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Saturday, July 2

I had a gig in Glasgow tonight. I wasn't sure of the plan for it, but one emerged of its own accord. The previous evening had seen a few drinks with the lads (and laddesses, well one or two) from work and had given us a chance to arrange something. As a quick aside, I'd been a bit worried about asking my girlfriend to join me for drinks with the workmates. As I suggested it, I wasn't sure if she'd be up for it, or might, perhaps suggest that I go alone, which I could do, but wouldn't want to, as that would leave her alone, and then there'd be bound to be some tension, whether I decided to go or not... such is my previous experience with this sort of thing. Anyway, after various disclaimers about the insignificance of the event, I asked my girlfriend if she'd like to join some of my work folks for drinks after work on Friday and she put a hand reassuringly on my knee and said "Do you want me to drive so you can have a drink?". What a girl!

Anyway, the reason to mention the previous night is that a friend of mine was coming along to the drinking and he had noticed the gig I was doing (on my gig list) and asked whether I was considering attending the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh during the day. I hadn't really considered it, but I put the idea to her-adored and it seemed like a good plan. We clarified arrangements over drinks and, come the morning of the march, we were assembled in my car to drive to Edinburgh. The plan was to do the march and then head across to Glasgow for food and the gig. It seemed like a good idea.

The march met in the Meadows and was intending to make a band of marchers through the centre of Edinburgh. They were hoping to have enough people to march perpetually, thus creating a complete band of marchers, which joined itself. Unknown to me, they'd asked people to wear white, so that, from overhead, the march would look like a white band (like the rubber wristbands they sell) campaigning to the G8 leaders to make poverty history. How? Well, write off the developing countries' debt, improve aid and make sure that the aid is better focused on the needs of the recipients. It all makes sense. I probably waste more money in a year than would be necessary to keep an entire family alive... so I accept the value of converting some of the wealth of my nation into support for people whose lives are nowhere near as easy as my own.

I had some idea what I was marching about. I also spent much of the day taking the piss... but that's just my way. A lot of people in the meadows were just there for the hell of it. It was like some sort of cross-cultural family fete. In many ways, I think that's good in itself. Nobody was there for a bad reason and we stood together as some sort of super-community, bound by our sense of obligation/morality on this issue. There were a lot of us as well.

Because there were so many, we spent much of the time queueing for the actual march. Yes, we were queuing to go for a walk around Edinburgh, something I've done many many times before without having to queue. But, what the hell, this was an event and we were a part of it.

They'd set up a big Live-Aid style stage in the meadows, with video screens on either side. Over the course of the day we got speakers and bands. One of the speakers was Eddie Izzard. Now I was impressed. Eddie Izzard... what would he do? Some jokes? No. He was introducing people and giving announcements about where to find lost children. Weird! We also had Elaine C. Smith - one of Scotland's family favourites. She was taking the afternoon off performing in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" to explain how the G8 leaders should be given some tea and toast and put in their pyjamas to put them in the mood to relieve poverty... it didn't make a heap of sense!

Sharleen from Texas performed, which was pretty cool. What wasn't cool was the midday sun, which pretty much burned my head and chest as we stood waiting to go on the walk. "What do we want? Piz Buin!".

Still, once the walk got going, it was quite good fun. There was a good vibe to it and there was a crazy vehicle, called "The Rinky Dink", operated by some stone nutters who were singing songs about going "a hurtling through the void". Very memorable.

We got back to the meadows after the walk and found out that the march had exceeded expectations and we were all to be congratulated. We couldn't hang around feeling smug, we needed to get to Glasgow. So we did. I had an A-Z of Glasgow in my car, so this wouldn't be difficult. With my friend navigating on the back seat, we soon arrived at the address I gave him.

It was the wrong address.

Then we arrived at the address that I should have given him and were early for the gig. The sound set up was to be a problem. I didn't know that at first and so went off for a night Italian meal at a nearby restaurant. However, once the meal was over and I got into the venue, I discovered the problem. There was nowhere to plug the guitar in on stage. I tried several methods of sorting this out and then discovered a new problem - the PA system wasn't working properly at all. It just cut out. This was ridiculous. Still, the show must go on.

We did the gig without amplification. I didn't do especially well. The other lads on the bill pretty much killed it and I jumped in its grave after them. The disinterested audience paid attention long enough to take offence at the mention of diabetes and then pretty much watched me struggle to get their attention. It wasn't much fun. I was tired and hot and wondering why I'd bothered.

Still, there's always the long-drive home to make things better! Ha.

We made it back ok and my girlfriend vowed never to travel in my car again. Great. The problem is that the car has developed a bit of a wobble and the brakes were also grinding on every stop. The wobble was the bother to her - the vibrations made her nose go numb.

The day had been very busy and I wish it had had a climax. However, it had texture, which is something, I suppose.


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