Archive for October, 2010

Yay!!! It’s Friday.  Our wonderful Tracey was opening up for me today so I could just lay in, and not get up until I woke up,  I was soooo looking forward to it. My dogs however, had completely other ideas. Jack spent most of the morning convinced there were multiple intruders outside the door and proceeded to growl at the door from 8.15am this morning.  He finally calmed down around 10am and within 30 seconds Tilly decided it was her turn, she barked and barked until she had actually convinced me that Yes! of course,  I want to get up now!  So here I am, not quite the lay in I was hoping for but none-the-less, I can get on with the website.  I’ve got an early start on the sound tonight as it’s tribute night with ‘Guns 4 Hire’,  If you like Guns n’ Roses then it’s going to be a good night for you.  ‘The Burning Crows’ are supporting them, I have to say that those guys are really pulling out all the stops when it comes to promoting themselves, it’s nice to see a band putting the effort in to get themselves noticed.  Tomorrow night is going to be another busy one, The Floating Greyhounds are back with their last gig before they play on Christmas Eve, how scary is that?    yep it really is just a breath away isn’t it?

 I haven’t even thought about Christmas shopping let alone saved any pennies for it…  Oh God!   I can feel the Christmas panic approaching!!   I have certain friends who complete most of their Christmas shopping in the January sales, then look at me in disgust when I’m running around like an idiot come December. I can’t help it, time just runs away  and before I know it the turkey is in the oven….mmmmm Turkey……mmmmm……yorkshire puddings..STOP!!  Blimey I can’t be thinking about such nice food when all I have in my fridge is cheese and a floppy spring onion!  I can feel the Christmas panic stir in the bottom of my belly, don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean lol – don’t get me wrong,  I completely love Christmas,  I get all excited and silly over it , sadly not so much since my lovely nieces and nephews have suddenly all become grown up – I WANT FATHER CHRISTMAS BACK!!!!   I go completely overboard with decorations,  for God’s sake don’t stand still at the bar too long or you’ll get  tinseled!  It’s just always a chaotic time.  I always enjoy working on Christmas day, it’s usually just Mum and I on the bar for a few hours in the Lunch time and it’s good to share the festivities with our customers over a mince pie at the bar and cheesy Christmas tunes on the Juke Box, it won’t be long now before that starts!! lol – oooooh the daily torture of Mistletoe & Wine!!!  Anyway, enough talk of Christmas for now (oh – by the way we have NEW YEARS EVE TiCKETS here if you want any get them quick, we’ve already sold over half of our capacity!)  I’m going to get on with some web work whilst I leave you all with your very own Christmas panic – apologies for doing that lol…

HO HO HO!!!

Cx

Grumpyinthemorning.com

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Just another Day...

I’m not really grumpy, although I do have a rotten stinking cold which is slightly annoying and for once today, I have something to moan about and I’m going to share it all with you!

I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of,  or used a website called beerintheevening.com?  Basically it is a site that calls itself the ‘Best UK online pub and beer guide’, which to be honest it would be if it was used properly. It’s quite and important site, one which a lot of important Licensed trade parties often refer to.  It’s a great resource if you’re heading somewhere new and want to check out your new surroundings before you get there so you know what to expect and the best places to go when you arrive.  This, in an ideal world is a perfect tool – but sadly some people abuse it and use it as a public platform within which to ‘have a go’ and generally air grievances they may have. 

Here at ‘The Brickies’  we have worked really hard over the last seven years to make this place somewhere where anybody can come, feel safe, and enjoy some good music. You can imagine my slight annoyance then at some of the comments made about us on beerintheevening.com.  Now, I’m not going to sit here with my fourth cup of coffee and build some great defense case, I don’t feel the need to do that – the fact that ‘The Brickmakers’ is still standing up and facing the storm in this disastrous economic climate in itself is testament to the fact that we must be doing something right.  However, having said that – we are not perfect, we are all Human here and we are bound to get it wrong sometimes, who doesn’t?  There are just a couple of points I would like to make regarding some of the comments, and then I will leave it up to you guys to go and have a read and make up your own minds…

