The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth 2020
Part Two

In which I try to write something new every day for a change.... 

Tuesday 1st September 2020:
Up at a sensible-ish time. More attempts to enrol online after my tutor rang me up (while I was in the bath) and asked me to try doing it. The Learner hub didn't seem interested in letting me in. Oh well. More emails. Eventually I got sorted with an appointment to go register tomorrow afternoon. We have been given another 40 minute chat with Noddy Holder next week. I have sent the questions for him to pick the best ones to answer from them.

TV, dog walking and so on. Not an extraordinary day. Oh, and this was announced...

Jam Night With The Three


Wednesday September 2nd 2020:
Up early and my daughter Rachel popped round with April at 11.30am. Went to register at college at 1pm. Paid up. On the Photography Level 2 course. Done. It has been dropped on me that I have to do a one thousand word essay about a photographer. I polished that task off with a nicely illustrated paper on Gered Mankowitz.  The evening was TV as usual. Whenever we watch Married At First Sight (Australia) I howl at the TV, much to Lynda's amusement. Some of the couples are quite awful. I feel sorry for others and root for some of them. Watched the third Hobbit film.


Thursday September 4th 2020:
Up early. I was intending to meet a couple of friends in Bolton, but they decided to meet in Bury instead and I find parking there a total pain, so I said we'd meet up next week. They expect me to just fall in with their plans. Bolton is locked down, so going to Bury seemed a bit daft, plus the driving and parking as well as having a drink... No.

My collage for the jam night has got a couple of people whining that they aren't actually on it. I haven't got photos of them (especially if they haven't been to the jam this year, in which case, fuck 'em), so if they will provide images, I can work on them, if not, I can't. I am not arsed either way. If I had known they were going to kick up, I wouldn't have done it. Fuck 'em.

TV, lazing about, and did the Zoom chat with Chris Selby and Don Powell, covering 1977. Always a pleasure. TV in the evening for a change. Bed ultra-late.


Friday September 5th 2020:
Up at about 10.30am Did an amount of web work. Got the Don Powell interview from last night edited and uploaded and did a good front image for it. Interest shown in two of my guitars that are up for sale. Nipped to Dave's in the afternoon.



TV in the evening. Married at first sight (Australia) is hotting up with some of the people turning into complete arseholes.


Saturday September 5th 2020:
Dog walks. Boardwalk Empire. TV. Wine. TV. Bed.

Sunday September 6th 2020:
Up earlyish. By my standards, anyway. Dog walks. Boardwalk Empire Season 3 started. A good chat with Lynda. Lynda seems to be coming round to treating covid as being something for her to be rather wary of, rather than terrified of.

In the evening, I was taken up with answering some criticism on The Slade forum. It is known that Jim Lea played a lot of guitars on their final few albums. Noddy Holder has said so. Jim Lea has said so. Don Powell has said so.

Asked the other day about dealing with the thorny subject of Dave Hill allegedly not playing on certain Slade recordings in what may be a theoretical future chat with The Man Himselfl, I had said I didn't want to rake up a hornets nest and cause offence.

I said: "I personally would not want to try to effectively get what could be construed as "the dirt" on the band's internal workings. It's an uncomfortable subject, it tarnishes the image of Slade as an actual band in the long run. Unproductive."

The response came back: "As you say it is unproductive, but the forum is taking as fact what Don is saying and therefore IS dishing the dirt and IS tarnishing the image, is it not? This is not your fault Ian and Chris, but Don is having this weekly platform to say these things without challenge? You surely can't expect Dave to agree a forum interview after this."

I spent AGES writing, editing and re-editing a reply. This is it.

"I appreciate your points. The forum will obviously listen to whichever of the band talks to them. A lot of recent talk on here has centred on what the band have said on radio, in the press and on the net, etc, etc. The band's image has mainly been dented outside of here to a degree.

Don has been extremely willing to talk to us and has certainly had the platform of our interviews to himself, until Nod came on board. Don has done his on an ongoing basis and we intend to carry on doing the year by year interviews as far as we can, though I personally think the parting with Dave will forever be off limits. The idea of getting Don and Nod together in a chat is very attractive indeed, but probably a bit unlikely.

We're really grateful to both of them for the time they are prepared to give us. Don having the lions share of the interviews does - in effect - give a bias towards his thoughts and opinions. On the whole, though, the majority of his conversations with us have not led to any controversial comments about who did what in the band and in the studio and we haven't asked him for a breakdown of who did what and when. We may have mentioned Everyday and My baby left me, as they are tracks that were well-known to have been recorded without Dave.

