It's been a slow start this time around with three shows across the first weeks. With so many days off there is the risk of boredom and zinfandel setting in. I kept those particular dogs leashed this time around by concentrating on a battered and abusively dog eared Hank Williams biography I found in the bookshelf just before I left. It's good to bring something long to read on tour. It helps you set a pace and reminds you that you're running a marathon and not a sprint. Still with so many days off I finished Hank Williams' last mile way too soon so the Santini's show on November 3rd was a much needed shot of activity by the time it rolled around.
The shows at Santini's are presented by a wonderful guy named Bernard Tuck but the master of ceremonies is the chef and full on character Renzo. Santini's holds about 30 people if nobody sneezes or stretches. I always get a small thrill out of announcing the Santini's gig is sold out. The show was, as usual, a little wacky and oddly paced but enormous fun. Renzo likes for me to bookend his meal courses. I play a few songs then he rises from stairs to the basement kitchen to announce the risotto is ready so I need to stop singing. Everyone eats the starter then I play until Renzo rises again to announce I have to stop because the main course is ready. It's not really the best way to pace a show but Renzo is funny, the food is great and the folks who come to the Santini's shows are a great bunch. Sometimes when it's time to start another set Renzo will bang some spoons together and yell that everyone needs to shut up now because it's time for singing. Every musician has a list from their heart to their fist of nights when they wish that had a Renzo to bang spoons and tell everyone to shut up and that it's time for singing. A measure of how much fun these shows are is that the night started at 7:30 and we didn't empty the room until after midnight.
I've been stationed in London this time around which is different for me. London is an amazing city to explore so if I have to have days off waiting for the hard touring to begin this is a good place to wait. This might be the most cosmopolitan city I've spent time in. The accents are Spanish and French and of course all manner of British. They fly like dry seeds from down in Africa and ice flakes up across Scandinavia Russia and Poland. They come careening around corners from Asia, India and they take marathon flights from Australia to pour you a pint at the local. Yesterday I helped a Chinese woman navigate the subway from Paddington station to Mudchute station without a common word between us. It's amazing how much information you can exchange with pointing fingers and nodding heads and shaking heads. I didn't even realize I knew how the tube system worked until I had to walk her to the map and we spent a few minutes nodding, shaking and pointing.
This is the second UK tour for the Welding Burns cd. It's a lot of work but a pretty simple operation. There is only me, a bag of cds, a few shirts and my Gibson j-45. There was a Hank Williams biography but the days off ate it. Next time I need a bigger book.