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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.

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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:

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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.

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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


The Terminal

Trying to catch up on some blogs..been a bit slack of late. here is one.

I feel like a proper regular at the airport these days. Most of the Taxi drivers have stopped talking it seems so my journeys in the backs of cabs have been silent. Then I get to the airport when not much chat happens, as I’m my own company. Just a quick information blurt to the woman on the ticket stand then rev over the English Channel where 95 percent of conversations are in French so not that much talking is done there also. I have been singing and performing the songs I co-wrote with Robin Foster from the “Where Do We Go From Here” album released late last year. I’ve played some strange little places. One festival that stunk of smelly fish mud near the sea of some old fishing town, a filmed show at the Rennes University and a few clubs dotted around Brittany. The small selection of low key shows are now coming to an end with the last show in good old Brussels in Belgium, a first for Robin and his band of talented cool musicians. I’m sat backstage writing this whilst the lads have a few in the bar. Its tuff sometimes staying away from the grog I must say. Keeping your limits at pretty much zero and not letting the valve explode. The sweet fizz of a cold one all to tempting most of the time!! Water is a man’s best friend, but Champagne is a good buddy as is Heineken and a nice fine Ale plus a Rum and Coke chaser. The old saying that the booze isn’t good for singers and the voice has been said over and over and I’m checking it out as don’t want to sound like a dying dog all of the time rather than just some of the time. Breath in…….and out……. Time for a banana I think, pass the crystalline would you, I’m a bit parched.

Here are some slightly odd photographs taken on my dying Blackberry

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Since writing this post I have been out on the Booze, A little bit. laaaalaaaalaaaa!!!


The Worlds Lowest Country and more…

It seems a while since I have written a blog, maybe it hasn’t been too long and it’s because of the fact loads has been happening.. I’m not quite sure where to start with this one.
So I did the helicopter thing which was a cool experience. Along with the acoustic gig to the snow blinded sunglasses crew on the top of a Mountain.
Ahhh yes, so upon my return from that Mike and I went to the legendary mecca that is Abbey Road Studios to add the final touch of mastering to the long awaited second BirdPen album. It was great meeting Frank Arkwright who has done a splendid job on the mastering and to pass by the tourists re – enacting the front cover of some band I’d never heard of called The Beatles. They walked across a zebra crossing of some sort didn’t they? Abbey Road was very quiet and you could feel the sense of history in the air. A little bit like a museum in some sense what with the no photos signs up everywhere.

It was a great mastering session and we had lamb chops with broccoli and potatoes for tea.

A couple of days after that I zoomed down to Brighton to watch a one of performance from Brighton’s own British Sea Power play their debut album in full at one of the club nights they have been putting on. The Decline of British Power is one of my personal favorite albums and it was great to see the band with Eamon (ex member) smash their way through it to a very over exited jammed squeezed crowd. Some sights I hold in my brain from this show with dread and joy are: A woman crowd surfing in 5 inch stilettos is a big no no in my opinion and also short party frocks are risky to wear if you’re gonna let loads of beer drinking boozy muso’s carry you across the top of their heads, It’s obvious one of them is gonna wanna see your knickers. Heads in giant bass drums whilst crowd surfing is another brilliant risky stunt but that’s the great thing about BSP they can be sentimental and mental. They are always a joy to watch and hear. I didn’t take the photo below.

After chip shop chips on the sea front and a fierce derby battle of the south coasts two football teams and being refused any more drinks for no apparent reason I headed to the airport to fly to the worlds lowest country. For those of you that aren’t sure of where the world’s lowest country is it’s the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. I had delayed in celebrating a massive part of my life for seven months and made this trip to relax, get some rays and turn the levels down for ten days. It was nice that the 8000lb box with wings cruised smoothly across a part of the planet with no bumps, drops or power failures. I have a fear of Turbulence you see and I find long haul flying something of a huge and odd experience that I just can’t get comfortable with.
So a nice trip to relax and unwind… Second day in as I prepared to get snorkelled up and say hello to Nemo I noticed the little red light on my phone blinking. I quickly checked to see that my Manager had sent a text – read on picture below:

