November 6, 2017
We leave Ipswich at 11.
I have no hotel today because tonight I am to be driven home.
It is a day off tomorrow and I will be close enough to Tuesday’s Oxford to commute in.
I shall, therefore, be able to wash my hair at the venue.
I will have time aplenty.
Thus, I leave my hotel the worse for wear, and of course, one of yesterday’s girls is waiting in the lobby with her tour book to sign.
Bless her gentle heart, but I am a ruined slothen, and any expectations of Star must truly have been dashed.
I beg off a photo, but thank her genuinely for coming last night.
She is understanding.
N.B. I ask Siri to spell ‘slothen’ for me.
He announces that I have no appointments for 11.
Actually there seems to be no dictionary listing for it.
It must be slang.
How unexpected that is.
We leave Suffolk and pass into Essex.
My heart squeezes.
That is the turn-off for my sister’s.
This, to go home to my mum and dad’s, where I lived until I was 21.
Here, for my mother’s last home in care.
I have been aching for them all this season, walking on fallen leaves.
We would be collecting conkers now.
My dad would have bought Standard Fireworks from Forbuoys, that spat lazily and died listless.
Sparklers to write our names in the black.
Potatoes in the fire.
The smell of sulphur.
Jumpers to be stuffed with newspaper and a Guy fashioned.
I remember my mother lost to the past. Mournful.
I hated it, and yet here I am.
We become our mothers.
Maybe, then, I knew her’s after all.
I still think not.
They were a different breed.
Made of something more solid.
Spared by their lacking hope for the better.
Now South Mimms, close to where I lived for 30 years and raised all my children.
Fuck off with this emotional stabbing.
Take me somewhere I don’t know.
We arrive in Reading by half 2, and I go into catering for soup.
Hannah and Olga (the intrepid girl that sells our merchandise) were both there getting some lunch.
We talked a while and I was glad of the opportunity.
I have a bright, comfortable room to change in and I enjoy being leisurely in my preparation.
Sound check is text book.
Dinner is roast.
I resent that pudding is Jam Roly-poly because I want it, but I can’t.
Sugar makes me ill.
They joke about my numerous favourites.
What don’t you like, they ask.
Isles Flottantes, I say.
I check Siri for the spelling.
Inflate a tart – Siri intones back. Useless Twat fuck-nut.
What else. They ask.
Yup. That’s about it.
I should have remembered Summer Pudding.
That can shit right off too.
I am wise and noble and walk away from the buffet, empty handed and lacking the light headed aftermath.
We warm up, but I am half-hearted. I feel reckless as the voice is strong and this is to be the last in a mere run of 2.
I will be home tonight.
The venue, an angular half-moon of cream coloured tiers, is entirely fit for purpose.
The sound causes no problems, though the lights are slightly defamed by the white ceiling.
Nonetheless, all comes together.
We have shaved the set very slightly and I think the shape works better for it.
I don’t miss the song that is culled.
The rictus grin I need raise for it made my jaws ache needlessly.
Again the audience seem reserved.
Perhaps it is a southern thing.
They were heartier in Scotland, the north and in Ireland.
Having said that, the still in appropriate moments was perfect.
The talking, less apparent, and I think we have had a first this tour for a lack of fisticuffs, or handbag fighting, or YouTube cat videos.
In fairness, the set has its dense moments that require intense listening, lyrics to follow and Turn heart to protect, and in these things, Reading was supreme.
After the show I changed quickly, packed things into their appropriate receptacles, and left with Vinny, for home.
I had soup, but it was cold.
I had a sandwich which was also cold. But appropriately so.
I had ice and lime and Gin, all cold, and best of all, I was Brighton bound, and warm.