Archive for October, 2011

By now you should all have gathered that I most definitely am not a morning person, that word does just not sit happily in my vocabulary. So when I received the message that the builders wanted to get in at 7am not 8am you can only imagine the inner groan I was voicing. However, having made it to bed at 3.30am the night before I still managed to crawl out of my bed at 6.50am, put the kettle on and get the coffee brewing and unlocked the pub in anticipation of the builders. Half an hour passed, I nudged myself awake by doing some maintainance on the websites and drank more coffee. An hour passed and still no builders, I was starting to feel extremely grumpy…I mean at the best of times I am more than aware I can come across as grumpy (I’m not I promise :)) but now I was really grumpy. At 8.15am the builders strolled through the door bright and breezy, no apologies just demands for the ‘kettle to be put on luv’ there are no prizes for guessing my reaction.  yes, I calmly told them the kettle had been put on at 7am when I was told they would actually arrive.  The main man ‘Ray’ announced he was only joking when her told Kat that they were coming at 7am. Made me rite laugh that did!!!

Anyway, that aside the boys got on and started with the fiasco that has been the ceiling!  Things had been going fine until they started putting up the ceiling tiles.  They had bought a job lot of self adhesive cork tiles, which in fairness is what used to be up on the old ceiling.  The stuck them up and everything was going great, except some of them started to fall down, they stuck them back up and then the painters arrived to put the first coat of paint on the tiles.  By the morning, the tiles had expanded and bubbled, some had fallen and others were hanging on by a miracle.  Turns out the tiles were not supposed to be stuck straight onto fresh plaster, well that’s what the instructions on the paint said!  As you can imagine this caused much babble between the boys and their bosses about whose fault it was that nobody read the instructions. It didn’t matter really did it?  we needed those tiles up and we needed them up now! We were already 2 days behind.  Anyway – after having a chat with the project manager – who wanted to take them all off and put a new batch up we put our faith in them and that’s what they did. The lads spent most of the afternoon scraping off the remaining ceiling tiles and began to then put new ones up using a strong adhesive. A handful of tiles in,  the site manager  stopped and said he wasn’t prepared to stick the rest of the tiles up as they wouldn’t be up there for five minutes before they fell down again. SO we had another meeting!  This time, the cork tiles were boycotted and we decided on some very posh acoustic tiles, which were thicker, and in all fairness more likely to have the desired effect on acoustic insulation.  The tiles were bought and the lads stuck them up and to be sure, they screwed them in too. They then painted the first coat on the ceiling and walls.  The painters arrived at half three to put on the second coat –

Meanwhile –

Tracey and I brought all the lighting and trussing up from storage and both Em and I began the long disgusting process of cleaning it all. When it was shining and sparkly, the lads helped us to get the truss back on the walls. This is where we are at right now. Trussing is up and ready for lights, there is on more piece of truss to go up but it hasn’t been delivered yet – we had to have a new bit ordered as the asbestos boys took away our scaffold lighting rig so currently there is no front of stage lighting rig.  I have to say I was a little shocked at the cost of a 7m piece of truss, with all the fixings it’s topping almost £700! scary stuff.   So, tomorrow after they finish the painting it’s going to be countdown time. We will have to pull an all-nighter to get it done but I reckon we’ll make it.  we’ve got to get the top cabs flown, the  bass speakers in, the amps & mixing desk installed, the multicore, monitors and hen the lights wired up and everything has to be tested and tested again.  When all that is done it’s the clean up time – the wooden floor is a state and will need several coats of polish with the buffer. There’s so much to think about, I’m trying not to think about any of it lol.  Right now, I’m having a coffee break and updating you all and then I’m off to help clean up a bit and do some touch up painting.

We are so close now and the imminent panic is looming!   It will all be alright on the night…..right?

Expect an update at end of play on Friday!  For now, check out the latest photos…

Thanks all for now…..



Yes… really!

Well we are nearly at the two-week mark and I have to say I’m starting to feel very tired out. Early mornings are great if you coincide them with early nights. However things are on the move and finally it seems we are getting somewhere. After the Asbestos guys finished up on Sunday of last week we went in and had a look around, it was so strange to see the roof from the dance floor. We were amazed to find that the six panels on the ceiling that we had always believed to be bits of wood were actually cast Iron radiators bolted to the joists. safety bolted I hasten to add, these babies weren’t going anywhere.  These radiators have been the cause of much conversation over the last few days, I mean who in their right mind put’s cast Iron rads in ceilings, there was no room above it only attic, hot air rises….so essentially they were at one time just heating attic space – very random indeed!

We then hit a bit of a brick wall as the contractors wanted to leave them up there and plaster board around them, obviously to us this seemed a bit pointless, specially as they weren’t and hadn’t been connected to the water system for many years. I think it came down to what they had quoted for in the job,  the risk assessments and paperwork involved in a job such as removing these Iron Rads was immense and it wouldn’t be worth their time. Understandably so, however on the flip side, we felt it was silly spending all that money on a new ceiling to have old bits of it still stuck up there.  So we set about finding another contractor to come in and do it, we did (Thanks to JG Mills Pumbing & Heating for coming in at such late notice) and they were removed. It wasn’t an easy job though –  even after all the bolts were removed they remained up there, it look four blokes with crowbars and lump hammers to get them off and also to carry them. But they did a blinding job and they were disposed of.  It made such a difference to the room, it made it feel much more spacey. 

