day eight, and the most northerly point of the tour so far sees me sat in kev's aparthotel with Come Dine With Me on in the background. kev, ever the chef, is pointing out why this particular dish won't work. i, meanwhile, feel like absolute shit.
but this is no bad thing. trust me when i say this - i've earned this. this feeling that someone is standing behind me, pounding at my neck whilst gently kneeing me in the skull is one i've truly earned, having awoken this morning on a floor in Leeds feeling exactly as tired as i was when my eyes closed at 2am. last night was York, a city astounding in its olde worlde beauty home to a compact venue below a late night cinema. the people are - for the most part - quietly appreciative, and whilst the merch hasn't exactly flown out of our hands since we left Cheltenham on Sunday (more on that in a moment), we did at least feel like we'd achieved something.
i was already half-dead before that gig, mind. Tuesday night was Leeds and a mix of music and poetry, in which the writers got fairly drunk fairly quickly and we all ended up - somewhat inevitably, for me - at The Cockpit at Slam Dunk dancing to a whole bunch of emo songs we'd never heard of, and some shameful ones we had (Fallout Boy, Goldfinger, Sublime, Alkaline Trio..). a fantastic night was had by most, i'm sure, and the hip-hop soundtracked cab ride home just drove the point home. i have a lot of time for Leeds, a sprawling, crappy metropolis of a party town, in sharp contrast to the Oxford-like lush feel of York.
oh, but by the time we got to Leeds i was already worse for wear. the night before we'd been in Walsall at James Addis' house party, complete with friends and lovers, where the drink flowed readily and i'm already well, well on my way to a good night in by the time we take to the patio as a trio and run track by track through the EP we're all here to promote.
Then we do a gig in a cupboard under the stairs.
Then we do one in the shower.
Then we do one in Barry's car.
Then apparently we do one in the bedroom, though by now my chances of recalling this are fading fast. All i know is waking up the next morning partially on a bean bag but mostly on the floor, some terrible cramp in my legs and a pain in the brain. I take my guitar to the garden with my mp3 player, lean back and paint my thoughts onto the open sky. Only less pretentious than that sounds. And with a fucking massive hangover.
But i was already feeling a bit rough by the time we even got near Walsall, the previous night having been where i last left you, on the way to Cheltenham. The show at Slak is superb, and whilst my guitar is still playing up, the crowd are responsive and out for a good night. Jim Lockey brings his full band for the hometown show which is a sight worth seeing, and we soon head home to our host, Ed, who is as welcoming to us as old ladies are to royalty. We stay up into the night watching Labyrinth (with shouts of "wang!" where appropriate for Bowie) before drunkenly collapsing in on ourselves.
indeed, Ed isn't the only great host we've had - this tour has been a collection of excellent people and faces almost too numerous to name.
now, all i have to do is make it to huddersfield alive..