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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


ARCHIVE UK TOUR BLOG

After running like a mad man up escalators with my suitcase above my head I finally made the 1.05 train. Sweating like a fully clothed Arctic explorer in a Turkish steam room and with no English money and a hunger growl in my guts I searched through my bag for a snack, I found a Cadburys crunchy, so scoffed it as quickly as possible, I also had water which was heaven sent. The party on the tour bus home had lefe me some what parched in the hydration department. The weather was pleasant for ten minutes or so then I saw streaks of water running down the train windows, bloody rain I thought, just a bit of sunshine would be nice. but I guess we need it. I made the the game walking along the sodden pavements and witnessing two guys throwing their guts up just in front of me reminded me it was football on a Saturday of course. Bad pint? Bad pie? Bad pills? Good Pills? The game against West Ham ended up a 1 – 1 draw and was rain sodden and drab.  We Tried to go to the theatre but the little Hitlers ruined it as they took our food order in the restaurant then said we hadn’t pre-booked a reservation to eat even though we’d booked tickets for the show and the restaurant only had 6 people in it!! , It completely threw the night into a whirl as we were so hungry so we got a refund on principle and didn’t see the play. I was tired, I wanted sleep. I ended falling asleep in the cinema watching A Late Quartet starring Christopher Walken.
A nice few days to recover from the recent jaunts to Germany and France was almost had but could have done with a few days more and my OCD played a part in these days off. My garden was it’s victim and is now looking fresh, bright and ready for the British Spring and Summer, so more rain then. I swear that a cat is trying to destroy the grass. I celebrated another  year on Planet Earth and was rewarded with some practical gifts, Some new treads and a new hoover, see below. Trendy cleaner, good rates, will perform thorough job.

Hoover-shoes
After cleaning the house I left to catch an evening train up to London to leave for some shows in Great Britain and Ireland. How exiting I must say, and about time too. Glasgow was brilliantly rain drenched and the crowd were great, I couldn’t resist a few pints of Mc’ewans eighty afterwards with a good old friend.

80

A double espresso with hot milk and a little water is going down nicely. I’m sat on the tour bus which is parked up on Camden high street. We are playing a venue called Koko tonight. The bus is empty as most of the band have buggered of home seeing as we are in London. We played Manchester last night which was one of those sweat feast filled gigs, both the Manglebird’s and my hair flopped out like an old flock of seagulls, looked like a right couple of teds we did, ridiculous!!. The gig was great and apparently a member of the Happy Mondays was carried out of the show legless. True? I dunno maybe it’s one of those things people say so it keeps the Mecca of Manchester’s music scene filled with stories. I hope it was true though. A nice ale was supped after with the boss of good old Eve studios and chat was warm and positive. A big cheers to all who have ventured from near and far to see us on this leg of the tour so far, I’m loving playing in Great Britain, It feels like home.
London was  a really great show and a real milestone for us to have played Koko to a sold out crowd. Friends and families were with us to celebrate afterwards which is always a bonus. Onto Dublin  for the first time and it was brilliant, a tight stage, possibly the smallest stage we have ever played on gave the gig and extra edge and the atmosphere was great.The night was full on and after finding the tour bus in a taxi that didn’t know his way around Dublin I slipped into my bunk as the sky became light and slept all the way home.
I am Dave pen

Backstage


ACROSS THE BOSPHORUS

Am on route to Turkey for two shows in Ankara and Istanbul, I had the middle seat which is never a great thing as the fear of waking up in a dreary state with gob slobber leaking out over the shoulder of the person to either your right or your left, plus you head tilts back and your mouth opens and you just never know what fall into the cavern of an unconscious open mouth man.The in-flight movie was rubbish, it lasted the whole flight and was a poor silent movie of an animated plane flying across a huge map. I snoozed ate a ready meal and read my book.
We arrived to a chaotic airport , paid a tenner to get into Turkey and then joined a huge line to get a stern stamp of the passport. For the first time we have a sleeper tour bus for the long drive to Ankara and then back to Istanbul. Te bus was a bit like a massive Chalet on wheels with bunks straight out of a Nineteen Seventies looking Ikea, which probably makes them “modern”. No quilts just blankets which seemed a bit St Johns ambulance which made me feel safe but slightly Chilly and vulnerable. I managed to sleep and was awoken by the song of prayer blaring out as the sunshine shot through the window in my bunk. I realised after getting up that we were parked directly next to Ankara’s biggest mosque which was a magnificent structure. See pic below:

Image

For some reason the ball of my right foot is hurting, A lot!! I have no idea why. This section of this blog was written in the hotel lobby and Dan is sat opposite me. Info again in a bit, Might explore a little.

