Well let me tell you about our week so far – yes I know, it’s only Wednesday but so much has happened already.  So, this time last week we were approached by the Music Venue Trust about joining their campaign called #SaveOurVenues.  The Music Venue Trust were so helpful to us last year when we were threatened with closure over our lease renewal.  Their new campaign was to help the venues involved with the MVT to get them through the Lockdown and still have a business to come back to.  They wanted each venue to agree to be named as a venue that artists can fundraise for on the #SaveOurVenues website and then set up a Crowdfunder campaign with a target agreed with our MVT coordinator. Any funds received in excess of this target would be swept into the central Crisis Fund which would be used to offer grants to venues under immediate threat of closure.  When initially asked, we dismissed it – we knew we weren’t the only ones struggling for money, everyone is struggling and asking our customers and bands for money didn’t sit right with us.

Anyway, after that we sat down and went over our financial situation, we worked out that we had enough money to pay the bills until the end of June, which didn’t seem so far away any more. All of a sudden reality hit us in the face.  So very reluctantly we agreed to take part in the #SaveOurVenues campaign because we believe in the cause so very much, it’s something we’re passionate about and know our bands, staff and customers are too, especially since our scare in 2018.  It still doesn’t sit right with us, and we absolutely hate asking for money and I feel I should apologise for doing it. But if we don’t, it will almost certainly mean the end for our beloved Brickies.  We set our target at £8000 as that gives us two extra months to manage with the doors closed. That takes us to then end of August, fingers crossed by then we should be preparing to open (touch a lot of wood here). *

The MVT want to encourage artists and bands to visit the site at www.saveourvenues.co.uk and adopt a venue from the“Save a Venue” map and organise an ‘at home’ performance for their fans to raise money for their chosen venue. We know that many local acts are already raising money doing this for the NHS which is vital, please don’t stop doing that! We do have some ideas though, currently we’re throwing the idea around about having a massive weekend marathon festival of livestreams on our facebook page, I just need to work out the logistics and delve into the world of live-streaming video, is it possible for bands/artists to stream to our facebook page? If any of you guys know if this is possible then hit me up on fb and educate me. I’ve only just learnt to stream the radio station hahaha. My brain hasn’t recovered from that one yet.  We’re thinking about an online bank holiday bash… at least that way we’d get to at least have one this year!

So that’s how we ended up here today! I have to say, yet again you guys have totally knocked us for six. There have been so many heart warming comments and some crazy donations. We cant find the words to express how much we appreciate it and how much it means to us. We know times are just as hard for you all as they are for us and the words thank you just don’t seem big enough. It means so much more to us than thank you. All I can promise you all is that when we get through this, we pledge to have a very big party just for you guys, and we will strive to keep the music live and rockin’ here at The Brickies and B2 – as soon as they let us, we’ll power up that PA system and blow the bloody roof off! That’s a promise.

Anyway, now I’ve waffled on and filled you in on the how, where and why we ended up here, I’ll leave you to your day.  If you fancy a giggle this afternoon – I’ll be chatting to local guitar legend ‘Terry Bunting’ ( Small Talk, Worlds Apart, Boys Will Be Boys, The Veil) on my radio show at 4pm.  Tune in and fire some questions at us, he’s a great guy and having played at The Brickies for over 40 years has one or two stories to share.

THANK YOU ALL for your endless love and support, YOU are THE BRICKIES!!! 

Stay safe everyone  – We love you all.

Charley (Pam & Em too)

Xxxxx

#SaveOurVenues

www.saveourvenues.co.uk

* Our crowdfunder page currently says our target is £10,000, this is an error and we are waiting for them to change it to £8,000.

Rockin’ the Lockin’

Posted: April 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

 So as promised, here’s another post, I don’t think it will be as quite as long as the last one so you may only need one cuppa.. but I’m saying that now, once I get started there is no telling where it will go..

I never really have a plan of what Im going to write, I kinda just let my head open and three hours, four coffees and a packet of hobnobs later you have a mini novel to read.. so here we go, I’m going to tell you what we’ve been up to and we’ll see where it leads.

Firstly, and most importantly an update on Emma. The last couple of days, she has really turned a corner and Im very happy to say she is finally getting better. Things were scary there for a while, especially when she was struggling to get her breath. Obviously, we don’t know if she had the dreaded Covid-19 or not, but with the symptoms she was suffering, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Thankfully, she is on the mend and back in front of her computer – she’s a tough cookie that one! She wanted me to pass on her love and thanks to you all for getting in touch and wishing her a speedy recovery.

