The day started auspiciously as we ran into Sam Amidon, Leo Abrahams and Shahzad Ismaily outside Gus’s house loading the car. They greeted us like the old friends I wished we were and we set out towards Birmingham, the nations second city and our first port of call.
Things took a marked deviation away from brilliant when we burst a tyre barely 5 miles into the motorway. Fortunately, when you ride with Gus and I, you ride cool as a menthol jock strap, and we took it all in our (newly bumpy) stride.
While not inconsiderably alarmed at the hurtling metal screaming past but a foot from our heads we set about changing the tyre on the hard shoulder. At one point, tyre iron in hand, Gus started waxing philosophical, musing about the nature of the people in the cars pounding by us who at that very moment had our lives in their hands, but detours aside we managed it before resuming our journey at the reduced rate of 50mph but with a renewed sense of purpose.
Upon arriving at the gig – and happy to be alive – we found an audience small in numbers but perfectly formed for a lovely, if quite compressed evening on the 4th floor of Waterstones book shop. Ditte Elly played first and lulled everyone into a beautiful reverie from which the bright lights and brash titles of the self-improvement section could not distract.
I had the unenviable task of following and in the short space of 5 songs, gave everything I had. It’s always hard in these type of gigs to judge it, but the mood was warm and I was excited we’d made it so had a great time playing. Gus played only two songs but was characteristically open hearted and committed to his performance and as I’ve seen so many times, totally brought the crowd with him. FaceOmeter finished the night in style. It was a total pleasure to hear his songs again including a few new ones. He is such a unique songwriter, I always feel inspired listening his words.
This being an early gig, we were all finished by 9 upon which we limped the car to Seb’s place before getting some food in Moseley and having a great hang and talked about the stories of funny gigs we’d done and adventures we’d shared, which threw everything into its proper light and left us all feeling lucky to be doing this. Now on Seb’s floor, tomorrow, a new tyre and Manchester beckon. Onwards!