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Blog: A Power In The East

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Just over a week ago The Features On My Map and I headed to the distant East to a land I had only read about in books or seen on TV: NORWICH!

I was booked to play there on Monday as the first leg of myself and Mr G Osborne's "Trains And Automobile" tour, but decided to go a day earlier to have a look round, as neither myself not The Dates On My Tour had ever been before. You might think "But Hibbett, you are from Peterborough, how could you NOT have been to a huge city not very far away?" and I would state that you have answered your own question i.e. "I am from Peterborough".

We went on the train, utilising our local transport hub to go via Colchester, and arrived at the (lovely) Premier Inn just in time to unpack and head straight out again to the Cathedral. Being Rock And Roll we do like to go and have a look and a local Cathedral when on a mini-break, and while planning this trip I'd noticed that we'd be arriving just in time to go for the ADVENT PROCESSION. We thus arrived to a PACKED, also DARK Cathedral to be greeted by an elderly chap at the door who nodded, and gestured "Come with me". We followed him along to some side seats to watch the show I mean SERVICE. It was GRATE - it started with the choir down one end of the building then moving gradually along, lighting lights as they went. By the end the Cathedral was FULLY LIT but the choir had moved so far along we could hardly hear them.

It was DELIGHTFUL. I find Church services are much like The Football - when I was small I'd be DRAGGED to them and they seemed to take FOREVER. Now I wander along every now and then and have a perfectly lovely time which seems to FLY by. This one was also full of incidents - a passing chorister nearly CAUGHT FIRE when a candle Over-Flickered and was saved by a the Nice Lady next to us LEAPING up and patting them down. There also appeared to be a POLICE VICAR who SWEPT along the corridors throughout. NO idea what he was doing, but it seemed jolly important.

When it was over we shook hands with the Bishop, as one is wont to do, and went for a wander round town. Norwich, it turns out, is FULL of Churches. You cannot MOVE for them, it's like the ancient yeomen of Norwich bought a job lot. It was only a day into the trip when we realised that there's actually TWO Cathedrals - they're Church MAD!

Next day we had a GINORMOUS lie-in, only dragging ourselves out of bed in time for LUNCH, which we had at the Wild Thyme Vegetarian Cafe. It was BLOODY GRATE - not only was the grub delicious but I THINK we saw International Film Star Kristin Scott Thomas (talking to a THEATRICAL DAME who we couldn't work out who it was) in there too! FANCY!

Fully fed we walked round to the CASTLE and chanced upon a BRILLIANT guided tour of the KEEP. It was ACE but we then rather overdid it by going into ALL the galleries - it's a Traditional Local Museum, much like the one we went to recently in Canterbury and, indeed, the one in EVERY medium British town, so there were local painters, World War One exhibitions, Something To Do With The Romans and, of course, a METRIC TONNE of BADLY STUFFED ANIMALS!

After a revivyfying coffee we went back to the Premier Inn, re-adjusted packing, and then it was SHOWTIME! The gig was round at The Bicycle Shop, where I discovered Gav had already arrive, along with our other participant Mr John Osborne. It was only half an hour or so into our acquaintance that I realised I had seen him ages ago in his GRATE show "John Peel's Shed". Much to my delight he turned out to be exactly as nice a chap as the show would suggest i.e. a LOT!

Some of Gav's pals from his University days in Norwich came and took us to a nearby pub for a bit after which we returned to a respectable and COSY audience for the gig itself. John went first and did POETRY which was actually more like storytelling, and was FAB. I'm hoping to get him over for the next season of Totally Acoustic in the New Year, as it was moving, funny, and also INSIGHTFUL - three of my favourite things!

Next it was ME and I did THIS:
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • I Come From The Fens
  • Hibbett's Golden Rules Of Beer
  • (You Make Me Feel) Soft Rock
  • In The North Stand
  • That Guy
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • 20 Things To Do Before You're 30
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • I had a FINE old time with a whole lot of LARFS, although I wasn't to know until later (the next day, in fact) that ASPECTS of it would persuade me to change my "act" FOREVER! Actually, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find that out too, as not long after I came off stage it was time for Gav to go on and be GRATE. It's lovely doing tours like this with Gav as I get to see him do GIGS, which he's really really good at. This time he premiered a new song about a) May 1 1997 but mostly b) his friends from Norwich. It was beautiful!

    To top off the evening he dragged (well, "asked") me back onstage where I fulfilled a request for Boom Shake The Room. With all that done we finished off our beers and headed off - Gav and John in search of curry and us back to the Premier Inn. It had been a MARVELLOUS start to the tour, but a whole lot more was still to come!

    posted 9/12/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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