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New Theatre. Oxford. It’s not a university town. Nov 7th.

November 8, 2017

My time at home was brief.

In someways it is harder because once there, I am loathe to leave again. To be away from mine.

I washed and hung out my clothes and further trimmed my cases of what has been superfluous.
I have instead, packed some pencils and water colours in the feint hope that I will replace staring with sketching.
Even I am dubious,
but good intentions and wot not.

Vinny collects me at 12:30.
We drive to Oxford.

I, this morning, finished listening to the audio recording of The Book Of Dust.
The Phillip Pullman novel, based in this city.
I want to wander with street names in mind, but time is tightly allocated.

I have been organising my guest list for Brighton, for submission.

It is as full as any has ever been, but I have exchanged texts with G, and we agree.

It is the middle show of a three on.
Not yet quite halfway through the gigs of this tour.
I must heed my experience.

I am going to have to forgo seeing my friends and family again.
I know myself too well.
I would bark myself, like a rabid dog, into rasp.

I feel under it.
Cold.
Teetering of the edge of some whispering wuss malady.
Likely just tired,
but it is enough to make me choose wisely.

Tonight in Oxford, my good friend Linz is in with her family.
Her eldest is at university here, having passed her paper top in the world.
Lazy bint should have tried harder.
The shame.
I wouldn’t know where to look.

Linz is a dear, fine Jewish matriarch.
Her chicken soup holds magical properties that have raised me from my sick bed on a number of occasions.
I have told her that contrary to our long held plans, tonight, as it is with Brighton and london, I can’t socialise, and I always feel bad about it.
Like I am offering an limp excuse.
She, nonetheless, has sent me her cocka-wellness magic potion.

I shall have all kinds of comfort in my alone tonight.
Bless her.

I tell Dougie that my friend will be leaving me soup at the back door, so to watch out for it.

Is that because you’ve been talking about soup in your blog? He asks.

I should imagine so, yes. I reply.

Can you talk about fine Irish whiskey?

The back stage here raises many brain-agram picture memories, though the stage itself is as unfamiliar as the next.
Maybe it is that out there my focus is forward and inwards and on the minute.

My dressing room tips between cold and hot.
I am irritable and curt.
That always shames me, and I know by the end of the day an apology will be due.
I will give it freely.
John and Sean recognise the mid-tour head I am sporting, having worn one themselves at some point, and are wise, ignore it and jolly me into our warming up session.

I am better after having our
half-hour-before-gig sambucca shot, and join them busking Beatles songs in my quarters.

I am sure I am not feeling it, but onstage to the contrary, I find myself perfectly engaged.

This audience is temperate and not overly demonstrative, although, when I describe the songs, they are attentive and let their support be known.
They don’t rise until the very last song of the encore, but the lack of chatter and the infrequent toilet away-days, suggested they were listening to me throughout.

They were a mindful audience and in it with me or not, I enjoyed my sing.
I owned my space and was satisfied with what I gave out.

I am soon back to my hotel with my flasks and my jamboree bags of a days tools for travel.

In 2 days time I will have completed half of this tour’s bookings.
Tomorrow, my home town show.
My nerves will test me there.

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