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Friday, 21 February 2014

Liverpool Day 4: Fire-fighting and a good explore!

I've just been on the longest adventure!

Liverpool on a Friday was a slight anti-climax alongside the previous three days - the DJs have well and truly taken over, and I had to go elsewhere than the clubs to find some stimulation.

I've not really said too much about the course so far, I've focused on the music. But, now that I've had such a cool day, I want to tell you a bit about it!

I look pretty rough here, because I was feeling it. Still, I loved the fire-fighting - climbing through a ship made of old shipping containers, pitch black and full of thick pungent smoke, using our new skills to find doors, climb down stairs and rescue dummies. Before we rescued our dummies, we had to douse this massive fire with this crazy heavy fire hose. It was hot, smoky and ridiculously cool!

My course-mates are mostly cabaret dancers from a different cruise, and are already thick as thieves, and always up to mischief. If I can find some of the brilliant videos they made I'll put them up, I think I'm in one.

Our instructors are brilliant fun, and make it all pretty bearable, even the massive amounts of theory. Still, I need it to be on ship! I've been watching the documentary on the sinking of the Costa Concordia, and it's made me realise I have a genuine responsibility to be s**t hot at this stuff! One of the chaps there is an elderly sailor, who's clearly seen the whole world, and tried extremely unsuccessfully to chat up the pretty dancers with his 'Monkey's Fists'. 

After a good long snooze, I hit the city again. No open mics listed for friday, so I head out to re-visit the garden bar, which is either shut or full. I walk around the area, checking out all the Seel street bars that were so enticing on a thursday night. Yep, the DJs had invaded, and the music was a loud bassy mush that I didn't want to have to deal with. Even Heebee's had succumbed.

So, I walked down the street and heard the second busker I'd heard that night, 'Brown Eyed Girl'. I waited about, and had a chat. His name was Tom George - here he is being photo-bombed by a government ninja.

The ninja asked for a song, and Tom played a beautiful version of Bob Marley's 'Is This Love?'. I asked him if busking needed a licence in Liverpool and he told me no, they'd tried to introduce a busking licence to the city, but the musicians had participated in mass civil disobedience and forced their council to re-evaluate. I fell a litte more in love with Liverpool. This photo was taken feet away from the tumbled down theatre, or cinema I photographed in the previous blog post.

I asked Tom if he wrote his own music and if I could include him in my blog - turns out his songs are really great! See what you think:

After meeting Tom, I set out to find something new that I hadn't seen on a previous night. I ended up in Chinatown, walking through a giant oriental gate, into a beautifully colourful street. A blank eyed begger asked me for some change, holding a Styrofoam cup, just like the one's I've been drinking coffee from. This knocked me for six considering the song I'd being singing in my head as I walked

'He dropped a coin into the cup of the blind man at the gate - Blame it on a simple twist of fate.'

I dropped a couple of quid into his cup in respect of this little glint of Dylan. It occurred to me how much more respect I have for buskers and beggars than I do for regular people. If there's real heroes in this world it's the people who take their chances in the chill of the night.

I found myself in some residential area, and I began to feel like my journey into the unknown was becoming a little foolhardy, as I didn't know where I was. Then I recognised the Pilgrim's Progress antiques and the shell of the warehouse, so I swung down a street I knew would take me to the waterfront. Faceless, nameless clubs in the back alleys were buzzing with raves, and I was sorely tempted to blag my way into one of these. I wasn't sure if they were private, illegal, or just unbranded, but I knew I'd never make it to the course the next morning, and that I'd probably loose my Moroccan Leather bag, and my G-pad. I feel like I need a good rave though!

Yes, I did feel lonely. And yes it did feel like this shop was put here just for me. It was the first time I'd felt insecure in this beautiful city, but it was like it understood and offered me comfort, if not solutions.

In ended up going into Maccies to just have some warmth really. I got a burger, and immediately felt like a sell out, sitting in the friendly happy sickly environment, as lonely and impersonal as it could possibly be.

As I sat in an big awkwardly green winged swivel chair and bit into my beef-circle, I suddenly felt very bleak and empty. I had a very strong desire to meet a woman and make love to her, it being the only real thing left in the world. It went pretty quickly and I finished my cheesey meat-bundle and went on my way.

I went through a giant shopping complex to escape the Albert Docks where Grace and I had been together last year. It was pretty beautiful, but it really did feel like a Parthenon to the mundane. Nothing about it couldn't be bought and purchased with several different brands of credit card from any city in the country. It didn't feel very Liverpool - it wasn't gruff, sturdily constructed and crumbling like the hands of an old sailor. Just polished steel and shiny.

