"We are not a political or press organisation, we are not an entry fee and we can't consolidate your existing debts into an easily managable monthly package. We are a band and we play good songs to good folk." Welcome aboard.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

One English Pound meet the Twitterati!

Urban dictionary - 
The Twitter.com elite, whose feeds attract thousands of followers and whose 140-character spews capture the attention of the press who doggedly monitor them.

Having recently learnt a new word, we set about making an impact on the so-called Twitterati by messaginghigh-profile celebrities telling them the reason they should listen to One English Pound. 

A flurry of celeb interest in the band was bound to follow; comments, interviews, magazine appearances, maybe a slot on This Morning. 

As The Toytown Express went to print, we still await our first reply, but here's a selection of our work. We'll continue until we succeed, so join Twitter.com/oneenglishpound to keep track of who we've hassled…

@NadineCoyle Hi Nadine, just listened to your song. Could you return the favour and listen to ours at facebook.com/oneenglishpound

@davidblaine Greetings D-man. Hope you're relaxing after years of life-threatening stunts. Listen to our band at myspace.com/oneenglishpound

@DemiMoore Morning Demi. Just casually advertising our band to people we think are kool. Follow us at twitter.com/oneenglishpound thanks

@AshtonKutcher Hi, apologies for sending a tweet to your wife earlier. should've asked you 1st. listen to our band at myspace.com/oneenglishpound x

@djchrismoyles hi chris, waved at you a few years back and you ignored me, so can u listen to our band.. Myspace.com/oneenglishpound

@robbrydon Rob, sorry we've not been in touch. had no water all day due to a burst pipe. listen to our band at facebook.com/oneenglishpound

@richardpbacon Afternoon Richard.. Lady Gaga looks like Cyril Sneer. Pass it on! and listen to our band at myspace.com/oneenglishpound

@Schofe Greetings Phil. Saw you in Joseph a while back. Better than Jason! Have a listen to our band at www.facebook.com/oneenglispound

@jamie_oliver Jamie, thought you'd be interested in our band's 'Music For Cooking' EP, listen at myspace.com/oneenglishpound! x

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Odds and Ends

Just a quick note to say thanks to every one who stayed out late to watch us last Saturday night for the Mad Ferret's 4th birthday bash. And a big thanks to the other bands who made it a great night.

We've put up a video from the night and there's a new acoustic recording of Cinderella Walls, which we've had in the set for a few months.

Both are up on our Facebook page here... http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-English-Pound/281853884929?ref=ts

To add to this, we've conirmed a few more gigs, we're playing Leeds Milo on Friday September 10th, September 24th at Leeds The Well and September 30th at Chorley's Imperial pub.

There's a few more on the way as well, and don't forget that we've got Sept 18 at the Mad Ferret pub supporting the Brute Chorus.



Thursday, 22 July 2010

2 gigs - 1 day? Stone me, guv'nor!

Yep, that's right. It's unthinkable that last week, One English Pound were playing just one gig in a day. And now, this Sunday, July 25, we have reached the dizzy heights of playing two gigs in a day. That's one gig per day more than countless other bands, including the Rolling Stones and Muse. 

Well, that's hard work for you! Anyway, first off we're laying down our sword and shield to play a  set at the Riversway Festival (down by the docks). We're on at 1.30pm sharp. 

They want us to get there at 10am - seems a bit extreme. But the good people of Preston demand we sound our very best and if we have to work hard all weekend to impress our townsfolk, then that is what we'll do - did I mention we are playing two gigs in a day? 

In other, if rather similar, news: we are playing another gig on the same day (July 25). It is at the Withy Trees festival on the Lytham Road. Don't be fooled, unlike Blackpool road, Lytham Road doesn't go all the way to Lytham, it comes to an end near Lane Ends - poor effort. 

We will be on stage around 8pm at the Withys but being the 24/7 promotional conveyor belt that we are, we would recommend that you head straight there after your enjoyment of the Riversway Docks Festival has peaked - you can get too much of a good thing.

Two things left to say... firstly, two gigs in a day is not too much of a good thing, so come to both. Secondly, do we really have to be there at 10am??

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

One English summertime update..

A fortnight ago, I was asked if I would like to play an acoustic support slot upstairs at 53 Degrees for Ocean Colour Scene. Silly question.