So lets get the business bit out of the way. My last post definitely posed more questions than answers because questions were all that there seemed to be, it was only a week ago (don’t know about you guys but time seems to be going by much slower these days, it feels more like a month) and many remain exactly that however, this is what has happened in the last week:

1) We managed to pay our staff their furlough wages (yay!) but still there is no information on reimbursement from the government, all guidance still seems to say it will be June before the money will be available. That’s nine weeks away, thats almost £10,000 in wages payments we have to pay without any money coming in.. YIKES!


2) Molson Coors (Our lead Brewer*) and EI/Stonegate have very kindly agreed to replace all unopened out of date kegs with new stock when pubs can finally reopen. This is brilliant, and will save us from literally having to tip the beer down the drain. It’s not just us they are doing it for, they are doing it all their sites and it must be costing them millions so I tip my hat to those guys. That’s how to look after your outlets! 

* Lead brewer means we stock more of their brands than any other at any given time


3) Finally the council received the relevant guidance on the government grants for small businesses and opened up the application portal on Monday of this week. Needless to say we immediately applied with baited breath. If we get the grant, it will be £25,000. Now that is a huge amount of money and will be a huge life raft, however as you can imagine, all that money is promised out on rent and our other fixed costs, but at least its money we wouldn’t have to borrow.  

Some possible good news coming for this – here comes some of the boring stuff…
In the latter part of last week, The Morning Advertiser (Pub Trade Publication) reported that there were a few smaller pubcos who had gone public stating that they wouldn’t be just deferring rent payments for their tenants, that they would actually be cancelling rent for their tenants during the forced closure period. After all rent is calculated on Fair Maintainable Trade and turnover and if you cannot trade then there is no FMT and there is no turnover, so why should you be charged rent on it? The Pub Code Adjudicator has called upon the five companies overseen by the pubs code that have not yet cancelled rent to demonstrate how they will assist their tenants through the Covid-19 Lockdown. These five companies are the largest in England and Wales, Our Pubco is the largest in the country since acquiring Ei group at the start of the year. If the little ones can step up to support their tenants, and ensure they have a business to come back to, then why cant they?

We spoke to our regional manager last week, who I have to say has actually been awesome and we like her a lot, however, she can only do so much. When we asked the question if they would be following the example of the smaller pubcos and cancelling rent, she said it was still unclear how they were going to proceed and that we had to wait for more news. Now whilst we recognise that the current situation brings its own unique challenges for the big companies too, surely this is the prime time to stand up and demonstrate their leadership in the industry and show that they will go to any lengths to protect their tenants, surely we are all worth that. I guess it is another case of watch this space, the Pub Code Adjudicator is pushing hard for us tenants, we can only hope that the big Pubcos do the right thing, if not there will be one hell of a lot of empty, soulless pubs that were thriving before the pandemic hit.

So, the grant – oh yes – the grant, if we get it will be amazing, but it will be taken up almost immediately to pay back the deferred rent we already owe to Stonegate, unless of course something miraculous happens!! Cross your fingers, toes and anything else you can find..

4) We’ve been chatting regularly to the Music Venues Trust who have been amazing. They have guided us through the grant application, offered advice and are out there supporting grass roots venues like us all over the nation. They have just started up a crisis fund to help venues in immediate threat of closure. We are not in that category just yet, thankfully. We’ve worked out that we have enough funds to survive for 3 months with our doors closed. (We’re already three weeks in) It’s a stark reality, but thats it in black and white. The very sad thing is that we are not alone in this, every other pub in the city, the county, the country is facing this. Don’t get me wrong, We are in a better position that many, but its still not a good position to be in and not a reality we want to be facing. Again, the problem is we have no idea how long this is going to go on for. If the government hurry up and reimburse the money owed for staff furlough wages, it will help and buy us a couple more weeks but the longer it goes on the more uncertain it becomes.

Many more sleepless nights ahead for us all I think.

The financials are all very Doomy and gloomy, but I think it’s important to be honest and open about this stuff. I know how important The Brickies is to so many of you and you all feel like one big family to us, all I can tell you is the truth. However, we are ever the optimists and are trying very hard not to dwell on the what ifs and live week by week. If we get through another week and have paid the staff, we are winning, and if we wake up feeling healthy we are definitely winning!! Getting out of this with everyone we love seems like the best goal to have right now!

So…that bit out of the way (sorry, I know I said it wouldn’t be a long one but it seems my head was much fuller than I thought – better put the kettle on) Here are my positives for the week.

1. I woke up this morning and I was breathing
2. I feel healthy
3. Everyone I love is healthy and well (although a little nuts)
4. I have some amazing friends (although I’m missing them all)
5. We have some amazing customers (thanks for ringing to check on us)
6. The sun has been shining every day
7. I’m really enjoying doing my radio shows
8. I’m learning the lyrics to lots of local band’s songs!
9. I have a very clean flat
10. I still have a very happy ginger dog

It’s not hard to find positives when you look at the suffering that is going on around you, there’s so much to be thankful for.

