We’re in October, how the hell did that happen?! September was a mightily busy month with trips to Canada and Italy, the former for a fifth time and the latter for the very first time. Canada was a delight as it always is with an excellent gig in Vancouver kicking things off since the last blog. A lovely little house concert it was and then it was off to Kelowna to play Milkcrate Records which was a nice little gig followed by a storming gig in Kamloops at The Art We Are. This was one of my very favourite gigs of this year – thank you all of you who came out. Then it was a return to the heroically named Tractorgrease Cafe in Chilliwack which is a quite amazing place off the beaten track with gigs galore and a great following.
Then it was off to beautiful Vancouver Island with the stint starting and ending in lovely Victoria. The legendary Iredale house concert was as wonderful as last time as was Victoria Folk Society which is a truly brilliant gig. In between were gigs in Port Alberni at Char’s Landing which was a fun gig and then a storming sold out show in Qualicum Beach courtesy of the Beatons. Next up a return to the wonderfully bizarre Duncan Showroom which once again proved a delight then before returning to Victoria it was Sooke for a cracking and packed gig in a lovely church (and having the use of an extraordinarily expensive guitar which was new to the host. That was quite a nerve wracking few songs…).
And so after returning for all of one day, it was off to Italy for the first time with three gigs in the Bolzano region near to the Austrian border. Massive shout to Thomas Blaas who made this all happen! I often get asked who organises my foreign trips – usually it’s me! It requires a lot of emailing looking for gigs, looking at google maps trying to nail down a suitable route, visas, flights, hotels etc. So to have it all done for me this time was VERY NICE! All three gigs were cracking anyway and I had a wonderful time with a lot of truly lovely people who were very welcoming. And what a beautiful part of the country too!
Then it was back to the UK and a weekend of gigs with the legendary Alistair Anderson in Stafford, Bridgwater and Maidenhead. The first was a really special night – Stafford being my hometown I knew most of the audience and nearly all knew that I’d been to Newcastle to study the folk degree so to bring the man who was my degree head to Stafford and collide those two worlds was really special. Bridgwater was also very special as we were playing for a surprise 70th birthday who was pretty stunned when we turned up at the door! Then a great little gig at Norden Farm in Maidenhead as well where Alistair randomly decided to wander off into the audience during a tune whilst playing the concertina and dancing. I hope I have his energy when I’m 70.
Now then, I’ve had this rant with a few people lately and the subject was brilliantly ‘reported’ as ever in the legendary Daily Mash the other day so it’s on my mind. I’ve always been, according to my friends, a bit of a philistine when it comes to matters relating to home decor. I have an astonishing inability to notice when anyone has decorated or even changed the flooring as was pointed out to me vociferously recently on a visit to a friend’s house with their new wooden floor. But there’s one thing I really don’t understand – the big light vs lots of lights thing. See when I walk into the room and it’s a bit dark I turn the light on so I can see. Then when I’m done I turn it off again. Seems to me a very simple process that takes very little time but I have been told I’m rather soulless on the matter because at night ‘mood lighting’ is better. So apparently one should, rather than operating a single light switch, turn on about five different lamps around the room so that when you’re done for the evening and go up to bed it’s important to go round the room turning off each light then doing that really awkward ‘in the dark’ walk out of the room because you can’t see anymore and the big lightswitch is inevitably not nearby. I’ll never understand some things.