OCS's One From The Modern was the soundtrack to one of my formative summers, so getting the chance to play on the same stage as its creators, and to a packed-out venue, was an honour. 

I have often been to watch a big gig and seen the support slot play to 1000 people who really don't give a shit, so I had tried to take it with a pinch of salt, practise and practise but not raise my expectations too much.

In reality, it was packed. From the stage, bright lights stop you seeing the large crowd, so the nerves quickly deteriorate, and if a crowd is in good voice then you are well aware how many are watching.

The change in noise level as you gradually get people on your side, not to mention their anticipation of the main event, is pretty intense. And the crowd were as responsive and supportive as at any small venue I've played.

Back to One English Pound matters and we have made some encouraging bookings recently. We are putting on our own gig at the Mad Ferret on Saturday, July 17, and playing with a fantastic band from Oldham/Manchester called The Fayre (http://www.myspace.com/busfayre)

The following weekend, we have two gigs in one single day! Sunday, 25th July puts us at the Riversway Docks Festival for a lunchtime slot at 1.30pm and at the Withy Trees festival in the evening. 

We've also secured a spot at Leeds Festival Fringe and a support slot with garage-folk geniuses The Brute Chorus. More on them as we get it. 

In the meantime, if people could email us with any suggestions of places we can practise and any sightings of our keybard player, we would very much appreciate it. 



Saturday, 12 June 2010

One English Pound's mid-World Cup weekend..

Quick update of life within One English Pound. Thanks to everyone who came down to the Manchester gig at the Factory last Saturday. We'll be looking at another in the not too distant future so we'll try to give you all as much notice as possible.

Anyone who has followed our gig list over the past few months can see that our most common haunts seem to be Preston and Leeds. And the Toytown Express is on the march again next weekend as we hit both cities on consecutive nights.

Firstly, Friday night is England v Algeria, get your football fix, then plan the rest of your weekend around us!

Saturday 19th June we play a night called Grain Division in Leeds bar Carpe Diem. A host of other quirkily named bands are on including The Yalla Yallas, Pet Accessories and Ski Bunny.

Here's the link if you want more info...


Then on Sunday, we are delighted to say that we are playing Preston's premier music festival, Glastonferret. If you've been before, then we'll see you there, if you've not been, then you should. Rain or shine it gives you an authentic festival experience within walking/driving distance of your sofa.

It is important that you know we have a daytime slot and will take to the stage at 3pm.

There is more info here..


We've new songs coming along nicely so make us feel at home and we may just give 'em a go.

See you next weekend.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

One step forward...

Momentum is a funny thing. And you notice it at the strangest of times. In Sheffield (May 6) we arrived full of beans after a forced ten-day break and raring to go. Only to see the crowd sink into the nooks and corners of venue West Street Live and leave us thinking "well, we've got a lot of work to do".

The following Monday we regrouped and bowled into a radio interview with BBC Lancs, with Jonny waxing lyrical about pirates and magicians but all of us largely unprepared to answer the question "what do you want from being in a band?"

Then, a week later, the strangest thing happened. Aware we need to step everything up to make a go of this, we arrived at The Continental beer festival (May 14) and, with the words 'can everyone step forward a bit', everybody did. Twice.

Cheers were loud, dancing was frequent, people were absolutely everywhere and right there and right then you think.. this is what we want from being in a band. This is why we do this, this is what the late nights, the long drives, the practice and the tough crowds are for.

What's more, it's worth every second. Not for the attention or a slap on the back, if I wanted that I'd ring my mum, but for the growing feeling that you may actually have a place in any given community, however big or small, and that people might just enjoy what you do, hear what you are saying and are willing to share in whatever it is that constitutes a "moment" like The Continental gig .

We play FAC251 in our Manchester debut on Saturday, June 5th and we've a lot of practice to squeeze in, but we're confident we can cause a small ripple in the great sea of bands that frequent the city's Saturday night.

It'd be encouraging to have some friendly faces in the crowd and, as always, your support would be much appreciated, so get in touch if you fancy a night out with us.


