Call me Russ L

Let’s get the rest of last year out of the way

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Music, Stage by Russ L on 10 January, 2011

A post in which I chronicle my 2010 doings between Supersonic and the end of the year. Mostly gigs, but not entirely.

28/10/10 – To the crappy-but-not-as-bad-as-the-old-one Academy 2, Batman. The impact that Rolo Tomassi have live often seems to vary pretty widely, and this one was somewhere in the middle. They had their gentle mellow bits that sound like sitting on the lawn in a nice garden and followed them with the chop’n’change dagga-dagga-graargh bits that sound like the outside of a building falling down the flight of stairs inside it like some kind of M.C. Escher bidnizz blah blah blah run-on-sentence to sound breathless. ‘Cos that’s a bit what their music would be like if it was a linguistic construction: confusing and silly and not really anywhere near as clever as the author would like, but fun nevertheless.

Unrealistic expectations always turn out to be a bugger, and in this instance I had the archetypal “thinking that a band are something other than what they actually are”. I used to really like The Dillinger Escape Plan and I saw ‘em a couple of times back in the day, but I’d not really kept up with them and prior to the week before this gig I’d never listened to any recorded stuff outside of the “Calculating Infinity” LP. Upon finally having a go with some more recent material, I found out that they’ve acquired some really unconvincing-sounding melodic choruses from somewhere. I don’t think this suits them one little bit, although I may keep listening to see if a figurative penny drops. This new-found but actually-old side of them particularly failed to work at this gig, for me – the headfork that I want from TDEP shined through at times, but a lot of it seemed akin to bad teen-angst singy metalcore. I left before they finished.

It’s probably mostly my own fault, what with the aforementioned unrealistic expectations and all. Lots of other folks seemed to absolutely adore this gig. I’m not dismissing them entirely and I will keep trying, as I said.

On the plus side, it seems that they now have a song called “Gold Teeth On A Bum”. Just imagine the downright delightful American-English-into-actual-English based misunderstandings to be had. “La, good sir!” trilled Emma Darlington-Smythe, as she coquettishly fluttered her fan; “It would be inappropriate for a young lady in my position to allow you to bite me on the arse, even with such a well-appointed gob.”

31/10/10 – It was off to the The Bunny ‘n’ Bow-wow in Kings Heath on the 31st. First on were Tempting Rosie – pop-rock come ska-punk, initially leaving me unconvinced but by the time they’d finished I’d ended up thinking they weren’t without their charms. I recall thinking either that their slower/dubbier bits were a fair bit better than their more up-tempo bits, or possibly the other way round. It was months ago now, I forget.

“It’s so myoooosical” cooed one overheard punter during the Youngblood Brass Band’s set, and yes indeed it certainly was music. Really really good music, though, even better than I remember them being when I saw them at The Barfly back in the day. They call it Riot Jazz, brass a-plenty groovy stuff with rapping and percussion. Amazing. Mostly, though, I would like to talk about the sousaphone. This is surely the best instrument going and I would really like to see it used more frequently. Soooooousaphone~! There were a few brass-taking-the-place-of-everything covers – (I recall “Bad” and “Ain’t Nobody”), and I will never get tired of that horn-imitating-scratching bit.

A fantastic set. I hope they come back over soon.

13/11/10 – My first visit to The Asylum’s smaller room, the inventively named Asylum 2. It’s tacky, but there you go. We need venues.

Alunah did some stock stoner rock stuff, and I wasn’t enormously keen. On the plus side they did have some likeable riffs here and there, and I thought the authentic Cream-ish guitar tone was great. Selfless’ metallic punk/grind was fun, and Dunc’s pissed between-song banter was even more so. This is probably what I wanted from Fukpig a few weeks before at Supersonic, although the thought occurs that it’s also possibly what I might have got from Fukpig if I’d seen them in a small venue.

Sally – Doooooooooooooom. Not as loud as I remember them being back in the olden days (although who knows), but still: dooooooooooooooooom.

20/11/10 – The A.E. Harris Building in The Jewellery Quarter, for Birmingham Opera Company performance of Stravinsky’s “The Wedding”. “Absolute Sensory Overload” would appear to be the phrase I’m looking for.

