Eastleigh Train Station and Basingstoke Multi-Storey Car Park

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Dear all,

Well here I am again. A fair few gigs to report on since my last entry so here goes…Basingstoke was bloody fantastic (when I eventually got there…see below for details) at the Anvil Theatre with a full house, lovely crowd and wonderful soundman. All round this was a belting night, one of the best of the tour so thanks to all who made it so.

Next up was…er..a different kind of gig. We were in the Plough Arts Centre in Torrington, Devon which is quite far out. Er…hmm…I’m torn between my natural instinct to tell the truth about these things and my professional instinct to be..er..professional. First things first, the gig was actually really nice. It was a really nice crowd and great sound and generally quite nice. The organisation of the venue was…well…a little different what with date mix-ups, time mix-ups, posters up in only the venue, the loss of 1,000 flyers that were sent in the same package as the posters and yet were somehow claimed as missing, the waiting til two days before the gig to comment on the poor ticket sales, the lack of an open box office during the DAY OF THE GIG with no voicemail, the disappearance of the promoter and the CD selling person…good lord I did speak my mind. Oh well.

Then came a great gig in Leicester at the Musician. Again, sadly a poor turnout which was a real shame as it was a great venue, a terrific audience and the promoter who is an all round top guy but we still had a fantastic night and played a ludicrously long set! We then had a nice drink after before the barmaid collapsed and we called an ambulance for her…fortunately she was fine and well but it was a little scary!

Then we were in Stafford…well what can I say about my hometown. A fantabulous night at the Gatehouse Theatre, as always, and a massive thanks to all those great people who support me time after time, year after year. I can never fully thank you all enough but I hope you all know how I appreciate it. We had a great drink after at Joxers too with some family who had a mare of a journey down but managed to make the second half fortunately.

Then finally, we were in Hartpury in Gloucestershire for a lovely gig called the Pear Tree Sessions run by the lovely Gwyneth Keen. It was a cracking evening in a wonderful venue and we enjoyed it a lot although bloody hell it’s in the middle of nowhere…

So to finish off the busy April tour, we’re in Warwick on Sunday but before that Bury on Friday and in between I’m back home on my own in the legendary Joxers if anyone fancies that. Marvellous.

Now let me tell you about a couple of things that happened during my travels. Firstly, Basingstoke Multi-Storey Car Park. Now I know many are not a fan of multi-storey car parks but this was quite extraordinary. I was driving my lovely girlfriend and her mother to the gig with me and quite naturally followed the many road signs to the Anvil Theatre. I was thinking ‘good heavens, this is the best signed venue I’ve ever played at’. Well yes except the last sign led me into a multi-storey car park. Worst of all it was impossible to get out of the multi-storey car park. You couldn’t turn round so the only way was in…so I had to buy a ticket that I didn’t even want! Worse is to come…I went to the relevant exit to find that you had to pay at a seperate paypoint but there were now two cars behind me. Fortunately my reverse lights were not without their uses and the cars sportingly backed up so I could move out of their way. My lady and I then went to find the paypoint which was about 4,587.2 miles away. We then returned to the car to get the hell out and discovered courtesy of the one way system (and note to self never again ignore girlfriend’s mother’s instructions to sod the one way system) I had to drive right the way up to the top so we were practically on top a of a mountain…then all the way back down again! I must have used up more fuel than I earnt from the gig!

Then dear old trains…dear dear old trains. For my girlfriend’s birthday I took her to the theatre in Southampton and decided rather than the scary city driving or trying to park etc in Southampton why not take the train from Winchester and back. After all it’s only a short journey. Well in theory…you may be able to see where I’m going with this or rather you think you might be able to see where I’m going with this but just wait…so…the last train back was via Eastleigh. We got to Eastleigh. Eastliegh to Winchester is only a nine minute journey. Just remember that…nine minute journey. The train arrived. Marvellous. We got on it. Then the screen on the platform decided the next train on this platform was in fact going to Portsmouth. Which isn’t Winchester. So led to ten minutes of utter confusion and no staff whatsoever while people got on and left the train trying to work out where the ruddy hell it was going. Then came the announcement. ‘Sorry ladies and gents please make your way off the train, the guard hasn’t shown up so alternative transport is being made available for you at the front of the station’. Now I did utter the words ‘why always me’ (copyright Mario Balotelli) but then thought oh well I guess there’ll be a bus there. After a long time waiting and with no staff whatsoever, we were informed via the help button that taxis were coming for us. Marvellous. There were actually six cabs already waiting at the station but these weren’t the ones sent by the rail company they were normally there. Then one of us said the cars we wanted would be coming from Southampton. You hear that? Southampton. Not Winchester which is nine minutes away. Not Eastleigh which is where we ruddy well were. But Southampton. Why exactly?

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