these are prices I can afford!

Roger Marsh was there as I arrived  along with Robert Ramsay and a host of others, many recognisable faces from Celebr8 / Celebr8.2, The Peel and Cambridge Rock Festival.

First are on first, young enthusiastic, noisy, and really quite good, the bass player looked somewhat fearsome but he’s got a 5 string and can play it, nice opening set.

There isn’t much of break between bands, just enough time for a quick Shiraz refill and to pop outside for a smoke meeting Simon Godfrey along the way who's just arrived after doing his 'Burger thing' and then it’s The Fierce and the Dead, complete with a great video backdrop and lighting, they launch into 666.6 and follow up with lots of the new material from the forthcoming album with On VHS thrown in for good measure.

The Fierce and the Dead 
TFATD are on form tonight, the sound is excellent and with the visuals it’s a stunning show, sadly its over all too soon but early enough for me to scuttle back to Kings Cross with Roger and catch our respective trains north, then remarkably an on time bus and home well before 10:30, phew! It can be done on a 'school-night' and well worth doing it was too.

Cheers all, until the next time.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


What follows is a purely personal view from my own 'Punters eye perspective' of the Celebr8.2 Progressive Rock Festival held on the 11th and 12th of  May at the Hippodrome, Kingston-Upon-Thames, organised by those House of Progression stalwarts Jon Patrick and Geoff Banks & their team.

OK, so I was "One of those blokes in the Corona shirt", you will have seen at least four of us, maybe more if your eyes were in any way a bit blurry with the beer of more likely the smoke from the smoke machine and the joss sticks! 

Having enjoyed a perfectly wonderful Thursday night at the Red Lion in Stevenage seeing a couple of bands, Lexi Scarlett and Hitchcock Blonde (Both of whom I can strongly recommend), on Friday, my Corona cohorts and I set off after a somewhat fraught morning at work to Kingston-Upon-Thames.
Why go so early?
Easy one, check in hotel, dump stuff, go to The Kings Tun, have lunch, go to London, go to Hammersmith, go to the Hammersmith Ram, meet friends, drink beers, go to the Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited gig, easy!
OK, as a lifelong Genesis and Mr. Hackett fan, this was the gig of the year so far for me, it was exquisite, sublime, truly awesome, you could say I enjoyed it somewhat.

The Steve Hackett Band

So, enough said about what preceded Celebr8.2, what about Celebr8.2?

Saturday 11th May 2013

Saturday kicked of with IO Earth complete with new singer Linda Odinsen, lovely, I loved the ethereal quality and clarity of her singing and the music was good too, I'm not sure about the fans (Not the people, the actual whirly things) that blew her hair around making her at times look more like a figurehead from Titanic (Mush to the amusement of the likes of a certain Leon Camfield and Kim Sevior whom I was lucky enough to share a hilarious half hour with, anyway, a great opening to the festival.

Linda of IO Earth
Next up I was dashing off to the acoustic stage to see the one and only Mr. Everywhere, Mark Spencer, and a blinding set he played too, I'm so glad I caught this one.

Next on the main stage was one of those bands that had been causing quite a stir and a fervour of anticipation, all the way from the US of A, District 97 featuring the American Idol finalist Leslie Hunt on vocals, OK, she looked very nice, the band were accomplished and tight, they should have ticked all the right boxes and obviously did for a lot of people but I did tell you this is my personal perspective, I did not like her voice, end of.

So it was time for a well earned stroll over the road for a pint I could afford before getting back in plenty of time to get to the acoustic stage again, this time for the stripped down Galahad, I love Galahad, have done for years, like them I'm a Dorset boy, not only that, local too and Stu Nicholson did a great job, lifted me right back up to that festival buzz.

One of the great things about Celebr8 is the people, the bands, the punters, the organisers, prog is like a thumping great family, somewhat dysfunctional at times but a family none the less, it was great to see old friends, put faces to Facebook friends and of course meet new people and become Facebook friends and real friends and blah blah blah blah............

Frost on the main stage, consummate performance despite most of Jem Godfrey's keyboards having been programmed so he could play one handed after almost chopping off a finger, not 100% convinced it worked and also not very happy they decided to do that instead of use the volunteered talents of the amazing Mr. Andy Tillison who thankfully got to play on Sunday, did I say I don't slag people or bands off here, seriously I like Frost, saw them at FrostBites last year and they were awesome, nuff said methinks.

Acoustic stage time again, and, Knifeworld. 
Knifeworld are another band I love and I (& several others too I suspect) was wondering how on earth they would cope with an acoustic set, well? Because they are led by Kavus Torabi, the absolute highlight of the day (So far), the manic musical mayhem that is Knifeworld is pure genius, a fantastic set.

Knifeworld, well six out of  the seven! 

