Up the East & down the West

My bag weighs exactly 20kg. Not a gram overweight. I look at the check-in clerk and fully expect a prize or at least a Congratulations! But instead he takes issue with my cabin luggage which admittedly is in fact 2 pieces of cabin luggage strapped together, masquerading as a single item.

“It’s one guitar.” I lie “In two pieces.”

He gives me a withering look and reluctantly slaps on a cabin-approved sticker.

I’ve left America. Technically I’m still here, wandering the corridors of SFO. But once you’ve entered an international airport you’re not anywhere really; you’re already in a holding pattern, a bubble with its own ideas of what constitutes acceptable behaviour and acceptable coffee prices.

Here I am at the end of the tour and it feels strange to not be holding a guitar. On the flight over I remember picturing my US gigs; projecting ahead to the first notes on stage in New York. It’s a sort of visualisation exercise that can be useful when the moment arrives. Now back at home I need to do the same thing in reverse. I’m going to have to visualise stepping up to the mic and saying “Thank you & goodnight.” just so I can get some sleep, tell my brain to switch the performer off – for a while at least. It’s odd how quickly a routine has set in.

I’ve unpacked my guitars in preparation for some studio sessions this week. Sessions in closed rooms with minimal driving needed to get there, no mad preparation scramble in a motel room beforehand and most importantly of all, no audience. Sure, I’ll be playing guitar but I won’t get to talk between songs or tell stories; and it’s the stories that count. They’re the difference between a good show and a truly memorable one. Suppose I’d better write some new ones for next year. Till then USA. Thank you and goodnight…


French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website:

Up the East & down the West


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