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Stockholm. Berns. Dec 5th.

December 6, 2017

What a Hooha.

2 hours in the car last night to our Copenhagen hotel, which was chosen for its being, ostensibly, a 10 minute drive to the train station I need for my early doors journey to Stockholm today.

I am beat.

I decide I will shower in the morning and get straight into bed.
We are to leave at 8 am.
I set my alarm for 7:20.
Time enough if I don’t faff, and I am not one of those that hits the Snooze button.
I can be up in a beat if needs must.
Sleep is an imperative though, to a biddable voice, and it is already gone midnight.

I wake up at 7:20am and check my phone.
Vinny had texted at 1:30am to say the tour itinerary was wrong and that train is actually at 8:20 and he would be with me at 7:35.
No showers then.
Not clever.
Time enough at the hotel before soundcheck.

I move like a ninja.
Neck an expresso and I’m out of the door like Casanova.
So many skills.

The roads are rush hour thick.
The sky is not yet light and the street lights are dancing on puddles and animating slick pavements.

Vinny did a practice drive last night and the sat nav played nicely.
This morning the traffic pours like rice pudding and ant-like, determined streams of cyclists proclaim their right of way.
Straight ahead.

Right turnings are not the simple matter of a green light here.

They know something we don’t, I advise Vinny, and consequently he lets them live.

The upshot is we have 15 minutes for the train to depart and the hire car is not yet returned.
I decide the best shout is for me to make a run for it.
I will take the train alone.
The show must go on!

I’m not sure where I’m going but I’m an intrepid grown up.
Prove otherwise.

Platform 26 is a 15 minute walk from the main station terminal, I soon discover.
Tooled up with my passport and stage case, the train ticket and my Wilson backpack, I set my appointment pace to demented prancing pony and successfully make it to my seat with three minutes to spare.
The train begins to roll.

Nice train.
Plush seats.
No Vinny.
Me and Wilson.

They’ve given me a breakfast, which is nice, but it’s mostly sweet so I can’t eat it.
Sugar is a drug that fucks me up. Royally.

I’d murder for a sod-off coffee.

I wonder who will be least sorely missed.

All goes well but then border control come on as Denmark hands us over to Sweden.

I have got my smuggler face on.
I just know it.
I can feel it pulling at the corners of my mouth.
Christ. No one will understand this touring-me life.

Where are you going?
Yes. Where?
I don’t know.
You don’t know?
It will say somewhere.

I show him my train ticket hopefully.

You don’t know where?

He’s repetitive.

It will say somewhere.

I am repetitive.

I don’t know. I’m on Tour. I’m a musician.

Musician? Where are you playing?

I don’t know.

This is not looking good.
How do you explain that you follow?
You follow people that do know.
I mostly know songs.
They know the other stuff.
It’s a special arrangement.

The opera house?

I am looking miserable now.

I have a tour manager but he missed the train.

We are looking like a shop front outfit.

I get my phone out and point to my Google diary.
Look! I’ve got a room.

He’s had enough.
Have a good time….
Without your manager…

To be fair I do look implausibly rough, and too old to be a likely jobbing lady Turn, and my status is currently the great unwashed.

I bet Annie Lennox gets diamonds and trinkets.

She scrubs up well.

I, on the other hand, get offered left over food from strangers.

I’m rarely hungry, so food gifts are not without their merit.
Eat your Rolex, Lennox.
Then we can see who got the better deal.

I am at the venue, having been met by a promotor rep, in the station at ‘the ring’ somewhere around 2:30pm.
It is a hotel facility.
An impressive one.

Our backstage quarters are not ideal, but I have the best of them, and always a little to my shame.
I’ve a room with a toilet and a shower that the band and crew will need to share after load out for their ablutions.

For now though, it is mine, and the others have a thin dining room of sorts between them, which has a run of windows along its length that allows all the circling hotel rooms to observe them at will.

They have their smorgasbord buffet lunch laid out on a crisp linen covered trestle, but nowhere soft to sit a while.

Another makeshift home for their 15 hour working day.

For those that imagine a life on the road is larks and lounging, a day in the life of a working crew will have them mewling for their mother’s lap.

Unless they are in the services, or nursing, or a kid caring for its parent, or in a war zone.
In which case we would all be a bunch of whining, spoilt, nancy fuck-wits.
No argument.

The hall is a lush, gilded madam.
She is both ostentatious and seductive.
I would say Rococo were I convinced I knew its nature.

I have lots of time to prepare today.
To hell with it.
Put in your curlers, Mrs, and walk around the gaff like you own it.

I do indeed sound check in me curlers.
With a big scarf to hold them in.
My head is huge.
I have elephantiasis of the head.
I see some young staff regarding me.
What fresh hell is this?

I imagine them thinking.

Getting old is truly liberating, if only in the smallest of ways.

Look, Mum.
I am wearing purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

The sound up here, as it will likely be with all from now to the end, is not optimum, but it doesn’t trouble me. It’s won’t be as tricky as Norway.

The boys are both a little flat tonight.


Sean is fighting the tour lurgy and John is missing his wife on her birthday, but we all rally and it feels companionable.
We are homesick, and know too that we will miss, when this tour is done, the surety that tomorrow has been arranged for us and will end in a night performing music that we have nailed and all feel good about.

Side stage we wait in the dark for April 10th to end and for the signal to take our places.

We are met with a full capacity audience, all ready to take on what we throw at them and, my, what a brilliant, splendid. up-for-it audience they are.

How I love these stand up shows.

I prefer them every time.

Our stage lacks its risers.

It’s an odd thing not being mindful of a potential drop inches away.

I am becoming like my Robot Hoover

(I love you).

I detect the edges and miss the corners.

(It doesn’t matter to me. Just the way you are. Stay just the way you are)

Everything flies by.

Everything is as I want it to be.

These people are as I always hope they will be.

Back upstairs I change and clear the room of my debris.

I pack my stage accoutrements back into our wardrobe and vacate so the boys can begin their queue for the shower.

In the green room/crew room/band room some guests are gathered.

Amongst them, my friend and colleague and Sean’s too, Chris Elms is here.

Chris engineered and mixed both ‘the minutes’ and ‘Other’.

He is an astounding talent. Upbeat and focussed and with a truly winning temperament. A joy to work with.

I am delighted to see him tonight, and we have a happy catch up.

Outside a few people who came to see me are waiting and we say hello and they are lovely.

I go to my room.

Glad indeed to have had this day.


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