cape town tens

Lightyears rock Cape Town

13 February 2009

George and Chris with sporting legends Robbie Fleck and Bob SkinstadWe arrived back in the UK a few days ago after one of our most successful tours yet – South Africa ’09.

All the usual adventures were had, stages were rocked, mountains were climbed (literally) and beaches were stormed. We headlined at the first-ever Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament on 7 and 8 February in front of a crowd of thousands, and the gigs were definitely amongst the best we’ve ever done. Tournament host Robbie Fleck – a man who has won 31 caps for the South African rugby team – commented: “When The Lightyears hit the stage after Saturday’s rugby and played that first song, I thought the roof of the beer tent was going to fly off! It was without doubt the best party I have ever been to in my life.” 

Click here to read the rest of Robbie’s reactions to the 2009 CT Tens.

Fleck’s co-host Bobby Skinstad, former national rugby captain and all-round sporting legend, described us as “the best band in the world”, which I guess is about as high an accolade as you can get!

We’ll be posting all kinds of media from the tour on the site over the coming weeks – press articles, photos, blogs and so on – so watch this space for updates.

And thanks to everyone who made this tour possible – we had the time of our lives.

LYs to play to thousands in Cape Town

28 January 2009

A totally sweet beach in Cape TownWe’ve just got the finer details through about our upcoming gigs in Cape Town, South Africa – and it looks like we’ll be playing to a crowd of thousands!

We’re headlining at the after-parties for the Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament and the organisers expect 2000+ people to turn up for the festivities.

The events are taking place at Hamilton RFC, South Africa’s oldest rugby club – situated, fittingly, in the shadow of Green Point Stadium, a brand new complex currently being built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Full details can be found at the Cape Town Tens website.

Oh, and the team at CT Tens are very kindly putting us up in the magnificent Table Bay Hotel, which I’m personally very excited about. Table Bay Hotel is, unsurprisingly, in Table Bay – overlooked by the world-famous Table Mountain. Marvellous.

Things I Know About Rugby

23 January 2009

So, here’s the news – we’re forsaking Blighty next week for eleven days in South Africa, where we’ll be headlining at the after-parties for the Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament.

“But how,” I hear you cry, “have The Lightyears ended up performing at a rugby tournament?”. Well, evidently the good word is spreading and in fact we’ve been scheming about getting out to SA for some time now. Thing is, of course, that I know very little about rugby. Next to nothing, if I’m honest. How will I hold my own with the players? What on earth am I gonna do about my banter? Will I expose myself as an idiotic boob by failing to understand the principles of scrummage? (Which, by the way, sounds like a boiled vegetable to me. However, I digress.)

Let me give you an example. In football, successfully maneouvring the ball between the two white posts is known as a “goal”. This makes perfect sense to me. The word “goal” denotes an achievement, a success. In rugby, however, it seems to be called a “try”. How did that come about? I mean, apart from anything else, using “try” as a noun demonstrates a reckless disregard for English grammar. And what’s with all the backwards passing? Did you know you can only pass backwards in rugby? Extraordinary.    

I guess the root of my ignorance of the sport is that I never really connected with rugby at school. I just wasn’t built for it, you see. In fact, I downright feared it. Consider this – you come into school one morning, just like every other day, discreetly avoiding eye contact with the school bully, Chris Jennings (a guy who would sell his own grandmother for crack), lest you attract a pummeling. Everything’s proceeding as normal until PE class comes round and, against your will, better judgement and every instinct in your central nervous system, you are forced into participating in a sport that not only authorises but actively encourages the bullies to beat the crap out of you. Effectively this was legalised maiming. And nobody did anything about it. 

