Thursday 10th December. The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury.
Accommodation: The Bell Hotel, Tewkesbury.
As with last night’s theatre, it’s a little unusual to be playing only one night here.
Once again, and as with so many of the halls on this winter tour, it’s my second visit to the Roses within a year (see: Third Night Nerves. Monday 2nd February).
Touring at any other time of year, there would most probably be a tendency, to some extent, to forget which month one was in. But as we move further along through the duration of these December days, the reminders are both more frequent and harder to ignore.
Tonight it’s the pantomime, and the first of many I’m certain. This means that we can’t use our usual dressing rooms due to the number of Widow Twankey, Ugly Sister or Mother Goose outfits which occupy all available space. Instead we are all (excluding Maddy) upstairs in the Eric Morecambe Suite - Oh yes we are!
Friday 11th December. De Montfort Hall, Leicester.
Accommodation: The Sky Plaza Hotel.
I've had a soft spot for the De Montfort Hall and for Leicester ever since I’d travel here as a guitar-picking nineteen year old to see June, my girlfriend, back in 1970/71.
She was an exceptional person who got involved with an exceptionally mixed up person. Yes, that was me.
We met in Preston, the first part of our relationship being very problematic on account of her protective, middle-class and somewhat–as I recall–snobbish Father expressing profound disapproval towards me. Some might say he was very perceptive!
But he actually tried to force us not to see each other, which was rather ambitious seeing we were both in our late teens.
June moved down to Leicester to study Psychology at the university, and I would sometimes catch the bus, sometimes hitch-hike, down there for a weekend, sometimes longer.
Later I’d be travelling ‘up’ to Leicester from London. This was after Christmas 1970 when I took the plunge, and decided to seek fame, fortune and disillusionment in the big smoke.
Every visit to Leicester was special back then. Along with the bands we’d see and other events we’d go to, I even loved being inside that cupboard sized room of hers at the halls of residence in the suburb of Oadby. There’s so much more I could write about our last few months together, but I’ll save that for the autobiography.
One thing's for sure though, the peaceful setting of a pleasant and middle-class Oadby is a million miles from the surroundings I find myself in today at the Sky Plaza Hotel. It’s a decidedly dodgy hotel in a decidedly dodgy area. God knows how we got booked into this place.
I keep telling myself that it will soon be over, and then I’ll be wending my way home for two - yes, ‘two’ whole days off.
Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th December. Days off.