love of The Blue Nile

Blue Nile in Edinburgh

In The Blue Nile’s Facebook group (it’s closed, but they’ll let you in), we’re discussing when we saw Paul Buchanan and co play live. They were hardly the most prolific of bands – four albums in about twenty years, and very few tours. But I loved them so, and trundled about all over the place to see them.

I’ve just discovered, so I can put together a list of exactly when and where I went to their gigs; this gives me great pleasure 🙂 Except, as I dig, I know I saw them at other places and times … So, without further ado:

My first BN gig was Cambridge Corn Exchange, 10 Oct 1990. I was living in Norfolk at the time, and went to this with Jon Honeyball and Tony Sawford. Jon and another friend, Simon Pride, had both insisted I bought a copy of Hats earlier that year. I did, and fell in love with it instantly. I bought a sweatshirt at the gig, with “The Blue Nile” embroidered on the sleeve; I wonder where it went …

Next up was Colston Hall in Bristol on 19 Sept 1996 (I told you they didn’t tour often). I think I went to this with Jerry Jones who, although not a huge fan himself, was kind enough to accompany me.

Some time between then and 2006, I’m positive I saw them once again at Colston Hall, and also at University of Warwick Arts Centre. For the latter gig, Dave drove me up there in his Impreza, remarking en route that “he could have added me to the insurance if he’d only have thought of it earlier”. Gee, thanks Dave. But I can find no record of these gigs online, and I know I’m not imagining it.

After a slight gap (!), the band arrived once more at Colston Hall (or Colsonall, as Bristolians call it) on 23 May 2006. I think this was the opening gig of the tour, and the Macbook was playing up something chronic and in the end, they cut the performance short. We encountered our friends Pat’n’Dave in the audience, and we weren’t too downhearted because …

Next up was The Barbican, on 2 June 2006. I’d picked up a pair of front row tickets on eBay (looking back with hindsight, that was a damn silly thing to do). I can’t remember what I paid for them, but the gig was sold out through normal channels. So we trundled from Bristol to London, to find that they were … FAKES. I literally wept, and bless the staff, they squeezed us in. I did get to have a chat with Mr Buchanan himself in the foyer, where he was hanging about drinking a mug of tea (rock and roll, eh?).

We went to Edinburgh for a gig at The Usher Hall, on 25 November 2006 (see photo at top of post). This doesn’t seem to be on Setlist.FM, but we were there, honestly – I have a set of Flickr photos to prove it. We spent (I think) five days in Edinburgh, a city I love (I lived there when I was young, a long long time ago). To hear a bunch of happy Scotsmen singing Tinseltown was a great experience – and we joined in. Obviously.

The finally final gig – they never played together again [sob] – was at The Radisson Hotel in Galway, on 15 July 2008. A strange venue, you might think, and indeed it was. Like most of their gigs, it was full of utterly devoted fans, who rarely got a change to see their idols play. Pete and I spent a week in Ireland, starting off in Donegal, then coming down to Galway for a couple of days, just so I could go to the gig.

So there we are. I’d tell you to keep an eye out for any upcoming gigs, but there won’t be any. So you’re too late. Get a copy of Hats and see what you missed.



a weekend with family


Clare (daughter) and Harry (GrandToad) came up to spend a few days with us. They arrived on Friday, and after settling in and having some lunch, we took ourselves off to our local Pearson Park; we’re lucky enough to live just over 5 minutes walk from there. We took the scooter we bought for Harry a few months ago, and which lives here. He’s now just about grown into it, so he scooted all over the place, and then we headed for the playground, and he spotted … THE ZIP WIRE. So he had several goes on that, aided and abetted by GrandPete, while his mum hid her eyes 🙂  Then home, for shower, Mars Attacks with GrandPete, then lamb curry and bed.


On Saturday, Rackaback were dancing out at the Hull Folk Festival, in the company of the Raving Maes, Makara and the Thieving Magpies.Now, Harry loves watching Rackaback, and is a good little musician, so we asked him if he’d like to play with the band during the day. He said he’d wear the (little) tatter jacket that Debby made, but he didn’t want a hat, or face paint, so we said sorry – them’s the rules. And he caved 🙂 He played tambourine for every one of the dances, and also went round with our collecting bucket, standing in front of  people, pretty much demanding money with cuteness – we’ve never raised so much! I think the side would like to have him there at every dance out! It was a long day for him, but he never flagged, bless him. We went home to sausages and baked spuds, and an early night for all of us 🙂


On Sunday, we took Clare and Harry to the National Armouries at Leeds, which is just a fabulous place to visit. My daughter and grandson have clearly inherited my love of sharp shiny things, and we were all most covetous. I really, really want the horned helmet given to Henry VIII by Maximilian I, but I doubt they’d let me have it. Really, an hour down the motorway and free entry made this an excellent value day out, and we shall go again. Very highly recommended. We came home to a picky tea of bits and pieces, Galaxy Quest and then, when Harry had gone to bed, a glass of wine. Which turned into four (I think) bottles between three of us, dodgy 80s music on the Apple TV and, I’m sorry to say, dancing during the later hours.



