October 11th, 2006


Getting there is half the squee

The next morning, Julia and I trudged through the rain, a constant feature on this trip, to the Thameslink station to take the 9:55 to Gatwick. We were hoping to meet Jo there, but she phoned to say she was in a taxi stuck in traffic, and would have to take a later train and pray that she make it to the airport on time. She later texted to let us know she was only two trains behind.

When we got to check-in, Christy was already there clutching a great big Costa coffee, and after a bit of deliberation, decided to check in and go for breakfast, and to see if we could find a secure little bag that Jo could use to put her makeup in as all she had was her shoulder bag -- apparently she hadn't realised that all liquids including mascara were banned from being carried onto planes in passenger hand luggage, and had wanted to meet us at the station so she could put it in our hold luggage.

Christy and I had a hearty 'farmhouse breakfast' that would see us through the day, while Julia went to meet Jo, take her to buy the cute little £6 bag, and check in; after which they came up to join us and had their own brekkie of scrambled egg and beans on toast. The flight to Belfast was fairly uneventful, except for Jules and Jo scaring the life out of the poor man sat hunched up to the window in their row of seats with their incessant squee; and as we came out of Belfast City airport, the sun broke through the clouds. tori_x had come in ahead of us and was waiting for us in Arrivals, but where was Nai? Tori hadn't seen her, and Belfast City airport is tiny...Very soon we learned that she was already on her way to the hotel as she had looked on the monitor and seen that the flight from Gatwick had been delayed...only, it hadn't. Puzzled, we got into a taxi and I gained my first and very favourable glimpse of Belfast, a city I'd never been before and unfortunately on this trip, had no opportunity to explore. We crossed a very beautiful bridge with yellow dolphins on the cast-iron lampposts and railings and passed by a place called St. George's Market which looked like it might be worth a visit, but as I've already stated: no time to explore. We got to the hotel at the same time as Nai was getting out of her taxi across the road from us. Belfast didn't like her, she said, as the ride had set her back £26. "£26?", we shouted, "No -- £12!" Nai's taxi driver turned around affronted, and solved the mystery by yelling "Different airport!" -- she'd only come into Belfast International!

Oh well. We got in, spruced up, and went out to look for the venue and somewhere that had Internet access with a printer attached (the hotel being sadly lacking in that respect), and bumped into Matt on the way out. He was taken aback a bit by the coincidence of us staying at the same hotel (and by the fact that we'd gotten a much better deal on the flight and transport cost and times by opting for Belfast City), but recovered quickly enough and went back about his business. The rain started again while we were out.

We found an Internet connection with the required printer, where Nai arranged for her journey back to Southampton after the Glasgow gig, and found ourselves the perfect watering hole to while away the remaining two hours until we had to go to the gig. It was here that I was introduced to Bombay Sapphire gin for my habitual g&t, and now I will have nothing else. Yes, I know it's a deeply uncool drink that only old ladies are silly enough to ask for, but I am an old lady and I never know what else to order in a pub (except for a lemonade, which I believe is even more uncool).

We went to KFC for our dinner, then went over the road for The Bunker, which strangely enough we had to climb up the stairs to get to.


A propos of 'Robin Hood'

I may have to rethink my decision not to watch this latest BBC adaptation. Wasn't that Richard Armitage I just saw in the trailer, introducing himself as Guy of Gisbourne? Guy of Gisbourne may be a fool, but Richard Armitage...phoarrr!
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The Bunker, Lavery's, Belfast, Oct 6th

So, where were we? Oh yes, going into Lavery's for our second CoRo & Corn Mo gig in our mini-tour. The people on the door were very friendly, but they didn't have The List. Pre-paid admittance would be by confirmation number, they explained, but we gave our names instead and they still let us in!

The venue was a long, dark and narrow room with a few tables and stools and a swanky bar, and a small aluminium stage laden with equipment,

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and...drums?! Corn Mo came on just as we trooped in, to introduce the local support act and good friends of his, he said: Son of Shrimp. They might have been alright, I don't know, but they were certainly very loud. The sound man, Thomas, didn't know where to find the monitor and so the drummer couldn't hear what the guitarists were doing, but even after Jordan came and sorted it all out, Son of Shrimp's sound didn't improve.

Corn Mo was on next, and the audience went wild. He comes to Belfast regularly, and has built up a faithful fanbase there, most of whom were in the house that night. Plus, of course, he had brought us along, and we love Corn Mo. Unfortunately, he had now cut the werewolf song from his repertoire...but it's alright as Julia has a recording of it from that first gig. We couldn't get a good view from where we had been when Son of Shrimp were on, and so we had no choice but to go up front and sit down on the floor, where very soon, we were actually joined by said Scion of Shellfish, and then a few more people who were latecomers to the party.

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And then, almost before we knew it, CoRo were up on stage.

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They started off with the song that had been the off-mic the night before, a cover of Billy Bragg's Help Save The Youth Of America, giving their left-wing Democrat credentials; and then launched into 92 Mikes, which segued into Trumpet, which was followed by...you can tell I snagged the setlist after the show, can't you? ;-)

It was an electrifying performance, with Eric occasionally rocking out, Adam holding Jesus hostage in the trunk, and Jordan doing what Jordan does best, i.e. play the trumpet, the banjo, the bass, the guitar. After the set, the boys went to do a signing, while a DJ unleashed the most godawful racket and we decided to head to the hotel bar for a quiet drink and a mulling over of the night's event among friends. However, we had scarcely sat down in our comfy chairs, when we were joined by Corn Mo...upon whom five minutes later, Child of Crustacean descended, like a gaggle of very excited, very rude young men. They pinched Christy's chair without so much as a by-your-leave, and pointedly ignored us after the following exchange:

Spawn of Seafood's singer: "We opened for Common Rotation!"
Me: "We know. We saw. We heard."
Spawn of Seafood's singer: "So you didn't like us then." - [hissy fit]

After a while, we got up and relocated to the lobby and the Internet. Matt joked that they could track IP-addresses at the website - "we know who everyone is" - though that fell a bit flat later when we realised that we'd been accessing the site through the hotel's rather anonymous connection.

Then it was off to Bedfordshire, knowing that our taxi would call at 9am to take us back to the airport and our plane bound for Glasgow.