 When the contractors removed the coving, they knocked quite a lot of plaster off around the stage area. Em, Mum and I had a good look at it and over much tea and biscuits decided that it would be a good idea to strip the old paper off that was on the stage walls and get it reskimmed.  They were the only three walls left in the pub that hadn’t had a fresh skim of plaster on it and I have,  on many occasion sat at my soundesk detesting the gross wallpaper that dons those walls.  after having a quick chat with the plaster boys we agreed that if we removed all traces of paper,  they would accidentally skim it as they did the ceiling. The deal was done and we began removing the paper.  Oh what had we done!!!??  Two layers of black gloss on top of a layer of Anaglypta under which was at least another two layers of paint on that wonderful stuff that is wood chip paper. God if I could only get my hands on the B****** that invented that God awful stuff,  I would make him suffer the pain of removing it!  

So…I was happily scraping away, Em was scraping beside me. We were chatting away when all of a sudden she just dropped to the ground beside me shouting out in pain.  She was screaming in agony that she thought she had broken her ankle… she had stepped slighty wrong on a bit of broken plaster as she stepped off the stage.   We had plenty of hands on deck to help, Tony, the air conditioning guy was on site measuring up for our new units, being a first aider he came over to help – Mum came in with cold a cold compress which we ended up using to mop Em’s head as she was feeling extremely faint.  She looked to me like she fell awkwardly, and although she was adamant that the only thing injured was her ankle – we were very reluctant to move her. So we didn’t waste any time calling for an ambulance.  We kept her talking, trying to keep her calm whilst we waited and when the paramedics arrived they came armed with gold dust in a canister – Gas&Air!  With a bit of persuasion we managed to get Em to take it, this enabled enough pain relief for the paramedics to get her onto the stretcher and into the ambulance – not without the hilarity that was Emma on Gas&air though! Totally Brilliant, we should have sold tickets! I have a wonderful video that I,  as her best friend felt it was my duty to take (LOL) but It wouldn’t be fair or appropriate to put it up on here – the language is not really acceptable for public viewing, it will be saved for special occasions and moments of possible blackmail heh heh.  In all seriousness, we were very worried for her, I went along with her to the hospital while Mum and the awesome Nigel continued to strip the paper. Obviously this was carefully planned between Emma and myself so we wouldn’t have to strip that bloody awful wallpaper – lol.  Not really obviously – no one plans to go through pain like that on purpose.  After many hours wait and x-rays they sent us home only to return in the morning to see an Orthapedic Consultant at the fracture clinic.  So, Emma safely resting at home, I came back to continue with the scraping. It took the best part of the day and night to get that stuff off, but we did it.  Thanks to Nigel and Tracey for helping us out with that – you guys rock! 

The next day I dragged Emma back to the N&N fracture clinic, she was sure it was a sprain – I wasn’t so convinced. The Orthapedic Consultant showed us her x-rays, confirmed she had fractured her ankle, also chipped it and also torn the ligaments DOH! so they strapped her up in a Leg Brace thing that makes her look like a transformer hybrid! ‘OPTIMUS EM’!  lol.  She’s got to be very careful for a few weeks and she will remain suitably braced for 5 weeks. I fear we may have a few moments of boredom and frustration on the horizon. Don’t worry Em, I’ll make sure I bring youre homework to you 🙂

Anyway, wallpaper off, rads off, there was nothing in the way now – the boys had a blank canvas to get the plaster board up and that’s what they’ve done. Today all the plaster board is up and they are currently skimming the ceiling.  Finally it feels like things are going in the right direction. YAY!! We now have to leave the doors open during the day to get some good airflow blowing through to dry the plaster… it’s getting there peeps…not long now – we’re over half way.  Check out the photos from this last week, they are quite dusty but you can see it’s shaping up.

I’ll keep you all posted and we will recap next week.

Have a great weekend folks..


PS: Just in case you were wondering – gigs are going ahead as stated here this weekend –  Classic Rockers ‘WHITE HEAT’  are on stage tonight with those talented young funkers ‘Mucked Up Funkies’ then tomorrow we have local favs ‘RAW EDGE’. Gigs are taking place in the B2 venue, but will be open into the main pub. It’s a different feel but for now it’s getting us by while the work continues. Only another week and we’ll be nearly there :o). Hope to see you all this weekend.   🙂

PPS:   Customers / Bands / Staff / Everyone has taken it upon themselves to sign the partition board that builders have erected between the pub and band room. (see pics)  please feel free to come and sign in yourself or even get artistic with it as Keith did. It’s only there for another few days so feel free to come and scribble!!


well….?  It certainly looks like that! lol. Let me rewind a little bit and explain – be prepared – I am very sleepy right now so I take no responsibiliy for awfal speling! heh heh 

Please right click here and open this in a new tab before reading on…..  Brickies ceiling theme tune   Be patient – it’s worth it!