If we ever get Dave to do a chat with us, he would be treated with the utmost respect, not backed into any corners and we wouldn't dream of pulling his immense contribution apart. There are ways of putting the subject of his appearances on Slade records to Dave, without being blunt and hurtful about it. We can ask a question that would lead to that point being fully answered without insulting or upsetting him. Which is something that Chris and I have spoken about. If the fact that we have an ongoing dialogue with Don would stop Dave from taking part, that's sad. We'd love to talk to Dave for what he has to say, as we are impartial and just want to do good interviews and to inform people (not least of all ourselves) and to please the fans. These interviews are shared all over Facebook too and the reaction in all of the groups seems to be really positive. I think a Dave Hill interview with us would mean a lot to fans.

Nod's chats have been excellent and the reaction has been beyond what I had hoped for. I certainly take his excellent points on historical accuracy on board and they will be quoted in the author's notes in the second edition of THE NOIZE, when that appears at some point in the future. One thing that became very apparent talking to Nod was that the more of the band we speak to, the more balance we get. Nod brilliantly addressed the matter of a balance being given, when he gave us some thoughts on how we had to research our book using press cuttings. As far as these interviews go, anything purporting to be representing the story of four men really needs all of them to take part.

We are grateful to have one more Zoom chat booked with Nod and we are doing a selection of fan questions in that. We hope he will get bored with daytime TV and reach out to us again at some point, to do something more focused. Fans would love it.

As I have said, Jim Lea will hopefully do something when he needs to promote his next product. Hopefully our conversation will be able to get some comments about studio work throughout their career (not just the controversial last few albums), but I am loath to create a situation where anyone gets picked apart.

I look forward to what comes up in the future, as I never ever thought I would end up interviewing the band members, or people connected to Slade (just like I would have laughed at the notion of me writing a book about them a few years ago). Getting prostate cancer made me decide to go for it and get on with it, instead of dithering about like I used to at times.

PG wrote: Again 3 cheers for Ian and Chris. They are making Slade events appen agen
The group are the ones who make Slade events happen, not us.

Another lengthy response, I suppose... Yes. We will see what future opportunities arise and what more can be done.
We do strive to get and achieve a balance and as time goes by, we may hopefully have four viewpoints for people to judge their history from."

Knackered.


Monday September 7th 2020:
Up at about 10.15, very tired after last night's late night. I didn't sleep at all well as we had dogs all over the bed.

Things are happening tomorrow. Lynda is supposed to be going to Nottingham during the day with her friend to collect an imported rescue dog for another friend. The person who is giving the dog a home is also going. I am going to get a day to myself. I can get some things done. I have something to do in the morning, but that can be moved if need be. Lynda wanted to drive to her friend's house and set off from there, leaving me without the car to do the thing in the morning and effectively trapped at home all day. I have a 40 minute Zoom chat booked for 2pm with Noddy Holder and Chris Selby.

This is all well and good until the friend whose car it is that they were going in suddenly has to be at work at 6pm in Bolton and the dog can't be collected in Nottingham until 4pm, because of quarantine regulations.

Lynda turns to me and I once again mention the chat with Noddy Holder that is booked. There is a visible degree of annoyance that we really can't go until after I have spoken to him. I also mention that the engine light is on in the car (it's probably just a filter, but you never know) and there's no way I want either Lynda or myself to drive it all of that way to Nottingham with the risk of a breakdown.

The kennels send a message to Lynda to say they will keep the dog overnight with no extra charge, so the original plan could go ahead on Wednesday instead. I would not need to be involved in the process. Hoorah. Saved. Even though all of the plans have gone completely fubar, there is a way out that lets me off the hook.

Lynda retires to bed at 7pm and I later find out by chance, looking on Facebook, that I have still been roped in to drive.

Bed extremely late.


Tuesday September 8th 2020:
Up at a sensible time.Nipped over to my mate's house. He had a bereavement just the other day and it's been a shit year for him. We did the Noddy Holder chat in the afternoon and that went well. Then we drove to pick up the rescue dog. About two hours each way and it was a pleasant enough drive in both directions. Traffic was ok and we were back home for 7pm.

Lynda went to bed exhausted. I edited the interview and put it on the website and forum.

News came through that the Government are pulling their socks up and banning all gatherings of more than 6 people as of next Monday.

Bed before midnight.


Wednesday September 9th 2020:
Because of the banning all gatherings of more than 6 people, Lynda is rather jittery about me doing the jam night on Sunday. We have worked out how to do it safely and I want to carry on with it. There won't be another this year. Bolton is the Covid centre of the universe. Wigan is practically untouched. Lynda spends most of the day in bed worrying about it all.