Brickmakers Live On Air has been more popular than I ever expected, we are now averaging in the region of 140 listeners per show and it’s such good fun. Every Wednesday on the afternoon show (4pm-6pm) I’ve been chatting to local musicians, so far I’ve had Claire Barker and JJ Darby from Bloodshake Chorus on the live phone in’s, its been a real giggle. Today I will be chatting Butty from The Floating Greyhounds so I’m sure that will be entertaining, getting him not to swear live on the radio will be fun in itself. So if you want something hilarious to listen to while you do your housework, login to the website at 4pm I can guarantee that there will be a lot of laughing going on!

Our Live ‘NOT LIVE’ sessions at the weekends have been hugely popular and have received over 3500 views in just over two weeks. We are really loving seeing you all posting up photos of you partying in your living rooms to our Facebook page. This weekend we will be featuring Nightlife on Friday night at 9pm, Definitely Oasis (Oasis Tribute) on Saturday night at 9pm and then A Blondie Moment on Sunday from 3pm. So there’s plenty of great music to choose from to keep you entertained. The links will be posted on our facebook page at the start times mentioned above so pour yourselves a cold one and enjoy!

Oh and one last thing – I have discovered how to bring our monthly music quiz to an online platform. I tested it out on some willing guinea pigs (my friends and family) at the weekend and I am going to give it a go this Sunday. So, if you want to be distracted for a hour on Sunday night, come and join us for the Music Quiz. It starts at 7pm and all the information will be posted on our facebook page. It’s all free so there is no massive prizes, its just purely for giggles only!

I’m gonna stop there for now, Im sure I could ramble on all day and night but you guys must have some windows to wash, or lawn to mow or something much better to do.

Have a good week everyone, be safe, stay in and spread the love – not the virus and keep rockin’

Lots of love

Charley (Em and Pam too)
xxxx

Apocalypse and beyond…

Posted: March 30, 2020 in Uncategorized

Well, firstly I must apologise for it being so long since I wrote my last blog post.  I know a lot of you enjoy my infinite rambling. So much has happened in the past year – we’ve been through a lot as a business and we emerged (with a lot of help from you all)  alive and kicking from near closure. We were just about standing on our own two feet again and BANG!!! The doors are shut and in 24hours the world has totally changed.  We are however, all sailing in this boat together, facing the storm head on so to speak,  side by side (although 2m apart) …

So this is the story so far from our side of The Brickies, and what we are up to whilst under lockdown…  STOP HERE!!!  Go and put the kettle on and grab a custard cream or two…this is gonna be a long one!! 

We actually closed our doors on the Tuesday before the government announced forced closure on pubs and clubs.  It came at a time when Boris Johnson advised the general public to stay away from such establishments.  As expected,  The moment that was announced, the cancellations started rolling in and the most of our customers stayed away.

As always, we wanted to uphold our principles and our duty of care to our customers and bands – It was clear to us at that time, that it was vital we preserve the health and wellbeing of everyone that uses the venue by closing and not encouraging them to come and socialise in potentially dangerous environment.  

Financially, it was always going to be a nightmare, at that point, the government hadn’t forced closure, they had just advised the public to stay away which left all pubs and venues in a state of bewildered limbo. Even though we had stuck by our morals and shut our doors,  we still had the rent to pay, the bills to pay and staff that needed their wages. How the hell were we going to do that with no money coming in??  Needless to say all three of us had hardly any sleep that night.  This evil, relentless virus, the worry over our loved ones, especially of those most vulnerable, the worry of losing our beloved Brickies that we had fought so hard to keep, the worry of paying the bills and paying our staff team who are relying on us to put food on their tables..

Over the day Mum, Em and I got up early and started calling people,  we called our regional manager from the pubco, asking for rent deferral, funnily enough we weren’t alone – every other pub in the country was doing the same thing, she was awaiting instruction from head office.  Many cups of coffee later, we had managed to suspend payments on suppliers and service contracts. It was a start at least.  That day, we managed to knock our weekly outgoings down considerably.  However, there were some companies that wouldn’t defer payments, it meant that to pay staff and those companies, it was going to cost us almost £3,000 a week just to remain shut.  I don’t have to tell you that many weeks of that with no generated revenue means certain death for the business… At this point, there was no sign of any help from the state…

We cleared out all the stock and locked it away, gave away some short dated stock to local pubs who were still open, cleaned the lines, turned off the gas and electric and stood back to look at our bare, naked bar…this was scary as hell.

Another night with no sleep….

