I must admit I wasn’t totally convinced it should be me who hands her the ring. What if she gets confused as to who was asking the question?
I do love how there are just no two days alike on tour. That’s partly because if you’re gigging at this level you don’t control very much – you get what you’re given – which is different every time.
Here in Exeter we had to wait until 10:30pm for the diners to finish before the fans who had come to the gig could get in. Some had been waiting outside for ages, one was heavily pregnant, some sacked it off and went home. Everyone was apologising to each other.
Although it was a shambolic night, part of me likes the unpredictability of it all, and everyone we met was just lovely. Charismatic matriarch Wendy has painstakingly buildingified herself – a new word I’ve invented meaning creating a version of yourself using bricks and mortar – and in her case lots of colourful wall paint too. She’s lively and passionate, and so is her venue. Each corner has another little touch of her love and dedication. She’s a big character with a big heart, and good on her for daring to dream it. Our problem was that we were playing the wrong night of her week. Sorry to everyone who it didn’t work out for – I’d love to come back on a weeknight and do it our way.
I’d been in covert contact with Rob for weeks leading up to it. His girlfriend Sarah is a massive fan and was eager to shout Banana Hammock at me to receive her free t-shirt. As it turned out she got much more than she bargained for, as I helped Rob propose to her after the gig. She was initially shocked (I won’t repeat what she said!!) but then delighted, and I felt priviledged to be such a part of their story. I hope it’s a long and happy one.
There were many important people to me there, and more stories to share, but the most important thing of all is that we played well. Next time will be even better.
I’ll leave you with this classic poem which John and I were discussing during the day. If by Rudyard Kipling. There’s a very good reason it was voted the nation’s favourite ever poem, it’s breathtakingly good:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
Postcards off to: Alex and Cam Shepherd
Next postcards to: Paul, Emma and Steve
Free t-shirt and engagement ring to: Sarah Hands
Thanks and shoutouts: Wendy and everyone at Mama Stones, Oli & Jen, Emma & Lack Of Afro Adam and family (!), Andy and Sarah, Rob and Sarah (congratulations!!), Elizabeth & her friends, Steve and his gang. If you came along too – THANK YOU.