A Brit in the US

Dear all,

A warm hello from San Francisco! Actually, it’s a surprisingly mild hello but I’m not complaining…I’m not much of a lad for the searing sun actually. Apologies for the lack of recent bloggage. It’s been a pretty gruelling tour to be honest and with so many hours taken up with driving, sound checking, eating and actually doing gigs I’ve rather let this thing slide of late! Perhaps I ought to bring you up to speed with the Verging on the Perpendicular tour thus far. It began back on April 19th in Sittinngbourne in Kent and the first leg of the UK tour finished on May 12th at Birmingham Town Hall. Now it’s US time before I return to the UK for the rest of the gigs through June, July and early August.

So the gigs…

Sittingbourne – cracking little bluegrass club, Dog Gone Roots. Excellent night, lovely audience and some very fine spots from the regulars before my set
Burnham on Sea – a bit of an old favourite this gig and this night certainly reminded me why
Deal – great little folk club with a lovely crowd
Oxford – the first festival of the year and brilliant it was too, I played in a lovely church and then sold CDs outside in the dark (I swear it was light when I started…)
Nailsea – beautiful venue and beautiful crowd and even a little slot in the afternoon playing for a group of people with dementia
Stourbridge – a little on the meagre side in terms of numbers but they all bought a CD which is a good sign I think…
Burton on Trent – wonderful venue and packed beyond health and safety!
Bromyard – another cracking turnout and terrific support set from Atto Mul
Maldon – the gig that is always a bind to get to but worth it when you do
London – the legendary Green Note never fails even when you’ve crocked your back…
Norwich – bloody marvellous this and Noel Dashwood did a stellar opening set
Halesworth – Jimmy and Sid were bloody marvellous and then I also really enjoyed my gig and late night ranting with my hosts
night off in Colchester – I ate noodles
Thames Ditton – the Ram Club is one of the best in the business, outstanding
Stafford – home gig and it’s always wonderful
Shrewsbury – great fun and particularly amusing jokes with the crowd!
Birmingham – the town hall’s not exactly a bad venue…brilliant fun both solo and with UFQ

I even managed to slot an extra gig in before heading stateside. John Dowling and I were back out in public again. I’ve just realised that makes us sound like we were on day release or something. Let me try again…John Dowling and I performed together again which was a real treat at the newly formed Crossover festival in Cheshire. We really enjoyed it and more to come with John over the summer.

And so here I am in the US feeling great after some exquisite seafood in Fisherman’s Wharf. Now it’s no secret that last time I went to the US I had one or two little problems with their ing visa system. However, this time was much smoother as I did it even earlier than last time…but I was reminded when I got to the airport and on the plane of just what a bloody Brit I am sometimes. And on the plane I actually read a book called ‘More Very British Problems’ which focuses on what Brits do when they head abroad. It is me. It is actually me. Allow me to give you some examples:

‘Hoping the big envelope full of tea bags doesn’t resemble anything dodgy as it goes through the x-ray machine in case they take it away’

When I packed for this trip, I worried about this exact thing. I packed some tea bags into a clear plastic bag, worried it would look like drugs, and went and bought a new bag of tea bags so it was clear it was definitely tea.

‘Printing out every single reference and email and putting them in a plastic wallet, despite having used your mobile to check in everywhere for the past five years’

Yes, yes I do this. I go to the trouble of printing out everything such as hotel room bookings before getting my phone out and checking the booking.com confirmation email.

‘Never being more panicked than when someone says ‘taxi’s outside’ despite the fact you’ve been sitting ready by the door since 2 am’

I am always at the airport for at least five hours for virtually every flight. Every time.

‘Watching in horror as the person in the aisle seat folds down their tray and places a laptop on it, meaning you won’t be leaving your seat for another twelve hours’

Did this in February. See blog after I came back from Gran Canaria.

‘Worrying you’re going to be arrested as you present your perfectly valid passport at border control’

Yes I do this too. I must look guilty as hell at these places, I’m practically shaking.

Then once abroad:

‘Attempting to wash sand off your feet by standing in a small sink full of wet sand, blasting them with water then stepping immediately back onto the sand’

Did this in New Zealand. More than once.

‘Attempting to turn off someone’s dance music by occasionally glancing at their stero and quietly muttering ‘unbelievable”

In fairness, I do this in the UK too.

‘Failing to grab a waiter’s attention after saying excuse me twice, meaning you must abandon all hope of interaction and move to another establishment’

Did this two hours ago.