Rounders At 40!

I’m sat here aching. I’m struggling and ‘wusslike’ after such fun on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A rather brilliant weekend I might add. It began on a tired friday afternoon. The nature of my day job, means lots of walking around hospitals sorting problems out and trying to avoid problems. Friday afternoons is mostly, a ‘catch up on emails and finish off the week.’ Not this one. So feeling tired and aching like a bitches anal gland.  After helping sort another crisis. Home at last! Then, off out to band rehearsals. Due to a broken computer at our usual studio. Ange had to book a last minute one elsewhere. Arriving in the car. I noted how sunburnt Dave, our bass player looked. I commented. Only then to realise. It was the 4 flights of stairs he has lugged equipment up, that actually caused the rouge rupture look. So with already aching legs I ascended with my cymbals. (Swearing profusely and trying not to be rude and seem ungrateful at the no lift situation!)  In a very small room hot and sweltering like a greenhouse without glass. I felt like a borrower in a dolls house attic. About to have a claustrophobic panic attack. (that what its all about though.. it’s fun, really it is! ) Talk of new songs called bearded clams, razor face, big bag of weed.  Blinded by one’s own sweat. The horrific trickle down ones back that ends slithering into one’s bum crack. That night’s smell of ‘off’ biscuits will haunt me forever I thought it was my trainers…!!. Thank goodness for showers and washing machines! Have as remarked before its never wise to sniff a drummers drum stool after a gig? #advice there for you ;-0   It was nice getting a round of applause after performing ‘Weevil K’inevil’ from studio staff and appreciative visitors/other band. Then offered a possible gig too. Brucie Bonus! Now we are not a band that sings our own praises and promotes how fooking wonderful and amazing we all are. Thats for delusional, up their own arse cock nuggets. Which tend to hear something different that what a talented ear can hear. Anyway… I slept like a damp log in the dark Friday night.

Saturday AM arrived. Truly excited. We headed off to pick up PP our Subway Circus vocalist and tootled off to Abbey Lane studios in Derby. Even though we are Nottingham based. Fate, cancellations, offers, thoughts and finds and gut instincts  lead us there.  We weren’t disappointed. With the faint sound of troffing cobs and crisps in my headphones before live takes. I chuckled at my past rock and roll lifestyle choices. Musing my non hangover the next day. You can read the full blog and see some pics/ videos here BLOG- SUBWAY CIRCUS ABBEY ROAD

What a brilliant day! We got offered a gig there too!  Then.. a rush back to Nottingham.  A friend’s birthday dinner (great Tapas) and a few drinkies. Eventually we got home. Exhausted but very contented and happy.

Sunday AM It started with rain. But then the sun came again. A band and friends gathering at Bramcote Park. (Lacking toilets mind)

Now… I’ve not played rounders since school. I was always good with coordination. (My later slogging didn’t disappoint me… You never lose it! )

Upon my first catch attempt. I fell to the ground. Twisted (already killing knees from Friday’s stairs)  As the juggling balls, slogging, slipping, running, laughter ensued. How I laughed.. and laughed. We decided it was our Band Ep launch rounders match. Recorded on the 18/07/15 and released streaming on the 20th. (As was recorded live in 4 hours with a  few one take wonders with only vocals and a couple of its overdubs.) Not bragging or owt 😉  But that’s what accomplished musicians and bands should be able to do. If they work hard and practice at their instruments and music effectively. Not poncy cheating! What you hear recorded is what you hear live. That is what makes me so proud of the guys.

After a waz in the bushes after a group troffathon. Hysterics at dog walkers dogs not giving up attempting to raid our picnic. I had the Benny Hill Show theme tune going off in my head.  I was ready for game 2! I though I was going to boff up my salmon bagels. With a slice each homemade Gooseberry and a blackcurrant cake (Thanks Jenny) The Ron Burgundy Rounders commenced.So I cracked open the wine.