The music almost seemed like a faint and distant background note to support one million billion squillion brides and grooms rushing all around you in every possible direction, singing and dancing and doing some very unlikely things. It’s be impossible to describe even if it hadn’t already been impossible to see more than a tiny fraction of, taking place all over the entire factory as it did. Seeing breakdancing done to a different rhythm to the music you can here is strangely disorienting in general, never mind seeing it done by someone dressed in a groom’s wedding suit. There were somersaults. There was a bride getting taped into a small cardboard box. There was a groom doing a headstand in a bucket, and that was before things started.

Sensory overload, as I say. That’s a good thing, if you ask me, as is the Birmingham Opera Company. I hope they go back to doing a full-scale full-dress epic next year, though.

21/11/10 – There was another dugong (also known as a manatee/matinee) courtesy of Eat A Book Records at Digbeth’s The Wagon ‘n’ ‘Osses, and I’d like to voice my approval once more of daytime gigs. Daytime gigs are A Good Thing. I do think that maybe after two of these particular ones (there was one the previous month too, look) the novelty may be wearing off ever-so-slightly and so I’m might be a square and look to see if I actually like any of the bands next time, but that’s my own problem – daytime gigs are great. At weekends, anyway. It’s just like going down the drinker in the afternoon, only there are bands as well.

This one was bolstered by the presence of a lovely doggy, wandering around and giving big mournful eyes to anyone with a bag of crisps. I think she was a greyhound (it seems a bit nutty to be able to have a greyhound with brown and darker brown tiger-y stripes, but there you go. She may have been a whippet, actually. For someone who has been to Crufts twice, I certainly am crap at identifying dogs). I was initially concerned that the noise might not be good for a pooch, but she didn’t seem in the least bit bothered. I’d dare you to try and name a single activity that wouldn’t be improved by having an animal to fuss, and so it went here.

There were some bands, too, dull as that may seem in comparison to Dog News. Crash Night did a two-piece (guitar/vox and drums) doom-turning-to-grindy-bits thing for their short set, and it was quite fun. The lack of bass robbed the slower bits of a bit of impact but worked well for creating a shrill violent sound during the speedier bits (DIGRESSION: I mention this mostly because it led me to wonder about my own conditioned responses. Why should slowmetalz have to be bassier/heavier/weightier? I do not have a reason, but felt this nevertheless. Perhaps I should have to go through a deprogramming process) and the two-tone siren feedback between songs was an interesting change from the usual “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” noise. Bird Calls were doing an 80s emo/Dischord Embrace/Rites Of Spring lark, which was decent enough. They lose points for not having any actual bird calls during their set (set yourself up against Little Sister and you’re bound to fail), but gain them for having one nimble-fingered motherfaxer of a bass player, and then lose some again as a result of him doing the bass-strung-up-high-as-though-you’re-trying-to-cover-an-imaginary-exposed-nipple thing. I’ve never been able to approve of that, visually speaking. I nevertheless found them enjoyable at the time.

Things got more Welsh thereon, and Harbour (Dag Nasty seems to be the usual comparison for them, which I can sort-of see although they’re a lot shoutier than all that) suffered from a lot of technical difficulties. I don’t think I’d have liked them as much as I did last time even if that hadn’t been the case, though. Facel Vega, lastly, were the band of the day even with a stand-in drummer. They also played 80s emo-indie-punk stuff, but less obviously homage-y than Bird Calls and a lot more energetic and enervated.

4/12/10 – Although I’d never been to one before this, (secular) gigs in churches seem to be becoming quite a bit more common of late. This was at St Paul’s in the Jewellery Quarter and – contrary to the predictions of several eminent theologians – I didn’t burst into flame upon entering.

St Pauls is Anglican, anyway, so it’s not like it’s a proper church.

Oh my days, there’s nothing more fun than pretending to be sectarian.

Boat To Row were on first, and turned out to be (I think) a version of Bronze Medals reinforced by extra members for the purposes of playing some pure-and-chaste-sounding 60s-ish folk-rock. Pleasant enough, too, I liked them. I have a vague memory that they possibly had some lyrics worth lyricising with, judging by the odd line here and there that is always the most I can ever make out live.

I liked the choral carols played as a between-bands-tape, that was good. I didn’t actually know that mince pies were being sold in the corner in the dead time, but I would’ve definitely partaken if I had. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like a mince pie.