Our PE teacher was called Mr Blower. Ian Blower is, in fact, an extremely fine chap who I see now and again and, bizarrely, even features in the photo on the inside of the liner notes for the new album. This fact notwithstanding, when I was a shivering, pasty, knock-kneed thirteen year-old, the particular brand of masochism celebrated by Mr Blower and, indeed, PE teachers worldwide, seemed especially unfair to me. He used to stand there in twelve layers of clothing declaring “It’s not cold, you big girls’ blouses!”, whilst the blood drained slowly from my muscles and my tiny legs turned blue. 

I have only one vivid memory of playing rugby. Quite why this is, I don’t know. We must have done it on a fairly regular basis but it’s easily possible that the part of my brain responsible for recovering those memories perished in the intense cold we would weekly experience on the school battlefield. Sorry, pitch.

On this particular occasion it was snowing. I mean, really snowing. “Blizzard” would not be an overstatement. You couldn’t see much further than six feet in front of you, which meant that when Sid The Tank – a boy who was wider than he was tall and had the look of Cro-Magnon Man about him – came careering at you across the field, you didn’t know about it until it was too late. Now, a face-off between me and Sid was a little bit like a locomotive running over a cake. There could really only be one winner. 

I remember lying face down on the cold ground, not certain how many of my fragile little bones had been shattered by the impact, reflecting that I hadn’t even had the ball in the first place. Luckily rugby is, by reputation, a sport played by gentlemen, and so I imagine these kind of underhand tactics are peculiar to one’s school days and the dog-eat-dog world of hormonal teenage boys.  

These days, as it happens, I rather enjoy watching a game of international rugby in the pub of a Saturday afternoon (let’s face it, it’s the only sport that the English are actually any good at) and am keen to learn more. So this tour may turn out to be educational as well as recreational.

Oh, and whilst I’m on the subject of sport, what’s up with cricket?!? Bill Bryson, a hero of mine, once commented that you should never trust a sport where the participants break for mealtimes. Quite. On tour, Tony and George derive hours of pleasure from forcing me to listen to cricket on the radio. “Oooooh,” they coo gleefully as we speed down the M1 to some gig or other, “the five-day test match is on. Pukka.”

Five days? FIVE DAYS?! Wars have been over quicker than that*. You know, I think if they took all the standing around, staring at the sky, scratching one’s crotch etc out of cricket and just kept the bits where the players actually moved around, the games would last about 15 minutes.

Mind you, what do I know? I still think a “googly” is an internet search engine…

Chris Lightyear

*this is no exaggeration – in December 1939, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco joined with the Axis Army in war against the French. Just one day after the declaration, the Axis conquered Algiers and the French surrendered. The following day the peace treaty was signed. And all this in the amount of time it takes cricketers to decide how many sugars to have in their tea.

Lightyears to tour to South Africa

21 January 2009

Get ready for the latest instalment in our grand plan to conquer the world – next week we are leaving British soil for Cape Town, South Africa.

We’ve been booked to headline at the Cape Town Tens Rugby Tournament on 7 and 8 February and we’re mighty excited about it.

Click here to read the Cape Town Tens’ article on the band

This is our first trip to SA and also represents the fourth continent ticked off our To-Do list – Europe, Asia, North America and Africa down, just South America, Australasia and Antarctica still to go. You can read up on our global adventures thus far by visiting my Tour Diary page.

We’re heading off next Thursday for a few days on the beach before the “work” side of things kicks in, so we’ll be sure to keep in touch with you guys whenever we can with news of our various adventures. Whilst we’re out there promoting our own songs we’ll be throwing some old favourites into the mix too for singalong value and so we’re taking little Johnny Owens along with us to fill in on bass duties. Even Danny Lightyear, our mohican-ed soundman, will be leaving the confines of Watlington, Oxfordshire, and beasting up Cape Town like there’s no tomorrow.

Watch this space for news from SA!

nb. LYs trivia moment – we make reference to a South African friend of ours in the first verse of Emily: “Oh, today I got a man from SA – he’s got a lot to learn and I’ve got plenty to say”. In fact we’ll be hooking up with him in Cape Town. That’s poetry for ya.

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