Tour Diary Day 9 – Stroud to Deal

TOUR DIARY DAY 9. The day started badly. After the high of the gig at the Prince Albert the night before, the edgy drive back and the uncertainty of the election, we woke to a high-pitched digital sound of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Confused but fascinated in the same unedifying way we’re drawn voyeuristically to gawp at the scene of an accident, we watched, listened, shared and reposted before sitting around Pete and Bea’s kitchen table trying and failing to make sense of it all.

Work is tonic though and before long Pete had retreated to his loft where he assembles the ‘Submarine’ pick up he has designed (http://www.submarinepickup.com) It’s very much a cottage industry, his little space crammed with bits of electronics and tools for doing small jobs on smaller things. It felt safe and real up there, watching Pete solder circuit boards together and a long way from the news. In the warmth of the anglepoise I opened up to Pete about my worries about the impending recording and my own ability, like the total pro he his, gave me some sage advice. Feeling more courageous as a result, I did a little practice in the kitchen while Gus, having predicted the result the night before but maintaining his usual equanimity, carried on mixing his new album downstairs.

Before we left I got an incredible massage from Bea, who provides massages and therapies from their home and from a studio in town and specialises in treating musicians. It’s not something I do very often but feeling run down and physically at a low ebb, it came at an important time. While Bea was working her magic, I had a number of powerful visions that surprised and shook me quite deeply. I was quite emotional at the end and needed a little time on my own to work it out but I came out the other side feeling cleansed, reflective and physically restored. Should you be in the Stroud area I can’t recommend Bea highly enough. Find her website at:www.jacksontherapies.co.uk

After saying our goodbyes, and still wearing a beatific grin from the massage and the love that comes off Pete and Bea, we set off. The journey from Stroud to Deal, while not an epic, was still a good 4.5 hours and there was only so much of the radio we could listen to, so we left each other to our own thoughts for much of it and arrived at the Lighthouse at 7pm.

Deal is home to the Smugglers Records lot who released my last album and with whom I’ve toured and hung out a lot over the last few years. Since connecting with them I have had the good fortune to come down and play the Lighthouse a lot and its shares the family run atmosphere of the Albert. We soundchecked with David of Cocos Lovers fame on the desk and pumped for what would be our penultimate show, Gus kicked the night off.

With everything that had happened that day, the crowd were in a different mood to our previous shows. Gus was gentle, not overselling the words or pushing the theatricality too hard. Gradually though, the audience warmed up and I could see Gus start to go through the gears until by the final poem, comprised entirely out of advertising slogans, lift off had been achieved.

I feel very lucky to have some great fans in Deal and it was really great to be able to play the new songs to them. I felt as comfortable on stage as I had done all tour and I could feel the benefits of the practice, the pep talk and the massage in my fingers. After the show we hung about and chatted before retiring to Phil and Billy of Cocos Lovers house, there to eat toast and read one more time the stark proclamations of the end of the world, before drifting off into uneasy sleep.

Today is the last day of the tour – see Gus looking reflective here – and we play at the opening of the Talking Drum in Margate, a new venue being opened by Arthur Smuggler himself aka Will Greenham. It will be a great way to finish and sounds like it will be packed. Come if you can, we’d love to celebrate with you. J x