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THE LAST HURDLE

On the train heading to the studio up near Cambridge to do some writing and recording. The sun is flickering and flashing through the trees and windows on the train, that’s a certain way to trigger a migraine. I’ve had to put my sunglasses on, I look a bit like a jackal with my black hat, black puffa coat and now black sunglasses, I have no intentions of starting a fire and I’m not carrying anything illegal. I’ve been on a blog lull of late and haven’t entered anything since the big slab of photographic evidence from The Quest for Mont Blanc. That seems far away now but I know she is still there waiting and taking anybody who chooses to attempt to summit and touch the top of her head. So from the open space way up on top of western Europe’s highest point to the crammed stuffy germ filled carriages of trains zooming to the capital of England. Nobody wants to sit next to someone else, including me if I’m honest and I’ve been carrying the lurgy for a few weeks now. Starting from my nose to my head, then my limbs and now my chest, which is just where I didn’t want it to set up phloem camp. Its hit me hard enough to have to cancel my final endurance test of the year which was my first ultra marathon of forty five miles down on the Dorset coast this Saturday. I’m truly gutted, I wanted to sign the year off with a big test and now I cant and it’s made me itchy and irritable. Fuck you germy virus fucks. Get out and don’t come back no more.

I’m not sure why I’ve not blogged of late, maybe I’ve been doing too much and finding the actual time to sit and write out what’s happened seems like a memory slog . A few random past thoughts are – Touring with BirdPen across Europe was like the miles we covered, some were long and slow and some went quickly and I enjoyed most of the ride, a record new zero funds made on the merchandise in Stockholm, a blown tire on the Autobahn, shady Czech traffic cops, horrible Swiss border Nazi’s, tambourine thief’s in Berlin, chocolate cake in Bern, happy faces at the front of the crowd, serious arm crossers at the front of the crowd, nobody at the front of the crowd. Dancing till dawn, coffee and doughnuts, good luck charms, welcoming promoters, backstage invaders, going deaf and vomiting, needing sleep and needing more sleep. The birds will always find the antennas and we will continue to transmit.

I’m on route to the studio to record vocals and guitars for new Archive material, Darius and I spent a day together last week demoing some ideas which I’m exited about, we then spent six hours watching a world war two three part drama and ate lots of food. Perhaps we were fuelling up for the oncoming fuzz marathon of playing live in 2015. Next year will be full on from what I can see and the new album, which is called Restriction, is out January 2015. It will be great to get it out there on the road. So 2015 will bring a whole wedge packed whack of new sounds. I will have three albums out by the end of spring. Archive – Restrictions in January BirdPen – In The Company Of Imaginary Friends in March and We are Bodies in April of which The Kendal mad man Robin Foster and I just mastered this wonderful album in Abbey road. Always a special place to work and topped off nicely by getting to see Underworld perform live straight to Vinyl in Studio one, what a nice way to celebrate finishing the album. Sometimes my job is truly the best job in the world! I don’t know how I’m going to remember all the words I have written though.

Final words and am gonna close this one, I’m DJ’ing with the Manglebird and a bunch of dear friends this Saturday, then off Warsaw and Berlin for Restrictions playback party’s next week. I have to admit I’m gutted my legs wont hurt, guess I’ll open the sets with Road to Nowhere by Talking heads. I am Dave Pen

THE QUEST FOR MONT BLANC IN PICTURES – BATCH 3 FINAL

A-Helicopter-turned-up A-Light-On A-refuge-with-a-view A-smile-with-safety above-and-beyond Above-it-all And-then-I-could-see-nothing Bed-Number-108 Between-Worlds Bitch-Ridge Black-Mouth Composure Dedicated-to-Sound Don't-go-over-there Down Equipped Everything Full-Frame Fuzzy-Film-Crew Get-across-it-quickly Happy-to-be-home Having-to-Stop Head-Torches-On High-Points High-Sunset Hurcules Into-The-Blue Into-The-Unkown Last-Light Like-nothing-before Little-people-in-the-distance Looking-back Making-my-way-to-the-Hut Man-it-was-Cold Me Mountain-Snack No-Words Oi-Oi Old-hut-in-the-distance Our-Crazy-Crew Pay-Attention Pen-&-Pinto-Gouter-Hut-August-2014 Pen-&-Pinto-Selfie Points-of-Interest real-skyscrapers reserved Safe-Defrost Signs Silence Staring-at-the-sun Steep-Efforts Summit-Prep Team The-Long-Walk-up The-Man---Mr-Rezette The-Man The-Monkey-House The-stuff-our-guides-get-up-to This-is-your-life Time-for-a-walk Wait-here-while-we-get-in-position-for-the-shot White-and-Blue White-Stuff Zee-End

You can still donate to The Trekstock Charity here : http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Archivethequestformontblanc

All the photographs have names, just click on them and you will see what they are called.