Monday, 17 May 2010

4 Days in One English Pound

Jonny, are the directions by your feet? No. Then they are definitely still at my flat. It's this left. No, wait, the next one. Must be the next one. It's probably right. Will you get me a deep fried Mars bar. I like this deep fried Mars bar. I probably shouldn't have eaten that deep fried mars bar. What can we get with the drinks vouchers? Pint of Becks or soft drinks. What about Whisky? Pint of Becks or soft drinks. Pint of Becks please. Does anybody have a guitar I can borrow? Dan does. Does anybody have a tuner I can borrow? Dan does. Man, this guitar sucks! Boo. Sorry. 'Scuse me can i get passed to go to the toilet. 'Scuse me can i get passed to go to the toilet. 'Scuse me can i get passed to go to the toilet. 'Scuse me can i get passed to go to the toilet. We're normally a bit more raucous than this. Erm, Andy, I can't find my car. Where's Jonny? He won't be coming home with us tonight.

Where's Jonny? Where's Jonny? Has anybody seen or heard from Jonny since we left him in Leeds? We have a gig in a few hours, can anybody get in touch with Jonny? He's in the Bell, and he's got a story to tell. SAVE THE DI BOXES! How many drinks tokens is that each? Well there's more if we only give Jonny one. One of these days, I'm gonna feel so much better! Everyone step forward. Shit, that's never worked before. Do it again. Three times? My word. Can I have some of your pint. That's disgusting. Can I have some more? Where are Dan & Jonny? You locked us out. I had a burger. Adelphi! Taxi for Russell? No. Taxi for Russell? No. Taxi for Russell? No. Taxi for Evans? Adelphi! Old Dog! If I get hit by one more beer mat, you're getting a pint on your head.

Then Jonny got wet.

Are you aware it's only 10.20am? Do you know how to set a drum kit up? Are these all snare stands? Is the bass drum usually that way round? Hog Roast! Beer. Beer. Fosters. Jagerbombs. Wallace and Grommit. Jonny, play the riff slowly? The what? The verse bit... but slowly. I know what will make you pay attention. Here's a joke! The ultra-sound man. The ship! The Ferret! The Adelphi! Tequila! Tequila! Tequila!

Then Jonny was sick.


Kebab? Kebab!

Wake Jonny up, he has practice.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Radio Interviews and Secret Locations

First and foremost it would be rude not to give you a brief report of our gig in Sheffield. West Street Live is an enjoyable and lovely venue. I personally enjoyed the set by Chloe-Jade Simmons. I also enjoyed the bands discussion to plan a national pinball machine syndicate competition. Last man standing wins, simple. We also played with our food.......

Yesterday was the beginning of a busy week and we made our way to a secret location for a radio interview. I was equipped with a Sat Nav device and Russ was equipped with Jonny Swift as a map reader and a promise of "I know how to get there." We later found out when Dan received a phone call from Jonny, that Jonny knew how to get to the town and not the building.

Russ and Jonny think on their feet and get directions from a passer by. At that time I phoned Russ for an update so this left Jonny to gather the directions. Following the directions from the passer by, Russ and Jonny made progress until the directions ran out. The directions ran out because Jonny stopped listening to the directions because he didn't think the directions would work that far. Luckily the same passer by was still around and we were a band again at the secret location.

We chatted and Dan performed with Jonny backing. It was a good experience.

The busy week continues tomorrow with a gig at Milo in Leeds. It's free so come out for some midweek relaxation. The week ends with a Preston double, playing Friday evening at the Continental Beer Festival and Saturday evening at a venue that will be announced when we can.

I like being in a busy band, it beats reality!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Big decision to be made....

If you don't know the importance of Thursday 6th May, then you are living in a land where you probably won't be able to read this as you don't have a supply of electricity. What is your decision going to be? I hope it is something along the lines of....."Yes, I will go to Sheffield to a pub called West Street Live and hang around long enough to watch our first gig in steel city."

That isn't the only decision that has to be made. There will be decisions to be made on these dates also,

Monday 10th May - Listen to One English Pound talk and potentially play a tune or two on BBC Radio Lancashire. There will be no fee if you wish to listen to this.

Wednesday 12th May - Watch One English Pound play at Milo in Leeds. Entry for this will cost you nothing.

Friday 14th May - Watch One English Pound play at the Continental Beer Festival in Preston. Another freebie!

