Tales from the Rails – Trees on the Tracks


almost forgot that this is what I’m meant to be doing. The last couple of months have been spent planning, recording, booking, scheming, worrying, pitching, dreaming, emailing and more planning. Today I’m back on the rails for a rather lengthy ride from Stratford upon Avon to Hull (via Birmingham and Sheffield with delays due to trees and unicorns on the line – Ok, not to sure about the latter, couldn’t hear the conductor properly). The skies clear as we pass Derby and the soft rolling greens of the west Midlands turn into industrial chimneys and concrete planes of the north. I’ve not ventured East before. The rails to Liverpool, Carlisle and Glasgow are much more familiar. Despite new tracks, I’m back on home turf – the coffee trollies and window panes are exactly as I left them. Strange to feel more at home on the virgin train service than anywhere else…

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I’m three shows into my Spring Tour and look forward to playing my first ever gig in Hull this evening. The tour kicked off in the basement of a previously unbeknownst Poetry Cafe to me in Covent Garden – an unplugged show to a small, but incredibly lovely and attentive audience, sat on pillows on the floor and armchairs leaning against walls. There was also poetry and lollipops. See how lovely they were? Apologies to the three people hid behind the unused microphone!

Poetry Cafe

The next day came far too soon after just a few hours sleep. I caught a train from Kings Cross to Welwyn Garden City, where I played a mini-set at 10:45 in the morning alongside some of my wonderful Folkstock Colleagues (thank you to Helen Meissner for having me and top marks for David for coming along to two shows in a row!). Several coffees later, I found myself back in Shakespeare land, which is ever changing, but always feels like revisiting a former version of myself. The fish n chip shop above which I used to reside is now closed (I wonder if anyone still lives in that flat and whether they’re grateful to be rid of the smell of cooking fat and stale batter in the morning). This was my first proper headline show in Stratford upon Avon and I really was touched to see so many familiar faces, old and new friends, come along to support me. It was great to see you and play for you. I really enjoyed meeting and playing with Henry Parker too – do keep an eye and an ear out for him! Outfit wise, we were a pretty good match: Between my boots and his flared trousers, it was a proper 1970’s revival.

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So here I am, just passed Doncaster and due to arrive in our future capitol of culture in about half an hour. Thanks again to everyone who’s helped make the first three shows of the tour a lovely experience. It’s good to be back on the rails!

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