I've just got back from Newcastle.
Oh, I've had such a good time! I drove up the A1
(LittleChefLittleChefLittleCheflotsofroundaboutsmoreLittleChefs and you're there)
on Thursday. Martin came to meet me at the hotel and we went to the Cluny; the Daintees have got to be the friendliest band in the Universe, and it turned out that John Steele, one of the guitarists, is the brother of a little girl who I used to go to play with when I was a child. I think I last saw him when he was 3! The crowd was really warm (altho' talking while I played; was their night out, innit?) but I still enjoyed it, there was a really good atmosphere. The I got to watch the Daintees, who I'd never seen. They were just the best band I have seen for ages- they radiated bonhomie from the stage. When you've been in bands you check out the way that the people in the band feel about each other, and this lot REALLY like being in a band together. They had a different drummer from their original one, called Kate, who drummed like Johnny Cash's drummer. I felt really embarrassed afterwards to tell her how good she is- you always feel like you are saying 'Very good for a female' in a patronising cheesey way, but bloody hell, she is a good drummer, full stop. And Martin is hilariously funny, lots of audience banter-'How much do you like the changes that's happened on the quayside then?'
'You don't get that response in Hamburg'.
'This song's for all the girlfriends on the planet who've had to put up with singer/songwriter boyfriends'.
What an amazing band; the second night I realised that they reminded me of an African band in the way they get on with each other onstage- they have this feeling of all being equal to each other in some way. First night, I even got off my high horse and danced to 'Boat to Bolivia', after chatting to a friendly chap from Corbridge. Second night, I enjoyed playing again; my friend Carol turned up, we caught up with each other and then watched the Daintees set together. Martin's a very good fingerpickerer and I had to listen to try to figure it all out- he's gonna email me the chords of the Round Robin. It was just such fun, the whole thing, being home (where the heart is), yakking away to everybody, people in the audience came up and said they liked my songs, the promoter Shippy's a Chefs fan of old (there were lots of 'em there) and I signed a couple of vintage Chefs singles, talking to Martin about All Things, making new friends, watching mad Newcastle buskers, sleeping in the lovely comfortable Shaftesbury Hotel, giving the Daintees' perccussionist ancient midget gems from the bottom of my bag, watching a great band two nights running.... definitely the two best days of miserable 2006. Talk about feeling good! Big up Martin, Shippy and the Daintees for being the best hosts in town!
Oh yes... the pens. Well, on Friday morning I got the Metro up the toon to do a bit of Christmas shopping, but before I left, I decided to empty out my bag because it was a little bit heavy. There were 22 pens in there, two lipsticks and a Swiss Army Knife. After I'd taken them out, the bag was as light as a feather and I floated through Fenwicks like a puff of thistledown.
More tomorrow, perhaps.