Then Ange wacked herself in the eye with the ball she was bowled. A little bit of pee came out of me! Injury 2! PP (Our vocalist) Then wacked the tennis ball into the ovaries of the bowler. The poor lass hit the floor and had to be lifted up. Commenting she never wanted children anyway. The slogger bloke of the match smacked his own elbow with the bat.  I hear the clunk from 3rd base. I felt it for him. I really did. Dave, our bass player did an awesome juggling catch then dropped it. Multiple defenders ran at each other nearing collision to all catch the same ball. Then dropped it. PP then slipped and twisted his ankle. I couldn’t take any more laughter. Catching the poor kid out! We were reminded by her (really funny) Mum how cruel it was! It was just a great day. More ‘tournaments to come’ We won!

I’m now on day 2 of pain, aches and moaning.  Worth it though. Being 40 is fun. Making the music I love with brilliant blokes.

Our EP ‘All Alone’ Is worth a listen. We are in the process of gathering a fan base, being new. Many Thanks.

– Claudine 

What makes my Eve’s apple twitch and other things of late

Aside

I sat on the bus on the way home from work today. That particular bus. The Citylink 2 to be exact. Has got to have the most annoying bell, which is actually a sickening beep that goes right through me. Making my Eve’s apple in my throat want to retch out of itself. Yes vomit nearly came up on the back of the head of an innocent woman!

So lately. I’m getting over the 2nd virus in 2 months. Courtesy and perks of my NHS job and hospital environment.  So feeling a little wiped out and drained still.  Life has been busy. There has been a lot of work, extra work and music making. Very little leisure.  I find plopping down in front of the TV because I’m exhausted, rather irritating. But it’s had to be done this last week.  My crisp addiction has spiralled out of control.  I didn’t realise how  good ‘Wagon wheels’ tasted since I was a kid. Not helped by a new pound shop opening near my bus stop. Last week was full of intention of getting my book finished. But its not quite there yet. Something more is holding me back before its completion. Ange the wifey say just relax, it will be finished when it needs to be finished. So I’m taking a bit of time out to get rested.  Book writing is tiring.

 

After all the operations. My metal pins and plates were removed on the left side with the full upper infected wisdom tooth that started this drama off. Sinuses have been given the all clear and are really healthy.  Thickened Adenoids scraped, nose examined. ‘The’ painful molar tooth was extracted a few weeks ago. Pus has been seeping out of that hole.  But the pain has stopped. So its pretty shitty in there. But apparently healing nicely.  I went again to the Maxi Facial clinic on Monday to see a consultant regarding the on going cheek/mouth leaking.  An X-ray later and comparison to previous ones. The latest conclusion is that there is a ‘lesion’ above where the tooth was removed. The bats in that cave are now flying out. So I’m hoping with a lot of coconut oil swilling, colloidal silver, salt water rinses. This 2 year oral nightmare will heal. I’m hoping for discharge in many ways including from the clinic soon. So on with the super foods and getting myself into a healed state. We’ve been enjoying the after effects of Anges fruit smoothies. Thank you Jamie Oliver. The chopping it all up and freezing them ready to go in a bag was a great idea. When my knees actually work again after doing some Olympic decorating last weekend.  Now spring is arriving and the beautiful blossom is in bloom, I might get my bike out for my lake cycling.

 

Solo acoustic stuff is progressing.  I keep adding bits of my claudsville YouTube.  The ‘project X’ is in the works. I cannot call it ‘Wildkin’ like I’d hoped. So I’ve been reading Jim Morrisons poetry for band title inspirations. I’ve been hammering the drums with Subway Circus rehearsal. Such a good vibe with the band. I got so excited after doing an excellent ‘fill in’ during the reworked cover of ‘Mad World’. . Ange and Claire looked round at me and made me cock up. There is this instrumental part after the 2nd chorus that Dave the Bass Player and I can go a bit mad on, before Paul the guitarist plays his chilled out guitar. The absolute raising of vibrations is great. I can feel it through my bones and aura. We jam so well together. E.P and live work next. Claire our vocalist just fits perfectly. The feeling of getting excited again in a band feels new. Music is ever evolving for me. I can never let myself get bored and unchallenged. So I don’t. Like I keep saying. Drumming is great for ones ‘Guns’ it eradicates bingo wings.  Oh Band breaking wind / news. I’ve moved from 5B to 5A size Vic Firth drums sticks. Exciting huh?