The latest comment… says our bar staff and drinks are pretty rubbish!!!   ok – firstly, if someone has a problem with one of our products, why in the world doesn’t someone say something???  If the beer tastes crap, the coke is flat or there is no caffeine in our coffee PLEASE tell us, we cannot make it better if we are not aware that something is shit! If you were out having a meal in a restaurant and you were served bad food, you would send it back right?     It’s not hard, just tell us!    Believe it or not, we actually WANT to make YOU happy!    It’s our customers that keeps us here and if our products are not up to scratch then it’s up to you to come tell us, not go home and sit in a darkened room and write about it.   The bit about our staff?, what exactly is rubbish about them?   We are proud of our staff team, they are well-trained, they all have their personal licenses, they are door trained and they are always friendly.  As far as I am aware competent at their jobs,  BUT,  I maybe missing something – again don’t just say they are rubbish, quite frankly – that comment it rubbish!  If someone is going to make a comment like that, it needs to be backed up with reasons!

This pub was rough as hell when we moved in seven years ago, on Sunday afternoons there were people shooting up in broad daylight over a coke can in the pool room! It took a year to get rid of all the nastiness that was here.  I’ve lived through death threats, had my windows put through and also had glasses thrown at me by disgruntled people who we banned within the first year. It was all because we wanted to create an environment that was safe and happy to be. I don’t think that some people really understand how hard that was.  As other local pubs based on the local housing estates are closing down, we are finding that, their drinkers are heading further into the city to find elsewhere to drink – now some of these guys are ok, but there are a small handful of them that like to cause trouble.  A few months back we spent a couple of weeks having to remove and ban these people from the pub. They have moved onto other pubs in the city and again, it’s all normal here.  Now, there are some who do not agree with the way we deal with things here – we don’t tolerate violence and unless it’s really necessary we will not use force to remove people, if we ask someone to leave politely after finishing their drink it’s surely less likely to provoke confrontation than taking their drink off them and shoving them out the door.  It’s not how we,  as licensed SIA door staff have been trained to do things.  In a crowded bar, surely the safety of ALL customers around is paramount, even if it means stopping serving (late at night I hasten to add) until said person has left.  I am no way going to apologise for that one!  Safety of our customers is our first priority – NOT how quickly we can sell you your next drink!

The last comment I am going to make I find completely silly to be honest – but it seems to be an issue so I’m gonna lay it out here on the table so to speak.  ‘The Brickmakers’ is a live music venue, it is NOT a ‘Straight Bar’, a ‘Gay Bar’, a ‘Transgender Bar’ or even a ‘Fetish Bar’.  This pub is for EVERYONE!!! there are NO prejudices here.  This pub is somewhere you can come, even on your own and have a good night in a safe and friendly environment.  This is regardless of your age, gender, race or sexual orientation. For gods sake why does it matter?  This is a free pub, for everyone – 99.9% of the people who come here tend to respect each other and happily drink alongside each other no matter who they are.  I could go on, and on but I really don’t feel the need – point made!

As I said, I could go down the list of comments (there are two or three really lovely ones too!! – thank you to whoever wrote them) and argue each one. We know we are not going to get it right all the time, we know we are going to make mistakes. I just wish that these people whoever they may be would actually have the guts to come and tell us where we are going wrong, rather than anonymously write snidey remarks.  It does make me wonder you know, if these were written genuinely or if they were written by people who had been thrown out or even by other venues who are jealous that after it all, we’re still standing.  We’re only human, we’re not perfect – but if and when we get it wrong,  grow a set! come and tell us!!!   It’s the only way that we can make The Brickies an even better place to be.

Right I’m going to stop there and let you guys go and check it out click here to head over to our wonderful comments page at Beerintheevening.com. Have a read at what’s been said and make up your own mind.  Obviously, any feedback would be good.  Also, please feel free to comment on the above too , contrary to popular belief –  I don’t bite  – honestly 🙂  

God, I ramble on when I get going – and that was all before midday!! 

Gonna shut up now and go and do some web design, I fear I’ve done all this work on the new website and I’m not sure if I like it now!! lol  DOH!