I explored Ankara and managed to pick up a Turkish copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I am collecting this brilliant science fiction novel and am now up to 4 copies, 2 English, I english with some German annotations, and an analysis in German at the end of the book. (which i’m still waiting to be delivered) and now a Turkish copy, all have different covers of course. A Turkish Version:

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The show  at the Jolly Joker in Ankara was loud and on the edgy rocky side. it was good to get one under the belt before the German tour and the festival season begins and the fans there were excitable and cheerful . A few gremlins in the system here and there which is always common with first shows when getting out on the road.
I managed to get some fairly decent sleep and wrapped myself up in scarf and hoodie with the hood up for extra warmth obviously the St Johns ambulance blanket was used to full effect so I wrapped myself up like a cocoon and drifting off in a covonia induced sleep. I woke up in the morning with the sun blazing in through the window and sweat pouring from my legs and head, still wrapped in the now ultra snug slightly hotter than the sun cocoon. I got up had a coffee went to the hotel and heard that North Korea had declared war on South Korea. “goes around and around and around, but….Only the names change.” There was also an African grey parrot in the lobby whistling away and he seemed happy so I focused my attention on him instead. I’m writing this back stage whilst a game of back gammon is being played, the dice are very small and are making a quite some what irritable chinking sound every time they are rolled. Will carry this on later.
The show was great and the fans in Istanbul were excellent so a massive thank you to you all. Drinks were had after back at the hotel on the roof garden looking out over the Bosphorus. Europe one side and Asia the other, quite awesome that just a bridge divides the two.

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A little bit of sleep on the smooth flight back to the UK which is still really cold so am still having to wear a scarf and winter coat, all of the time when venturing outside. Hopefully the animals that have been sleeping all winter are building a plan as to not be too freaked out when they wake up and realise that it still feels like winter out there.
Am finishing this blog off at home just before setting out the door to catch the train to London to leave for the German part of this spring tour. A few changes within the set-up are now settling in as we continue on our journey into the unknown through amplified music. See you in a bit then yeah.
I am Dave Pen


WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE LYRICS

I’ve had a few enquiries from lands near and far asking for the lyrics for songs from Robin Foster’s Where Do We Go From Here album. To oblige the reading minds of the fans who asked, here they are:

A COLLAPSING LIGHT

I got nothing you’ve got something and it’s all I need

You got feeling I got stranger a collapsing light

You went searching I got lost

You found hope I ended up

Going on and on and on and on

 

Captured feelings locked them up

Sent them away from my heart

Left you standing in the dark

With the hurt tearing you apart

Going on and on and on and on

Going on and on and on and on and on

 

Called out empty saw it fall

Felt so heavy under it all

Saw the night of a hundred souls

They were wondering all alone

A reflection of my own

Left me singing my own song

Round in circles chewing up

Everything that I’ve lost

Everything that I’ve lost

Going on and on and on and on

Falling down inside I’ve gone and lost myself

…………………………………………………………………………………

CONCRETE SKIES

All these heights are so tall

They cover me tonight as I fall

Through structures to the cold ground

I feel lost in the muted life of this town

With hope I’ll carry on with the dawn of light by my side

 

These machines gather speed

Creeping up on me as I run away

Though the streets and red slip floors

Souls trapped in silence

There is nothing here no more

With hope I’ll carry on with the dawn of light in my eyes

 

Skeletons in wire and dust

Frames of lies and blood all rise above

Panic high all doors are locked

This blinding god controls everyone of us

This blinding god controls everyone of us

This blinding god controls everyone of us

With hope I’ll carry on with the dawn of light by my side

With hope I’ll carry on with the dawn of light in my eyes

With hope I’ll carry on with the dawn of light in my eyes

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

FORGIVENESS

I remember the first time

It made me feel I was leaving

To find light to begin

I had to forget and keep moving

Let the days fade my emotions slip into nothing

They slip into nothing

They teach us to prey forgiveness

But I won’t swallow what they feed us

No more no more

 

I’ll carry this rock

This old dead weight

like a noose around my broken next

Won’t fall down to the ground

This will be my lonely end

My soul time

My time

I won’t run away won’t hide away

They teach us to prey forgiveness

But I won’t swallow what they feed us

No more no more

………………………………………………………………………………..

