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
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
Here is the video to the song Capsize, which is the first single taken from the self titled We Are Bodies album from Robin Foster and myself.
Some of the songs were written a while ago, some were written drinking grog, some were written in an abandoned church, some were written in the car and some were written looking at bats from the top window of Robins Studio.
1-Pressure Compressor 2-We are Bodies 3-Calling Out 4-Capsize 5-Shadows 6-A Light On
7-Under The Sea 8-Guide Me Home 9-War 10-Knife 11-Fake Shelter 12-Replicants
The Album is out on March 23rd 2015. More news on this project to follow……..
I am Dave Pen
I’ve been busy packing up copies of the new BirdPen Saver Destroyer E.P and Global Lows albums to send out across Europe. Hope the fans who ordered like what they hear. I think it’s a cool E.P and it feels good to get out material we have recorded a little while ago. tor interested folk The track ‘Goodnight from the Green Bear’ was Produced by Darius keeler with us and the drums were played by the Seagull. The artwork design was designed by myself and is a captured still from an Indian ceremony that I was allowed to film whilst travelling around southern India a few years ago.
Also on the E.P is a cool Moody remix from my good friend Robin Foster. You can hear it below:
The Ltd edition E.P and Global Lows Album are available to buy from the BirdPen website shop here – http://www.birdpen.com/shop
Cheers everyone for supporting what I and my good friends create. I salute you all x
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.
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
I am Dave Pen