DECEMBER 2010Another Slack hat!


Welcome 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, as well as how he came to join and leave the U.K. Subs first time round!

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

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




  • Monday 6th December - Enniskillen to Blanchardstown

Another tricky journey but nothing was going to stop us. Fuck the weather. We hadn’t come all this way for nothing. We were playing Captain America’s, a venue we’d played before. It has a good stage and sound system. When we were last here there was a good crowd, but shortly after we arrived for the sound check it started to snow heavily, in fact during our set it was coming down so hard I began to wonder if we could make it back to our hotel in the centre of Dublin. It was soon obvious that this time the turn-out would be smaller, the weather was that bad.
Anyway we played the show then decided to retreat back to the hotel as soon as possible. Not hanging around, we packed the car and got going. A smart move, because the weather and roads continued to deteriorate, so much so that I had difficulty keeping the car on the road, the last couple of miles being particularly bad. Remarkably, Monica managed to sleep though most of the journey. She leaves nothing behind when she performs and this was our eighth gig in 10 days and both of us were feeling tired.
I did go to bed that night thinking that if it continued to snow that heavily during the night, the following day’s gig in New Ross might be the first we’d have to pull out of.

After all - we had to head back down towards Waterford - where we’d been forced to take shelter on the very first day we arrived in Ireland…


  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge



  • Sunday 5th December - Mullingar to Enniskillen

We were happy to leave that cold cheerless Mullingar B&B, and head north to Enniskillen. So far we’d not had much luck with hotels and guest houses and this one was no different. A cold and impersonal breakfast room and a chef that overslept is not how you want to start the day, especially after the disappointment of the previous night. Still, at least it hadn’t snowed overnight but outside the roads remained treacherous.
As we crawled along through the ice and snow on the way to Enniskillen, we were amazed to see the amount of new houses that dotted the countryside. Not just any old houses though - these were big, sometimes huge, 5 or 6 bedroom places. If you wanted evidence of irresponsible lending driven by the greed of the banking system, coupled with naive borrowing, it was to be found here. Surely this was one of the reasons the country had recently been brought to its knees by the burden of debt.
And you know who’ll end up paying for it, it’ll be those at the bottom of the pile, those the least able.
By the time we arrived in Enniskillen it was dark and looked very deserted. We checked in to our hotel, got ready, and then headed to the venue. Blakes lies directly behind the William Blake pub on Church Street. The venue is reached from a road at the back and the “get in” was up 7 flights of stairs. Luckily we had those fit lads from Setting Off Sirens to help us, otherwise I would have been fucked before we started. KevdRev
On the bill were Hooligan, Savage Rabbits, and the aforementioned Setting Off Sirens. We didn’t get to see Hooligan (too busy eating) but perhaps that’s just as well as apparently it wasn’t their finest hour.  KevdRev (pictured right) was again guesting on bass but they were, by their own admission, a little under-rehearsed. Kev is an interesting character, a restless spirit who likes to talk (…a lot). A staunch nationalist he has his own blog - I enjoyed his company and his wild enthusiasm.
The Savage Rabbits are a local Enniskillen band with grunge/punk/metal influences. Good songs and good to watch too, definitely a thumbs up for them…
I’ve written about Setting Off Sirens before when we last played with them on the September tour. Back then I said they were one of the best bands I’d seen for a long while. Watching them for a second time only reinforced that view. On top of this Kevin, John, Ciaran and Alan are lovely fellas. Monica and I love this band and hope we can sort out some dates for them in the UK next year. If we do, make sure you don’t miss them.
Finally, a big thanks to all those who braved the weather and made it such an enjoyable evening. We'll definitely go back to Enniskillen