 

@subwaycircus

@subwaycircus

 

SUbway Circus in rehearsal March 2014

Subway Circus in rehearsal March 2014

 

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I, along with the kitties really missed

My wife last week while she was training in her new job in Birmingham. 5 days is the longest we have ever been apart since we’ve met. A weird feeling. But she is in a job, where she can excel now.

Thank technology advances for facetime and skype for keeping in visual touch over distances

Clange

Clange

 

Do I miss some of the other things I’ve recently left behind in my life? Nope, not one bit. Evolving and moving forward is a great thing for this Gemini.

 

I spent 20 minutes tonight trying to hear Ange on the phone, while she was on the bus. With the incessant background screams of a child. 20! Yes 20 minutes. I asked Ange to put her phone on speaker so I could shout “SHUT THAT FOOKING CHILD UP, give it bitty or something!” But alas she wouldn’t.

Irritating noises day.com!

I’ve concluded that I’m meeting far to many weird people, the world is too full of idiots and power trippers. The city centre where I live is a zombie apocalypse waiting to happen. I already see the walking dead.  Which I might add .. I’m really frustrated at the latest series that has, yes done some character developing, but…yawn.. spent it on a train track to Terminus. “Those who arrive survive!” I don’t care. Kill ‘em! Well you know what. I wanted more gore, more zombies, more drama. I’m hoping there is a horde from hell on Monday. Please make the next more action packed.

You only have to walk about and look into people’s eyes. The souls light has gone.  I need to be a lot more cautious with my law of attraction thoughts. So I’ve just ordered another really helpful book. ‘Ask and it is given’ by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It will be a nice addition to ‘The Secret.’   I have a huge stack of books to read now. I really must crack on with them.

 

The more time I spend in our healing room with clients, myself or Ange and I. The more I love it. The energies are wonderful in here. It’s my safe haven away from the chaos and the vampires who drain my energies.  I’ve got a job interview tomorrow.  I’ve got to dress like a clown and enter the room by galloping like Miranda Hart. True serious professionalism in a basket! It was the best application I’ve done to date. I wish all applicants well. To shine in life. I do my best and work hard and genuinely at everything I do. I will always walk away from the things that no longer interest me, irritate me and give me no pleasure or sense of achievement.

My honesty is not welcome in some circles. I stick to my guns. That’s who I am. I answer to myself, my peers, my loved ones and the powers that be. The rest can just fcuk right off.

 

 

The A-Z of my Week. Musicians, Linkedin and Enemies Behold

Here is the A of my week.

Righty ho. Another good week. Knackering but productive, positive and surrounded by love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on medication. My PMT rage is at its height. But that will be eased later by a removal session in a loft without SPIDERS. Please let there be non. By the mere mention I’ve law of attracted them. OOOh MUMMY!

So after the 3 week relationship with a winter virus of doom.  Kindly and really, they should have been so generous, given to me by my colleagues and then spread by me to more work colleagues, not through snogging as previous rumours stated 😉  One of the perils of working in a hospital visiting many wards. An apple a day didn’t keep my Doctor away. I had such healthy intentions to survive dark January too. But there has been a lot of dark about. My light is too strong and bright though.

Now I suffer the sort throat lurgy irritation. Luckily the solo set I played on Friday wasn’t too hampered and squeaky chat line husky voice encumbered.