Saturday 15th May - Something is happening and details will be announced in due course.

Sunday 30th May - Quiz yourself, treat yourself to some fine grub, and watch One English Pound at The Well in Leeds. Again, you do not have to exchange any of your hard earned cash for these luxuries.

I personally vote that each one of these evenings will be highly entertaining and you'll certainly be getting your pennies worth. I hope you vote the same and join us.

See you soon

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Wakefield Is Brill

Wakefield seems like it would make a great night out.

I've said this statement several times since we played there on Friday, the general response has been cynical. Well, look...

...bet you didn't expect that did you?

As Dan & Andy have already mentioned, we liked the place, it's got that Wigan-meets-Prague vibe that seems to set most folks in good spirits, and a good selection of bars, from the super-pleasant, to the super-neon, to the just plain strange. Admittedly we approached it from a good angle, it was a warms spring evening and we were about to play a gig, and yes, I've actually been out in Wakefield once before, but that night was darker, and I was more tired, but we liked it very much, and I hope we can return and take in a full night before the summer is out.

The Escobar is a great little venue too, and it don't matter so much how sparse the crowd might be if they're gonna give it the welly that we were lucky enough to see on Friday. Bands pulling out, drinks before gig, Jonny Swift on his knees; gig could have been a disaster, but the paying customers wouldn't let it be. Big big thanks to the guy who filled in last minute as opening act and managed to get his fans and friends to stick around for us too, sorry we(I) didn't get your name, if anybody knows him, do write in. Same thanks to the West Yorkshire contingent that came down as a result of Mr Dykes too, brilliant you were.

The Ferret? Oh how we love The Ferret. Opening band dropping out last minute, Duelling Pistols playing two gigs with five minutes in between to fill in, top travelling band and then we get to spend half an hour having an awful lot of fun. I think though, if we're ruling that Swifty only has a few drinks before the gig, we should rule that Russ (that's me, in the third person) only has a few after the gig.

No gigs now until May? It seems so long, who wants a One English Pound gig in their garden while the sun is out? Will play for burgers, so long as you've got decent relish.


Monday, 12 April 2010

Man walks into a pub....

.....asks what time One English Pound are on because he only saw a couple of songs last time and enjoyed them so wanted to see the full set.

There were many highlights this weekend. We were able to pretend we were on tour and played two different cities in two consecutive nights. If you keep up to date with our blogging you'll be already in the know that on Friday we played in Wakefield to a small but enthusiastic crowd. This was followed by our 4th appearance at the Mad Ferret to another enthusiastic crowd that was healthy in size. We were also delighted to make friends with a band called Where's Strutter who were very enjoyable.

So, a weekend filled with plenty of highlights however my favourite highlight had to be purchasing my first "Twister" Ice lolly of the year, adorning a pair of sunglasses and making my way to the park for a sit down.


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Bars made from Palm Trees

Escobar in Wakefield last night. Headline band dropped out last minute (cheers to the several Preston bands and minor celebrities who jumped to Russ' aid when he was told to find a bass amp at a few hours notice), so modest crowd but great reaction. New song Cinderella Walls got people moving and Eldon Street turned a bit chaotic; people danced, people sang and I turned round at the end to find Jonny on the floor.

Preston tonight, so we had to shoot back, but Wakefield looks like a great night out, it's even got a Latin quarter, so hopefully we'll be back there before too long.

We're playing the Mad Ferret this evening, it all kicks off around 9.30pm and it's free entry, so you've no excuses not to be there. Also check out our good friends the Duelling Pistols at the Ship Inn at 9pm on your way down.

We're joined by Where's Strutter?, who were main support to Pete Doherty in Manchester on Monday and are looking to do big things. The show is opened by Chorley's The Dime Show, and it's Tom the drummer's birthday, so get down from the start to make sure he has a good one.


Friday, 2 April 2010

Good News Friday

So, it's Good Friday.. But what on earth is good about it? Well, we're most of us off work for a start. The sun's out (or at least it was) and Preston's newest hit makers One English Pound have a host of announcements to, er, announce.

Firstly, we have new recordings up on the myspace, click here to go have a listen.

