We’ve all had to make long MEGA journeys from time to time and as I’ve ventured round the continent I have become very aware of one big difference between how the transit traveller in Europe is treated compared to the very same in the UK.
Basically it all boils down to one major factor: Time allowed to stop and park for!!!!!
When missioning back from the final trek of a 5 month tour round Europe I crossed overnight from mainland Europe Va Calaise to Dover. I was exhausted from hours of driving and the time spent on the ferry only made me more sleepy. Despite a coffee I decided the final 2 hours back to London would have to wait and I pulled into the 1st services I saw and slept in the tour van for 3 hours. Feeling a little recharged I made my way back to the capital arriving at my destination about 4 am.
About a week later I received a letter stating that I was parked over the limit at the English service station and was fined £60??? I did protest this and the fine was dropped. However I did hear from a friend that the fine was unlawful and they have to refund all appeals regardless of reason and the fines themselves are issued only in the hope that whomever receives them pays without appeal. A surefire filter system that must from time to time result in them getting their gold. If one does nothing the fine increases.
Anyway I am firstly writing this blog to warn folks of the above but also to dwell on the sadness it fills me to learn of coming from a country where most service stations take opportunistic steps to penalise the weary traveller. Surely for the sake of logic and safety the pit stop that is a service station should allow anyone feeling the need to rest the chance to do so. Weather they be venturing for work holiday or simply by nature the journeyman or woman is allowed not even enough for a night of purgatory sleep from a to b. Most places allow just 2 hours which for some isn’t even enough time to nod off. I just just returned from months of parking up close to the facilities of many random locations all allowing me the time I needed to refresh.
It’s a Pleasure to be able to confirm I will be performing as a part of the largest Free Music Festival in London!!!Hanwell Hootie – 7 till 7 45 pm @ The Church Stage – St Mellitus Church, Hanwell, West London, UK
So it has been some time but I am pleased to say the break has done me good 🙂
I will be returning to the live concert world later this month to open up a daytime concert for Stevie Jones and the Wildfires and The Impact – Who will be launching their Debut album that day. Concert time 2 – 5PM
Entrance is expected to be around the £5 mark.
This will be a nice warm up for me before returning to the road for an extended run. Expect new stuff!!! 🙂
The concert will be taking place between during the day between 2 and 5 pm. I will be playing 1st so expect me to perform about 2ish.
The Doors will be open from about 1pm. SATURDAY 25TH MARCH 2017.
It’s now one year since the day I decided to have a go at connecting with (for me) a totally new instrument.
Back in 2016 I made a very conscious decision to spend less time on the road. I had clocked up 2000 odd shows over the last decade and as happy that I was to have enjoyed that journey; I was reaching a strange place in the process.
Mainly I was starting to feel as though I was loosing sight of the Joy in creating music and as my attempts at new material became further intricate, I was unsure as to how much faith one should have in it.
In short – I needed to step back.
So shortly after settling into a life less transient I decided to invest in something new.
One of the wisest purchases I have ever made I immediately took to playing the keys in a way that reminded me of my 1st connection to the Guitar. I was terrible at playing it, but the process was of pure discovery. I would find myself sat for hours noodling over simple ideas and feeling like it was the freshest thing I had created in a while.
Suddenly the loops, layers, textures, effects and intricacies seemed irrelevant.
When I reflect upon it I wonder why it took me so long. I soppose being on the road so much had a lot to do with it. But for years now my greatest love for music of just one musician and his/her instrument has been that of piano players.
I would gush to people about my love for Thelonious Monk, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bill Evans to name a few. And the music of groups like Radiohead had moved forward leaps and bounds once they started to ditch the guitars and embrace the keys.
As much as I’ve probably laboured the point now it really was a wonderful awakening for me. But what I didn’t expect was that before the year was out, I would be performing this way.
I was offered a last min show in December 2016. It was to be only a short set. I took it knowing I had decided to commit myself into a piano set. And so that’s what I did.
I was lucky enough to be able to perform a private concert the day before my 1st public outing on at the Impact Theatre in West London. This went ok although I did tend to rush everything.
The next night saw me debut publicly not only new songs but the new instrument:
I had learnt from my experience the day before and kept everything slow and manageable.
Early into 2017 I also played one singular unannounced performance in Watford:
Again there was a steep learning curve to the occasion.
I shared the billing with a fully pro piano player and sheepishly did my best.
Either way although my playing is still as basic as can be.
It’s helped my writing and enthusiasm no end.
So for now the new material is often stemming from the Piano. How much of that remains a part of the live set up remains to be seen.