This is the third day of the sunshine brazenly hitting the front of our lovely hostel. We were expecting the horrors of New Yorks nasty tongued winds whipping about us sending us into a frenzy of frost bitten banshees, but no, this was not to be. We are thankful. It makes dressing for the occasion a little difficile but nonetheless there will be no more complaint.
Rough Trade day has arrived. We are to perform ‘In Store’ inside the Brooklyn branch. Now, in the past, our ‘in store’ experiences have been a little less than what we had hoped. THIS was the ‘In Store’ gig to rival any other current comparisons. This particular branch of Rough Trade store is a massive vinyl store and out the back is just a huge venue, a huge black box venue, with full lighting rig and dressing rooms. So, this was all part of the happy making scenario of the day. The only thing to send the happiness slightly off kilter was me forgetting my Mediaeval Belt. LO AND BEHOLD. This was quite an inconvenience, but Maurice was happy to cab me back to the hostel, as ‘the belt’ is now – in our new show- a vital piece of what we wear, so we jumped in a cab to go 12 mins round the corner. We got gassing about various drummer ‘jokes’ (I mean, that in itself, hilarious concept), when I suddenly realised we were mounting the ramp on to the Brooklyn Bridge. Usually this would’ve been delightful, however, right now, with not a huge amount of time to spare it was very stressful. Then we were caught in a traffic jam ON the actual bridge. Suddenly everything got very hot, and sweat was pouring out of even my face. But disaster was averted after very clear and loud instruction from dearest leader and after an hour and 10 mins – original journey round trip was estimated to be 25 mins – we made it back to the land of vinyl and free delicious coffees.
It was a shame as we were only required to do a 35 minute set and it had been 6 days since our first full show at Bush Hall in London, so we were keen to get straight on with unveiling the new show to the world, but it was a good warm up and an excellent taster for those in attendance. And so many fans! We were so happy to see everyone there. We were all so happy to be in our natural environ, and we had the wonderful surprise of also seeing some of our NYC native friends there too. Afterwards we were happy to sign our BRAND new vinyl which sold many copies that day as well as seeing the lovely Kim and Steve Baron, who gave us all a very special gift of handmade brooches for the Christmas festive period, as well as our beloved Razz Cridlin, who sadly missed the entire gig due to being stuck in a traffic jam, so sorry Razz.
And let us not forget our dear heart Sophie and her special day. We regaled her with many a burst of ‘Happy Birthday’ and after the show Pom whisked her off with a chum and his car to find the hottest spots for visiting young birthday peoples. There were, once again many attempts at organising the evenings rendezvous point and activity, but I do believe that plan was not as fluid as had expected, but I know that Sophie and very soon birthday-to-be Pom, had had enough liquid to realise and maintain a healthy level of ‘happy and relaxed’ and were said to have gone to sleep at 10pm.
Clarey was Manhattan bound and so myself, Ben the lighting guru and our old friend Scout headed into town and walked along the HighLine and sat overlooking the Hudson whilst tucking into Clareys Pumpkin pie from Magnolia bakery (which had previously been thought to have been lost but fortunately it was found in the van a day later,having been refrigerated to the perfect temperature, who needs fridges here).
I later found myself inside the beautiful and happily familiar Mckittrick Hotel in Manhattan to share some time with some long lost brothers and sisters and breathe in the smells and sights that took up my homeland for 13 months last year, what a brief and beautiful joy to be immersed into the darkness again. Sleep No More you are our Drowned brother. Then lighting Ben and I subwayed our way back to the ‘bar’ which had long since been left and so the night drew to a close. I shared the last few hours of Rough Trade Sunday with Katherine in our hostel lounge, what a lounge, like a Turkish delight in multiple sofa form. Facebook was had and I cuddled a larger than Normal sized bottle of my favourite Blue Moon until I decided bed was preferable to velveteen faux grandeur and that was three full days of NYC.
Day 4, Radio Central.
So, the last few days have been on catch up all written whilst in transit to Miami and now we are here! The weather is delightful and all heavy warm woollens have been safely stowed until our return home (fingers crossed Memphis!). Anyhow, as wished for, van number 2 has indeed been installed with wifi and so here we go again.