Watch the performance here : 

Exit – By Claudine West aka Bog Woppit

 

It was blinking well nippy out. In between the urge to cough my lungs up half way though.  My fingers stopped working on the chorus finger picking parts on ‘Unusual Haunts.’ “I ain’t no pussy nor primadonna!”  One carries on regardless like a true pro, A soldier of strumming!  (nice comparison to the birds voice out of the Beautiful South that man! Thank you )  I don’t keep calm as I cringe at that saying. I get excited. I’ve been working with my solo stuff for quire a few months now after a hiatus. One I redescovered what I truly loved. The things I was doing pailed into insignificance. If the passion is no longer there, and things get overcrowded with unnecessaries who lack vision and experimentation ability,  its time to go.  Big thanks to the organisers of Sneinton Market Light Night, Nottingham. Amy Dickens at Red Rox Projects  and Sound Engineer Phil Taylor . Check out this fab band The Breakfast Club.  I love their sound and instrument swapping. Suitcase drums too!  New album ‘Petrol Money’ –  ‘Work Related Stress’

2013 was busy with studies and a new job. It took time to learn (and I still am) all of the clinical knowledge needed to do it effectively. I’m blessed with a supportive team and Matron. Central Procurement has been my favourite job so far. It has only taken 22 years of faffing! I’ve counted my chickens and blessed them.  I’ve been updating my Linkedin, getting things in order.  Getting the C.V. updated.  Ange (My Wifey) is a prime example on why Linked in is so damn good. She has just been head hunted. An Agency saw her profile. She got asked for interview. Did bloody well, as she is bloody good at what she does and wham, bam on the rag of jam. She got the job. I’m really proud. It’s always nice to enjoy your day jobs as well as having it pay the bills and lifestyle.

So yesterday morning was spend with the band – ‘Subway Circus’ https://www.facebook.com/subwaycircus

Things are coming together nicely. We have the band member line up locked in. The thing with music is,this is proven time and time again. Ignore at your peril.  You have to all gel to make the magic. Every person in the band has to add the magic and play their special part. Deadwood sinks ships. I like our rawness. Our honesty and true equality. Everyone has input. We have our manager on place who deals with all of ‘that’ stuff. So we can concentrate on creating great stuff.  For some its about posing. For me its about jamming and making music. If I’m sat in my shorts and t-shirt on the kit v’s tossing it off in a posh dress. I’m more comfortable in my shorts and will play better. I grew up with grunge not ponsy clothing labels to pose in to be who I am. If I am naked, in a dark room. You only hear the music I make.

Here is a clip

Subway Circus performing a cover of Black Velvet

I think we’ve got four cover versions. We are an original band, but it’s nice to pop in the odd homage to a good song. The live set should be ready pretty soon. It’s been a bit of a journey getting the band up and running. But it has been well worth it. The vibe feels great. Its challenging, sweat inducing and I get to exercise sat on my arse! E.P In the pipeline. Then its gigfest a go go!

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Paul Delacey

photo

Claire Gilbert

photo 1

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Right I’m off to take a time out as its back to the day job tomorrow.

I’ve got a bunch of Reiki clients after work next week, plus a ‘little project’ to complete ;-0 which I should have done today. But I need a break and to meditate before we go out and get busy with the ‘C@nty Stumpets’ lugging musical equipment about.

The final comment for today.  “Claudine West Is a true believer of keeping your friends close and your enemies, bound, gagged and kept as far away as possible. Life’s too short for games and wrong ‘uns.”

I finish with the Z of my week.

~ Claudine

How musicians are created…

Image

I’m blessed to be in this band. The Idolins  

My solo works Bog Woppit 

The big question.

Are you born a musician, or do you train and become a musician?

My name is Claudine West aka Claudine Barker-West. I’m 37 years old. I live in Nottingham. UK. I’m a multi-instrumentalist.  Oh and yes you have probably never heard of me. 

Music has been in my life since I can remember. From my first Bontempi Keyboard and 2nd hand classical guitar; my Dad bought me while on holiday in Norfolk, UK. It was only when I moved onto electric and steel strings did I realise what a nighmare classicals are to play and start on as a kid. (So what to Schools do? Make kids play ’em! Cruel )

Now I’ve not been trained in a ‘training’ sheet music kind of way.

