Any gig out of town on a Friday is a mission to get to, but when it's in Dorset and followed by an afternoon gig the next day in West Yorkshire, you have to think about sacking the manager. Unfortunately, the manager is me...
I made it to Dorchester in good time, nice and relaxed, by train, while the others arrived late and frazzled by car. We had time for a quick soundcheck and a Wetherspoon's dinner (back to UK reality with a bang after Italy!). The gig went fantastically - everyone could finally relax and do their thing. I sold lots of CDs during the break and met most of the audience. The gig was well attended.
Afterwards we drove a couple of hours (to make inroads into Saturday's journey) to a Premier Inn on the M5 near Bristol. This chain of hotels has really raised the bar in budget hotel accommodation in the UK, and any promoters reading, please check us into Premier Inns wherever possible!
Another 3 hours to drive on Saturday. It was grey, gloomy and rainy on the Pennines and the car windows were steaming up. We made it at 3pm to soundcheck for our 5pm Marsden Jazz Festival gig. The crew there were running a very slick operation. The sound man, Craig, was excellent, and the piano tuner was on call when Graham Harvey broke the piano - again. This time he finished the B above middle C. Last night 2 other notes. In Abbey Road he broke a string on the Steinway in Studio 2. What a hooligan! We played a 1.5 hour set straight through to a weather-beaten full house who keenly joined us on the journey from 'Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry' to my 7/4 'New Resolution' with the Fender Rhodes.
Geoff and Seb elected to drive home, while Graham and I stayed at a hotel in Huddersfield and enjoyed a very decent curry at a run down looking restaurant that played awful music.
The next day, feeling pretty clever about my train trip to Dorchester, I elected to go back to London by train. Everything went wrong and all my connections were delayed or cancelled. I did actually make it back at the time intended, but only by rerouting via Manchester and buying another £83 ticket. What was really annoying was that I had a £38 price online, which was rescinded as soon as I tried to buy it!