Sunday, 22 December 2013


Well now, it is that time of year, Christmas parties, office parties, a plethora of Christmas dinners and fayre (Or perhaps not!) and of course, the annual, by now somewhat of a tradition, the IQ Christmas party gig and the Fellowship of the Stick are no strangers to this particular event!

Why 'Off to a Sloe start'? All will be revealed later, but for now;

It never ceases to amaze nor humble me, the number of you who read this blog, whom I have had the privilege to meet at gigs and festivals, I know some of you seem to like my quirky poems while others prefer a more serious 'Review' of the gig or band, striking a happy medium is not always easy and, as I may have mentioned before, I am a music fan, I like what I like, I tend to leave serious reviews and critiques to those professional writers and reviewers who are perhaps better qualified to expound forth on such matters even if I / we may not always agree with what they have to say!

Anyway, from my own perspective, the IQ Christmas gig and all that preceded it added up to what can only be described as one of the 'Events' of the year!

IQ are a progressive band who have been around since the early 80's, founded by Mike Holmes and Martin Orford following the dissolution of their original band, The Lens.
Although never having found that elusive major commercial success and despite several line up changes, IQ have built up a loyal fan base over the years and are still making exceptionally good music today as the sell out gig at the O2 Academy testifies.

IQ are always 'Up for' their Christmas party gig and tonight was no exception, they were absolutely spot on and gave us a fine selection from their extensive back catalogue + a couple of new songs from the forthcoming album to e released in the new year.

I have checked a couple of sites listing the set they played, don't ask me to take notes or anything like that, so it was probably something like this:-

Main Set
No Love Lost 
Ryker Skies 
Without Walls  (A new one)
Widow's Peak 
It All Stops Here 
El Bastardo  (Another new one)
Leap of Faith 
The Seventh House 

For Christ's Sake 
'God Rest You Merry, … more)
Cum On Feel the Noize
Human Nature 

2nd Encore

IQ in full swing
OK so that's the serious gig review bit done, here's what happened throughout the day, enjoy.

Off to a Sloe Start

Christmas is that time of year
A time of camaraderie, Fellowship and good cheer
There are so many things to see and so many things to do
Some traditional, others perhaps somewhat new 
And one of those must be done events my hearty
Is the Fellowship London trip to the IQ Christmas party

On the tube
It was the usual thing as ever once again
The successful meeting on the train
The navigation of the underground
Until the four of us could be found
At The Earl of Essex with its board of many brews
We could have stayed but there were other things to do

The famous Beer Board
A short walk in the rain brought us to The Island Queen
Now the ‘Earl’ and the ‘Island’ were places we’d previously been
But quite a long while ago on our London craft beer tour
A swift pint, a few fun pictures and  we were moving on once more
We sauntered around the corner to The Prince of Wales
With the lovely cockney landlady and the laughing Policeman’s tales

Silly, us? Never.
And then, oh yes and then, it, well, sort of began
A short step away was of course, The Charles Lamb
So myself, Peter, Kevin and Chris naturally
Warmed ourselves with a winter ale as fine as can be 
We played ‘Shut the Box’ but the genie was out or maybe he was in
For Kevin had spied the Christmas special, the Damson Gin!

Damson delight!
Four small glasses and a pint of ice
A bottle, two glasses full each, very nice
And then we met Gerald, what a lovely bloke
He told us WE were the very essence of Christmas, no joke!
He appeared at our table with another bottle to share
So we had to reciprocate, now we were well beyond all care

Shut the box Kevin
Sadly there are some things that have to come to an end
It was time to wish a merry Christmas to our new found friend
And to make our way The Glassworks  it was time to eat
After all this was the Fellowship’s Christmas treat
But lo and behold the Wetherspoons had no Christmas dinners
Such is the fate of Sloe starters and such awful sinners

What has Gary let himself in for?
Compensation comes in so many different guises
Life it seems can be relied upon to spring some nice surprises
And although we may have had only a burgers and chips meal
It still had that lovely Christmas feel
And Gary was there to keep us company
Peter, Kevin, Chris & me

Roger Roger, over and out
So, into the Islington O2 Academy 
For the annual IQ Christmas party
And there we met up with Roger, the Fellowship were now five
Geoff was there flyering and doing his bit to keep music alive
My friend Alex was there too but joy of joy’s guess who else came along?
Only the one and only Mr. Jym Furlong

Jym ponders the existence of  the Christmas Fellowship
IQ were sublime, there was no support act
As usual they played a lovely long set
Drawing from their extensive history
A perfect way to end the day for the Fellowship and me
There was the usual prog dancing
With floor rolling, frolicking and some dubious prancing

When you have to dance, you dance!
When the show was over, all the goodbyes and happy Christmas’s said
It was a race off to the tube and the train back off home to bed
But Peter’s camera had gone astray
A search party was immediately dispatched on its way
Not only did they return in time to catch the train
But perhaps there’s a lesson here for us all once again

Er, yes!
Remember this if you remember nothing else this Christmas
It’s not always a bad thing getting off to a Sloe start
But if you do, I say with all my heart
Take care and
God bless you
Happy Christmas.

And it's goodnight from me!

So, there you have it, this will be the last posting of 2013 until we kick off the new round of gigs in 2014, now i wonder what that will be like?

So, until then, a final picture of IQ

And a very splendid and special Christmas to you all, from me, fare thee well for now.

Happy Christmas one and all
All wrongs reserved - Grant Meaby - December 2013

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