Saturday, 12th March 2005 in Road Trip U.K. 2005.
It’s a Saturday so it must be Kings Lynn – quite a hike from Worthing. Not in American terms, but over here we think an hours driving should have got us to where we want to go and if it hasn’t, well, maybe we don’t want to go there! But we must go, so we set out around 10amand ease ourselves back onto the motorway. Kings Lynn is in Fen country, which those of you who have been paying attention will know to be definitely the flat lands. It would be boring but for the fact that the fields are so far below the road that you have a lorry drivers view of the surrounding land. Reminds me of going across the Prairies in Colorado last year. Neil and I stopped at a trucker’s café for tea and toast. The seats were all arranged in a horse- shoe shape around the counter. We both noticed at the same time that the trucker opposite, who was no small effeminate guy, was wearing bright red nail varnish. He was with a group of truckers talking about this and that. The waitress tried to ignore him but in the end had to ask. He said he wore the nail varnish to protect his nails – and his pals didn’t bat an eyelid. I love that sort of thing. You have to be quite courageous to go against what is generally considered to be acceptable. Most of us are so ‘the meek shall inherit the earth – if that’s ok with everyone?’
Get to Kings Lynn where I have to do a difficult bit of backing the van into a very tight courtyard. Can feel JJ’s eyes on my back as I inch past concrete bollards and brick walls but all OK and we find ourselves in a tiny courtyard where the crew are waiting to unload the instruments.
JJ gives thanks
This gig is an Arts Centre which is a place where many different activities go on – drama groups, talks, films and shows like Neil’s – well nothing is quite like Neil’s – but similar one man/woman performances. It is a long and narrow hall in a very ancient building with beautiful roof beams dating back from the 15th century. The seats are covered in a dark red velvet .
The rider is provided when we get there -the sound guys are good and things are organised and set up quickly. JJ’s wife Tes is coming to see the show tonight with her brother and some friends. JJ has to do some intense meditation on the roof of the van to calm himself down. For the rest of us it is a normal gig except that after the show we meet Karou, a Japanese girl who had been translating Neils lyrics from the new CD into Japanese for sale in Japan.
Tonight we drive home. We take tired turns stopping in a garage for sustenance. When we finally get home and bed beckons we say ‘to hell with that’ and stay up till four…….so pleased to be here and now , as JJ says, with a stint in bed the only thing to do for the next few hours.
Neils thought for the day ‘It’s not the dumbing down on TV that irritates me, it’s the absolute absence of any wising up’
Tom’s poem – A Wasp’s Life. ‘When on the wing, I like to sting, Anything, Moving’