the champagne never had a chance!
We’re on the way back from the UK. Today we drove from Newcastle, in the very north of England, down to kent on the channel, took the cattle car again under the channel and right now Antoine is driving like a bat out of hell trying to get us to our Campanile hotel in Reims before the restaurant closes at 9:30. This is something worth driving fast for as the Campaniles usually have a very good restaurant, bathtubs in the rooms and free internet. We left Newcastle at 9 am and the traffic was completely awful most of the way. Along the way we witnessed the worst british driving has to offer. People stopped for no reason. They switched lanes for no reason. They drove slow for no reason. It was entirely frustrating, and I was in the BACK seat.
A word about this van too, it’s small and cramped. We trade off daily for the front passenger seat because that’s the only seat with any leg room (besides the driver’s seat). Every 3 hour or longer drive sets my knees on fire for hours afterwards and causes Lisa’s feet to swell. I’m thankful that there’s really only two more days of it until the end of August when we do our final few shows.
All the shows in the UK were awesome. Everyone in London was friendly and seemed genuinely glad to see us there again. The last time was 2009 and that was definitely too long ago! The Borderline is a great club right next to Soho, (which was incredibly busy) with great hospitality and staff. I want to give my special thanks to James for making everything so great while we were there. We got to see Vula and a couple of the Jaxx horn section who had a show of their own around the corner at a small theater. I heard they too had a great show.
Our next show in Edinburgh was another long drive (8 hours) but we got to drive through small country roads and old (some very old) villages and farmland. Once we were there our host and promoter Brian made us feel welcome. The Cabaret Voltaire is a club built inside an 800 year old catacomb that sounded great! Again, we had a great crowd of barely understandable people and we had a great time. Edinburgh, by the way, is one of the most beautiful cities I think I’ve ever been to. The downtown, with the castle on the overlooking hill, the monument that nobody seems to know what it’s for, and the many other old buildings, is really picturesque and very historic both looking and feeling. It’s pretty expensive to visit though, if you stay downtown. The next day as we left we even got to see the sun in Edinburgh for the first time ever.
Last night’s gig in Newcastle was at a great little bar/club called the Cluny. The bar/restaurant serves great British food (not a contradiction in terms it seems) and GREAT beer. Our dressing room was stocked with Budweiser Budwar, the REAL Czechoslovakian stuff, not the stuff Americans are forced to choke down. I also had a pint of Timmerman’s peach beer that was delicious with my Meat and mushroom pie. Mmmmmmmm!
But now we’re in France again, speeding towards our hotel. Tomorrow we’re in St. Julien en Genevois to play a festival with the DKT/MC5, Iggy and the Stooges and the Jim Jones Review. It’s gonna be a blast I think.
Made it to the Campanile and had dinner. Lisa and I got steaks that were awesome!! We had champagne (since we’re in the region) Taittinger and it was really good. We’re going to bed now.