I may be (well, there’s no ‘may be’, I am) applying some stupid stereotypes, but I think that one of the things that makes Goodnight Lenin so very appealing is that they simultaneously appear both older than their years and bursting with youthity youth. They do tap into a vein of good ol’ fashioned classic songwriting, which I (unfairly) associate with the older gentleman, but still have plenty of enthusiastic smart-arsed cheekiness, which seems to accord with their freshness of face . They’ve been written about a fair bit on the local blogs and whatnot (by me too, of course. Y’all know this sumbidge always tries to hop on the bandwagon. Before finding that Birmingham Tours have replaced the bandwagon with a moped. I’m getting ahead of myself, we’ll come back to that in a minute), and so the pattern of What One Says About Goodnight Lenin has emerged and I am duty-bound to follow: first I say that they play 70s stylee folk-rock of the American West Coast type o’ style and then I say that they’re probably going to be really famous, for whatever good that’ll do ‘em. Highlights: “Wencelas Square”, as ever (it’s quite the example of a song), and obviously a church made a good venue for them to have a stab at a genuinely acoustic bit with no microphones. There’s got to be a Lenin/religion joke in here somewhere, but I’m tired. So tired.

10/12/10 – A poor show from Birmingham Tours, who’d advertised an open-top bus trip around Brum’s Christmas lights, but decided to swap it for an ordinary non-open-topped bus due to there having been bad weather earlier in the week. I think it’s pretty bad that they didn’t warn people about this, given that we’d all ordered tickets and thus had to leave contact details and that the lack of roof was obviously the main attraction (come on now, no-one would seriously expect all that much from Birmingham’s Christmas lights themselves), and quite a few people didn’t seem too happy about it. I did learn a few facts from the tour guide’s narration, and even warmed to his Alan Partridge/local radio presenter-ish manner after a while, but this wasn’t what we were after. I’m really not sure about Birmingham Tours henceforth. Watch out if they ever advertise some sightseeing by horse-drawn carriage, ‘cos they’ll probably stick you in the back of a transit van.

17/12/10 – My first trip to Digbeth’s new The Institute, the venue currently occupying the building that in my times was The Sanctuary and The Barfly but has previously been a different The Institute, Digbeth Civic Hall, a Methodist church, and no doubt a squintillion other things. No Less Than Martha Reeves And The Vandellas were in the former Barfly room, nowadays called “The Library”. For some reason. It looks considerably spruced up compared to how it did as The Barfly, and the fact that there are now two bars in there is a huge improvement (although I can imagine that their placement at the sides will make ‘em pretty hard to get at if the place gets really busy).

After a wait of about a hundred years, No Less Than Martha Reeves And The Vandellas took to the stage. I had heard horror stories about the present-day state of her voice, but although it’s nowhere near what it once was I’m happy to say that it’s also nowhere near as bad as you might have heard. She actually sounds a teensy bit like Tina Turner now that she’s a touch croakier, oddly enough. Problems came more from the backing band than from the vocals – Martha proclaimed them the best musicians she’d ever worked with (I bet she says that to all the boys), but their generic schmoov arrangements didn’t appeal for these songs. The original records have energy, damnit. There was no brass to be found in the backing here, in either the “bold as…” sense or the “them articles what yow blow down” senses.

I don’t want to sound too negative, though, since Martha’s a lovely charismatic figure, and even with the instrumentation getting on my wick these songs inspire such enormous feelings of happiness. “Nowhere To Run”, “Jimmy Mack”, “Heatwave”, “Dancing In The Streets”, “Third Finger Left Hand”, you name ‘em, there’s a massive amount of fun to be had. I also loved the old-lady-dance-moves.

25/12/10 – Then there was Christmas. I always love Christmas.

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Virgin Media are doing you an enormous favour by fixing the fact that you’re not getting the broadband you pay a monthly bill for. They don’t have time to be phoning you to tell you the engineer isn’t coming

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies by Russ L on 26 October, 2009

This has gone in the “Do Not Use These Companies” category as that’s probably the closest I have, although I wouldn’t really push it quite that far. I’m not suggesting this is worth anyone cancelling their subscription for (at least partly ‘cos I don’t seriously imagine any of the other providers would be all that much better), but it’s something that’s definitely worth knowing about if you’re a customer of Virgin Media. Forewarned is forearmed, and so forth.

Our internet went off on Tuesday morning (or was it Wednesday? One of the two), giving us nothing but “Page Cannot Be Displayed” messages in the customary fashion (even after the similarly customary turn-it-off-at-the-plug-and-see-what-happens-when-you-reboot technical wizardry). We rang up and were told that it was an area problem and would be alright within a few hours. This turned out to be true.

On Friday morning it was bost again. This time when we rang up we were told that it wasn’t an area problem, and that there must be something wrong with our modem or router or whatever. An engineer was booked to come to our house between 8am and 12 noon the following day.

