Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Shop Doorway

It's not often the Straynotes play in shop doorways. Rarely, if at all, will they do so in November and certainly not for a three hour stint. But this is a rather unusual doorway. The picture doesn't do it justice but Quayside Plaza is a restaurant with a Victorian-style shop front at the back. And behind the shop front is a shop full of curios from the four corners of the world.

Like restaurants everywhere, space is at a premium and Quayside Plaza is no exception. The doorway is too small for a table but just large enough for a small band. It's a good thing that Angelo doesn't feed us until we've finished playing; there isn't space for a band and two meals.

Angelo doesn't know why there is a shop at the back of his restaurant, at least not a Victorian shop. I did ask a local historian about it and he said he would take a look. Next time I see him I will ask him how he got on. Meanwhile I have tunes to practise.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


The Straynotes have a busy schedule in the run-up to Christmas and have begun trawling their back catalogue for festive favourites. This, of course, is with a view to working a few seasonal numbers, or at least a suitable quote, into the December repertoire.Looking at the material prompted a discussion about whether or not pubs were 'havens from Christmas' - Christmas-free zones, if you like. I suppose 'each case on its merits' is the way to proceed and if the landlord is wearing a red nose and an antlered alice band then it probably means it's cool to Yule.

The last-festival-but-one, Hallowe'en, saw the duo version of the band playing in the brasserie at Dunston Hall. Somehow it just isn't the same without Paul and his bass. Even Andy's new friends (pictured) couldn't cheer him up. They're all called Ian, strangely enough. Hello, Ian!

(Hello Ian - Hallowe'en? Oh, never mind. Perhaps I'll find a better joke in a cracker.)