Photo credits also to Louis Pinto from this batch.

Next up will be the documentary!

I am Dave Pen

THE QUEST FOR MONT BLANC IN PICTURES – BATCH 2

A-King A-meeting A-place-for-some-zzzz's Always Bad-Weather-Ahead Beyond-the-Black-Hills Borders Breaking-through Closed-for-Business Col-d'Anterne Dave-Wave Des-Fonts Directions Disconnect Dolly- Eyes-of-the-Original-GR5 Falling-Water Forward-&-Thinking Fuel Fully-Booked Getting-on-Top-of-stuff GR5-Rules-ok Green-Hair Guide-me-Home Hard-Ripples He-had-a-Long-Life I-led-down I-see-a-marmot I-see-a-rock-smiling I-see-you I-thought-this-was-High It-started-to-get-cold looking-down Mist-Man Mobile-DJ Moody-Morning No-Cars-Go No-Garmins-here Old-&-New On-the-Road Over-there Peaking Pic-Noir Refresh-Bite Rock Samoens Snotty-Tree Stay-on-the-Path Strangers-on-Ladders Sunday-Moods Take-the-old-school-route The-Electric-Mist The-Way The-Wild-Pinto this-way-and-that-way Time-to-Think Wood-Beast You're-Life-Depends-On-It

You can still donate to The Trekstock Charity here : http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Archivethequestformontblanc

All the photographs have names, just click on them and you will see what they are called.

I am Dave Pen

 

THE QUEST FOR MONT BLANC IN PICTURES – BATCH 1

Buzzing-Cows Bulmers--I-doubt-it Bells Coffee-Salvation Evening-time Dropping-In Do-Not-Eat Destination Cold-way-down Follow-Red-&-White FInal-Frontiere GR5-sign-number-1 Go-Around Free-Lunch I-didnt-see-any-Mammoths Home Hello GR5's GR5-Tree Moody-1 Lunch-view Living-is-easy In-Sight In-each-others-hands Old-&-Forever Need-your-Greens National-Parks Mt-Baron Morning-View Science-in-the-Woods Routes Reindeer-Moss-Moustache Plans,-Snacks,-Drinks-&-Film Old-School-Advertising Sundown-Approaching Steep-Hill Start Point She's-a-Waterfall Seriously-one-of-the-best-meals-i've-ever-had Thoughts The-woods-rules The-GR5-Rules-ok The-1st-Photo-I-took Termite-Towers Wild-Camp We're-going-that-way Watching Through-the-Mist Through-the-BlueYou can still donate to The Trekstock Charity here : http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Archivethequestformontblanc

All the photographs have names, just click on them and you will see what they are called.

I am Dave Pen

The Quest for Mont Blog 1

I’m sat in terminal one watching the human ants gather and scurry as slaves to the machines that take to the skies. Enter your data to get verified access to fly baby.

My bloging has ceased of late due to the pitter, patter of feet and the mellow drum joy, joy day to day living of my life. I couldn’t be happier by the way. I just haven’t sat down and wrote stuff out as much as I should.

I’m off to Chamonix to do some press for my Quest for Mont Blanc and collect all the equipment that is needed for this adventurous adventure across the Alps. I’m Trekking from Geneva to the summit of Mont Blanc this August and I’m doing it for the cancer research charity Trekstock. It’s a big challenge but I know I can do it and it will be amazing to stand on top of Western Europe to have a look around.

Never a big fan of travelling via massive tons of machinery thousands of feet in the sky, this flight was a breeze and I slept for a few minutes on the one-hour long flight and woke to this view from my window seat:

WINDOW-VIEW

So the main point of our 24-hour trip to Chamonix was to visit the Simond factory. Simond are one of the oldest mountaineering companies with links to the history of Mountaineering dating as far back as the 1820’s and engineering products since 1948. It’s a privilege to have them as one of our sponsors for the Quest for Mont Blanc. We were given a full tour of the factory and shown how equipment such as ice axes and carabinas are made which was a rare insightful experience to have had. We then checked off and tried on the items of clothing and accessories that are needed for the Trek and Climb. I felt like a hardcore Dutch football supporter in the amazingly bright Orange winter jacket that I will be wearing for the summit push, You wont miss me that’s for sure, Not too sure I will be wearing it for a any forthcoming shows though.

