BLOG: CONES ON THE M6

18-10-2014

I have known some of my closest friends for over twenty years, when we were all still in school dreaming about how it would be to be a grown up. I don't think we could have ever imagined how different our lives would turn out to be.

Marloes has three daughters, a husband and a job, and spending a couple of days at her house made us both realize once again how different our lives are. Luckily, she does understand quite a bit about the life I'm living. I had to wake up at 7 this morning because my bed was in the living room and kids wake up early, but she made sure I had a quiet morning and a good lunch because I had to perform that night and I couldn't waste my energy any earlier.

I had returned the rental car and Louis and Jerney picked me up around 12 noon for our show in the Subscription Rooms in Stroud. We usually arrive in a theatre around three, and there seems to always be some kind of unexpected thing, either good or bad. We just always know there are a million things to take care of on a show day. After I had given the in house engineers some directions, I found a message from Paul - the others hadn't arrived yet - asking me to call BBC radio Gloustershire instantly. It appeared to be a last minute radio interview. Two years ago that would have freaked me out: English isn't my native language and I have a slight case of phone phobia. I was proud of myself, chatting live on a radio show while standing outside on the street while the rest of the band and crew arrived.

Our sound engineer for the day was Tom, and our wardrobe lady/stage hands was Kitty. With two new people in the crew, we had to spend some time giving instructions and hope they would do a good job. For Kitty, it was her first time working in a production crew. She used to have a tiny vintage clothing shop and I bought the tail coat I wear in Strange Phenomena there. I had a hunch she would like to work in our team and I trusted her ironing  costumes. Tom had been given some instructions and settings for his desk by Ben. Since no major problems had occured yet, we managed to have a decent sound check, and we could even spend time on properly sound checking our monitors. With all the issues with monitoring we have had so far (like I described in my blog about the show in Liverpool), it made us all just a little bit more confident.

For me, the biggest challenges of the venue were the lack of wings to set up my quick change area and the size and height of the stage. I am spoilt by the amount of space I usually have on stage, and even though I still had half the stage to myself, I had to be careful not to bump into things on stage or fall off the stage. 

We had a great show, and we had a new first: not only were there people dancing all the way in the back on the venue (we've seen that before), during Cloudbusting I actually noticed someone dancing with an umbrella! 

The least glamourous thing about being a musician might be packing up and driving home. After we loaded the van, I drove back to Liverpool in the van with Tom and Kitty. Being in a traffic jam is annoying as a hold up, but road works in the middle of the night are a big pain too: most of the time you are driving at a slow speed for miles and miles before you pass the actual road works. Annoyed by the seemingly non-existant road works and trying to make the most of driving 50 on the motorway, we started joking about the amount of cones on the M6 and designed a - rather creative - "business plan" involving collecting cones. I will spare you the rest of the conversation, as it was one of these you-had-to-be-there moments. It did make the journey back home feel a lot quicker though, which was just what I needed unwinding from my adrenaline rush in a van on a motorway at 2am on a day that had started in a normal family home at 6:45 that morning...


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