It’s midday on the 5th of November, and Britain’s up to her ankles in water. The Severn has burst her banks all the way down from Shrewsbury, through Bewdley and Tewkesbury, and now on the northern outskirts of Gloucester. Which is where I’m playing tonight! We’re leaving in an hour and checking out whether or not the good people of the town are in a fit state to rock or not. Would you be ready for a night of dancing if your home was underwater? People of Sharpness, Minsterworth, Maisemore, Walham and other low lying Severn Valley villages, shore up your defences before you leave for Gloucester Guildhall. I couldn’t bear the idea of your returning home to sodden tea and toast. Thighpaulsandra is playing a couple of songs with us tonight: “When I walk through the land of Fear” and also “The Lonely Guy” – there was a thunder storm over Pontypridd last week which took out his computer and modem, as lightning struck the overhead powerlines that run through his farm. Whoa, the British weather is really kicking in weirdly at the moment. The second half of this tour takes us up through Yorkshire to Stockton-on-Tees. Unfortunately, the rivers Ouse, Aire and Derwent are currently sending people scurrying as the river levels are presently the highest since records began. The government says that global warming is forcing them to stop building new housing developments on our floodplains. No shit, oh sensible capitalism-attuned temporary patriarchs! The railway bosses are rising to the occasion by letting more trains crash – more derailments this week – and the main tunnel on the Gloucester-Paddington line will be impassable for the next 5 weeks because (get this!) the floor of the tunnel has caved in! So they need to build a bridge inside the tunnel in order to let the trains cross. Unlucky! The planned hauliers Petrol Protest actions are re-commencing within the fortnight and they are planning “one hundred mile tailbacks down the M1 and the M62.” Panic buying has already bitten down hard in this neighbourhood, and the biddies and codgers who never do more than 20 miles a week have already bought up all the fuel in the area, causing closed signs and chaos to reign a full 14 days before the crisis should have started. Me, I’m on tour throughout this strange series of events, so we’ll get to test the resilience of the modern day Britisher first hand, indeed, this modern British bard will be testing himself and his cohorts over the coming weeks.
Awl love on ya,