Twitter / decliningwinter

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

York City Three live in Metz (Fr)

In the Recovery Position part 3 - The Finale

Brussels was one of those gigs that goes to plan. Ok mostly to plan. This time our guitarist Paul went down with an illness hours before the show and we had to attempt to reconfigure the set without him in case he didn’t make it. Luckily he recovered in time to play. This show wasn’t one of our best performances but more than made up for that with a good atmosphere and an attentive crowd.

It was a shame to have to leave the luxury of the Brussels space to have to veer into France. No bad thing normally but it was freezing cold. I wore one t shirt, a shirt, 2 jumpers, a hooded top and a coat. Still I was freezing. On arrival at the venue there were hideous toilet problems. I don’t want to be a Mariah Carey style diva but I simply can’t work with a toilet which was plunged into darkness and had something stuck in it. I haunted the streets of Metz rather than hang around the venue and upon my return another one had gone down with the bug. This time Sarah, our violinist was stricken and had to be taken to our accommodation whilst we attempted to play without her. Like the earlier Gent show this was a free gig but was up against four other shows in the town so attendance was modest. There was the usual dribble of attentive fans and a smattering of drunks. The highlight came when one worse for wear punter decided to count us in 1-2-3-4 and without missing a beat we went straight in – cue hilarity all round. We were also bothered almost continually by the town drunk- a pestulant fly of a man who just wouldn’t leave us alone however many times we tried to swat him away.

We were taken back to a countryside flat in a small village which seemed to still have its Christmas decorations up (or were they early for next year?). The final show day and it’s a strange mix of emotions. Part of me just wants to be back home but the other half says enjoy it while you can. I’m so tired though. We manage to get to Luxembourg early and on a whim I decide to spend the time I should have spent sleeping eating a Magnum bar. I was then furious that I’d left myself only 20 minutes to nap. It was a good job we got to the venue at 5pm – only leaving ourselves just the 6 hours until show time as they kept pushing back the time. We played with a band Berndt from Sweden who were young, polite and full of vitality. I spent most of the time slumped in a corner sipping at a fruit tea, hat pulled low over my head, virtually dead. The show was great though- a game of two halves - we started poorly but burst into life half way through with some wild enthusiastic playing. There was someone asleep in the audience but I think most people were awake.

The final day we woke up to snow and a long 10 hour journey home. The driver, Leo, came into his own, safely negotiating the inclement weather and the dawdlers on the A1 in order to drop us back in Leeds at a good hour. Paul’s road was frozen solid so there was 20 minutes of utter chaos as the van slithered up and down before finally resting at the bottom of the road. Instruments were dragged up the hill and people scattered attempting to get their cars down the slippery slope in order to get home. I’m still not quite sure where half my stuff is - it was a typical bizarre and memorable finale.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

In the Recovery Position Part 2 - Europe (1)

I do like a Travel Lodge and Ashford didn’t let us down with its winning blend of comfortable beds for the sick and injured and wonderful toilet facilities. The thought of a journey over the sea the next day didn’t fill me with glee but luckily once on the ferry I slept the whole way. It was good to see the sun appear low in the sky once we hit the European mainland a stark contract to Englands slate grey skies and seemingly perpetual darkness.

We arrived at the venue in Gent and amazingly for me the hotel was just around the corner from the venue. I had a sleep that could be described as ‘textbook’ before I was awoken with a start by a text suggesting we were on stage in 10 minutes and that I’d better hurry up. I thought the show went spectactularly well until I was collared immediately afterwards by the type of ‘fan’ whose initial enthusiasm immediately gives way to heavy criticism. Amongst other things I was informed that the show was “not one of the best” and that the band was “going nowhere”. I never quite understand this mode of conversing, whether things are lost in translation and so come out overly harsh or that people think that they may impress me with their honesty. The only thing it does is to make me feel even shitter about something I already feel extremely shit about.

The evening gave way to sleep which was interrupted by a sound no-one wanted to hear. Another band member getting into sickness difficulties. We’d hoped that somehow my illness was food poisoning or a one off but there it was, aural proof that the germ had spread. Our drummer Moz was next…..and it got worse. My breezy, premature announcement that “the worst was over” proved laughable as only hours later he was rushed to hospital. The ambulance staff seemed more intent on ensuring I paid up (even demanding the correct change) than ensuring he was being comforted.

We then had to trust him to the care of the doctors whilst we rushed off to attempt to fulfil our fixture in Antwerp. Luckily we had a good hour or so to attempt to cobble together an ‘unplugged’ set whilst the excellent Fieldhead (our tour partners) elongated their set to cover. It seemed to work though it was kind of like one of those dreams where you end up in a public place without your trousers on. The only other quirk of the night was the transient nature of the crowd. There seemed to be a continual shift in the amount of people in the room with another group mainly inhabited in the bar but occasionally drifting through. We were later informed that the venue had been double booked and that the local gay and lesbian group held their meetings in the same space!

