Last Saturday I travelled from Manchester to Kent, then from Kent to London and from London to Paris... all in one day. I played two shows, was front row for Prada's Miu Miu resort collection show, and watched an ear drum busting Jack White gig at the Palais d'Ièna, Paris. Here's the story.
At 5am I headed off with the band to Hop Farm festival, Kent, and after a five hour drive we arrived on site. It was a quiet and overcast morning, and things were just getting underway as we drove in. Still feeling a bit car lagged, we started the set. Under the canopy of the big top, the small but respectful audience began to wake up and get involved. By midway into the set the tent was full and we came off to a hearty applause.
There was no time to stop after the show, and Neil drove me to the local station to get the next train into London. I met my manager at Charing Cross station and we hurried through the underground to get to St. Pancras on time for the Eurostar to Paris, and to Palais d'lena for Miu Miu's resort collection show.
The train arrived into Paris Gare du Nord at 7pm and my sound check was 7:30pm, so the only way to arrive at Palais d'lena on time was via motorcycle taxi. We met our drivers outside and off we went through the streets of Paris. The traffic was heavy and the driver was Jerking to quick stops behind queues and squeezing through tiny spaces between cars, but eventually the roads became clearer and he could put his foot down. Then I could close my eyes and feel the unguarded rush of Paris jolting by on all sides.
From the steps of the Palais d'lena, we were whisked inside, over a pristine white 'red' carpet, and straight to sound check. I didn't get much time to look around at that point, but the hall was all pillars and beautiful blue art deco carpets, perfectly laid dining tables, and a floor level runway marked out with blue high-backed chairs and mirrored glass boxes. Sound check over, I was shown to my dressing room, where a stunning Miu Miu dress awaited me (see anxious dressing room picture above), and a pretty New Yorker called Jen, who'd been sorting out the models upstairs, came down to do my make-up.
By 8:30 I was on stage. And I don't remember a single bit of it... I was too busy watching the cameras and the photographers and the swathes of glamorously dressed celebrities. After the final note, my guitar and equipment were swept away in seamless motion and I took a seat by the runway.
As if by magic the lofty hall suddenly became a catwalk and along came some equally lofty models, exhibiting the finest of Miu Miu's new resort collection. Colourful knee-high Greecian sandals and loose locks; Epic 70's inspired mini dresses with power prints and boxing style lace-ups; and little mini coats in many colours, which reminded me of that L.S. Lowry painting, Teenagers, c.1965.
Another seamless transition and we are all sitting down to dinner. That, by the way, includes Roman Polanski, Freida Pinto, Uma Thurman, Steve Mcqueen, Marc Jacobs, Grace Coddington... the list could go on, but I don't like to name drop (too much). I was sitting in between two very interesting souls, Lola Bessis, director of Swim Little Fish Swim, and Hammish Bowles, international editor at Large for Vogue U.S.
So, after eating a refreshing Italian dinner, and making mirth, another transition ensued and the purpose-built stage became a rock altar, as Jack White began thrashing out his metal-blues to close the night at Palais d'Iena. The gig was all power and drive from start to finish (even on his little acoustic he managed to batter the senses).
I finally got to bed around 1am. After a 20 hour dash across Europe. Where to next?