By now, I have no idea what day it was (still dont) but it was the next day all the same – with social distancing measures in place, Mum, Em and I were meeting via the means of modern technology – Em at this point was feeling poorly, she had a really bad cough and cold but no temperature, we told her she should be in bed resting but, she’s a stubborn bugger and there were things to sort.  The government finally made the decision to force closure for pubs bars and clubs and they announced measures to help businesses, and also the job retention scheme. We were advised to furlough our employees. So we spoke to all the staff and put them all on furlough.  Theoretically this works – In reality, it means whilst the staff are at home and not working, we have to pay them every week as we would normally and the government will reimburse us through HMRC.  However – bearing in mind our wages bill is over £1000 every week, we cant yet apply for the scheme as the guidance isn’t in place and we have been told that this will not come through until at least the first week of May.  So 12 weeks of paying our staff on top of everything else thats coming out could take everything we have and put us into the red and then some…

So – what about the small business grants the government have put into place I hear you cry?  Well again, a great idea from Rishi and when it’s up and running will help us all.  But the important word is WHEN!  We called the council to ask about applying and no one there had even heard of it let alone have any information on when to apply.

The next day (could be one of seven) Em spoke to a very nice man in the business rates department in the council who told us that the guidance for application for the grants hasn’t reached them yet and even when they do finally get it, chances are the money will not be available until possibly the end of JUNE!  By the end of the week Ei (now Stonegate) had agreed to suspend our rent for four weeks…phew. That was a relief, at least we could pay the staff.   Em is still very poorly, been given antibiotics.

So what now???  Well, we can but hope that all this guidance and help comes through quicker than they are saying. We will continue as long as we can emptying out the water from our leaking boat, with our bucket that has a hole in it.  But we still had so many questions…

If our rent is suspended for 4 weeks, what happens when that 4 weeks have passed? will they suspend it again?  Are they then going to want the rent for that period the minute we open again…? because if we are shut for 12 weeks, we are going to owe them in excess of £15,000 for rent alone, without paying our last beer bills… how do we pay it?  What about all our stock that will be out of date?  Will Em, Mum and I be able to furlough ourselves?

We spent the next couple of days trying to get our questions answered, and are still trying.  The problem is everything happened so fast, nobody knows and most are making it up as they go along.  So far though, so good. We are hanging in there!

Em is still feeling rough, antibiotics dont seem to be working.

That is the business aspect of it, and I think its good to be open and honest about these things – we dont know if we’ll make it out of this storm intact, no business does, but were gonna fight tooth and nail to keep it afloat, I think at this point, we have to shut our eyes and hope for the best of all this.

Right – Lets talk about the positives – 

  1. I have a very happy dog! He is at my side 24/7 (Just where he wants me), he has never had so many cuddles and walks, play time in the garden and doggy conversations  YES! we really do, do that!)
  2.  I may lose more weight!! – I have been walking for an hour EVERY day because Im  allowed to – not because I have to.  I also have been doing Yoga (see link at bottom if
    anyone wants to join in). I have also been using my cross trainer.. Whilst I have enough food, I have actually been very careful about what Im eating as I dont want to have to go to the supermarket unless ABSOLUTELY necessary.
  3.  I’m actually getting to read a book finally.
  4.  I almost have a normal body clock.  I’ve started going to bed before midnight and
    waking up early – my poor body is wondering what the hell is going on.  If and I return to my usual working hours, Im going to be in a right muddle – you all might need to prod me as you walk past…
  5.  I can hear the birds! and its beautiful…
  6.  I have huge faith in our community and the human race… the good in our species
    seriously out-ways the bad. There are some amazing humans out there!!


And what are we doing now???

well….   (maybe get another cuppa at this point)…

Going back to the night we closed, we had many conversations with customers and bands and the most common worry of many of them was the impact that social isolation would have on their mental health. How would they cope not being able to see and talk to other humans?  For many, music is a form of therapy, it offers a way to destress and release tension, to lose yourself in a song leaves no room for other thoughts.

That night, after we locked the venue,  Mum Em and I,  sat and chatted about a plan to ensure our customers and bands remained connected to each other.  If they couldn’t come to the music, how could we take it to them?

We came up with the crazy idea of a Brickmakers Internet Radio Station. It’s something I had wanted to do for a long time, but never had the time to sort it out.  In theory, this was a brilliant Idea – how to do it was another matter.  Being a Sound Engineer and muso myself, I had access to lots of equipment and a computer, there had to be a way.  So over the next three days I immersed myself in online tutorials and software and got lots of info from friends (thanks Ross Patzelt)  and by the Friday I was all ready to go.  I did a practice show on the Sunday evening and we went live on the Monday with the first show.

Now, exactly one week later, I am presenting four live shows every week that showcases local bands and have been having live phone interviews with band members. Listeners can chat with me online to ask questions or make song requests.

