Friday, 1 May 2009

The Great Escape.

Tuesday 28th April. Day Off.
It took four hours to reach the hotel in Redditch. No one in the band seems to know the town, and the general expectation of the place is not all that positive - I'm not altogether sure why though. It could be of it's close proximity to Birmingham perhaps. The closest I've got to Redditch before is when, a good few years ago, I would play at a very large pub and popular music venue - The Breedon Bar in Kings Norton. I always recall the exit off the M42 leading me on to a road that went either north to King Norton, or south to Redditch. That was probably eighteen years ago, or more.

They staged a British songwriters weekend there, I remember; it was one of the first occasions I ran into the late Isaac Guillary. He was quite an inspiration to me at that time; very slick, great guitar technique, tremendous guitar sound, and considerable stage presence. He was, of course, like just about all of us, a mixture of things - some perhaps not quite so glowing - and once again like the rest of us, largely born of insecurities. My own uncertainties prevented me from appreciating much about Isaac's character, especially his generosity. I could say exactly the same about Al Stewart who I worked with back in the seventies and early eighties. Apart from his evident talent as a writer, I don't believe I ever afforded him the kind of credit he warranted for the ingenuous person he was.

I was so busy surviving back then, there were many things I failed to appreciate.

I had one of the best Indian food experiences tonight. If, like me, you're an Indian food lover, and are ever in the Redditch area, visit the Montville Indian Fusion restaurant; it's not only the food, but everything about the place, the attitude, the decor, etc.

David (road crew) was with Patch (other half of the road crew) and Jackie (tour manager) last night in Patch's room. David went into the toilet, and the locking mechanism on the door froze. Despite his best efforts he couldn't get out. Patch and Jackie tried pushing from the other side, to no avail; he was well and truly stuck. They got the hotel manager up; he couldn't open it either. Thirty minutes later and the manager went to phone the Fire Brigade; at this point Patch made one desperate final effort to free the hostage in the loo, by throwing himslf at the door. Success. The door split in two. And the lock? - It stayed firmly in place.
David is now a free man.

I've decided it's never a good idea to visit the toilet without a mobile phone and a tool kit.

Night 13. Wednesday 29th April. The Palace Theatre, Redditch.
Officially over the halfway mark with just eleven dates left. I'm sitting up in bed in a hotel that is not at all to my liking (you know, almost every time I type the word 'bed' I spell it 'bad'. Is this just an ever-repeating, coincidental, familiar mistake, or is there something going on that's, well . . . Freudian?).

On the television there's a program about fat people; it's a competition to see who can lose the most weight. These reality-style show is about
real people in real situations, and with real problems are as predictable as my bed . . . I mean bad spelling.

fat losers show is no exception. I imagine they lose most of the weight through the amount of crying that takes place.
These programs go like this: create a scenario where people are going to appear to struggle. Make sure you have the correct mixture of personality types so as to get a balance between quitters, achievers, dominants, submissives, etc. Get an ever-so assertive workout instructor. Punctuate the program mercilessly with brief close-ups of the various participants talking about how they feel, then crying. Group shots. Instructor shouts at them. More crying. Tantrums. Reflection. Achievement. Laughing. Instructor show his or her human side - they're human after all. Intersperse with a 'voice over' - a slightly patronising commentary to make sure you know exactly what's going on, and then mix in short bursts of the most banal incidental music.
And there you have it.

It's strange, they just showed one of the contestants throwing-up; you see, this is the effect these programs have on people - and not just the participants.

Took a leisurely stroll around the town centre. There seems not to be much of a town centre - apart from a good number of pubs, a church and a small bus station. And then you discover 'it' - the shopping mall - it's bloody enormous. Once 'it' was discovered I grabbed a copy of The Independent, sat down to the customary Cappuccino Medio, and then bought, amongst other things, some Portuguese sardines in olive oil at M&S.
Enjoyed the show tonight in what is probably the smallest venue on the tour. It strengthens my view that the shallower and higher the theatre, the warmer the audience.


  1. "It could be of it's close proximity to Birmingham perhaps". And this from someone from Preston?
    For your information, Kings Norton is a suburb of Birmingham, you ill-informed cloth-cap-clad oik.

  2. How dare you call Ken an ill-informed cloth-cap-clad oik?!? He has no cap.