February 8th, 2011
|04:24 am - UK trip recap so far|
I have been in England for 5 days now. It has been pretty brutal and miserable and I have not been treating myself well. But today I'm taking a chill day in TyLean's flat where I'm staying and recovering from a cold that threatens sinus infection by watching streaming British comedy and laying around.
For the first two days I barely slept. For the next two days I barely ate. It was massive anxiety that caused these things. I was not expecting being this stressed. But I feel stupid for being surprised by this: I am never anxious about performing well, I am always anxious about logistics, about getting to a soundcheck in time and with all the equipment working. Since that's ratcheted up about 400% for this trip compared to a domestic minitour, of course I am much more stressed. And the jet lag, and the tight schedules of making trains, make it so much worse.
I have played two shows so far -- Brighton Saturday night, and Wakefield Sunday night. Despite feeling not at all my best, I pulled off the actual performances quite well, I think. Audience response was great at both. Unfortunately in Brighton I had to run off to catch a train right after my set and had to miss Bitter Ruin (who based on their soundcheck are completely amazing) and didn't get to sell many CDs. The audience in Wakefield was small and more accustomed to metal, but they were really polite and receptive anyway and given the attendance I did OK in sales. It was webcast and my mom got to see it which makes me happy. And I didn't lose my voice till the last song. I blame being cold and hungry and homeless in the drizzle in Brighton the day before, also the not eating or sleeping, for the cold I got that night.
When I woke up yesterday with a high fever, sicker than I'd been in at least a year, I was hysterically afraid I would die in the freezing howling wind as we were homeless in Wakefield till our train back to London that night. I realized my trying and hoping and wishing to save/make money on the trip was totally futile and I needed to set the bar at returning alive and relatively unscathed. The day wasn't as bad as I'd feared and it passed quickly, TyLean and I camped out in a Wetherspoons, buying small breakfasts and sneaking in naps in the lounge upstairs till they kicked us out, then we sheltered in a mall and went to retrieve our gear from the night before's venue who'd let us stow it there. We made it back to Walthamstow, which is North London, late last night as planned, and I got my first good night's sleep in a week. I feel better today though definitely still sick. I have a ridiculous amount of snot and congestion but I'm drinking tons of herbal tea and taking the maximum recommended dose of real pseudoephedrine (which should be an oxymoron but isn't). I will certainly survive but I am less sure how great my voice will be for my remaining shows. Today it's completely shot and it usually takes up to a week to recover when it's been like this.
Other than being on stage, highlights have included our trip to the British Museum Friday (longer than the 2 hours I got to spend there as a youth on a chaperoned trip once, still not enough to see the whole thing well, but good fun) and a goth club that night. I *love* goth clubbing in strange new cities, noting the differences and universalities of the experience. The playlist at Inferno was not amazing, in fact they repeated the SAME Siouxsie and Sisters of Mercy songs during the night so clearly the DJs don't pay attention to each other's set lists, but it was nice to hear less EBM overall, more classic goth & industrial rock. They did not play my requests for my favorite newish Death Guild hits, The Knife's "We Share Our Mother's Health" or Florence and the Machine's "Heavy In Your Arms." No one made a pass at me, but a tosser in a flannel shirt asked ME of all people if he looked out of place there, so I guess at least to him I looked like I belonged, hah. Only 3 people were dressed steampunk. The dancing style was the same -- there was even a shirtless man in shades just like the guy in SF around 10 years ago. I danced a lot despite being exhausted.
The rest of the trip should be much more comfortable for me -- day off today, show in London (at Battersea Barge) tomorrow which will be low stress to get to. Then Newcastle and Manchester, and at both of those places we actually have people to stay with so we won't be homeless at all.
The unknown for the remaining 3 shows is how well my voice will be, but worrying about that can't help a thing. I have tea, slippery elm lozenges, and throat spray, and I will use them. I wish I had the time and strength to enjoy exploring the country more. I kept thinking when I was in Brighton how if I were feeling OK, as I feel every day at home, I would be enjoying being lost in strange drizzly cities. I hope I'm feeling OK by next Monday, the day off I have before my flight back early Tuesday.
Sweet lass, please take care of yourself. The weather over there can be really deceptive and unforgiving. With the 10 hour time difference, your body will be out of sorts. Try to stay in for a day, with as much fluids and meds as you can manage.
It seems like everyone I know who's traveled to the UK this winter has gotten unbelievably sick -- it's been so cold and terrible! Good that you have a place to stay and some time to lay low and medicate. Returning alive is an important goal to meet but I hope you can surpass that with better health and successful shows, and some more time to look around you.
I appreciate your tour and club report, also -- I love hearing what scenes and shows are like elsewhere, & share your feeling about going to goth clubs in strange cities.
I'm so sorry to hear you're having health difficulties, and that parts of the trip have been not-ideal thus far...
I've stayed in Walthamstow myself on a few occasions. Strange little bit of London...
I hope your health improves very soon, and that the rest of your shows are a huge success!
(And great use of the term "tosser"--I must remember to use it more myself!)
Said shirtless guy still dances in clubs, such as BAGG.