I was down in Chepstow for the weekend for the excellent Summer’s End Progressive Rock Festival. I had missed it last year because other matters came up, but this year everything was planned around it because Bad Elephant Music had three bands on the bill – Simon Godfrey on the Friday evening, The Fierce And The Dead on the Saturday morning, and The Gift on the Sunday morning.
It had already turned out to be a long day thanks to the heavy traffic, almost from the very beginning of my journey, which took me from St Albans via Chessington, to collect Simon and Stacy, then through Kingston and down the M3, the M25 and the M4 before we finally reached Chepstow some 5 hours after we had left Chessington. We really must thank The Pineapple Thief, The Von Hertzen Brothers and Rush for entertaining us on our way.
David Elliott was here, of course, as were Robert Ramsay and Matt Stevens.
Given the sentence before that picture, I should make the point that is not Matt Stevens, for those of you who do not know him. Unfortunately, Simon was unable to play on the Friday evening because the timings were running behind, but that did mean we did not have to set up the merchandise for Bad Elephant Music, and so it came as no surprise to anyone that once we had enjoyed an excellent set from Abel Ganz we rounded up Simon and Stacy and headed off to find somewhere to enjoy a curry. We were joined by Andy Hall and Mark Buckingham (yes, the Mark Buckingham of Miracleman and Fables fame).
We came out of the car park next to The Drill Hall and turned right up the hill to take us towards the town centre. It was an inspired move because at the top of the hill we found the Mughal Spice. Most of us managed to follow the instructions on the door leading into the bar below it, and took the stairs to our left.
They had a table big enough for all of us and we were seated immediately. The service was superb and very soon we had drinks and poppadoms and menus and between banter we tried to make a choice from the substantial number of dishes on offer.
Matt already knew Mark, and now Simon was keen to let Mark know what big fans both he and Robert were of his work. Mark, in return, is a big fan of Bad Elephant Music, and we consider ourselves honoured to have such a celebrity fan. Not that he ever acts like a celebrity, or gives you any idea of just how very famous he is. Inspiring. The talk around the table was varied and always entertaining, pretty much the norm for any Bad Elephant curry, and the food was brought quickly and tasted delicious.
The staff in the restaurant were very helpful and friendly, and asked us why we were in town. We told them all about the festival and the record label and progressive rock, and they must have heard our discussion about a certain prog icon because a short while later we heard the sound of mellotron surging through the restaurant’s sound system and were able to enjoy a selection of tracks from Steven Wilson. Now that is what I call top service ! It had been a brilliant curry even before the musical surprise, so we knew we would be coming back here again before the end of the weekend.