The next day we headed back to Gent, got Moz out of hospital and trecked onto Brussels. This would prove to be the finest show of the tour and will be written about in the final instalment. How can you possibly wait?

Monday, 22 February 2010

In The Recovery Position Part 1 -The English Leg

Followers of our twitter account will have seen reference to the various and varying disasters that accommpanied us on our recent trip abroad. We are now back (almost) in one piece. I think personally i may just lay low for awhile. Anyway here are some ramblings from the inner workings of the thing that still calls itself my brain.

Having set off for Birmingham on a freezing cold day, the inherent bleakness of the run in to that city is something quite to behold. Do they have the most pylons per square inch of land? We played in what was a Hawaiian themed bar (the bar of choice apparently was booked). The show went fairly well until we realised we had been shorn of an iphone and 130 euros in cash. We thought it was simply the usual casual misplacement until a member of our entourage all of a sudden went pale and recalled a conversation he heard outside the bar where a member of staff was heard to ask another "how much is 130 euros worth?" hmmmm. investigations are ongoing

Welwyn Garden City was perhaps the most preposterous gig i've ever done. I've played gigs where 'no-one' was there. 'no-one' meaning a handful - 10-20 or so. This was literally no-one. No paying customers. We played to the promoter, 2 of his mates, the sound guy, the one man support act. I suppose it didn't really help that the promoter had left the main entrance to the building shut with the light turned off. The night ended in farcical circumstances with the soundman confiscating the promoters guitar as insurance against non payment. The rest of us simply made do with having a penalty shoot out competition in the big empty hall.

Possibly one of the worst positions i've ever found myself in was playing in front of 60 or so real people at the Wilmington Arms the following night in London, the only thought racing through my head - "how do i get through the set without vomiting?" What initially i had down as pre match nerves erupted into what could only be a horrible sickness bug. I'm never normally sick in the street in front of horrified commuters. I'd managed to get on to the stage but i was on auto pilot and as the set wore on felt worse and worse so the set was cut short to save the dry cleaning bills of the front row. As the final note rang out i headed straight to the dressing room to return to my preferred position of that evening - throwing up. I apologise to the several old and new friends at the gig i was hoping to catch up with.

After that it was a nightmare two hour journey through the night to a travelodge. Then on to europe. How will our heroes fare? Tune in to the exciting next installment to find out....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Tour Updates

I never thought i'd do this but if you follow us on twitter you can keep up to date with how things are going on our mammoth tour. dates are below if you fancy coming along in real life, otherwise sit back, relax and enjoy the ups and downs of 8 (eight) days away from my own bed.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Aarktica 'In Sea' remix album

We feature on the new remix album 'In Sea' by Aarktica. Its out today and available from Norman Records amongst other places.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

February Tour Dates

13 - Birmingham (UK) | Colour at Island Bar
14 - Welwyn Garden City (UK) | Ludwick Family Centre
15 - London (UK) | Wilmington Arms
16 - Gent (BE) | Cafe Video
17 - Antwerp (BE) | Kavka
18 - Brussels (BE) | Les Ateliers Claus
19 - Metz (FR) | L'Emile Vache
20 - Luxembourg (LU) | D:Qliq

All dates with Fieldhead. Please come along!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Goodbye Minnesota Vinyl

Its happening! Just going to listen to test pressings. Should be out March.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Music and Migration

exciting news. worth a punt on this one i'd reckon. i think the in itial copies sold out but they are doing some more due to extraordinary demand. its a lovely looking thing and the music is consistently brilliant

Music & Migration Various Artists

Label : Second Language
Cat No : SL02

1. Hauschka - Lipstick Race
2. David John Sheppard - Small Town Raptor
3. Vashti Bunyan - Here (Demo)
4. Danny Norbury - The Lovers
5. Xela - Autumn Prayer
6. Heather Woods Broderick - Suture
7. Enderby's Room - Tiptoe
8. The Declining Winter - Red Kite
9. Ghostwriter - Even Solemnity In The Instruments (Farina's Automatic Translation Machine)
10. Darren Hayman - Summer Visitors
11. Gareth S. Brown - Over Biscay
12. Peter Broderick - Untitled For Violins
13. Lene Charlotte Holm - Tracing Echoes
14. ANT - Magpies (Demo)
15. brave timbers - Let's Never Go Back
16. Carousell - Black Swallow
17. Seasons (pre-din) - A Night Alone Pt. 2
18. Winter Cabin - Swifts And Swallows
19. Fieldhead - Open Show
20. Library Tapes - Another Field
21. Leyland Kirby - Whiffling

The compilation album Music & Migration really is music for the birds – its 21 tracks inspired by both the miracle of the migratory impulse and the human-inspired peril of avian life today. A showcase for the finest in contemporary post-classical composition, idiosyncratic folksong and pastoral soundscaping, it’s an album with a charitable raison d'etre that just happens to offer 75 minutes of bewitching, immersive sounds and stands as an enticing survey of where left-of-centre music is at in 2010.

For further info about Second Language and its releases, please visit :