I’ve been travelling a bit, lately, and not all of it has been touring for work. Some of it has been sheerly for pleasure. (Well, work can be sheer pleasure, as well!)
I recently went to a little two-day metal “festival” in Cardiff. It was at a fantastic venue called Fuel Rock Club very close to the Castle in the centre of the town.
I had originally planned to stay the week in Cardiff and work there as a tour stop, but the lure of London was too great and so I only came for the weekend. My train from London to Wales was very slow as it wound all over the countryside, practically circling Swinton. At least I was able to upgrade to first class for £15 and enjoyed the passing scenery in comfort. I even got a good look at one of the Wiltshire white horses, but not the truly ancient one.
I thought Cardiff itself was fantastic. The narrow ancient streets converted into Victorian shopping arcades were beautiful and I discovered a place that does proper, authentic New York subs. The New York Deli in the High Street Arcade is run by an American woman who has her pastrami and corned beef specially made to be the Real Deal and their sandwiches – washed down with root beer – are delicious. They are also ridiculously large to the point of being difficult to eat. I got cole slaw up my nose with every bite, but it was worth it.
The festival was great fun. I saw a few familiar faces from other gigs around Britain, and a few of my friends’ bands played it so I felt totally at home. For me, the highlight of the weekend was Desecration’s headline set on Saturday. Classic, awesome Welsh death metal! And Fuel is a wonderful little pub. The only drawback was some sort of drainage problems on Womanby street that gave off a pretty awful stench of sewage whenever you went outside. Luckily, I am a non-smoker so I didn’t have to stand outside very often!
I really enjoyed my train ride back up to Manchester, as I saw a lot of “How Green Was My Valley” scenery through the South of Wales. Going through Hereford was a treat, as well. I used to live in Gloucester and always thought that Herefordshire was the loveliest place… it’s like time has bypassed that little corner of England and there’s something about the red brick parsonages and rolling green hills that has an almost soporific effect on me. I really want to get back down there again, soon.
In the meantime, I have a second visit to Liverpool planned for this week. My first visit was pretty successful. Although nothing like as busy as London, I thought I did well there, especially considering the week I was there was before Easter and a great many schools were on holiday. I love Liverpool and go there frequently for gigs. Staying there for several days gives me an opportunity to see more of the town. Even though I tend to be very disciplined when I tour and rarely leave the hotel, I make a point of getting out for a nice meal or walk to a pub and I am gagging to pay a second visit to the Walker Art Gallery. What a fantastic museum!
I had planned to visit Leeds in the middle of May but a friend of mine went and encountered disaster. The hotel I’d booked – a chain for which I have a loyalty card and a hotel that has long been considered very easy to work from – has suddenly installed keycard locks blocking the lifts! My friend had paid in advance (very tempting to do when the rates are so much better) and so she was out of pocket with no place to work. She chose to pay for another hotel and so ended up only slightly in profit for the week. While I could also book the same second hotel she did, she felt that the business was a bit slow. A few other girls have had similar disappointing tours of Leeds and so I decided to cancel my booking and go to Oxford, instead. I have a friend who does well there. Plus, I’ve always wanted to see the town and I’m excited about my hotel, which is a nice one located a bit out in the countryside on the river. I don’t know how much site-seeing I’ll get to do, but I anticipate at least a couple of nice walks or runs along the river.
Working as an escort should be fun, and I am really enjoying touring. It’s great to have my base in Manchester, where I can offer incalls from my own flat in the city centre, but I’ve been bitten by the touring bug and I anticipate a lot more travel in my future.