The wonder of parents

Dear all,


Well January has been its usual relatively gig-free self but a chance to catch up on many things, write one or two bits and organise, you know, my life. I was due to visit Newcastle the weekend just gone and play the legendary Angel in Wooler and Magnesia Bank in North Shields with my old chum Simma but the weather intervened so it has been even more gig-free than expected. Isn’t snow a ruddy pain in the posteria when it isn’t Christmas? It’s magical then don’t get me wrong but when you actually need to get anywhere it’s not fun, it’s tedious! However, I have not been entirely ‘office’ bound (i.e. my room…) for I have been doing some Live Music Now work with the wonderful mandolinist Nic Zuppardi. We visited a hospital and a mental health unit last week to try and therapise (definitely not a word…) the patients. Miraculously, train travel was relatively hassle free other than a delay getting back from London but I’m prepared to understand that one given it was shisting down with snow.


All being well, I will be visiting Toon this weekend to play a gig with Simma on Saturday night at Nancy’s (always a good one this) and on Sunday I am extremely excited to be supporting Sara Watkins at the Sage Gateshead. For those not in the know Sara is a mighty singer and fiddler who I first encountered as a teenager through her work with the incomparable Nickel Creek whose debut album still ranks as one of my top ten albums, probably top five. Then I play the Brunel Musuem in London and O’Neill’s in Oxford before going to India and returning to embark on a hefty tour of smaller venues taking me across the UK and Ireland right til the end of April. Dates are all on the gigs page and flyers and things will be making their way out so do join me if you would like, I would love to see you. My banjo needs you. That sounds wrong.


So then, what’s been happening in the world? Well the cases of the four court cases involving Christians and their employers were very interesting but I won’t write about that here as I may well be doing that in due course. HMV are screwed, likewise I’ll come to that one in a seperate entry. On a lighter note, I was listening to 5live football coverage at the weekend and Peter Reid said: ‘he went down rather theoretically’. I’m assuming he meant theatrically, but what was so funny about it was he even hesitated over it and had a good long go before going with completely the wrong word. Bless him.


I also must say I thoroughly enjoyed two excursions in London with my beloved. One was to have bubble tea in London. Have you ever come across this stuff? It’s rather bizarre it’s a nice drink with tapioca ‘bubble’ balls at the bottom which you suck up through the straw along with the liquid and chew. My lady discovered it in Asia when she went there it’s rather rummy, but very pleasant. We also went to the musuem of childhood which meant I got to play with toys and wish I was seven again. Marvellous!


So then to the title of this blog. Well much though it was a shame my trip to Newcastle didn’t come off, my parents happened to be in Stafford when I was so we had an evening at the pub and then the flat they have. Aren’t parents wonderful? I mean so much gets said about how much of a nightmare families are, but honestly I had an absolute ball with mine. After the wonderful new year gathering with cousins, aunts, uncles and all this was another marvellous family evening. So at the risk of being utterly sentimental, here’s to my dear old mum and dad and the wonderful company, parenting and whiskey they provide!