I stayed in. Fortunately I didn’t have anything particularly important to do (although I did want to go down the shops). No-one had turned up by 12 (I somehow doubt you’re surprised to hear that) and so I tried ringing Virgin, but got fed up after sitting on hold for over 15 minutes.

There was still no-one by 3pm. I phoned again, waiting about 15 minutes but this time getting through. It seems that by this point they’d decided that it was in fact an area problem, and that the engineer’s trip to us had been cancelled so that they could send him to wherever they go to fix area problems. If you don’t leave a mobile number when the appointment is booked, however, it’s their policy not to contact you.

They had our landline number (it’s with them, for pity’s sake) but they don’t ring landlines and only send texts. They choose not to tell you that you don’t need to stay in for their representative if you don’t make it convenient for them. The process seems to run thusly: 1) You pay your bill; 2) you don’t get what you’re paying for; 3) they ask you to stay at home; 4) they change their mind but only tell you if you make life easy for them.

Astonishing. You know about it now though, anyway. I’m not sure how this information will help you if you don’t have a mobile or don’t like giving the number out or have whatever other reason not to obey their whims, but at least you know.

The Surface Unsigned hoo-har rolls on, it seems

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Modern Living, Music, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 15 September, 2008

Right, so, it’ll be back to the blogging of Lots Of Things I’ve Seen And Done soon (probably. You know what I’m like), as well as a a meme that has been slapped on my back in the manner of the ‘Kick Me’ sign that you actually appreciate. In the meantime, though, this Surface Unsigned nonsense (see previous post) seems to still be going on.

Check it one time. SU themselves are now claiming that bands didn’t actually need to sell the specific quota of tickets to play/progress to the next round. I’m not sure whether to believe that or not. Leaning towards ‘not’, really. In the face of their insistence that it wasn’t pay-to-play, someone else posts saying that bands connected to him had to pay £25 which was never refunded. Someone else insists that we should we ‘do our research’ about who the judges were and the connections with record companies, but frankly that was all a bit vague for my tiny little mind.

Funny stuff, though. One gets the impression that the S’Unsigned sunshines still really feel themselves to be the aggrieved parties after using legal threats to tell other people to shut up. Judging by the comments they’ve left on CIB, they may also like to investigate the newfangled invention known as ‘paragraphs’.

EDIT (half an hour or so later): I’ve just noticed something I’d previously missed. Your SU representative claims that the initial “take this down or suffer” letter came about as a result of “the harsh criticism about a speech impediment of a female presenter”. A copy of what was actually emailed is reprinted here. It doesn’t seem to mention anything of the sort, as far as I can see, and just speaks of the nonsensical copyright claims. Are they fibbing again? God forbid.

The promoters of ‘Surface Unsigned’ are pillocks

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 19 May, 2008

‘Battle Of The Bands’ competitions are stupid, as I’m sure we all know. ‘Popular music as a competitive sport’ is a bizarre idea, while ‘a competition you win based on how many supporters you have’ is an outright idiotic one. The larger ones based on the bands selling fixed quotas of tickets go beyond this peculiarity into the realms of being actively unpleasant. The bands do all of the promotion for the gigs due to their need to sell tickets, and cover the costs and their own petrol money through said ticket sales. ‘Sponsors’ quite often donate the ‘prizes’ (either that or you’ll be blessed enough to win a record contract or some radio play that never actually materialises). What precisely do the (supposed) promoters actually do other than eat the profits?

Enter Surface Unsigned. Danny Smith posted about them on Created In Birmingham, and after some back and forth was surprisingly surprised to find out that the above sort of thing applied. The chief differences in this case were that the nonsense was A) on a national scale with tons of heats/rounds all over the country; B) charging £6 per ticket, and C) employing a ‘text this number’ system for additional fun and profit. That’s a lot of money flowing upwards. A quote from SU’s Terms & Conditions document was posted as evidence. So far so Dick Turpin, but two months later we’d all forgotten about it just as this sort of thing is destined to be forgotten.

The massive were soon to be reminded. SU decided that the republished excerpt from their T&Cs constitutes an abuse of copyright (I say ‘decided’ advisedly; it’s not like this follows the actual law or anything) and demanded that the whole post should be removed lest legal action be taken. This frustrates me far more than their sleazy promotional system (I don’t like that, but anyone silly enough to fall for it gets what they deserve). It’s just a feeble attempt at bullying. There’s no attempt to answer or refute any of the criticism; it’s just “shut up or we’ll bash you”.