A fear and force that has killed hundreds of thousands in the last ten years and been watched by millions on television was very much a realisation that literally left me feeling numb for a few minutes.
A panic attack popped his fast beating head round the corner of my villa and hung around prodding me here and there in my chest. I headed to the reception area of the resort and spoke to someone there about the impending fearful situation, the guy at the desk said to me ‘everything is OK sir, we are aware of the situation, just please relax and go and enjoy your holiday’. OK great advice!! I glued my eyes to the television back in the villa glancing out at the Indian Ocean just ten metres from my door then back to panicked people being broadcast on the news trying to get to higher ground.. All I could do was wait.
Luckily for us the type of earthquake that had happened didn’t cause a tsunami and the Indian chap in Receptions advice rang true. A dear friend quoted us that Nature Regulated itself on this occasion. To be under threat from something so destructive left me feeling so small, I’m happy nothing happened and my heart goes out to anybody who has been involved in recent earthquake and tsunami events.
I won’t go into details about the rest of the trip, the sunsets, the sea life, the weather etc but we did meet and make friends with a chap called Mark Beaumont and his newly wed wife. Mark holds the world record for cycling around the world in the fastest time and has been on some extraordinary adventures. Look him up if you get the chance folks.
Here are a few photos for the world’s lowest country:

So back to England’s green and Pleasant land which has had nothing but rain since my return. My tan is fading but my soul, heart and brain are alight with the exiting times that wait ahead. Nature Regulate is out and I shall write a separate blog for that and post it up in the next few days.

Where’s my umbrella?


I am Dave Pen


Chopper With a View

It’s not everyday, well it’s not really, well, EVER that you get told that you will be flying into a gig by Helicopter.

A Short Jaunt to The French Alps to play an hour show and then a midnight DJ Set was on the cards for the words you will read for this blog.

We rehearsed for a couple days in London then on Tuesday I made my way to the airport after a quick few sunrise BP snaps and a full English.

A tiny little shrivelled brained anger man decided to shout at Pollard and I for apparently walking down the plane the wrong way!! Not a nice way to start our journey when being cramped into a machine that travels thousand of feet in the sky. I wished the peanut cock a broken leg but then just thought what a sad and angry man he must be. I read a little and then slept.

Travelled to the Hotel high above the sea, ate some cheese, ate a frog leg, drank some white wine then went to bed.

Woke up slightly nervous at knowing I would be taking a Helicopter into the Alps to play the show.. People are scared of Helicopter travel, I can understand why but had decided from the start that I would be one of the members that would say YES !! Along with Darius and Steve we made our way to the chopper pad.

No time to think about it so got in, belted up and awaited lift off.. It was a bit like being in an old car, like a mini metro or something like that but flies.. It was a buzz feeling this small machine lift from the concrete and roar up into the sky. The views were absolutely stunning and we made it safely to the piste.

The gig was a bit strange as it was full of skiers and snowboarders obviously and I don’t think I will ever play a show with that many pairs of sunglasses looking back at me again. The crowd enjoyed it and no snowballs were thrown.

After the show we then jumped on some Skidoos and were taken to a restaurant to eat and avoid snow blindness, bit odd being on the back of a skidoo waving at fans and giving a few peace signs. Mountain Macca would be proud..

Had some nice nosh and Wine then jumped back on the skidoo back up the mountain to await the chopper back down to earth with Kev (Front of house) and John (Monitors) added to the melancholic chopper party. The Helicopter went higher this time and it was a bit more twitchy than the way up but was still a total buzz. We landed safely on the big H and came back to the hotel where I’m writing this right now as I type.

No ideas what the DJ set will be like? The bar is called Sloppys for Choppers sake..  I’m gonna turn the bass up nice and fat, drink a beer and enjoy the night.

What a wonderful ridiculous world I sometimes live in.

Bass to the almighty yeah

I am Dave Pen x

 

Chopper with a view


One gig in Cherbourg

Evening:

Left when the sun had gone down, a cheeky burger on the way to the forest to collect the gear.

Arrived at the port then got on the boat, I drank water then went to the tight fit borstal type cabin. I drifted off after watching the TV show Luck.

