The epic gig.

Yesterday was yet another epic run out for a gig. I’m getting tired of these two hour journeys now (*there’s light at the end of the tunnel as a local agent has now took us on).

The A1 all the way up to Newcastle for a change – no A19 required.

A few changes though – first we didn’t take our lights in. It was an upstairs load so the fewer boxes we take the better.

Second Dennis and I have finally swapped sides on stage after planning it for a few months. Yes it’s happened!

The final annoyance though was the 10:45 stage time. It’s not really fair when a band has a two hour journey home to make stage time that late. Usually it’s 10:15 or at the latest 10:30, but we’ve not had a 10:45 in ages.

Considering it’s a 45 minute set plus encores that brings us off at about 11:40 and means we are leaving at 12:30.

My bedtime? 3:15am.

Gah

Today I’ve headed out to get something to clean the chain on the Fiido. The last few rides have really browned it up so I thought I’d do a bit of preventative maintenance. With the impeding bad weather I headed out (appropriately dressed again) and collected a chain cleaning kit.

I also stopped for coffee at my favourite coffee shop.

Skinny cappuccino is my poison today.

This afternoon I cleaned and lubricated the chain, and the rain came. I did well!

Now I’m going to fall asleep in front of Krampus, after all it’s Krampusnacht!

Buggering bollocks!

That moment when you get back to work having queued through a monumental traffic jam, only to realise you still have the keys for the building in your pocket.

Not wanting to face the traffic again, I decided to use my Fiido for a real practical use – caught a train to Wakefield, rode across town to the building, dropped the keys off in the keybox, and rode back to the station for the next train home.

Leather trousers were the order of the day – the weather was wet and horrible. Many layers!

Not a lot to report happened really, just the silly women with pushchairs who got on at Thurnscoe and tutted at the cycle rack being full of cycles until the guard pointed out that the pushchair rack was at the other end of the train.

We still had to endure mopey Karen face though.

Achievement unlocked

I’m not going to say my three new piercings are painless, or didn’t hurt, because they really did hurt! They’re all 1.2mm so they’ll take a nice range of body piercing jewelry.

I didn’t realise that all three are cartilage piercings! Oh.

They look good with the leather!

I think I’m finished now with the piercings. My only ones are in my ears and I have no interest in any in other places, at all.

As I’ve mentioned before I can’t really have my left ear pierced at the top due to bad practice before as the cartilage is damaged.

Musings and piercings.

So Mrs Loons is buying me three new earrings for Christmas, in the style of the three inner planets. Now that set me thinking, and as someone who has always been a fan of ear piercings and has always wanted a sizeable number up each ear, I think I have a plan.

Hear me out…

Right ear:

1. 2.0mm flesh tunnel or plug in orange (Sun)

2-4. Mercury, Venus, Earth (as purchased by my good wife)

5. Helix – Mars (red anodised labrette)

Left ear:

1. 1.2mm flesh tunnel in orange – Jupiter

2. 1.2mm flesh tunnel with hoop through – Saturn

3. Green anodised labrette for Uranus

4. Blue anodised labrette for Neptune

A cool idea would be to then have the PL symbol tattooed behind my ear really descretely, but that won’t be happening ever, after all that would be permanent – I can’t have the helix on my left ear pierced as it was done with a gun years ago and the cartilage is split

I think I’m going to make this plan so. It involves three more piercings, one in cartilage (eek).

In other news, I met up with the MancMonk yesterday. He was on good form… He was also in Sheffield for a change so outside his comfort zone.

We traveled back in time to the 1980’s and went to Andrews Tea Rooms for dinner. I know I say that in a derogatory way, but it really isn’t. Andrews Tea Rooms are a breath of fresh air in this coffee shop Panini world. Old fashioned food that’s actually really nice.

I got a few looks too! Due to the huge amount of snow we’ve had over the last few days and the need for me to take public transport I decided to take the Fiido in on the tram so I could cycle down and meet him at Rutland Road. The weather mandated my thick leather jeans.

Not only are they really warm, but with the somewhat slippery nature of the ground I just though it was road rash protection in case I did slip. I didn’t though.

And the gigs?

Well yeah we had two gigs over the weekend too. It’s been a few years since we did a double! First in Pennywell, second in Rotherham.

The first gig was a bit of a technical mess. First the snow, which we sort of had a warning about, but when you’re contracted, you have to try and make every effort to get there.

Our first warning was on the A1 as the matrix signs warned us as much. It always amuses me that the matrix signs get more primitive the further north you get. These are just 8 X 6 pixel displays mounted in a frame. Further south you get colour.

We arrived at Pennywell and as soon as we started loading in the snow started. We didn’t get tons of the stuff, but enough to make it slippery getting out of the carpark – especially as the taxi drivers had polished it smooth.

The gig itself was great. Five brand new songs in the set. Unfortunately technical glitches caused some issues. The lighting stopped working about 5 minutes into each set and froze on a single colour, and I snapped a tuning peg on my spare bass.

It was A that snapped, so I swapped it with B as I can live without B, but A is essential.