Clare and Harry set off for home on Monday rather later than they had planned, due to Not Feeling Very Well. Pete and I took the GrandToad back to the park for a bit to give her some peace, and fed him a chocolate ice cream, then after lunch off they want.

A lovely weekend with family, doing things we love with good friends – what’s not to like?

However, this horrible coldy thing I’ve got came back with a vengeance during the afternoon yesterday, I couldn’t speak, my throat was closed up. Went to bed at 8, as I was falling asleep on the sofa. And this week I need to crack on with my Breaking Bad obsession, as the final episode is looming, and I must catch up!

at the sign of the Broken Drum

Mediaeval Drum


We found ourselves in the vicinity of Shipley on 16 May, and it’s only down the road from Saltaire, the home of the Early Music Shop, a highly dangerous emporium. I only went in for a look, honest, but I wanted a drum to bang with the Morris side and …

We had a small bash of pretty much every drum in the place, and this seemed the best – nice tone, manageable size. I bought a case, and the chap threw in a pair of small drumsticks, as he said the ones supplied with it would be too big, and away we went.

It went to two practices, and one dance out (in Doncaster, last Saturday), and on what was probably its eleventh tune, the hide split. I wasn’t playing it at the time, someone else was, so perhaps it hadn’t been treated with the respect that I had; but anyway, broken it was, and it seemed to me that it should have lasted slightly longer than two weeks’ worth of very light use.

So yesterday Pete and I hopped on a train to Saltaire, via Leeds (at £45 I reckon it was cheaper than paying diesel and parking, and it’s also far nicer to sit on a train then swelter in a car). I took the drum into EMS, and they went “crikey” (yes, really – I didn’t think anyone said things like that, except in a post modern, ironic way), and said that they could replace the skin, but “not today”. And I said that would be fine, take as long as they like, but I want another drum to take away, given that I’d come 70-odd miles with it. So they quite happily gave me another, and apologised a lot, and it was all good.

We then went and had lunch in Don’t Tell Titus (what sort of poncey name is that, FFS? – one, presumably, that might just possibly justify the price of *£4.30* for a bottle of locally brewed beer. And there was artisan bread too). Still the food was nice.

We had about 90 minutes to kill before the train from Leeds, and I really didn’t fancy walking along the main road to Shipley, but we discovered a really nice walk along the canal, part of the Airedale Way, so we ambled down that to Shipley station, and got on a Leeds train. We had about half an hour to kill there, and we foolishly bought – and ate – a large bag of Minstrels. Horrible sweet stuff, don’t know why we did it. And then we got the train back to Hull, and walked home. I clocked up 16.5k steps through the course of the day. Lovely weather too – sunny, but not too hot.

And now I have a new drum; lets see how long this one survives 🙂

a brisk walk

Bridlington north beach


The weather here has been very cold, but we have been spared most of the snow that has fallen on a lot of the rest of the country; we had some flurries on Thursday, but nothing was laying for long. So we decided to go up to Flamborough on Saturday, and do the cliff top walk between North and South Landings.

“You’re mad”, they cried, ‘It’s blowing a gale” and one friend informed us that the wind was at 38 mph, but it was blowing onshore, so that was alright. We were undaunted.

I vaguely recalled that I had bought some thinsulate trousers ages ago and had a rummage for them. They’d never been worn, and bore a label stating them to be a 12/14, so I wasn’t hopeful, but I got them on. I did them up! I added thinsulate gloves and hat, thick socks, walking boots, a ski polo neck, a fleece, a 3-in-1 jacket, and a snood. I was ready. Pete donned a similar amount of clothing and off we went.

We parked in Flamborough village, opened the car doors, and … oof. The wind was amazingly strong, and so so cold. We battled towards the headland, but as soon as we got out of the relative shelter of the houses, it got worse. We battled back to the car and went to South Landing. Walked down to the beach (tide was in, of course), then up the steps to the cliff top. As soon as we got out into the open there, it was hopeless; it didn’t feel safe to walk at all. And I had to keep clutching my hat, because I thought it was going to blow off. So I suppose we did about 2.5km bimbling about there. Then we went to North Landing and had a bacon buttie, because otherwise the day might have been considered a failure.

