REALLY!? It’s November already. Why is the year NOT quietening down?
I’m having to read a heck of a lot, in every spare second I have, in any quiet corner I can find because in just a few days I have agreed to do MASTERMIND Christmas Special. The thought of it scares me silly. My chosen subject is wonderfully ambiguous, not practical on a fact based quiz but super interesting none the least and there is a large sum being promised to a charity very close to my heart….so I will continue to sneak into dark areas in rock venues and secretly read whilst the roar of other bands surrounds me.
Once Mastermind is made I am not let off the hook. It’s followed by Jeremy Vine, then straight into two films that have been greenlit. The films appeared to fall into place as some deciding factors were made over Brexit. Suddenly the gridlock in the arts lifted a little, fingers crossed this is the way of the future.
I am not a great sleeper, the last 6 months has been practically sleepless, but when I do eventually fall asleep my dreams in the past month have been fantastic. Both Robert and I are dreaming of David Bowie on a regular basis which is making us think that Bowie has planned some extraordinary posthumous event, that’s about to be announced ……we can live in hope.
Another bizarrely enjoyable dream recently was of growing a beard and being chased amorously by Mark Wahlberg…..I can understand enjoying being chased by Mark Wahlberg but I also really enjoyed having a beard at the time in the dream, lots of prickly snogging, not an ambition of mine in the waking world.
Presently I am on the road with King Crimson having finished the TOYAH BAND shows for 2018.
The TOYAH 60 shows were perfect for me, perfect set, perfect venues, perfect audiences, they here riotously joyous.
Each venue sold out with a waiting list, leading the promoter to announce next time larger venues will be required. (We possibly have good news for Scotland coming up.)
The O2 Islington was filmed by two camera teams, one to archive the show, but apparently the footage is great and we are looking at a part release, especially for something we are planning for the spring and the second camera team were around as part of the documentary being made on King Crimson. These cameras have been around all year.
There is a sound anomaly at the O2 that we had all forgotten about, but it is present enough to cause terror on stage and that is the stage has a natural bass frequency that constantly rings. The whole band started the first number ALL IN A RAGE and in unison we all looked to the monitor desk in raw fear realising we had an hour and a half with a dominant bass hum in our in-ear system, which meant for me as a singer finding both the guitar and keyboard notes in the bombastic sound mass was like listening out for a whisper in a crowd…..it took all my nerve not to move into my mode of over-compensating as a performer. The sell-out crowd would have known nothing about this other than there was a lot of hand waving to the monitor crew to resolve a problem that is inherent in the design of the room, like a convection loop, when you use in-ear systems.
Simon Darlow joined us for four songs, on a newly acquired Gibson. He was fantastic and he loved it so much he wants to learn the rest of the set and join us every now and then for the fun of it.
Simon played on COME, REBEL RUN, SENSATIONAL and TELEPATHIC LOVER.
We forgot to tell him we have changed the key of REBEL RUN to accommodate my range on the road. At sound check when we rehearsed Simon he had a mini heart attack when he realised we were a half tone lower, but he recovered quickly. His added sound was thrilling, especially on SENSATIONAL and TELEPATHIC LOVER……WOW! Roll on 2019…which has quadrupled in advance bookings.
By the end of the last block of dates I felt myself again. 2018 has been a weird year, so many problems to deal with, on a daily basis. In all honesty I have had about 2 problem free days the entire year, it’s been a stinker. Silly little things, but all needing constant attention from being hospitalised at the beginning of October (I didn’t tell the band about this) to a property sale dropping out on the completion day, to constant legal proceedings over non-payment of royalties, to personal security problems, to a F—– ridiculous amount of queries about King Crimson from audience members “where can I park in Birmingham?” to “I want personal meeting with Robert?” all while I am doing my own sell out tour…… BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!
I sincerely hope in 2019 I can return to full time singing/acting/writing/painting………..I am bored shitless with bureaucracy and legalities.
On my way to Manchester, on the 26th Oct I was so down about it all. The sheer relentless weight of fighting for basic rights as a musician was starting to break my will. Then something miraculous happened, The Audience arrived. WOW, What a WONDERFUL AUDIENCE in Manchester.
The audience at the O2 was also very special to me. The cast of JUBILEE were in and I could hear and see that they were having a fantastic time. When we reached I WANT TO BE FREE they erupted into singing along with the rest of the audience. Gemma Numan was also there so I surprised her with 4 broaches my friend John Wain made for her daughters, she was over the moon. I have never had a dressing room party in my life but we did this night.
All ages, all genders….colourful, joyous and united………I left that show elated and restored.
News has come in that two movies have now been greenlit. TO BE SOMEONE and LIKE A ROLLING STONE in which I have really good roles. There’s a lot of other great news….but under wraps till the new year.
My Painted Giraffe “Touch The Wishing Stars” raised £8000 for my mother’s hospice and is now placed permanently in the memorial garden at St. Richards Worcester, which makes me very, very happy indeed.
And I can proudly announce I spent a couple of fun minutes crawling around the floor of a gorgeous pub in Kentish Town with Jeremy Paxman for one of his documentaries……. now that’s going in my CV.