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Fantastic Saturday night in Rotherham at the Classic Rock Society awards where I’d been asked to present the honours. The long drive down was well worth it and I was kept entertained by BBC Scotland sports on a fading and blurry AM radio signal that reminded me of my teenage years in the attic in Dalkeith trying to get a feed from Radio Luxembourg!
I met up with Yatta at the Holiday Inn Express after calling him in his room on my mobile as the pasty faced, thin hipped, Jedward lookalike jobsworth wouldn’t give me his room number or call him for me because of the data prevention act or some other bureaucratic nonsense. He obviously took an instant dislike to me and was on the edge of rude from then on after.
Yats and I took the chance to catch up with the state of the ever moveable Feast touring activities as we hadn’t seen each other since Great Yarmouth. We headed down to the Montgomery hall to be briefed on the night’s activities by Miles Bartaby, Stephen Lambe and the team including Steve Pilkington who’d interviewed me back on the last tour for the double issue spread in the magazine.
A few pints of local real ale and a catch up before the show started and then into the awards after a brief but shiny set by Andy Tillison.
It was never going to be quite as glitzy as the Classic Awards night at the Roundhouse in London but we had a lot of fun on stage amongst the flying by the seat of our Prog pants!
One of my favourite moments was when Steve Hacket came onto stage to pick up the best bass player award for Lee Pomeroy who’s in his band.The acceptance speech drifted into what Steve was planning over the next year and everything else and I thought at the time that he didn’t know he would be picking up his own award for best guitarist later . Sure enough when it came to that section Steve was nowhere to be found in the auditorium and someone shouted out he’d gone outside to the car park for whatever reason. Much waffling was to be had and it was decided after what seemed like an hour that we’d move on with the show. We never found out what he was doing out there and he was slightly embarrassed when he returned to discover he’d been noted as missing in action!
I was genuinely touched to find that a new award had been created, prompted by Andy Tillison and that this year there was a best lyricist award. I have to admit that when I was told on the night I had my suspicions but I was still a bit surprised to be on stage to have it announced and to hear the other contenders. I was exceptionally proud to pick it up for my work on “Feast” and it was the first time in my life that I’d received an award for my lyrics! A sincere huge wave of gratitude to all the people that voted for me and the award has a place of prominence in the studio.
The most deserving award on the night was for Christina Booth who picked up the award for best female vocalist. A beautiful tinny wee creature with a huge heart who turned up despite battling a serious illness and quite rightly took a grand reception from the audience. I was greatly impressed by her and take my hat off to the lady for her bravery and incredibly positive attitude. Her smile was justly huge on stage.
It was a grand afair all round and I tink everyone had a fine evening. Clive Nolan performed his “Alchemy” musical with a vast ensemble of musicians but despite wanting to catch it I ended up in the corridors in the company of old dear friends.
A long wonderful chat with the lovely Rachel Wilce and partner Nick Barrett who I hadn’t seen for far too long. A first time introduction to the guys from Dee Expus, big hugs with Bryan Josh
and his wife Livvy, a council with Steve Hackett on the Sioux Indian approach to surviving in the music business and various other brief encounters before Yatta and I commandeered a taxi for a relatively early night back at the hotel as I had a journey back next day to prepare for a video shoot. We’d had a great time and the guys from the Classic Rock society did us proud. A fine bunch of individuals who deserve a lot more support and recognition from the music community out there.
Next morning young bitter Jedward type relished his call to my room reminding me that check out was 11am. It was short of 11.20 but you would have thought it was mid afternoon by his manner. He was short and cursory and the “please leave the room as soon as possible” was delivered with distaste and reeked of a boy with a name tag and a mild power high. I had no wish to confront him as it would only feed his desire to wield his meagre authority. I smiled, thanked him, apologised for my lateness and vacated the premises leaving him with his pent up frustration to vent on some minor with an even less significant name tag!
The drive home was majestic and I rubbed around 40 minutes of the Tom Tom time. Only ruffled by a couple of maniacs, one a woman in a Golf TDI and the other in a Peugeot having a road battle on the A1 out of Newcastle as they continually tried to overtake and cut each other up at high speed. I misjudged the lanes on a roundabout near Berwick and both tried to undertake me blaring horns at my mistake despite me correcting and signaling my mistake. I followed the duelling pair all the way across the border, keeping my distance and at one point watched them hurtle at over 100 mph to the end of a dual carriageway both vehicles bleeding red light as they braked and swerved close to being out of control. I honestly thought they were coming off the road and that I’d be pulling over to deal with the wreckage. I held back and despite the Peugeot blocking me a couple of times on overtaking manouevres I stayed calm and collected. He was no match for a Volvo XC and I blasted by him on a roundabout in Dunbar leaving him disgusted in my wake without even giving him a cursory glance.
Home mid afternoon and not enough left of the day to entertain thoughts of work. A freak wind had hit the county and I discovered one of the vents on the greenhouse had been torn off and was now lying half way down the garden. I spent time trying to fix it as the greenhouse is full of young plants with a crowd of seedlings in the new propagation tray Mac the gardener had set up and to which I was obligated to keep a watchful eye over.
Darkness fell and I returned to the warm stove, some comfort food and wine and another session with “Breaking Bad” which took me into the night and to the mid point on series 4. I am so envious of the screen writing, the acting and the direction and can only dream of ever putting together something so epic. In all honesty I am in awe of this series and find myself somewhat exhausted and emotionally drained by the storylines. I don’t want it to end!
Today was the first day of the video shoot. But that’s another story!
Photo is me with the best lyricist of 2013 award! A very proud writer!