Blog: Devon HO!
There hasn't been a train from Barnstaple since 1935 when (FACTS i learnt this weekend, Part 1) the single gaugue Southern Railways Lynton to Barnstaple line was closed, so we had to get a taxi into Lynton - we had a very nice taxi drive, but it was QUITE COSTLY - I'd BRIEFED myself to be prepared for it possibly costing over fifty quid, but still, as he and I JOSHED and CHATTED one eye was on the meter, GOGGLING at the price as it reached that magic number.
Still, we got to our B&B fine, unpacked, then went out for a wander to admire the village, which is EXTREMELY PRETTY. It really is GORGEOUS although, personally, I did feel they'd gone a bit overboard on the amount of HILLS. There were REALLY A LOT - i don't like hills anyway, but frankly this was taking the mickey,it is not called England's Switzerland for nothing, and NONE of the reasons are that they have special cheeses. As far as i know.
Anyway, we went down for a DELICIOUS pint of beer (FACT 2: all beer in Devon is DELICIOUS) before clambering back up the mountainside and to bed. We got up PROMPTLY for breakfast, which was served AT 8.30am. Not FROM 8.30am, AT 8.30am - this seemed a bit odd at first, being used to HOTELS and indeed most other B&Bs where there's a LITTLE flexibility, but it did get us out of bed and, a short time later, out WALKING. We went down to The Valley Of Rocks which is - get this! - a valley, with loads of rocks in it. It was DEAD NICE, we climbed up yet another hill, climbed down again, and took the MAGNIFICENTLY SCENIC Coastal Walk back to the village. On the way we saw LOADS of Goats (FACT 3: not native, but introduced from Northumberland in the 70's) who were LOVELY.
It was all VERY scenic. Next job was to pop down to LYNMOUTH which is down yet ANOTHER dirty great hill. It was EXTRAORDINARILY PICTURESQUE and we had a very pleasant view of it from the Rising Sun, the first pub we came to which was a) ancient b) nice c) full of DELICIOUS BEER (see FACT 2). We went down to the Village Green where the main stage was, listened to a bit of BLUES, ate a potato each, and had a 60 PERCENT of beer. Not a half - apparently this was too much trouble to work out the price for - but a 60 Percent. It was, as expected, DELICIOUS.
Happily someone in the area had seen SENSE re. the hills and had provided a FUNICULAR RAILWAY - oooh, i do love a good funicular railway, and this was a GOOD one. It's one of the only surviving ones in the world which is WATER POWERED, it is EXTREMELY CLEVER and also rather sweet as you gently bump up it. Here is a WIKI LINK about it, have a look, it is ACE!
We'd arranged to meet some more friends at The Crown, the pub where I was playing later on, but had ALSO arranged to meet Mr & Mrs P & P Wilson... somewhere. I was getting a bit STRESSED about a) the impending gig b) the eerie feeling that we were missing the actual festival (which at that point was all going on down in Lynmouth still, so Lynton felt EERILY QUIET) and c) whether we would ever find them. The Incline Of My Funicular Railway suggested a STROLL down some back streets to see The Real Lynton and ,within SECONDS of us heading off in the direction we were greeted by the BEEP of The Wilsonmobile, containing said Wilsons. HOORAH!
Half an hour later we were all gathered at the pub, where there was CHAT, also with Mr A Fitchett of Tangents and partner and, soon, the aforementioned PALS. We had a SUPREMELY JOLLY hour or so chatting, and then it was time for ME to make my move for the stage.
When i got there the organisers looked pleased and RELIEVED to see me - earlier on I told The Sound Guy I was there but he hadn't passed this information on (there were all sorts of problems with one of the other stages, which he'd gone to sort out, so it is UNDERSTANDABLE) so they were a bit worried that I wasn't going to turn up. However, I COMPLETELY DID, and did THIS:
It was a JOB OF WORK, but I think I carried it off OK. The stage itself was actually in the STREET, next door to the pub, so I was playing to people in the beer garden and also walking up and down the STREET, where a fairly large CROWD had gathered. I was a bit annoyed at first that a group of YOUNG MEN were sat ON the stage chatting - i get quite Proprietorial about MY stage - but I was glad there were there in the end, as I could use them as STOOGES ... which also made them clear off before the end! It was all a bit of a strange sensation - I felt i was WORKING HARD to get everyone onside, and could FEEL how it was going - when people were listening and getting into it I could really tell, not least because it was still broad daylight and i could SEE them, but when the set SAGGED it was INTENSELY clear to me. This occurred especially in Billy Jones Is Dead, when two lines in i thought "Oh dear - I've got two verses and a MIDDLE still to go!"
So yes, it felt like i was WORKING, but it also felt GRATE. It's not something I've done that often and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it, trying to ENGAGE with that big a crowd, especially that big a crowd who've never heard of me and could very very easily just wander off to the chippy or something instead. People seemed to enjoy it, and I staggered off stage VERY pleased with how it'd gone. HOORAH!
After that there were SEVERAL much needed pints before we headed back to bed, there to finish off the bottle of JACK DANIELS that we'd brought along with us. YEAH! We were ON TOUR!
posted 11/6/2007 by MJ Hibbett
60% of a pint???? sounds dangerously ILLEGAL to me! pints, halves and thirds are all yr allowed to sell...
also, DUKE OF HARRINGAY, call him by his name ;)
posted 12/6/2007 by CarsmileSteve
Well i bleedin' LOVED 'Billy Jones Is Dead'. Actually i loved the whole set.
And did i ever tell you the story of the swedish girls who fell in love with you at the bowling lanes a couple of months ago?
posted 13/6/2007 by duke of harringay
An Artists Against Success Presentation
Maintained by MJ Hibbett & The Validators