2.5-TONNES

AXED

I did some Interviews and we had some photos taken, then we had some lunch in Chamonix’s main town centre surrounded by snow topped mountains before heading back to Geneva to fly back to the UK. This was a quick in and out trip but a very important one to say the least. Some plans for music related things were discussed and being put into place of which I will announce very soon.

WE'RE-GOING-THAT-WAY

The Quest is not too far away so please let’s keep raising that dosh please.

You can sponsor me here from the link below at my Just Giving page:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=Archivethequestformontblanc

Many thanks

I am Dave Pen

MB1

FROM ICELAND.

There are no details, just photographs with names. I hope you like them.

A SPEEDING REFLECTION

A-SPEEDING-REFELCTION

VIEW

VIEW

THE BRIDGE

THE-BRIDGE

STONE COLLECTION POINT

STONE-COLLECTION-POINT

RIGHT OVER THERE

RIGHT-OVER-THERE

STAND

STAND

SHADOW LAND

SHADOW-LAND

FRIENDS FOR LIFE

FRIENDS-FOR-LIFE

INSIDE UP

INSIDE-UP

BETWEEN WORLDS

BETWEEN-WORLDS

CRYSTAL

CRYSTAL

MOTEL

MOTEL

SLOW TIME

SLOW-TIME

CLOSE TO LIFE FORMS

CLOSE-TO-LIFE-FORMS

JUST STARE

JUST-STARE

COLD MIRROR

COLD-MIRROR

SIGNAL

SIGNAL

BROKEN PIECES

BROKEN-PIECES

CLAWS

CLAWS

AS IT WAS

 

AS-IT-WAS

MEETING

MEETING

I MADE MYSELF SO SMALL

I-MADE-MYSELF-SO-SMALL

BEYOND

BEYOND

THE MAN FELL TO EARTH

THE-MAN-FELL-TO-EARTH

BEAKS

BEAKS

FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK NOW

FOLLOW-THE-YELLOW-BRICK-SNOW

HANDLE WITH CARE

HANDLE-WITH-CARE

ON THE ROCKS

ON-THE-ROCKS

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT ONE

SEE-YOU-IN-THE-NEXT-ONE

AURORA

AURORA

I am Dave Pen

RUNNING UP THAT HILL – THE SNOWDONIA MARATHON

I’m not going to go through this blog mile by mile so to speak, that would take far too long and be too painful, plus I can’t remember every mile as most of them after mile 13 just turned into a long slow blur of pain, wind, water stations and jelly baby induced desperation.

To start with I was all over the place trying to get ready, I left it a bit late to sort my gear out, it was 8.45 and I was still munching on a bacon sandwich down in the hotel restaurant. I was leaving at 9.15 and that 30 minutes went like the wind, unlike I would. Running 26.2 miles of one of Britain’s toughest and unforgiving marathons that is the Snowdonia Marathon.

After I got dropped off at Llanberis where the start of the race was, I popped in the porta loo for a quick wee, being slightly nervous at running my first marathon my alone time of quick relief wasn’t helped by the fact that probably one of the last surviving wasps of the Snowdonia region had decided to give it one more shout of space invading annoyance by hovering around my head whilst I tried to aim straight. Not being a fan of wasps in any way shape or armoured form I quickly got out of there sting free and went out in the fresh air against a massive stone wall alongside other blokes in spandex and vests.

I hung around near the start line taking in the vibes and pre race nerves with my Dads mate Dave. My dad was supposed to run the marathon with his mate Dave but had picked up a knee injury and decided (very wisely) I might add to drop out just a few hours before the start. These two cats go way back and have run a stack of marathons between them, with my dads best time on Snowdon being a strong 3 hours 12 minutes.