I took two bookings for The Bath Hotel Morecambe, for next year. Fingers crossed.

Boardwalk Empire, Dog walks and a double helping of Married At First Sight (Australia).


Thursday September 10th 2020:
Happy birthday to Don Powell, known for being the drummer with Slade.

Had a drive out to Tesco in Walkden and I was amazed at how many people in there today were either wearing masks under their noses or not at all. Obviously, store staff can't approach people and ask them what their disability is. I'd hazard a guess at stupidity or not giving a flying fart.

Lynda in a bad way about the new lockdown, about me doing the jam night on Sunday (despite every reassurance) and not seeing our grandchildren very much at all this year. It's particularly hard on her.

Other bad news of the day: Today we lost a superb woman who I thought was the best thing ever when I was growing up. I have no words.

Diana Diana Rigg

 


Friday September 11th 2020:
Up, dressed and downstairs before 9am. I can't remember the last time that happened.

I can remember the day that the Twin Towers went down, though. I was working for the Model Office and I was building replica customer claims onto the Jobseekers Allowance test payment system in a secret bunker at Lytham. It came on the news on a TV there and we all stopped and watched. Then they went live and another planve hit the second tower. I rang home, stunned and asked my wife if she had seen it. She thought it was a film at first. Then they kept repeating the collision and then the second collision happened. I know I got my job done that day and drove home, but I was in a total fog. It's footage that we never should have had to see.

I went to Ikea at Ashton Under Lyne in the car and had to stand, fourth in line, for half an hour, in a freezing, suitably distanced queue, until a little after 10am, when we were allowed into the store. I got what I was after - a shelving unit - two sides and three shelves, though when I got it home, it seems they have stopped making the taller shelves. Oh well. It still looks great in the room. I dismantled the old wardrobe that it was replacing and put that ready to go to the tip tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I popped to collect my mate and took him to the Dental Hospital in Manchester. When he had radiotherapy at The Christie, they gave him too low a dose at first, so stepped the radiation dose up significantly, but unfortunately this nuked him and totally fucked up his spine and his teeth. The Christie are denying all responsibility.

In the evening, Lynda and I watched some more episodes of Married At First Sight (Australia) season 5. After that Lynda went to bed and I edited the Don Powell Band interview and passed it on to them to share. It's on the forum now, but they can post it on Facebook first.


Saturday September 12th 2020:
Up at a sensible time. Off to the tip with the remains of the old wardrobe from the back bedroom. Then I called in at Carrs Pasties and bought 4 Cheese and Jalopeno pasties. Yum. Eloise and Kay called around later. Eloise was clutching Luna, her new rescue dog. They went for a walk around the park opposite us and it was all too much for Luna, who took a chance when Eloise dropped her lead and bolted back to her car. and promptly hid under it, then moved to hide under Kay's car. Fortunately, we live on a very quiet road. A pantomime ensued, while I helped Eloise pull the petrified pooch from under the car. They then went home.

In the evening we were going to watch our friends The Hats at the Comfortable Gill in Glazebury, but, seeing as we have a Bolton postcode and were therefore forbidden to travel outside of lurgy-stricken Bolton by law, we decided not to risk it (or a hefty fine). I bought a bottle of wine from the local off licence and we watched various Australians falling out with each other big-style and an amount of Coronation Street. Lynda went to bed at about 10pm and I mucked around on some very quiet guitar and got to bed at about 1am.


Sunday September 13th 2020:
Bump bump bump...... crash. The sound of our little cat Baby knocking a very old vase down the stairs to meet its eventual death at the bottom. Lynda had already returned to bed in a huff, as I had stupidly looked at her the wrong way, or commented on her eating some peas, so she didn't see it happen. Today is the day of the jam night and I am going to be treading on eggshells all day, as Lynda was still declaring yesterday evening - while I was trying to watch arguing Australians - that the virus is never going to go away and that we are all going to die.

I reinforced the top canopy of our swing seat, which fills up with water when it rains, by putting a piece of board on top of it, preventing a buildup of water. It badly needs a new canopy and I ordered a new one.

Lynda was getting a bit fraught with child noise from next door, who seem to have half their extended family working as building contractors for them, sorting out the shitpile that is their side 'garden'. I suggested we take a walk with the dogs to get out of their way for a while. We ended up taking a detiur and a double-length walk which Oscar coped with very well for a dog with little legs and which Lynda enjoyed, but it wiped her out when we got home and she had a sleep. I quietly packed my gear into the car for the jam night and selected my guitars. It was fun remembering what went where. I took a guitar amp less then usual, but still managed to fill the car up. Then it was a nice soak in the bath.

