Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running
Stepping Into The Breach
by Russell Turner - 15:51 on 05 December 2015
If it's not twenty years since I played my first gig in the Highlands it can't be far away, so it's surprising that my debut at The Market Bar in Inverness didn't take place until last night. The venue is a small, old-fashioned upstairs room favoured by all ages but especially a more mature clientele. It's packed when there's fifty people inside. A claim to fame is that The Proclaimers played their first gig there.
News of our gig followed a busy day of Chatterbox and book admin and deliveries made in increasingly horrible weather, so a phone message from Keith stating that, if I was available, City Limits Lite could fill a cancellation didn't cause immediate excitement.
However, following tea, and a brisk run through the songs I'd made a hash of at Jacko's, I was ready to rock and roll and set off for Inverness through torrents of rain, leaving behind Matchgirl and three cats who had no desire to step outside The Rural Retreat.
First view of The Market Bar was not reassuring – a bloody-browed drunk who'd fallen on the stairs, requiring me to stand in the rain while he was helped down by doormen. When I did finally get inside, the 3x10ft stage was also a surprise. Mike set up his drums in front of the stage; Keith set up his amp and vast harmoniser-augmented pedal board behind him on the stage; I set up my amp on the stage but stood down, beside Mike, putting me and Keith almost level – a novelty for both of us.
The gig was great: good sound, enthusiastic crowd, decent playing. You can't ask for more, apart from a bigger fee. Being a small venue, the Market doesn't pay much, but modest income is more than compensated by a good night out. I hope we'll be back again soon.
Real life intervened when I returned to the Retreat at 1.30am to find floodwater lapping around the sandbags which protected the door. This morning, the waters had retreated, which was a relief. Cats were still disinclined to venture outside, though. It could be a long winter.
Publishing Update: Memories of a Ben Line Man was collected from the printer on Tuesday. Stuart was delighted with the result; I was less so, because the margin between pages is a bit tight. The book is now on sale and has already been despatched to Canada, New Zealand, Australia and various parts of Scotland and England. Publicity has been promised in local papers, hopefully matching the good show that Rosemarkie Connections received in the Ross-shire Journal yesterday.
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