Mid way still at the Manchester it felt strange as sort of flown yet been ages with so much to take in. I did some more roaming and finally got some spare PJ’s at Aldi, of all places, for £3.90. What a bargain! Still debating which open mic to do feeling torn between Lions Den and The English Lounge I ate some curry. 7pm round and went with 2nd choice walking further, where as soon as in I was just not feeling it. Too much like a pub background vibe, so after sitting for a minute decided stuff it, dash over to original one Lion. Boom all in a room, just for the players and audience, which was truly packed! Ran by Farrow and Friends with feature artist the.social.club.band being awesome even though not together long. Thankfully Laura squeezing me on at 10.30pm with lended guitar off player prior got to share my couple songs. So worth the dash in the end, but think need to go with first thought next time. Ahaha
Thursday morn research for a bit at hostel sofa area, but didn’t really want to stay in all day, so face the heavy rain. Opting for the library get to see the history before adding to blog and then go for a treat at Café Nero reading book for a bit. On the night a pre-booked slot at Art of Tea Café open mic, slightly external to Manchester and really worth it. Lovely cosy atmosphere with books, food and of course multiple teas! Finally something different to apple/ orange juice even though had a nice mix of those too.
Friday packed and hit the road, with Huddersfield a stop off, for yet another chilled intriguing route to add up more steps. Followed by quick dash to Tesco, before another nearby park to eat sanny with bit to see, before back on the road and in no time at the Leeds.
Over at the Leeds, parked nearby with 18mins walk in getting first view of the big city, with massive buildings! Seeing areas and venues, with one part very different to the next, so complete loop and head back to car to get to place of stay. Initially chuffed as got in easy with own space including kitchen so chill. Quick nip to shop then to grab bits and cook, before a bit of the laptop research, leading to hunting gig to see instead of an open mic. After which oddly adrenalized, as so much to process, so couldn’t really catch up on sleep. Maybe the urge to buy running shoes means something? Aha.
Saturday morning then round I was still not sure what to do, so continued to flick gigs, coming across Evanescence and Within Temptation. Within an hour of flicking the options, decided on seats and all booked! This meaning best to have bigger lunch and take somat smaller for tea, so nipped out to get essentials and got cooking. Straight away finding out there where issues with the electric autoswitch, so had to get help from owner to put it back on, thankfully managing. Then few minutes of the oven being on it set off the smoke alarm, where when opened felt like stage fog. Ahaaa. Oven switched off, window open and extractor fan on full blast, alarm stopped. FEWWW, the chicken boiled instead and all aok.
Gander time, so head to the city seeing a different side, seeking researched venues including Northern Guitars Cafe Bar, Chemic Tavern and more. Stopped for another Café Nero break to charge phone and read some S&D magazine before over to First Direct Arena. I thought I was early but wowwwwww what a queue of loads in black jackets! Ahaa. Join with a little rain, but it quickly becomes 5 smaller queues, all closer to main door, where get bags and bits out pockets, checked while walking through electronic scanner, before ticket verified and in! I roam a smidge, eat my prepped tea and see others spread out hunting food, drink, merch or loos before heading to designated door queues or seats. In and chill for bit before lights go down and the show began! Over all amazing, with stage presence and powerful voices seeing and hearing great even being towards the back. Although if a massive fan would definitely be closer. Aaaha. In the gaps the staff moved all the essential gear around the stage and was amazing work creating a wicked varied display too!