And finally, Saturday was rounded off by the mighty, the magnificent, Threshold, Damian Wilson's vocals seem to get better year on year and at a Threshold gig I guarantee you'll be singing along and thinking, I didn't know that this was one of theirs! What a way to end Saturday, absolutely storming, by far the best band of the day for me, I bounced out of the Hippodrome on a high (a purely legal euphoric music inspired high).

As the Hippodrome turns into a bouncy nightclub early on a Saturday night with the bright young things swaying about wearing next to nothing and swigging back their alcopos it was a great opportunity to get together with friends, go out for meals and drinks and all that sort of stuff that one does at such festivals without having to slide through the mud back to a soggy tent, bliss, the warmth and comfort of the Travelodge awaited.

Sunday 12th May 2013

After the delights of another mass progfan breakfast at Weatherspoons and a couple of cheeky early beers it was soon time to be heading back to day 2 which opened in wonderful style on the acoustic stage with the mega talented and all round lovely fella, Mr. Matt Stevens.
Lets face it, Matt is a genius, to some he is a god, to others like me, he's an extremely talented mate who makes his guitar do things with and without loops and effects that I bet you never knew anyone could do on or with a guitar unless and until you have seen or heard Matt Stevens, go hear him, go buy his albums you'll not be disappointed.

The multi talented Matt Stevens

First on the main stage on Sunday was Alan Reed and the Daughters of Expediency, another truly wonderful performance and one to say "I was there" at this the debut gig, Alans songs and song writing are exquisite, I saw him last year doing a solo acoustic set, he was brilliant then and he is now, a great mixture of old and new material, as someone quipped "You can take the man out of Palas but you can't take the Palas out of the man", maybe, but as far as I'm concerned that's no bad thing and anyway Alan and his work have moved on to something more personal and magnificent.

Back to the acoustic stage and the first appearance of the afternoon of Andy Tillison, what a great set, some Tangent, some old songs. Always meaningful and relevant Andy is one of the true pioneers of progressive music and a joy to watch and hear and as it happens, to spend some quality time with for a drink and a chat, given their similar backgrounds I was amazed to find out that Andy doesn't know Mark Astronaut!.
More about Andy in a short while.

Main stage, the much anticipated appearance of Harvest and no disappointment there either, I love Monique van der Kolk's vocals and I'd be lying if I didn't say I preferred her (Stage presence) far more than that American lass of yesterday, mmmmmm.

Acoustic stage again, Matt Stevens AND Andy Tillison jamming together for the first time ever, this was the unexpected highlight of the festival, what an amazing experience, they positively bounced off each other (Musically of course otherwise Matt would almost certainly have flattened Andy), it was surreal, it was sublime, mostly if not all of us who went to see them stood there like bloody goldfish open mouthed and dribbling! It really was pant wettingly good. 
The number of cries of "When are you going to record an album together" after they finished was something never before witnessed by this gibbering wreck, still somewhat gobsmacked.

Matt Stevens AND Andy Tillison

Local heroes haken (yes lower case 'h' and it rhymes with bacon) were up next on the main stage, I've got their first two albums and I like them and I've seen them live before so didn't watch the whole set as;
a) The sound balance wasn't quite right and the vocals were somewhat drowned out by the guitars and more importantly
b) I was bloody starving and thirsty, still out and back in time for the last couple of numbers before heading back to the acoustic stage and another highlight of the festival, Simon Godfrey (just in case you don't know, of Tinyfish and now Shineback), Simon did what Simon does, made us laugh, enthralled us, entranced us but, but. but, I do wish I hadn't seen his 'What goes through a guitarists mind when he plays Motorville' video as I couldn't get those images out of my mind when he plated Motorville, all in all an extraordinary, magnificant set.

So to the main stage, all the way from Canada, Mystery featuring the one and only Benoit David on vocals, musically the band were not just good, they were awesome, well perhaps not quite awesome but pretty damn good, despite some technical problems with the sound early in the set, no doubt this performance tickled the pants off many of the punters, is there a problem? Yes, only a personal one, for me Yes isn't / wasn't Yes without Jon Anderson and even less Yes with Benoit David, did I happen to mention I'm a massive Jon Anderson Yes fan?

A nice break between Mystery and the headlining band allowed plenty of time to pop out for food and refreshments, so suitably fed and watered it was time to return to the one band that on tier own would have made coming to this festival worthwhile, the awesome (I'm allowed to use awesome here) Arena such a pity things were running late and they had to cut their set down, I could have listened to another two days of Arena, they were absolutely fabulous and such a good choice to end what had been yet another great Celebr8 festival.

It was lovely to catch up with so many friends, I will not attempt to name them here as I'll miss someone and that would not be fair, you know who you are, all that remains to be said is thank you Jon Patrick, Geoff Banks, The Merch Desk, The House of Progression & all who made celebr8.2 such a great festival.

If you head over to the Merch Desk there may be a last chance to pick up a souvenir programme with the double CD which is already fast becoming a collectors item.

What's next, CRF 2013 if not before.

Until the next time, stay safe, keep rocking, cool runnings one and all.
Grant - May 2013