It dawned on me that we could use the radio for so much more than music, it was a way to reach out to our community.  Simon Stokes (Vicar at Sprowston Parish Churches) is a good friend, and we had been speaking about how he was feeling having to shut the doors of the church to his parishioners, whilst he understands the necessity, it goes against everything the church represents.  I got to thinking about using the radio to allow him communicate with the local community.  So now two mornings every week Local vicars Simon and Dean call in to the show for a virtual coffee and a chat.  It gives local listeners a chance to reach out for help, be it needing help with shopping, collecting medication or just needing a friendly chat.  We also broadcast the prerecorded Sunday Communion Service twice on Sundays.

In all we are getting over 100 listeners per show and the reaction has been very positive. It enables us to bring local music to people in our fine city, whilst hopefully making them feel a little less alone and isolated.

We do not currently broadcast on Fridays and Saturdays as we present our Live ‘NOT LIVE’ sessions on our facebook page.  These are streamed recordings we have made of live events on our stages over the last year.  This has been very popular, with the viewers posting photos of themselves watching the streamed shows and dancing in the living rooms – if you’re watching them and having a boogie, send me your videos or photos! We want to see you all rockin’ out to the Brickies bands in your living rooms!  You can post on our facebook page or tag us on instagram

So thats what I am doing with my time right now…. Mother is well but isolating at home, Em is dealing with emails from her bed (can’t keep her down!) she is better than she was but still feeling a bit rough, but the docs are keeping a close eye on her – will keep you all posted.  I promise to write a blog post at least once a week, at least that way you wont have such a mammoth tomb to read next time lol…

In the mean time folks, we promise to keep bringing the music to you, albeit in a slightly different format. I hope you are all staying safe, dont forget to reach out if you’re struggling YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We are all here, you can contact us if you need any help by email or phone:-

info@thebrickmakers.com

Radio (Call or Text)  +44 7537 10 30 22

The radio station schedule is below – tune in and come and say hello, would love to hear from you all.

Sending you all lots of Brickies love…

Charley, Pam and Em xxxx

BRICKMAKERS LIVE ON AIR – www.thebrickmakers.com/radio
Radio Schedule!
Monday  8pm – 10pm  BRICKMAKERS LIVE ON AIR – Local music and chat.
Tuesday 10am – 11am – More Tea Vicar – Sprowston Parish Vicars Simon and Dean
Tuesday 9pm -11pm – A.I.R Events presents BOOMBOX – local bands, music and interviews
Wednesday 4pm – 6pm  – BRICKMAKERS LIVE ON AIR – local music and live interviews
Thursday 10am – 11am – More Tea Vicar – Sprowston Parish Vicars Simon and Dean
Thursday 9pm – 11pm – THE LATE SHOW – Local music, requests and local chat
Sunday 10am – Sprowston Parish Church Communion Service
Sunday 6pm – Sprowston Parish Church Communion Service
Sunday 9pm – 11pm  THE LATE SHOW – Anything goes request show.
Kerry is offering these classes online, its superb for the body, but even better for the mind and soul.  They are open to everyone but she is asking for donations via paypal if you take part. All info is on the site.

 

We made it!!!

Posted: April 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

Yes we did, through the debris of general elections and Brexit we have emerged into 2017 with this awesome vessel we know as The Brickmakers!!  This Saturday – Mum, Emma and I celebrate our 14 years at the helm of this amazing musical institution.  We have all took turns in driving but in all reality, it is The Brickmakers itself and the people who love it that really drive the machine. It pushes us all the time to strive to be better, to provide more entertainment, to help more bands along their journey and to be a safe and relaxed environment in which to come and enjoy the best in local music.  All three of us feel privileged to have made it this far, running a pub in this day and age isn’t easy, overheads are reaching crazy heights, beer prices are always increasing and supermarkets don’t help pubs by selling alcohol at silly prices.  Yet, we are still here floating on this sea of craziness!!  We are fully aware that it is you guys, our customers and our huge rosta of loyal bands that have brought us along this far. We cannot express how grateful we are to you for being with us along the way, your love and support is precious to us and we promise to continue into the next however many years in the only way we know how.  With a vision to support and promote local music, providing a platform for our young musicians to grow and develop their talents and of course to keep bringing you the best local music across both of our stages.

Heading into our 15th year we bring you a night of celebrations this coming Saturday. Come down and join us for our annual surprise birthday party.  I know, I know it’s not a surprise because now we all know its happening (hahahaha) BUT….only Mum, Emma and I know who is going to be playing, not even our staff know so you’re not allowed to kidnap and torture them!!!  All you need to know is that you will need to get here by 9pm, we get packed out every year for this and if you’re not in early you will have to queue out in the cold so don’t faff about, get your glad rags on and come and have a birthday drink with us.  We can guarantee that this is one party you will not want to miss – It’s going to seriously ROCK!!!

