It was a bit of a dry spell waiting between Bristol and Brighton…but I was riding on such a high from him talking to me on the stage in Bristol (and poking his tongue out at me!) that it saw me through the whole week.
The weather was lovely for Brighton. Still lovely and sunny, but a bit breezy and milder than it had been. I got in about 1.15pm and met up with Birdy. We were staying at a hotel right near the station. Handy!
I wanted to find the fudge shop I’d been to years ago, so I could get some for Catherine…just a little token of appreciation. Fudge shop located and fudge purchased, we had a little bite to eat and a nice cuppa at a little tea room in The Lanes. I had a Lapsang Souchong and Birdy had an Earl Grey and we both had a slice of a very, very lovely lemon and blueberry cake.
Catherine’s performance was very emotional. I think she had suffered a personal loss and it couldn’t help but come out in her performance. But it just made it more beautiful and more poignant. She is so wonderful.
Afterwards I met her at the merch stand to give her the box of fudge I had bought for her, and to sign a copy of her CD. I said to her “Sign it however you like. I will leave it up to you.” And she said ” Oh, I don’t know what to put.” But then she had a spark, signed it and it was perfect! (If you can’t quite read it, it says “PS: Fuck You! Larelle x”)
On to the SM set and…well, as far as audience participation was concerned…it seemed a little strange. Birdy and I, and just a smattering of people got up out of seats for New Gold Dream…but then…they all sat down, so we did too. Jim even made a little protest about this lack of standing up by sitting down and crossing his arms on the steps they provided for him to get down off the stage. It went over the tops of peoples’ heads.
People stayed bloody superglued to their seats! It was WEIRD. We were in the STALLS, FFS! It was killing me sitting down!
FINALLY – once Jim had said “you can stand up for this one” when they started Stand By Love, they were up off their seats, and then it felt like a proper SM gig.
Jim was being a little…withdrawn, on a personal level…to me. I felt. But, hey…maybe after all the attention I had been getting of late, it just felt like that. I wasn’t as close to the front as I was at Bristol, etc. You no doubt read the post on Saturday night…
The gig as far as band performance was concerned was right on the ball, as usual. Just really up and positive and so full of energy.
Birdy and I got back to the hotel, and I get a message from my friend in Australia, Gillian, asking if I am okay, that there’d been another terror attack…in London this time.
It is just so senseless. All this killing in the name of a god that most likely does not exist. Anyone hiding their actions behind a false god I find utterly deplorable. A coward never truly takes responsiblity for their own actions. To say you are doing such things for the deity of your faith is the most extreme form or cowardice in my eyes. If you want to kill people, YOU alone want to kill people – your deity does not want you to do it in their name.
We were thankful to be safe but saddened and numbed by such loss of life.
We travelled on to London the next day a little more concerned and vigilant than we would have been had those events not taken place.
We went to a Hokusai exhibition early in the afternoon. Birdy was travelling with a suitcase. As we got to the British Museum, Birdy was informed by security that she could not take in a suitcase of that size, so we had to ask a hotel around the corner if they would accept minding it while we were inside the museum. They were happy to do it and off in we went.
Wow! What a wonderful exhibition! There was so much of his work to see, and I kept seeing Simple Minds references (I would have loved to have taken some photos of the wording on the walls about Hokusai). They kept referring to him being in the “floating world” art school, and there was a reference to one of his works incorporating the North star, “the only star visible at night” – and it was like the line from Hunter And The Hunted “when only one star’s waiting up on all of us”.
I bought this absolutely stunning book as a souvenir…and I bought some things for Jim as well. I shouldn’t have, really. I’m as skint as f*** but…there were just such beautiful things there, and well…a girl can’t help it.
We had a bite to eat, then went back to the hotel to see if they were okay with our bags staying there (I left a heavier bag I was carrying there with Birdy’s case) until after the gig. No problem, so on we went. The usual short reccie done.
This was my view watching Catherine. I sat in my designated seat, though I could have stayed with Birdy! I was in row YY – third row from the end of the stalls. Birdy was in row L and over on the right side of the seats, as opposed to my left side.
Catherine’s final performance for the tour was beautiful! I recorded Bury Me…but there are people taking their seats, and other insensitive, rude fuckers talking over her performing, and it can be heard on what I recorded so I haven’t uploaded it 😦
I went out to the merch stand one final time to thank her and tell her how much I loved all the performances I saw. We hugged and she thanked me again for the fudge, and it was just really wonderful.
When I went back into the auditorium, I sat with Birdy to chat until someone came in to claim their seat. They didn’t. The seat remained empty, so I stayed there with Birdy.
The final gig on the UK mainland and – WOW! What a finale! From the get go, people were up out of their seats and it was just such a fantastic atmosphere. Due reverence was given before we got underway, of course. A minute’s silence for those we lost during the attack in London. But then, tears and sadness was left behind and only joy remained. Beautiful music, wonderful people. Love and light.
We had two encores, like we seemed to have had the past few gigs I’ve got to, KT Tunstall coming on to do Promised You A Miracle and For What It’s Worth at this final mainland gig was unexpected but wow!
The band were just really on fire! The most amazing gig! Peter Walsh, producer of New Gold Dream was in the audience, just along the row from us. I went over, shook his hand and thanked him for New Gold Dream.
I met some fans I have gotten to know through Facebook. I met Greg Lane and Paola Marocco. Friends of Yvonne’s too.
I dragged Birdy (unwillingly!) to the stage door. The things I had bought Jim at the British Museum gift shop, I wanted to try and give to him. I could have maybe taken them over to Dublin (not particularly practical) or sent them on to management to give to him but I wanted to hand them to him.
We waited over an hour. I felt awful for making Birdy wait. I did suggest we go a couple of times…but it would have been sod’s law had we walked off and minutes later he’d have appeared (not that we’d have known).
When he did finally appear, he was holding his hands up saying “I’ve got to go.”
I did something I felt really, really awful for doing just minutes later. And never something I would ever dream of doing. The antithesis to how I was on the seafront at Bridlington…but I so wanted him to have the gifts.
I chased him. I tugged on his jacket sleeve. I was imploring him to stop! (The guilt I feel…honestly!)
He finally stopped and I said “I have something for you that I want to to give to you”. After some unexpected reticence (I am so sorry, Jim!), his curiosty kicked in and he asked what it was. I didn’t want to spoil it completely (I hadn’t even wrapped them or anything…pricetags were still visible and all) so I said “Gifts. They’re gifts.” “You are very kind”, he said. He noticed the British Museum logo on the bag and said “Now, this I like to see.” And by way of explanation and a hint of what was inside, I said “I went to a Hokusai exhibition today.” “How was it?”, he says. “Wonderful”, I reply, “it was wonderful.” “Thank you. You are too kind”, he says again, and with that, he was gone.
Unknown to me, Birdy was snapping away as it was all playing out. I’m not sure if I should share all the photos (or any, even). It feels a little…private, even though it is happening in a public place. He was snapped unawares. I will show just the one photo…of him accepting the bag from me.
A million thank yous, Jim. And I am sorry if I unnerved you. That was the least of my intentions.