New Zealand

Dear all,

I write to you from Gatwick airport with the obligatory pre-flight pint. We’re off to New Zealand and then Australia in February. I say ‘we’. It’s a solo tour but I am taking my family so other half Nicol and beautiful newly one year old Heidi are in tow! Yes we are doing that flight with a baby…it’ll be fine…

It was my little girl’s first birthday yesterday, a momentous occasion. Nicol and I both wondered if we were mad flying the day after her birthday especially as we laid on a little house party for the occasion with family and friends but actually it was rather beneficial in the end. It took our minds off the inevitable pre-match nerves so to speak!

And so it’s off to New Zealand. It’s difficult to know where to start with this incredible place. My love affair with it began ten years ago when I ventured there for a tour. At that point I had done precisely two trips abroad that were music related and both were heavily organised by other people so this was the first time I’d ever organised a tour abroad by myself. It was a total punt – I was in a phase of my life where I decided to abandon my cautious instincts and tried to throw caution to the wind a little more. So after a load of speculative emails to Kiwi gig organisers and my introduction to how extraordinarily helpful Kiwis are as they forwarded me on to more contacts I ended up with rather a nice tour of both islands including a headline slot at Auckland folk festival. My general attitude was that my school chum Tom who now lived there had organised me a vehicle and almost all gigs were based on door sales so I figured even if a handful turned up every night and I made a couple of hundred dollars it might sort of be alright…

In the end it was rather a triumph! Thanks to an introduction to a PR person I ended up on Good Morning TV straight before 10cc (!), virtually sold out of CDs at my first gig so had to get more shipped over for the rest of the tour and even better still did my one and only gig that involved the chanting of my name and an actual crowd surf as the mayhem of the Mussel Inn drew towards a close after a record three hour set!!!!

And the kiwis. Oh the kiwis. Such hospitable, wonderful and friendly people and of course the most beautiful country on earth. It’s special and unique. And I love it. It’s the one and only time I’ve genuinely considered emigrating but the thought of being the other side of the world from my family just about held out! But to be heading there again after a six year hiatus (I toured there again in 2016 and 2018) feels really so exciting and to have my family in tow, despite the beastly flights, makes it all the more special.