Thursday...I woke early and twitchingly, got up and let Whizzy out..packed a bag with things to take...words (printed LARGE) and a music stand (blimmin' heavy) walked Whizzy, arranged for her to be fed and walked later and headed off to the station to catch the train to London. The train was cancelled due to something else happening somewhere else, but I caught the next one, arrived at Marylebone to find the Bakerloo line was closed for three days while it was being mended or something...walked to Baker st, caught three different trains and finally arrived at Tottenham Court Rd to meet Jon the M and Rachel Hall the violinist...
Now then that's all very ordinary and boring unless you know that I have emphysema/COPD due to years of smoking (DON'T DO IT) and that while I am usually ok, stairs and escalators and long walks leave me unable to breathe and fairly blue in the face. So with all this extra walking I arrived in a kind of gasping stressed state, unable to even say hello for a good five minutes... By the time I had returned to normal and had a cup of coffee, it was time to make our way to the Blue Posts and say hello to Dan the manager and his partner. They looked after us beautifully, and I spent the next hour signing the 500 postcards that were going to be given away with the vinyl issue of Talking With Strangers.. So one worn out aching wrist later, it was time to move on to the 100 Club..
I know it's historic and zillions of bands have played there and it's an icon of a place and I am honoured and all that, but it really did remind me why I hate singing live. Nothing to do with the people running it or anything like that, it was just umm not a very comfortable place... the dressing room was really a corridor and was full of stacked up tables and chairs, the walls were covered in signatures of all the bands that played there...and it was all very splendid, but nowhere to sit and have a quiet moment before playing..
Laurie the Sax player arrived as did Mark the bass and Alistair, Tim, and all of Tim's friends who were going to do a set of No-man songs in the evening.. I left them all setting themselves up and getting organised and returned to the pub where Simon Nicol was sitting, we nattered for a while and discussed bits of this and that and on our return to the Club, found Phil Dudderidge and Big Little Stephanie (too complicated, one day I'll tell you.)
Phil had been one of Fairport's roadies when I was in the band and had later gone on to be Led Zeppelin's sound man and then to be the founder of Soundcraft and later Focusrite both giant companies in the world of mixing desks and sound design, and what's more he was going to be our soundman for the day.. lovely man that he is! And he did make the sound fantastic along with Ray the house soundman.
So we sang four songs for the press part of the day, and in the early evening, Sand Snowman, David Hughes and Tim and his friends, all played short sets before the bit where I had to sing almost the whole of the album, (except for the main part of Harpsong). I have no idea what it sounded like,everyone played brilliantly and the audience all seemed to enjoy it , then it was natter natter, rush to get everything say goodbye, and grab a taxi to the station (with a couple of friends from the village) get on a train and go home at about 1am. And that....was that!