August 2010

Monica and Paul at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow - click image to enlargeWelcome to the Subs bassist's 2010 tour blog, in which Paul will be detailing what daily life is like whilst touring.

In his blog you will find descriptions of venues, support bands, and of the various people that Paul meets along the way. Interwoven in all this is the fascinating story of Paul's comeback into music, after over two decades of being parted from his bass!

Paul will also share various photos from his travels with the bands he plays with, which at the moment are the Flying Padovanis and Monica and The Explosion...

The first entry for this month is at the foot of the page, with the latest entry at the top!





Only £8-00 plus postage and packing
Click the CD cover photo to purchase the brand new, totally fabulous Monica and The Explosion CD, with Paul Slack on bass. You will be taken to the secure Time & Matter Recordings Big Cartel site.
Go on - you know it makes sense - give yourself a real new musical treat!



  • Monday 2 August at Whistle Binkies in Edinburgh &
    Tuesday 3 August at Ivory Blacks, Glasgow

As we crossed the border into Scotland it started to rain, which wasn’t surprising as I’ve known rain to fall out of clear blue skies up there ;-). You know I really don’t understand the fascination the Scots have for rain? It seems they just can’t get enough of the stuff…
We were heading to Edinburgh, and because it was effectively a day off, we decided to play at an open mic gig at a place called Whistle Binkies, which Monica had found on the internet.
The Edinburgh Fringe had started and so the city had a lively buzz to it, and by the time we came to play, the club was quite full. We played two short sets, the first being better than the second I think. This was due to the fact that there was an hour and a half gap between the two, and it was hard to get going again, so from now on, the rule is only one set a night. We liked the club a lot and hope to return there with the full band soon.
The next day saw us heading to Glasgow and to Ivory Blacks. We’d managed to pick this gig up when we were last in Glasgow, doing a photo-shoot with Ken Sharp, an old friend of mine from way back. All we did was knock on the door of Ivory Blacks and ask for a show. We do this all the time when we’re travelling. Wherever we find ourselves, we seek out the best local venues and simply turn up and introduce ourselves. It’s amazing how effective this is, people seem to respond much more positively when dealing with someone face to face, rather than by phone, email or any other networking site. In fact, to prove this point we’d stopped for lunch in York on our way up to Edinburgh - and blagged a gig at Stereo for November 18th!
Anyway, Kelvin, the booker at Ivory Blacks, had no hesitation and added us to a bill with two local bands. The two bands in question turned out to be really young kids, as was the crowd. This was fine by us however; as it gave us the opportunity to try out the songs on a younger generation, although admittedly I did feel a bit of a dinosaur ;-) but you know what, I think they really enjoyed it – we even sold some CDs - which they must have bought with their pocket money!


  • Below: 1st and 2nd August pictures with captions by Paul - click images to enlarge.

That night we stayed in Forth, at the house of another couple I know, a photographer friend of mine Fishbones Glover and his lovely wife Alison. This would be a good opportunity to thank them for their hospitality - and also to thank their daughters for the breakfast.


  • Sunday 1 August - Back to Peterborough with
    Monica and The Explosion

Peterborough is roughly only an hour and 40 minutes from Derby, so we arrived in plenty of time to have lunch at ‘East’, which is the best Thai restaurant we’ve encountered so far on our travels.Live at The Cellar Bar - click image to enlarge
When we mixed the album back in May, we stayed at a hotel called Thorpe Lodge where we discovered, beneath the hotel, there was a club called The Cellar Bar. The place is run by Giovanni Grandinetti, who is trying his hardest to establish the club as a regular music venue. It’s only a small place and with 30 people, it would seem really busy. When we told Giovanni why we were staying at the hotel, he asked us if we’d play there… so this is why we found ourselves back in Peterborough.
After lunch we decided to walk back along the other side of the river, erroneously assuming we’d be able to cross back via the same bridge we’d used earlier. Wrong…

What should have been a brisk 20 minute stroll, turned into an hour and a half hike. Whilst we walked, Monica and I talked about the blog, and more specifically the photos I’d been taking. As we plan to do a lot of travelling this coming year, we thought it might be interesting to publish a book telling the story in words and pictures… a kind of fancy version of the blog. Anyway, the plan is to have it ready for next year’s Rebellion Festival, a sort of Rebellion to Rebellion journal. But first I better get myself a decent camera!


  • Below: The Peterborough walk - selection of pictures from the hike!
    Click images to enlarge

I kind of like the idea of a leftfield view of what it’s like to be in a relatively unknown band, as we try to gain a foothold within the music scene.
It’s easy playing with a well-established band like the Subs, in the sense that people who come to Subs shows know what to expect. We do what it says on the tin…. Playing with Monica and The Explosion presents a greater challenge - and I love it.
It doesn’t matter if we play to just a handful of people, as was the case in Peterborough, as long as someone who’d never heard of the band before goes away thinking, “Shit! That was good!” Somehow, that feels as satisfying as anything I’ve done in music.