Secondly, we have booked a new run of gigs as follows, get in touch for entry details;

April 9 (Escobar, Wakefield)
April 10 (Mad Ferret, Preston)
May 12 (Milo, Leeds)
May 14 (New Continental, Preston)
May 30 (The Well, Leeds)
June 5 (FAC251, Manchester - the new clubnight run by the team behind Factory Records.)

We've also had our first review, by a site called Mudkiss (www.mudkiss.com) and we're gradually getting our heads round a few new melodies and ideas, which will hopefully make an appearance at some of these forthcoming gigs.

I think that's all for now, keep checking back as we'll have another song up next week.

Enjoy your Good Friday, even if you have a headache or you have to work or you missed your train and had your card declined while trying to pay for a new ticket.


Monday, 15 March 2010

What kind of idiot runs out of petrol?

This kind of idiot.

I used to mock people who allowed such a foolish thing to happen on their watch, and mock with relish. You have a gauge, a warning light, and basic arithmetic, you'd have to be a major pleb to find yourself stuttering to a halt on a very inconvenient road through the centre of Leeds. Well, I take it back, mostly, it turns out all you have to be is a little overly frugal, to go with what's in your pocket and hope for the best. Well, we made it to the gig in the end, and while I was jogging across Leeds for fuel, Jonny Swift left me a nice note to read every time my windscreen steams up.

From where I sat the whole day was a bit like this, always on the edge of going the wrong way but never quite tipping. The ninety minutes it took us to get out of Preston thanks to the school run, the traffic that circled Manchester and the works in the road as we approached Leeds' city walls, the temporary breakdown and guesswork navigation, the lack of soundcheck and genuine fear that we may end up playing simply to some darkened pool tables and disinterested cuesmiths.

But at every turn things just worked out, we arrived, the venue was good, the crowd were excellent, really excellent, and the night out after, well, I'm missing some important keys, my legs are cut, I've dull aches everywhere and the bank manager wants to have a word with me, but I'd do it again tomorrow if I didn't think it would break me.

Russ, The Under Estimator

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Ten English Pounds, One schoolboy error

I have often wondered exactly how much it costs to drive from Preston to Leeds in a 1990s Citroen Xantia. At 6pm on Friday, one hour before we had to be at the evening's gig venue, I found out.

We had bought what we thought was enough petrol and thought nothing more about it until we coughed and spluttered to an embarrassing halt on a busy slip road precisely 1.6 miles from our destination.

Having pushed the car to safety, Russ set off walking to the nearest petrol station, a 2-mile round trip that funnily enough meant he would have been quicker walking to the venue.

Left to make our own amusement, me and Jonny stuck to the basics: "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with P..."

Premier Inn. Yes. Oh, and a sign next to the car that reads "No parking at any time". So, whether we made the gig at all depended on who arrived at the car first, Russ or the wheel clamping company.

Russ arrived first. The gig went well. I'd recommend The Elbow Room both as gig a venue and as a drinking establishment. I'd also strongly recommend the Cockpit as somewhere to go afterwards.. despite what the rest of Leeds will tell you.

All's left is to say thanks to everyone who came, took notice, took a cd, said nice things, let us sleep at their houses, looked after our gear and gave us directions to the nearest petrol station.

Oh, incidentally, it costs about a tenner to drive from Preston to Leeds in a 1990s Citroen Xantia. Just over, to be precise.


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Eh? Unending loops

The title of this blog has nothing to do with what I'm about to write about. I just wanted to share the fact I spent yesterday at the recording of TV show, Countdown. The title is an anagram, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to work it out.

I'll have a Consonant






It is time for another gig. This time we return to my hometown, Leeds. I like Leeds for a variety of reasons, one of them being the music it has on offer. It's great to be getting back involved in it and checking out the new places that have cropped up. Tomorrow, we'll be playing at the Elbow Rooms, a venue I have yet to play at. I have been before so know what to expect but always good to experience the other side. Why don't you come and share this experience?


Sunday, 28 February 2010

Local drinks and cheeky winks.

People came out especially to watch us. Not out of friendship related obligation, not because they probably would have been there anyway and we just happened to be on, they wanted to watch One English Pound play a gig.

Later, strangers were caught bobbing along to the songs.

