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28 March 2009

the tour of the playground part four

the tour of the playground is over now. for the moment at least. on wednesday we played in southampton. at the joiners. it was nice to be back there again, and we were even allowed upstairs in to the backstage area this time. we've never been allowed upstairs before. perhaps the venue thinks we're more successful than we actually are or perhaps if you play there a certain number of times you automatically gain access to the upstairs. like a secret level on a computer game.

then on thursday night we finished off the tour with a show at cargo in london. our last night with the school as well. it was weird not seeing them on friday. it's been so lovely watching them play and sitting around with them. i think we set up our best shop ever on thursday night in london. i'd been proud of it in bristol and southampton too, but all our hard work over the last week and a half seemed to finally come together in london. i'll miss playing shops too. perhaps i should get a job in a shop, seeing as how i enjoyed it so much. i think it would have to be a shop that sold things i like though. i don't think i'd be happy selling sports equipment or mobile phones. perhaps a record shop.

the show at cargo was one of my favourite ever shows, and it was especially nice because it was london and sometimes london shows can be difficult. something to do with the expectations i suppose. we didn't make too many mistakes. i sang the wrong words in fur soft as fur but no one seemed to mind. pete tried successfully to confuse me by playing smoke on the water in the middle of faith, and amanda applewood confused everyone by bringing custard tarts to throw out to the crowd. she's out of practice with the cakes. no one wants to try and catch custard, even if it is in a pastry case. we couldn't get the bubble machines working at all, so in the end nowhere on the tour got bubbles. sorry. anyway, i really enjoyed the show and hopefully everyone who came enjoyed it too.

and then on friday morning i was left feeling a little bit lost. i guess i've been thinking about the album and the tour for so long now, that i don't know what to do with myself now that it's finished. not to worry, the album comes out in america in two weeks so i've got all that to look forward to. now let's see, i wonder where we should take the tour of the playground next.


25 March 2009

the tour of the playground part three


"there is a fairy tale in which you can't kill a giant without finding the rock underneath which lies his heart. the hero's heart too, may be under that rock."
- naomi wolf

i really loved the gig in nottingham. it was just one of those nights i guess. we show up in radar played a lovely set at the beginning of the night, and he did play every grubby little memory, and it was very beautiful and very sad. the rest of the set was lovely too. all the songs are sounding so sad at the moment though. i think the new album might be their nebraska.

then after nottingham we went on to brighton, albeit in a slightly depleted way. there were only four of us there to soundcheck and one of them was me and i'm useless. pete ended up having to play everything. obviously that isn't possible all at the same time, so the only thing we could play was the introduction to be gentle with me. sounded alright though. the bobby mcgees were special guests for the brighton show, so it was great to get to see them. i swapped some cds with them afterwards for a seven inch and some cds, which was nice. swapping is the future. perhaps on the next tour we'll just let people swap things for our merhandise. although i'm not sure what'll happen when i try to buy things afterwards and all i've got is a load of weird stuff people have swapped with us.

we drove back after brighton so i got home at about three o clock in the morning. nice to be home though. then the next morning we drove to bristol. the fox and the bramble were very special guests and very special they were. they have the most amazing little drum. and afterwards i didn't even need to swap anything to get one of their cds. i have a lovely six track cd called notre memoire as a souvenir. it has a lovely song on it called the giant and his heart which reminded me of the quote at the top of this weblog.

and then today we're going to southampton, and after that we're in london. frightening in a  fun way.


20 March 2009

the tour of the playground part two


tuesday afternoon we arrived in manchester. i love playing at the night and day cafe, not just because it's a lovely venue, but also because it's right next to all my favourite shops in manchester, and when we're on tour shopping almost becomes a sport for us. this time i found the most beautiful stuffed totoro in the shop next door, but it was too expensive so i had to put it back. i took a photo of it though.

then i ended up spending an hour and a half in the vinyl exchange on the corner. i picked up a copy of rubbing the impossible to burst by huggy bear on seven inch, a copy of the last album by the research and kill twee pop by sarandon, which i'd already downloaded last year but i really felt like i needed a cd cover and a jewel case for it. the old terminal by the research is amazing. i'm so annoyed i didn't buy it when it came out last year. weirdly when i put it into my itunes it came up as master o i do like to be besides the suicide, so i've kept it as that. i wonder why that happened though.

the show in manchester was really fun. we always love playing there anyway, but it was a particularly enjoyable show. we changed the set around quite a lot from the one we did in leeds. put in a couple more of the hits. amanda applewood was there for it, but she went home afterwards so everyone in glasgow and newcastle was treated to boris our fiddle player doubling up on the keyboards. not at the same time of course. he's good but he's not that good. 

we had a few drinks in the hotel bar in manchester afterwards. ryan from the school won the knowing the most about robbie williams competition, so congratulations to him. then after manchester we went on to glasgow. on the way there we stopped at the most amazing service station ever. tebay services. it's a farm shop with a restaurant attached to it and you eat overlooking a big pond with ducks swimming on it and the sun was shining and it was just like no other service station experience i've ever had. if all service stations were like tebay services i'd actually look forward to stopping in them. we felt so lucky we even formed a lottery syndicate for the wednesday night draw.

i don't think i've ever seen glasgow so sunny before. we were playing in king tuts wah wah hut, which is another venue that we've always enjoyed playing before so it was nice to be back. pete and me went shopping again. we saw our album in hmv and fopp, which was exciting. funny to think that all the cds that are in the shops now were just sitting in our studio til a few weeks ago and now they're all over the world in shops and people's homes. like helium balloons that we've written our names on and let go to see how far away they end up. we got lost trying to find our way back to the venue. it's all hills and little side streets around there and we're easily confused. 

the show in glasgow was amazing too. not that i mean we were amazing. i just mean it was amazing that everyone turned up and knew the words and looked happy to see us again. this tour's been lovely like that.

we got back to our travel lodge room only to find that someone had unscrewed the dreams pictures from the wall. it left us feeling slightly empty. checked the lottery results. we didn't win.

after glasgow we played at the cluny in newcastle, which is a really nice venue with a good selection of ciders on tap. i feel like i'm writing some sort of good venue guide, but i thought i would mention it just because it's important to me. it has a pop quiz machine too. we did okay. we won more than we ended up collecting just because we didn't really know what we were doing. then the show itself turned out to be a really funny one. sometimes it just happens that way. i think i'll always have memories of the show that will make me laugh to myself when i think of them and then people will look at me weird and they'll ask me what i'm laughing at and i'll say it's nothing just because you really did have to be there. i met four people afterwards who had been dancing and they explained to me that three of them were couch surfers from germany and that the other one with them was the one with the couch in newcastle. i never knew about the phenomenon of couch surfing before but apparently there are about a million people signed up to the official couch surfing website. i've got a couple of couches perhaps i'll sign up.

and now we're in nottingham. sitting in the social. we show up on radar are supporting tonight as well as the school, so i'm really looking forward to seeing them again. andy from we show up on radar sent me a cover version that he'd done of every grubby little memory a couple of weeks ago, and he's made it sound really sad and beautiful. i wonder if they'll play it tonight. you can listen to it on their myspace page at the moment just in case you can't make it tonight or you can but they don't play it.




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