Wednesday, 24th August 2005 in August 2005.
Neil has two interviews to do today so we walk back to the Spiegeltent garden where we are scooped into the tent for a programme broadcast daily about the festival. Two very strong coffees later Neil answers the usual questions- ‘what was it like working with The Pythons etc’ and then plays ‘Love is getting Deeper’ minus moustache and French beret, which, I suppose, doesn’t matter because it is radio. We go to The Pleasaunce for coffee and toast meeting up with JJ and Ken around lunch time. After lunch Neil and I walk back to the Pollock Halls for a siesta and around 5pm we set off again for the gig. Again the tent is full of real fans. The interaction between Tom JJ and Neil when Neil forgets the words or there is a duff note is enjoyed by the audience. Probably because it makes them feel part of the whole thing and they always join in willingly when asked, even on ‘All Alone’ which calls for some real note pitching. Neil ends by commenting that he gets a great buzz from hearing the audience sing ‘All Alone’ altogether. Another good merchandising night but tonight we have to load the van so we finish about 11/2hours later and around 9pm we are out onto the streets looking for a bit of a good time, but mainly for food. You know the sort of thing that happens. You find a good restaurant too quickly and think there must be a better one, and there never is. We decide to wander down to the Grassmarket. This is the area of Edinburgh I know best. All through the Grimms years in the 1970s, the ‘Nest Of Intervals’ years in the 1980,s and the ‘Jam Tomorrow’ years in the early ‘90s when Neil worked with Andy Roberts and a variety of headgear, we seemed to be based around this area. Memories come flooding back. It feels like home and all the small eclectic shops selling everything from polka dot dresses to lino are, thankfully, still here, although the streets have been cleared of the winos – avid listeners to lost poets and performers in the wee small hours, as the ablution lorries discharges jets of water onto them and the pavements. I hear this sort of cleaning up has happened in Greenwich Village. The Village was once a funky place to be but now houses those totally unnecessary Josephs and Calvins and Gallianos selling clothes to the very rich and causing house prices to rise so that it has become almost another 5th Avenue. What’s the point?? I get such a buzz out of finding things in charity shops now. It works for me, I have to say, because, as these ‘labels’ have spread rash-like all over New York, people find themselves almost always wearing the same thing as someone else. Muttering things like ‘ Oh fate worse than death’ they throw their cast- offs and once-worns into the charity shops, which is where me and a hundred other scavengers play patience and wait.
Huge detour there – trying to pull myself back to the future but it is hard. Memories of Brian Patten the beautiful but highly aggressive (when drunk) Liverpool poet punching an overkeen and very pushy fan, keep me in that time.
Hey ho, so eventually we fetch up in an Italian restaurant where loud rock is playing. I ask for some Italian music and we get the sort of thing the Eurovision song contest is renowned for – no you don’t want to know. Suffice to say that it is instantly forgettable. I have mussels and instantly regret it. JJ and Neil has steak and Tom pasta. Drive back to the Halls, without Tom, who spends the early hours in the company of a ‘brown eyed handsome girl’ or is that just a song I’ve heard?
One of the Famous Spiegeltents. There are several as we found out in Edinburgh. The one we had this time had pillars all round the inside so Neil Tom and Ken had to set themselves up between the pillars with JJ right behind them. It actually worked but the Brighton tent (with no obvious pillars) is the favourite.