Have a good day people, and thanks for listening!!! 🙂

Cx

Today is going to be fun packed full of interesting jobs. Em is off for a couple of days so today I need to do her ordering jobs, answer her emails, update facebooks and myspaces before I can then go on to do mine.  I did make a start on the ordering but I thought I should pause and write a mini blog as I find that it seems to get my head in gear and ready for work.  I’ve woken up with a real thick head today, one which surely should be the product of a night on the tiles. It’s a sorry state of affairs when you get a hangover when you actually no longer drink.  I’m putting it down to the fact that my sleep last night was really deep,  not in the emotional sense,  just that I dreamt alot – weird dreams I hasten to add and I woke up mid dream which is always good for a thumping head. The coffee and paracetemol are working their magic on that one though and I’m pretty much ready for my Monday. 

I’m quite excited about this week,  we’ve got a jam packed sessions night tonight with four brand new bands, it’s certainly a great way to see the new talent emerging from the youth of the Norwich Music Scene. Then tommorrow I get to play again (Yipppieee!!). It’s our monthly visit to Tennessee when I play with country rock band OVERDRIVE.  It’s really cool as Sara comes down and teaches a little basic line dancing to anyone who would like a go, then we get to dance it to the band.. Obviously the line dancing is optional, you can just sit and listen if you like, either way its a real fun night.. The weekend gigs are top notch this week with GUNS 4 HIRE on friday (Guns n’ Roses) tribute and then local favourites ‘Floating Greyhounds’ are back on Saturday. So, in all we have quite a big week to plan for. 

I have my own stuff to do today as well, the newsletter for next month has to be completed and sent off today, it’s nearly there and give me a couple of hours it should be finished.  The new website is looking really exciting, it should be up and running in time for Christmas –  hopefully.  I’m quite excited about it, the main site is flash orientated but there will also be a basic html version for those who use iphones and ipads to access the net. The site itself is much more interactive with much more accessable media to help you enjoy The Brickies experience that bit more.  So once all the other stuff is out of the way today I’ll be doing a  litte more on that.

Also some time today or tomorrow I need to fit a little research in. I have been taking adult education classess in British Sign Language. A couple of years ago we had a group of deaf customers attend one of our events, I felt quite ignorant that I couldn’t communicate with them using even the basics.  They became regular customers and I felt it would be a great idea to learn the basics in bsl so I could communicate with them whilst they were in the pub.  I started an online introductory course and after seeing their reactions when I started to talk with them I wanted to take it further. So far I have passed level one and am midst pre level two.  It has opened a whole new world to me and definately bridged a gap between us and some of our deaf clientel. This week I have to give a presentation in sign language to the rest of my class based around a UK deaf organisation, needless to say I’m a tad nervous about that lol. Much research is needed!

Right, I’m ready for Monday – come on pesky day – Bring it – let’s see what ya got!!!!

Cx

I started my Sunday with coffeee and  stumbled down the stairs in true zombie fashion at 11.30am to let the guys in from the Lee Vasey Band.  Kate and Garry are working the bar in classic Sunday style, chilled but competant, I have to say we are so lucky with our staff team. They are incredibly good at their jobs and we are very fortunate that they are so much more than staff – we are a tight family unit here and all very good friends. It makes the team very strong and more to the point – happy 🙂

It’s now 1pm, I’ve so far set up, sound checked and started the band, updated the screen ads for the Tv’s inside the pub and I’ve finished….   see that’s what happens!! I didn’t finish anything just then,  I had to get out there on the desk ready for the brass section to kick in and was needed on the sound. So it’s actually now 3.20pm and we’re half way through the Sunday session.  The band have finished and are packing up and I’m drinking more coffee.

I do love Sunday afternoons, it means I get to grab a couple of valuable hours of family time, it’s a time that becomes extremely precious in this trade, each day rolls into the next and you tend to pass family members in the hallway during the early hours on the way to the loo and grunt a ‘goodnight’ at each other, or catch sentances or brief phone conversations throughout your 5 min breaks between bands.  It’s a great life in the pub trade but it is easy to lose touch with those you care about. So Sunday afternoons are pretty important to me and mine.  For that reason, this ‘little’ post will remain just that, considering it’s took me nearly four hours to write it’s very tiny lol.  Family calls and I have so ‘me’ time to grab before Sunday evening karaoke kicks in! Whatever you do I hope you all enjoy your Sunday afternoon too!