Morning – Far to early:

Didn’t sleep too badly considering all the man breath I’d been breathing in and was suddenly awoken by medieval type music being played throughout our cabin. I imagined we’d gone back in time into some weird type historic world and would have to play the gig on loots!! “Arrrhhhh” apparently captain jack sparrow lives around these parts according to the welcome video. Words again in a bit yeah.

We decided to take a stop at Omaha beach seeing as weren’t far from it on our destination to Cherbourg. At 8am a low mist covered the area of the four mile beach where we stopped and stood. The haze of the early morning February sun and a chill in the air gave the place a very somber yet tranquil atmosphere. “A remembrance of souls that fought to make us free.”

 

Night time – Driving through the fog:

We played the show in an Italian theatre built in 1882 called The Trident. It was a magnificent and beautiful theatre as you can see by the photos below.

 

Night time – Still driving through the fog:

With tired eyes and sleepy heads as the condensation runs its way across the inside of the window next to me we headed back to the port to get some small time to shut eye.

The fog the fog the fog.

Early hours…….

The shut eye episode got delayed as the twunts at the hotel decided to sack it off for the night and went home, I’m now sat in a Mercure hotel lobby in an aluminous green chair waiting for a room to sleep for four and a half hours. I’m drifting in and out trying to focus on the painted psychedelic fish on the walls.

Got a room, had a bath, went to sleep, got up, came home.

I am Dave Pen

 


5 Days 3 Gigs

TUESDAY
Wipe, wipe, wipe, the windscreen wipers wipe. January rain and drizzle streaks its way across the wind-sheild of the cheap splitter van as we motor it down the M25. Stef on sound up front next to Mike who is driving. I’m typing will breach on drums has his head against the back of Stefs seat and is trying to catch some zeez !! Tim is waiting for us round the roundabout. Still in the UK.
We drove onward on the big train that runs under the sea. Then drove more in the rain. We stopped off somewhere to eat as we knew when wed arrive at our destination there would be nowhere open. The town we stopped in was quiet and we couldn’t find anywhere to eat, one restaurant had the rocket prices of 58 euros a main snack so we didn’t enter the cash snack pit. We were just about to succum to an Istanbul kebab shop when we jolted left to check one last time if anything else could savor our 5 hungry beaks and there hidden behind lights , the words pizzeria !! Thank you god of Italian cuisine blessing us from the rainy clouds somewhere in France.
Sadly my carbinara wasn’t great and it came with a raw egg yolk sitting all orange in a half shell which I found slightly unappealing. Its still raining I have no idea where I am. I finished reading the white tiger and am now watching Woody Harrelson in the film Rampart. It’s a quite depressing story about a quite fucked up Los Angeles police officer.

WEDNESDAY
Slept quite well after watching the end of the Nordic sci-fi horror movie that is Troll Hunter and there were bill goats in it.
More driving with a William S burrows documentary for company and tomato soup from a vending machine.
“Hang a left” Mike says to breach who is driving. We have finally arrived at a gig.

THURSDAY
Gig in Bordeaux was great all be it a few ghosts in the machine sending a few things odd here and there.
It’s always the case though it seems, when you arrive late at a nice hotel and have to leave first thing in the morning that you get the nicest hotel you’ve ever had. My bed was wider than my height on all four sides, sofa, massive bath etc… Good to get some short comfortable sleep, which I usually miss when, I’m away.
Punctuation was strong though the next morning and we ate breakfast with the business tie men all around us. Got back in the condensation vehicle and headed off to Paris. The sat nav says turn left in 300 miles, time to crook my neck in an uncomfortable visit to the land of nod I think, will type soon yeah.
I woke up and wiped the wet window next to me clear, the January sun at last shone through the speeding motorway trees and lounged upon my face for a few lazy minutes.. Serotonin levels are low at the moment. Grey is such a tired colour.
On the grey note I decided to watch the Oliver Stone biog movie that is W. A film about that cretin George W Bush, I like Josh Brolin ever since his days in the 80’s mega skateboard film “Thrashin” but he didn’t look neither younger or older in the past and present times of silly old W. Interesting film I thought and the congress of lizards that they all were and are is quite creepy in some scenes. Oh and old lizard face Condoleezza Rice’s voice was way over the top, might as well have given her a fork tongue and be done with it. Mice anyone ?

