The tour got off to a good start on a cold haily windy night at the Dimbola Lodge Museum, perched on the top of the chalk cliffs above The Needles on the Isle Of Wight. The Needles are detached white cliffs on the western side of the island that rise vertically out of the sea and are quite spectacular. I like arriving at a gig on a boat, it makes it feel like a real voyage.
I tried out a few new songs and used the mandolin more, it has been three months since my last show so everything felt nice and fresh. Thanks to the small audience who braved the weather. The next day I had a bracing walk on the beach with my promoter and friend Pete Holden and looked across the water to Bournemouth where I lived for a few years as a kid. I remembered being five and looking across at The Needles.
Last night was a sold out show at The Spring Arts Centre in Havant, a thriving and exemplary multi purpose venue, every town should have one of these; museum, cafe, bar, and venue with all kinds of events, all under one roof and very popular with the locals.
It is always a shock getting back to English traffic, the sheer volume of it, the narrow roads, plus, as an ex-pat, getting used to driving on the other side of the road. I have a mantra I repeat; ’Drive on the left or you die, drive on the left or you die’. It has worked so far. Back home the main danger is ice and wildlife.
I have a day off now, then a house concert and some interesting public shows. Friday I am at the Ripley Arts Centre in Bromley, a big rambling Edwardian house. I am looking forward to this one very much, not just because it was one of Bowie’s first gigs, but because they have a grand piano. I play piano at shows these days if there is one there and have got so used to it now that there are certain songs that I only play on piano. I am slowly working towards a new collection a songs for a new album but have not yet made a time frame to work to. It will take as long as it takes. Meanwhile, it is great to be back on the road again, playing and talking to people.