Pedestrians crossing

Dear all,

May I take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all of you who continue to read this blog. It gives me no end of pleasure and the reason I say this particularly is I found out this morning just how many people visit this website regularly and that makes me very happy indeed!

Right ho then let’s catch up. I had a bloody fantastic weekend in Newcastle as I mentioned briefly in my last blog about the folk degree – it was great to catch up with people and I had cracking gigs with Simma as ever especially at the Magnesia Bank where we were joined by Nick Gladdish and Elliot Clarke and I got to rock out on the electric which was a welcome treat!

There followed some rehearsing with Pound prior to recording (more on that in a minute) and an exciting meeting with people about my new album (again more in a tick). Then it was back to gigging at the fantabulous Swaledale Festival with the Pound. Our gig was in the Buck Hotel and we had an absolute ball in an unusually late gig (11pm-1am) and thanks to the crowd for being great and to organiser Malcolm Creese who was quite simply one of the nicest people we’ve ever met.

Next up is a Hexham-tastic weekend. I’m teaming up again with singer Kathryn Davidson for a duo gig at Tarset Village Hall to launch her excellent debut album ‘The Lass Will Not Learn’ tomorrow night (Friday) then I’m at one of my dearest friends’ wedding on Saturday before gigging with the Pound at the Hexham Gathering on Sunday for a free gig in the park in the afternoon so do come along.

Right then other news – I’ve spent the last few days in the studio with Pound recording the new Walsh and Pound album which will be released in the new year. Exciting stuff; we got a lot done with the wonderful Mark Hutchinson in the producer’s chair again and more to come. As I mentioned, I also met with Mark and others about my new solo album and finally decided on the p**sing running order which took a loooooong time to decide, but I’m very happy with it now and will post more details nearer the release date which is confirmed as late August/start of September. Marvellous.

Right ho then…you may be wondering what the title refers to. Well several times recently, I’ve been on dual carriageways a long way from anything one would be walking to/from and there have been signs saying ‘pedestrians crossing 200 yards’. Now I’m sorry, I am all for safety and awareness but are you honestly telling me that people would actually be walking around these roads let alone be daft enough to attempt to cross?! There’s nothing there!!!!

Anyway, you haven’t had a train story in a while. Well let me tell you one from Tuesday to reveal the true nonsense of the privatisation of the rail service…I bought a return from Stafford to Northampton in the morning and the choice of tickets was truly astronomical, we are talking three pages of options! Anyway being a professional banjo player, I went for the cheapest option and bought a London Midland only return which essentially means I had to travel on London Midland services. There is a direct train run by that company in the morning so no problem but the direct services back stop at 4.45 which was too early for me. Therefore instead of the more logical route of changing at Rugby, I had to change at Birmingham New St because Rugby to Stafford is run by Virgin Trains not London Midland. Bored yet? Anyway trains to Birmingham were largely f**ked so I was delayed a fair while. Finally got one and then it f**ked itself so had to terminate at Birmingham International. There were no London Midland trains whatsoever to Birmingham New St or Stafford so I asked if I could get a different train at least as far as New St. They said no but I told them to f**k themselves. The train was then so crowded my hands were stuck between someone’s back and the wall which was lovely…so I finally got home after a 3 hour 30 minute journey that’s supposed to be…1 hour 40.