Greetings from Costa

Dear all,

I write to you from Costa Coffee in Stourbridge. Because my life is glamorous. I spend a great deal of my time in cafes on a laptop, yes I’m one of those guys. My philosophy generally is if it’s an independent cafe I would always keep buying drinks and not just take up a table for work. In Costa, Cafe Nero et al I feel rather different.

Anyway, there’s some information that won’t be of any use to you whatsoever. So to bring you up to speed, it was straight back into travels albeit on a rather smaller scale as UFQ went to Holland for a one off gig in Zandaam. Joe spent much of the time telling me how good gigging in Holland is and such was borne out by the gig. A lovely host and a great crowd in a packed house. I was of course utterly banjaxed from my Southern Hemisphere travails but I managed to do the gig before collapsing in the car! It was truly wonderful to see and play with my UFQ colleagues once again.

Next up was some rehearsing with my new Dan Walsh trio which I’m so excited to be going on the road with in May. We’ve even made a new video too – my new song ‘The Light Of Day’ can be found here:

Then it was off to Penrith to see the folks which was extremely welcome after so long away and Mum and I braved the snow to head over to the Sage Gateshead in…Gateshead and see Fisherman’s Friends who were their usual entertaining selves. The drive home was quite an experience as the snow hit especially getting into Penrith and trying to get up the hills but we got home safe and sound in time for a glass of whisky and a game of scrabble. Then it was off down to Chesham for a UFQ gig at Chesham Folk Club then on Thursday it was a return to a long standing favourite at Huntingdon Hall in Worcester. Then tonight I’m at the Maverick in Stourbridge.

I don’t know what it is but just lately I have noticed myself doing something that I’ve realised is quite common among Brits and I have since observed it in others. It’s the thing of pretending you’re not doing something you’re blatantly doing. A lot of the time there is also the added hilarity that there is not a cat in hell’s chance that anyone would care anyway. So for example, yesterday I went to Stafford train station to pick someone up. It’s rather a busy waiting area out the front with relatively few spaces. As they were all full I decided to park in a ‘not quite a space but not in the way’ type of way. I was a little nervous of doing this because, well, I’m English so when I observed someone leaving a space I turned on the engine, reversed back with the intention of then driving into the space…except someone got there first as they drove forwards into the station car park waiting type area and therefore I was stymied. I then decided to try and hide that this was blatantly what I had tried to do by waiting directly in the way of everybody in the middle of the car park in even more of a ‘not a space’ situation than before. Now what occurs to me is a) how in hell could I seriously make out that I deliberately turned the car engine on and began backing out of my not quite a space in order to loiter in a singularly unhelpful place in the middle of a car park and b) why on earth would anyone take any interest in what my motives were for backing out of a non space and c) why by Christ should this be something to be embarrassed about?! The other day at a service station I saw a guy walk towards the gents toilet and it had an out of order sign on it. Rather than just turn round in disappointment, he decided to use a vending machine which was the only other thing on that particular corridor rather than just admit to himself and others that he had gone down that corridor purely to use the toilet. At a service station. Oh it was me by the way…WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! This Englishness lark is getting too far. Just ask the football fans in Amsterdam…