I got interviewed by the local Film crew alongside Dave about why I was running the race so gave the Trekstock charity a good plug and mentioned that this marathon was part of a few endurance events in the build up for the Archive Quest for Mont Blanc taking part next summer. Not sure the plug made the final edited TV cut though. My Welsh is zero.

snowden

Now it was race time. The long 6-mile hill from the start of Llanberis was a nice challenge and I dealt with it well. From the top of Pen-y-gwryd the downhill was a joy and I cruised naively down like a young fawn bounding across the moors. At the bottom of this, the course went into an off road section which was quick with a high tempo and I was focused at watching every step along the rocky and stony path. I was having a great time at this point and continued to do so. All was going well when I saw the 12 mile marker, I thought to myself this would be a really good run if it was a half marathon, oh to dream, and thinking like that was a warning sign of what was to come. I came through the halfway point to smiles and cheers from my family, I managed to catch a glimpse of my little 5 month old daughter wrapped up with her little face looking a little like I was to feel a few miles later, a bit lost, confused and in need of some TLC.

So after the happy faces of support I started to notice things getting a lot harder, I just didn’t realise the next 10 miles would all be up hill. It just went on and on and on, every corner I could see in the distance I started to pray it would level out after that and it just didn’t, and it took no prisoners. I started to notice a runner who kept over taking me then stopping about 100 metres in front and walking until I caught up with him and over took him, for him to then run past me for another 100 metres to then stop and walk again. He did this about 5 times, which slowly just made me want to stop as well, and it finally did. I finally had to stop and walk at about 16 miles. From then on it was a test of how far I could run before I had to stop and walk for a bit. I carried on running at a slower pace after this and water stations became mental havens for me where I knew I could stop for a bit and drink what was truly the sacred water of the mountains. I have never tasted water so nice than on that Marathon, to the point of carrying a little sealed cup of the stuff with me for the rest of the race as a good luck token or something like that. I was getting a bit desperate.

I carried on upwards and upwards then came to part of the route called Walnfowr. I had been told this was a proper “Tough Bit” of the race. Everyone around me including a bloke on a bike just stopped to a walk/shuffle. I tried to walk for a minute, and then shuffle for a minute, and then walk for a minute and so on to slowly make my way up. As I was doing this I heard a chap behind me chatting about how once the race was over they would hit the local pub for a couple of jager bombs and some whiskeys, I looked behind me to see who this rock n roll speaking hard core geezer might look like and low and behold it was an old friend from my skateboarding youth days, Mr Dean Jones. I said “dean Jones” to him to which he didn’t recognise me to which I then told him it was I, Dave Penney, he laughed and said what the hell are you doing here? I said the same thing to him and we struggled on together for about a minute or so before his legs stretched just a bit further than mine and he moved slowly forward. What a random place to see an old mate huh? Brilliant.

I got to the top of Walnfowr and the wind was howling across the wide-open space of this bleak looking puddle filled summit. It was proper grim and incredibly hard to stay motivated. Even the jelly babies were quite un-inspired. I stopped for another wee and just let the wind blow me into a high grassy bank, the term “pissing in the wind” ringing like a massive siren of truth in my head, I had stopped caring by then and wanted this ridiculous challenge to end. I pushed forward and made it to the descent, which was tuff in the totally opposite way of the previous 2 miles. Not being able to quite stop yourself moving very quickly downhill after 24 or so miles is a strange, painful and testing feeling on the hips, legs, feet, and brain. Down it went across the fells, rocks and mud. I had to keep my concentration in tact so as not to slip or fall or slip which would at that point, really hurt. It was with joyous sound to then be told by a supporting stranger “come on, the end is just around the corner”. This was music to my ears so I stepped it up as much as I could and around a beautiful grey-concreted corner was the end. I gave it my all as the crowd cheered me and the other runners coming to the end with legs burning, tears in my eyes and a proper wad of snot hanging from my nose I made it across the finish line in 4hours 09 minutes and 21 seconds.

I took my medal (a piece of welsh Slate), another bottle of water and wrapped in a space blanket walked alone to a corner and had a little sob whilst scoffing more jelly babies. I was thrilled to have finished and have never truly done anything as hard as that before in my life. What a brilliant and ridiculous sport marathon running is and the support and camaraderie was superb. A proper bunch of nutters do this and I kind of felt at home with it all. My family all supported me on this, which were lovely and my Dads mate Dave finished at around 5 and a half hours which was great.

WIN

I ended the day in a nice pub drinking ale watching the SFC beat Fulham, followed by a couple of rums and a curry. I went to bed a bit tipsy thinking about the next marathon I have in December.

Why am I doing this?

I am Dave Pen

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