Well my friends, we are back on the road as we play out the rest of this year's gigs - this little bunch of Christmas shows will include Basingstoke (tonight) Watford, Nottingham, Blackpool and finally Newcastle (which is not a Christmas show). Since getting back from the Aardman party in Bristol, I have been dipping into the companies biography which I was kindly given and which is pretty inspiring reading.

While there seems to be plenty of work in the diary over the next two years, both at home and abroad, none of us are getting any younger and the fact remains that touring is pretty tiring - especially the longer overseas visits. When I look at some of the old videos of us on youtube, we definitely look a lot older! I remember when I first joined the band in 1995, wearing tuxedos/evening clothes onstage seemed a subversive, ironic thing; a sort of spoof of a real orchestra. Now instead of 'sticking it to the Man' as they used to say in counterculture parlace, we have become 'the Man' - we are part of mainstream entertainment.

This is probably our fifth or sixth time playing the Anvil in Basingstoke (not far from London) and the theatre is modern and the backstage staff all friendly and efficient. As you can see from the picture at the top it was was a wet tuesday and we weren't expecting a big turnout, but we were wrong - the theatre was sold out!

There were also more ukulele players who played with our Christmas 'playalong' than at any of the other shows we've done this year, almost 100. I spied a guy, three rows back, turning the pages of music for his wife, who was the spit of American phiiosopher Noam Chomsky.

And here we are walking out to the signing - Rich displaying his usual bonhomie. Many old friends popped by the desk to say hello - thanks for coming out to see us. Watford tomorrow...

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