We set off in the morning, dead sprightly like, and wended our way to Frankfurt. I sign CD sleeves and write yesterday’s blog on the way. I filled my thermo cup with coffee at breakfast this morning so I’m feeling pretty smart and tour savvy.
Some four and a half hours later we arrive at our destination.
As is mostly usual everywhere. All of the communications and missives and pre payment documents were a mystery to the hotel so we begin again the long explanations, and why not!
Let’s tell it again. It’s such a fun story.
At least this time it is day and I am not post gig; wet, cold, in bastard heels, with panda eyes and chewing on a wasp.
I have about half an hour to re-order my cases and then Nick and I head to the venue.
Today we have in house catering. That’s welcome. I’m hungry. It’s close to 5pm and I only had a piece of toast at 9.
I get some soup. It’s like a horseradish steak sauce. Not unpleasant but peculiar and improved by hunger.
I am a soup fascist.
Some people know fine wine.
I’ll fuckin tell ya what’s what with soup, and have the right of it. So.
It’s lovely and warm in here. Everything present and correct.
The dressing room could do with some useful light though. There is a long thin mirror gaffa taped to the wall in landscape.
When I sit at the dressing table I can see my forehead in it, and I’m not short.
When I stand it reflects my lap.
I make my lap tidy.
Can’t see what I’m doing to my face.
Later in the ladies I see it looks like I’ve engaged in crayon play.
Tonight is sold out. That’s a lovely thing.
It is a fine hall and we are in good spirits.
Soundcheck was fine. A little wonky but I’m not worried.
In Amsterdam the sound check was troubling but on the night it was very manageable.
In Germany stage times are earlier, 8pm, and so I get a move on, put my curlers in and start my routine. I am listening to Game of Thrones on Audible for about the fifth time. I always listen to stuff I know well when I’m occupied. It means I know where I am at in the story when my mind wanders into another room. I will always listen to stories over music. Every time.
Sean has reshuffled the set a little. We have to build the best shape we can. Create a dynamic. Feed (for those who imagine I only groundhog (day) three years in the 80’s) the hits at regular intervals.
I love playing in Germany.
Yes, like us, they have fans of particular decades (rather than the working artist) who expect to find us frozen in their personal playlist, but here tonight are the many, treasured, album-journeyers. Those that run with me on my Forest Gump impulses.
I see them mouth the words I care so much about (thrilling!)
I see them agitate happily when a song from Hometime, The Turn, or the minutes, or Other – reveals itself, and that is the most brilliant thing.
We all know people can find hits but when someone explores your more challenging releases it puts you, singularly, into the most encouraged state.
It is fuel.
For this I will come time and again.
Not in the biblical sense, obvs. That would be disturbing.
Our audience tonight are out in force and they are beautiful.
What was mildly tricky at sound check, it transpires, now is measurably worse.
My in-ear balance is completely at odds with itself and me.
I am so full of click that I can’t hear the transition between verse and chorus or the instrumentation I pitch to.
If I relax I can rely on muscle memory for the most.
Some melodic intervals are tricky though and I need to hear so that I can apply nuance and judge how much pressure my diaphragm needs to exert in order to hit the required note.
I am roamin’ in the veritable gloamin’.
In other news – Introducing ‘The English U’ I make to explain its essence.
That it deals with a dyslexic daughter and a deceased grammar fascist mother lost to the scourge of dementia.
“I try for her to remember where the English U belongs, if nothing else” I explain.
“She hated the creeping Americanisation of our English spelling that removes our U”
something to that effect.
“For example. Colour begins with A… “
When your 82 year old mother with Alzheimer’s can still spell better than you and has perkier tits, it’s a topsy tervy world of shit.
At the end of the set backstage, as we wait to encore, I tell Sean I had struggled with the sound.
‘I could tell’ he replies sympathetically.
When did it stop being fashionable for men to lie to you?
And can they not take an occasional day off?
Sean’ll be mortified when he reads this.
Honest. I play! 😉
Sean is a kind, brilliant, conscientious, dedicated and talented fellow, and he speaks truths.
He tells me I sang the first bridge of Right as Rain mostly in a different key.
He will be correct.
Bollocks though. I hate it when I’m out of tune.
I hope I nailed most of it.
We will debrief in Dresden and work again on our balance.
Either way, this audience were on-side and gave us the most splendid welcome and display of appreciation.
They gifted me both profound quiet and uproarious enthusiasm.
They were never off key.
I was soon back in my hotel room, bath running and tights a soaking in the sink before 10pm.
Rock n Righteous Roll!