Today we head North. The weather is becoming noticeably more hostile as we follow the long winding road to Östersund. To pass the time, we have set Ian Graham a geographic general knowledge challenge. His task is to list every country within a chosen continent. He made a strong start by naming almost all South and Central American countries before moving on to name an impressive 37 out of 54 African countries. We’re now covering the Middle East. Testing his mental capabilities however, seems to be having an adverse affect on the quality of his driving which has just prompted the cautionary “Car quizzes cause carcasses” from quiz adjudicator Paul Sayer in the passenger seat.
A lot has happened since my last diary entry. The most significant being the departure of Luke from the band. His announcement came as a half-surprise to us. We’d been aware that he wasn’t the greatest lover of touring and being in the studio is where he is happiest but considering how far we’ve come together, it was disappointing that he’d chosen to leave. However, It can’t have been an easy decision for him to make and we wish him all the very best. We’re thankful for the amazing times we’ve had together and proud of what we’ve achieved so far of which he was a huge part.
Finding someone to fill Luke’s shoes (or lack of, if you consider his penchant for going barefoot on stage) was never going to be easy. We even considered importing from Austin, Texas at one point but realised that it would probably prove impractical in the long term. Turns out we only had to look as far as West London to find the considerable guitar talents of Mr Matthew White. He’s a quiet spoken skyscraper of a man with a gentle soul and a shared appreciation of the finer things in life such as artisan coffee, good music and quality luggage. He’s a perfect fit on many levels and in a short space of time, he’s dovetailed into the band beautifully. Losing Luke has been like breaking a leg. It was painful at the time followed by a period of limping but we’re now running at full speed and we’re going to keep on going. As sad as it was to see Luke go. We’ve all invested far too much to let his departure hold us back and there are many exciting times ahead.
Östersund is still a fair distance away and the roads are becoming increasingly treacherous. It’s dark now, very dark. There is no light pollution up here and our headlights illuminate only an icy road ahead lined with trees, their branches heavy with snow. It seems as though we’ve been driving a lot longer than the estimated 8 hours travel time but that’s probably down to the fact that we’re driving at 30mph to avoid sliding off a bend in the road.
So, if you happen to be knocking about Östersund tomorrow (wed) night, maybe we’ll see you. If not, the arrival of “White Bear” is fast approaching and we’ll be bringing it to a town near you soon.