Friday, 4th March 2005 in Road Trip U.K. 2005.
Another long drive down to Cannock just north of Birmingham. All have Scottish money which is often rejected in England – there are so many versions of it that it is easy to forge. Need to find a bank. We don’t let Neil drive so the three of us did a couple of hours each with the usual stops and arrive at Cannock and the Roman Way Hotel at around 5pm. This is the first place where the girl at reception did a double take when Tom, with his white dreadlock,s walked in. Tom is about 6’4” tall and skinny so is easy to spot without the hair. This woman seems not able to deal with it so it becomes difficult to communicate re. keys to the room etc. Find we are about a ten minute walk with heavy cases from the foyer so think the hotel must be full. In fact it is empty so Neil is furious they have put us there. We literally have to drop the cases and rush off to the gig. We arrive in a flurry of snow, park, introduce ourselves and are promptly told by the soundguy we have parked in the wrong place and would we move the van from the particular spot we had chosen to park. Beginning to have doubts about this gig. We move the van. The theatre is a big council- run place with uncomfortable seats on the floor area below a high stage and then padded seats sloping up to the sound box. The band sets up and rehearses Charlie at last. The sound is good and the crew helpful. Heart lifts. Not much time to set up the merchandising but the crew carry the boxes and tell me they do not take commission. ‘Joy’. Then in come the audience – over 200 and all keen as mustard some buying one of everything on the table and all wanting things signed. Nearly sell out of black t-shirts and the new CD is selling as fast as I can put it on the table.
The audience loves the show and there is a huge crowd to meet Neil afterwards including one guy who knew of a really good club nearby more suited to Neil’s show. We are taking notes of all these so we can put a tour together ourselves with a proper rider and terms and conditions etc. This gig gave us water, beer and a bottle of wine, the crew were excellent, the audience enthusiastic, so we fell elated as we drive back through ‘chubby’ snow to the hotel. Dead as a dodo so we just go to bed.
Neils thought for the day: ‘69p for a banana?????’