Monday 13 May 2013


We stopped for the night in Fargo on our way to Winnipeg. Apparently you can have your photo taken with the actual wood chipper used in the film Fargo - it's just down the road and you can buy one of those silly looking hats with ear flaps to wear while you're being photographed. Or maybe you can rent one for the occasion, I don't know, but I don't think we'll be needing the hats because it's very hot outside even though there's a howling gale blowing, which is disturbing but perfect - when it comes to round here neither of us has driven north of Minneapolis before. We're a long way from anywhere we might consider normal and the weather is adding to the otherness of it all.
Before we head off up the trail towards the Canadien border we're going to venture into downtown Fargo. Amy has already been out - she discovered a Target and a Starbucks. It's disappointing to come all this way and they've got exactly the same everything as you might find in Watford or Washington DC. I was hoping to trade a couple of blankets for a Bowie knife and the various supplies we'll need as we head out further into the wilderness. The wind is still howling around the Travel Lodge & Suites here and I'm doing my best to be faintly terrified.
We had a great show at Schuba's in Chicago the other night. The situation was possibly more weird than anything Fargo and its environs can throw at us because we were sharing a dressing room with the two young acts who were doing the late show, and both of them were accompanied by a full compliment of parents. The one group, Skating Polly, who are all set to become the greatest thing to come out of Oklahoma City consist of two half sisters, one seventeen, the other only thirteen. They had a young balding guy with them who fussed around their equipment and repeatedly told us how awesome we were. I thought he was the drummer but he turned out to be the dad and tour manager. The other act was Emily Wells - she tours solo with half a drum kit, a violin, a lot of electronics and a very sweet boxer/mongrel dog for company. Tonight she had her parents with her.They were helping with her merchandise. They appeared to be a lot were younger than either of us. Amy's daughter Hazel came to see us and she said she felt old. The dressing room was cluttered with thirteen year old's homework and the youngsters tirelessly twittered right up until showtime - only a few tickets left for our show tonite at Schuba's with Emily Wells - it's going to be awesome. Let's make it a sell-out! Something like that anyway. I felt like a sleazy old git by comparison and I'm sure I said the F word in front of the thirteen year old.
Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers came to see us play. He raved about us on Facebook afterwards -
Just home from the most entertaining evening I've had in...forever. If you get the chance to catch Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby on this current short tour, don't think twice. Go! I thought Ray Davies, Neil Young, The Beatles (in a good way). Best night out in years. I was thrilled to bits.

On Saturday night we played in an old factory building in Manitowoc (that's us in the photo above). I still can't pronounce Manitowoc with any confidence. We had a great time with the promoter, David Smith, and his family. He introduced me to the work of Phillip R Goodwin. I'd seen his illustrations before but without knowing who he was.
I hope we see some bears on this trip...


  1. I love those images. One of these days I'll take you on a proper canoe and bear hunt. This was one of the nicest and coolest weekends we've had in a while. Thanks a bunch to you and Amy for the laughs and great stories, incredible music, and for the UK language primer (here's where I call you that certain British "term of endearment" harhar!).

  2. Isn't it a small world (Well, No. Actually, It's not, it's very massive, but I didn't invent the saying and I want to use it to make a point). Jake Burns, when he lived in Newcastle, was very good friends with my lodger's brother, and went to football matches and sat next to him at St James Park. They were regular drinking buddies.
    I remember (many years ago) talking to my friend Martin about a forthcoming Fingers gig in Bilston (Robin Hood 2) and suggested to him that he get the tickets this time. My lodger (he wasn't a lodger at that time, but he is now) piped in and asked if we were talking about Stiff Little Fingers.
    Now, Mike (my lodger) is older than Martin and me by a good 15 years and, to be honest, I didn't really expect him to have known who SLF were. He calmly told us how well he knew Jake Burns, through his brother, and having been out for drinks with Jake himself a few times, felt sure that if he asked, he would be able to get us a few tickets for the gig, gratis. Martin and I looked astonished at each other. We had only known Mike for about 3 months. We had met him one night at a local pub quiz and he had been sitting adjacent to us. He offered us a couple of answers and we invited him in to our team. He became a regular team member and we have all remained friends for these 15 or so years since.
    Anyway. He called his brother, who happened to be out drinking with (you guessed it) Jake. Mike asked Jake for tickets and he promised to arrange it for us.
    I have to admit to feeling rather incredulous as we walked towards the kiosk at The Robin 2 that night. My worries and disbelief were soon put away as we were given wrist bands allowing us “Access All Areas”. We were soon in The Green Room. Jake was a delight to meet and generous with his time towards us. Also in SLF at the time was Bruce Foxton who I must say, was the opposite of Jake. Where Jake had the grace to spend some time with his fans, Foxton behaved appallingly. He was practically obnoxious. Martin and I, as you can imagine, were interested in meeting The Jam's bassist but left with a new opinion of him and his snub. Anyway. That aside, Jake and the rest of the band were a delight. We helped ourselves to a couple of bottles of Pils and left to watch the show. SLF were brilliant, as they always are. At the end of the show we excitedly made our way back to the Green Room and joined the mini party.
    Jake towelled his hair dry and put on his specs. “You know what Jake...?” said Martin, “... With your glasses on and with your hair like that, you look remarkably like Glen Hoddle....”
    “... Oh.... Thanks for that” replied Jake.
    “....Yeah.... just like Hoddle...... and you know what...... Your mate over there (he pointed at someone sat near the exit, sitting on his own on a table, slurping his Pils quietly).... he looks just like Stuart Pearce.....”
    “Hmmm....” said Jake. “There's a reason why he looks like Stuart Pearce, its because he IS feckin' Stuart Pearce”.
    So that was 3 heroes met in one evening. I was lucky enough to get to visit (and re-meet) Jake and the boys a further 5 times since. Each time thanks to my friend (and lodger) Mike Leach, who's brother sat next to Jake Burns at St James Park and now lives HERE at The Dolls House, where you and Amy have played twice.
    As I said, its a small world.

    1. I'm rendered almost dizzy by the sheer weight of coincidence Kris. And quite proud of my heady cocktail of mixed metaphors. That's if 'sheer weight of coincidence' is a mixed metaphor. I don't think it is so cancel what I just said. Apart from that I thought Jake looked more like a miner who'd taken early retirement than a footballer.