Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Last show of the year

The end! Of the year. It was a long year. I'm glad I did it but I
wouldn't do it again. 150 shows... Or 200. Depends on who asks me. I
haven't added then up properly. Either way it was too many. Next year
I'm cutting back. Less but better shows. I prefer the travelling to
the playing.

The last show was in Osnabruck. It was their monthly full moon concert
series which is usually well attended, but there was a big show at the
weekend and Christmas which cut attendance. There was only €39 in the
hat. Thankfully I had a guarantee of €100, but that just covered the
trains, as my Eurail has run out. Good job Enma didn't come.
Nevermind. The cafe owner, David, was a great guy and made it a good
night. We played Liar's Dice and swapped stories.


I find it often helps to give an album a second plug, so if you
downloaded the Christmas Kinks tribute album, can you please regift
it? (It's the only time when it's socially acceptable.)

If you're interested in the mechanics of indie music promotion: I have
10,000 (incl old addresses) on my mailing list, 2,500 open the email,
250 click the link and 50 download. It's pretty poor percentages, but
that's email for you.

The Christmas album cost me almost €400. They were top musicians
working for cheap and it sounds great and I have it for life and I
wanted to do it, so it's a bargain price, but.... that works out at a
Christmas gift of €8 to everyone who downloaded it, which is more
than I'm spending on my mother (they're nice syrup waffels though).

So if you could help me in some way, so I can tell my mum I got more than 50
downloads, by passing on the link to friends and family, I'd be very
grateful. Merry Christmas! Jack

Download it at (music page)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Train life

It's been a long week of trains for this last leg of the year, with
the weather meaning missed connections and longer days. But the end is
in sight. Only 9 more trains and one ferry to catch this year.

Monday, 20 December 2010


I was all for condemning him for his materialism until I found out I
was in his collection. He'd downloaded the last two Christmas albums
and even designed his own inlays. Collecting isn't always bad then.

Henk and Emmy

I stayed with Henk, the biggest Beatles fan in Holland. He has a HUGE
collection of cover versions of the Beatles and other favourite
artists, and edits Beatles Unlimited, the fanzine.


A small but appreciative audience in a cosy venue in this small Dutch
town near the German border.


A small but well-formed audience. We held it in the bathroom. Best
sound at any show yet.

Saturday, 18 December 2010


All the trains are delayed, but it's all very pretty

Helge, Andy and Nicole

There were only 10 people at the show and we didn't have a place to crash. Thankfully someone took pity on us and phoned round all their friends. I stayed with Andy andhis kindly flatmate Nicole, including a nice big German breakfast  

Goodbye Emma

We played our last show together last night. Fittingly it was in
Steini's bar, the Stereowonderland. I'll miss her but not her songs,
they got lodged in my head and were taking over my brain like a virus.
I need an intensive cleanse of christmas to get rid of them. 'jingle
bells, jingle bells...'


Anna was our kindly local guide around Bonn, except when she started
the snowball fight.

Friday, 17 December 2010

When Emma met Steini

A big moment in the history of the blog!

Markings on my back

Anyone know what this is? I think it's from my bones sticking out and
rubbing on a rough bath but that sounds strange.

No bag!!!

The bike stayed in amsterdam, so for this stage of the trip I've
reached a new level on the renunciation scale, travelling without a
bag. Just things stuffed in pockets (see pic, only one spare item of
clothing, a sock (they're on rotation)- guitar and umbrella not
pictured. To think I started a year and a half ago with a big
suitcase. The longer you travel... I'm not even carrying CDs anymore,
I feel bad selling objects to people while I preach minimalism.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

On the train to Bonn

Only one week of shows left this year, praise the lord.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


My No.1 fan organised the show and the recording in his flat. What a


It was a lovely little show and we got all the new songs recorded. A
few were delightfully unrehearsed, but let's see how it comes out

Fan club

It was such a surprise to see so many fans last night, all in their
Foundation tshirts. I never expected it

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Thanks to the band... Keez Groenteman

Keez has been playing these 60s songs in a cover band since he was 14.  He's also the singer in the best new Dutch band Lola Kite. Check out their first single, a really great song on youtube

The Christmas album is online!

