Greetings to you all on my brand spanking new website – looking rather good eh? It was in need of a bit of a spruce up not least because I was receiving all kinds of random tripe from robotic spammers apparently owing to outdated software. For the record, should you ever think about contacting me on the subject my interest in viagra is rather limited. Anyway the trio tour has kicked off which is terribly exciting and we had a typically wonderful gig in my hometown of Stafford last night where we were joined by some of my oldest and dearest friends. Prior to that we kicked things off in Chesterfield at North Wingfield Resource Centre last Friday which again was a lovely wee gig.
So what else have I been up to? Well first thing after the last blog was a gig at The Big Comfy Bookshop in Coventry which was highly enjoyable and featured great sets from Devon Mayson and Amit Dattani. Then it was back to UFQ action and a cracking gig at Bristol Folk House which has become a big favourite for us on our tours. Next it was off to Chester to play Alexander’s with UFQ which as usual was a lively affair and we even popped into Chester University during the day to do a workshop with the students.
Then came a rather eventful weekend of gigs abroad, firstly sticking with UFQ as we headed to France for a cracker of a gig in Sologne and then I headed to Ibiza. Well this was fun. So the flight from Paris involved changing in Barcelona which is when everything got hideous. At the risk of stating the obvious, this is not to imply that Barcelona is anything other than a lovely city but the airport was an absolute bloody nightmare. I stood in the very long queue for my flight with an uneasy feeling as the departure time rapidly approached that something was not going to go to plan. A little while later a Spanish chap came around the queue and spoke in Spanish. Quite understandable of course. The only trouble is I don’t speak Spanish and couldn’t ask the beleaguered fella to translate as lots of Spanish people were angrily shouting at him in Spanish. Anyway it turned out the flight was now delayed from 2220 to 0130…then it was cancelled altogether. At which point we all had to LEAVE THE AIRPORT and come back in (?!?!?!?!) and queue up to arrange our new flight for the following day. I queued for AN HOUR AND A HALF to do this and then they sent me and however many other poor wretches on a FORTY MINUTE bus ride to an admittedly rather swanky hotel. We arrived there at 0130 and the agony continued as the man on reception seemed to take great delight in taking as long as humanly possible to check us in. I then had to get up at 0500 for my new flight. Happily this flight was on time so I landed in Ibiza…and my banjo and suitcase didn’t turn up. Thankfully they turned up the day before I left. Suffice to say this was not my favourite ever journey.
However, on a more positive note Costa del Folk was really rather good and it was great to play with the legendary Alistair Anderson as always. It was also really fantastic to have a good old tune session with the outstanding Jenn Butterworth and Laura Wilkie and indeed Mr Anderson himself. It reminded me of my Newcastle days and it was most excellent. Better still Sharon Shannon who did an absolutely outstanding set (as always) during that day was watching on (which I didn’t realise til I finished a particularly raucous medley of reels and then turned round and saw her) and was full of praise which meant a very great deal to me, her being a hero of mine. Finally, UFQ had two more gigs last weekend in Bedford and Walton on Thames both of which were bloody hot but much much fun!
So finally, a little rant. Where the hell did this modern tendency come from to have mobile phone conversations in public with speakerphone on? Is it just all part of everybody’s mission now to inform every sod on the planet about every ruddy thing going on in their lives? When I walk down the street or am on a train or sitting in a pub why oh why are these twits holding their phone at a weird angle to speak into the mic and then blaring out their inane conversations to the wider world? I’ve got an idea – there was nothing wrong with the old system of holding the phone to your ear at which point your voice also reaches the mic so the other person can hear you without everyone else in the world knowing about the non-interesting ‘goss’ from your night out last night. Please stop this madness!