Birmingham, England 24 May 2013
Thursday the 23rd, technically a day off, was spent on the sound stage of BBC's television facility in Maidstone taping what will be an hour long concert performance by Mark & Co. in front of an audience of 600. TV... hurry up, wait, camera blocking, sound checking, start, stop, tea break, more blocking, etc. We spent most of the day doing just that and by the time the audience was in and we began I was knackered. Part of doing this for a living is simply soldiering on which we did and it was fine. We drove back to London and that was the day.
The 24th,,, rainy and cool. Up early and out on the street in search of a Marks & Spencer for some instant coffee and a milk to have in the room. Hotel's coffee is shit and first thing in the morning I want a cup without having to get dressed and take to the street to find one. The hotel's gym is crap as well, a begrudged afterthought down an outside lift that also accommodates the parking lot. Cramped, funky, bad vibe, ill equipped. I will not go back in there and hereby take a hiatus for the couple of weeks were parked here. The hotel's internet, also crap, not strong enough to support a Skype conversation. When the party I was trying to have a conversation with attempted calling me back in the room, the hotel's main front desk number was busy through 24 attempts. The whole place is a tired, 1970s monstrosity. Hotel rant over.
We set off in the Rover fleet at 1:30 in the afternoon making our way north to Birmingham. This is pronounced BIR-mingum not Birming-HAM as in America. Over the years I've become so accustomed to the former that even when referring to the city in Alabama I will use the British pronunciation. Bad weather and traffic made it a 2.5 hour ride. Our driver, Bob Miller made it pleasant and painless.
Our usual venue, the N.E.C. now known as LG Arena holds 7,350 and was sold out. The M6 motorway that feeds in to Birmingham in both directions was shut down due to a suspected terrorist investigation and the crowd was slow coming in. We held the beginning for 20 minutes to let everyone have a chance to get there. It was a full house when we took the stage at 7:50. Always a good show here in Birmingham.
The runner back to London was quicker due to the hour and no traffic... just under 2 hours and Bob deposited us at the doorstep of above mentioned hotel before midnight. I'm seldom one to turn down a nightcap but was completely done in. Straight to bed.