START OF BLOG – Eleven days until I attempt to run two hundred and sixty eight miles in seven days or less, I’m feeling better and the cough has gone. It’s June and I’ve had the central heating on because the weather is grim and cold for this time of year and I can’t seem to warm up in the house, maybe I should get some carpets?
BLOG SLACKNESS and MUSIC – I’ve become so slack at using my blog, (I’ve banged on about that before) it seems to take me ages to upload photos I might have took from some various trip last year and to actually write a blog. Most thoughts I have tend to be lyrics and music so any kind of song writing/demo-ing has to take preference over pretty much everything else in time that fills a day apart from family stuff which goes at a thousand miles an hour with two very active, happy, sad, laughing, crying, screaming, cheering, emotional, beautiful little females. 2019 started very pro-actively and a load of new material has been recorded for a future project of which I’m very exited about it. It’s weird, conceptual and about something I’m fascinated about. Hopefully there’ll be more news on it soon. I’ve also just started writing some nice rough demos for new BirdPen material which leads me nicely into the next bit of the blog.
The BirdPen tour earlier in the spring was good and big cheers to anyone who came to see us out on the road. I’d also like to add a massive personal thanks to anyone that donated some money to us via merchandise, music or kindness following the news of Pledge Music’s disastrous, terrible, fucked up, stealing, bullshit collapse of the company. Of which BirdPen and many other bands have been financially shafted and had money that was pledged by the fans stolen! I sincerely hope a full enquiry is held and we all find out how and why this happened. You can read our full statement on the matter at the BP website here – www.birdpen.com
The Archive tour a few weeks back was brilliantly great and to have played three concerts of 3 hours each was a new milestone for the band. The rehearsals were very intense ( as always) and after everything ended I was left feeling quite exhilarated, celebrated and exhausted. I thought Tequila was my friend. We broke up, it was my entire fault but our affair has hit hard times and we need some space from each other. On a sobering thought I’m looking forward to the full tour this autumn fully celebrating the band being 25 years old visiting places we’ve been and places we’ve never seen! I’ll try and do a blog about it (yeah right, as if!).
Check out the forthcoming tour dates and get involved: www.archiveofficial.uk
RUNNING STUFF – I’ve notched up a fair few miles already this year and haven’t ran a race since last August, Last year I was happy to have reached running one thousand miles within the year and a friend joked that this year I’d get in fifteen hundred miles. No chance I thought! but now, I might get closer to that than I thought possible. This hobby of mine is expensive on all fronts, financially, time, and the stress on my legs and body…..but it’s what I do and when I’m not doing it, I miss it terribly and I don’t feel like me. I’m happy and fortunate to be fit and healthy and able to use my body this way and its a real buzz like no other when i’m out in the middle of nowhere. One day I will take up bowling though, hotdogs and beer ahoy! STRIKE!!!
With running, when I decide on a race/challenge it gives me real focus and something to work towards, hence why I chose to enter the Spine Fusion Race – A 268 mile race along the entire Pennine Way in the UK and to also enter the UTMB again. It was January, It was grey I needed something for the year, I needed to change some patterns in my life and in doing this and continually writing new material, everything has really given me the boost I needed for this years achievement goals.
Training had been going really well until a couple weeks ago when I got a bit ill which is so frustrating, ( Tequila chuck up and ill add ons perhaps? ) but it went to my chest and I had this quick annoying cough so went with the rule of anything below the neck, then rest, which I did. I’m not overly sure how much more training I can realistically do before attempting The Pennine Way. I’ve never ran more than 100 or so miles in one go so the thought of 268 isn’t overly computing in my brain if I’m honest, maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe not? I’m looking forward to it which is good but I’m not overly stocked about not being aloud to have a support team as I quite like friends and family being there to give me water melon, coca cola and crisps to raise my spirits, but I suppose it will bring a new dynamic to it all and I imagine the official crew involved will be great. There are cut offs along the way and there’s a seven day limit to completing the route, I hope the weather is kind and I make it over the Scottish border to triumph! It has to be good prep for this years UTMB I’m thinking and having already completed that course in 2017 I’m really looking forward to tackling that beast again and hopefully finishing again. That place has such a strong pull with its wondrous mountains, lakes, air and amazing atmosphere. It really is a magical place and a special event of which I’m proud to be part of again. I’ve even got a magazine doing a feature on me all about it and a race report but more news on that soon, you’d think I actually knew what I was doing!