FRIDAY
The paris show was just awesome. A great crowd and a great atmosphere inside yet another boat. I like boats but don’t mind if I never play on one again, I always feel I’m gonna clock my head on a low rafter or steel beam and the soft swaying that occurs when waves hit the boat makes me feel drunk when sober. Also for some strange reason there were mosquitoes everywhere , in January!! I was paranoid of swallowing one whilst bellowing out some words live on stage, luckily this didn’t happen. It was good to see friends and musical acquaintances after the show and I steered clear of any booze instead settling for lemonade or limonad’ or what ever..
I zonked out after a midnight sat nav tracked greasy Maccas hunt and slept well.
On our way to Liege now and I’ve been reading Jon Ronsons The Psycopath Test. Am I or aren’t I?

SATURDAY
The show in liege was bright and warm. A wide stage and a bigger venue of which we were happy to see nice and busy. The new material has been going down really great and feedback has all been highly positive. Beers, whiskey and champagne went down a treat, obviously not all together in a weird booze filled fucked up cocktail though. We left the venue late and found a quick Turkish slab snack shop and scoffed, we then found the hotel. My room was like a shallet ice box with those kind of rubber-ish curtains u get in caravans. I ran a bath to warm up and then dozed for 4 hours before having to set off for the homeward bound trip back to the village. A massive thanks to everyone involved with these shows and a high salut to all our fans, be back soon !! I finished The Psychopath Test, I’m not one by the way but we all have tendencies for sure. Stay sane people.
I am Dave Pen


January – Will you ever change?

Must get down the gym, must run, must eat well, must drink well, must get second album released, must read more, must communicate better, must write more.
Mustn’t drink too much, mustn’t over do it, mustn’t eat bad food, mustn’t be selfish, mustn’t take drugs, mustn’t sleep in, mustn’t give up and mustn’t surrender.

January, such a strange month when people think they can change there lives because the date of the new year subconsciously says you should. When advertisements now tell you to watch your weight, get fit and get healthy when only a few weeks ago they were telling us the complete opposite, get fat, eat, drink and spend what you know you don’t really have.
For me this year I will try as every year I do, to follow my instincts, be true to myself and make the most of what I have, when I have it.
So far this month I have visited Belgium and will again next week with France in the hot pot as-well, have helped in the orchestral recording sessions for Archives new album, which sounds really awesome, drank lots of homemade juice drinks, ran miles, lifted weights, read two books and produced material for a new musical project with a female solo artist I am working on. It’s early stages but the songs are sounding dark and moody. Everything else I’ve done has been in my mind and nobody is aloud in at the moment.

Here is the surrender video I made last year and have now made public for the whole interweb to mood over.

ON a music note about other bands I like the new Maccabees album “Given to the wild” Even if someone did say it sounded like the soundtrack to the Lion King..
I’m hanging up now as have to go down the mirrored sweat box and pump some aluminium.
I am Dave Pen


Archive Studio Blog

Forget the X Factor here’s my Random Factor.
I couldn’t quite remember where the studio was as I left home so I had to make a quick call to Darius, he jogged my memory bank and put me on track. I had a great conversation with a friend on the train about his journey to the outer reaches of Norway and the land of the midnight sun for an art exhibition he is doing which made my start to the day very pleasant. Once at the main station a Chinese boy with a massive head stood directly in front of the map so I had to wait for him to find out where he was and was going. No problem with no manners,, as good old Louie Armstrong sang “We have all the time in the world”.
Busy underground transport with humans all rammed in together like Smartie sweets in a tube. All the while advertisements zoom pass at high underground speed.
I’ve done all my Christmas shopping but sub consciously gift ideas are logged in and I have no choice in the matter.
I guess I should talk about what I’ve been singing about and what’s going on in the studio so here are some random words from some random songs. Grow, Ocean, Evil, Soul, You, I, Mind, Quick, Slow, And, A, Conflict.
My room here at the studio is very warm, so warm and cosy in fact that it kind of reminds me of a posh old peoples home. Maybe that’s because of the heating or something but luckily I don’t have an emergency red chord to pull in case of an emergency during the night, saying that though I did make 3 currys for everybody last night and a few gas explosions caused some serious emergency evacuations within close at least a 3 mile radius.
More random things happening in the studio Not really related to the recording of this new album are, Random explicit ideas for Artwork, watching far to many stupid videos on Youtube, always Coffee, Pims chocolate orange biscuits are better than Jaffa Cakes, what’s for Lunch and what’s for Dinner?
In all seriousness though the new songs for this album are sounding really strong and I’m very much looking forward to hearing its completion. It’s definitely taken on a more psychedelic feel since we worked on the demo’s and that should make the Cheshire cat grin from ear to ear whilst eating snowcakes from a wheel barrow being towed by a rolls Royce down St Johns Wood high-street.
And on that note I bid you a fond farewell with festive cheers and a Garlic bread breath.
Stay close as the ocean rises
I am Dave Pen x


