Have you ever sat in the bath pulled out the plug and watched the water drain away leaving your body as an island in the middle, no neither have I. But thats what it feels like being out on tour, I can feel the past draining away revealing the clean tired but relaxed me like […]
Have you ever sat in the bath pulled out the plug and watched the water drain away leaving your body as an island in the middle, no neither have I. But thats what it feels like being out on tour, I can feel the past draining away revealing the clean tired but relaxed me like a jelly right in the middle of the tub. Halifax was up some stairs, and they liked us. Gateshead was clean and tidy, with a little left overs on the side. Another drive back to our base in Harrogate. Naturally at night they close all the roads making it impossible to keep a sense of humour. Basingstoke was a farce, 64 tickets sold, a sell out they say, it holds over 100, but because of fire regs… and so it goes. Great to see my brother Lew. Next door however was Jasper Carrot, who filled his stage with old people playing covers of hits from back in the day. Seemed to go down well, his jokes were worse than mine, pensioners on ice. I quick re route to Wales for a book award, I think I came second, the cream of the cake was being interviewed by the handsome Peter Curren, his soft tones lure me into various shapes. Very odd, I stopped for coffee on the M4 and there was Francis Dunnery, yikes I jumped out of my skin. He aways leaves me thinking about something new, this time it was keeping my house tidy for my parents.
Sevenoaks and the best show of the tour so far, a standing ovation and I felt, we felt, we nailed it. Each line hook and sinker seemed to fall into place. My Aunt Bella came along, she is 90 years old, it was inspiring to see her so fit. She even tired to slip me 10 pounds to spend as pocket money, as she always did. What a great night. Steve Smith from the band Squeeze came too, lovely chap he is. Home was a few miles away and the soft furnishings of love. Some hotels on this tour have been wanting, home is not a hotel though. It is hard to come and go like this, in the door then out the door, I feel like a milkman, and in a way thats what I am. Playing the show taking the merch in my purse and delivering the milk. Ernie with his pasteurised. I feel constantly tired and riddled with cold and flu, it makes me feel less and less like that bloke who was in Squeeze. I feel battered like cod. Somehow though one wonders on and on, the car the journeys the songs and the stage it all feels like home, it all feels rewarding in some brutal but subtle way. Boo is a fine co pilot and manages to comb through my moods with great ease. All other details about life are revolving in the background. Squeeze are a few short months away and more chords to swat up on, I look forward to the shows with open neck shirts and with my hair come back like Elvis.
It seems like CD players are a thing of the past, no club has had one so far on this tour, so playing a playlist or some walk on music takes a memory stick or a playlist online. People have moved on, CD’s seem to be souvenirs rather than items of great joy and wonder. Where will we all be in five years time? Looking for a memory stick I guess. After a few days at home, but not really as I was in meetings most of the time, I set sail again, this time for Leicester and the Musician. A wonderful night singing myself horse and being in the room full of lovely people, who gave it all back. After the merch I jumped in the car and through the fog drove to Harrogate, and up the wooden hills to bed. 2am. Up like the lark for breakfast with young Peter and then a laze. A book reading in Hull exhausted me, I followed Suzie Qatro on stage, Can the Can and all that. She looked well, but shorter than I thought she might be. With nothing to eat and a very hot room I had to pull out all the stops, but then the drive, the bloody drive to the hotel in Yarm. 1am. Thank God for radio three and not the third World War, which made me think long and hard about so many things, in a day of things to think about.
My Dad was 20 when the second World War broke out, the news must have shaken him, as I’m sure it did for everyone. When I was 20 I was already a year into my writing and playing with Glenn and Jools, and courting all sorts of wonderful dream like ideas about the future, I felt free and on a high, my Dad however must have been shitting himself. Today any 20 year old would be wired for the internet and fully aware of the World around him or her, but somehow the unknown purrs like a cat in the back garden. War today would be very different to how it was for my Dad, boots and a gun, some shoe polish on the face and off you go. Not today. A full armour of speed, high tech screens and far away targets without faces, and without feelings. When I tune into the news I fear the stupidity of mankind and what might be, and maybe it has to happen just because life is like that. The flower dies, the roots survive and the flower is reborn. My Dad would have had to find out about things very slowly on the radio or in a newspaper, today its here on my phone, I have apps for War. I can see where ships are live on my screen, I can see and track planes in the sky. I can get updates by the minute from all over the place, each feed one lie greater than the next. A 20 year old today would have to take a long hard look at this and think, what kind of World have I inherited, egos taking over, nutters in power with only a handful of sane people left just before the trigger. What have we given our children, the hippy haze has gone, the peace and love gone, its all like our on stage haze from the 70’s, gone. My Dad survived, just, and I survived the endless tours and cocaine, just, and yet the new 20 year old would possibly not survive this one if it took off and it might. Thank God for radio three and some far out electronic music on the A19 this night far from home. I was not in a War, it was heavenly and I feel proud, my Dad was proud too, but the next son would have no future to be proud in. The smell of tomorrow could be very toxic and maybe unbearable. I race to my imagination and want people to march for peace before it all kicks off, why can’t the celebrities of today speak for the youth of today and knock on the black doors, break down the egos and plead for a safer and more loving World. Come on lads, get on the phone all we are saying is give peace a chance. My Dad was only 20 when the second World War broke out, and when he was my age, 63, I was 28 years old. Still old enough to be called up for duty. But now, all I could do is provide a few pitch forks on the white cliffs at Dover, and what good would they be. However it could all be just dust in the air, and nothing at all, but somehow the news casters, as they are called manage to make it sound like doom. Doom is a good word but joy is better, and for now I want to focus on joy and not doom, because joy is all we really need to get by even in the reality of such dirty laundry. The trumpets of joy blow the fanfare of the common man, and together we can raise our glasses to the news, to the egos and to the war mongers and wish them well. Lets hope its all just very hot air!
Outside my window a leaf blower is in full blow, cold air, the equivalent of my Dad with the hoover up against the door trying to get me out of bed and into the World. Its a new day and I’m five years married. Friday the 13th. It must be tough for the other half, me coming in and out of her day, very much the milkman. Here in my hotel the grey powder sky hangs like a filthy blanket on a washing line, mixed with the blower, its a gentle start to the day and the anniversary waltz which circulates in my head. The thing that annoys me is that there are no leaves to blow, its April and the birds need to be heard as they perch in the trees. How annoying for them too. I could be snuggled up now at home, but no its another show, its another day in paradise on the journey that started with a few imaginary friends. 5 years and the beat goes on. 5 years and the story bends and twists like it always has to. 5 years, I mean how visionary David Bowie, how incredible to write such amazing songs and not have to live with a leaf blower passing your window before breakfast. How incredible to be married to Louise. How incredible to be in this moment.
Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying
I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.’s My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I’d need so many people
A girl my age went off her head, hit some tiny children
If the black hadn’t a-pulled her off, I think she would have killed them
A soldier with a broken arm, fixed his stare to the wheels of a Cadillac
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, and a queer threw up at the sight of that
I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long
Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don’t think
You knew you were in this song
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you’re beautiful, I want you to walk
We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes
We’ve got five years, what a surprise
We’ve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
We’ve got five years, that’s all we’ve got