I set off for the jam night at 5.3pm and got there well before the 6pm load-in time, but was able to get started. It was a nice relaxed set-up. PA first, get some background music on, then do my bass gear.

I did the opening chat line: "Well, I didn't think I'd be saying this again, this year, but welcome to jam night..."

The turnout was really good. Graham had printed up rules for each table on stage etiquette and what people had to do to get onstage and how to behave when they or another act was on. The social distancing offstage was the venue's responsibility, but they did a very good job, with just about eveyone having a seat.

The musicians were well behaved and stuck to the three song rule. The only time I got pissed off was when someone decided (seeing his amp was at the side of the stage) to join in with another band and play a terribly loud and inappropriate fretwank guitar solo right in the quiet part where all the instruments drop out on 'Crazy little thing called love'. He was told off in no uncertain terms.

As usual, we over-ran a bit, but hopefully, we got everyone up who wanted to get up. That was one thing I was really worried about. I know a few other people had been intending to come and we would have been in trouble time-wise if they had come. A successful evening. I found out something useful about my amp settings by accident - I usually have the inputs on full to boost the sound levels. I got my amp back from repair and the inputs were lower and it allows the tones to contour somewhat and Graham said it was the best sound I've had, so I will just leave the inputs alone.

Home for just after 11pm. In bed at 11.35pm.


Monday 14th, Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th September 2020:
A triple-dose of blogness for you, all in one fetid go, as I just have not thought to site down and write every day. My head's not been in the best place. The reaction to the jam night was very good. Lynda is rather panicky about it happening again, but I have done all I can to reassure her that it was as safe as it could be. Monday and Tuesday were scorchers and there wasn't a chance to walk the dogs as much as we'd like, until early evening.

Someone I know in the Slade world has spoken out about being bullied by a particular form of exclusion and I responded that the Slade world is full of nutjobs and Little Hitlers. This set off a series of private messages from someone who mistakenly thought I was talking about him. Actually, I wasn't and I spent what seemed like eons reassuring him that it wasn't him. My friend's aggressor doesn't inhabit the Slade world either. Why do these people do these things?

Lynda wasn't very well on Tuesday evening and she retired to bed really early.

Wednesday morning's TV news was apparently all about Bolton's dreadful place in the Covid league of shame, as well as Donald Trump saying 'herd maturity' is upon us and that the virus will get fed up and buzz off of its own accord sometime soon. Even his own people are asking him what he's going on about. It's pure comedy that nobody can remove him from office. I suspect that at the next election, his party supporters will all turn out and vote for his party and he will get another 4 years in office. It's terrifying, but a charismatic enough opponent is required and the opposition don't seem to be able to field one.

I walked the dogs round our local lodge with a feeling of foreboding about the weeks to come. Lynda thinks her hospital appointment in Liverpool will be cancelled because of our Bolton postcode. We will see. I think that's entirely possible, though her appointment really needs to go ahead. Her last one was cancelled. The car has been booked in for some recall work on October 6th - Vauxhall Zafiras sometimes catch fire if they don't have a air con part modified. We changed cars to a newer model to avoid this. It didn't work out.

We did a quick zoom chat over Wednesday lunchtime with Lynda's daughter Susan, so we could see Jamie climbing around the furniture. Lynda would like nothing better than to hold her grandson and it's physically killing her that she can't at the moment. Our postcode is feared the world over.

We spent the evening watching some TV. Bed after 2am.


Thursday 17th September 2020:
Up at 10.30am. Cream crackered. Took the dogs for a good old walk at dinnertime. I ended up doing the Zoom chat with Don Powell on my own this evening and recorded a bumper 58 minute chat regarding 1978 - 1979.

Quite excited by the Elton John 'Jewels' 8CD set coming in November.


Friday 18th September 2020:
Another one of those do-nothing days. Got up and edited the Don Powell video chat and put it online. Finished 'Breathing the same air' which is a book about a guy who found out that XTC were in a local recording studio and he kept going down to watch the incredibly tolerant band at work. Well-written. Dog walks and very late TV. The last episode of DES, starring the excellent David Tennant as serial-killer Dennis Nilsen (he worked in a jobcentre, you know). A film called 'Villain', the adventures of arguing Australians. Bed after 1am.


Saturday 19th September 2020:
Up rather late. Lynda said she wondered if I had died. She didn't come up to check, though. I did a little bit of sales work on the record. I have finally cancelled my Adobe photography plan package, as I have an older version of Photoshop that does the job perfectly well. Our Tesco online shopping was delivered.