Can't ask for more than that really, home town gigs in front of your mates are always gonna be charting in the fun stakes, and when they come with bonus features like that it definitely makes for a good night. Mistakes were made and there's some tidying to be done before future outings but it all seemed to go alright in general. It's starting to feel a bit more relaxed now, the tunes a bit more second nature, feeling more used to playing together and happy getting up in front of the room. It's always easier at the Ferret, it's a good set up and a welcoming vibe, but obviously in a room full of peers there's always that little extra motivation to want to get things right, so when you can come off stage smiling it's good times. The fact you don't have to faff about with loading and driving and can just get on with the serious business of post-gig celebrations is a luxury that should never be overlooked either.

Thanks to everyone that came down, and everyone that said nice things afterwards, and everyone who intends to come again. Hopefully a couple of new recordings online in a very short while, some new songs in the practice room, and a big night out in Leeds in a couple of weeks (feel free to join us on that, a Friday night out in Leeds is a top do indeed).

Oh, and a nice man called Mark video recorded one of our songs if you want a looksie, featuring accidental pedal activation at the end too, see that?

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My spellchecker says 'alright' isn't a word. You try telling Supergrass that.


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Lucky breaks and empty ballrooms

It's a grounding reality for every fledgling band such as ourselves that the endless hours of weaving melodies around poetical ramblings must be supplemented with a day job. Hard to believe, but true.

Yesterday, a work colleague voiced his concerns about his own band, saying that people just don't pay into gigs anymore and that it is becoming evermore difficult to get that one big 'lucky break'.

I know that being in a band is high followed by low and sellouts balanced by doubts. But I have never believed in a 'lucky breaks'.

If you are going to make it 'big' then things have to fall for you, to an extent, but only because you have put yourself in a position to be noticed, and the more often you do that, the more chance you have of it working.

You can't expect people to pay £5 to see an act they've never heard of on a piss-wet Monday evening, and much less expect a stray record company big cat to wander into a big empty ballroom spattered with 12 of your mates only to shower you with money and whisk you off on a world tour.

I explained to this chap that the low points were half the challenge of being in a band and asked if they'd done their promo properly. Had they enquired about support slots with bigger bands? Surely, if you seize your chance and really play well and hit it off socially with a bigger band when you support them, then they may just offer you a tour.

Had they badgered national radio presenters and their favourite artists, celebrities or sporting heroes via Facebook and Myspace etc? Surely, once you have someone in the public eye on your side and they can mention you in the press or play your song to millions of people then you've opened a huge door for yourself.

"You seem to at least have a business brain on you, we could do with someone like that," came his response.

A business brain? Hardly. I don't sit at home with action plans and spreadsheets working out the best time to catch Steve Lamacq on his lunch hour for an impromptu verse of Killing Me Softly.

I work purely with what every single singer-songwriter should have: an overwhelming sense of naivity.

Sure it may be unlikely that Kasabian will read my message and say 'shit, these guys are good, lets get them on tour'. But then again, why the hell not?

It's also unlikely that Russell Brand will recieve the CD, let alone listen to it, like it and then mention us somewhere in the great celebrity ether - but if you don't believe that it can happen then what's the point? But if it did happen, it wouldn't be a lucky break - because we would have put ourselves in that position in the first place.

Personally, I'm none too worried yet for knockbacks or the odd empty gig. I love playing music, meeting different people and dragging our mates out for a knees-up, safe in the knowledge that if that cult classic album eludes us and if we fail to leave a long-term legacy then we can always aim for a Christmas Number One!


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ian rush says if I didn't drink lots of milk...

Having your sat-nav take you directly to the front door of the venue with no wrong turnings or wasted time is as rare as it is satisfying, so we were on to a good start when we arrived in Accrington, the fact that snow was falling was just a bonus.

Even better, a crowd of fans had gathered by the parking bays to greet us, at least I think they were fans, they asked for autographs. Sadly they were too young to get in the venue, but they did know all the names of our instruments, so we made it up to them by letting them watch our tour cars for the duration of the gig, I think Jonny smiled and shook his hair about and I'm sure I heard one young lady swoon.

It did get a bit overwhelming when we walked into the venue, three old fellas who'd been waiting for the band for what must have been most of the day wandered over to say hello, ask us if we were playing and utter, I tell you no word of a lie, the following statement. "You're fucked *dramatic pause* we're you're audience!".

