England

Ahoi! I don't know where exactly I am right now. Took the ferry from Harwich at 11pm, will be in Holland in the morning.  I'm sitting in one of the bars, having an English beer and thinking of what happened during this tour. Everything seems pretty unreal. It will be hard to tell you everything I wanted as all the memories somehow turn around in my head. Before I start I want to apologize for not continuing the diary entries. I actually wanted to write one every night, would have been easier than trying to remember everything. On the other hand it is a good way to re-live the time on tour. The last entry was in Amiens I think.  After checking out of the crappy hotel - I told them what I thought about them; they seemed to be surprised - I took a Train to Calais-Ville. One year ago I performed in Calais, so I thought I'd know the path to the port - fail. It was raining, I was tired and not really in a good mood when I finally met someone I could ask. This guy, who reminded me of a character of "Bienvenu chez les Ch'tis!", offered me to come with me to the harbour. He told me about his family, his work, etc. It was interesting and good to refresh my French. He even sang traditional "Chansons Calaisiennes" for me.  Would have loved to do a short jam Session, but I had to go to the ferry. I always get nervous when going through security checks, no idea why.  I walked through the detector and saw the guy who was supposed to check the bags, he was playing with his I-Phone. In general, no-one really seemed to be interested in foot passengers - except for the British Passport Control. They were extremely friendly and I felt happy to nearly be back in England!  Huge waves made it difficult to climb up stairs on the ferry, not everyone liked it, I had a huge smile on my face though!  I went to visit friends in Wiltshire, took the train to Ipswich afterwards, where I performed that night in a pub called "The Spread Eagle". I was looking forward to this show as Billy Little, the author of "A Soldier's Dream", drove all the way from Northern England to Ipswich. Sophie and Glen, who organised the shows and everything around them, did a great job with interviewing Billy and me. They will do a film about my visit in England; will tell you as soon as it is released. Anyway, it was a great pleasure to finally meet Billy and his wife! Poems and songs, well, art in general, is very personal. We have communicated a lot via email and Facebook, but there is nothing like meeting someone in the real world. The concert went really well and I had a lot of fun on stage. English audiences are different from Swiss or German ones. German people for example want to have party, want to sing, dance,... English people prefer listening. It was hard to get them to sing at the beginning, therefore they went crazy at the end and I played many more songs than planned. Sophie and Glen showed me some beautiful places in Suffolk. I love the English country side, mystic places! I was told that England was the only place where nobody thinks you're crazy when you say you would believe in ghosts. The 2 following nights we went to visit Jam Sessions and met great people. It was the first time to do that; going on stage with people I've never seen before and just sing what was on my mind. The second show was in another venue in Ipswich. They weren't really prepared and the booker didn't even show up. During the first set I dedicated a song to him and said a word I actually wanted to avoid. But there were just a few people, so nobody noticed. Suddenly a lot of people turned up in the second set and it was a crazy atmosphere. Again I played much longer than planned. They asked me to play Ed Sheerans A-Team and Oasis' Wonderwall - I played, they sang. For the first time I tried Charlie Winston's "Rockin in the Suburbs", wow... Couldn't stop them anymore and I felt an energy I haven't had for some time. Never thought I'd play this song live, bur spontaneously I thought it might be a good one to keep the atmosphere. After the show - I was cut off by the landlord after a bit more than 2 hours - I was talking to a young man, I think he was 18, who will join the army in 2 weeks. Pretty interesting and moving. Afterwards we had some beers and whisky and a lot of fun with a pissed guy... Just one example: "No!! Switzerland is smaller than England, it is like London!" The next day we went to Bungay, a little town in Suffolk. Charlie Winston once told me about this town and the hotel he grew up in. He said if I am ever close to it, I should visit this place. And it was worth going there! Nice little town! Today I was in "Sophie's Choices" on ICR FM. It was really fun to not have a normal interview but to present the show with her. I also played 2 live songs. It'll be on the net soon, will give you the link.   There would be much more to tell you, but I'm pretty tired now. Will get some sleep and when I awake, I'm in Holland - isn't that great? ;) Good Night, Gion x

© 2020 Gion Stump & The Lighthouse Project

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