The England tour blog

by Stuart on October 2, 2012

Now I’m in England, staying here at Jack’s house. Our first gig was last night:
Last night’s set list at O’Connor’s Hidden Garden, Alton:

Pancho and Lefty (J&S)
John Hardy (J on banjo)
Darlene S
The Cat Came Back J&S
The Ballad of Ira Hays J&S
New York Girl
United 93 J&S

2nd set:
Pastures of Plenty J&S
Erika S
Junk Food Junkie J&S
You Are My Flower J&S
Oh Babe it ain’t no lie J
The Cat Came Back J&S
Wildflower S
John Hurt J
If They Come in the Morning J&S

The audience was maybe a dozen, mostly members of a poetry club. Indeed, they did a bit of open mic poetry between the sets, but they were very appreciative of our stuff, even though Ifelt it was really rough. But they didn’t much care about rough because it was entertaining. You Are my Flower was particularly bad. There were several – well, three – attractive women in their forties and fifties who got really squirmy on Maintenance. I’m just reporting that the song worked.
We made 47 BP in tips and sold four CDs.
Friday, I guess, September 28th. Jack has dug up an unexpected gig, a charity, no pay. We’re working on Road Song, My Name is Morgan, Nobody Knows You, Hello Stranger, in addition to the previous list. .
Pangbourne. Something about the name sounds a little slutty, but I can’t quite place it. It reminds me of the word “poontang.” It’s somewhere outside of Reading, if you’re mapping. Jane drove and we got lost, wandering around the back roads of West Berkshire after dark. We played to an audience of 45 or 50, who paid 3 lb each to support their town hall, where it was held. As with any sort of open mic format, most of the audience was made up of performers and their supporters. There were six or seven other acts on the bill, including an seven-piece barbershop quartet quartet ~ I guess that makes ‘em a septet ~ the usual nervous young songwriters playing loud guitar badly and singing inaudibly, a pair of old farts who did Black Orpheus really well on fiddle and Strat, a couple that looked at each other lovingly ~ no, wait, they were staring into each other’s eyes in panic while hoping that what they practiced that afternoon sounded a lot better than it actually did. You get the pitcher. Jack booked us on the principal that it’s better to play than not to play.
Saturday (September 29th) we day-tripped to Petworth House, Sussex. I couldn’t help thinking that Jimmy and Sergio would be interested in a place with such a name.
“Magnificent country house and park with an internationally important art collection The vast late 17th-century mansion is set in a beautiful 283-hectare (700-acre) deer park, landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown and immortalised in Turner’s paintings. Inside, the house contains the National Trust’s finest collection of pictures, with numerous works by Turner, Van Dyck, Reynolds and Blake, ancient and Neo-classical sculpture, fine furniture and carvings by Grinling Gibbons.
As it turned out, I never discovered why it, and the surrounding town, is called by that name. The folks who lived there for centuries were the Earls of Something ~ One of them had 86 children. Mmmmmm. More than 700 acres of peasant girls to please. Nasty work, but somebody . . . etc.
The Anchor in Basingstoke; there was an open mic quality to it, with the two guys before us being loud and electric and ending with a Beatles thing. We would have gone last, but got hungry and asked John to let us go second. The work on stuff like You Are My Flower and John Hurt has improved from horrible to just not very good ~ we played a full hour and then zipped back to the house where Jane had a nice Sunday meal waiting, roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and peas, with apple crumble & custard for dessert. I was starved, a little high from packing hydrocodone kind of close, and I had seconds of everything.
Oct 1, an 80 miles drive each way to a studio in a tiny house in somebody’s yard in Kent, a very pretty yard. A dumb little studio and I don’t know what the purpose of the day’s work was. I thought that I’d have something clever to say, but I find that’s not true.
Drove Jack’s spare WV Golf to some old cottage to look at pictures of old dead people, Gilbert White et al. The village, Selbourne, was really pretty and the road was narrow and green. Left handed five-speed. Whoopie.
Tomorrow it’s The Back Porch. Hey, where have I heard that name before?

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: