Sheffield, February 26th 2013

Like every English city Sheffield has been pimped, the yawning gaps left by sixties demolition and eighties recession suddenly filled in with the brash evidence of the credit boom of the early zeroes. It’s as if the tumbling of the Trade Centre spawned a desperate spasm of tower building all over the West as some kind of gesture of defiance. Fuck you, nutters – here’s a thousand more shining targets. That’ll keep them busy. It’s modernism as a political one-fingered salute. Look how fucking free we are, we can plant Manhattan everywhere at the drop of a Google Maps pin.

I’m sluggish today so hide in my high glass vestibule during load-in and tap more stupid shit into the gaping lizard’s mouth of my aluminium machine. Clickety-clack, don’t talk back. One day some clever dick will send out some malware that makes all those laptop lids snap shut. The dweebs and pokers, likers and loathers can sport their bruises like battle tattoos. Still, it’s better than the PHONE, that poisonous appliance, interrupter of everything. Mine is now tapped, mostly, and rarely leant an ear.
The venue for tonight’s final show is a perfect semi-circle at the back of the admirably sturdy city hall, often visited by the Dels. I have descended the stairs and am operating in the servants’ quarters which is fine by me. At least I’m not on the street. I sling my sorry songs to a warm and communicative crowd and have a quick chinwag backstage with Robert Vincent, the tall and loveable opener. He’s driving home to Liverpool before doing a few headline shows in Scotland. The restless life of the troubadour, that’s the one for me. Out behind enemy lines, let loose among the population, peddling cheap poetry and news from the other side. Taking that four-in-the-morning feeling to the punters like a lunatic with a warning from a dream.