To suggest we have been ‘on tour’ seems, on the face of it, to be somewhat big-headedly grand. Being on tour means staying in hotels, eating lots of curry and drinking beer whilst only occasionally being interrupted by the business of playing music.
Hang on; I think we’ve been on tour…
Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…
We have become experts at the verb to ‘Travelodge’. If you believe the telly, this has something to do with a miniature Gonk-like version of oneself, singing a song about being happy, whilst snuggling into bed alongside you.
If that happened to me (and it usually takes a fair bit of whisky before it does) I’d be out of there like a greased whipped with a bowel condition.
That notwithstanding, there are a few things we have learned. Firstly most clients of Travelodge are of the dwarf persuasion. I know this because of the bath. It is always fun to have a bath in installments. The rooms are huge. Empty, but huge. This is of course a Good Thing, as we can’t leave the gear in the car, so it has to make the trip from the car park to the room. In this case on the second floor.
But there was a lift.
No wonder my back is giving me grief again.
The one we use is actually very good. It’s right next door to Stanstead Aerodrome, and is well appointed. It has a bar and boasts a restaurant. I am aware that ‘Restaurant’ is a much abused term, conjuring as it does visions of Baccahnarian repast, but all too often turns out to be a McDonalds. If they are restaurants, then I am a musician.
But the gaff was nice enough; clean and warm and the aforementioned bar was nice after a gig. And, we had a special visitor too. Nice Mr. Obama flew past the window, preceded, subtly, by two other jets and several attack helicopters. I know customs can be rough, but…
I’m sure he waved, or was it his missus, Calzone?
First up this week was WI booking near Sunderland. It went well, the ladies enjoyed the show and sang, laughed and generally joined in which was grand. The show was notable for another reason though; at the end as they all left (thankfully via the merch table) one lady stopped to chat:
“My brother’s a Folk Singer – plays and sings and that”.
“Oh yes?” Quoth I, conversationally.
“Yes, he’s called Jez Lowe, have you heard of him?”
Three shows in deepest Hertfordshire followed, two with big audiences (170 and 70) and they seemed to have gone well. The last show was for a 61 club in Essex, which we wanted to play at as the lovely gentleman featured in the song ‘Bevin Boys’ goes there. At 90+ and not too well, Francis turned up specially – I hope he enjoyed the song – he was certainly singing!
The journey home was long, probably made longer by the prospect of another (albeit much shorter) trip on Saturday evening to play a big Rotary event somewhere in Unfinished Darlingtonshire.
This turned out to be a Geet Posh™ country hall retreat, wif bow ties ‘n long dresses ‘n fings. It also turned out to be an absolute riot, as they were all out for a good time, with thankfully everyone seemed to have, it was a slightly unusual, but great fun FG gig.
The gear has all behaved well thus far, the big PA getting a good run out and sounding very nice indeed. I have found that I’ll need to add some boost to my PRS for the solo bits. Not that I exactly shred, but Carol’s tenor is talking properly through the PA now, and I need to just lift that little bit over the top for solo bits. This will probably meant pressing my very old Boss graphic pedal into service, as it runs off an old-school battery. Setup time is at a premium for us, so whatever else gets added to the set, it will have to be very quick to set up.
Which rules out the greased-up fire-eating dwarves dressed as Dante’s minor demons; as they take too long to get ready, and are not, as it turns out, actually fireproof.
We do quite well with the merch at the moment. The CDs themed round the show we are doing seem to go very well. We reckon that if you flog to about 10% of the bodies in the room, that is a reasonable batting average. This proves that 90% of our audiences:
- Do not own a CD player
- Are skint
- Are music lovers.
It’s not about the cash sales (although, that is undeniably a nice bonus), it’s more about getting FG songs out and listened to. So we need to develop that side of things. T-Shirts are an option of course.
An option that lasted about five seconds.
We do however have a cunning plan.
Printers have been contacted and a large job awaits my steaming computer.
Next week is more giggage, a bit less than this week, but still busy. Some work for the Man in there too, but hopefully more music, more frivolity and more baths – with or without the dwarfs.
And so as the Tour Bus of Eternity heads off to the Great Big Gig of Eternal Pleasure, only to be diverted at Doncaster and terminate – as so many do – at Peterborough, I notice it is the end of this blog.
Until Next Time, Acoustic Chums,
 Has anyone got a water-cooled Halogen laser they don’t want?
 Always check the label for the kite mark. That way you won’t get burned, and neither will your dwarf.
 Where’s the fun in that?