Just back from a tiring but fun London trip.Sas rehearsals in Putney went well after a long train ride that nearly never happened after I misjudged the time and ended up breaking the Studio to Longniddry station record in my Dad’s old Corsa.
The 4 hours or so on the train chilled me out then it was a slog on the underground to Putney and a long walk to the studio from the station.I hadn’t realised how rusty my voice was as I hadn’t sung down a microphone since May 2016.
It was great to see all the guys and gals again and catching up at lunch was more like being in a doctor’s surgery as we all went through our various ailments 🙂
Getting my head round singing again was a challenge and I felt a bit awkward for the first hour as I had to really concentrate on the songs.All went well in the end and although I could have done with another run through my voice needs to rest up before I do some needed warm ups over the weekend.I’m glad I have these SAS gigs as I would have had problems at our own rehearsals in November if I’d been going straight in.It’ll be fine come Monday night.
Back over the water and north to Kings Cross where I checked in the hotel, showered and got suited and booted for the evening’s on stage interview at the Islington.
Wonderful to catch up with Steve Blacknell who was celebrating his 65th birthday. The Peter Pan of interviewers we managed to get a good chin wag and open the story boxes over a couple of ciders pre show. We were joined by none other than Aylesbury legend and good mate , John Otway, who I hadn’t seen for over 10 years.He was as always in fine and fun spirits and that smile never wavers.Coincidentally the last time Steve , John and I were together was on the set for the ‘Heart of Lothian’ video shoot.
I had another lovely surprise when Judy Totten my former press officer showed up as she is working with John and came along for the gathering. Again great catching up with lost time and stories a go go played out.
As well as personal friends there were a lot of faces I recognised from over the years in the audience and the night was so informal it was easy to pose for selfies and sign items as well as have one on one conversations over pints outside before and after the event.
The evening was a great success and I intend to repeat it in other venues in more towns and cities next year when I release ‘Weltschmerz’. Steve as expected only asked about 4 questions as I bounced and circled stories and anecdotes as well as explaining the state of affairs with the new album. We did a quick hour and then a 20 minute break before the next 40 minute session. I could have gone on but Steve pulled it in and called it a night. I hung around talking to people for another hour before heading back to the hotel with very sore back and legs from a full days engagement across the city.
I had an interview the next morning before I headed back on the train. Steve Rothery was supposed to be there as it was an interview with Swedish writers who are putting together a book on Hansa studios. Sadly Steve was tied up with ‘Marillion’ rehearsals and had to call off so I was left on my own to reminisce about Berlin back in 1985 until I diddly bopped over to Kings Cross station for the long trek back home.
I arrived aching at the Studio around 7 and spent the night catching up with e mails and news. I put a call into my big buddy John Wesley to check up on how he was doing to find him boarding up his daughters house in preparation for the arrival of hurricane Irma. As expected he was staying and hunkering down with his family and I’ll be thinking of him in the coming days.
Today is a day on the PC dealing with work demands and this weekend I’ll be practicing my vocal exercises and learning lyrics for Monday and Tuesday’s SAS shows. This is the last few days I have to clear the desks and prepare for the next writing sessions when Steve arrives the following week. There’s a lot to do and time is my enemy just now.
One major project is the launch of the new web site which is being created by Rob Skarin. His brother Miles filmed the event at the Islington and we hope to have the entire night’s ‘interview’ up on the web site as it’s a pretty good overview on where things are at just now and I think there were some pretty funny and entertaining moments that will make you chuckle.
And boy in the middle of all this ‘Weltschmerz’ do we need a chuckle just now.
The photo was taken by Stuart James and features 2 of the music business’s great optimists and survivors.