We arrived home at about 2:20am after a very snowy drive home. I did catch a really cool photo from the van though. You can see Orion at the top, and M42 is quite clearly visible. Not bad for a hand held long exposure photograph from a moving vehicle through a dirty windscreen.

The second gig went a little better. Apart from getting the van stuck in the carpark (a problem solved by buying the local shop out of salt) I investigated and found the cause of our lighting problems from the night before.

The WiFi antenna on the MyDMX lighting controller had been hit and was broken, so the WiFi signal was flaky. Luckily our home router has the same aerial socket so I ran home and borrowed one of those. The gig was only about 15 minutes away so it wasn’t a problem, and luckily I was in the Jag with it’s all wheel drive so the handling in the icy conditions was better than average.

Now I’m back to work. I’m definitely going to go to Doncaster this afternoon and get pierced, but I’ve got two jobs to do first.

Needle Vs Gun

Contains graphic details – don’t read on if you’re squeamish.

My right ear has all been pierced using a needle, 1.6mm to be precise. I’ve now got three holes in it (the third one was done a few days ago).

My left ear has two holes pierced in the 1990’s, and one pierced about three months ago. All three were done with the gun.

So what’s the difference, I hear you say?

Well the gun is a bit of a brute force method of piercing your ear. The piercing of choice is limited to ones that fit inside the gun. The gun forces the stud through the ear pushing aside flesh. The hole is left tighter, and although better for thin jewellery, it’s not as good for body piercing pieces or tunnels.

The needle, on the other hand, is a hollow needle which is pushed through a little slower whilst the skin is held in place with forceps. It’s a more accurately positioned hole, and because it’s a hollow object it removes a tube of your skin and other tissues as it goes through. In my case all three are 1.2mm holes, the lower of which I’ve now stretched to 1.6mm to take a small tunnel piece. The hole in it allows light to shine through, although the angle has to be fairly accurate to actually see.

Which do I prefer?

Well the needle pierced ones have given me the least trouble. They took a little longer to heal, and the top one bled quite profusely when first pierced. They’re easier to get my jewellery into, but I’ve lost small studs (on a couple of occasions pulled through the holes).

The gun pierced ones are much tighter at gripping the jewellery, but I can’t get certain things through the holes as easily without risking injury.

Were I to start again from scratch, I’d definitely opt for needles all the way.

As an aside, when I was about 20 I had the helix pierced with the gun. I’ve since found out that this was totally wrong and cartilage should only be pierced using a needle as the gun risks cracking it. This is what happened to me and I had to remove the piercing permanently.

Final piercing done.

I’m now up at three in each ear, and I also got a small flesh tunnel in my right ear. Just a 1.6mm one. I don’t know if I’ll go much bigger as I hate the look of them once they get too big.

The tunnel was surprisingly easy to put in, I did it with very little palaver and just a little stretching with a 2mm stretching cone. The new piercing on the top did bleed a lot when it was first done. I’ve got blood all over my hoodie!

Another epic ride, and yet it doesn’t feel so.

All the way from my home to Meadowhall whilst towing the Burley Travoy trailer.

22.5km almost – E-Bike set to medium assist for the full journey (I seldom use full assist as I find it a bit too much). About 70% of the battery power used.

Gotta say Meadowhall do a great job for cyclists with the provided racks. The end ones even have sockets for topping up your E-Bike!

Also, it’s amazing how people give you a wider berth when the Travoy is thrown into the argument. They don’t close pass you in cars as much, and they don’t barge past you in the shops either.

Project Camper – Part 1

I’ve been planning to make a cycle camper for a few months now, and having considered many options I’ve decided to go with the fairly popular Coraplas tube version (there’s a few versions of this on YouTube).

It’s a fairly simple design, although I’ve decided to beef up the chassis a little using aluminium and the plastic triple-wall sheeting from a conservatory roof (I know a supplier of such materials) as I’m rather larger than the guy in the photo above.

It started life as a kid’s trailer, stripped down to remove the sides and fitted with an aluminium section A frame to support the structure.

The Coraplas triplewall sheeting is now cut to shape, but that’s as far as I’ve got for now.

The next step is to encapsulate the edges and then create the upper structure using 4mm Coraplas held together with tie wraps, but that’s for another day.

And the critics come forth…

Or at least just the one… “Why didn’t you wear the leather shirt and tie too?”

Sorry chap, but it’s taken me all this time to summon up courage to wear a three piece suit in the presence of friends and now you’re criticising me for not enough leather?

Support might be a better idea eh?

A birthday!

It’s at this time in your life when all your friends suddenly start turning 50. I’ve got a few of these over the next five or so years (including my own!).

This particular one was at a bar in Sheffield. Myself and Mrs Loony, dressed up for a somewhat goth event, and thus, I give you the first time I’ve ever worn my full three piece leather suit, in public, to a party.

Yes I know I’ve worn it for photos before, but this is the first time I’ve ever worn all three pieces together for more than a few minutes in the company of others, and indeed, on public transport.

I did wear a coat over for the journey, not to hide the suit but because it was flipping cold out!

I’ve got to say I love it with the purple iridescent shirt (and for those of you who know me well, you’ll know that this particular shirt is about 25 years old!).

Sadly the only photo I got of the full outfit is a bit blurry, but here you go!