What they’re about to learn, of course, is that the internet doesn’t work like that. The CIB gang quite rightly aren’t going to kowtow to such pathetic threats, and I salute ’em for it. The offending paragraph has been re-written in lolspeak, which in my view is a more than reasonable compromise.

Your move, SU goons.

(If you don’t like entities trying to quieten criticism in New Media by this sort of method, repost a link to the original post on your blog using Surface Unsigned as anchor text, like so. Soon the Googlejuice will overflow).

Other follow-up posts:

CIB
Oh Danny Boy
C-C-C-C Chris Uniiiiiiitt
P’Ashton (including the threatening email)
Deelog

EDIT: There’s a collective memory post on CIB with links to all of the many posts of support ‘n’ thought that this incident has inspired. It is actually quite heartwarming.

2nd EDIT: The man who tries to shut people up with threats feels ‘bullied’. Why do I get a sinking feeling that perhaps no lessons whatsoever have been learned from this?

A little update on the Travelodge thing

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Modern Living by Russ L on 24 November, 2007

A little update on the Travelodge thing

I sent the letter quoted here (that was a direct c’n’p, spelling mistakes and all. Doh.) to Travelodge by recorded delivery, and as such I can confirm that it arrived on 18/09/2007. I have seen the signature to confirm this on the Royal Mail website.

The reply I received (by means of email) was on 09/10/2007. I’m prepared to allow a little while for my letter to be transferred to the appropriate department and then the time subsequently needed to reply, but this still seems slightly on the slow side. Not a big deal, though. I know we’re dealing with a large organisation and that these things take time. This is one thing I wouldn’t complain about.

My reply was from one Norbert Rave, which I have to admit is an awesome name. He signed off as ‘Operations manager’ for Docklands Travelodge, which doesn’t sound like the obvious job title that you’d charge with responding to my complaints having my booking altered to City Airport (even if it was from Docklands) and subsequently ending up with the wrong room, but then again I have no idea how their internal structures work. I appreciate the fact that I got a reply (I didn’t actually expect one), and I appreciate the sentiment – he wanted me to give him a phone number for him to call me to see what could be done to ‘make everything right’.

Well, the minor problem here was that I think Travelodge have kept me on the phone for more than long enough already during this irritating farce. I don’t like phones to begin with, and had no wish to have to have to sit with one pressed to my face for any longer if it wasn’t necessary. Which it wasn’t. The larger problem was what on earth he meant by ‘make things right” – I have already explained my problems and said that I wouldn’t be using Travelodge again. What did he possibly think he could do?

One thing, that I can think of – there was one small question left on my mind that he could have answered. I replied to his email to say that I wasn’t interested in phone communication and that he couldn’t really ‘make things right’, but that I would appreciate having one specific question answered – what actually were the ‘issues’ (shudder) surrounding our transfer? In spite of being sure enough that it was simply a result of Travelodge’s policy of deliberately overbooking, I was happy to be told if there was an alternate explanation for these ‘issues’ that the booking telephonist either couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me.

Mr Rave hasn’t replied. Since it’s been over a month and a half now, I suspect he isn’t going to.

I said before that I wouldn’t be using Travelodge again and would do as much as I could to persuade others not to either. This exchange hasn’t convinced me to alter my position in the slightest.

I would humbly advise against travelling to a Travelodge

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Modern Living by Russ L on 14 September, 2007

Here’s the body of a letter of complaint I’ve sent to Travelodge, following the recent London debacle. Everything contained therein is true.

I write to register my complaint regarding the unsatisfactory way I was treated by Travelodge on a recent trip, and to explain why I will not be using Travelodge hotels again.

I originally booked a family room at Docklands Travelodge, for the night of the 8th of September. The booking number for this stay was (~), and I received a confirmation email on the 8th of June.

I received a call in the evening of the Tuesday prior to the Saturday of my stay (the 4th of September) and was told that my booking had been moved to London City Airport Travelodge and that I had no choice at all in the matter. I was told by the gentleman on the phone that it was only “half a mile down the road”, although in actuality it is over two miles away. I do appreciate the forward notice and the fact that it wasn’t just left until I turned up at the wrong place to tell me, but I don’t appreciate that the person on the end of the phone seemed to imply that the Tuesday before the Saturday was some huge length of time and forward notice. He also seemed to think that offering me a free breakfast was some sort of panacean cure for all ills.

