Trundling down the road to Insider, a lovely relaxed greeting, collect our wristbands, and off up over to offload our things. I have agreed to provide some music to Song by Toad, he has released some beautiful split 12″, four artists, nice photos. I am silly aren’t I? The idea was a couple of five minute songs and I end up making up a couple of 13 minute tracks. We await the mix and decide on the edits. I hope I ain’t ballsed it up.
In the time betwixt arrival and session I flexed off up the hill to find seclusion in which to prepare. I sat atop a tussock. The dull thuds of sound checking drums below me. As I strum and hum a pipit did perch not but a metre hence. A beautiful streaked thing, the brightness of spring shining in it’s plumage. And then it rained. A spit and spat. I had to pack up and toddle back to the veranda of the ‘big house’. After the recording I made it for a little of Will Newsome‘s gentle kora. It is a shame and a treat that there were not more people here on this first day of the festival. Later on I was to play. I followed Rachael. I was tied up for Ichi’s set, sadly on too early. A gentle caution from Rachael “watch out for the sound man, when I was describing where I wanted my mic positioning, he said “I think I’ll decide that based on my 25 years experience””. Luckily he was more relaxed for me. Ah, now for the chickpea count. Vegetarian tagine! Just as high on the counter as a tub or two of hummus rider.
We must leave. We have festival number two of the weekend to get to. Sin Eater. And in Shropshire to boot. To cause least discomfort to our party, we intend to break the journey up. So tonight we return to Glasgow. Speeding through the dark I narrowly avoid stately red deer gathered aside the A6, scattering as we glide by, all others snoozing in the car. Our initial visit the day before the day before, we were lucky enough to have met the kindly Howard Reeve. A comfortable bed was provided. Howie had already left for Sin Eater, and has a wonderful neighbour. Very grateful were we.
The following morn, Rachael buys some groceries, I help her cook up a treat. Boiled egg, potato scone, grilled tomato, fried mushroom, spinach, and baked beans. Hearty. Drive we will now. To Manchester, and journey break number two. A short note on the Westmorland services, M6: really great, reminds of the services in Japan, where it’s more like a scenic tourist spot.
I guide us to our rest stop for Manchester. I used to live in this city. But that was like, time.
We have to set off early to get to Shropshire destination, near Ratlinghope, The Bridges, where this pagan gathering is taking place. The line-up is awesome, and it is disappointing we couldn’t have seen the last two days of it. We wanted to get there in time for Howie’s set at 11am, and to thank him for our Glasgow stay. On arrival, a little after we had expected owing to poor navigation on my part and a lack of any map. We were a little relieved to find Howie had jumped into a slot the previous day and as such was not playing anyway.
Notching another few points on the chickpea quota was today’s artist food, chickpea curry! Hooray! Paarp!
In chatting with Jon Marshall and Fiona I was sent to Sheffield mid noughties and with Seth and McWatt further back to our house in the Harolds round the corner from the Brudenell. Seeing Jon Collin come in and hunch over a guitar to perform Vampire Blues with the other Jon sent me back to my time in Manchester, and like, Anson’s Corner
Martins and swallows and swifts dart about the sky. As I stand and wait friendly festival goers are going, kind words are passed over to me. Many thanks for all of that.
I drive us back to Manchester, stopping to scoff some of Ichi’s lovely curry from the night before, thoughtfully Tuppaware’d for our journey. Our whole next day is able to be spent in Manc-Mc-Mad-chester. I walk around. Have some chips. Go to the bank. Do some more walking. Our show tonight is at the Kings Arms. Lovingly promoted by Chris from Hey! Manchester, whose beard has become dazzlingly long. More hummus. A little guacamole. Celery. Furthermore it was most pleasant to catch up with Nick’Golden Lab’Mitchell. A good natter over a pint. Oh how time flies, but some things change little. All around us our pals are pregnating and birthing. The joys of summer are keeping our outlooks merry. Great.
It was a much more sedate show I feel, and with that it seems the most comfortable. I can not remember much but this and this sparks some memory. We are ever so grateful to our brilliant hosts for these last three nights. It was a real pleasure to meet Ros and Ochi, I hope it’s not the last time.