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April 2, 2015

 

 

 

The last few days have been extremely tiring and stressful. My woes started on Monday with a 10+ hour drive to get to Nancy. I really don’t mind driving at all, I’ve driven absurd distances in the past (last one I recall, Cornwall to St Andrews, Scotland, nearly 12...

28/03/15 Arrive in France at approx 8am CET. Remember to drive on the right! It’s so easy to forget sometimes, I was fortunately reminded by the other cars in front of me, veering to the right as we taxied off the ferry. There’s so many things to remember these days when you drive abroad: full set of spare bulbs; hi vis jacket; breathalizers; warning triangle; headlight thingys (so you don’t blind the French drivers at night); remember to turn the speed camera alert off on the sat nav. All bookable offences, so I’m told. Keep the gendarmerie happy. Tonights gig: La Grande Ourse, Saint Agathon. I’m opening for the Norwegian artist Bjorn Berge. It’s a nice purpose built, seated venue and the staff, as is usual in France, are courteous and helpful. Being raised in Kent there was always a whiff of stereotyped xenophobia concerning the French: B.O. smelling, garlic breathing, beret wearing (not forgetting stripy top) snail munching frogs - and not even TRYING to speak English! Since I’ve been coming to France as solo artist (I’ve been many times with bands but that’s another story), I’ve found the French to be genuinely warm and welcoming, going out of their way to accommodate what ever needs/wants I have. Back to the gig, I play my set and think I’ve done enough, sound was pretty ropey on stage and I was very tired from the travelling. I was assured by Ludo, the promoter, that all was well out front for audience. The first one’s always the hardest. I watched a bit of Bjorn, who was very good. A tall viking type Norwegian who was exceptionally flash on the guitar who went down a storm. Bastard! I was pleased to get back to my hotel and get a proper nights sleep, will hopefully be bright eyed and bushy tailed for tomorrows gig in Tregastel. Which has reminded me that I ran over a rabbit driving back from the gig; I hope it was a rabbit, I didn’t even see it, though there were a few hopping about, I just heard a ‘ker clunk’ beneath the car. R.I.P.

March 29, 2015

27/03/15 I always look forward to a trip to France, I’ve been making regular visits here now since 08/09, thanks to Alain Fabre. Plymouth - Roscoff. I do love to travel by sea, I never fail to get a little excited, even anxious (in a good way), as I drive onto the ferry, wondering what this journey holds in store, hoping I’ll play to packed adoring audiences and sell shedloads of my new CD - here’s hoping! Being a Kent boy, originally, I do miss leaving from the white cliffs of Dover, blue birds singing… and all that. I’ll have to make do with the orange spots of street lit Plymouth disappearing into the foggy night, as ‘Amorique’ sets sail for Roscoff. It’s a huge, monster of a ship with 10 - 11 decks, maybe more! It’s rammed to capacity with families on Easter breaks and coach loads of French teenage school kids. I’m thankful that I took the initiative and booked myself a cabin for the 8 hour crossing. So, I decide to escape the melee of people making their way to the restaurants and bars and head for the plain but peaceful refuge of my cabin. An accented voice informs me over the tannoy that cabin numbers **** to **** aren’t yet available, which includes mine. Even so, I walk the 4 flights of stairs in hope that it’ll all be sorted by the time I get there, only to be met with half a dozen anvil faced passengers waiting their accommodation. We all shake our heads as if watching a sped up tennis game - I even throw in a ‘tut’! FINALLY! After waiting an eternity of less than 5 mins, I dump my bag and decide to throw myself right back into the fray and head for the bar. I order a pint of Guinness and manage to find a solitary seat, it’s absolutely heaving. I feel homesick already, I appear to be the only person on the entire ship sitting on their own. It’s always hard leaving my girls to go away on a trip, it’s made even worse watching all these happy, smiling faces at the start of their holiday. Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink!

March 29, 2015

March 25, 2015

Off to France Friday for a run of 8 gigs, hope to tell all about it with this new blog - coming soon.

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