WAIT FOR HER

I don’t know why she makes me feel alive and leaves me under hypnotised

I will go to the end I won’t fall I’m not here to let you go

You will shine forever high above my world you seal the cracks in me

We eclipse the facts of loosing time

We unite with our hands holding tight

But time is running out out time is running out time is running out

Time is running out time is running out I will wait for her

 

I don’t know how she opens up my soul and leaves me free to breath

I will go forever on and through the storm I won’t say no

I feel you from miles away

I feel you always

But time is running out out time is running out time is running out

Time is running out time is running out I will wait for her

Time is running out out time is running out time is running out

Time is running out time is running out I will wait for her

I will wait for her I will wait for her I will wait for her

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

BLACK MOUNTAIN

I’ll wait for you in the drought down by the faint flowing river

Slowly breathing in and out

I’ll be there at the end

Looking up at you

Looking up at you

 

I’ll call for you through the storm and the worlds broken and fragile pieces

Like a siren  Sounding out  your heart

 

Looking for you Looking for you

Looking for you Looking for you

For you

………………………………………………………………………………………

I am Dave Pen

 

 


RUNNING INTO 2013

I feel the pounding of my feet, the pulsing of my blood, the driving of my mind as I climb the steep hill after eight miles.  I find slowly counting to a hundred helps me with my Zen like state when the steep inclines hit me where it hurts. I control my breathing, I keep moving on. It’s a buzz.  Running works for me.

I’ve been training hard the last few months and was thrilled to complete my first ten mile race. I came in at one hour, nineteen minutes and fifty four seconds. I’m happy 1954 was in there, cheeky little number likes to pop up now and then. I am starting to feel that many more endurance challenges will be on the horizon for me and I don’t just want this to be all for me, I aim to start trying to raise money for charities as well. More news on these adventure/endeavours will be posted when they are planned.

January was used for not only training to accomplish this race but also for writing, recording and performing.

As the cold snap nipped away like an arctic crocodile two brilliant recording/writing sessions were completed with Archive in a remote studio in the Cambridgeshire countryside. I’m gonna keep the vibe of it under wraps for now as I don’t want to let the wild boars snuffle the truffles too soon… or maybe it’s a mushroom of some sort only found in the forest. Expect more wild animal and vegetable news on this soon.

It was good to then get a show in at the Midem festival down in Cannes in France. Of course once the long, long journey was completed and we had arrived. I woke up to rain and a cold breeze whipping up across the beach and marina. The sun did come out later whilst catching up with the Kendal mad man that is Robin Foster. We had coffee and spoke about the film Metro Manila that had just won the Audience Award for World Cinema Dramatic at Sundance Film Festival. This was great news as Robin created the music for the soundtrack and also the lead song, which is called Life and Death, which was co-written and performed, by Robin and myself.

Click to watch a live version of the song below:

 

The Archive show was a short, tight energy filled hour and ten gig, and it was a nice privilege to headline the festival. After a quick sip and some chat we all then climbed back on the tour bus for what ended up as a twenty three hour long journey for me to get home and through my front door. Lots of Who documentary was needed and kept us entertained on this trip. Pete Townshend’s autobiography “Who I am” has kept me company the last few weeks and has been a brilliant insightful read and I highly recommended it to any music fan or fan of The Who.

So into February we go, lots of stuff happening this month but that will be in another blog.

Went to The Garlic Farm after the race, stinky victory’s all round yeah.

Triumph

I am Dave Pen


ARCHIVE W.U.U.Y.D TOUR BLOG DISPATCH 4

So into France we go…After a superb and warm filled show in Nimmes we had a day off in Nante and stayed in a hotel/apartment that was like a cool box. I tried and tried to get the heater to work and just couldn’t work it out. What happened to the simple things, there was quite literally about 16 buttons on this controller and none of them when pushed did shit!! I woke up the next morning and walked around with my duvet wrapped around me, I can’t remember the last time I did that and have certainly never done it whilst on tour.

Touring always has it’s up’s and downs and of late the feeling of being a bit “lost in space” has started to orbit around me. I think it’s a natural thing when sometimes you need space and peace and quiet and time to think. Sleeping lots is good and reading and exercise all help my mind with the obvious cranking up instruments, hitting toms and singing your guts out is all therapy to me. What seems to be the problem Mr Pen?, Nothing Doctor, I will be fine in a few days time.

I wonder if I should watch all four Critter movies I have with me, that might lift me from my slumber. I love ridiculous Horror movies.

I will carry this blog on.