Right, you may or may not know, a couple of weeks ago after a mad, busy Saturday night safely tucked up dreaming a blissful sleep only to be awoken more like shocked awake by a massive crash downstairs followed by the nastiness that is my burglar alarm. I have an external sounder in my flat so believe me, when that bugger goes off so does my heart.  After going through all the normal checks one does when ones burglar alarm goes off, you know – running around panicking, half asleep in pj’s, dogs going mental etc, we calmly checked the 26 cameras that surround the inside and outside of the building. When we got to the cameras in the band room all we could see was a mass of dusty white clouds.  Obviously the ceiling plaster had collapsed and we were watching the aftermath.  We came down and had a look. God what a mess – the plaster moulding on all ceiling above the sound-desk area had completely collapsed.  The plaster was seriously old so it wasn’t puny stuff, it was about 2.5 inches thick and heavy as hell.  As it fell it look the wall lights with it and glass was shattered across the length of the dance floor.  We cleared up what we could and grabbed a couple of hours kip.  The next morning was a muddle of cleaning, trying to find staff to come and cover so we could continue cleaning and then as it was Sunday, moving the Lee Vasey Band into B2, and shutting off the Brickmakers Band room area.  We just had to muddle through that day, and it went surprisingly well.  There wasn’t anything we could do about the roof until Monday.  So Monday came and with it a whole heap of problems trying to find someone to come and fix the roof.  It was a nightmare, as it was the end of the summer holidays all the major building contractors were finishing off their contracts in the schools and every phone call was the same, no-one was available until the school term resumed.  Luckily, thanks to our insurance broker, we managed to get a building contractor in just to provide a temporary repair, it wasn’t ideal but it was good enough and more importantly safe enough for us to then open up the band room again.  However, it wasn’t quite that simple. The plaster dust had covered all our PA amps and equipment and the cooling systems. We had to open each one up and clean it out with a Hoover, which was easier said than done – they don’t seem to make these things Dyson compatible… anyway it took Em and I the best part of the day to clean the amps and get the system up and running in a suitable condition to run the room. Luckily the sound desk had been covered up and put to bed the night before so the plaster didn’t reach the vital parts of it –  so thank you Clive for saving the desk!!  So that all sorted we were back in business and the bands were happy.


We werent feeling very sure though, what was to stop the rest of the ceiling falling? Now it had happened we were worried, we count our lucky stars that it happened overnight and nobody was hurt. We didn’t want to take any more chances so we contacted our Pub Co and made plans to get the rest of the ceiling fixed.  Again – nothing is ever simple is it?  They couldn’t ‘just fix’ the ceiling as on the other side of one part of it sat a whole load of nasty Asbestos, it wouldn’t have been safe to pull the other bit down. So after several meetings with our Pub Co and builders and Asbestos experts we all agreed that we needed to go the whole hog. Pull down the existing ceiling, dispose of the Asbestos and install a brand new ceiling. In theory it sounded smooth and perfect. In practice – we have had to shut the band room off whilst they carry out said works. Obviously when dealing with Asbestos we don’t want to take any chances so we have the proper guys in doing it, the HSE have been notified and all the regulations are being adhered to. We have decontamination units on site,  more safe-suits than you can shake a stick at and I’m sure we have a small family of Extra-Terrestrials hidden in the back behind all that polythene insisting that while they work they must remember to ‘beeeee gooooood!’   In all seriousness though, there wasn’t really any way around it, the room had to be shut and we needed to shift things about a bit.

These days no business can afford to shut its doors for a couple of weeks whilst such work is undertaken. We are lucky in the sense that we have B2, however it meant we had to reschedule many gigs for bands booked into B2 for the next couple of weeks. I have to say though,  all of them have been extremely gracious and very helpful. With their understanding we have been able to move all of our gigs from the Brickmakers stage into the B2 venue for the next two weeks. The Wednesday acoustic nights will continue in the main bar area and where possible we will be also having some extra acoustic acts in the main bar area.  We want to maintain our musical offerings to you as much as we can and we endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum. Were doing ok so far, it’s a little weird but we’ll get through it and let’s face it – it’s only another two weeks and normal service will be resumed and we will all be rocking under a brand spanking new ceiling. Awesome!!   As always, thank you all for your kind support and understanding at this time, not long now folks 🙂  

WARNING!!!!!  If you see me looking a little frayed at the edges / red in the face / looking snotty and grumpy / standing in the corner crying…   – please forgive me and just ignore me!  I’ve been up at the crack of dawn with the builders every day since they started and by the end of the next two weeks I’m likely to fall off my conscious platform…  just prod me awake as you pass or wave a large coffee under my nose!  Early mornings are great combined with early nights. We all know that isn’t an option in this job…. so I apologise now for sleep related Charleyisms!

And on that note…. I’m gonna shut up and try to get into bed before 2am, I have to be up at 8am to let the lads in again.  Check out the photos – there’s more to come.

Thanks again peeps…


PS: The new newsletter is online if you fancy reading it and planning your weekend!