Now I have to be honest, as Andy has mentioned, we did for a few moments consider taking their words to heart and scarpering, but a quick look in the three pairs of eyes we faced showed no signs of real danger, just some toothy grins and a strong sense of humour. So we settled down, shared beers and got on with the gig, and it was a whole lot of fun, we had a good time on stage, the small audience had a good time, admittedly, a lot of that good time was had just outside having a smoke, but sometimes that's the best way to appreciate a bit of upbeat rock 'n' folk indie pop, there was even a bit of a two man jig and a good deal of hand clapping. One guy also offered us a bit of advice; "Music quieter, vocals louder, I wanna hear the words!", which I took as a personal insult, nobody ever asks us to turn that cockney's mic down so they can hear the bass. Words, my arse.

In sincerity, when you're starting out you do end up playing to some audiences you didn't expect, and often those audiences are in single figures, and it's easy to look on the downside of that, but to be honest, I'd much rather have a good time playing to last night's fuzzy chinned handful than look out at a roomful of judgemental eyes who are too busy trying to work out who our influences are and how we've progressed on them, or why I'm sometimes only plucking with one finger, to remember that live music is something you're supposed to enjoy, hell, even dance to.

Thanks to the Ice Band, if they ever read this, for letting us come and play with them, they didn't have to, and bands helping bands out is always appreciated.

Oh yeah, then as Andy said we rushed home and had a do at the Ferret Open Mic, a quick four song set after playing the worst game of pool in human history. Cheers to the mysterious Frenchman who let me borrow his bass, even though he'd already packed it away in the van. I was at a gig on Monday where a man on stage, playing with a borrowed bass, excused himself to the audience with the line "Playing someone else's bass is like running a marathon in someone else's feet.", I'll curse myself till the day I forget for not having the gall to shout out loud what i merely muttered to my mates ("No it isn't"), but no, no it isn't. If we're going to use his silly analogy it's actually like walking to the shops with your shoelaces untied. If you stop paying attention there's a decent chance you'll fall on your face, but chances are you'll probably be fine.

I think I was probably fine, but I did have to keep a close eye on my shoelaces.

Now... to listen to those recordings so loud that my neighbours move out.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

If there was ever a gig that needed an entourage……

A few weeks back when all that white stuff was on the ground we had a gig scheduled in the town of Accrington. This had to be rescheduled and off went to Accrington on the 17th February. The most observant ones amongst you would have realised we had recently been in the recording studio. Just before setting off to Accrington we received the first batch of mixes to the songs we had toiled with just a few days earlier.

This prompted the drivers of the band to load the two songs onto their respective I-pods ready for a good listen on the way to Accrington. We arrived in Accrington in very good spirits. There was still work to be done with the songs but we were very happy with the initial results. It was at this point our spirit stock very nearly crashed.

The Hope and Anchor Pub is a local pub for local people (about 8 people to be precise) with a great jukebox and a somewhat intimidating atmosphere. Useful tip. always check out the pub before you load your gear in. We were now trapped hoping the other band wouldn't arrive. Minutes later, they arrive. We offered to help the other band bring their gear in as they were providing the PA. This was answered with a firm NO! This was funny.

Nothing left to do but play. This was actually enjoyable if you excuse the stage invasion, (I should mention if a lady wanted to go the toilet, they had to get there via the stage) some drunken dancing and the applause from one person after each song.

Gig done and now to load everything back into the cars. Normally a simple task but when the cars are surrounded by a yob of teenagers enjoying half-term, it isn't as simple. We ducked and dived the taunts with efficiency in mind. We reconvened into the safety of the pub (correct, safety of the pub) to discuss our exit strategy without being rude to the other band. This was actually pretty easy, we asked, said sorry, and boom, back to Preston.

Night over? Oh no! Not for One English Pound. It's only 10pm, shall we go to the open mic night at the Mad Ferret? Sure why not! We enter the doors of the Mad Ferret, "Hey guys, do you want to play?" Sure why not! What a good idea this turned out to be and Role Model received it's first "crowd clapping along" moment.

Night over? Erm Yeah. Good night!


