A BUNCH OF ROSES IN ANDOVER

It sounds glamourous: being a musician. You get to sleep in till late, put on your sun glasses, drive to a venue, hop off the van, play a couple of tunes, get applause, get into the van again and when you get back home you get to hang out with your cool friends (or: you go to your hotel room and have lots of parties before wrecking the place).

So yesterday’s show was in Andover, which is a four hour drive from Liverpool. That is if traffic isn’t too bad (but unfortunately, there’s always the 24-7 traffic jam near Birmingham). Since our equipment doesn’t magically set up itself on the stage, we had to leave at 9:30 in the morning to be ready in time for our 8pm show.

While we were driving, the weather was getting better (but the traffic wasn’t). After a couple of hours, we stopped at Warwick services, which by now we call our second home. By now, we can all give you a rather detailed description of the place. We know where the toilets are, what shops there are (and where they are located), where we usually park our van and even what the taps in the toilets look like.

On drives like that, any situation that gives us a good laugh is quite welcome. We were doing our usual routine, where Paul was checking his email in the Starbucks, while the rest of us had gathered our food and coffee to eat and drink in the van. The weather was nice, so we had opened all the doors. Unfortunately, a wasp had decided to join us, and was rather persistent in its decision. It kept flying in and out of the van and through the van, choosing a different door each time, making it hard for us to lock it out. After numerous attempts to get rid of it (all of which failed because it kept flying back into the van in less than a second), it finally flew out of the van for longer than three seconds, giving us enough time to all jump in the van and close all doors simultaneously, holding our lunches in our hands. For a brief second, we were all silent, looking around from the corners of our eyes and then burst into laughter about the slapstick-like situation.

Around 2:30, we arrived at The Lights theatre in Andover. We were welcomed by the lovely and friendly staff. If you tour along theatres, you start noticing the differences in hospitality, and even start grading them by that. The Lights scored very well: apart from the lovely staff there was coffee and tea, a separate green room, showers, towels AND….. WiFi! How happy one can be with something so simple!

After that drive, I took more time than usual for my dance warming up and stretches; five hours in a van had turned me into a scarecrow rather than a dancer. By now we are quite a well-oiled machine, so with three hours of hard work, we manage to unload the van, set up all the instruments, lights and sound, iron all the costumes, get all the props and costumes in place, check the floor of the stage and sound check. After our afternoon routine, we usually don’t have time to go out and have a fancy dinner, so quite often we’re stuck with fish and chips from the nearest chippy. The Dutchies in the band look with disgust to how the Scousers put their chips on bread and pour curry sauce over it (for the Dutchies who may read this: not the kind of curry sauce we have in Holland that resembles tomato ketchup, but the Indian curry sauce), we have a little chat about eating habits and the English drink sugary drinks while the Dutchies make coffee. This time our usual food chat was about the girl at the chippy, who not only hadn’t put any salt and/or vinegar on the chips, but didn’t know what peas were when Paul ordered them.

About an hour before the show, our duty manager for the day notified me that I had a visitor who had asked to see me. I went out to the lobby with bass player Bobby, and we met a lovely woman named Helen, carrying a bunch of red roses for me. She had seen WOW in Basingstoke two years ago and loved it so much she came to see Dreaming of Kate. It was a good start of the show!

It may have been the long drive, but I was suffering from some cases of wardrobe malfunctioning. For some reason, after the first song I almost put on the wrong coat, then in the third song the magic wand I’m giving away had disappeared in the lining of the jacket, then I almost knocked over the double bass in the wings when I changed, which made me forget to put on the belt in my fourth costume… it was a mess! Luckily, these were all minor things, and the show went rather well. I thought it would be nice to add the bunch of roses to the show, so I added them to Army Dreamers (I had found Helen in the audience and I tried to see her reaction, but unfortunately failed).

We met the audience after the show, and they were lovely! Our youngest member in the audience was Amelia (who can be found on one of the photos on our Facebook page); always great to see kids enjoy the show too!

After the audience leaves, we have to pack up everything and load the van again. Then we have to drive back. Since this was a one off show, we drove back to Liverpool with a stop for our usual midnight coffee and crisps at… Warwick services! Luckily, there were no major road works or traffic jams, so we counted ourselves lucky to be back at 3:15. Too knackered to go out partying with our cool friends or wreck hotel rooms….



 

1 comment

  • Helen

    Helen Basingstoke

    Hello Maaike, it's Helen of the Red Roses! An absolute delight to meet you before (and after) the Andover show! So happy you liked the flowers enough to give them a starring role (both in the show and in your blog)! Unfortunately I'm not online but would love to keep in touch, so I'll forward my address on my friend's Facebook later xxx

    Hello Maaike, it's Helen of the Red Roses! An absolute delight to meet you before (and after) the Andover show! So happy you liked the flowers enough to give them a starring role (both in the show and in your blog)! Unfortunately I'm not online but would love to keep in touch, so I'll forward my address on my friend's Facebook later xxx

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