Until Tomorrow 🙂

Cx

Glitter & Glamtastic!!

Posted: October 16, 2010 in Just another Day...

It’s heading fast towards 2am and we’ve had a brilliant night here at ‘The Brickies’ in fact we’ve had two really awesome nights if I’m honest.  Last night ‘The Soft Tone Needle’ took us through a journey of Northern Soul and I have to say they were amazing,  A band made up of 10 relatively young but seriously musically mature performers that were so in tune with their audience and knew how to get them on the floor.  It’s a groove that always makes me want to dance but I have to say I don’t know that much Northern Soul.  There were a couple of tracks that sat on the cusp of the soul/motown genres which I happily sang along to but even the songs that I wasn’t familiar with still had my feet itching to get on the dance floor. A great band and a great sound, we are definately looking into getting them back next year, it’s just working out the logistics as they charge in excess of £1000, so it will have to be on a door charge I reckon, mind you – they are well worth it.  Tonight we all partied in a sparkly fashion to the marvellous ‘Glamtastics’, these guys are a favourite of ours, they make you smile and dance from start to end. It’s like a massive dose of happy from the minute they walk on stage. The pub was packed, the atmosphere was electric and the crowd were so up for it tonight, it’s been great!  I’ve just finished drinking a very creamy hot chocolate made by Kate, if you like Hot Choccy, next time you’re in – get her to make you one, it rocks!!  Kez and Olly are currently cleaning down the bar whilst Pattie is polishing the floor and Pam has just finished ublocking our disabled toilet, it seems that someone has decided to throw everything possible into it…. why? who knows, some people just can’t help themselves.  I’m not going to ramble on all night as it’s getting real late and I really should go and contribute to the end of the evening shut down in some way, I just wanted to share with you waht a brilliant night we have had here, then again, we are lucky enough to have quite a lot of them.  It’s going to get a bit heavier tomorrow when top Uk tribute ‘Mentallica’ take to the stage, a band that although are not quite my flavour, are definately top of the league in their field…one things for sure, all you Metallica fans will definately not be dissapointed.  Right people, thats it…I’m signing off and looking forward to my bed.

Keep it sparkly (just for tonight!!!)

Cx

Well it’s almost Friday night anyway,  if you hadn’t guessed it from my title today, I am having a moment of ABBA madness, the caffine just isnt enough motivation today, I needed the help of my Swedish Superheros!!  I have been designing the November newsletter today and I’m now in the midst of a coffee and ABBA break. I figured it was a good time to write a few paragraphs as it’s been a couple of days.  The week has been fun so far with a full sessions night on Monday and then a night of Blues with the ‘Rob Holmes Band’ on Tuesday.  Once in a while we stumble upon some unique talent and I have to say Rob Holmes is definately all that!  He has such a smooth voice and his skills on the guitar are up there with the best, he will be back next month so keep your eyes out for this guy, he’s one to watch!  We had a nice chillaxing acoustic session last night  as always, with some interesting and entertaining performances from many of our local musicians & singers.  I’m quite excited about tonights gig – we have a date with the ‘Soft Tone Needles’ who are an 8 piece northern soul band. It’s always refreshing to jump head first into a different genre for a while and I do like a little bit of soul now and again, so looking forward to that one.   In the mean time I have quite a lot of artwork to get through, this morning I completed adverts for Outline Nov and Dec and then got stuck in wth the newsletter…  Because everything shuts down for a while at Christmas I need to kind of get a head start with Dec and Jan’s publications too… 

I’m sitting here in my office feeling a little chilly, I may put my woolley hat on, at least it will fit in with my Abba soundtrack if nothing else..       (sings) “Chiquitita tell me whats wrong….

