Know your limits

Dear all,

A very happy St Patrick’s Day to my Irish friends around the globe. It’s the first time in about thirteen years that I won’t be doing a gig on Paddy’s Day. In my younger years and particularly in Newcastle I used to play loads of gigs on the day and it was a vital income stream. I even enjoyed it sometimes…but I think my horror of fancy dress and groups of people acting in irritating ways is too much for me these days. In the last few years I’ve gigged in my normal way but this year it so happens I’m not. I will probably be staying in to avoid irritation.

Anyway, that’s a cheerful start to the blog isn’t it?! To bring you up to speed, after returning from Gran Canaria I had a few days practice before heading to London for a seriously hectic week culminating in ‘A Night Of Country’ at the Roundhouse. This was a gig with an 18 piece ‘house band’ of stellar musicians which I was very glad to be a part of. There were then some guest artists including Imelda May (of whom I’m a big fan!), Duane Eddy, Ward Thomas and a solo set from Seasick Steve. It was fun to be a part of it all. Rehearsals were Sunday to Wednesday from 10 til 7 every day and then all day on the Thursday prior to the gig so sleep was gratefully had when it was all over! It was great to meet so many great musicians and to be on stage with Imelda particularly. Did I mention I’m a massive fan?

With Duane and Imelda. Just to point out, this was sound check and I looked more enthusiastic and concentrated during the gig…

Then it was back to an old favourite – the Haberdashers in Knighton, a place I played when I was 16 at the Middle of Nowhere festival. I return every now and then as it’s always a cracking little night and a good gig to do in non-touring season. It was once again a fine night although two drunken plonkers did their best to make it problematic towards the end….but fortunately nice people intervened.

Next up, UFQ began our run of spring gigs in Hitchin at the extraordinary Hitchin Folk Club. Folk clubs are a great lifeblood for folk performers but to hold a weekly folk club in a not massive town and get over 100 people every time…astounding! Hats off to all who make it happen! It was a lovely gig as ever and good to get back into UFQ action. Before I start my solo tour we’ll be in Worcester, Chester, Maldon, Bristol, Abingdon and Alstonefield too.

So then, touching again on those plonkers from my Knighton gig. It’s no secret that I like a nice dram of whisky, a good pint of real ale or a glass of plonk. I have even been known to put a fair bit away in my time. But what I don’t understand is how people either a) don’t cotton on to how they start behaving when they cross a certain threshold or b) don’t even care. If I broke things, offended people, almost knocked over a pint and ruined an entire PA system….I would NEVER want to drink like that again! What happened to learning limits?! If you can’t take much drink before acting like a self important pain in the arse who doesn’t care about how you behave then do you know what…DON’T!