SIGNING OFF – WOW, I actually did TWO blogs in a couple of weeks! The one before this was a load of photos I took when BirdPen went to China at the end of last year so have a goosey if you fancy.
This is where I’m at right now and I’ll see you out there yeah.
Oh and here’s me crashed out after getting home from tour with my youngest using me as a pillow.
I am Dave Pen
Here’s some photographs I’ve taken whilst being on tour of things I’ve found inspiring, beautiful, ugly and interesting.
All images are owned by me, hope you enjoy them.
A BEAUTIFUL MESS
ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
DO NOT SCALE THIS WALL
FROM THE WINDOW
GET TO THE POINT
I WILL KEEP WATCHING YOU
IT DOESN’T STOP
IT’S A PHOTOGRAPH OF SOME CHILLI’S
MADE TO MEASURE
MUM, THERE’S A SCULPTURE OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
ONLY TO OBSERVE
OPEN YOUR ARMS
THE RISING REFLECTIONS
THE BAR OF MANY MEMORIES
THE BLUE DOOR
FUNFAIR OF CONSTRUCTION
UNDER THE BRIDGE
WALK THE WALK
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO PINGU?
A STRIP OF HOPE
YOU CAN GO ANYWHERE
YOU MAY PASS
I am Dave Pen
I’m a little obsessed with mirrored images. I use a simple app on my phone. I like how it creates a whole other world from something as simple as a tree or a building or clouds and so forth. Here’s a load of mirrored images I’ve made over the last few years. I hope you enjoy them and they don’t give anyone a headache.
All images were taken and are owed by me!
I am Dave Pen.
Greetings to you all out there in cyber space land. I’ve have just returned from a very much needed rest of eleven nights on a Greek island, the time spent close to the ocean and in the warm sun was splendid.
Just before I left I was in the studio with Archive creating some new mad other worldly banging tunes. Prior to this we’d played our first festival of the summer in Germany alongside Mogwai, it’s always a strange feeling when you share a bill with other artists who have inspired you along the way. I wonder if this still happens to lots of other people in my situation? I hope so. The journey home ended up with me sweating it out and staring at a square on the inside of my bunk until my eyes slowly closed over the course of what felt like forty-five minutes.
The BirdPen latest album has been generating some good reviews and its great to see the LTD Edition versions of the gatefold White Vinyl albums available. Check it out:
Bird and myself have been back into the studio, which we set up in the surroundings of the New Forest down here in Hampshire to start writing what will be our fourth album. It’s early stages but 9 new songs have been created in the first writing/recording session. We are due back in next month for session number two. No need to speak about what the concepts of the writing are about yet as ‘In The Company Of Imaginary Friends’ is still very fresh in the mind and I’m looking forward to getting out and playing the songs live again this Autumn/Winter.
I’ve been delving back into the twisted tales of the dark sinister minister Mr Jim Jones again lately. I read Deborah Laytons book ‘Seductive Poison’, which is a brilliant haunting insight into the world’s most famous cult leader and his followers of the Peoples Temple. The faiths he was preaching about in the early days were that of a pure world with no fear or hatred and to then end up a paranoid junkie manipulative mad ranting demon bringing the deaths of over 900 men, woman and children just reeks of mad sinister evil. I found a link to the final forty-five minute recordings in Jonestown but couldn’t really bring myself to listen through it all. It all really creeped me out for a Wednesday morning so I went and mowed the lawn instead.
We’re back on the road again this week heading back to Germany for the Southside and Hurricane festivals. Always some top acts at these two festivals so will in doubt have a mooch and lend my ears to a few.
Might shove some random poems up on here at some point soon too. I’ve been jotting down rhyming ramblings a lot lately and I should get them off my Phone and up on here.
