Leicester and Norwich. hello.

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Look at that amazing vaulted ceiling. That is the very beautiful and very long Norwich Cathedral…..But enough of that for now. We need to begin at the beginning.

So Friday was our trip to Leicester, the lovely WARM and cosy Leicester cathedral. We arrived in town a little later than our ETA but we did manage to make our Cafe Nero date on time and we were greeted by the wonderful Sally Passmore, and her chap. Sally had the video tripod ready to go, and it was a great moment of solidarity betwixt us and our fans V’s the other people in Nero’s who had no idea what was going on and didn’t pay that much attention, although we did have a couple of lovely smiling faces and a few other happy snappers documenting our Leicester Nero debut. Naturally we got to take away a free hot drink and off we disappeared into the Christmassy night.

Now, Leicester is a nice looking place – having never been there before – it has a lot of old lovely buildings AND of course, the market. Clarey had previously spotted the Christmas jumper stall on the way to Neros and so we made a bee-line (just double checked the spelling/meaning, oh how I do like that phrase and its wee meaning) back to said stall, and there Clarey purchased her Christmas jumper. I was so taken with the array of choices that I too indulged.

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The angle of this picture makes the poor penguin look rather dim witted, its not, its just a bad representation. The hat was courtesy of  Emily, who insisted I had to wear the hat, especially for the soundcheck. Anyway, interestingly this very cheap completely wool-free jumper is INCREDIBLY warm, hot even, perhaps a little too hot, but good for wearing in enormous stone palaces.

So today in Leicester we had the gorgeous Anna Tam playing with us again, and tomorrow we have a new line up in the band, but this was the ‘America tour’ line up so we were happy to be all together once again, so much so that there was jumping-a-plenty in the dressing room – An incredible dressing room with a huge table and lots of space AND a full length mirror – that is not so common, rather oddly, in our usual rooms at the Cathedrals. Back to the jumping, what I mean is that Kavus likes to think he can jump much higher than anyone else, and with his incredibly long pins he is not far wrong, however, he is rather regularly challenged by Paul, and so todays challenge began with ‘I can jump over this chair’ (this includes the backrest of the chair, not just the seat) to ‘Well, can you jump over those tables’ – Anyway I am not fashioned well enough with the ability to animate this page with the right collection of words with which to describe the action, but I do have a video, which will remain on my phone and not on you tube – however, that could be another little tidbit for the ‘subscription only’ blog 😉

After the excitement of no one getting injured by jumping over things, we went on stage. There was a lovely big house of people sat in all different directions, all facing the right way but some of the lines of seats were perpendicular to the stage – but we were assured during the signings that everyone had perfectly good sight lines. Tonights set list was broken up into half carols and half traditional MB numbers x 2. This was a new direction for us, and one we are still trying to decide which is best. And the crowd, as usual, were there for us – in ‘the gods’ (can I say that? In a cathedral, is there ‘the gods’ or is that just in the theatre, as I am sure to have a plural god in a cathedral is wrong, OK I am just going to say ‘In the balcony’ but now I have said it and I may as well keep it there and not say ‘in the gods’ again) we saw the silouhette of our chum Sally Passmore once again, who was up the top taking pics and celebrating each song with hands in the air, it was like our mosh pit, but in the balcony . We ran on for the encore and then it was all over, so we swooshed straight over to the signing table, cloaks on our shoulders to keep us snuggly and we had the pleasure of meeting all our lovely audience, one little girl – bedecked in our new tee-shirt – sat right at the front and was enraptured, she sat so still we were all amazed, it was her first concert and according to her mum and grandma she had been excited for a VERY long time, and she watched eyes-a-bright. She currently does ballet and tap, I told her never to give up tap. I hope she doesn’t – not that I ‘tap’ (darlings its called Appalachian flatfooting).

Then we were all hungry and alas we were too late for a massive group dinner, Leicester didn’t manage to serve our needs however, some of us went to have a curry and some of us settled for a pint and some chips and then we all trundled off to the glamour of our roadside boudoirs which, this night, took the form of the ‘Travelodge’, which has no bar – but all is not lost, we were very close to a Little Chef so the morning was taken care of! However, there was a vending machine, which, according to the digital display was -21c inside! That is very cold, and in actual fact, the average temperature of a freezer is -18c (no idea where I am meant to get the little ‘o’ from here, so just pretend there is one there please) ANYWAY, eating a Double Decker was like biting into a cold piece of wood, I was a bit fearful for my gold cap there for a bit.

