Something’s different. A light drizzle, a discarded Walkers crisp packet and an aroma of Saturday night from a fresh puddle of piss and vomit by the Ladbrokes doorway. My neck bristles with tension and my fists are at the ready. ‘Welcome to Heathrow’ the sign proudly proclaims. Mmmm, I must be back in Blighty.
Since returning from SARS Central, I’ve tried to concentrate hard on avoiding work of any kind, but unfortunately, No-Man promotion, Burning Shed catch-up, college and several email avalanches and phone marathons have kept me from sleeping my life away (another major ambition denied).
East Anglia’s undergoing something of a mini-heatwave and after 10 days of confronting the vast size of downtown Toronto’s skyscrapers, it’s been refreshing to return to the quaint scale of English heritage buildings and the comforts of home and friends. Free of the walking food disposal unit Lord Chilvers, my diet is finally back to normal and I’m suddenly aware that I can see my feet and ribs again.
The No-Man album has had some excellent responses from both mainstream and fanzine press and Snapper are still proving to be an industrious and competent label (long may it continue). Along with preparations for an acoustic Bowness/Chilvers gig and a return to the electro-madness of Darkroom in June, along with SW, I’ve been discussing the prospect of the first No-Man dates for a decade. Without a pro-active agent, though, it could be very difficult to arrange. The interest is there, but fully accessing that interest via an enthusiastic promoter and SW finding time outside Porcupine Tree might get in the way of our intentions.
The two Toronto dates provided the posh prince and myself with an excellent opportunity to try out untested new and old material and expand the range of our repertoire. The four new No-Man songs and ‘Winter With You’ particularly worked well and suggested a more abstract, yet highly emotional aspect to our music. Breathing new life into the antique ‘Flowermouth’ track ‘Watching Over Me’ was also a highlight of the performances. I’d like to thank our North American fans who braved the threat of deadly virus and definitely made the trip worthwhile for us. Many thanks are also due to Diane and Joe for their hard work and organisation.