I hope everyone’s having a great Bank Holiday weekend. For me, that enjoyment is now over, in fact, it never really started. The role of my day job means we don’t get the standard holidays but have them built in to our entitlement. And to be honest, I’d rather be off on the other days of the school holidays when I can enjoy it, not like today when everywhere is mobbed.
My weekend never went anywhere near the way I had planned. It all changed late on Friday when my wife and I realised she had the Saturday off, and so with me already planning to cover a gig on the Saturday night, we expanded things to include her, and the rest of the day.
So on Saturday morning, after a brief jaunt up town for a coffee and read of the paper, I returned home early. After a nice lunch I changed into something more comfortable and befitting our intended destinations for the day: jeans and a Specials t-shirt.
The Rab Howat Band
Our first stop was Bannerman’s Bar to see their weekly free show: The Rab Howat Band. The Rab Howat Band has been playing on Saturday’s for over 20 years, previously in Cas Rock and The Venue. I’ve had them in my radar since I met Gail, in fact, the early Saturdays of our relationship were spent going to see Rab Howat, which at the time meant attending the smoky den that was The Venue on Calton Road.
It was overcast and pouring with rain when we arrived by taxi, and who should be standing at the door smoking an electric cigarette but still managing to look cool? None other than Rab Howat himself. In the old days he used to smoke on stage, and would keep his cigarette on the end of a spare string poking from the end of his guitar while he played. It was the ultimate in cool, but now with the smoking ban and his health probably having come into his forevision, all that has stopped.
The band’s ability to entertain hasn’t, though, but if you want the full scoop on that you will need to head over to my Man in the East website for details.
With the gig over we stayed in the bar a while and chatted. I also introduced myself to Ali Wilson, the band’s drummer who I’ve got to know in a virtual capacity over Twitter (as @Drumslinger). He was running off to play another gig but it was great to finally meet and talk to the big guy face to face.
It was also tangible evidence to Gail of what Twitter can be like. I’ve only just got her onto Facebook through which to promote her business but Twitter is something she sees as a waste of time. Ever since last year’s book festival, though, I’ve been trying to get across the benefits that Twitter has, one of the main ones getting to talk to and meet people you might not otherwise not have.
When we left Bannerman’s the weather had dried up and the sun had come out, so we decided to walk to our next venue. We took a leisurely stroll through the Grassmarket, and on passing the Apex International Hotel, decided to pop into their public bar for a quick half.
The Apex is where Gail and I had our wedding reception back in August 2003, and this was the first time we’d been back together since we went for a meal there on our first anniversary. Despite the décor having changed to ultra modern from what was purely just modern 8 years ago, the layout remained much the same.
It brought a tonne of memories flooding back, from when we arrived on the red carpet, shared drinks in the upstairs bar, and of course the horrendous drinking that took place there the night before the wedding day itself. Great stuff.
Henry’s Cellar Bar
Two very expensive drinks later (£9.80 for 2 Jack Daniels & Coke!!!), we headed off in the direction of Lothian Road. Our next destination was the small and grungy Henry’s Cellar Bar, a place where fine new music is discovered and hard drinks are consumed.
My reason for being there was to see Kid Canaveral, a band that blew me away with the quality of their debut album last month, and which has been on my “Must See” list since I got hold of it last month. The gig was setup by Song by Toad Records, the owner of which is Matt Young who was also responsible for the brilliant SXSW video blog I posted here several times while the Texas spectacular was running. I told him this much when I searched him out in the bar, but I’m not sure how seriously he took me when this large’ish skinhead in a Harrington and the smell of strong drink on his breath, hunted him down to blurt it all out.
The gig was part of a regular showcase Matt puts on called The Ides of Toad, in which his label brings to the public’s attention new music breaking into the underground scene.
Again, if you want the full scoop on this gig, then you’ll need to head over to my Man in the East website for the full review.
Lothian Road on a Saturday
One of the reasons I don’t go into town much on weekend nights is due to the assholes that roam around there between the hours of 8pm and 3am. I’d much rather drink in Leith or stay home. On leaving Henry’s, Gail and I were walking along Bread Street when the familiar sound of a fight kicking off echoed out.
If I’ve seen it once I’ve seen it a thousand times: several young men walking along the road; one young gets jumped by another; pint glass bounces off the head; sweary words; rolling in the road; two young girls with skirts so short you can see their breakfast scream at both of them to stop. Neither do.
We waited until the very brief fight was over and had developed into a verbal version of handbags at dawn, before walking past it all, stepping over one guy’s watch and miraculously, an unbroken pint glass. How lucky was that lad?
Food with Carrie
Finally in a cab, we stopped off at our local Chinese takeaway and ordered some food to take home. Carrie was just starting when we got back, and with me having only read Stephen King’s book and Gail neither the book nor the film, we decided to watch it. That took us into the wee small hours, and that’s where our story ends.
Sunday was a day of rest, chocolate, black pudding suppers, Irn-Bru, chocolate and later on, a chocolate egg. And some toffee.
Free Ebooks Giveaway on Twitter
There is now under 20 slots left in my special Twitter giveaway. I’m giving away ALL my published ebooks for free to the 1000th person to follow me on Twitter. Not only that, but a randomly selected follower from between Friday 1st April right up to the 1000 mark, will also win the same prize! Click here for full details of the great Twitter Ebook Giveaway.
Enter coupon code HOPUK305 at checkout (HOP305 in US and Canada) and receive 20% off your order of my poetry books: FRINGE FANTASTIC, POOLSIDE POETRY and SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE VOL.2. Offer cannot be applied to previous orders and only applies to books or ebooks ordered through the Lulu option. Offer expires on 26th April, 2011 at 11:59 PM.
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