Morning arrives

The Sun shines

Little Chef provideth

(and double provides as it is the 55th birthday and all the staff were in Christmas jumpers – damn where was mine when I needed it)

American style breakfast (although slightly soggy pancakes is never very good)

Back in the van – Bye bye to Anna Tam

Woosh – Norwich, a couple of hours later. The van was rife with set list shuffle discussions, as well as our concern for young people and how their levels of communication are seemly within another realm to ours what with social networking and the access to the internet almost inside our own eyeballs.

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Set list discussion with Katkins and Clarey. So much fiddly widely – and every now and again I pop my head over and make sure that I am not flatfooting immediately before having to sing ‘Musa Venit Carmine’.

Today is very exciting as we have a new set list as well as a NEW member of the band – Now, I have been a very busy lady and thus have not yet been to a full band rehearsal and not yet met our new musician. However, for now we must wait as we have food to find and eat and about 17 churches to look at – NORWICH HAS SO MANY CHURCHES!! And – as I exclaim this once again to a friend – I find that Norwich is the most haunted county of all.

Emily and I managed to search and find a wee cafe with wifi as we had some exciting internet business to tend to. ‘And what was that?’ I hear you ask – well of course it was none other than our video being unleashed onto the internet. Finally our ‘We Three Kings‘ video is out and we had to share that baby as much as we could across as many platforms as we were able, over a pesto and mozzarella panini.

Then we were, once again, summoned to the Norwich Cafe Nero and performed ‘The Angel Gabriel’, ‘Gaudete’ and ‘There Is No Rose Of Swych Vertu’. We had a lovely lady come and sit very close to watch us, and the man in the back, sat in the alcove with his child, hummed along in a very resonant way which was a little bit too out of tune, and a bit too resonant. Anyway, as Emily pointed out, there is nothing quite like approaching the emotional climax of ‘There is No Rose’ just as someone starts to froth up a cappuccino. The fact that they didn’t turn off the background music didn’t really matter what with all the whizzing and banging. But it was all ok as Emily, just beforehand, had purchased herself a Christmas jumper and popped it on for the Nero gig and all was made better. There are now three in the band. How long until the other girls cannot resist a large comedy reindeer face upon’t their fine feminine fronts.

Norwich Cathedral is so very long and so very gorgeous. I love the way the heat comes out of the metal guttered areas, and the light and the height, AND especially love to have an acoustic rehearsal with our NEW band member (I am going to spell this phonetically as I really don’t how it is spelt) Yeyair Avadoor, on the Bass Lute/Theobre, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Oh no, sorry I am very distracted, Michael Buble is on the radio. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I REALLY do not enjoy the Buble. Oh god, he’s not even using real words, he’s just going ‘uhhhh, yeahhh, hmmmmunah, phhoo swaaanngg, buuuhhluhhh’. He did say he had a lot to drink last night. NO EXCUSE.

Back to Norwich, YES Yeyair, now if you have never seen this particular instrument before then you really need to wrap your eyes around that baby because it really is something of another dimension – well an Early Music dimension. What IS odd is that on Thursday night I was sat, at a party, watching David Monrow videos, and discovered, for the first time, the Theobre/Theobor/Tiobor/Bass Lute.

This is the video and the Bass Lute is 1.04 mins in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rNBNPBYZ3M. AMAZING and that is what we have now int he band…….AMAZING. So we had a rehearsal before the show and it sounded like the cathedral was soon covered in caramel.

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Can you make out the neck of the Bass Lute? No? Well here was my view.

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Yes, dangerous, but useful.

