Eric's buddies from college who make up the band Patrick Watson were playing at the Hanbury Arms in Brighton. Having watched them in London's Scala the night before, we thought it only right to follow them to the beautiful British coast.
It's only an hour from Central London by rail. Here's my man, by the new pier. Check out the highly unusual and very lucky 'T-shirt weather'.
I booked a hotel online, the cheapest I could find. It too was right by the new pier, and also a massive nightclub which was adjacent to our room...
I'm showing you a postcard of the Royal Albion Hotel because it's much easier on the eye compared to how it actually looks.
Anyway, we checked in, and went swiftly to the pebble beach, for a pot of cockles. I love these doused in malt vinegar, they remind me of my childhood.
Eric tried hard, but I don't think he was convinced. Ooh, a half inch up and I could've made it look like he was eating the whole pier....
We walked along the seafront, towards Kemp Town, Brighton's answer to a Latin Quarter, to the venue via a pub, naturally.
This is the Hand in Hand, a tiny pub that looks sort of like someone's shared-flat communal room 40 years ago.
I love the ties on the ceiling and this old fruit machine. Behind it there's a plaque which reads 'Save water, shower with a friend' which took me back to my cruise ship days.
I wanted to visit this place because they brew their own ale. Alas, Eric said the pipes must be filthy because the beer tasted terrible, although they did say they were down to the end of the barrel.
The Hanbury Arms is a unique venue, in that it was originally a mausoleum. This is the beautiful hand-painted, domed ceiling. Apparently the walls are similarly painted too, but covered with ply-wood to preserve them.
We waited in a different pub, enjoying the late-afternoon sun, while the band finished sound-check.
The old pier in Brighton is very close to the new one, and was extensively damaged by fire (insurance job, anyone?) but until very recently when it began to fall into the sea, you could buy this pier for £5.
The condition was that you were obliged to rebuild the pier to the standard of it's former glory. Nobody took them up on the offer, and as you can see it's gradually falling away.
The guys finished sound-check, and we headed for the new pier to try out the rollercoasters. Unfortunately the attractions close at 7pm. Here's Eric with his friends Simon and Robbie.
Mishka, the bass player had gone to look for his favourite Balinese restaurant, so we decided to follow suit.
We found one, but apparently it wasn't the right one...
who'd have thought there'd be 2 Balinese places in Brighton?
The guys were on at 9.30, and the gig was a good'un. Here's Simon and Patrick, with Mishka's boat-race just behind.
I learned a new French-ism, to 'bav', from the French 'Bave', to drool. As in:
'When I took a solo I leaned over, my mouth was open and I just bavved all over the stage, totally by accident'. I'll let you guess who the bavee was in this picture...
One of my favourite parts in the show was when the guys stood on the bar and played accoustic/sang without mics for a song. On this occasion, the drummer Robbie got inside a large lampshade, and used it as a huge barrel drum. Very creative.
Let's see it more clearly.
Unfortunately the guys had to leave for Heathrow Airport after the gig (and on to the Juno awards in Calgary. They lost out to Arcade Fire. There's just no accounting for taste) and so couldn't stay all that long, but we had another drink while they loaded up the van for the last time.
If they read this, they'll know just how much they missed out on. How much food, that is. I give you, the famous nay, the INfamous, MARKET DINER!
And the world-famous Gut Buster therein.
A 24 hour safe-haven for roadies, bands, university students and just, er, really drunk people.
2 days later (after a weird casting for a Norwegian Water ad: "I want 3 Icicle positions, then move slow, then like I just turned on a tap and you're the water"), and look, Eric is driving with an unusually happy disposition. Why is this?
Well, to quote a great Prince track, Sometimes It Snows in April. And Eric feels quite at home driving in these conditions, of course.
What angered him was the Brit's failure to see the need for cleaning the snow off their vehicles. On people leaving snow covering their blinker lights:
"You'd get arrested for that in Montreal".
You'd think maybe with a Porsche you'd have more pride in ownership.