Easter Sunday we have our regular appearance from the Lee Vasey Big Band at 12.30pm and then karaoke madness from 8.30pm.  Then after midnight it’s going to be all hands on deck behind the scenes to get stuff ready for our first Bank Holiday Bash of the year –

Easter Monday – ROCK THE RIBBON – 12noon – 12 midnight
After 14 years of bank holiday bashes we are a well oiled machine when it comes to organising them.  Emma bears the brunt of the work when it comes to booking all the bands, and she starts the planning of our charity bashes almost a year in advance, especially BRICKFEST.  We ask a lot of our bands, we know this, but every year they come back and play for us for free (and a couple of beers), we are so lucky and ever grateful for their support on a day when they could all be down the beach with their families. You are all amazing, lovely people!  Mum and our fab staff team spend ages gathering prizes from local companies for our gigantic tombola – we have an Amazon Fire up for grabs in our tombola on Monday so it’s definitely worth spending your quid on.  Then of course we have the music, ten fabulous acts starting at 12pm.  I get to kickstart this one off as Myself and Caz (Pure Passion’s first singer) play a impromptu acoustic set.  It is almost 24years since Caz and I sang together as a duo so we’re going to relive the past for half an hour and see what happens!  We also have Blind Tiger / The Collective / The Glamtastics / Enigma / Beautiful Dangerous / Lithium/ Super Action Heroes and Pure Passion taking to the stage to help us to raise some serious cash for Breast Cancer Research!   So, come on down Monday for some great music, a few beers and a burger.  There will be plenty for the kids to do too – facepainting and a bouncy castle to keep them entertained.  it’s only £2 to get in and all under 12’s get in for FREE!!!  All we ask is that if you have anything PINK – WEAR IT!!!!

So we are looking forward to celebrating our 14th birthday with you all and look forward to our 15th year with excitement and anticipation of whats to come.  Whatever the future brings we can guarantee it will certainly be musical!

Thanks again to you all for joining us for the ride – now buckle up, ere’ we go again!!!

Love Charley (Pam & Em too)

 

Tis The Season to be rockin’

Posted: December 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

Well, here it is folks just four more sleeps until the big red fellow drops down ya chimney with a shed load of presents for you all.  So, are you ready?  If you’re anything like me, Christmas has snuck up behind you and whacked you in the head with a giant snowball of ‘I need to do this….oh and this and shit! I need to go shopping!’.  With so many friends and family with birthdays in December too, it’s a very expensive month.  I’ll be heading off to Tesco about 3am to avoid the crowds of panic shoppers, there is a bright side to being nocturnal after all!

Reflecting back on 2016 we have had a truly awesome year.  This fine city is spilling over with talented musicians and bands,  just walking through the city proves this time and time again. Our city’s buskers are some of the finest I have heard. It’s not until you spend time in other cities that you feel privileged to be part of such a vibrant music scene. It’s one that welcomes everyone with open arms, no restrictions, all genres are catered for and the support network in itself becomes an extended family. That’s what music it all about, bringing people together. It’s heartwarming to see it thriving in our glorious Norwich. How lucky are we???

We have seen this year, in excess of 1300 acts over our two stages. An eclectic mix of genre and ages. It’s a huge amount of talent and yet, it’s only the tip of Norwich’s musical iceberg.  With such great venues out there now the whole scene is buzzing and we are proud to be a part of something so magical.  Please keep going to gigs guys – don’t sit at home watching a streamed gig online that looks awesome – it will never be as awesome as it is if you’re in that venue immersed in the sound and the feeling. Without you guys in venues, there is no scene. It is really that simple.  Keep it real, and keep it live.   Saying that, we are so very lucky to see so many awesome bands week after week and to have such lovely customers who come out sometimes on bloody awful rainy nights to dance, sing and party to these bands.  Thank you all for your support throughout the year, as always, it’s the bands and you guys that make The Brickies what it is.

Ok, so what’s in store for next year we hear you ask.  Well obviously more of the same, we are booked up for the whole year already with all your favourite local bands. However we have a few new bands stepping up to weekend slots and a couple of brand new tributes for you. I will also be doing a second quiz night by request from you quizsters out there.  It will be totally different from our Sunday music quiz as for a start, It’s a general knowledge quiz! There are some interesting prizes in store for the winning team with the chance to gamble for more – sounds good???.  The first one will be in February so keep an eye out on social media for more information.   We got plenty in store for 2017 and look forward to sharing it all with you.

It’s Wednesday night and we’ve just seen some fantastic musicians on stage for our Acoustic Open Mic night. I enjoy most nights here at The Brickies but Wednesdays are always full of anticipation as you never know what or who you’re going to hear. Tonight we had a talented pianist in playing the baby grand which was a treat. She was tuned last week too by the lovely Glen Butcher (Thanks Glen – great job!), if any of you need a good piano tuner I can certainly recommend him, he cares for both my pianos here and at home.  It was nice to hear it played so well.  Now the juke box is blasting out a really early Def Leppard tune as Josh and I prepare for a late night Line Cleaning session ready for the Christmas weekend.  Then once that is done I’ll be off to Tesco so if any of you lot are having trouble sleeping feel free to come and push my trolly round the supermarket! lol.

