On the road. The Path beneath our toes.
An extract from my diary whilst on the road
My silk trousers are the colour of the sky here. The sun is beating down on my stiff back. Stiff from the rock I've been lying on. Stiff from the sheet less bed I slept in last night. And stiff from the 12 hour journey from London to Montpellier. The sun is really beating down now. The clouds keep dodging and I can't work out which way they are turning next. I've never seen two clouds move and twist in opposite directions before.
I woke early. The bed was creaky and I tried not to wake the boys. Sun blaring through the lace drapes hanging in front of the grubby windows. No curtains. The way I like it. So the sun wakes me. There is a fisherman waking past me. I'm perched on a rock outside the gite and I can smell burning. A BBQ maybe? It's almost 1pm and there has been little movement, apart from locals offloading bottles in to the bottle bank under the bridge. Bonjour! It's Freddo. He's heading up to the square to see whats happening.
Bunting lines the streets here… And the stage… a permanent concrete stage sits in the main square opposite the ecole and overlooking the mountains around. There are some stalls selling jewellery.
It's windy here. Great gusts keep blowing up the pages if my book. Is it a little cliche that I start reading Keith Richards Life whilst on the road? Sure. My camera is beside me. The fender strap which I found in at a WATP gig in soho is tied on to my child with slate coloured shoestrings I found in stoney two years ago.
I could hear a little cricket earlier. But now the wind is too loud and the rusting of the plants next to too is all I can hear. Maybe a few cars. There are these delicate lilac flours all around me. I don't recognise them. French flowers. French grass. French air. French noises. Bon.
Last night we drove through beautiful little towns. A lot of motorway. Rain pelting. And I realised there were no cats eyes on the roads. I didn't like it.
I'm now sitting in the square. We have just had a spread of cheeses, meats and a banging salad for lunch, put on for us by our ever hospitable hosts. Noone really speaks English here... I whipped out what french I could when I went to the pharmacy to get Jamie some hayfever tablets...
I've just had the most beautiful fresh peach. Juicy and succulent. Maybe they taste better because we are in France. But I have imaginings of fruit being plucked fresh from the trees and placed in barrels on our table. Fresh. The type of fresh where you don't mind a few bruises because you know they haven't been busted around in some large supermarket lorry.
The air is fresh too. Not hot, as there is a breeze in the air. The children are playing on bikes and laughing and screaming. No nintendos here.. I get a whif of cheese... the boys are discussing best route to take and it is suggested that we go to the Rendle's house 'Chez Galley'... breaking up the journey before heading north to the Netherlands.
I'm sitting in the van. Front passenger seat. My hat and camera are perched in front of me on the dashboard. To my left is the first of this evenings acts. We are parked to the right of the stage. I don't know what this chap in orange is rapping about but it is raising a lot of applauds… political maybe? The wind is still blowing and the rustling of the trees is competing its strong rhythm against the guitar. More applause. Banging his guitar. The clock tower chimes. Once, twice…
The boys have gone for a walk. I went for a stroll earlier. I popped up to the Tobac to get the boys some supplies. Opposite was a little coffee cafe so I ordered an espresso and perched outside looking at the hills around us and watching passers by. Everyone is so happy here. Its organic. People smile, and wave hello. Bonjour… Salut!
Soon, who I can only assume was the proprietor of the cafe sat down next to me outside and started chatting away. Needles to say he didn't 'parle Anglais…' A scruffy man man with a mongrel strode up the hill with a crate of tomatoes and potatoes… fresh out of the ground. Huge and nobly. He had a black hat, a large hoop through his right ear and a blue butterfly tattooed on his left forearm. He shook hands with the little man next too me. Perhaps I am looking a little french today… in my polkadot racing green dress… but he too starts talking to me in French. He orders me another coffee and we sit whilst he tells me about leaving the war and adopting Shepie, his dog… or at least thats what I derived from his gruff foreign tones. Like the little man.. there was no attempt on his part to part take in jumping the language barrier, so I understood what I could, and for the rest we used hand signals and laughed loud.
I have started filming everything on my camera. I don't know why I haven't experimented before. My 50mm lens is spot on. I got some footage at the festival last night and its pretty damn good for a first attempt. The wind was blowing strong in to the evening and what with the dry ice and decent stage lighting the effect was pretty beautiful. That shot of jim 30 seconds in to their first song. I think Ill try and start doing more. Maybe not in a professional capacity but I like recording moving images... even if its just the wind in the trees or ripples in water. Totally different to stills. I just wish the sound was better on my SLR. Heavy bass from the pa stystems screws with my cameras microphone.. Brutal. If anyone knows a way of getting round this, please comment bellow.