I bought chord books for keyboards and guitar. Sat and played, practiced. Shut myself in dark rooms so I didn’t need to look at my hands to play the chords. Looking back I was a loner, socially crippled (still am to an extent), shy, a disturbed child ( luckily not due to any trauma, abuse etc) just special in my own strange way.

Music made me feel good, it released my pent up creativity. It drew me to it, tempted, excited, satisfied. Music just came out of me and my fingers without me having to sit there and work out each note.  By this point every Birthday and Christmas present was music related. My first tape 4 track recorder.  I was privileged.

School involved verbal bullying, name calling due to my deformed face. (Surgery at 19 corrected it, not my self hatred..Thanks Bullies. I’m so glad im not you. I pity you. no one likes to be called a monster amongst other things!)  and near 6 feet tall skinny frame (I was probably too tall and intimidating to get punched) maybe I screamed misfit.

I retreated, was encouraged and supported into music and art indulgence.  I had an amazing Music teacher (Simon Davie) at secondary School (Frank Wheldon, Nottingham class of 1991/2 ish) Spent most of my lunch breaks and spare time in the music block. Jamming. Playing on the piano, or playing on the Grand Piano in their Concert Hall. Some little turd, with a grudge burnt the school down years later. (and most likely my lovely Grand Piano) Its been rebuilt as a sports college now.

At 16 (thanks to my sister complaining) I got a job in a local supermarket (18 years of customer hell and vileness, back stabbing, gossip, hangovers, but lots of laughs and messing about) I currently work for the NHS. (inspired by true hatred of retail and damage done, my Dad being awarded an MBE (God bless you Princess Anne) for his services to the NHS. (I’M SO PROUD) the final straw being told I deserved to be raped as I was a lesbian!! Adorable customer scumbag!

I’m proud to be doing my day job bit helping poorly folk. Reiki is my life calling along with art and music. Indulgence is bliss.

So basically from my first job (yes kids I worked for my things, put up with some abominations, stinky fuckers, rude bastards and worked every shift pattern known to Mankind) bought more instruments. Worked nights for a year and at around 19, I bought my first Pearl Export Drumkit; and a Zildjian Cymbal every payday. 

My basic chord and note learning moved into capo and key change experiments. ‘Capoing’ a guitar. Recording that track. Then working out a new fret capo and different chord structures to make things sound sweet in stereo.(I still do this today)

From around 13 years old. I’d written songs, composed music, learnt the art of multi tracking (Live performance, warts and all… not computer generated  cheating) Warbled with a very crap gob (surgery enabled me to sing and pronounce words better)

After finishing my A levels. Knowing full well my face operation was imminent. I chose not to further my education. I embraced live mic nights, bands, (Word For Word, Dominion, Subject To Status.. and ones I cant remember right now) gigs, music, booze, fags, grass. Indulgence. I loved my Bongos!

Live Mic at The Lion
Live Mic Night at The Lion, Basford. Nottingham. during the 1990s

Inspired by Jim Morrison’s whisky intake. I had a pretty good go. Ooh I loved my Bourbon and Wild Turkey. Fortunately I never woke up craving alcohol. I rarely drink now mainly because my money is better spent and my body just needs to mend. I do tend to get occasionally battered on the red wine, (big fan of a good Shiraz Cabernet nowadays) at a band rehearsals and spend the next day puking my guts up feeling like death. Swearing on my grave its green tea forever. Ange (my wifey) once farted in bed after one of these night. That set me off on a big boff. She blamed the booze. I blamed the stench. I may write a blog on farting. It’s something that makes me cry laughing.

I began a 10 year exodus into my world ‘Claudsville’

I bought a Fender Bass guitar, Mandolins, more acoustics, A Fender Stratocaster. Eventually I bought a Taylor Acoustic. Elixir custom light strings. Bar that fact that you really cant have too many instruments. I’m content.

