Day 6: The Throne

April 15, 2013

I began the day with a trip to the throne. Not a euphemism. The toilet at Cara’s mum’s place is embedded in a full-size wooden throne, complete with animal carvings and a hop up stool. To get off you have to execute a gymnastic manoeuvre, swinging from the arms like it ‘s a pommel horse. Your trousers are still around your ankles at this point, so it’s a technical dismount.

My tour mate’s mum teaches yoga and yoga therapy so after breakfast we were used as gineau pigs by a couple of her students. They took our pulse, studied our eyes and tongues, assessed what combination of fire, water and earth made up our personalities. I was a bit of all three and given a clean bill of health, which was nice.

We played our first house concert that evening, guests crammed into the small living room and adjacent balcony and kitchen. I love playing in people’s homes – it’s incredibly intimate and singing unamplified is very freeing. You can forget about mic technique and just sing, using breath and where you face to provide light and shade.

Afterwards I met Alan Simpson, an ex-Labour politician who tried to get Blair tried for war crimes. And a writer called Jack Stephens, who I need to look up when I get home. They both drew a comparison between my songs and Randy Newman, which was a massive complement. I love a bit of Randy Newman, he tells a great story in just his own way.

After everyone had gone home we sat and ate cheese and biscuits, drank red wine and enjoyed a good grumble about X-Factor, which was on the telly. They had some ridiculously talented 13-year olds but there is no way the cream of American talent is on that show. The standard of American musicianship is sky-high and they’re smart enough to give Cowell a wide berth.

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