In the morning after the night before, we leave Hannover and wend our way to Stuttgart, arriving for what is the early evening of our no gig day.
Happily this Hotel, and it is the first to do so on this outing, have made the preparations they agreed to with the travel agents. I say this, but later discover none of the crew and band rooms were ready when they arrived exhausted from their bus world. Still. In my ignorance I was pretty delighted.
I have a big bed and the BBC. Once ensconced I don’t leave my room again.
I order soup, which is bloody splendid, and more spaghetti Bolognese. Hot!
I’m liking this place.
I perch on the end of my bed, the room service trolley between me and the wide screen and watch the program about Danny Dyer and his royal lineage. I love reading of our royal houses and think how splendid it must be to be able to access historical family facts that are only available if you’re king spawn or something.
What if you found out you had descended from a mass murderer, I was asked when musing earlier on ancestry at home.
I think I’d find it as thrilling.
I never killed anyone and I like a dark tale. Not my fault he was an arsehole.
Anyway. Dinner was lovely.
I’ve lost half a stone in one week.
I told you I was hungry.
I call home.
I intend to catch up on sleep.
It’s ridiculous, but I still manage to eat the hours like Smarties.
In the morning I make breakfast at the 11th hour (10am)
That does work. 11th hour and 10 am, in the world of language.
Sean and Eric are across the room engaged in a lively conversation.
It’s dull when someone walks in and interrupts with a morning mundanity, so I determine not to be seen. I find a table and avail
myself of a vat of coffee. A veritable tureen.
Later I see Paul is sat at the table next to me. Neither of us having noticed
Preparing to leave, Nick sits at my table. The waitress comes and remembers the litres of coffee recently delivered.
She offers it to him.
I’m sorry. I’ve drunk it all.
I am waking up.
No messing today. After my bath I don’t play with light layers. I hit the thermals like a shaven polar bear.
They probably would, eh? If they could access a Marks & Spencer’s.
This hotel is warm but the snow has settled, and back stage is bound to be frigid again.
The scariest part of our drive has been descending and ascending the cork screw ramp in this hotel’s car park.
The tightly coiled walls are smeared with the red blood of a Volvo. I don’t know for sure what breed it was.
I’ve always fancied a Volvo.
We are driving a Volvo coincidently.
I like to tell Nick how glad I am that we’re in an Audi, so that he can tell me it’s a Volvo.
Things like this are pleasing to me.
Saying stuff wrong.
We hadn’t realised we’d been holding our breath til we emerge into daylight.
The stage door is behind the trailer, Doug has told us. We find him there.
Back stage is a warren of concrete tunnels. What may once have been Windows are bricked up and the smell is funky-damp.
It is also the temperature of a slow cooker set long on medium.
This is an incredibly well insulated building. Efficient, I’m thinking. Germany!
I have had to order my food in advance to eat at 5. After soundcheck again will be too late.
I walk into a cavern of underground refectory which by all known wisdom should be freezing but instead is dry sauna like, approximating the temperature of an old nan’s shag-pilled parlour, all electric bars on and populated by a pits worth of stuffed snake draft excluders.
My fish and couscous plate is a thing of beauty.
Nick has opened more CDs and removed the sleeves. I sign them for sale later in the Foyer.
Moyet in the Foyer.
It is a bit of meme, apparently, in some touring circles.
The English rhyming slang of ‘Meet you in the Moyet’
That’ll be my contribution to history.
Sound check reveals a potentially tricky room.
It is a nice looking music club.
More heavy concrete but it has a vibe about it.
A bar runs on one side and the whole is a large square.
My riser is felt-carpeted. I don’t like that. It’s harder to do my slidy heel dancing.
It takes more effort and I’m efforting on max already.
It is not a perfect room for sound clarity up here, but we trust that it will will work – Sean probably a little more than me and Paul.
When Sean affirms to James that his sound is good, I retort seamlessly ‘Selfish’.
It’s what I do. What we in my family do. Part of our fun, dry cannon.
Sean appraises me ‘Selfish?’
He is not that.
I remind myself that Sean says what he means.
I very often don’t, and jests don’t always show on my face.
I’m tight for time again.
I grumble to myself that they always set up the rider on my dressing table. I lose minutes unloading it. Dragging the table to the mirror (with Dougie’s help). (Blokes don’t get that dressing tables and mirrors belong together) and sourcing plug sockets. (Them too).
I make-shift tables from chairs and set out my stall.
It is boiling in here. I open a window that has a brick tunnel on the other side, turn off the radiator and get ready in my vest, hoping not too much lady flesh is on show to any un-expecting and unexpected visitor.
I’ve got a toilet! – Result.
Audio book on, I prepare with pleasing efficiency.
Can (Pronounced Yan), our German promoter rep who has been at these German shows with us has left me a print-out goodbye, knowing I’d be legging it after. That was nice.
He’s been great and we are glad to have him. It is the last time we shall see him this year – returning to Holland tomorrow and our Dutch promoter there.
Germany is a wonderful territory for me and Wizard Promotions have done a Stirling job.
James comes in
Sean comes in.
Paul comes in.
Dougie comes in.
You know the routine.
Back stage, at the mouth of our stage-throat, Martin sits with a portable computer bank where stems and cues are housed and he is magician.
I am aware I have not mentioned him.
He is a great favourite. Quite the brilliant, and his knowledge of this show is a vital library of information. He is warm and unassuming. I hope he knows how we value him.
In our infant crocodile formation, reacting to our earpiece cue, we, Paul, me, then Sean proceed to our stations.
That’s my first lyric, not a loud complaint.
It’s a really good show. A great, great audience. They’ve all been great this run. Truly.
Here they are Loud and whooping and appreciative and responsive. A ‘Turn’ couldn’t ask for better.
There was some wonkiness onstage for me. A few mirages buy nothing sustained or serious. I could feel James riding my levels and as usual making the right calls. It’s quite remarkable how he knows my ears now. I don’t like it when I can’t get James. Not one bit.
Singing All Cried Out I became certain that I was singing in entirely the wrong key. Some sounds just taunt me with their undulations. They sound out in the hall and bounce back at me seemingly misshaped. ‘The mind plays tricks’, to quote Alan Partridge.
I decide that everyone is looking at me with pity. I think they are suffering kindly.
I stop the song before finishing it and discuss my thinking with the audience. No they say. It’s fine.
It’s good, concurs Sean.
Ah ok. I’ll do it again then, and do, after resetting my face to appropriately grim as the lyric suggests. I like to have the right face on.
Couple of moments tonight I have to concentrate hard which incurs some small amount of sphincter- twitching, but I too am able to relax in the performance, adequately secure in my bones.
We leave the stage delighted and smiling. That was your best Situation yet, Sean and Paul agree. Happy I totter upon a short stretch of settled snow and jump in the car, warm and waiting for me.
In my room I receive a text confirming that the first ‘All Cried Out’ was indeed pitched correctly.
Oh well. I shall consider it as an extended mix that had a bit of a free verse interactive rap sewn into the middle.
I can find the good in most things.