  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge



  • Saturday 4th December - Dublin to Mullingar

It was around 1:30am when we got back to the hotel after the Fibbers gig - and we found the hotel nightclub in full swing. Thumping disco music of the worst kind shook the room. When I went down to reception to politely ask what FUCKING time we might expect it to stop, the receptionist pointed out that, in the small print on their website, it states “We can be a noisy hotel”. Presumably next to the bit where it says “We have your money so you can fuck off pal".
She might have added “And don’t bother trying to have a shower in the morning the pipes will be frozen”, which they were of course…
It was at this point I considered throwing one of the lobby chairs through the window. The Garda seemed to be a pretty efficient bunch. I reckoned I could be locked up in a cosy cell with my head down within 30 minutes. But damn, there was Monica to think about and the gig in Mullingar. I am nothing but a good complainer so I managed to get the room reduced to 30 euro plus some free drinks at the bar, as long as I promised not to mention The Russell Court Hotel, Harcourt Street, Dublin in my blog.
After washing in 2 inches of tepid water, and feeling as bright as a button, it was soon time to drive across 50 miles of sheet ice to Mullingar.
On the way to the gig we got a text from Dave (Hooligan) telling us that all three support bands were pulling out of the show due to either injury or the weather. OK, the roads were bad, but as we were only 20 minutes from Mullingar there was little choice but to press on. The streets of the town were extremely cold. The only place colder was our hotel. So the first thing we did was to buy an electric heater.


  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge

We were supposed to be playing The Stables, a venue at the back of the Yukon Bar. However, because all the support bands had pulled out, they decided to put us on in the pub at the front. We rely on local bands to bring in some punters, so without that, and given the weather conditions we were always going to struggle. Even JP hadn’t turned up, believing the gig to be cancelled. But as we’d made the journey we decided to go ahead and play and treat it as a rehearsal. Dave from Hooligan had made the trip along with Kevin, a fill-in bass player (more on him later). They played a short un-plugged set then hit the road before the weather got worse.
We played for around 30 minutes, ensuring the sound engineer got paid at least, and then headed back to the hotel praying that conditions might improve by the morning…

  • Friday 3rd December (part II) - Cork to Dublin


Given the terrible driving conditions we expected to encounter on the way to Dublin, we decided to make as early a start as possible - but after one look at the black ice on the road outside our hotel, we delayed our departure to allow the chance that the day might warm up a little.

We were going to have to take it as easy as possible. After all, if Hooligan couldn’t make it to Cork the day before, how were we going to make the reverse journey? So after scraping thick ice from the car we headed north.

We needed to be in Dublin by 5.15pm as we were doing a radio interview on Near fm as well as playing 3 tracks live in the studio. It should, under normal conditions, take well under 3 hours to get to Dublin from Cork so by leaving at 11am we were giving ourselves plenty of time, or so we thought…

By the time we got to Cahir, where we stopped for lunch, the motorway was down to one lane and we were creeping along at round 30 mph. We didn’t hang around in Cahir but pressed on as the further north we headed, the worse the road was getting.

We eventually arrived at our hotel around 4.30pm, just enough time to freshen up before jumping back in the car for a 30 minute trip across town to the radio station to meet up with JP, who was playing a chair again. Dublin was a giant skating rink and by the time we got there we were both completely “frangled” (that’s somewhere between being fried and scrambled).

Nevertheless, the recording and interview went well considering the day we’d had. When I asked Monica what she thought, she said she’d heard it went well, she just wished she “could have been there”! I knew exactly what see meant. Sometimes the day can just run away from you and you switch to auto-pilot.

Each song was done in one take so we were out of there pretty quickly and heading to Fibbers for the gig that night.

We’d played Fibbers before, so knew what to expect. On the bill with us that night were S.F.U, Excuses and Hooligan. S.F.U. pulled out because of the weather, but Excuses travelled by train from Sligo to be there, so fair play to them. They are a great bunch of lads and we really like them. We’d missed their show when we were in Sligo in September but we weren’t going to make the same mistake twice. In Sligo they’d wanted to play “She’s Not There” with me but we ran out of time. So at the end of their set I jumped up and played the song with them. They then sprang a surprise by going straight into “Emotional Blackmail”. Here’s some footage of this on Youtube:

Thanks guys - I loved it, but Jasper where was the seaweed mate?

Monica's view:

“Excuses are a great band, once they are on stage there is no stopping them. Jasper McKatt the frontman goes completely mad and spits out the words, and they’ve got good songs. They gave us their CD 'State Emergency' and we have played it in the car everyday on the tour. The two Subs’ songs they did with Paul on bass were tight; it was great fun to watch them”.

