First gig of the year - Chambery, France
I noticed this bloke straight away - sitting in the front row with his pad, at first I thought he might be a reviewer, but on closer inspection, it was an artists pad and I was hoping he’d come up and see us after the show.
Our first gig of 2017 was in Chambery, France near to the Swiss border and it was good to welcome back Hester into the fold - she’d missed the December US tour. It was also good to hook up with Julie @jvgazouille - one of our oldest friends and a long time supporter of the Ukes in France.
The day had started early for me with a 6.30AM train trip up to London and then a trip down to Gatwick airport for the flight to Geneva. Given that there were snowfalls and, an ongoing strike by Southern Rail, I was broadly fatalistic about whether I would make it or not.
However on arrival at London St Pancras and finding the train to Gatwick was cancelled, I changed onto the Underground to hotfoot it to London Victoria Station, where I sprinted across the concourse to just make the Gatwick Express train in time (which was running despite the strike).
On arrival at Geneva we were bundled into cars to make the trip over the border to France, which took about an hour, and then into a restaurant where we had one of the most delicious meals I’ve had in a long time.
Over dinner I had a good chat with promoter Jean Claude about the sort of acts he books and the great tradition of French chanson - of which we are both fans.
We don’t play France that often and its a shame, as every member of the band tried out their best Franglais, which was much appreciated - we certainly wont be doing that in Finland next week (impenetrable language!)!. While there were plenty of people who’d travelled to see us, I think a lot of the audience didn’t know what to expect and so the first half was somewhat muted with a forest of folded arms but the goodwill grew during the show.
It was a good show and after a few drinks afterwards, we went back to the hotel and then the next day drove back to Geneva to catch the flight home
The theatre - L'Espace Malraux in Chambery
Here’s the artist ‘hiding’ behind his work - he is called Ben.Bent and has a Facebook page apparently.