I spent the afternoon listening to a bit of music and in the evening we watched John Richardson's Old Man tour - something Lynda recorded and I haven't worked out why yet. I enjoyed it, though, along with Enigma with the lovely Kate Winslet..


Sunday 20th September 2020:
Up late. Apart from catching up with Lynda who had taken the dogs out, I spent the day hanging around the house as usual, pretty much until it was time to head off to do the jam night.

I'd had some messages from the guy who annoyed a lot of people last week, interrupting other people's spot. This time, he wanted to know how he could get 3 songs with us and then 3 songs with the guy who was coming with him. I told him either do his or the duo thing first, then wait until his turn came around to do the other. In other words, take his turn. He also contacted the others about taking his own amp. He didn't contact me, as I have already said no. We said no to him as the floor area is required for seating, not for his amp. It turned into a bit of a back and forth. When he landed at jam night, just as I was unloading, he mentioned that his amp was in his car 'in case anyone else's blew up'.

Again, the jam night was run like a military operation. I'm quite proud of how we did it right. The landlady has decided that a plant on a stand has to go where my microphone goes and she gets upset if I move it. She'll get more upset if I don't do the jam night. One of the bass players who was in had his bass pack up on him, due to an issue with the battery connection and I refused to let him use mine for a second spot, for safety reasons. He wasn't best pleased and I felt quite sorry for him, but them's the rules, amigo.

Home before 11pm, despite the usual ritual of two of us working our tails off to break the gear down, while the other one socialises and joins in to pick up the last few sticks of gear.


Monday 21st September 2020:
Up late, after a comical night with badly disturbed sleep. Oscar was under my pillow when I got to bed and he didn't move, so I slept with my head at the bottom end of the bed. It wasn't comfortable, so I eventually cracked and shifted Oscar at 6.30am.

I gave my local medical centre a ring, so I could get bloods taken for my PSA test. Got an appointment on Oct 6th. The arguing Australians had the ir final dinner party as a complete group and it was not without the anticipated fireworks.

Bed late


Tuesday 22nd September 2020:
Up around 11am, as I had trouble getting comfortable and then off to sleep last night. Walked the dogs over lunchtime. A lovely sunny day, so I spent an amount of it in my studio room, working on a new cover of an old Slade song.

Recording at the WorkHouse

Late evening was spent watching TV and the final exploits of the arguing Australians. Since the series was filmed in 2018, none of the couples have stayed together. I was rooting for some of them and am sad for them that it didn't work out. I did a lot of work on book revisions for next year and finally got to bed at 4am.


Wednesday 23rd September 2020 / Thursday 24th September 2020:
Up just after 10am, despite last night's late night. Too rainy to walk the dogs. Too tired to do any recording work today. I did go out ooking for a birthday present for my wife, but with little success. I called at a friend's house, as I hadn't see him since March

Loads of conflict in Slade-land, as various people are moaning about the new Hitz album, as they have the songs. They want a rarities and unreleased collection of stuff that doesn't exist. I am trying not to get caught in the middle. BMG are not in any way as focused on working with the Slade sites as Salvo was. I am getting rather sick of social media now and my aprt in the whole Slade thing. When there is competition between the various web presences to get stuff out in front of each other, instead of collaborating like we used to, not to mention some pretty bizarree behaviour from the principals, it just tires me out. I didn't even get the animated videos, the band photos or the TV advert from BMG. Suzan Holder kindly sent me Nod's portrait, taken with the new release. Otherwise, I am working with my hands tied behind my back. I have to ask BMG to let me help them, rather than them telling me what is going on. I can see this coming to an end.


Friday 25th September 2020:
Up and down stairs before 10am . Got on with the business of the day and attended to some web work. Looking at Facebook, the world  of Slade has gone Noddy Holder 'tour and album' mad. He's not going to record or tour. We all know that, but the idiots are searching Amazon and crashing TicketBastard, just because he mentions picking up a guitar to brush up on his playing technique.

The prince Sign I The Times SuperDeluxe box came today. Gorgeous. Lynda's second Heart and Chest hospital appointment since her operation has been cancelled, so she's going to have a telephone consultation, presumably about the heart scan she's now not having. Are they going to talk about the fucking weather? They rang me to confirm the appointment. I mentioned it to Lynda and she just had a thromby and went to bed. Her anxiety about going out is terrible. I've got a number to ring about her not being seen since her operation. She doesn't want me to ring it. I've not to interfere. If she dies, what happens?

Off to bed late, as usual.


Saturday 26th September 2020:
Up before 10am. Caught Lynda up, walking the dogs. Did the usual lodge walk. Once back home, I did some web work. I went for a drive to Edgworth and picked up some ice cream from Holden's. TV in the evening.

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