Well, the booking for 2011 has been successful, we started booking a couple of weeks back and already all the weekend dates for next year have been taken., we have been left with a handful of Tuesdays and Thursdays so thats excellent.  From my point of view, booking bands is a stressful time for me as because I play in a band too I pretty much sit on the fence and see the experience from both a bands’ point of view and also the venues’ point of view.  We are spoilt here in Norfolk with a huge wealth of talented bands, most of which are certainly  worth over double what they get paid from venues. The bare truth of the matter is that pubs and venues just cannot afford to pay high money for bands anymore.  What with the imminent VAT increases, rent review (in our case), PRS fees (yes- the PRS charges venues a fee for every band that plays in their pub),  the supermarkets selling alcohol at stupid prices so people are actually drinking before coming out and then maybe only having one drink when they get to the pub. Not forgetting of course the crippling beer ties put on us from our beloved Pub Co (freehouses can purchase stock at hugely reduced prices where as tied venues such as ourselves are contracted to only buy from our Pub Co which means we are subject to their high prices) it’s scary when all the costs keep creeping higher and sadly the amount of money coming in stays the same if youre lucky or if you’re not so fortunate, takes a tumble.  When bands try to book a gig they justifiably want to get a decent wage for playing, but to pay a band £300 for a gig means in theory we would need to make £3000 on the bar. Even with our most popular bands, that is a fairytale amount of takings these days.   I was chatting to the guys in my band about just this the other day –  when we started out we did a lot of freebies and then as we built up our following I think we were quite a high paid band in the region, we got £250 for a gig in a pub, we were told on many occasions that this was top whack!   Now, 15 years later we still get £250 for a gig in a pub, and still this is top whack in most venues.  It is the most money we, as a venue will pay a band and to pay a band this we have to ensure that we are packed.  Most venues, when approached about money will not discuss what they pay their bands, but actually I think it’s mega important to get it out there and let bands and each other know what you are paying, it’s not like we’ve got anything to hide.  As a venue and musicians we see it from both sides, we want to be fair to bands but also need to keep a sensible head on our shoulders to ensure the venue keeps ticking over -when our overheads are approaching £7000 per week, we have to, there is no option.   We are fortunate to have a brilliant an honest relationship with all of the bands that we work with and they know that if we take it, we will give it back to them,  we are not out to be millionaires, we took on The Brickies for the music, for the bands and to support and nurture our music scene.  We’re never gonna be rich, but hell, we’re having a great time, loving the music and enjoying the ride. The ride for 2011 looks to be just as exciting if not more with a few more NEW tributes thrown in for something different, it’s another great year lined up at The Brickies, make sure you buckle up!!

Right, I actually went off on a ramble then, see what happens when you mix Abba with caffine!  time to get back to my newsletter.  If you fancy a bit of soul, don’t forget to get down here tonight!!

See you all then!!

Cx

late night latte!!

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Just another Day...

Yep, it’s actually quater to one in the morning and I’m still plying myself with caffine, It’s been a full day of bits and bobs really. I started the day off with the intention of working on the website but then discovered that the paperwork faires had created havoc on my desk overnight and thus I could not continue with any work until my desk was clear. So I started to sift through all my paperwork, I’m a bugger for hoarding bits of paper that I definately do not need anymore such as a shopping list from three weeks ago. For some reason I carefully filed it with my bank statements and council tax bill, I obviously rate my shopping a lot higher up in the list of priorities than I thought, Tescos will be so chuffed!!!  It took me quite a while to find my keyboard and mouse under my various piles of organised rubbish and I decided that I had done enough clearing and now I was going to do some work. Web design commenced and I managed a good few hours on the site.  Everytime I think Im getting closer to finishing my overactive brain decideds that “it would be great if we added this”, or “how about if we just put one more page on here….” I find myself unable to stop (bet the pesky caffine has something to do with it…) anyway onto tonight, We had a new band on our stage tonight – ‘The Mark Druray band, they were really good and very different which was refreshing, almost like an acoustic band but with an electric edge. I  enjoyed them a lot and would definately reccommend you see them. At midnight the pub quietened down really quickly so Kate and Tracey began cleaning down and then we started on the line cleaning. It seems to be one of those nights where everything is lovely and quiet ( a rare change)  except for a handful of customers who are talking at 150db even though they are standing next to each other. I never get that – it’s almost like the alcohol makes their internal amplifiers malfunction and there is no volume knob, they vocal chords are struck at high volume and there they will stay, shouting is the only option.  Anyway, we are half way through line cleaning and we are waiting for the chemical to soak. Im having a coffee and Tracey has gone for a cigarette whilst we wait, the people in the bar remain noisy. I’m fighting with every bone in my body NOT to be rude, really I am – I mean I am actually NOT a rude person, despite what some people may think.  It’s quite funny to see the difference between my blogs, my morning blogs are quite light hearted and sleepy, full of hope for the day and dreams of sugary desserts whilst my late night blogs tend to be fuelled by tiredness and impatience, I am I guess after all only human and I want my bed as much as the next person, today is no exemption – I feel bloody knackered, as I’m sure Tracey does too, so I’m going to sign off now and go and help her finish up. Hopefully it will be peaceful soon and I can blog tomorrow the bright eyed, bushy tailed and cheerful landlady you all know and love…. mmmmm actually I think it might be because I straightened my hair!!!