I’m not a big fan of days off on tour to be honest, it kind of breaks the routine and flow of show days and always seems to leave me more tired that when I’m performing. So after shows in Nante, Bordeaux and Toulouse we had a day off in Caen and also had to cancel the show due to yet more un-foreseen circumstances. So then the next day was also a day so we drove into Belgium a night earlier before the show in Brussels. We travelled to  Brouge  through the day and watched the masterpiece that is it Apocalypse Now “Redux” version. Three hours twenty minutes of pure genius and madness was enjoyed thoroughly and this film will always rank of one of the best films of all time in my opinion.

So we arrived in Brouge where we were staying on a boat hotel. Sounded quirky but to be honest it didn’t really do it for me and I woke up to realise Mike, whom I usually share a twin room with had sacked the cramp cabin style room vibe off and obviously gone to the tour bus which was parked in the carpark outside to get his sleep for the night. I had thought of doing the same thing but didn’t and now I am wide awake at 6.30 and writing this blog. I want some water but there is no mini bar and the breakfast doesn’t start until 8am. This place kind of sucks to be honest, I do have a chocolate milk drink in a can in my bag but it’s not really what I want right now to quench my thirst.

I am very much looking forward to playing in Brussels tonight and I also have my wife and family coming out to visit so it will be great to see them all.

I am awake and don’t want to be, I want to sleep.

Here’s a picture of a man kissing his horse.

Image

I am Dave Pen


GUIDED BY LIGHTS

So it goes, I’m back on the bus where we sleep, eat, chat, drink and watch bad horror movies.

Archive were in Berlin to play a show for the Radio 1’s ten-year anniversary. Changes and re-arrangements were made at short notice to our show but we managed to pull it off. My first time playing the new material went good and playing the “other drums” alongside Smiley was a new and intense experience for me. I wished the tour had started here and it will be good to ground in the new tunes once we start the wheels rolling along the fuzz filled tracks on the Archive super sonic highway.

I stayed on in Berlin alongside fellow band members Pollard, Darius, Danny and Steve for some Acoustic performances. Some TV was to be filmed which is always a bit nerve racking but the new tunes transfer well on keys and acoustic guitar. We then played a full set to launch the album in Germany in the Hotel Michelberger where we were staying. A huge crowd turned out for the intermit show and we had to perform with only one monitor for the whole band as the other monitor decided to head to the light and flash a white death through the sub hole in front of me. The show was intense and a huge thanks to everyone who came, we were overwhelmed at how many of you there were and sorry to all the people that couldn’t get in. The Hotel was very “rock n roll” and any establishment that screens the movie The Big Lebowski 24 hours a day in every room and along the corridors is damn OK in my book.

I stayed awake and got a cab at 5.15 am to go to the airport, by this time everything around me wasn’t quite focused and a bubble of some sort had formed around every breath and movement I made. I queued up for 35 minutes at the wrong check-in desk then had to move quickly to make sure I made my first flight. I ate a Snickers bar in the line as I was boarding as the hole in my stomach started to feel bottomless. As soon as I sat in my seat towards the back of the plane I immediately fell asleep and awoke with a bump as we landed. I then ran a maze of trying to find Gate 2G, delayed shuttle bus after delayed shuttle bus meant again I only just made the flight. I thought the businessman alongside me on the bus was gonna explode due to the slowness of the shuttle buses. I boarded my plane and was seated at the very back; I fell asleep before we even started to taxi for the runway. I awoke when we landed.

Now in Brest France I was here for a show on an island called Ouessant with Robin Foster. We drove to the port of Camaret then boarded a boat to the island, my mind was back with my body after some nice healthy lunch and the sun was shining, summer decided it didn’t want to leave us just yet after all the delays it had had this year.

The evening was spent with mellow beers and some photographs of us jumping from a small wall. How very grown up we are.

The show was played to many a drunken islander and the fog rolled in. I walked back to the house guided by the circling light of the huge lighthouse on the island. I could hear the waves of the sea and the salty breeze against my face as I stepped along the winding paths near the beach in the deep black of the night.

I awoke after only a few hours sleep to make my way home. A boat had been hired for myself, Robin’s manager Charlie and guitar technician Cyril. We boarded in the haze of the dawn light and after around 20 minutes the captain of the boat asked me if I’d like to drive it, of course I said yes so cruised the boat along watching the radar and the GPS to see our destination. Not far from the end I noticed something grey in the corner of my eye jump from the water, I looked to my left and there were around 8 Dolphins about 10 metres from the boat swimming alongside us jumping in and out of the water. It was a fantastic and beautiful sight to see and a great way to round of the hectic few weeks I’d had rehearsing and playing shows with Archive and then alongside Robin and his band.

I slept all the way home on the plane.

I am Dave Pen


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