A YEAR IN PICTURES

THIRD LINE DOWN

DP & RF

A GIG

HE IS MANGLEBIRD

JOIN HANDS

RETURN TO THE DEAD FACTORY

WAITING

BOAT GIG

FIREWORKS

G.L.B

HELLO

MR E

S.F.C

THE BEATLE

WHITE LIGHT

ME & D

FRENCH COAST

GRID

ORGAN

SOILENT GREEN

EVE TEAM

THE KILLING MOON

I AM DAVE PEN


Ndidi, Robin and Me

Image

Photo taken Christian Geisselmann


Last Time For This One

I’m sat on the sofa in the basement at Eve Studios listening to Jim mixing the drums. He is making them sound fat like a whale with a huge hunger problem who’s stomach is saying “give me some nosh that’s loaded with fat end”, all the while the snot drops keep running at quick speed from my nostrils. Its really hard to try and avoid a cold sometimes, especially when a few days ago everyone in the supermarket is either sneezing on the fruit, coughing on the veg or breathing germs on the eggs.

I tried to escape it but failed when I touched my mouth at some point in the last 48 hours. Man, woman germs everywhere.

The crazy Northerner is on his way to the studio to laugh loud and bring cheer to the walls of a quiet curry house. Hope a hot Indian can help bazooka this cold away.

The snot drops have almost dried so now I just feel bunged.. We managed to neck some ale then bashed the window to the con club. The gun slinging owner releasing we weren’t stray booze dogs on the scrounge for grog, let us in to sit and chat into the late hours. Under the cosmic bar tenders strange musical guidance of Gong blasting out over the out dated hi-fi speakers hanging from the tobacco stained ceiling, we chatted then made our way back to the vicarage. I sneezed and fell into bed.

The Studio needs more ram in the brain.. It keeps glitching and causing delays. Maybe the machine has a viral cold too? This bunged up main frame needs a shot of first defence to clear the micro chips. Apart from the small nagging problems the tunes sound really great and Jim is making it sound sonically awesome..

In between important issues such as the mix, the pool competition is hotting up and is currently two matches to one. Chalk up then!!

After a few days of patiently mixing, cabin fever struck, so we ventured onto the streets of Stockport. Upon Arrival at one of Romley’s fine drinking holes we discovered a barrel sized woman slumped over with her face in a pizza.. Once inside we were informed by the Son Druid’s companions that she was now knickers-round-ankles flushing her self esteem and dignity away for the roaming zombies to have a drunken laugh at.. Oh the shame. The second drinking hole was mainly full of men with cropped haircuts and lager arms and what could be better than a karaoke machine to add to the entertainment. The hyenas were scratching their claws on the grog stained dance floor, growling at the mere few females and trying to impress them with silly dance moves.. After the Michael Jackson Medley enough was enough and we left. After Mangles frantic phone call search to find another drinking hole, nothing came up trumps, so we made our way back to Eve to learn bad songs on the piano with the Son Druid. I eventually fell into bed, am awake now and must drink water.

It’s the last morning so I take one last stroll down to Bredbury Square, a bag of Sausage rolls, some bran, some coffee and a round of eggs to say cheerio.