Just to recap the Christmas schedule in case you didn’t know…. Christmas Eve we are going to be dancing with ‘Nightlife’ who will be presenting their new singer and guitarist. We expect plenty of Christmas cheer and lots of jingling bells.  On Christmas Day, Mum, Emma and I will be here from 12pm for those of you that fancy a festive pint or two while the turkey is doing it’s thing in the oven.  We’re open til 3pm when we head home for some much needed family time.  We reopen on Boxing Day from 7pm and plan a night of crazy Pot-Luck Karaoke.  By now you should all know what that means – You put your name down and by random choice we pick the song.  It’s fun, especially after a few beers! We are then open as normal from then on.  New Years Eve – the big bash with Pure Passion & Enigma.  If you haven’t got a ticket yet you had better get a move on as there is NO DOOR ADMISSION on the night.  Tickets are £7.50 each and now are only available from the pub. If you need to book a taxi to get home that night, make sure you do it in advance. Music finishes at 1am and we kick out at 2am so book it somewhere in-between then.  From experience, trying to get a cab last minute on NYE is a nightmare. New Years Day is on Sunday and we are open as normal from 12pm for our usual Lee Vasey Band session.   The festive season is pretty jam packed, we hope to see you all at some point to raise a glass!

Right, I’m going to shut up waffling now and go and do some ‘real’ work.  We wish you all the most Happy Christmas and a lovely shiny Happy New Year.

Much love

Charley xx  (Em & Pam)xx

 

 

Calm before the storm….

Posted: August 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

Oh yes in so many ways. As I sit here writing this I can feel the storm in the air outside, it’s been threatening for a few hours now but it’s not broken as yet.  I only hope it isn’t building to unleash a torrent of rainfall on Monday.  Let’s get this over with tonight and tomorrow so we can bask in glorious Bank Holiday Sunshine on Monday.  God knows we are due it.  It’s rained for the last four Brickfests – surely we are owed a little sun by now!!

Well, it’s been a busy few weeks here at The Brickies.  At the beginning of the month we shut down the B2 venue to spend a couple of weeks repainting and sprucing up.  Mum, Em and I along with our lovely staff and friends have all been in above and beyond the call of duty and friendship to help us and we are so grateful to them all.  The venue itself is looking stunning, with a new Black and Grey look, new stage electrics, carpeted stage area and general DIY bits that needed doing but won’t be visible to our customers, we are very pleased with what we managed to do in a short 14 days.  We hope you like it too 🙂

Brickfest is a couple of days away and we are just about ready.  We have however had a bit of a holdup on the t-shirts and bags. We went to pick them up today only to discover that Norwich Screen Art do not open on Saturdays.  Despite attempts to call, email and contact via Facebook we can’t seem to get hold of Jo or his staff.  So if any of you know Jo Edye from Norwich Screen Art please would you beg on our behalf to let us come and collect our merch any time between now and 12pm on Monday.  Don’t worry if you have pre-ordered your anniversary merch guys, you will get it I promise, it just might not be on Monday. 😦

So that small hiccup aside, we are ready to hit you all with the biggest and besets brickfest yet.  All our staff have their circus costumes ready, feel free to join us… although if any of you come as clowns we may witness Tash running screaming from the pub up the road lol. Our resident face painter K-lee will be on site to give you a hand if you want to get made up in crazy circus fashion.  With 38 awesome bands all biting at the bit to play their part, we are all set for an awesome day – all we need now is you guys. Don’t forget, we start at 12pm and finish at 12 midnight. It is just a tiny £2 entry all day long but if you leave the venue, you will have to queue to get back in (due to fire regs)  so plan to stay with us all day if you can.  Kids under 12 years old get in free!  Don’t worry about food, we got that covered too – there is a BBQ tent in the garden providing burgers and rolls to keep you sated as well as an outside bar to stop you having to come in for drinks if you plan to sunbathe all day. Don’t forget to bring your shades, sunhats, sun cream etc just in case.

ok, I think thats about it.  This is our tenth year and we sincerely thank you all for sticking with us and making the Brickies so much more than a pub, we are a community full of lovely people, talented musicians, great bands and lots of love – we are so very lucky!  I will catch up with you all next week when we emerge from the other side of BRICKFEST 2016.

Happy Bank Holiday everyone!!!

Love

Charley, Pam, Em and all of the Brickies family  xxxx

FEELING HOT HOT HOT!!!