  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge


  • 3rd December (part I)- The Crane Lane Theatre, Cork

While we were driving to Cork we received a text from JP telling us that the roads in and around Dublin were so bad, after more heavy snow that Hooligan would have to pull out of the show that night.
Disappointing news for sure but not a complete disaster, as we’ve played more shows without a drummer than with. But a real shame for the lads from Hooligan who were already reeling from the blow of losing their bass player Roger to a serious back injury. Their tour was falling apart before it even got started.
By the time we arrived the venue had managed to find a replacement support, a young band called “Dead School” for whom this was their second ever gig.
The Crane Lane is without doubt one of the best venues we’ve played. It has a good stage, great sound system and excellent lighting, nothing to criticise here. We liked the place a lot and there was a large appreciative crowd. Another big plus was that the club was warm; it’s hard for anyone to enjoy an evening when you’re standing in a freezing cold room. This will become a recurring theme (moan) of ours as the tour progresses…
When we saw a busker playing on a freezing street corner the other night, I suggested to Monica that we should give it a go. “Great” she said, “we’ll be slightly warmer than in some of the venues we’ve played so far.”
Cork (Irish: meaning "swamp") is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland’s third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster.
Cork has a reputation for rebelliousness dating back to the town's support of the English Pretender Perkin Warbeck in 1491, following the Wars of the Roses. As a result, County Cork has earned the nickname of "the Rebel County", while Corkonians often refer to the city as the "real capital of Ireland", and themselves as the "Rebels".
So there you have it. Cork’s a great place to visit and play, and we look forward to returning, when it’s a little bit warmer of course.

  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge


  • 2nd December - Waterford to Cork

A quick check on the car, from the hotel window in the morning revealed nothing more than a light dusting of snow, and the roads outside looked to have improved. Nevertheless we felt it prudent to wait until after lunch before heading to Cork for the first show at The Crane Lane Theatre.
Founded in 914 AD by the Vikings, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city.
Today, Waterford is known for Waterford Crystal, a legacy of the city's former glass making industry. Glass, or crystal, was manufactured in the city from 1783 until early 2009, when the factory there was shut down. Presumably after people realised collecting naff bits of glass wasn’t that much fun!
As I walked around the city with testicles the size of grapes, employing that sort of mincing gait one has to adopt whilst walking on sheet-ice, I reflected on this from Wikipedia.
“The climate of Waterford is like the rest of Ireland. It is mild and changeable with abundant rainfall and a lack of temperature extremes. Waterford is often referred to as the Sunny Southeast.”
It was difficult to appreciate Waterford as we shuffled around trying to stay upright, but it looked a pretty nice place, well worth re-visiting next year. After lunch in a blinding little Italian restaurant called La Taverna in the city centre, it was time to hit the road again. We’d heard great things about the venue and were really looking forward to kicking off the tour in style. Although the road to Cork was clear, the weather hadn’t done with us yet and further disruptions to our plans lay just ahead…


  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge


  • 1st December - The Irish Tour - Day One

Actually, I suppose yesterday was really the first day of our tour of Ireland. We were lucky to escape East Sussex in time before the worst of the weather hit. Even then it was touch and go, I think if we’d have left even half an hour later we would have struggled to reach Newport, where we’d planned to stay the night, before heading to Pembroke to catch the ferry to Rosslare.
On the way we stopped at Bristol to play an open mic at a place called The Blue Lagoon. If you’re passing through somewhere, and have time, why not go out and play and get the name about?
We often use open mics to try out new songs, it’s a good way to get a proper feel for a song before we play it at bigger venues. There are a couple of new songs of Monica’s that have been going down really well - so I think we’ll be playing them in Ireland.
The following day, there was no snow in Bristol, Newport or anywhere else on the road to Pembroke, but things were about to change once we arrived in Ireland. As soon as we docked we could see things looked a little hazardous. Although it wasn’t snowing they were only letting cars off the ferry one at a time, as the ramp was extremely slippery. The roads were by no means impassable but we thought it might be best to press on as soon as possible and get to the hotel in Tramore before things could get worse.
Well soon enough things did get worse, as snow began to fall and not just lightly, big fat flakes that settled immediately on the carpet of snow that already covered the ground. It was difficult at times to see where the road went. And it soon became obvious to us that we had to stick to the major roads and not risk anything else. So with that in mind we headed to Waterford, which lay directly along our route, to get something to eat and to revise our plans.
Luckily for us we found the Tower Hotel, a place that was offering “stranded traveller rates” and managed to book a room. Whist Monica defrosted I went in search of the bar and the comfort of a pint. And to reflect on day one of our tour… and to ponder on the prospect of the next 13 days… great fun.

  • Below: Paul's latest pictures to accompany the above Blog - click to enlarge




Only £8-00 plus postage and packing
Click the CD cover photo to purchase the 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!



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