December 31, 2017
When Paris was done, I sat in my back stage room, blinking.
This then was it.
There it was, gone.
59 gigs met.
How you could bare that there were not 60? Some good few asked.
I don’t mind odd numbers.
Are you sure about this, Mo? G reiterated when this tour was all but booked.
It’s a trek.
I wanted a marathon.
I wanted to make up for my reticent years.
Sing while I know I can, and well.
The wardrobe, wheeled into my dressing room at load-in was now empty of me, and here about are packed cases, 3 of them mine.
The others, Georgie’s.
Her’s had carried frames this day from London that we’d had made for our touring team.
They displayed the Other artwork and individual job titles and the dates each particular party member had worked.
At soundcheck on stage I called all together and made a speech and handed them out with earnest gratitude, feeling somewhat abashed that I was effectively gifting them my image.
Our last encores and it was over.
Coatsie and Robin, well in their cups, came bouncing in.
I can talk now.
No throat to protect or voice to save.
So long without conversation, though, and mine was a muscle somewhat wasted.
Then there was the inevitable comedown.
John and Sean entered.
John looked flushed and dazed, Sean, a little broken.
Without rider I had no sandwiches or crisps to share. Just some wine that G had managed to buy before the shops closed in town.
It was a meagre end of tour party and we counted 6.
John and Sean in a short while left for their bunks. Spent.
Beyond my sprung door, Dougie and the crew were wasting no time stripping the club of our gear and loading the truck and bus most expeditiously in order to make a quick getaway.
Their ferry would not wait and they had real beds they were desperate to get to.
In their haste and imagining me gone, as I had been swiftly every other night, they left without goodbyes.
Nothing for it.
A cab was booked, my bags carried down the winding staircase, and I was on the street.
I met some people there.
Beaming faces that I had seen in the crowd, and I signed and posed and struggled to speak my broken French, and I was in the car and it was gone.
In the morning, Vinny, G and I met in the lobby of our hotel and between us, trundled our cases across the road to the train station and Eurostar.
Walking the platform I met Glen.
Glen is a great supporter and was one of those I had greeted with before the Paris show.
Here now, he like me, making his way home on the same train.
It seemed fitting.
We hugged our goodbyes.
It was heartwarming.
He has now the full tour picture.
Beanie headed drudge in her civvies dragging her bags and bones, squinting in harsh daylight.
All the magic of stage revealed as a sleight of hand.
Singing is real
I am proud of my touring family.
Mine is a comfortable clan.
No single person we would do better without.
That really is something.
A rare touring experience so long in each other’s pockets and no shunning or fisticuffs.
I had a grand adventure.
I played in places I had not before.
I played great big theatres and little clubs.
Seated tiers and standing room only.
I was Queen and a No Mark.
I played sell out shows without an inch to move, and echoing halls with room enough for each to shaman dance all knees and elbows, back strapped with bedroll and rucksack.
I was received by promotors as a long awaited champion and from others with no word or regard at all.
I was fed fine fare at one venue and told to find a shop at the next.
And every show mattered equally, regardless, and the reward given me from those that came to listen was no less ardent because of it.
Attendees came to me from all my years.
Some few imagined I had stayed in the box of their heyday and here now suffered ‘new’ material made these last 3 long decades out of their notice and in their absence.
Some named me self-indulgent, as though having been entertained by a seamless stream of XFactor show hits, they were convinced we actually perform selflessly for the benefit of our home abandoned children and unfortunate ailing kin.
No song uncharted.
No sense of self.
What can be more self-indulgent than taking to a stage, demanding to be watched and listened to?
Martyr or monster.
No pretending, please.
These skips and puddles though were moments dwarfed and drowned by the overwhelming connection I found everywhere we travelled.
I was gifted a true audience by those who had waited an age or had taken a punt or who knew my work well enough to expect growth and challenge, as well as the sweet respite of familiar corners.
People who speak my language, or I theirs, even when it is not our mother tongue.
For these were people both delighted by songs of old and equally poised for what came next and what comes now and what is.
As adaptable and changeable as I and no less demanding.
No slighter expectation.
No fewer emotions.
Uproarious enthusiasm and pin drop silences all in their rightful place and how grateful for that am I.
Many the night the rousing applause that followed the last dying note in ‘Other’ left me astonished by the length of time it took to abate.
As though it were a classic.
Words caught in my throat.
I felt such love.
I feel pride that I dragged case and carcass across such distance without dropping either.
That I made every show with my voice intact.
That I moved easily between luxury and lack with the same commitment.
That I met passion and indifference with the same heart.
That everywhere I sang someone came to watch who made a difference and gave me reason.
How lucky am I to have lived this.
Thank you for coming to hear.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for collecting my records when they are not easily had, and for chewing what is not easy to swallow.
Thank you for listening to me when I am not a name remembered.
When I didn’t make a play list, thank you for finding me.
For sharing my
Other year, thank you.
It has been wonderful.
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