Cambridge, September 8th
The broken white lines stream towards me like tracer fire, England in early autumn slides past the van’s windows all around me. Sunny spells. My stomach twinges with hunger. I wonder what culinary delights await in my Cambridge dressing room. Last night’s show, wrecked by nerves, has me on edge. I need something but know not what. A long violent massage from a fat Turk? Caravans, vans, trucks and trailers: I’m in the world of wagons. Cambridgeshire’s flat expanses exert their pull. I’m getting there but when I do, “there” moves somewhere else. Hunger leads not to satisfaction, just further want.
I didn’t touch down in Wolverhampton, I seemed to fly through in a daze. There’s hardly a mote of Midlands dust on the soles of my shoes. A man invisible to me said goodbye during the show, said he had to go. I could do nothing but bid him farewell and heard some shuffling out beyond the lights. I trust he made his connection.
We pass a ploughed field swarming with men and their metal detectors, raking the bins of history. They are bent over their tools like sad public masturbators looking for the ever-elusive hoard of Roman gold. Their filthy troves are tucked away in trouser pockets, their coins and rings and shell-casings spread out later on kitchen tables to be sifted and cleaned. Hold me up to the light, I’m a piece of shit from the past.
In town I punch data into my phone and my phone spits data back. Noodle shop one block east of hotel. Get marching. Surly staff, drunk on their own prettiness swan about ignoring me. I am all irritability. A steaming bowl of Asian food arrives and I slurp the sustenance feeling like a tramp let into the drawing room. Some rain falls, cyclists sizzle by and I hide myself at the hotel to fiddle with the setlist and send out electronic messages to the waiting world. The grey sky looms outside my window like a brontosaurus looking in. The air does not know what to do with itself, chill or sulk humidly. Like me.
I am picked up to be taken to soundcheck. The room sounds good to my ears. We work and we wait. And wait. I walk back to the hotel for something to do. I divert through pretty college grounds and take photographs to accompany this report. I am living to report, making up my own news. Life is an invention for some future artist to turn into a play. I’m carving out my own plot and writing my own lines. The broken white lines stream towards me like tracer fire.
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Durham on Friday will be a canny jaunt for you. The Gig is right in the heart of a titchy City which, in term time, trebles in population with Cambridge and Oxford wannabes. Nice place for a night time stroll up to the Cathedral and Castle, dodging the dropped Donnas, Margaritas and piss streams from enclosed doorways.
I can ask my Turkish brother-in-law to give you a massage. He’s not fat though, does that matter?
I hope you find what you need JC. And somehow I doubt it’s a massage from a fat Turk! (I’m laughing out loud but not abbreviating as I know how disturbing it is to you.) xoxo
FTAO Our Lord JC. First night Nerves? Aw, I wish I had bothered writing something slushily lovey when i got home at 330 am now. You were the best thing about Wolverhampton, will that do? which was only a last minute guilty pleasure for me thus doubly enjoyed. thank you kind sir as always. And…………pleeease can you play Finger In The Frame at…Exeter, or Southampton, …or Bristol…..pleeease? I always ask and I have only ever heard you play it twice and I actually cried BOTH times.
Ok slushy bit done, had I known you were finally going to capitalise on merch, I would have requested JC faced gimp masks…. I would definitely buy them for all my clients..er, I meant boyfriends, **** it, the clients can pay for their own and be suitably humbled. Now, stop being so strict with yourself, that’s an order.
P S did you want the tights?? they are a bit damp
Cambridge was terrific and informative I will never buy Lilt again without thinking of your comments
Top work – beautiful stuff
PS… Any chance of flogging your tour T-shirts on the website?
The Concordia Lutheran Church Men’s Club will once again be selling Christmas trees and wrhetas this year. The tree lot is located at the Church-School, 4245 Lake Avenue. Christmas tree sales will begin on Friday, November 23rd. The lot will be open 12:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, except Saturday mornings, when it opens at 9:00 a.m. The proceeds from this fund raiser are used to support various projects and functions of the Concordia Church and school. A selection can be made from Scotch Pine, White Pine, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir, and Blue Spruce. These trees were just cut a couple of weeks ago. Please come see how fresh they are. Decorated and undecorated wrhetas are also available. Your patronage would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, I’m Meg’s mum! Thank you for all your very welcoming and eanruocging comments. To tell the truth, I am extremely happy being a lurker and always feel I’m a bit too middle-aged to be writing comments on blogs. I certainly wasn’t planning to comment today, as I have nothing insightful to say about snowbound railways and my only experience of overnight train travel was on a sleeper from Paris to Venice which was luxurious and seems rather a smug contribution to make, in comparison with the poor people stuck on trains in the snow; but there you are, you are a persuasive crowd (and Meg has been nagging me).Whether or not I comment or lurk, I read Mark’s blog daily and am a huge fan of his shows (Oxford was fab; looking forward to Reading) and novels. Thank you again for the warm welcome!!
You’ve obviously got a highly active perfection drive JC which is a pain in the arse to constantly feel you weren’t at your best. Wolverhampton was a brilliant night and thankyou for one hell of a show. The nerves and humour added to the performance. Yours supposed to have the bloody things anyway, your a performer. Thanks again for a great show!! What a clear voice from start to finish. Hope to see you playing up front with Amitri city next year. Enjoy the rest of the tour. Pete and Faith
JC… all I can say again is you put yourself down too much. First night nerves, I used to get them (I wish i had the opportunity again) so does everyone. Being out of the comfortable environment of your own rehearsal room hits home when the intro music starts and you’re on, the lights blinding, into the unknown like venturing into a lions den blindfold.
As I said to you after the show, I wasn’t blowing smoke up your a*** but your voice is better than I’ve ever heard it, the show was faultless. As a fellow weigie I would have told you if it wasn’t!!
Tanya was so impressed she’s ordered the back catalogue from some webshite, she’s just turned 20 and only knows a couple of the DA tunes. All that has changed as she has heard me playing my guitar and singing Just Like A Man and Something In That Mess. After Saturday night I can’t get her off youtube now.
Wolverhampton was faultless, thank you for your hospitality and erase any negative thoughts out of your heed man!
Thanks again for Saturday night, you are a true gentleman and hope to catch up on the Del tour in the new year.
Big love fella, Nick & Tanya x
(The kiss was from Tan, not from me)
P.s. I’ll bring you a proper bottle opener ;-)
Last night was fine. Don’t worry. Nerves didn’t show and you got through It Might As Well Be You without a mistake. Sure you dropped a chorus frim Nothing Ever Happens but it can take the hit. All in all a good night. PS the guy who had to leave looked like he was being kicked out, no idea why.
Glad you’re enjoying yourself .