Ten Songs – thought about, written, recorded, overdubbed and now mixed.

Cheers to everyone who has made this album with us.

Now onto the next phase, that’ll be interesting.

The pool competition ended 5-1. Who do you think won?

I am Dave Pen


WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE – RELEASED TODAY!!!

Today is Friday and today sees the release of Where Do We Go From Here. Robin Foster’s second studio album. Haven written in previous blogs about my musical escapades with The Kendal Born French Speaking Brittany Harbour Living guitarist It is with pleasure to see this album available to the public.. The track listing is below:

Happy/Sad

A Collapsing light – Feat Dave Pen

Concrete Skies – Feat Dave Pen

Pick your god or Devil – Feat Ndidi O

Forgiveness – Feat Dave Pen

This is not an Exit

Wait for her – Feat Dave Pen

Left Turn

Deadwood

Black Mountain – Feat Dave Pen

Sad/Happy

For anyone that hears this album I hope you enjoy it and live shows are planned including a show at Le Transmusicales on December 2nd. Below are a few links to buy the album and its also available on itunes

http://musique.fnac.com/a3695989/Robin-Foster-Where-do-we-go-from-here-CD-album

http://www.amazon.fr/Where-Do-We-Go-Here/dp/B005QCJ8QY/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1321530257&sr=1-1

Many thanks I’m off to make a fresh pot and carry on mixing the BirdPen album.

Enjoy the weekend

I am Dave Pen


Nature Regulate – Live Video

Below is a video of Nature Regulate performed live in Belgium . The footage was shot in Leige at the Tipi club.. It was a great gig from what I can remember and I like the feel of the video footage. It’s also on our news page on the new BirdPen website so if you haven’t checked the site go and have a look as it was made by Myself and The Manglebird and most of the photos which are on all the different pages were taken by myself apart from the live and promo ones (Obviously) !!

Enjoy the vid Folks, more BirdPen news real soon.

Cheers

I am Dave Pen


Where do we go from here ?

Robin Fosters new album will be released on the 18th November 2011. I have co written 5 songs on it.

I will be playing live with Robin at Trans Musicales Festival on December 2nd 2011..Check the add below..Cheers x


Over 12 Months

Over 12 months now I’ve had my blog… I’m glad I still have it as its nice to jot down things I’ve done and things I’ve seen.. Haven’t blogged for a while though. True to say the old hands on the clock have been in hyper speed and the old flux capacitor has been on the burn…Gigs, words, Planes, Booze, Tears, Sunshine, Loads of Rain, Loads of Love, Lasers at weddings and everything for you.

Off to Switzerland next for a BirdPen show and as much as I hate airports and the whole powering a massive chunk of metal in the air to travel high speed to other countries lark I’m looking forward to playing there again…

News on all fronts with what to do with my musical outlets will be announced soon and yes… I am more eager than anyone else to get one certain project finished and hope to have some good news for those interested parties as soon as possible!!

Much warmth for the autumn air is upon us and the orange skies await. Oh and seeing as this is my blog here is a rather heavy cool photo of my good self taken by Christian Geisselmann..

Call you all next week..Hopefully x


The Dead Factory

I made this a few years ago and thought i’d re-post it here on my blog, Enjoy !!


THE SHOW MUST GO ON !!


HAPPY CAMPING

I’m gonna sit next to the family radio and wait for the sky to call me up,

Wait with the wireless hour upon day.

For no human force will get in my way.

A ship I will sail to the prophet of parades,

And my sign I will hold,

With truth written in bold.

Truth I said, written in yellow on a tar black sign.

Holding it up to the sky while folk run wild in directions all loose,

But my time is now and I stand where I choose.

I hear the crack of the start of the night,

Where the pointlessness of wars and everlasting fights

Come crashing down in a sky scraping wave,

And I face the wall with my sign.

I will be saved.

Eyes close now for the rushing of the sound as I see the king standing tall in the crown.

Hands held up high as we follow what we love,

And the wave comes crashing down from above.

Out to the ocean with no alone time

As I float to the sky with my yellow painted sign…

Hold up tall and rapture be told, hear the words that call, the words that call.

Onwards be bold, onwards be gold.


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