Sunspots: Hull Humber Mouth Festival, November 6th

The last time I was in Hull, there were posters for GoodFellas all over town, I saw Roland Gift cycle past me, and I watched Evil Dead II on VHS with a friend who was doing his PhD at the university. 

I don't think there were direct trains from London to Hull at the time and there might as well not have been today. Our first train was cancelled and we had to squeeze on the Doncaster train. There we picked up our original First Hull Trains service, which was handy, but only a few miles from our destination the track lost all power, including backup.

We sat on the tracks, gazing at the mighty Humber Bridge through the rain and wondering if we'd have enough time to set up at the venue.

Luckily, somebody got their hands on a little power and we were only 40 minutes late. It was a blessing to be accommodated in the Mercure Hotel, which is right in the station and a short walk from our venue. This was Hull Central Library, so we hastily set up a stage area, utilising an imported PA system and a back-projector. Nestled among the impressively bountiful bookshelves, we created an atmospheric arena for the Sun to strut and fret its hour upon the stage.

Setting up the song, 'Turner'

Setting up the song, 'Turner'

Sunspots opened the Humber Mouth Festival, so we had a pretty good audience, and one that had been helping itself to cold drinks during the opening reception. While they were having fun, I hid out in the bookshelves, trying to get 'in the zone' (I've been hiding out in all sorts of interesting places on this tour. I might round them up later.) I happened to be sitting next to copies of Byron and Milton, who are both big influences on Sunspots. 

The 'stage area' was smaller than usual but I was happy with the show and felt there was a good rapport between myself and the audience. If you want an objective view, there's a review here

I know you're just dying to know how Tom and I dined that night: well, we found a cavernous, subterranean all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, which seemed to have been designed by Ken Adams (think the volcano climax of You Only Live Twice but full of trays of food from every cuisine imaginable, henchmen falling and dying between the steam trays).

Sunspots will return at York St. John University on November 25th.  

Click for Sunspots tour dates.

Sunspots: Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival, October 13th

From the north to the south and an intriguing new venue: Bournemouth's Natural Science Society. This beautiful Italianate Victorian building is crammed with cabinets full of shells, skulls, skeletons and all manner of natural wonders: the kind of things my Sun likes to take credit for: "I made the cats./I make the snow."

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Sunspots: Manchester Martin Harris Centre for Music & Drama, October 9th

Room 101 was my hotel room in Manchester, nothing to do with the wonderful Martin Harris Centre with its back-screen projection, remote controlled lighting rig and helpful technical staff. And we were in the John Thaw Studio Theatre! I've loved John Thaw since the 70s when my parents would let me stay up late to watch The Sweeney on school nights. But the next day, I couldn't get Inspector Morse's voice out of my head: "There's been a performance of Sunspots, Lewis..."

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Sunspots: Reading South Street Arts Centre, October 8th 2015

After London, Reading was another 'home fixture'. I lived here from 1989 to 1997, having side-stepped academia to work at Our Price Records for a couple of years. The second 'Summer of Love', which I'd spent in Brighton and which did its best to distract me from my MA, was soon clouded o'er by Britpop and the seeping mist of shoegazing.

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The Color of Money: Grady Seasons

Scorsese's hugely underrated 'The Color of Money' is on BBC One right now. I'm reminded of when my friend Beril challenged me and Luke Heeley to write poems about the sleazy bit-part hustler Grady Seasons

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New blog

A few years ago I had a blog called 'Fallout'. We fell out. This is going to be the new blog. Life, literature, culture, my struggles playing the trumpet, which I took up last summer.