Tales from the Rails (Manchester) – small places and the white rabbit

Perhaps it’s the black coffee that’s making my head spin, perhaps it’s the inevitable ache in my shoulder from carrying my guitar, or maybe the rumbling noise of the trains in the background, but this feels familiar and it feels good. I’m back on the proverbial road, or indeed rails, with the first show of my three-month world tour (Ta Daaaa!) behind me. I’m currently at Manchester Piccadilly train station, about to board a train to Leeds with just enough time left to digest yesterday’s show at the Odd Bar.

Manchester was a ghost town. The streets were deserted and the graffiti filled shutters were down, hiding all signs of life. It reminded me more of the run down suburbs of Liverpool rather than the vibrant city I remembered from my last visit. With the guitar on my back, my small suitcase in one hand and my phone in the other, I tried to navigate my way through the silence. The map had indicated a straight line from the station to the venue. Why then was I zig-zagging through side streets?

No time to say hello, good bye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!

‘Shut the Far Cupboard’ is a live music night hosted by one of my favourite new bands, The Travelling Band. The room filled up quickly and as I ate my modest dinner of sweet potato chips a chap sat in front me turned and started to strike up a conversation by calling it an ‘ill conceived dish”. He seemed just strange enough to be a musician himself and after just a couple of moments the penny dropped: “I know you!”

It always amazes me how miniscule the world can be, particularly when it seemed so large and unnavigatable (new word, hurray!) just a few minutes ago when I was meandering down unfamiliar streets. Gideon Conn is a musician I came across a while ago when he played a headline show at the Borderline. We had exchanged a couple of emails but never actually met. He lives in London, but just happened to be in Manchester that weekend and decided to check out this particular show. The world is small, yet easy to get lost in. If coincidence or serendipity pays you a visit, celebrate it – they’re like little free moments of entertainment and you never know what you might get out of them. This time, I got art. This is a sketch Mr. Conn created whilst I was playing:


Today is a Monday, and Manchester has sprung back to life. I really enjoyed the attentive audience yesterday and sharing the bill with such great acts was a real pleasure. A great start to the tour, thank you for making it so!

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