And then we thought we’d go into Bridlington – got to be better there, we thought. It wasn’t. We got a nice ex-foliation thanks to the sand particles in the air, the spume was blowing everywhere, and the waves were very high. So we battled down the sea front for ¼ mile or so and back again, and then came home, lit a fire and drank tea. I’d had the foresight to put a chicken in the slow cooker (yes, a whole one – it really works), so dinner was done when we got in too.

Nice to get out, really.

In passing, I’d done 6.5km on the treadmill before breakfast, and apparently I climbed the Seattle Space Needle (you think I’d have noticed, really).

a trip to Sheffield

We took ourselves off to Sheffield for the first weekend in March; we had tickets to see the splendid Richard Thompson, so I booked a hotel room. Sadly, I booked the hotel room (non-refundable, non-cancellable) while I was recovering from flu, and booked it for the wrong bloody night; Friday instead of Saturday. So we said “soddit”, and booked Saturday as well, meaning we could have a wander around Sheffield.

Serendipitously, there was a stack of Morris dancing going on during Saturday, so we wandered around watching that, pausing only for me to have my iPhone nicked in a cafe bar at lunchtime. I’m always so careful with it, but it was on the table, someone came over with a stack of leaflets, trying to sell me something, and he nabbed the phone under cover of the literature. I was displeased, and had to spend the afternoon talking to Sheffield plod and changing passwords (thankfully I actually had my iPad with me, which I usually don’t).

Anyhoo, Richard was wonderful, we had supper first with Tim and Ali Biller (not seen Tim for about 11 years, we think, and had never met Ali), and on Sunday we went to meet KITTINS! at Fran’s, and also ate far too much brunch there, and had a lovely time with Doug, Julia, Jim and Carrie.

While on giggage, we also went to see Martin Simpson this week at our local folk bar. I have no idea how I’ve never encountered him before, but he was absolutely splendid.

Incidentally, I’d never had flu before, and it it’s all the same to you, I don’t want it again, thanks. Pete had it too, and was about two days behind me, so we had a week off work, then a second week at half strength, as it took some getting over. And this damn snow can sod off too.


As part of my new and absolute determination to get my weight under some sort of control, I have bought a treadmill from eBay. It wasn’t easy to shoehorn it into the house, but we’ve done it; it helps that it folds up. I’ve made a little nest on one of the bookshelves where my iPad keyboard/stand can sit, and am embarking on The Sopranos while I run.

Early on Saturday morning, I gave it its first real go – and did 4.1 miles in 58 minutes. Not, I think, to be sniffed at.  And then, because it was such a gorgeous day, Pete and I decided to go up and have a yomp at Flamborough. In fact, we turned off to the car park at Danes Dyke, and did the circular walk there. I managed the *exceedingly* steep steps down to the beach, and actually sprang up some of the ups, so I’m definitely getting fitter. There were snowdrops, and primroses, and even a handful of early daffodils; spring is definitely on the way. And there was mud. The bridle path was impassible if you didn’t have hooves and long legs, or at least proper boots, which I didn’t – I was wearing my wonderful Easy Walker boots, which are the most comfortable thing I own. But their grip is not as good as a proper walking boot. Sadly and painfully) I have plantar fascitis in my left foot, and these give me brilliant support, but I cannot get orthotic insoles into my leather hiking boots, so they’re a no go at the moment.

We also walked down to Flamborough village, and had a very nice bacon and brie baguette; well, I did – Pete had a tuna and cheese confection. All in all about 5.5 miles, I think. Map should be embedded below, but is here for those whose browsers are being difficult.

On the way home, we stopped at Hornsea Freeport, which was once a factory producing the glorious Hornsea pottery, and is now a raft of outlet shops, and had a look at walking boots for me that would both accommodate the necessary insole, and allow mud traversal. Bought a pair of Egret boots from Mountainwarehouse, and wore them all round the house yesterday (after I’d returned from a 3m round trip to Aldi, long way via Pearson Park :), and they seem perfect. There are loads of lovely walks round here, so I’ll get the use out of them.

And we watched Submarine, which is utterly wonderful. I commend it to you.

more Morrising

these boots were made for Morrising

I don’t know why I’m not writing much here any  more – lots of posts in my head, but actually putting fingers to keyboard seems beyond me right now.