I was told that the alteration was due to ‘issues’ with the room. When I asked if it was due to Travelodge’s well-known and widely resent policy of deliberately overselling, he replied that it wasn’t as far as information he had been given went. Said information did not extend as far as to explaining precisely what the problem was. Is it fair to treat your staff thusly? “Why exactly am I being moved?” is an obvious question that they are going to be asked. It seems absolutely ridiculous that they can’t be told how to answer it, given many customers would be significantly more irate than myself. It’s unfair to them and unfair to the customer who doesn’t get a straight answer.

I was promised that booking confirmation would be emailed to me that evening. I still hadn’t received it by Thursday morning. When I found that entering the reference number into the Travelodge website still resulted in details of the Docklands booking being displayed, I held on the phone and listened to irritating music for 25 minutes between 9:30AM and 10:AM, but didn’t get to speak to anyone. I eventually selected the option to leave a message (which I didn’t want to do, not being aware how often you check them), asking for the confirmation to be emailed or if necessary for someone to ring back. Neither of these things happened.

Returning home on Thursday night to find a noticeable absence of communication from Travelodge, I tried to ring again but found that the booking helpline was closed. I sent an email through the ‘contact us’ form on your website (fully aware that the ‘ten working days for a reply’ limit meant it wouldn’t do the slightest bit of good), and managed to found the phone number of the reception of the Travelodge I was supposed to have been diverted to. The gentleman I spoke to there did confirm that there was a booking in my name for the Saturday night, but sounded very confused and unsure. I wasn’t sure about this myself.

My email confirmation never did arrive, and so left I left for London on Saturday morning reasonably but still not entirely sure that I was meant to be going to City Airport, and with no solid proof beyond a couple of vague phonecalls. I arrived there (dismayed to find it in the middle of factories and warehouses, no pubs or nightlife etc. This was supposed to be a like-for-like exchange for me, was it?) to find the desk staff initially confused but able to figure it out eventually. I got upstairs to find that I’d been given a double room rather than a family. I realise I should have complained at the time, but by this point I simply could not be bothered to argue anymore.

I blessedly wasn’t late for the event that was the purpose of our trip, but I did only get there with (literally) a couple of minutes to spare. Returning to the Travelodge afterwards, we found ourselves forced to buy expensive bottles of beer (all draught was off) in hotel bar, due to the aforementioned lack of anything else in the area.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that this really took the shine off our trip. The first couple of times I used Travelodge I encountered helpful service and well-kept rooms. Since then most of the rooms seem to be shabbier, and that combined with this revolting set of circumstances has ensured I will not be using Travelodge again and will do all in my power to ensure that others know how they may well ended up being treated if they do.

Edit: There’s an update here, although not much of one.

It didn’t suit us, no sir

Posted in Do Not Use These Companies, Modern Living by Russ L on 14 August, 2006

The big wedding drew nearer still. The time came for the male end of the wedding party (including me, as an usher. I said ye-eah, ye-eah… I’ll stop) to go to pick up our suits from Young’s Hire, at ‘Suits You’ (formerly ‘Suits Plus’ in Birmingham’s Bullring), and we weren’t in the least bit pleased with how things went.

It must be stressed that we had to spend the morning waiting for them to call us to tell us it was OK to come and collect the suits. I’ll repeat that – ‘they’ rang ‘us’ to let us know that everything was ready and waiting for collection. Under the circumstances, you wouldn’t expect to turn up to find a minor detail like the GROOM’s suit missing, would you?

On top of this, my (I’m always the awkward one) jacket had a dirty great mark on it and they hadn’t given me any cufflinks (“Did you ask for them specifically?” Not myself, no, but the suits were all ordered at once and every-bloody-body else had a set). They were able to find me some cufflinks in the shop, but Trig’s suit and my jacket had to be sent around to his house in a taxi the following day.

The tailor who dealt with us was a really irritating individual, too, and then on top of everything else (this isn’t the shop’s fault, but it added to our frustration nonetheless) they needed a photocopy of a bank card to release the suits, in case they didn’t come back. Naturally, none of us had one on our person and we had to wait while hero of the hour Mike (you’ll hear more of Mike’s all-round star quality as tales of this wedding continue) dashed into town to provide the necessary.

The outstanding articles were successfully delivered the following day and so it all worked out OK in the end, but none of us were in the least bit pleased with the service.

I would not recommend them.

~ Russ L, scowling sternly as he writes this.