Been a while, back seat in the corner next to the window as always. No table and all seats facing forwards this time so it’s got potential to be the mute seat. Conversation in the front three rows is flowing about food, I’ll stay quiet for now as just ate a ham and cheese sandwich.
This morning before leaving for our first show in over a year I went for my first run since breaking the sub 24 hour time in my last event and attempt at running one hundred miles, 22 hours 58 minutes was worth the two blisters. I picked up no other injury’s and I’ve now fully recovered after a couple weeks R & R. I feel even closer to the South Downs way after that mammoth task. The Alps still remains a challenge and I’ve a couple months of training before getting back there to attempt the TDS race, tag lined the UTMB’s wild sister so that should bring a fair bit of effort out of me, my legs and my mind. I’m strangely looking forward to it as always.
Meanwhile back in the van….
We are on route to our first BirdPen show in over a year, a festival in Belgium so I have positive buzz notes floating about as it’s always such a welcoming country for us.
Mikes been banging on about some Norwegian cheese we should all try, Jacobs at hand but he lost the knife so we have to try and tax one from somewhere.
Nibble nibble then, in a bit again.
Monday morning, thoughts and reflection from the van:
The cheese was nice but there’s been way too much bread intake and not enough cooked things over the last few days on this trip. Arriving somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the dark to an unlocked guest house with nothing inside doesn’t really bring warm comfort or sunshine vibes to seven slightly weary men who’ve just spent almost 13 hours in a van. The towels finally turned up and mine smelt like Rover the Labrador had dried himself and slept on it after a dip in the local stink stream, which was nice. More bread and waiting around awaited the day.
Arriving on site the lovely organisers had arranged a nice big television for us backstage to watch the world cup competition of kick ball. We scored six and they only scored one. More waiting, watching more kick ball and mooching about filled most of the rest of the daylight hours with a grey school diners meal thrown in for an attempt at stomach comfort.
I think for the first time in my life I might have enjoyed the setting up and packing down/ loading the van than I did the actual gig. I’m kidding of course ( or am I ? ) but the show had its problems as it’s been a while and with new setups and bits of tech, things can take a little while to bed in I suppose. It got better after the glitches and sound problems thankfully and the crowd were tip top as always in Belgium so cheers to you all for being there and being cool.. It’s good to be back but there’s work to be done from our end. Our Sundays evenings accommodation saw us stay in a quirky guest house with a huge porcelain chicken on the stairs and a massive long tap in the bathroom. I finished the night eating Crisps for fucks sake.
Here’s that really long tap.
And here’s me thinking about things with the chicken.
It took another twelve and a half hours to get home.
I am Dave Pen
After some bad news from The Dentist I strolled 11 miles around parts of Southampton, taking in Bitterne Manor, Northam, St Marys, Ocean Village, Holy Rood, The Town Centre ( Old and New ) and The Bright Glade. Most of the photographs are just observational stuff really. I enjoy things that can seem ugly to some people, old frames and windows, elements of construction, junk, rubbish and things you see when you look down at the floor. Some of the places I walked past and explored brought back memories. I spent alot of time skateboarding in Northam when I was younger, my brother had his 18th birthday party at the Colporters Rowing Club which ended up with two bunches of very drunk teenagers having a right old punch up in the carpark over a dispute about someone’s ex-girlfriend, finding the family brick at St Marys and after pulling an all nighter with friends, the not too distant morning rum and coke memories of time spent in The Admiral St Lucas Wetherspoons at Ocean Village.
Spending time walking around town took my mind off from the dentist’s talk of drilling, removing crowns and expensive work on root canals. I enjoyed mooching and snapping pics in the grey gloom of January the 9th 2018.
All photos are owned by me.
I am Dave Pen
ANSWER THE QUESTION
LIGHTS OUT FOR GREY SKIES
ON THE OTHER SIDE
AS IT WAS
ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW TO ADD
FILLING THE CRACKS
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
68 – PICK A MATE
A LOST GIFT
FAILED TO COLLECT
FREEDOM IS OUTSIDE
LIFE UNDER THE SURFACE
MISSING IN ACTION
SEND ME SOMETHING
OLD & NEW
WHERE DOES IT GO?
PARK, SIT, EAT & WATCH
TELEPHONE BOX BOOK SWAP
INSIDE A WETHERSPOONS
LOST MEMORIES OF WINTER
MOTTOS DIVIDE OPINIONS
MY BROTHERS 18TH BIRTHDAY PARTY WAS HELD HERE, CHAOS ENSUED
ICE T’S LEGACY
DON’T DO ME IN….
CLOSE IN THE COMFORT
ARE YOU LOVING IT?
HAVE A SEAT
HOW MANY YEARS?
UPGRADE NOT AVAILABLE
HOW CAN YOU LET ME ROT?
HAVE YOUR SAY
ABOVE THE REST
AIMED TO PERFECTION
THE BIRDS AND THE ANTENNAS
CHRISTMAS IS OVER
Hope you enjoyed this 11 mile trip around town.
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
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:
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.
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.
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:
I am Dave Pen
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:
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.
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
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.
I am Dave Pen