With barely a word of Russian between them The Fullertons braved a potentially dicey trip to Moscow for a one-off gig last Saturday.

I caught up with a jet-lagged but rightly chuffed Dave Chanell to ask “How the hell did you manage to blag that?”

The answer, oddly enough, is cigarettes.

Smokers in the UK may be treated like modern-day leppers but attitudes in Russia, it would seem, could scarcely be more different.

“We got an invite from a publicity company working for the Chesterfield cigarette company,” said Dave.

“Western music is pretty popular with young people there so they’ve been flying a lot of bands over to play at some of the clubs.

“I sent them an email but didn’t think too much of it. I thought I was being fobbed off until they gave me a few weeks ago and gave us a date.”

A bit of a result, then?

“It was brilliant – we didn’t have to pay for anything. They flew us out on Saturday morning and we got back to Watford on Monday. [top marks to the lads, then, for making it to the Amber Rooms in-time for the stonking return of the Camel Club…see this week’s WO for details.

Better known to many (including me) for its driving snow, filthy rich oligarchs, football hooligans and bent police force Moscow, it seems, has a rather unlikely secret - a well refined appreciation of the Brit-pop and UK indie scene and (of course) a not-so-healthy penchant for smoking inside. Perish the thought.

Krizis Zhanra, one of a growing number of venues to cater for such changing attitudes can be found, buried deep underground, in one of the city’s less salubrious areas.

A recent host to no-lesser act than Primal Scream, it’s fair to say the management don’t invite any old Tom, Dick, or Harry along.

Hats off, then, to the lads for bagging an invite.

Back to Dave: “It was an amazing experience for us. If you’d told us a few months ago we’d be in Moscow I wouldn’t have believed you – but it was a chance to put ourselves in front of a different crowd.

“Everyone seemed to speak English and understand us and I think we went down really well.”

But what of the future?

After splitting with their management company (the one that inspired the change of name from Camel One) a few months back, the guys are currently on the books of another similar outfit and looking, as ever, to break free of their home town and get the break they’ve tried so hard to achieve and (let’s be honest) probably deserve.

It’s just as well, then, that their infectious debut single “Halfway Out” was so well received.

“The highlight of my night,” said XFM’s Mr Breakthrough, John Kennedy “Hammond fuelled rock ‘n’ roll,” added NME.

The Fullertons are playing a live session on BBC Three Counties Radio on Friday, August 3 at 8pm.

*The Fullertons are David (vocals / guitar) and Chris Chanell (keys / vocals / guitar), Rik Blake (bass/vocals) and Rich Iles (drums).