Tour Diary Day 10 – Margate

After all the rushing around of the last few days it was good to wake in Deal in the knowledge that we only had to go up the road for the final gig in Margate.

We took our time, me listening to the cricket, Gus writing letters, while Phil made us some expertly boiled eggs. Gus took a trip to the Smugglers Record Shop while I did some work and made an album swap with ace songstress Poggy Hatton before we set off.

It was a cold and windy November night as we followed the Kent coast to Margate. Finding our venue – The Talking Drum – was made more exciting by the lack of an address owing to it currently operating in the twilight of legality, but find it we did.

Upon arrival, flashbacks to 90’s home makeover shows crashed in on me as doors were still being hastily attached, kegs were being rigged and a sound system was being unloaded, all while bill posters from a long forgotten circus covered the windows. In amongst it all was Will Greenham, one of key figures behind Smugglers Records and that rare thing – a man given to big ideas but possessed of the gumption to make them happen.

Rather than get in the way, we took a very windy stroll through an almost deserted Margate and for the second time in 3 days found ourselves in an American Diner. Gus was suffering in the extra bright neon lights, being the sort of fish who lives deeper down, but alone save the waitress and the cook, we stuck it out. They played Elvis on the jukebox and were bizarrely projecting Breakfast at Tiffany’s on the wall.

The food was as odd as the vibe so we made quick work of it and returned to the venue by which time all signs of the finishing touches we walked in on were long gone. Slowly groups of hip 30 something gunslingers rolled in, word of mouth spreading the news of a new scene and by the time Gus started a healthy crowd of curious locals were there to greet him.

Gus went acoustic again, forcing the audience to commit to listening. When he finished with What Do We Want – which had been my absolute favourite to hear each night – the room was as silent as a Hilary Clinton victory party and the crowd were transfixed, the silence before the applause a testament to their rapt attention.

Mollies Lips aka Billy and Phil from Cocos Lovers then played a delightful floor spot before I got up. The crowd both upstairs and downstairs had swelled to a pleasing throng of beards and big glasses and conscious that this was the last show, I took a little moment to focus before going on.

The set went beautifully. I felt relaxed and confident from having played every night and coupled with the warmth I feel from the Smugglers crew, it was a perfect way to finish – I even did a few encores.

By time Gus and I left to hit the road back to London, the place had thinned out but what remained was a strong sense that what Will is creating is a special thing. It was an honour to be there at the very beginning and I can’t wait to come back.

On the drive home Gus and I debriefed. We spoke about our highlights, about the amazing people we’d met, friends we’d stayed with and gigs we’d done. We also spoke about the future, about the respective albums we’re making and for the first time in a long time opened up to each other.

It’s funny, when you share a tour with someone you’d think you’d talk all the time, but the reality is, for each other’s sanity, it’s a lot about making and leaving space just to be. In many ways, Gus and I are as different as they come, but we both believe deeply in what we’re doing and I think recognise in each other another soul trying to be true. I hope we can strike out on the same road again soon.

If you want to catch Gus his next ‘Peach’ event is on 24 November at Total Refreshment Centre in London with Sink. It will be historic.

If you want to catch me, I’m playing a few shows before the album recording and would love to see you there:

17 Nov – Farmopolis, London
29 Nov – Jamboree, London FULL BAND!
2 Dec – Rich Mix, London w/ Vula Viel

Huge love to everyone who help organise the shows or put us up along the way, I can’t wait to repay the favour. Most of all though, thanks to everytone who came to see us along the way, you are why we do it and in Gus’s words – you’re doing very well.

Big love and stay strong,

Jamie x