I'm writing this backstage at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, one of those classic rock venues where your favourite 1970s rock bands would undoubtedly have played back in the day if they were successful enough to break out of the club and college circuits (Pink Floyd played here in 1972). Here's the imposing backstage entrance on this grey February day, with our tour buses in sight.
Inside the backstage area there's this long corridor with an angled ceiling in which, 10 years ago, we took some photographs which we thought seemed a bit Floydian. Here, taken today, is a recreation of one of them.
During the show we were informed that we were playing here on the exact centenary of the inauguration of the De Montfort Hall's historic pipe organ! As it happened, it was completely obscured by our stage set, but here's a picture of the info about it, and you can find out more HERE.
Obligatory historical content: the Hall is named after Simon de Montfort, sixth Earl of Leicester, 13th century leader of the baronial faction which succeeded in breaking down the ultimate authority of the monarchy by forcing the crown to accept the establishment of the earliest form of English Parliament. He wasn't so much fun as Robert Dudley, a late 16th century Earl of Leicester who was a long term suitor for the hand of Elizabeth 1st before he fell out of favour after marrying in secret a wife who, according to 19th century romance authors, he subsequently did away with in highly suspicious circumstances, but he has absolutely nothing to do with this blog. I'm just mentioning him for the sake of introducing a little scandal.
In non-Leicester related news, for me today has been Juicing Day! Yes, after months of inactivity on the liquid diet supplement front we finally have a juicer in the tour apparatus once more, a spiffy little two-speed number which seems sturdy (very important), easy to clean (also very important) and efficiently produced a blend of eight fruits and vegetables which was ingested by most of the band and crew. Undoubtedly there will be further reports on this aspect of touring in future blogs, but for now here's a photo of the juicer after having been used, a somewhat messy sight usually avoided by producers of juicer advertisements but not by us grim and gritty purveyors of everyday reality here at Modest Proposals headquarters!
Moving swiftly on before I get locked into the decidedly disturbing practice of referring to myself in the plural, today's leisure time listening has involved an old favourite, Frank Zappa. The latest round of re-masterings and re-releases has restored the original LP mixes, which in some cases differ considerably from Zappa's own 1980s re-masterings. Whether in effect replacing the man's final thoughts on his own work with earlier versions which he had presumably rejected is a good move I'm really not at all sure... but the nostalgic side of me has been thoroughly enjoying listening to HOT RATS and FILLMORE EAST JUNE 1971 sounding just as they did back when I bought the LPs.
From Leicester we move on to Carlisle, which is a shame in that it means I miss seeing The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain here at the De Montfort Hall tomorrow night, but is good in other ways. Swings and roundabouts!