The other night a kid came into McDonalds having a panic attack. The girl behind the counter gave him a bag to breath into, and he spoke in raspy unintelligible breaths. He spun round and headed back out, but before he did he grabbed me and said 'Havasee -yafav?'
'I'm sorry?' I asked.
'Have you seen a black iPhone five?' I got second or third time round.
'Nah mate, I'm sorry'. The kid ran off, asking everyone he saw, like his life would snuff from existence without fingerprint recognition on his phone calls.

You're better off without it, I thought to myself.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Liverpool Day 3: Heebee Jeebies & Medical Training

I'm getting to grips with Liverpool.

I'm at a point now, where I know most of the major streets, and I can kind of join them up in my head. I can get a bit lost and find my way back to the hotel without panicking too much. The more I walk the streets, the more I feel at home, and I'm already gutted to be leaving this wonderfully stimulating place. Two more days, and so much to see! Btw, if my writing is all over the place I've had a few drinks.

I started off by trying to find the cavern, which the internet said had a Thursday night open mic going down. I didn't get my hopes up too much, but the idea of playing the Cavern really did get my heart racing. Internet was wrong - the Cavern PUB which is really just a pub with the cavern's name on it, bearing no relation to the club itself (which isn't the real Cavern Club anyway), hosts a Monday open mic, by which time I'll be gone. Yet again, the Cavern seemed like Liverpool's only slight disappointment.

So, Heebee Jeebies was the internet's second choice. I made my way down to Seel Street, immediately realising that this is the hub of Liverpool's best night-life. There maybe more, but Seel Street definitely got my antenna prickling.

Heebee's was amazing. To my eternal shame, I can't remember the names of the guys who hosted this night, but they were insanely lovely and hospitable, as I've found with all the Liverpudlians I've met. I've had a few drinks though, and the one person I can remember is Lauren Davenport, who's been on stage for a year, but has caught the bug, and wants to make performing her life. I missed her set with my Cavern confusion, but I got to see her play one song. Unfortunately, on this pic she's well blurry.

Anyhow, it Turns out Lauren is basically internet famous! Here's beautiful cover of Ellie Goulding's 'How Long Will I Love You?' which is seriously worth a listen - thirty odd thousand people agree! :-)

I want to say a little bit more about Liverpool, and how much I love it. Everywhere, on every street corner is a bar playing excellent live music. Everyone of these bars has all the equipment installed to provide free gigs, and musicians are top standard everywhere. All of the open mics I've been to, everyone has been warm, hospitable and not competitive. In fact, the whole of Liverpool seems to be welcoming, sociable, and they gravitate to strangers and take them under their wing. I've never been to a place before and felt at home as quickly. It's going to break my heart to leave.

This kind of friendlyness is not exclusive to music venues. In the streets, kids and students are huddled in embraces against the cold, smoking together, drinking and laughing. On Seel Street I passed a walled off garden, with a gate into it, and inside the most beautiful chillout bar. I was smitten! I decided on the way back from heebee's I would stop for a drink, but the doorman was closing up. 'Could I have a quick look round?' I asked him, 'I really wanted to see inside!'. Instead of being told where to shove it, he let me in and let me wonder round the beautiful garden, with a railway carriage bar inside.

There's no violence, or fear of it, anywhere I've been. In fact, all I've received have been hugs, kisses and facebook adds. Also a genuine interest in my music. In one bar, I started chatting to a guy who gave me a cheeky slap across the face, ever so gentle, as a chastisement for not having heard a Ben Howard song. The fact that he could do that to a stranger, without the fear of being punched into next week spoke volumes to me about the character of the city.

The other thing that struck me was the girls. Not only did everyone seem to be up for a drink and a dance, but there was no snobbishness or stand-offishness from the prettiest girls. In Lincoln, you can be readily snubbed for talking to a girl who considers herself to be above your station. In Liverpool, you can talk to anyone readily, and the great thing is that if you start chatting to a girl she doesn't immediately assume you're trying to get into her pants. I've made loads of friends from chatting in a city where I wasn't really interested in casual sex - it didn't seem to matter that there were no tongues in each others mouths, it just felt like open gender equality.

The other thing that makes Liverpool for me is the buildings:

I found this antiques centre in the middle of a load of what I thought were burnt out factories, ready for demolition. In Lincoln, I'm doubtless they would have been. I'd seen these the previous day, but walking past them in daylight hours, I found the giant doors wide to the daylight, and I snook a picture of the grand insides, hundreds of metres high. The scale is impossible to describe.