Yesterday, we (as in Rackaback) did our first proper dance out of the year, down by the Minerva pub in Hull. It’s a nice space, on the old docks, and there were a few people around. I rattled the bucket and people actually paid us (possibly to stop), and we had lots of compliments too. It was an ideal time to test out my purple suede boots – sheepskin insoles and two pairs of socks, and they were dead comfy. But they do make me look like Nanny Ogg

Last weekend (not yesterday, but the one before), we took ourselves off to the badlands of North Lincolnshire. An all to brief stop in Louth, which is a lovely town, but they hide the long term parking, and then down to Mablethorpe for fish and chips by the seaside, and a long walk along the prom. Beautiful day, and it was most enjoyable.

And that’s it, for now.

eating Italian

Time ran away with us a bit last night, and before we knew where we were, it was time to leave for Morris practice before we’d managed to eat supper; and, of course, it was a night that not only could we not be late, we had to be early, as I had the hall keys. So we each consumed a mini pork pie on the run as we left, and decided to grab something on Princes Ave when we got home.

We have more eateries than you can shake a stick at at the top of our road – Malaysian, Morroccan, Chinese (although it looks as though the Giant Panda has shut down), Thai, Indian, Italian, another Indian, plus an assortment of cafe bars; of the top of my head, The Laundry, Garbutts, Mustard, Pave, Lounge, Fudge and a new one whose name I can’t remember*. Oh, and a chippy and a (very poor) kebab house.  The latter keeps going until god knows when, but having tried it once, never again [shudder]. However, it seems that pretty much all of them stop taking orders at 9, which is a bit anti social when it’s 9.20 p.m. and I want something to eat. All except Da Gianni, who were happy to seat us.

Their menu, together with their Specials board, offered many different dishes, but almost all of them were in a “tomato and basil sauce”.  As we feared, my salmon pasta and Pete’s Italian sausage pasta were pretty much identical except for the last minute addition of – yes, salmon and Italian sausage to the relevant plate; and, when the waiter brought the bowl of parmesan, he actually wouldn’t let me have some as it would “spoil the dish”. There was olive oil on the table, but no bread offered.

So, adequate but hardly inspiring – we shan’t bother again.  Good Morris practice though – coming together nicely!

*Interestingly, while Googling for it, I came across, whose Google entry claims “If it can’t be found on it’s not there”. Interestingly, they don’t find a single entry for our postcode, which seems a bit of a fail given the above 🙂

absent without leave

Have I really not written anything since 17th November? I have been proper poorly, with a viral wossname that lasted about four weeks, and still has me coughing a bit even now. A dose of penicillin didn’t touch it, and in its wake it left two cancelled dentist appointments, one blood test (and the second cancelled by the surgery because the bloodsucker was ill), one Bill Bailey gig in Sheffield (sob), and half of Celtarabia up the road at Pave – had to come home. Still, on the mend now, finally. The latter are absolutely wonderful – if they come anywhere near you, go see them!

Not much else to relate, really. Went Morrising at Bridlington yesterday, but the weather was vile, and my bad knee is playing up in the cold, so I only did one dance. Then we were rained off. Bought the black boots in the same range as the red boots of fabulosity, as I seem to wear nothing else, and they are great for Morris dancing.

Mustrum went missing for ten days, and we thought he was gone for good, but he came home, praise $deityofchoice, thinner and clingy.

And that’s it, really. Very busy with work, Rackaback taking over social life :), looking forward to a good break over Christmas, then a works Morris outing to Derbyshire for a mass dance weekend in January.


Had a haircut this morning while Pete tinkered with my melodeon’s sticky buttons (she’s now named Aliss), then wandered down into Hull with Pete – wanted to return some stuff, see if Marks had any nice pasta bowls, etc.

Marks didn’t, Peacocks wouldn’t exchange as it was over 30 days (where did October go, please) and gave me a gift card, but I had a look in Schuh … They had some amazingly nice red boots, and Pete decided I should have them. So I did. Then we went and had coffee and a baguette in the Ferens Gallery cafe,  mooched about some more vaguely looking for pasta bowls (our wonderful thick, deep ones are starting to crack round the edges, sob), bought some hair dye (for me), some lighters, some long matches, some compost bin liners, some mince pies and a tub of cream.

Now a cup of tea, a quick and easy supper, and Strictly. Tomorrow promises chores in exchange for a roast chickie!.

Oh yes – here they are.

doc martens red boots!

Edited to add link to Boots of Fabulosity.