On the Road

On the Road

34 days ago

Like Canned Heat, on Saturday I found myself on the road again. The Dave Masters live experience – aka myself and singer/guitarist/all round good bloke Olly Hopper-Pay – were hitting Arundel to appear at a literary festival, my first one as a speaker.

We met some lovely people, from organisers Camilla and Mike, to the volunteers manning bookstalls, making cups of tea and even one lady who, shortly after we arrived, delivered a batch of complimentary almond croissants to the bar (it would have been rude not to partake, and mine was delicious). They even sold some copies of the book for me.

I had prepared a talk, including readings from Dead Man Singing with musical accompaniment from Olly, which went over well, and I got to chat with a few people afterwards, including one old friend who now lives nearby and came along after seeing my Facebook posts about the event.

A few highlights of the day: swapping catch-up stories with Cherry about what she, Ben and their daughters were up to; discussing Sandy Denny and Joni Mitchell with Marianna (she prefers the jazzy end of Joni’s range, I favour the folky stuff); one member of the audience earning my undying admiration for already knowing about the Ozark Mountain Daredevils; swapping music, writing and life stories with Olly in the car – three hours’ worth of driving there and back seemed to fly by, despite some dodgy satnav guidance and a biblical deluge towards the end of the return journey; that almond croissant; finally, discovering a great new (to me) singer-songwriter, Paul Armfield (pictured above), who had come over from the Isle of Wight to the celebration show that evening. Described as ‘folk-noir’, he was laid back, witty and a wonderful songwriter. As Olly whispered part way through his set, ‘Does he have any bad songs?’

So that’s my first public appearance as a jobbing author. I’d love to do more, and next month I’m speaking at the Bournemouth Writing Festival, which will involve a lot less travel. Jarvis Cocker once asked, ‘Do you remember the first time?’ For me, that will always be Arundel.

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