Nottingham, U.K. 11 October 2011
The ballads and legend of Robin Hood aside, here are a few arcane facts about Nottingham:
a) Originally called Snotingham when c. 600 a.d. the area came undr the rule of a Saxon chieftain named... Snot.
b) the citizens of Nottingham revolted in 1100 due to poverty and squalid conditions and burned Nottingham Castle.
c) during the Industrial Revolution of the mid 1800's Nottingham was the textile centre of England, particularly known for their fine lace but after World War II could no longer compete with Asia and the Far East.
d) Nottingham is the 7th largest city in England.
Still with me? Haven't dosed off yet? We pulled in to our mod boutique hotel shortly after midnight and adjourned to very small rooms. How small? When I put my key in my door to open it, the window broke. So small I couldn't even change my mind. So small the mice were hunchbacked. If you haven't heard those before on a black and white TV variety show, you've heard 'em now. No place to put anything, the suitcases remaining on the floor had to be stepped over and around. That said, the staff was accommodating, the rooms were clean and wonderfully quiet even with the window open.
Woke, rolled over, picked up the phone (not the one on the nightstand, but the one across the room on the desk... it was THAT small) and the pot of French press coffee that arrived quickly had my neurons firing again. Shot full of caffeine I realised I couldn't spend the day in such confined quarters even though outside it was grey and damp. Got dressed... went for a walk. It turns out the hotel is very close to Nottingham Castle in a posh spot known as Park Estate, a 150 acre private residential area that was once a deer park of Nottingham Castle. I stopped at the Castle and thought about taking the tour, but you know.... you've seen one castle, you've seen 'em all. Really it would have been the thing to do, but I didn't feel like a tour just then. So, continued walking down to the very busy town centre, wandered round the shopping district, was looking for nothing in particular and quickly tired of the crush. Feeling better for the fresh air, I was back at the hotel for the usual bits of practise and reading prior to leaving for tonight's show.
It was the Capital FM Arena tonight, capacity 7,300. Full. We all felt it was our best show of the run so far, everyone in top form. A nice surprise in the song Done With Bonaparte when MK decided to play a great verse and chorus guitar solo where the third verse normally goes. Nobody flinched and on we went finally arriving at that third sung verse. After the show we hung around long enough to catch a couple of tunes at the beginning of Bob's set and they sounded great tonight. Then a three hour bus ride to Cardiff for a day off and a show the following.