You know how it is. You have spent all day at a progressive rock festival in Chepstow and you are feeling a little hungry, and before you realise it you have found yourself heading off for a curry with the Norwegian progressive rock band Magic Pie. I am sure it happens to you all the time.
Saturday had been a lot of fun, even if the weather had changed from brilliant sunshine to a lingering mist. I had run the parkrun in the Forest of Dean in the morning before heading down to the Summer’s End Progressive Rock Festival at The Drill Hall in Chepstow, to help David Elliott with all things relating to Bad Elephant Music.
The day had kicked off with a fire alarm, followed by a stunning set from The Fierce And The Dead, which was great news for Bad Elephant Music because they are one of our bands and we had copies of their latest album and their latest ep to sell, plus tshirts. I am very pleased to say that we did well with sales of all three, although you can still buy more from here. Somehow we managed to keep our desk with all the merch on it (I would call it our merch desk, but Nellie Pitts would probably hit me) going through the day, so by the time we had enjoyed Light Damage, 3r Degree and Discipline, and although we had gone out to the pub earlier on, David and I were tired and hungry, and more than ready for the evening break.
We tried to round up the usual suspects, but Simon and Stacy Godfrey were actually too tired to be hungry and were heading off, so they could not join us. That left myself, David, Robert Ramsay and Mark Buckingham as survivors from the previous night’s curry (which you can read about here), until suddenly we were joined by the Americans, and with them the Norwegians. Bad Elephant Music was going international ! I knew Buster Harvey from my couple of brilliant trips to RoSfest, and I knew that Peggy Beal was a friend of Krista Phillips, so they seemed safe enough. I had also met Magic Pie at RoSfest in 2010 (it hardly seems that long ago !), so I knew they were not safe at all – this should turn out to be a great evening then ! So with Erling Midtstue, Eirik Hanssen, Eirikur Hauksson and Lars Petter Holstad we headed back to the Mughal Spice, where we had enjoyed such excellent service the night before, and they were just as friendly and accommodating this evening.
It was good to chat with the guys from Magic Pie, and it was actually just wonderful to see them over here after they had to cancel their slot at the festival on such short notice due to personal reasons. The really good news is that they will be back next year instead. They were very entertaining just in this short time we were together and it is amazing how a group of people from such different countries can get on to the subject of car satnav devices and Brian Blessed, but it did bring one of the highlights of the evening’s banter for me, when Eirikur Hauksson said that he suffered with a bad back, but so often felt better when driving along English motorways because he saw the signs saying No Hard Shoulder. We got word that Krista was going to be joining us, and I know she only has little legs, but I was wondering what had happened to her when half an hour later she had still not arrived. It turned out she had got hung up talking with some other people. Who could have imagined that ?! She arrived just as we were finishing up the delicious food, but she was still able to get herself a drink. Just before she arrived the restaurant has cleared of most of its other customers, and that was the cue for the owner to put Steven Wilson on the sound system again. Such a nice touch !
Speaking of nice touches, there was a very nice touch about to happen as Eirik Hanssen asked us Bad Elephants in turn if we had the latest Magic Pie album, the excellent King For A Day. Both David and I replied that we had, but neither Mark nor Robert did. Eirik thanked David and I for already having the album and then said that if Mark and Robert bought it from the band at the festival the next day then they would pay for the curry this evening. This was totally unexpected and such a very kind and generous offer, and when Magic Pie return next year we will return the favour. And it was at that point that the restaurant owner proved himself to be an absolute genius, as a Magic Pie track came out over the sound system. It was a fitting conclusion to a very enjoyable evening.
You can see more photographs from the curry here.