It's The Kinks this year. Download it for free here. I'm very pleased with it. It took one long 12 hour day to do the 5 tracks. They were a great bunch of guys. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tonight we record another album!

(I don't have an album cover yet. Does anyone want to do it? I took a photo with my iphone but it doesn't look too hot. The album is called 'A Kinky Christmas'.)

Thanks to the band... Daniel Rose

Daniel is a great guy and allround musician and I was delighted to have him come and play. He's in C'Mon and Kypski. and has toured Europe and the US with them, so sign up to see when they come near you. They have many great videos. Check out this one with and then search for the rest

Thanks to the band... Paul Willemsen

Paul is one of the best guitarist in Holland. He produced my first album, as well as this Christmas EP. He plays guitar in many bands. One of his latest projects was Beans & Fatback Check out a video

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

10 new songs

Just posted 10 new songs on the lyrics/blog page of my website. We'll record most of them Tuesday night.

Utrecht couch concert

30 people in a tiny one room apartment. It was gezellig.


Emma is put to work in Utrecht decorating the christmas tree

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Zara is shit

And now the heals are coming off the shoes.

Don't shop at Zara

The buttons all came off my coat in a week.

I'm home!

Back in the low lands. On the train to Utrecht. Best of all my phone
contract works in the Netherlands, so no hunting for wifi.

Friday, 10 December 2010


Michel gave me a tour of his hometown


Our couch concert host in Brussels. A sweet little lady who let us
stay three nights.

A true fan

Michel wearing my t-shirt I gave him in Quebec city for organising a
show for me there. He's since moved back to Brussels.

Old busker in Brussels

At least I know I don't have to worry about saving for a pension.


A great crowd in Brussels. George here in the green jumper took a nice photo of the evening.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Suzanne the Microsoft manager

I left Paris in a huge snowstorm. It took me an hour to cycle, slip
and slide to the station to go to Brussels. Others had it worse, I had
a nice chat with Suzanne here while waiting for my train and she'd
come all the way from London on the Eurostar, only to hear that the
office here was snowed in, so she was waiting for the train back
having never even left the station.

Stephane the chiropractor

To the chiropractor again. Luckily he was a very good one, if you're
in Paris check him out a lot of chiropractors only
spend 15 minutes, if that but he was pulling and prodding for a good
hour, stabilising the pelvis, correcting my legs. Agony. All my own
fault though that everything's too tight and too weak. It only takes a
10 minute routine morning and evening. I can't blame the touring, I
was slack with it before. But this time...! He gave me another good
tip, magnesium when the season changes, so I stocked up on a box.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Shakespeare and Co

A day in a book shop is a day well spent.

Day job

I've not been making enough from shows to cover the bills so had to
borrow Mascha's computer and take a job from my former life, writing
the Philips newsletter. (It goes out to over two million customers, so
I'll try to slip in my website discreetly in the text. I'm sure they
won't notice.) It's really selling my soul though, and for a preacher
of the renunciate lifestyle such as myself to promote consumerism is
very hypocrytical, but at the moment I really need the money. Please
buy albums and save me from sin.

Matt, host of the second Paris concert

A sweet guy who even took us out for dinner the next night to say
thank you.

Mascha the host

She has a tiny single room apartment with just room for a bunk bed but
still hosted me for two nights.

Photo to prove I'm in (frozen) Paris

I am having a nice time in gay Paris, but like any relationship it
takes a lot of work, and Paris does not bend over easily. Getting
around with the metro is arduous, and the snow and by bad neck
prohibits the bicycle. Just doing the basics, eating and meeting takes
hours and planning and the days evaporate.