Sunday round was glad to leave smelly basement room (not going back there) and head to Sheffield. Unfortunately, about 10mins away I catch my wing mirror on another car in the left lane. Carry on as no were to pull over, deciding on sheltered parking, as at least will have cover. Had a brief roam around finding again the multiple areas, with Christmas fair and light get together happening. Back to car and put plastic bag on the back of mirror, taped with guitar tape, before get to place of stay. Russel Scott Backpackers Hostel, but with own room and right next to kitchen, so happily sort stuff and make spag bol. Nommms. Set to go debate the walk or drive again, but it rained just before, so opt for car and really easy, getting over and parked right by it for free. Unfortunately a quiet one tonight they say, but grab my juice and get name down. Overall lovely and they seemed to enjoy my set with arranger booking me as prime slot as featured artist next year. (aka the other day ahah)
Pack up and decide to head to Hardwick National Trust as a break, but £16 to get in which rather do with family, so enjoy brief tree walk and eat banana. Dash back to car as rain hammers down and on way to Nottingham, spotting Carnarvon pub, so park up and in getting long craved burger. Back out and arrive in time to get room, sort stuff out and as still raining real heavy debate how to get to open mic. Check buses nearby and read car park is £5.50 for 4hrs if there after 5.30pm so why not, car will be shetlered and less steps. Head over with prepped go to sanny, park easily and walk round for a bit. Finally time for the Rescue Rooms open mic, where was packed as actually early for a change, yet everyone getting a drink in before gig next door at Rock City. I get first on the list, again to play to only a few people, but was nice to get it out the way as didn’t then need to think of it. Ahaha. Other musicians great, yet felt a lot older at this one, as suppose have done all this at University and thereafter, giving me all the more urge to get next songs out and actual gigs. Back to car, pay for parking and turns out double what thought, yeah £10, so not going there again! Back over ok though and parked nearby, defo ready for camomile and write the journal time.
Tuesday morn got the sniffles, so I focus on the blog around an outside breather and lunch. Then time to venture to the city, but pass on driving and use the bus realising they pass every 6 mins. Walk round hunting veues then chill with guess what a brew at Café Nero, definitely a favourite place it seems and read some more of the book. Time round to grab some KFC belly filler, before over to the open mic at Juice Bar, where it turned out very quiet as just the staff, presenter and 2 people to play. Hey ho I sung, but not great as cold still showing its self, so decide after finished the apple juice to go. Quick nosey at a much bigger open mic in pub passed, but just not feeling it, so walk back and catch up on sleep.
So that’s that. Over to Brum!! I had no idea what was going to do when there, bar meet friend and roam the German Market. Arrive and hunt parking I pre-booked which more awks than thought, but got there third loop attempt. Ahaa. Nice gander and catch up, before over to place of stay. Was a challenge carrying 3 bags and suitcase in the rain, but over and checked in with friendly welcome. Trekking further to kitchen upstairs, yeahhh 4 flights, get food sorted and then back down to room to sort other bits. Rest for a few minutes, with a brew of course before eat and decide on open mic, where closest winning as feel steps adding up. Ahaha. Main one jumping out anyway, so head over to Gunmakers Arms and chat to one person there, a student bass player keen to play tonight. Initially quiet but suddenly loads in and end up playing more than 5 songs, alongside Matilda on the bass. Around all the regular locals got chatting to, one lad sung and said was from London followed by other students showing real talent. After saying one they were going to go to had got cancelled. Aahaa. So over all win win, got filmed and great feedback so defo be back there in the future.
Thursday round message from Roy met yesterday encouraging me to go to the one at Red Lion with B&Ts, so pass some time adding to blog and have lunch, before rain thankfully stopped so had gander around the bits of Brum not yet seen. Mainly shops and pubs wouldn’t go to, but big buildings so my architect eyes loving it. Back, rest a bit and refuel before over to the open mic. The night really chilled, with some more awesome talent including a lady on saxophone which really nice change!
So that’s it for the music explore, swung to see mates at Worchester and Gloucester on the Fri and Sat before heading back home Sunday. Since which, had couple gigs, cold after cold (or more who knows) needing rest, then got snowed in for 10 days (making mom and I remember lock down), having to cancel meeting family, my mates Christmas meal and guitar recording session. Once managed to escape, got to rush the last bits of Christmas shopping before sort of enjoying it. Ahaa. Now refuelled, to do list re wrote and here updated (finally) am excited for 2023!