Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Unleashing the Beard

I'm not usually the type of person who makes New Year's resolutions, but at the start of 2009 I had the urge to tick off one of my life's ambitions at some point over the next 12 months. I can now happily declare that I have achieved that aim - to play a live gig.

I've been drumming for a couple of years, just as a random hobby really. I've written before about how this may seem an odd choice of instrument for someone who is usually pretty clumsy and uncoordinated, but it somehow seems to work! My band - Witness To The Beard* - has been together for just under a year, and although we try and get together to practice once a week, work commitments have meant that our gatherings are more infrequent than we would prefer. So the prospect of actually getting up on stage and playing our songs (well, to be fair, their songs, as I just drum along) was pretty terrifying. But I reckon sometimes you have to challenge yourself and put yourself in unfamiliar situations simply for the experience.

I'm thrilled to report that our first gig was an amazing experience. Yeah, our performance was by no means perfect, but we got up there, played a set of mostly our own material, and even got paid for the privilege! We hadn't realised when we signed up to play a 30-minute slot at the Comedy Pub near Leicester Square that we'd get a quid for everyone who turned up to see us, so we were thrilled to get over a tenner each.

The 30+ people who were there to specifically watch up absolutely blew me away with their support and enthusiasm on the night. The chants of "Witness!Witness!Witness!Witness!" were inspired, and exactly the type of light-hearted vibe that we all thrive under. On this occasion I personally decided not to tell too many people about our debut performance, just in case it all went horribly wrong. But since it went pretty well, expect to see much more shameless self-promotion from now on! It would be great to see lots of familiar faces at one of our future performances, and I'd be really interested to get your feedback on our beardy antics!

*My dad grew a beard. Someone didn't believe me. Someone else said: "It's true. I was witness to the beard." Simple as. The beard is still in existence today, and we proudly represent those facial follicles through the medium of rock.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Cavorting in Cornwall

I know, I know, it's been too long since I last blogged again. No excuses this time, I'm just completely out of the habit. I've just come to the end of a week off work, and what a lovely week off it was. I spend a few days of it down in Cornwall, chilling out with my mum and dad and breathing in some much-needed country air. We stayed in this gorgeous B&B near Liskeard, called Trussel Barn, which I would highly recommend to anyone considering heading south-west for a break. The rooms were stunning, with views of seemingly-endless countryside and luxurious bathrooms complete with fluffy towels and bathrobes. The breakfasts were to die for, with freshly-squeezed apple juice from the orchard down the road, locally-sourced sausages and bacon and a delicious fresh fruit salad each morning which I covered in yoghurt and drizzled loads of runny honey over the top. YUM!

The story behind why we ended up in Liskeard is pretty amusing. Some of my relatives from Norway were in Cornwall for a holiday, so we thought it'd be nice if we were staying nearby so we could meet up with them. So my mum found Trussel Barn, as she was under the impression they were staying in Liskeard. Turns out they weren't staying in Liskeard after all, but in The Lizard (starts with an 'L' and ends in a 'D' I guess...), which is the best part of a two-hour drive away! Oh well, it was a nice drive!

If you're in that neck of the woods (Liskeard, not The Lizard), I'd also recommend a restaurant in the nearby seaside village of
Looe. The Old Sail Loft is tucked away and not immediately visible, but definitely worth seeking out for their tasty seafood dishes (although my dad opted for a juicy steak) and friendly service. Note the name of the restaurant. The first question my mum asked our waiter was "what was this building used for originally?"...The menu's quite pricey, but if you get there before 7.30pm you can choose from their reasonably-priced brasserie menu.

Before I left for Cornwall, I asked for tourist tips on my Twitter feed. I was consequently informed about
Adrenalin Quarry near Liskeard. Although the thought of digging adrenalin out of the ground does sound rather appealing, instead this relatively new tourist attraction boasts 'the longest zip wire in the UK'. The zip wire did indeed look long and good fun, but I chose to get a 10-minute adrenalin buzz from the nearby Go Karting. My arms were killing me afterwards but it was definitely worth it.