Hartelijk dank!

I’m a little weary this morning – I should have had an early night last night but couldn’t resist the urge to play at open mics on consecutive evenings in two different countries.

Yes, I visited Utrecht to meet Henk and all the other guys that he’s recruited over there to publicise the CouchSurfing Musicians party gigs; where we’ll be going to play in April. May I take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Henk, Peter and all of the other people who went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I had a great time and look forward to seeing you all again in April.

So what have we learned from this mini-adventure?

Firstly, the guys over at Gigswap HQ are working their asses off to produce publicity material and are diong everything that they can to make the gigs a huge success. I’m really excited about the whole thing and feel so much more confident about the venture now that I’ve met everyone.

Secondly that Utrecht is a lovely little city – a real gem. There are some lovely old building, canals, friendly people, welcoming bars… I felt immediately at home. Not only that but then I was privileged to be able to come and play some music at an acoustic stage in a little bar in the suburbs of the city – I met a fantastic group of people and heard a wonderful, eclectic set of music – the only common theme was excellent musicianship. It’s great to see grass-roots level music so vibrant.

Lastly I have to comment on the ‘grass is always greener’ thing that we all get when we travel. I heard a few people over in Utrecht say that they’d rather be somewhere else, preferred other places, weren’t happy (although everyone I met seemed pretty relaxed and happy…). There were a lot of things that I noticed made me feel envious, though. Everything was so clean in Utrecht; the public transport is sparkling, clean, efficient and very cheap. The pace of life seemed different: purposeful but relaxed. There was very little traffic congestion (one thing that we are lucky enough to share in Ciren!). And it has to be said that the Dutch look great – slim, healthy and well turned-out. It really struck home how much we’re turning into the US over here; the contrast was obvious even as soon as I walked through Stanstead – back to the land of obesity, slovenliness and gluttony.

Roll on April and the Layers European tour. Very, very excited.


We’ve got this rash…

…fear not, though, dauntless Layers fans, it’s not a dermatological crisis. Indeed, it’s not really a crisis at all; the rash of which I speak is merely a rash of gigs. We appear this evening at the Vaults in Cirencester to support JTAR in a sensitive, laid-back, unplugged way, then in a few weeks we’re in Stroud on Sat March 8th in a more insensitive, up-front, plugged in way.

The big news is that after that gig we embark on our European mini-tour: 28th March at the Vaults in Cirencester, 2nd April in Utrecht, Netherlands, all being well, 4th in Berlin, Germany; 5th in Vienna, Ultravox; 8th in Pardubice (where?) Czech Republic and elsewhere if we can cram them in en route.

So we’re hoping that you’ll come and see us off on the 28th and if you’re at a loose end in early April and want to form an informal entourage…

We’d be happy to hear from anyone who wants to design us a tour tee shirt, help us find interstitial gigs in Euroland, publicise us or supply us with drugs and hookers. (That’s ladies of negotiable virtue, not thick-necked men with cauliflower ears and residual concussion. We’ve got enough of them in the band…)

Watch this (my) space and I’ll endeavour to keep our adventures on the road blogged more efficiently than I’ve been updating the blog of late.

Peace out.