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Time Spent Well

Being in a band, a lot of the time, involves hours sat around not doing much. Recording is one of those, especially when you're the bassist, you show up, get your job done, then you wait.

It's one of my favourite parts of the whole thing. I like getting up early with a job to do, I like driving to the studio all bleary eyed and hoping to find the focus by the time the tape is rolling, I like the concentration, the frustration, the learning curve and the achievement. I really like the waiting around. Sitting with a book and a cup of tea while everyone does their bit and the track slowly takes shape. Bobbing in and out of the action as the day goes by and the sun moves on, hearing as everything falls together, talking about whether this is too much, this needs to be more, this could be added and this taken out. I like trying to find amusement to keep spirits up and minds in gear, and, as Dan also mentioned, I really like the feeling of being in a band, doing what bands do, making a record. Whatever scale you're on or circle you're in, that's essentially it.

It's not a bad way to spend a Sunday all told, though in this case, it was a cold way, but endless sausage rolls and other savoury treats helped take the edge off that.

The discovery of the practice room monster also helped.


Monday, 15 February 2010

Whiskas, blisters and click, click, click, click....

Going into the studio with a band is a strange feeling. You look forward to it, understanding it to be an opportunity to get yourselves across - not just your song or melody but your ideas, your attitudes and your intentions. So it is important that it comes out right.

Come the end of the day, though, you have to wait an extra few days for the studio to mix and produce your work, so for the time being you walk away with nothing.

Nothing to listen to on the way home. Nothing to rave on about and nothing to show for all the effort; except blisters, a heavy caffeine comedown and a click, click, clicking in your head.

Recording itself is a blast; lots of hard work but a chance to behave like a real band and forget you have a day job.

We arrived at House of Mook in Leeds at 10am and worked solid until 10pm under the close control of producer Whiskas. He is not a cat. Disappointing. He does have a beard though.

Posters covered every wall, cymbals decked the rafters and equipment littered every corner. Russ found a stray internet connection, Jonny found a sofa and Andy had even made sandwiches. As if that wasn't enough, we even had our own room to relax in.

Topics of conversation included Spotify, Ricky Gervais, keeping time, cover bands, rugby (league) and football, target audiences, keeping warm and guitar sounds.

So, now we wait til Wednesday for the first mixes to surface. I'm finding it quite an uncomfortable wait.

To totally give up two songs you've carried proudly with you for a year is a scary prospect. And leaving them open to the interpretation of a relative stranger means that they may never sound the same to you again - an exercise in trust to say the least.

Professional musicians probably get used to this process, or they have too much to be getting on with to let it play on their mind. So, in the meantime we'll find something to fill our time and concentrate our minds elsewhere.

Oh, like a day job.


Saturday, 13 February 2010

Early mornings and demo recordings

Greetings and welcome to One English Pound's One English Blog, I won't ramble on with formalities, we're recording this weekend with a chap called Whiskas and there's a lot to get done. I need to get new guitar strings, get spare guitar strings, write a verse and remember the other verses.

Other than that we were all but ready; bassist check, drummer check, keyboardist.. keyboardist? Ladies and gents.. I give you Jonny Swift.

Our enigmatic pianist has chosen the most opportune moment to go missing and, with our first demo recording just days away, we have literally no idea of his whereabouts.

Last week, Role Model had its debut on the airwaves, appearing on BBC Radio Leeds' Raw Talent show and, as far as gigs go, after recording we're playing at Accrington's Hope and Anchor on Wednesday February 17 then we have a week or so break to get our new song ready for a gig at Preston's Mad Ferret on Friday February 26.

Other than that, all announcements are on hold until we get the demo done and out into the big bad world. So, we could really do with finding our keyboardist.

Then, a phone call from the most unlikely of sources as "Swift work" flashes up on the Batphone.

I didn't mention earlier that, not only is Jonny enigmatic, he never ceases to spring a surprise against the odds. It turns out that while we fear he's spent the week buried under a pile of beer bottles and cigarette packets, he's actually been working every hour available to pay some way towards room rent and recording.

So, it's now midnight and we begin our ten-hour recording session at 10am tomorrow. Although, dragging Mr Swift to Leeds at eight in the morning is another potential stumbling block - we'll let you know how it goes.


One English Pound