A folk train.

Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? Catching a train from a station. Traveling across a beautiful autumn landscape whilst being entertained by live musicians. Stopping off at a delightful country pub and having a bar meal and some real ale, all whilst being entertained by the same musicians; before returning home.

I tried it a couple of times a few years ago – and the reminder just pinged up that we were on it.

Sadly, I stopped going because even though I thought folk fans would be gentler people, it turns out they aren’t. One time – this time – we played on it.

Meeting at the station – the crowd gathers. A large crowd. Over 150. This isn’t good as a standard British Rail carriage holds about 75-90 people depending on the layout.

The train then pulls in. It’s a Pacer. The words pacer will strike fear into the hearts of any northerner. These things have been the staple of our rail travel since the 70’s – and many of them were built in the 70’s. With horrible hard bus seats, rock hard unforgiving suspension, and a slow shuddery ride they’re at the end of their life (and slowly being replaced).

The train arrives and the push begins. People force their way into the first carriage to see the “main band”. We’re the “caboose” band so we are in the overspill carriage. Problem is because it’s a standard train and not a charter there are passengers on there who really don’t give a flying fuck about the music and just want to get home on a quiet evening train after a hard day at work.

Arriving at the pub it’s a free for all. We head up there with everyone else and find that the same people who pushed into the first carriage are the same ones who push up to the bar and take the best seats.

Photo of the pub from a previous visit.

Once in the pub we finally get a drink – and stand up for a while. There aren’t any seats. Even though we are obviously one of the bands there is no reserved seating.

Two ladies ask about us and I explain that we are in the second carriage if they want to sit in there for the return journey. One of them tells me quite bluntly that “they don’t care about support bands, they’re here to see X” (X being the other band with us, a bunch of guys we know and actually appreciate as musicians).

The return journey has exactly the same chaos. Idiots fighting over seats. Pushing each other. Again we’re in the second carriage playing. Again we see the same faces who got pushed out of the lead carriage by the idiots.

Our journey home is met by heavy rain starting. Very heavy rain. We’re parked in Rotherham though so it’s only one train from Sheffield to Rotherham for us, and then a quick drive home.

But, you remember the two ladies (both of whom were “front of the line” when it came to pushiness), well they were also on the train to Rotherham; but unlike us, they had buses to catch home after leaving the station – a walk from the train to the bus station in the cold rain, and then a 30 bus ride to their homes (Herringthorpe).

I could have given them a lift. But I didn’t. Fuck ’em.

London – Part 2

well… what can I say, except that pissing and whining DOES get results from time to time…

I arrived back at Kings Cross with just over an hour to go till my train. I know – I’ll go to the first class lounge and use the free WIFI and power to charge my laptop.
I entered checkpoint charlie (otherwise known as Mr. Jobsworth) and was told “oh you can’t go there with that ticket”…
Yes… apparently East Coast Trains have many intricate levels of First Class varying from totally shite, to gold plated shite… and had I had an “open” ticket I could go in the lounge, but with my meagre “advance” ticket I had to pay £5 for the “upgrade” to go in the lounge.
Oh East Coast Trains, you’re endearing yourselves to me even more all the time!
Well… I blew my top!
After the shitty journey I had yesterday with no trolley service, and absolutely no point in bloody well bothering with first class (except perhaps the half dozen “complimentary” biscuits I snaffled at Doncaster) I had taken enough of their crap!
I called for the supervisor, who came, and was equally jobsworth. He could see I was getting less and less impressed – after all I could have gone from Sheffield where no such rules apply – and I made it rather clear that I was unimpressed. “Sorry but I can’t do anything, rules is rules” was the rather unconvincing reply.
I therefore demanded that they refund me the difference between my “first class” ticket and a standard class ticket (which would have been almost £30 due to the way they use the random number calculator to generate these fares)…
The supervisor called for one of the head honchos… yes… really!
Anyhow, I can now tell you that I did not pay for the “upgrade”, and I went into the first class lounge and snaffled another half dozen dunky biscuit things… I still travelled first class… oh and we have a refund of £28 returning to our bank account as a gesture of goodwill.
If you complain enough, they’ll get fed up of you.
Anyway, this is camp Manning Bassist signing off somewhere just south of Grantham.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

A trip around South and West Yorkshire today on the train… Portable Appliance Testing. God it was cold! I have 2 coats on and I was still cold!… and why does Elsecar only have 1 train an hour? poor Elsecar.

When I arrived home the sun had set and the sky had flared up the most beautiful blue… I had to get my self portrait even if I did only have my camera phone with me. I think you’ll agree it’s a beaut.

Now the final question is… what the f**k is st*ggba.com (I removed a letter for safety reasons) because Gino (ex Neville) keeps sending me emails about it. Obviously – he has a trojan on his computer – and obviously I would recommend you DON’T visit that site as, like you get told regularly on the internet, nothing in this world is free – and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.