2004 Sep 28 Ram Club and other stuff
28 Sep 2004
Hello!! I bet you’re surprised to hear from me. Oh my God. The last diary entry was Nov 2003!!!
Here are some things I’ve done since last year.
1. Made a new album as you’ve probably heard.
2. Done Cropredy again.
3. Got a new band as you’ve probably heard.
4. Formed a company with a dancer.
5. Got a greenhouse.
6. Grew tomatoes.
7. Played on Fairport’s new album called Over The Next Hill.
8. Taken down horrible wallpaper in my office at home.
9. Read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time.
10. Done a few gigs.
11. Been to Germany with my new band.
12. Made pumpkin and walnut bread.
13. Found some baby newts under some stones in my garden.
14. Found out I am number 2 in the BBC3 world music charts.
15. Got my name up on lamp-posts.
16. Got called Acid-Folk.
You can read about some of these things in News and other places but I think I’ll just concentrate on one thing cos it’s too much to write about and it’ll probly be really boring. So here goes…
MY SOUTHERN ADVENTURE
Last weekend I did go and do 3 gigs in a row. Almost a tour!
Here it is:
Friday: The Ram Club Foley Arms Claygate
Saturday: Festival near Chichester (Fairports)
Sunday: Hailsham Pavilion – support to John Tams and Barry Coope
Even though The Ram is a folk club, it’s still lovely. Actually I do like folk clubs. Mostly.
Maggie and Bob Wood who run it are very good at it and the turns are not rubbish at all in fact they are good.
It’s one of those unpromising gigs where you turn up and someone says to you ‘What do you want?’ and you think to yourself ‘Why do I do this? Why-o, why-o why?’
The room is a dingy back room which the people transform totally into a cosy venue with banners and posters and photos and cut-outs of guitars.
And it was great. I really enjoyed it and the audience were very professional indeed. They knew exactly when to clap and laugh and keep quiet. I expect they were on tour like me.
The sound was good and I thoroughly enjoyed myself plus I got to sing a song I made which has the word Claygate in. It’s called The Quicksand Hornpipe and has all the names of the train stations from Clandon to Waterloo. It has been recorded on a compilation thing called Songs From the Smoke. See ‘hear stuff’.
So – nice time on Friday.
On Saturday my brother Dominic came over to my mum’s and we all cut the hedge together.
I am dead scared of electric hedge trimmer things. I get that feeling like when you have some keys in your hand and you go near a drain you think you’re going to deliberately drop them down it. Or if you’re in a classical concert with a serious quiet string quartet and you can’t help thinking you’re going to suddenly stand up and shout something rude. When you have a hedge trimmer in your hand you never know what might happen.
Then off we went to gigs – my mum to a barn dance and me to join Fairport at Appledram near Chichester. It was a beer festival. Raining. Marquee. A few stalls. Again very unpromising. A nice bloke called Mark who organises this said hello. He runs a radio show in the area.
I arrived before the Fairports and waited in my car. I was shown to a dressing room which was actually one of those roadmender’s corrugated steel huts blue with no windows. It looks like it will be lifted any minute onto a huge cargo ship. So you don’t like to go inside. Inside however was food laid out on plates and many different types of alcohol. Not surprising since it was a beer festival.
I suspect there are many many missing musicians who have been trapped in such unlikely dressing rooms because they are enticed in by the food and drink. And then get lifted away and disposed of.
Maybe there are skeletons of musicians in containers all over the world who might be discovered in years to come by archaeologists. It’ll be like the dinosaurs. Sometimes musicians fell like dinosaurs in fact I know some who actually are dinosaurs.
Anyway – I helped myself to a very small vodka which I took to my car to drink while reading ‘The Queen’s Fool’ by Phillipa Gregory. (Excellent).
The Fairports arrived in their van and went into the ‘dressing room’. They were never seen again. No not really.
You could see it was going to be a difficult sound-check and it was – 2 complicated bands on the same night and everything took ages. My accordion just had to go acoustic. The first band went on late. They were great – you’ll have to look on the website to find out who they were because I forgot – www.bluesonthefarm.com – we thoroughly enjoyed it.
And surprisingly too – by the time the Fairports were on, most of the alcohol had mysteriously disappeared. Also a nice person arrived with some rum which went the same way.
However – it was a lovely gig with the audience steadfastly turning up and cheering and getting drunk and having a wonderful time. Despite the weather which spoilt it a bit, it was a great little festival with all the things you need at festivals. E.g. stupid hats – yes – I got one, doughnuts, hippy clothes, beer tent with all sorts of differently tasting beers, and mud.
The Fairport’s set was great and quite spontaneous-sounding. Haste To The Wedding was particularly interesting with a heavy-metal type ending with lots of screeching and howling and Simon in the midst of it with his hands over his ears. The crowd went mad.
I just went on and did Over The Next Hill which is the title of their new album which I played on and The Crowd which is my song from their XXXV album. If you don’t know anything about the Fairports see their website www.fairportconvention.co.uk.
They are great.
After the show I met a nice woman called Michaela who had emailed me over summer saying how good my website is. How lovely.
The Fairports are now in America doing a month of touring. I gave them some chocolate for the way home in their van as they all looked a bit bedraggled (what a lovely word). It was Orange Lindt. Mmmmmmmm.
So – got back to my mum’s quite late as it’s a bit of a higgledy piggledy journey. My mum was already tucked up in bed having got back from her ceilidh earlier on.
Sunday – my mum was dressed up in medieval costume for a do in the village playing her accordion. Not nice weather for it. And I left for Hailsham near Eastbourne where a lovely gig waited for me all nice in a nice pavilion. The gig was an hour support to John Tams and Barry Coope. You know John Tams cos he was Daniel Hagman in Sharpe with Sean Bean. He is very clever and writes lots of music for stuff and also does gigs.
The organiser is called Bob and works really hard to get these gigs promoted. He also did some lovely food and made the dressing room all nice for us.
I went on and did my hour which went fine. The audience were quiet but listeny and even they did the goldfish frog survey and most were frog. Not unusual.
Then an amazing thing happened. A face loomed up over the edge of the stage as I came back on to get my instruments off. ‘Anna Ryder!’ For a split second I didn’t know who it was and then ‘Andy Jackson!’
Andy Jackson I spent 31 days in a row with in 1999 and then never saw again until last Sunday. He was part of the crew during my tour on a bus with the Fairports as the support act. At first he looked relatively alright
But this is him at the end of the tour
He was the one who actually liked folk music and knew lots about it. He had asked me who my influence was and I had said Mrs Mills!
So this just made my adventure better.
John and Barry played a great set and the audience enjoyed it all. Being a Sunday it was an early finish and I got back at a reasonable time to my mum’s. Next morning it was home to my little old town of Warwick where I live.
With some dosh in my pocket and extra from selling a few CDs, it was nice to have some decent gigs and a good time.
I also came away with a load of food from the lovely promoter Bob Perry but unfortunately I arrived home in the dark to my mum’s and dropped the chocolate fingers and couldn’t see them to pick them up. In the morning I took a photo of them cos I thought they looked arty.
In the morning I came home in my trusty car with money in me pocket and a hope in my lickle heart. If every weekend was like this life’d be wonderfuller than ever!
So that’s the end of my Southern Adventure byeeeeeeeeeeeeee.