Night

Cx

I haven’t posted for over a week as I managed to scrape a week off. Like any sane individual I packed my  bags and ran for the hills – well not exactly hills, I found myself with my other half camping on a clifftop on the North Nofolk coast. It was windy and rainy but it was glorious. A few days of quiet, scrabble and the sound of the sea was just what the doc ordered to recharge my batteries. Needless to say I found it quite intrusive walking back into The Brickies after so much peace and quiet. For just a few days I forgot what it was like to sit in your living room and hear the sounds of screaming in B2 in one ear, the Jukebox under your feet and the sounds of ‘Sex On Fire’ from the Brickies stage in the other ear. Don’t get me wrong,  I enjoy my life here but it can be very noisy and hectic – it’s only when you step out of the landlady role for two minutes that you actually realise that. Anyway, the batteries are as charged as they’re gonna get for now and my body clock is still trying to work on camping time (bed by 10 – up at 7) which completely contradicts my Brickies body clock so you can imagine my biological confusion when heading to bed at 3am and then finding that actually I want to wake up at 7am…I did manage to convince myself that I could sleep some more… 9.15am seemed to be the best I was gonna get today so I chucked in the towel and hit the caffine.  

The downside to time off is that usually there is double the amount of work to catch up when I get back.  It’s always the same, work like mad before you go to make sure everything will run smoothly in your absence and then upon you return work like mad again to catch up on all you have missed.  It’s all worth it in the end!   As I sit here this morning I have been trying to think of a starting point to my day. I’m in one of those predicaments that I actually have so much to do I actually don’t know where to start. I look up at my six weekly planner ( a white board on my office wall with a 6 week schedule on) which was no help at all as it seems to have run out whilst I was away….ahh there is my starting point… I need to update my schedule for the next six weeks which will involve – Newsletter design for November – Advert design for Outline Mag – Prep for Halloween weekend –  Bookings for 2011 – Website revamp for both the Brickies and B2 – Screen shots for internal poster screens  – Christmas and new year ads (it’s not that far away) – Newsletter design for December – and then any equipment maintanence that needs doing in between. Blimey, I reckon I might be a little busy over the next few weeks. I have to say thank God for Emmy, without her I wouldn’t be able to fit all the jobs on my schedule, she takes care of all the listings for the papers and gig guides, the weekly website updates, newsletter mailing lists, up to 200 email replies every day,  Myspace and Facebook management for both The Brickies and B2 which is a mammoth task in itself as there are equally the same amount of messages to respond to on there – she does all this and then some… Between us we manage to keep the Brickies Machine ticking over. mmmmm….maybe I should get her a weekly schedule board (She’ll kill me for that lol).  Anyway, at least I’ve found a starting point for my day which is always good. Before I start my start though,  I think I will have more coffee…. the answer is ALWAYS coffee.

I’m looking forward to this week, its a happy week with some good music to look forward to and I get to play on Saturday night which is always a bonus for me – it’s what drives me in this place, that buzz of being up on stage – giving it your all makes me strive to want to be a better venue, to provide a better gig experience from both a players perspective and a customers perspective. I think were doing good as a venue but there is always room for improvement right? So Saturday night this week I will be throwing on my Les Paul and rocking out with ‘Pure Passion’ – can’t wait!  Check out The Brickies online Gig Guide for more info on this months gigs….

Right folks, enough rambling on – lots to do and coffee to drink…mmmmm crunch creams !!!

Cx