SO WHERE’S ROBIN HOOD THEN?
Finally got a decent sleep, and although still a little groggy, I was up at 7am and ready to go. My train was a 10am out of London to Nottingham, and so I had plenty of time to go down and join my friends for breakfast.
Tea cures everything doesn’t it? And THIS.... is BRITAIN, where they know how to provide you with GREAT TEA!!
I like mine strong and my water hotter than hot and I struggle so badly in North America trying to get a proper cup of tea when travelling. It’s always a nightmare of shitty teabags and lukewarm water....ugh!
But this is England, where men are MEN, women are WOMEN and more importantly TEA IS TEA!!!
Ok here comes a disclaimer. I am hopeless at times. Ok, maybe not hopeless but let’s say... scattered. Nah, let’s go back to hopeless, especially when travelling.
I lose things. Lots of things. Clothes, cash, glasses, I.D, credit cards, headphones, power cords, shoes, passports and my most favourite it seems .......wallets, and, just for the record, it’s usually wallets, WITH most of the above in them.
My best pal from Scotland, Bryce, who is here with me for this weekend, has always said that for years, he came to Canada just to help me find or to not lose my wallet, although the bugger is a master of helping me “empty” my wallet once I do find it, but that’s another story for another time 😂
So it will come to you as no surprise (nor to Bryce) that in the short time it took me to go down to breakfast, then back up to my room, then back down to the lobby again to leave for Nottingham, I lost and had to replace, three room keys.
Yesterday, as a wee example, on my day off, Bryce and I went to see a football match. I ordered a driver to take us to the stadium, wait for us during the game, then bring us back to our hotel. The car was on time and we jumped in. Luckily, I verbalized loudly my little checklist just as the car was pulling away from the hotel.
“Okay let’s see. I have my glasses, my phone, my cash and credit card. Cool, let’s do this!”
“Whit aboot the tickets furr the game,” says my very Glaswegian pal.
“Fuck! I forgot them!” And we had to stop the car, let me out, head back into hotel get them, only to realize that when I got to the room door, I couldn’t find my key! Yes, it’s a nightmare. Yes I am hopeless. Let’s move on shall we?
So back to my Nottingham trip. We have breakfast and my friends say they will wait for me in the lobby. I tell them “Two minutes!” due to the fact that my main luggage has travelled ahead already to Nottingham with the band and I only have a few things to shove in my back pack and I am done.
Two mins later, I am ready to go when I suddenly have an epiphany. “Where the fuck is my train ticket!!???” I search around. I am convinced it should be sitting right here on the desk. Now .....a little panic is setting in and I search a bit more, knowing that without a doubt, it was on THIS desk! Ok, I have no choice, I need help; I send the following text to my pal;
I know that by this time Bryce is just shaking his head, saying to his wife, “Whit a bampot he is.” (For those of you who need a translation on bampot, it basically means; great guy, really organized and together 🤥😂)
Okay, okay, it wasn’t on the desk. It seems that I had shoved it inside my wallet, obviously thinking, “Take it off of the desk, put it inside your wallet for safety and you’ll remember where it is.”
Once I got back down to the lobby, I did my vocal checklist, remember those? And just as I am thinking of what could possibly go wrong now, I have everything. “Okay, there’s my phone, my wallet, my cash, my medication, AND.....my TRAIN TICKET, I think it’s safe to say that I am ready to go.”
“You got yer passport?” says Bryce.
“I don’t need it, it’s a friggin’ train,” says I.
“I know that, but DO you have it? Is it safe?”
“Yes it’s in this part of my ba.....WHERE THE FUCK IS MY PASSPORT?”
And so now there I am, emptying my backpack for all to see, on a bench, in the lobby, while Bryce just buries his head in his hands.
After every single object is removed and scattered around me I go, “Oh, there it is!” And all is well again, at least for a wee while. I say cheerio to my pal, his lovely wife and his adorable daughter and as my taxi is pulling away I swear I saw his little daughter mouth, “Holy shit! I thought you said he was a bit scattered dad. He’s fucking hopeless!” 😂😂
St. Pancras is now officially, my favourite train station in the world. Ok I admit, I am not in many train stations but until I am in one that tops this one, this is it!!
A leisurely, civilized, 3 hr train ride through the meadows of England and I arrived safely in Nottingham.
I called ahead and Joe told me that he and Sam and Carmela were at a little local pub that is a “must-see” here in Nottingham.
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem claims to have been established in 1189; however, there is no documentation to verify this date. The building rests against Castle Rock, upon which Nottingham Castle is built, and is attached to several caves, carved out of the soft sandstone. These were originally used as a brewhouse for the castle, and appear to date from around the time of the construction of the castle in 1068.
The oldest parts of the current building were constructed between 1650 and 1660, though a map by John Speed shows a previous building in existence in 1610. By 1751 the building was being used as an inn with the name The Pilgrim, and was shortly after that date purchased by William Standford. The first record of the use of the name Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem dates from 1799.
I don’t know if it is “the” oldest pub in England as they claim, but it is one of the quaintest wee pubs I have ever been in and if you ever are in Nottingham ya have to go see it....or better yet, taste it!! Besides, where else will you leave a pub, walk around the corner, and bump into Robin Hood!!!?
It’s like time has stood still. Unmoved and unchanged. More hair and mascara than if you melted Dolly Parton and Tammy Faye Baker together. So now you get the picture. The scene is set as to why we had no idea what to expect. What would the fans of these bands think of Canada’s own 80’s “pop” stars, Glass Tiger? Would they find us too soft and give us the heave-ho? Would someone nail me with a tube of eye-liner right on the forehead? Well we were about to find out.
To say the set up was old-school-Rock’n’Roll would be an understatement. No monitors worth shit, I had to sing in braille. I couldn’t hear a damn thing. Each band had to just use the set up as it was and with very little room to move, I took the head of Tommy’s bass, to the side of my head and “that” ain’t fun. So how did it turn out? After all of that? IT WAS BRILLIANT!!! AND THE CROWD WERE FANTASTIC!! From the opening lick of “Animal Heart” to the closing “gone” of “Don’t Forget Me (when I’m Gone) the audience sang and cheered and loved every minute of us. And I don’t mind telling you, we knocked it out of the friggin’ park!! I have been singing so long that not being able to hear myself over the noise of the band and the non-existence of stage monitors is not something that is going to affect my pitch or tone. Carmela likewise. We’ve just been doing it for so long, it’s second nature. Granted, my ears are fried and it was painful but the audience got me through it and they were simply brilliant.
After the show I met the buyer and he was ecstatic at our performance and would happily have us back ....to headline. I met some great crew guys, some of whom were from Scotland and they loved it. I know we nailed it. When we stop “nailing it” then I will know my next move but until then, I will put this band on any stage, up against any band, and we will nail it and hold our own with any of them.
THANK YOU ROCKINGHAM FOR HAVING US. YOU WERE FANTASTIC!!!
Back at hotel afterward we had dinner together as a band before a “throng” of fans came looking for us to do autographs and photo’s. What is really amazing is that these fans came “for us”; Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Switzerland ...it reminds me of how I first felt when we released THIN RED LINE and people told us when you get to this country or that country you will be amazed to find out they already know and love your music. What a thrill it still is. And so we mingled with fans of old and with fans of new, who came to see their favourite “other” band, not knowing us from a hole-in-the -ground ......but now they do! 😉 and we have some new fans.
Had a warm soak in tub around midnight and off to bed.
That’s it England. Our two gigs are over all too soon. Tomorrow back to London for a flight to Canada the next day.
Cheers and goodnight