I learnt to finger pick. I practiced strumming 😉 being a percussionist helps with rhythm. Being a drummer is a great cure for PMT. There is a big misconception that playing the drums is about kicking the shit out of them. Maybe for some drummers.. Its about creating rhythm, patterns. Jamming, linking, connecting, locking in with your bass player (my Yang to my Ying is the very Talented Dave Pacey) 

I played Glen Miller Jazz at School. Moved into Blues Jamming in pubs and Rock Bands.

I love the Folk music, acoustic stuff on the guitar. I enjoy experimenting with effects and layers on my electric guitar parts I compose. I’m not anal enough to go into great technical detail. I’ll leave that one to others.

You can watch some videos if you so wish on my Claudsville Youtube Channel

 

I dated a sound engineer. (Pete, lovely bloke) me, trying to at least be bisexual. Ultimately you can’t change who you are and what floats your boat. Women do it for me. I’m happily handfasted to my soulmate Ange. After spending a little while sampling a few unhinged (to be polite) birds. Not a good combination with me being me.

I met Grimm (Graham Skelton-Ruth) an amazing guitarist. You can hear some of his Lead Guitar Genius on my Bog Woppit Recordings.

Had M.S. taught me sarcasm to the extreme. Inspired me. Listened to my drunken rants and exorcism of demons. He died when I was 27. (overdosed) that destroyed me.

Claud & Grimm
Claud & Grimm

I luckily managed to travel to America and spend time touring with my family. Some were living there at the time. Texas. Got to Jam on drums in a bar in San Antonio. Being rewarded by a shot of Wild Turkey courtesy of the bar tender.(THAT MADE MY DAY!) I talked at lots of stuff out.  HEALING PROCESS.

I’d played regularly at the Lion Pub in Basford before Grimms Death. We used to go on a Thursday live mic night. I’d get drunk to try to control my morbid stage fright. Play 3 solo songs (not covers, I performed my own. There are plenty of people riding the cover version appreciation wave for applause and a career. Not me.  I like to  create, not copy) If you are going to cover a song. At least do something different with it.

I met Karen Smalley-Turner at such a night. We recorded a few sessions at Grimms Home Studio. ( I basically lived there and slept in there at weekends and every Holiday)

We then lost tough for a while. She had a baby. Robyn. Then as fate has it. I met her again while working in a shop. Broke the sad news that Grimm had died. (not the best way to tell someone over a checkout) I’m known for my Oral splurts of the wrong thing at the wrong time. We later got together and played a gig. The rest my friends is history. 12 years later. Our official Website is here The Idolins  are going from strength to strength. We have expanded. Played live at the 2012 London Olympics. Love each other dearly and are back recording 2013 after a wonderful 2012.

The Idolins. Sound Of The Rain Album
The Idolins. ‘Sound Of The Rain’ 2010 Album
Greenwich Park 2012 Olympics. Photo Rob Smalley. Scene photography
Greenwich Park 2012 Olympics. Photo Rob Smalley. Scene Photography
Karen & Claudine Live 2011The Idolins
Karen & Claudine Live 2011
The Idolins
Live @ The Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Photo Rob Smalley. Scene photography
Live @ The Royal Concert Hall 2012, Nottingham Photo Rob Smalley. Scene Photography
The Idolins 'You Said'  Album 2011
The Idolins ‘You Said’ Album 2011
Rehearsals
Rehearsals
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The Notts Factor Final 2012.
Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012
Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012

I’ve also been driven back to playing the Drums again. The new Rock Band. Subway Circus. Has been born. More to follow 2013.

<<Subway Circus Live at Nottinghamshire Pride 2012.
My Dad told Karen and I about my Great Grandparents. The Drews. They played instruments. Maybe music is inherited?

All I know is I love it. I can only describe it as an energy of sound. I’m a vessel for it to travel. I dont consciously think about what i’m playing. It just happens. Flukes. Maybe my mind already rehearsed it? Maybe I’m a puppet for Angels?

The Stage fright gets easier as I age.

People have asked for lessons, like I’ll show them an easy non effort way. My answer is always the same.

“Learn your f**King self!! ;-)”

I’m blessed. I’m rehearsed.