Petty day journey

New efforts to put on weight.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Normally I hate kids but if they're collecting money for me I make an


We had a grand house concert in Paris last night. 70 people. A mix of
artists, musicians, presenters, mountaineers. A big thank you to
Francis and Tania for organising it and putting on a huge spread.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Europeqn tour (Pqrt IV)

Hello: Iùve just qrrived in Pqris qnd itùs freewing: Qpologies for the typing but Iùn on q French keyboqrd qnd itùs qll ,essed up: On the ho,estretch noz: Iùn looking forzqrd to Christ,qs qnd q rest: Only four shozs in Dece,ber: Tzo in Frqnce; Four in Hollqnd: Three in Ger,qny qnd One in Belgiu,: Three nice civilised countries: Iùll qlso be doing so,e recording in Q,sterdq, for q Christ,qs qlbu, qnd qnother dqy of recording zith E,,q hill zho Iùve been trqvelling zith: Itùs been greqt hqving q trqvelling co,pqnion; even q zo,qn: Ze shot so,e videos of the songs just qfter ze zrote the,: I zould send links but I donùt look so good so find the, out yourself if youùre thqt keen:

The lqst ,onth zqs pretty hqrd: Thqt bloody bicycle zqs q bitch on the trqins: Never qgqin: Iùve hqd it up to here zith the trqins: Qfter this; I szeqr no ,ore trqins: Just ,e qnd ,y trusty steed: Seeing q lot ,ore of the countryside: I hqd to wip through Portugql for exq,ple zhich turned out to be very nice; Iù, surprised ,ore people hqvenùt heqrd of it: Bqrcelonq qnd ,qdrid ze plqyed in bqrs zhich is qlzqys shit: I zould hqve cqncelled the, but couldnùt get qny other shozs: the other couch concerts zere reqlly nice: Qll the Dece,ber shozs should be nice in fqct: the first one in pqris to,orroz night is sold out qt 60 people so thqtùs going to be greqt: Qnd the long trqin trips qre behind ,e: No ,ore night trqins: I zqs ,ugged on the one fro, bqrcelonq lqst night: Drunk ficker zoke ,e up qnd ze hqd q tussle: ,y neck is reqlly ficked noz though: iùve just been to the chiroprqctor: sqdist1

Qnyzqy: Iù, doing fine: Donùt zorry: the yeqr is ql,ost over thqnk god: I*ll send the Christ,qs qlbu, zhen itùs done: Iù, doing the kinks this ti,e: so,e good songs qt lqst:

2-12-2010 Paris FR
3-12-2010 Paris FR
4-12-2010 Paris FR Couch concert - 18, rue de Gergovie
5-12-2010 Paris FR Couch concert
6-12-2010 Paris FR
7-12-2010 Paris FR
8-12-2010 Brussels BE
9-12-2010 Brussels BE Couch concert - Longue Vie 13 a
10-12-2010 Utrecht NL
11-12-2010 Utrecht NL Couch concert
12-12-2010 Amsterdam NL
13-12-2010 Amsterdam NL Recording Christmas album
14-12-2010 Amsterdam NL Recording tour album with Emma + Couch concert
15-12-2010 Amsterdam NL
16-12-2010 Bonn DE Quiet Man - Colmantstr. 47
17-12-2010 Cologne DE Stereowonderland
18-12-2010 Almelo NL Paco Plumtrek - Achtzaligheden 2
19-12-2010 Maastricht NL Couch concert - schepen de wicstraat 20
20-12-2010 Maastricht NL
21-12-2010 Osnabrück DE Cafe Mojo - Augustenburgerstr. 2

Singalong in Madrid
Onstage in Madrid. Thanks to Charles LaVaigne for playing with us.

Monday, 29 November 2010


I went to the station with Madeline from Faro, who'd come for the
party. She's 59 and retired and has started couchsurfing. In January
she goes around Germany and then in March to Australia. I should try
and convince my mum to do it.

Tiled stations

I don't know if this comes out in the photo but all the stations were
decorated elegantly with blue porcelain tiles.



It looked pretty. I only saw it out the window to and from the train
station. Old painted fisherman's huts that are now expensive houses.

Amelia in Aveiro

I played at a gypsy Portuguese birthday party in Aveiro. Amelia
(waving the knife) had the anniversary of her 23rd birthday.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


I'm giving Portugal top marks. It's beautiful, varied, warm, friendly
and very cheap, and lots of people speak English which does make
things easier, largely thanks to the influx of 'Beefsteaks', the
flabby English who come here to the beach and go bright red in the sun.


My host in Lisboa. A software developer. Wish I could have spent more time with him. I didn't see anything of the city. He went out after the concert when I went to bed. Got home at 3, then up early to a running race. He looked a bit perky afterwards.