I woke earlier with the sun pouring through the porthole in my cabin. Slightly confused, I got up and peered out of the small round window to discover that I was, in fact, not on a ship, but in a hotel in Portsmouth. Clearly, when designing this building, the architect made the obvious connection between Portsmouth and sea vessels and came up with the genius idea of adding a little porthole to each bedroom so the morning light could flood in and act as a natural alarm clock (curtains would have spoiled the effect from the interior). This gift from Ibis however doesn’t seemed to have had any kind of impact on Paul Sayer, my room mate for the night, as he is still flat on his back, wrapped in his duvet like an embalmed and mummified Tutankhamun before they stuck him in his ornate casket.
So, before I mention last night’s gig at the Guildhall, let’s skip back a couple of days to the London show. There was always going to be an added pressure on the London show. It’s the biggest we’ve done to date, It’s a legendary venue and all our friends and family were going to be there along with agents, management, promoters, etc, Really, it should be no more important than any other show as we always strive to deliver whether in London or Inverness. If someone has paid money for a ticket and travelled see us then they deserve the best we can give but I must admit that there was slightly more nervous anticipation than usual in the dressing room before stage time. Phil and myself dealt with this by singing Bee-Gees songs in the men’s room.
I’ve been to many gigs at Shepherd’s Bush Empire before but to play there is something else. To walk onto the stage and look out at that amazing room full of beautiful souls who’ve come with the sole intention of listening to you play music is pretty mind blowing.
I’d like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to everyone that was at Shepherd’s Bush for making the effort to travel to the show despite the tube strike. I know a lot of you had difficulties either getting there or returning home but the fact you were all there meant a lot to us. Thank you.
So, on to Oxford, and another chance to visit the awesome Lebanese & Moroccan restaurant down the road from the venue. I’ve been watching Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s “Trip to Italy” on BBC iplayer on this tour. If anyone has watched the programme, our tours are pretty similar to this. We drive from town to town searching out the best places to eat whilst relentlessly taking the piss out of each other by doing impersonations. You soon learn to develop a thick skin.
This brings me neatly to yesterday where we had a great pub lunch in Abingdon, a pretty little town near Oxford. Other than the shows themselves, these are my favourite times on tour when we find ourselves eating great food together and having a good old chat. Who knows where we’ll be in five or ten years time. We may all be travelling in separate buses and staying in separate hotels, unable to stand the sight of each other, or we may have given up and started careers in Telemarketing, but right now, I love the guys in this band like brothers. We may occasionally get on each other’s nerves or get a bit tired and emotional but we’re all there for each other and I wouldn’t want to be doing this with anyone else.
Last night’s show in Portsmouth was a belter. I really enjoyed it. As the Portsmouth Pyramids had been flooded, the gig was moved to the Guildhall, a beautiful big room that you all filled with your infectious energy. We’d spent the hour before going on stage in our dressing room singing and dancing around to a selection of great tunes from Lenny Kravitz (first album), ELO, Paul McCartney and Wings and Delaney and Bonnie. I may start compiling a playlist of our favourite pre-gig music.
Right, I’ve just received a call from the Captain of the good ship Ibis, instructing me that we’ve out-stayed our welcome and can we kindly leave now so I’ll wrap up this lengthy tome and leave you with a lovely picture from last night taken by our very own James Pepper Esq.
See you in Cardiff!