Google reminded me that I was on tour with Manning doing two gigs over in the Netherlands and Belgium.
So many good memories, although just after this amazing tour was the beginning of the end for me. Manning started to fall apart after this tour. Chris and Kev left; Steve the flute player quit to concentrate on his own band Molly Bloom, and a new old guitarist came in who I didn’t get on with; then my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months later.
Just a quick post before I head off to the vets with Eve.
She’s a lot better – the eye is now open most of the time and today she’s had her first wander around. She’s getting that “cocky” gait back in her movement and hopefully before too long will be 100%
I, however, am currently suffering with a somewhat sore shoulder. I don’t know how it happened, but it started yesterday morning and just got worse and worse as the day progressed. Today, it feels much better and I will see how it fares whilst I do some work.
Finally – the Manning Mobile is virtually ready for return! – The 240V AC power system is now installed and working, although I still need to fix the socket in properly as it is currently loose. The radio aerial is now sorted too – a £5 adaptor saw to that (damn French vans and their weird non ISO aerials!)… I found the table legs too – shame is they’re £18 a side!!! – might have to run that one by Guy before I leap in and buy them, but they will work perfectly for the van and I should be able to get a removable table sorted then without too much fuss.
Sadly, I can’t fix the table to the side wall as the GRP interior walls have no structure to them so if I did try it would just break away and fall off within hours. I could butcher the entire window surround, but that would just make it all look messy. I might well fit a flat surface with cup holders under the window sometime in future (I’ve worked GRP before… it’s not that difficult as long as your support structure is up to scratch). Colour matching would be an issue however…
Tonight, I sit playing around with the Android dev kit on my Ubuntu laptop. It’s very nice… especially considering just 5 or so years ago I’d have paid £££ for a devkit (and indeed, did for a couple of Amiga devkits). Android really is the future – unlike Apple with it’s attempt at world domination, Android is free, and the variety of devices is becoming bewildering (although there are a few turkeys out there…).
Now just to educate the world that some of us have MP3 players that aren’t made by Apple… I’m sure there are more docks available for ipod and iphone than there are ipods and iphones in the world. A recent look in PC World came up with about 20 different shapes, sizes, types. Most of them rather poor quality, or with very poor sound (and far worse than a set of £20 2.1 speakers can give you).
PDMI is fitted on the Dell Streak as standard. Dell didn’t make this obvious at first, but then some smart guy figured out the pin-out is the same, the forums went ooooh and aaaah, and we realised that if PDMI is adopted as a universal standard the ipod dock will seem old hat.
The PDMI cable supplied with the Streak? – I’ll leave my judgement on that one to the masses, but I think the quality is poor. Mine now has surgical tape around one end to stop the cable exterior splitting any more. Carphone warehouse said it was wear and tear, but Dell promised to send me another one… it hasn’t arrived as yet (they quoted 2-3 days…).
Finally, Charlestown is out next Monday. The official release is tomorrow night at The Peel, Kingston-upon-Thames (just outside London). I am looking forward to it, but I do have concerns – our drummer John has been with us just 5 weeks and I hope he can cope. The last drummer, Conor, well let’s just say it didn’t work out… or more to the point he didn’t work.
It’s hard to believe it’s almost a month since we played RoSfest. The time since has flown, and the number of new fans we’ve picked up is rather good.
In all it was a superb experience, with it’s high and low points throughout the long and arduous journey to the festival.
It was about 16th June 2009 when the email came into me. We had to keep it quiet as contracts hadn’t been exchanged, but we’d been offered the festival slot on Saturday – a 2pm slot so not too shabby!
Have you ever tried keeping massively important news quiet for 6 weeks when other bands around you are announcing their festival plans? – it’s not easy, but we did it.
On August 1st it was announced – Manning were playing RoSfest… and the bitterness and backbiting started. A certain member of a certain band told a very good friend of mine (who the certain band member wasn’t aware was a good friend of mine) “they’re only getting RoSfest because Kris is in the CRS”. Well, actually, by that point I’d quit the CRS so a rethink on the bitchy and jealous comments would be in order?
Generally we had a lot of support – and a lot of worries as many things had yet to be done including a trip to London to get our Visas sorted (P1 visas for bands visiting the USA – nothing less will do)… and changes within the band after Cambridge meant we’d be looking for a new keyboard player and guitar player.
So in October along comes the god of guitar himself, Chris Catling… he loves the music and boy can he shred that piece of wood!. We auditioned quite a few to get him – including the mandatory “I haven’t read the advert” people who thought we were making loads of money at it.
Keyboard players are harder to find, but eventually after a couple of false starts and some time wasters we found Tim.
Phew – problems one and two solved. Now for problem three – visas. Now we were told that you couldn’t get a visa if you had a criminal record, and I was told that having a court date pending could cause problems too. Thanks to those lovely people at South Yorkshire Police I had a court date pending… they said I was using my mobile phone whilst driving, and I wasn’t (and was eventually found not guilty, but that’s another story).
Thankfully – honesty on my application paid off and on the London visit to take our passports in and get our visas the words “I’m pleased to tell you your application has been accepted” were wonderful (although then having to sort out a flute player for whom the form was even more bewildering than it was for me – not so good)… and the chemists round the corner? well £30 odd for computer access is criminal!
April arrived and the build up was good… we did a full day rehearsal just before and felt great about it. We were ready.
Now onto the festival – and judging by the photos you’ll see we had fun (you can read about each day further back in my blog).
6 photos above (C)firstname.lastname@example.org
(C)musicinwidescreen.com (Mark Montforti)
A big thanks to everyone for sharing their photos with us – it’s great when you’re onstage knowing there are plenty of photographers offstage to capture your every move.
Now onto video – not quite so good here – just a single video found so far, and the quality is rather “webcam” but I thought I’d share it anyway
Yesterday Guy and I spent an inconceivable percentage (see Kris Hudson-Lee’s Long Words Dictionary) of yesterday cooped up in the studio recording the basslines for Charlestown (the title track) and Clocks, thus wrapping up my part of the Charlestown epic. Yes it was hard work – after all Charlestown is 35 minutes long and Clocks is played on the upright, but boy do they sound nice and the hard work has paid off.
After tea (lovingly prepared by Julie) I decided to pop down to the Wesley Centre and catch the tail end of the Jump gig down there. I must say Jump have always amazed me… how such a unique band with such a charismatic vocalist don’t play in front of many more people and do some decent festival supports I don’t know… there are some bands (who I won’t name) who seem to get all the festival slots and actually… don’t deserve them.
Finally, Manning has a new drummer as you probably know – the incredibly young Conor – who looks like you want to ID him to serve him beer, and yet drums like he’s been doing it for years. I’m sure he’ll fit into the band very soon… Tim, after all, only joined late last year and is already taking root (although the drum stool incident probably broke some of those roots).