Caught by the River

Pleasures of…July

3rd August 2011

This month, Hannah-Lou tells us how it was….

On the second of July my husband and I find ourselves in a grubby nightclub called Stix in Kirkcaldy, on the Northern shore of the Firth of Forth. We’re trying not to talk too loudly in our English accents, as the rowdy crowd have just stood up and booed the national anthem as David Haye entered the ring on the big screen. We’re in Fife for the last night of our Scottish tour to celebrate our album release, and are supposed to be playing a gig in a dingy backroom of a karaoke pub a few miles away. But the headliner, and his local audience, didn’t turn up, so the promoter has driven us into town to watch the boxing instead. He seems to know everyone in Stix, and shouts abuse at most of them for promising to come to the gig and watching the boxing instead. We’re pleased. This is much more fun. Twenty-four hours earlier we skipped soundcheck in Ullapool to witness our other British sporting hopeful of the summer bow out of Wimbledon, so the feeling of disappointment when Haye loses is nothing new.

The following afternoon we trace the outlines of Lowry paintings in the architecture of Berwick Upon Tweed, having just played at a small local festival. The timid landlord of our B&B greets us by apologising for being rushed, saying that he had to go out and ‘deal with something one of the other guests had done’. He presses a neatly wrapped parcel of local cheese into my hand as we say goodbye the following morning, and we spend the long drive back to Kent dreaming up ideas of what the guest did. The cheese stinks. We hate cheese.

My husband is a man who can never be idle. So, just as I’m looking forward to a rare few days of leisure before we start an Irish tour with Fionn Regan, he decides that now is the time that we should make a video for our new single. As usual, we wait until my parents are out or asleep to transform their living room into our studio, then spend hours talking through the logistics of how we’re going to get Trevor’s idea to work. The film itself takes three minutes.

We have our happiest two weeks of the year in Ireland, and are grateful to Fionn for giving us the opportunity to really explore the country. He’s chosen some beautiful venues to play in, and of course has a great audience, but we’re overwhelmed by the crowds’ nature to really listen to the words of songs, reacting as if they were at a poetry reading or comedy club rather than at a concert. Every night we have a queue of people wanting to discuss lyrics with us.

Travelling and sleeping in our 1977 Sherpa campervan for the entirety of the tour means we really feel that we get to know the place, and it’s our days off at small campsites that give us our best memories. We go fishing for the first time in a lake just west of Dublin. We catch five fish and send a picture to Andrews of Arcadia, who tells us at least one of them is a Rudd. Trevor’s beaming with joy. We stay in Doolin and get the ferry to Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands. One campsite later in the week doesn’t feel right, and when we notice that the neatly cut grass boxes in every other campervan, and rises overgrown around the too long stationary wheels, we decide to move on.

We walk back from an arcade in Galway at two in the morning on our penultimate evening, carrying a weird looking pink rabbit and a green baseball cap that Trevor’s just won from a claw machine, and see two kids jumping off a concrete diving board into the pitch black waters of Galway bay. Trevor decides that he has to swim there in the morning before we leave for our last show in Dublin. When the morning comes the weather has turned, and he remembers that he hates swimming. But he’s said it now so we have to go. Afterwards I make beans on toast and tea in the van to warm him up, and he’s glad he went.

At five the next morning we’re disembarking the ferry at Holyhead after a great last show with Fionn, and we start the long, 45mph journey to Port Eliot festival. We have a beautiful, relaxed evening, sitting by the lake with friends fishing, and catching up with everyone in the Caught by the River tent after our set. We’re sad to have to leave early the next morning, but we’d only do it for one other festival. At Truck we have one of this year’s real highlights- we become the ‘Truck Allstars’ last thing on Sunday night, joining our friends who run the festival The Dreaming Spires, Romeo, Angela and Michele from the Magic numbers, Sarah from St Etienne and George Borowski to perform Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ in its entirety. It goes down really well. We even have a short interval in between Side A and Side B.

With one week left of the month, we stop off in London to record a George Harrison cover for a Mojo tribute cd. We have a family picnic in a London park where we take our nephews rowing on a lake. On our final weekend before home we play at Kendal Calling and Cambridge Folk festival. They’re too crowded. We’re longing to be back at St Germans with a pint of Wandle.

Quality First, Last & Forever, the new album from Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou is out now. Vinyl and CD copies can be found in the Caught by the River shop.

Catch Trevor & Hannah on tour. Check their website for info.