The Norwich gig was a full first set of carols and then the second set was Trad MB songs and then an encore of Coventry Carol and then Ding Dong Merrily on High….Now, a) It was very very cold, but joy of joys my far-too-hot-for-the-summer red dress with its sleeves suddenly reversed its game and was the Best thing to be wearing. Alas all the other ladies were very cold, in fact in the white dress I think I gained several new layers of fat on the backs of my arms whilst they tried to counter attack the cold. However, it was so beautiful and we were with a full house of lovely lovely fans. b) The encore was the most awesome encore, as I think they (the peole in charge of the big doors) thought we were done, so someone opened the HUGE doors at the front, so we were at the end of this tunnel of night air, and as we sang ‘Coventry Carol’ the world was right there in front of us in all its wintery light and yellow glow, it felt like our song was being carried out into the air, Joy, although the song is not joy but the concept of it flying out into the world was…..blah bah, you know what I mean.

Signing time, once again we were situated by the door, not really sure why that happens, but thanks to the cloaks and Katkins fetching her medicinal bottle of whiskey, it was bearable. So many new lovely people to meet and have our picture taken with, in front of the aforementioned tree……And then we were whisked off by Darren our van man, all the way back home. Fortunately there is a bed in the back so Emily, having recently been a bit vommy managed to get herself a little lie down, while the rest of us loudly put the world to rights, actually, due to tiredness and the medicinal whiskey, I can’t remember what we were loudly talking about but I definitely remember eating purple spouting broccoli.

Word on the Baebes street is that in Norwich a lady went up to Pam (our managers lovely lady wife who does all the merchandise stall selling) and told her that during ‘Jennets Song’, all the Pendle witches were there. Believer or not, goosebumps crawl feverishly across all available skin.

And so we all rest – when we can – in preparation for this coming Friday in Gloucester and Saturday in Peterborough. This week has been a fine week, these two gorgeous gigs, as well as our BBC radio interview marathon, one of which I believe you can find here……http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01mv0xr.

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See, look how excited we were, I managed to snap two ‘selfies’ in the making. We covered Radio Berkshire, Radio Leicester and Radio Cambridge in just under 2 hours, songs et al….So keep your ears peeled (yes yes I know) for us on your local Beeb radio.

Happy Festiveness to you all wherever you are…..it is foggy on the canal today and the sun is eeking through and I am imagining it is VERY cold out there today, I may have to don my incredibly synthetic penguin jumper again just to keep me warm and flammable.

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10 thoughts on “Leicester and Norwich. hello.

  1. Next time you want to make the degree symbol, it’s “Alt + 248” or just look up “ASCII degree symbol” in your favorite browser.

    I found myself wondering if you sang “Bells of Norwich” in Norwich Cathedral. I think Dame Julian would love your show.

    The bass lute is a beautiful instrument. It reminds me, just a little, of the sound from a good 12 string guitar. Thank you for including the link to the video. I look forward to hearing how the sound of it blends with your voices.

  2. Oh my goodness… Jo, your blogs are hilarious!!! We waited till the evening when we were settled and I read it out to my chap (that’ll be Martin!). You really do make us laugh, we can picture everything you talk about, you are so good at writing! I can’t believe I got a mention…twice!! After the coffee shop experience, (which was quite…no…VERY surreal to be the first time to see you all) I thought it better to be out of sight as my continual excited, grinning face might have become off-putting!! I loved every minute, no…second, Martin did too. We have spoke of the occasion so many times before and since. We are listening to the Caffe Nero video as I type! Truly a wonderful experience. I’m in the process of uploading the photos onto my facebook page, should be ready very soon, then will sort through the video footage.
    XXX
    :O)

  3. I forgot to add…
    1. Nope, I don’t get that Bubble guy either.
    2. My exclamation when seeing the bass lute on youtube was “Oh God S**t Yeah”…it’s big!! (apologies but it did take me aback…even though I was expecting it to be huge!) I’ve never seen anything like it, can’t wait to hear the sound.
    3. I love the jumpers!!!

    Please let me know if you can see the photos ok.
    x

  4. I agree with you Josephine, Norwich is a lovely Cathedral. I really enjoyed your show, it was warmer for the audience I think from the warm air vents- not as cold as Ely last year. I am always amazed to see you, or most of you in bare feet during the performance!
    A bonus for me was getting my photo taken with you all by the tree at the end- it is a bit blurry, but someone else had to take the picture for me, so can’t complain. I really love your Appalachian Flatfooting- you really put effort in to that during the performance.
    I did like the format of Kings and Angels followed by traditional MB songs that worked well.
    Hope to see you again sometime next year.

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