The Hot Seats

(String Band Music)

August 17, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In a van, heading . . . north?

Currently listening to: Bowl Ethereal – Five Minutes

Ahoy!

Over here!

It’s me, PF Hotseats, once again writing to you from my preferred seat – behind the driver but in front of the back seat: the #3 position. Here’s how it pans out, usually: Gerry in the driver’s seat (#1), Eddie rides shotgun (#2), I’m behind Gerry (#3), Jake is on my left (#4), Ben’s behind me (#5), and Graham inhabits the back left (#6). It’s not clear how these arrangements get decided, with the exception of Eddie, who loves the front seat for both the cigarette smoking and also proximity to BBC2. There’s just some kind of elemental magnetism that pulls us towards our seats, like arctic terns, or . . . you know, magnets. After we circle around a few times, sniffing and nesting, we always settle down.

 

We’re currently crossing the Forth Bridge. On our right is the super cool and well documented train bridge, on our left is the still-in-progress new suspension bridge for vehicles. It’s a funny thing, coming to a place once a year over nearly a decade. Some things seem like they’re frozen in time, and it seems like only a couple of days ago that we saw the initial stages of this bridge being built. This goes for everything. We played to a great crowd at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine a few days ago, and I was shocked that Graeme, the longtime soundman and rockabilly legend, has moved on. Of course, it was more than 15 months since last we saw him, and he had been there for many years. Oh why oh why do things need to change?

Some things stay constant. Like certain great fans that have stuck with us and our particular brand of herky jerky bullshit over the many years. Over the last few days we’ve returned to old haunts in the aforementioned Irvine as well as Edinburgh and Kilbarchan. In each venue, we’ve gotten to spend time with these repeat offenders and it feels like a little mini family reunion at this point. Thanks to all of them and to all others who have been coming out.

As with other recent tours, we’ve been taking the opportunity to work on some new original, traditional, and cover songs. It feels good to work out the kinks and have some creative arguments. We’ve recently been playing a song that’s got a few names: Gunz 4 Peace and Glocking in the USA are the top two names. As you might guess, it’s kind of a comment on gun culture in the USA.  If you know our style, you know we’re not much on expressing sincerity (though it does slip out from time time), more often choosing to slip into a posture of ironic distance. This song definitely fits that mold. It’s not funny as much as it is incredibly frustrating and depressing that we’d feel compelled to try and answer for our countrymen’s total fetishization of firearms and their entirely misplaced idea that they could protect themselves from invisible boogeymen with them. It’s especially stark when we’re traveling around over here, where most cops don’t even have guns. Sigh, don’t you wish I was talking about our eating habits? Me too.

Well, since you asked, we have been hitting up all of our usual spots, specifically Mother India, Kabob Mahal, and the late night joy of Café Piccante. Folks, the other night, after our especially raucous gig at the Soundhouse in Edinburgh, Jake, Ben and I joined Graham in some wee hours chips and cheese. The draw of this particular delicacy is obvious – grease, starch, cheese (and brown sauce) – however, the feeling of the ~1/3 lb of potatoes and dairy was very different upon waking. Now, keep in mind, 2 years ago Graham had this particular concoction EVERY NIGHT for many weeks on a recent tour. To contemplate the state of his innards is akin to peering into the vast infinite blackness of the universe: best left to experts and madmen.

 

Ooh, just passing the Scone Palace. Mmmm. Scone Palace. Right on the shores of Jam Lake.

 

Tonight we’re heading to the Birnam Arts Centre, located in the summer home of Beatrix Potter. Also, right down the road from Birnam Woods and Dunsinane. Heady heady stuff. We played our first gig with the fabulous Wilders here, way back in 2008. If memory serves, I left a pair of boots here. Wonder if they still have them . . .

 

OK, enough.

PF Hotseats, moving on.