I don’t blog enough these days either.
I am Dave Pen
We are a few more shows in now after I decapitated a snowman in a car park and slept for 18 hours. It’s all going great and we are playing for almost 2 hours a night so the memory is on top form. I’m hungry and sandwiches are on their way for the after gig snack, the pizzas have disappeared, and I guess that’s a good thing, right? I do like a slice now and then though.
My tired head is awaiting the bus to collect us from the hotel in Hamburg. I need to sleep some more after bringing the rider back to the hotel last night. We avoided the darkness and flashing seedy lights of the reeperbahn and celebrated the shows successes so far and having the next day off back at our hotel. Earlier on in the day Smiley and I walked into a pub full of the walking dead, it was no safe place to watch a football match and the flesh on the people in that place was grey and crawling so we turned and left after five seconds. I wouldn’t have wished this bar on anyone, it was proper grim.
Onwards we go enjoying every show with the Germans treating us well with Frankfurt being my favourite crowd for some reason, maybe it was the free box of Maltesers that reminded me of home and the 10 mile run of discovery I did plus Motorstorm for the PS3 for ten Euros from the bargain bin from the Media Mart down the road.
Bunk time television shows have kept me company in the late hours as we’ve been hurtling down the autobahn. I’ve been trying to drown out the insane snoring from the depths of the bunk below me and Fortitude has been a cosy companion for such a freezing snowy show.
Into Slovakia and its capital Bratislava where an electronic beats festival awaited us. Our first time here and a nice plush hotel was arranged for some r&r time during the day before our 1am headline slot. The hotel was nice but I got right into it with a duff locker in the spa changing rooms and had to get the maintenance men out to wrench it open with a couple of screwdrivers only to realise it wasn’t my locker at all. My key said 62 and Locker 63 wasn’t mine, it was actually 65, I grabbed my T-shirt and bailed for a hotel room bath and a curry feeling a little bit like Kermit.
The gig was cool and full of screens so we got a butchers at what goes on out the front, it was like 2001 a space odyssey and that is a good thing right?
Leaving now at 4.09am.
I am Dave Pen
The cosiness of having my own cheap suite in a budget hotel has now gone, the dark comforts of the bunk have set in and I quite like it. So far I’ve avoided anything intoxicating my blood stream, from bud to mud I’ve said no. One Pina colada is all I had, this wont last. I have to be realistic about myself and a day off is looming, I will run before poison though.
The sun has tried a few tired attempts to brighten the skies but has failed and been mulled and jumped on upon by a bunch of dark grey moody rain filled clouds. It sometimes feels like I have TSAD. Today’s view from my bunk window didn’t really fill me with bright up and at them energy.
I’m on a new wanna be swanky bus which has a cheap IKEA naff bling vibe to it. Different coloured dimming lights, a TV that comes up from an invisible slot and fills the whole of the front window etc. The light in my bunk doesn’t work and there is no power in there of which to charge devices. We all need devices right? It’s all European so I miss the sturdiness of the 3 fork UK plugs.
We’ve done two shows so far. One was brand new and some of the processors in a computer decided to bail out for a minute or two, which meant Pollard and I had to ramble at the French audience for some time. They weren’t going anywhere and were sometimes as silent as a stone in a vacuum pack. All was well on the other show in the mess fest of Amsterdam until my guitar sounded like a ten-ton ball of electric wire that wrapped my brain and was plugged into the mains. I couldn’t get monitor man Kev who was dressed as a shark to notice my intense loud problem and when he looked he thought my head gesture meant up, so the level went empire state. That didn’t help and by the time we managed to bring it down to the human ear-viewing platform it was too late and my vibe had been dropped like a wedding cake. The nerd in me was coming out and the fact that the show was top didn’t matter. When you are one song away from the end and something goes wrong it can destroy the whole thing. Is that ungrateful or professional?
So far I’ve watched 3 films. Halloween 4, Halloween 5 and Halloween 6. They are all completely mind numbingly terrible. Why am I watching them? I have brought so many good films with me.
Here’s another glamorous bunk photo from being on tour.
I am Dave Pen
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