So, where were we? Day 4 of NYC and it is Poms birthday. She is sporting the turban/third eye look on this day of days and draped in the finest Issey Mayaki. We have some very important meetings today so 90% of the girls are sporting dresses and I have gone for a stretchy jean and a smart boot. I tend to think my coat does a good job of covering many wardrobe misdemeanours. We meet at 10.30 in the lobby, carrying our lives and instruments and head off to Sirius XM on the Avenue of Americas. A tall building with many people excitedly buzzing about getting us hot drinks and preparing our studio for our recording. The massive digital sign above our heads says ‘Sirius XM Welcomes Sting’. This was a little confusing and we ignored it and wandered if ‘Mediaeval Baebes’ would be slotted in there somewhere, Sure enough up it popped hurrayy and just at that moment we almost neglected to see Sting walk into the lobby behind us. Of course our awesome Sara Silver introduced us and we had a brief time with him, including obligatory photo (he insisted) (not really). And then it was our time for the studio. We sang 5 a Capella songs and the Clarey and Katharine worked their eloquent magic in the interview as we all swanned about in the lobby trying desperately to get on the wifi, which wasn’t working, so we couldn’t immediately express our happiness about where we were.
I had a sudden moment of utter joy and gratitude as we were midway through ‘There is No Rose of Swych Vertu’. It suddenly occurred to me that there I was, in the middle of Manhattan (the place of my dreams, the only place I ever wanted to be when I was growing up in my tiny cattle market town in Cornwall) next to Radio City, in a radio station, singing my absolute favourite song. The rushes of emotion right then and there were hard to control and a near warble was had mid song, but I managed to be thankful and instead of bursting into tears of sheer joy I was calmed and centred and just remembered to be present at all times because what we are experiencing is so amazing.
In America, when someone asks you what you would like to drink, and you reply with ‘coffee please’ and they say ‘how would you like it?’ And you reply ‘white please’, I have discovered that there is a long pause as the kind coffee provider the seems to wrack their brains and then, after a moment of realisation cautiously asks ‘with cream?’ And you say ‘yes please’. This interaction has happened 5 times now and each time it is pleasing and also an unusually long interaction for a cup of old Joe.
Pom received a small stuffed toy in the shape of a chihuahua. Said toy was carried about all day long and many discussion were had about it’s well being and what he should be called. Consensus went with Sparkle (singular not plural) for the little boy dog and he had a wonderful day bonding with the ladies and experiencing New York’s central Manhattan area, until we decided that maybe he had had enough attention and that we should probably try and find our next Meeting location.
We had the itinerary, but alas not the address for our meeting with IMG, so we knew it was opposite the MOMA, which we found, and wooshed into the lobby to get on to the free wifi and after 10 mins of frenzied social networking, delivering our news of SiriusXM and Sting fun, Sophie then remembered we were there to find out the address of the next meeting venue, which was almost exactly where we were and off we went to meet the wonderful Dory from IMG. A beautiful new premises was greeted by our eyes and we spent the next few hours chatting and meeting and conducting yet another Radio interview with David Osenberg from WWFM and his award winning programme ‘Cadenza’. An hour was spent chatting with him in the 5th floor annexe room overlooking to balcony of the MOMA, the light slowly faded as we finished the interview with ‘The Angel Gabriel’ and ‘Auld Langs Syne’.
We bid our farewells after many a band photo draped on the elegant stairwell of IMG (as well as the obligatory shots of us on the IMG meeting room ‘bum chairs’) and the headed for LaGuardia airport. Hours of waiting to check in our many bags and instruments, including my clogging board and flew and arrived and waited once again for luggage and the shuttle to the Days Inn hotel. IT IS SO HOT here, quite the opposite of NYC and wearing our winter warmers was not the best option for mildly stressful carrying, walking whilst carrying many things because the train Isn’t working, and waiting for shuttle. But hey, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world right now.
What we witnessed and experienced at the Days Inn ‘lounge bar’ was something to behold. The cockroaches were trained to bring drinks over to our tables and then find their nasty little ways into our bags, the beer was cheap, the locals were, well I think they lived there, in the actual Lounge and we loosened up and began to dance, all this whilst Maurice was tussling with the receptionist who had for some extraordinary reason, given our rooms away and so we had to wait while he haggled back our rooms – it was going to be all 12 of us in a room with 2 double beds – and whilst we were limbo-ing under the pool cue and enjoying time with the local chaps, who we were having a hard time communicating with verbally, Maurice came in and swept us all away from the bar and into our rooms. We ended up with three rooms each with 2 double beds. Not quite enough room for 4 people including luggage and various instruments, but it was 3am at this point so we all fell away into the land of nod, with the air conditioning unit OFF. Air Con is SO BAD for our voices. Also, if one is suffering for a cold I think artificial air is the actual devil.