We arrive at our hotel outside Chester in good time. There are a few hours of daylight left so I cab it into town. My driver is a bit of a bore but sweet enough. He’s into motorsports and technology. He expounds on solar power, satellite systems and alternative fuels. His daughter is a vegan (as is her partner – a nice detail). His cab feels like a prison cell as the divider between passenger and driver is almost completely shuttered. His voice comes to me through surprisingly high quality speakers in the roof. If he starts playing Megadeth I’ll be in Cab X-Ray. I have a feeling there is no equivalent on his side. He ignores my every utterance until I tell him I’m a singer/songwriter. Then he relates to me his love for Joe Bonamassa and Carlos Santana. He also mentions Stan Getz which gives him a Brownie point, I guess. He’s seventy and I’d wager a grand he voted Leave. Just under the surface of his bland affability I sense a rage and confusion. He drops me in the centre of the old walled part of Chester with its timber-clad Jacobean style buildings and first floor arcades. It’s awash with mid-market chains plus some very chi-chi outlets but the deco cinema is impressive and the riverside pleasant enough in the autumn drizzle. I fancy a boat trip but no one’s about. Tourist vessels with Mississippi inspired names bob abandoned, reaffirming summer’s passing. I half cross the pedestrian suspension bridge and take a few photographs without much enthusiasm. You see one Dee you’ve seen them all. Even Dee Dee Ramone knew that. The rain becomes more persistent and I decide to take shelter in some godforsaken contemporary eatery. I hail another Hackney back and lie atop my bed waiting for Match of the Day to start like the sad middle-aged fuck that I am.
The following night’s gig is remarkably good, especially so for a Sunday. It’s only been a week but it feels longer. Crowds like this one in Chester make it worthwhile. I meet up with extended family in the dressing room for a catch-up and gossip. Then we haul out. I ensconce myself in my boudoir and bore a thousand yard stare into the TV.