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TOUR BLOG 1 – BUNKED

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.

Bunk View 1

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.

Bunk View 2

I am Dave Pen


The Quest for Mont Blog 1

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

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

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

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

WINDOW-VIEW

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

2.5-TONNES

AXED

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

WE'RE-GOING-THAT-WAY

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

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

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

Many thanks

I am Dave Pen

MB1


Another Summer

Finally got a version of word again after the last update to the mind control made it all stop working, that notebook thing for the computer doesn’t work as well for me for some reason. Weird that as its all words after all isn’t it?

I’m sat in what was my little studio room and is now a half made room for a very small person and a storage space of stuff from my life over this summer. I don’t have long left until I will definitely need a new space to express thoughts and ideas. She’s still shacked up in the main bedroom for the next couple of months.

My coffee cup has a mallard on it and the coffee is lavatza, the same coffee Pollard insists on having for the tour bus. You can see him coming from a while away in the distance carrying a massive straw sack of beans before every tour. All hell does break loose when something happens to the coffee machine when we are away, HEADS DO ROLL!!

So now the summer is closing down but still the sun is shining. Is an Indian summer of the cards perhaps? How very nice for the sweat glands to keep clapping their hands in pure open pores celebration. The downside to all the heat and yellow and white light for me has been trying to run, it has lagged over me so much whilst trying to train to run my first marathon, draining me after thirty minutes with sweat pouring off me. I am sure once the winter is fully pitched and hanging on our bones I will think? ‘What was I complaining about’? Its now gonna be cold and damp for 6 months or more.

So the festival season is coming to an end and we’ve been back and forth all summer long, 2 left including the show in Warsaw of which is where I am finishing this blog right now on the 36th floor of the Continental hotel, this is the view at dusk:

Continental

 

And this is a list of how my summer went:

It was full of noise, heat, blown air conditioning units, cheering fans, grounded tour buses of ferry’s, upset stomachs, the history of Britain (almost finished), crap movies and films about football hooligans, singing fans, cushion throwing fans, champagne nights, watching the sun rise, hangovers from hell, running for trains (hung-over), pina coladas, breast milk, broken amps, guitar pedals with minds of their own, legos and nintendos, meeting jack black, watching three quarters of a crowd leave the gig we were playing as they were all there to see a teeny pop band, crying girls (because they were there to see a teeny pop band, not us), broken buses, going mad on the bus, reading books, DJ’ing at a camp site in the French Alps, coming home to find my lawn burnt to a crisp, Queens of the stone age, Amphitheatres, hummus in a can, singing Life & Death with Robin, needing more sleep, Athens to Barcelona, laughing, not eating enough, things I can’t remember, blah, blip, bang, crash, and a drop of wallop.

I have taken a fair few photos over the summer of which I will post up as another “photo” blog, quickly after you’ve read this one.

Whoever you are

I am Dave Pen.

 


PROGRAMME 16

Trying to keep to the 16 week training programme isn’t easy. The tour bus air conditioning unit has broken so as anyone can imagine it’s been very energy sapping travelling thousands of miles on a bus through Europe’s heat wave. I have been trying to get the miles in when I can, I forgot my watch so have been running with my phone in my hand with it on stop watch mode which is a little bit frustrating. My breathing has been a bit of a struggle to get under control for the first twenty minutes or so when I’ve started to run, I have never trained in the summer before and i find it a lot harder than running in the autumn and winter months. It seems to take longer to get into a rhythm for some reason. It’s a strange thing going from playing a show in front of thousands of people all going for it one night and then the next day plodding along some road I’ve never seen before in my life to get the miles in. My routine is – I run in one direction for thirty minutes or so and then just turn around and go back. I found a great route in Germany where I discovered a massive river, I thought i’d try and lap it as I could see that it was lap-able from a distance, I kept going but came to a narrow path into a very dense and dark forest, It was already almost 9pm and my imagination can have a tendency to run away with me so that was when I thought it better to turn around. I Jogged past another runner and we gave each other a friendly “Allo”. Twice this week I must have got in around 11km or so as I ran for an hour which isn’t bad considering how tuff it is to train whilst on a summer tour of Festivals. The Quest for Mont Blanc is 12 months away and this first big challenge of running the Snowdonia Marathon, one of Europe’s toughest marathons is becoming very real. I’ve a long way to go and as the tweets from the Snowdonia marathon have said when they have responded to me “Dig Deep” seems very fitting. We played the Melt Festival in Germany last night, Slightly weird seeing Thom Yorke and Flea backstage hanging around backstage before their Atoms for Peace Show, I wonder if either of them run?