Posted: July 17, 2016 in Just another Day...

OMG! How hot is it??

I don’t know about you lot but although it looks pretty and happy when it’s sunny it doesn’t half make me grumpy when its this humid and sticky.  Luckily its nice and cool in here due to the wonders of modern technology and our lovely air conditioning.  As I cast my mind back to 13 years ago when we moved in, it seems a distant memory. I recall the packed nights full of hot and sticky bodies all rocking as one with the band and the old Par64 cans shoving out 1000W of energy per bulb. We had 12 of them on that stage at that point.  That is 12,000 Watts of heat created from stage lighting alone. Then the body heat emitted from at least 200 music revellers. That made one hell of a hot and smelly venue, and to top it all off at least 50% of them were smokers so hot sticky, smoky and smelly. Wow – how far we have come!  Since then obviously the biggest thing is the smoking ban, although I do not have anything against anyone smoking, It’s nice to not be forced to smoke alongside them. Before the smoking ban I suffered with illness after illness, mostly respiratory related. Being an asthmatic, the change was totally amazing after the ban.  Touching a lot of wood here, my health drastically improved afterwards.  Then we swapped all the par cans for LED cans. This was huge, it took our wattage output down from 12,000Watts for the whole rig to just 36Watts  (3 Watts per can).  That topped off with the installation of Air Con has made such a lovely comfortable environment not only to watch a gig in but to work in.  So as I sit here and keep moaning that it’s bloody hot, Im reminding myself that it could be a hell of a lot worse, it was, it has been and luckily now its damn good.  So here I go – Im sucking it up and getting on with it lol. There’s so much worse things in life than a beautiful day right?

Anyway, we’ve had a brilliant spring, two great charity days and Brickfest is looming once more. Its getting hectic with organising but its all exciting stuff. We have some amazing acts playing this year.  The line-up is mouth watering and we can’t wait.  It’s the 10th Anniversary of Brickfest this year and to celebrate we are releasing some exciting merch. Included in that is the 10th Anniversary Tee which will feature every band/act that has played Brickfest over the last 10 years.  Lucky for us that means we get to put the awesome Ed Sheeran’s name on our t-shirt along with over 170 other amazing bands. We want to get as many people in them as we can for the day so keep your eyes open for pre-order details.  It’s going to be an awesome day so mark Monday 29ths August in your diaries asap. (You might want to plan the Tuesday off to recover too!)

The second half of the year sees some new acts on our stage, In August alone we have four new acts playing The Brickies for the first time.  We hope you’ll come along and support new music on the scene. Check them out.

EXIT ATARI – Friday 12th August   “Handsome men playing handsome tunes that range from the down right classic to your guilty pleasures through the medium of stringed wooden shapes and things you hit”  Well, thats what they say anyway lol.   These guys will look familiar to you as they all hail from other local bands.  Rest assured, they won’t disappoint you.

MARK ANTHONY & THE FUNK STUFF BAND – Friday 19th August .
Mark Anthony is one of the city’s finest vocalists and his Funky Stuff band is a tribute to all the greatest soul, Motown and disco legends; such as, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, The Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson.  A great night for a good old fashioned boogie!!!

ADDICTIVE MIX – Thursday 25th August
Another 5-piece band with members that you will recognise. With toes that are regularly tipped in the waters of The Lee Vasey Band, these guys have a wealth of experience of getting you on that dance floor, yes folks – even on a Thursday!! We’re looking forward to seeing this band, they are going to be providing a unique twist on floor-filling songs from the 80s to today. Sounds brilliant!

BLOODSHAKE CHORUS – Friday 26th August
Now here’s somethings more than a little bit different!  The Bloodshake Chorus combine B-movie theatrics with early rock n roll, give it a metaphorical slap around the back of the head, then add fake blood for good measure. Equal parts fun, silly and visceral, the band have been gaining notoriety in venues throughout the region for their noisy live shows, ghost train costumes and their punk edged reconstructions of 50s and 60s rock n roll classics. Definitely not to be missed!!!

So there you have it. Four new acts on our stage and all very diverse and exciting. Around all that we have gigs with Claire Barker, Pure Passion, Black Dogs, Bootleg Boss, Cover Story and so many more. Then of course the big one at the end of the month. How lucky we are in Norwich to have such a thriving music scene. Believe me, there are cities and towns across the land of the United Kingdom full of minds immeasurably superior to ours that regard this Norwich music scene with envious eyes and slowly and surely they drew….(STOP) sorry shouldn’t listen to Jeff Wayne whilst blogging!!!   Anyway, you know what I’m saying, we have the best bands, the best venues a city could want. Make sure you go out there and support them all.

Its so good to see the scene thriving again.  Lucky lucky us!!!!!

Happy Sunday everyone keep cool!

Charley xx