February Tour and trail of the dead kings

It has been a great week and no doubt. Two good house concerts and three public shows, The Musician in Leicester, The Red Lion in Birmingham and ending with the very fine Barley Hall in York. I was impressed by York, it was older, more interesting and livelier than I thought.

The Barley Hall was a genuine medieval hall, complete with central fireplace and smoke hole in the ceiling. The hall was about 600 years old but had been restored to the way it was around 500 years ago. As soon I walked into the room I decided to play it completely acoustic with no mikes. The support act, Jane Stockdale, gulped but stoically agreed to go along with the plan and sounded very good too. We were sold out weeks ago and I’d like to do it again. I am actively trying to seek out unusual venues, especially if they have an historical resonance.

There has been a curious thread running through the week. In Leicester everyone was fizzing with the excitement of finding the remains of Richard III in a car park. The city needs more tourist attractions, however, York wants him too so there is the beginning of a corpse tussle going on over this unfortunate king. My next solo show in England will be in May at Lancaster, prompting me to think about reading more on the War Of The Roses. In Birmingham someone said to me..”There is a thin dividing line between madness and genius, it’s called the Pennines“.

Last night was the first of my last ever four shows with Oysterband and June Tabor and was in Gloucester Cathedral, a Norman building from the 12th century. Just behind where I was standing was the tomb of Edward II, the man who had the unpleasant experience with a red hot poker. I have the feeling I am being followed by dead Plantagenets. The dressing room was the old chapter house where William The Conquerer gave out the orders for the Doomsday book.