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


MAKING PLANS FOR NIGEL

I was sat on the train, the whole of the south coast and most of the UK covered in a blanket of snow, I was reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography, my phone rang. It was Smiley, a good friend and fellow musician “Hello mate I’m on the train so it might cut out” I said, “Oh, so you haven’t heard the news then?” He said, “No” was my sinking feared reply…”Saints have just sacked Adkins mate”. I thought he was winding me up as he is a Chelsea fan and our last game saw us come back at Stamford Bridge from two down and to draw the game. I knew he was telling the truth when he said I’m listening to it on talk sport. My stomach dropped, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was truly shocked.

A man that has taken the saints up in two consecutive seasons back into the premier league from the lower end of league one, A man that has the best win-loss record in Saints history, A man that has always been sincere, intelligent and honest, A man that the fans respect and feel admiration for, And now a man sacked for no apparent reason  (“relieved of his duties”) and to be replaced by Mauricio Pochettino from Argentina that not many people down here on the south coast had ever heard of.

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In truth we all know how fickle football is in the 21st century, how quick and easy it is for owners and chairmen to bear no regard for the fans thoughts and feelings. After all we the fans only make up something like forty percent of the players wages, the rest coming from sponsorship and television rights etc. But we the fans are the voice of it’s team and the ever present cheering, singing, paying force, combined travelling thousands of miles and spending millions of pounds to support their team. Some teams have regard for the fans and listen and encourage involvement, but it seems that more and more clubs are just about big headlines and big money. What makes me sad and angry is that how we can just replace the manager on a whim.

As a football club the last few seasons for Southampton have been some of the best for me, ploughing our way back from the brink of liquidation, rebuilding and growing again as a club. Both Alan Pardew and now Nigel Adkins sackings have come as a shock and totally out of the blue when results have been good and the football being played at a quality of what we the fans like to see and enjoy. The growing and building of the team under Adkins has been brilliant and has had a true spirit that the fans have all felt part of. I guess in a slightly romantic way that is why I like football, from when you’re a young lad playing in a team, you belong to something and share the same goals as every other player that you all want to win. That’s what we have had down here at St Marys, we the fans have felt part of the whole team. To then have it ripped to shreds by sacking the manager seems hugely unfair.

I know that in the modern game there isn’t a lot of room for sentimentalities and football is a “here to day gone tomorrow type of sport” but the alienation of the chairman towards the fans with this decision is what’s unjust about it. To not appear in the press conference with Mauricio Pochettino for his first interviews shows a slight cowardice to me. Also for Pochettino to say he has been studying the team for weeks shows that this appointment has been on the cards for sometime. Whilst Nigel Adkins and the team were loosing just two of their last twelve games and pulling away from the relegation zone Nicola Cortese was planning his replacement.

Yes good teams and clubs need good business heads behind them, but surely communication has to be a priority. To feel powerless for something you feel so much passion for like the Saints fans feel for this club is a horrible feeling and by the looks of it something we should all get used to. I find this sad but Football in the year 2013 is just about results, not feelings.

The internets social media side is everybody’s soapbox and it was good to see how many people do still have feelings in this game and I hope Nigel Adkins saw how much he will be missed down here in Southampton and how respected he is as a man and a football manager.

Mauricio Pochettino has been thrown into the football headlines in the worse possible way and I just hope his moment of fame in England is better than the penalty he gave away whilst playing for Argentina against England in the 2002 World Cup.

Image

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