Tales from the Rails part 7: The Grey Road to Star City and Sparkly People

I’m on the train from Coventry to Manchester and am making the executive decision to combine Birmingham and Coventry into one “Tales from the Rails West Midlands” post – so here goes!

On Thursday evening I played at student hideout ‘The Soak’ in Selly Oak, Birmingham. Unfortunately students were as sparse as rowdy locals were many because university broke up about a week ago. No matter, It was great to see fellow musician and host of the night Paul Ryan play again and I enjoyed at least a few attentive ears.

The next morning I had to get up at a very Roxanne-unfriendly hour to make my way to Big City Radio Birmingham (situated in the bizarre complex of star city’, where I was to play a live session at the Steve Davis morning show. Steve’s very welcoming and bubbly so I feel a bit more awake once I arrive and unpack my guitar. I’m surprised that I’m actually able to sing that early and I hope it sounded OK. I played “Some kind of Creature” and “1964”. After the ditties and a very friendly chat I slowly make my way to Coventry.

I love playing at the Kasbah: It’s a madhouse. The stage is awesome and the promoters, Dimitrius and Thanos, go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Today I’m sharing the bill with a new band from Brighton called “Dear Prudence”, which is, to my wonderance (which should so totally be a word), not a Beatles, but a Souxsie and the Banshees reference… My strong dislike of 80’s music does not colour my opinion of this band though; they’re really sweet, well rehearsed and fun to watch. It’s my turn to take to the stage and I’m really humbled to see that almost all of my Coventry friends have made it out, forming an excellent front row and singing along to all the songs. It’s always so nice to see you – I was really looking forward to playing you the new ones and hope you enjoyed them!

The lovely folks from Stratcast filmed the show and interviewed me afterwards. Whether it was the rum or the wackiness of the two hosts, this certainly was one of the weirdest and most enjoyable interviews to date. Unfortunately, I only realized half way through that they were actually filming it, so if I look a little dazed, that’s the reason why (not the rum, promise!).

So what have I learnt? I make a lot of funny hand gestures when I talk and Birmingham is a very grey place at 8 in the morning.

Before I leave the Kasbah I say my good byes to Dimitius. He wishes me all the best and I know he really means it. It’s hard to express how much I appreciate all the heartfelt support I get from some of you, here’s a virtual toast to a fantastic year for all of us and our endeavours!

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