From Beirut to Beulah Road, Penang to Penarth, Tresaith to Toronto, Madrid to Merthyr Road. From the Butchers Arms to Baden-Baden, the Royal Oak to Reykjavík, the Earl Haig to El Paso – you’d go a long way to have a better night than Christmas Eve with The Fugitives. As January plods on like a man walking home in the rain with two bags of Aldi shopping, we reflect on what was, is and is yet to come.
It has been another storming year in Fugitives history, but on Christmas Eve, things were different. Most importantly, for the first time in many years, we were without our great supporter and friend Keith Bueschel – we wish you well in your recovery Keith. We were also without Viv, who is also recovering. Best wishes to them both.
After a long tour of Festive duty at the Fox and Hounds, the gang made the short cross-border journey to the People’s Republic of Rhiwbina, to appear Live at the Butchers. There was a potentially embarrassing mix up at Manor Way Passport Control when it was discovered that leather purses were illegal in Rhiwbina. Where would Steve keep his plectrums? Gary suggested somewhere else they might be placed. Despite this sounding incredibly painful, it was enough to satisfy the Monico Militia. Then, Coleslaw Johnson’s ID was given special scrutiny, and he was asked why it was so soggy. They eventually believed him when he told them that it had been in his pocket when jumped off Blackpool Pier. Finally, the boys were allowed in, and bounded towards the People’s Republic like eager puppies lolloping towards a bowl of Pedigree Chum.
This was quite a risk – how would our intrepid heroes deal with the gentrified, lavender scented air of Rhiwbina? Would it be too rich for the big blond? Would it make Gary’s sticks go floppy? Would the Coleslaw start to turn? There was no need to worry. It would turn out to be “the best part of the holidays” according Paul Richmond – for you and me both Paul, for you and me both. For us grumpy old souls, Christmas is generally as welcome as U2 tickets for Big Steve’s birthday treat, but the boys always warm the cockles of our hearts (and other parts too).
As always, they were on top form as they stormed through the hardy annuals and fan favourites. While long-serving supporters sipped their Camparis, these intrepid minstrels even found time for a memorable version of “Caroline”, in honour of the recently departed Rick Parfitt. I can reveal that such was the level of audience gratification, the boys have since been voted the “7th best band in Rhiwbina”.
But how you ask, can they hold this coveted position simultaneously with their much-prized “4th best band in Whitchurch”? It’s like holding the cup, and the league. at the same time. According to the rules if you have – and I quote - “a roadie/manager general factotum living in a square marked by The Deri, The Nine Giants, Lidl and Garage Door Shop” then you qualify as “a musical ensemble said to live within Rhiwbina”. We have that one covered don’t we Em?
The magnificent news for the New Year therefore, is that when you combine these accolades (4th best band in Whitchurch x 7th best band in Rhiwbina), the Fugitives are newly minted as THE 28TH BEST BAND IN CARDIFF. It doesn’t get any better than that Fugifans.