A lady then told me that these factories were being converted into housing, so that they could be useful again. My heart rose, in fact it made my day. I wish you could see the cast iron pillars rising like obelisks from the basement. Just so beautiful.

After that, I started looking around a bit more and I started to realise why Liverpool has more grade II listen buildings than ANY other city. So much is saved and preserved.

In some situations, when a building is past it, the facade and walls are kept, and the centre becomes parking, like this little theatre-type thing - it would have been flattened years ago in Lincoln to make way for a metal barrier.

Picture doesn't show you much, but the facade is gorgeous!

Also today, I learnt first aid, and how to resuscitate people and stuff. It was really interesting, but a lot to take in. These cups of sexual frustration say it all.

Still, if you have an Angina attack... I can't remember what to do. Oh, crap. Maybe I should re-read that booklet...

On the subject of sexual frustration, I was treated to the incredibly violent sex noises of the couple in the room next door as I lay in bed, ready to snooze. I appreciate good sex, and these folks were going for it, I thought they were gonna come through the wall! I didn't want to be one of those bitter people who gets sniedy about other peoples pleasure, so I smiled and listened thoughtfully to their headboard smacking, feeling like a bit of a connoisseur. 'Well done, Sir!' I thought as he started up yet again. I didn't half get horny though.

Liz said I should have knocked on the door and asked to join in, which I thought was a sure way to get a punch in the jaw, but thinking about it, with the friendliness of the city so far, I'd probably be greeted with 'Alright mate, get stuck in!'

Love this city :-)

Sam x

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Liverpool day 2: Bar Cava and Firefighting Theory!

What a day!

I now know a heck of a lot about firefighting theory! Tomorrow is going to be medical stuff, Friday proper firefighting, and Saturday I'm gonna be playing in a life raft!

Tonight though, I went down to Bar Cava, which was awesomely cool. I had heaps of set time, and played heaps of originals and covers. I also met Rob, whose details i don't know, but he's one of the best musicians I've ever seen! Here he is:

Bar Cava is a tiny, diry dingy club, but about as cool and cozy as it could possibly be. On the outside, it has no name, it is just yellow. Still, locals seem to swarm in and out, singing, dancing and loving the music. Yet again Liverpool, you impress me greatly!

Here's another video from the new batch!

Hope you enjoy you lovely lot!

cya soon x


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

First Night in Liverpool! Hannah's Bar Open Mic with Ogo...

OK, so it's my first night in Liverpool!

I'm here for health and safety training for the cruise ship work I'm gonna be doing over the next few months, including fire fighting, life boat training and all kinds of cool stuff! That all starts tomorrow.

In the meantime, I figures I'd go out and find some live music. As soon as I got in, I got on google and found the Hannah's bar open mic hosted by Ogo. Now, the internet says that Ogo has an amazing voice, comparable to Labi Siffri, which is which is not an easy claim to live up to, but here he is, and he does!

Hannah's bar open mic was awesome. I recommend it to anyone in Liverpool on a Tuesday! I played a few songs, some covers and originals, and the crowd were great! There was even some great dancing. Afterwards, I found I was sitting next to an awesome Liverpool band called the Roscoes! Here they are, rocking up the cavern club very nicely.

I also met a video producer named Callum McLean, and we chatted about maybe doing some work together! check out his portfolio through the link above :-)

Before I forget, new live video!

And now I think for my lovely hotel bed!

night night xx

Thursday, 13 February 2014

It's all happening! Breakfast Club album, Christmas video and more! :-)


Can any more happen in such a short space of time?

I'm going to be sailing around the Mediterranean for three months!

Firstly though, at christmas I made a video that did really well - it almost did REALLY well! We made it a week before christmas and got 2000 views in a week - Makes me wish we'd put it up a bit sooner! 

Anyway, it's a reet laugh and I think you'll like it!

It got covered in the Lincolnshire Echo, and on the Lincolnite!

If you like the song, it's on an EP that never really got promoted - it's called Aroura and it's got four songs which are all well worth a listen. Grab it here!

Then what happened?
Oh yeh! The Breakfast Club have released their new album, Petrol Money!
It's sooooo cool - I'm really proud of this one! The songs are the best we've ever written. Have a watch of our first single 'Squeeze' :-)

There's more on the way! Some great stuff in the offing :-)

Anyhow, I've just taken this job playing seven nights a week on a cruise ship. I'm going to be in the Med for three months, but I'm gonna make sure I have enough stuff ready to keep putting it out when I'm away! There's so much to do, and so little time, so I gotta dash now, but hope your all well and much love!