Here's what I learnt about Lincoln- it's really pretty. I've been there many times, but I haven't had a chance to explore too extensively before. That's the sleeper bus vs splitter van trade off: with the latter you get a good night's sleep and easy access to a shower in a Travelodge. You then set off around 10am and spend half the day on the road, getting to the new town hopefully in time for sound check. What's great about sleeper busses though is that you travel overnight, sleeping in your bunk as the miles fall away beneath you. You then wake up already in the new town, a little stiff from the coffin-like bunk, but with the whole day to investigate your new surroundings.
Not a huge deal of activity to report from Lincoln to be honest. Like I say I did enjoy the new perspective that Bertie the Blue Brompton afforded me, and I can confirm it really is a beautiful town. I met Peter, Stephen and Adam in a café called Angels, where apparently you have to be a stunning female to gain employment. We languished there for a few hours feeling middle class, with our laptops and lattes. When Adam pointed out I misspelt "Lincoln" in a tweet (omitting the 'l'), a conversation ensued where we speculated on the entomology of the word "Coln". Yep. Rock n' roll, kids.
From the new album we've played every song on this tour except the title track, Sequel To The Prequel. I'm not sure why, but Peter doesn't seem ready to perform it live yet. We keep running it in our pre-gig dressing room run throughs, so hopefully it'll make an appearance soon. During these warm ups we've also started playing a Dinner Jazz version of Delivery, for our own amusement. Complete with saccharine noodling from both Stephen & Mik, it has to be heard to be believed. We have toyed with the idea of opening a gig with it, but previous moments come to mind where stuff we thought was funny has been met with consternation. The fabled "Ladyshambles" gig of lore springs to mind, for example. One night years ago on a European tour we hit the stage in full drag- what can I say; we thought it was hilarious. I can still remember the blank faces of two thousand German kids who had no idea what to make of the spectacle. Not to say that comedy jazz versions of our tunes will traumatise audiences quite like the sight of Mik and Pete in fishnets did, but all the same. Perhaps best left for warm ups eh?
I bloody heart Bristol. It's the best place. Perhaps my two years living in Falmouth when I was a teenager left me with a soft spot for all things West Country, but I find most people agree there's something calming and quintessentially British about the place. Despite a somewhat chequered past (please stand up, Colston Hall), Bristol has so much culture and history you can feel it emanating from the street walls. Stephen, Adam and I discussed its history over a pre-gig meal, Stephen having visited the remarkable boat/museum the "SS Great Britain" earlier in the day.
During soundcheck Pete abandoned his shower to join us as we ran through Stranger In My Own Skin (the local crew a little confused by Peter's attire - dripping wet with one towel round his waist & one on his head). We played it later that night, and it went down well. First time we've done it this tour.
The set started well I thought, but kind of unravelled at bit towards the end. I had had some bad news earlier that day, so as soon as we finished the encore with Fuck Forever I walked straight out the venue to take the air and collect my thoughts. Adam ran out after me, bless him. We found a spot by the waterside and stopped to enjoy the view. Shortly after Stephen joined us, informing me that Peter kept playing after we came offstage. I immediately got a sinking feeling from this piece of news, but Stephen assured me that it was actually pretty cool, in a ramshackle kind of way.
We strolled around the quays a while longer, contemplating the quietly serene vessels moored in Bristol Harbour. After the chaos of the gig just moments before, the scene before us is like balm. "Wouldn't this be a nice place to retire..." Adam asks, to no one in particular. We sigh in agreement, turn on our heels and silently walk back to the bus.