Writing All Over The World

Chris: As many of you will (hopefully) know, the first preview of our new theatre show ‘Rock and Roll Revolution’ is only three weeks away. (Tickets here) We’ve been very busy writing the show over the past few weeks and are now at the technical end of pre-production – drawing up lighting plots, sound cues, editing audio and video…

All this whilst being massively distracted by our self-inflicted gigging schedule. In March alone we clocked up well over 20,000 miles visiting Miami, Dubai, Sri Lanka and Bruges (which Ollie covered in his blog below) with pretty much every spare moment being spent working on the show. The past few weeks have been no different.

Trying to get work done whilst touring is tricky. Example: The 25th of April was a write-off as we had a long flight from Heathrow to Bermuda. The 26th was a write-off because we were IN BERMUDA. I think we justified the coastal Mini Golf to ourselves as a necessary head-clearing session so that we could start work afresh the next day.

Which we did. The next few days were spent writing, deleting, re-writing and re-deleting, punching each other and crying. The following photo was not staged.

Whilst away, we were also able to design and (transatlantically) order some posters for the show which had, by the time we got home, started popping up across London. If you live in West London you may receive a flyer through your letterbox. We also deliver pizza. We're out of Häagen-Dazs.

We’re actively trying to create as much of the show in-house as possible which is very gratifying but the deadline is looming over us like a big loom.

That said… if the world’s largest model railway is suddenly on your doorstep - you have to go.

The Miniatur Wunderland (which I think translates to ‘Miniature Wonderland’) in Hamburg is, perversely, a huge distraction. Set over three floors, the model railway passes through incredibly detailed and fun depictions of iconic locations including the Grand Canyon, the Norwegian Fjords, the Swiss Alps, Vatican City (below). If you find yourself in Hamburg, it’s well worth a visit.

We also found the time to visit Beatles-Platz (the area of the Reeperbahn where most of the venues The Beatles played are situated). We’re all massive Beatles fans (particularly Greg who owns all the Beatles merch… Beatles socks, a Beatles T-Shirt, an original 1964 Beatles Build-It-Yourself Defibrillator Set...)

The Reeperbahn is not exactly glamourous these days (if you think it is, you almost certainly belong in prison) but it was still cool to be there. The trip was made even more enjoyable as in the audience for our show was George Harrison’s first girlfriend, Iris Caldwell. After the show, Iris entertained us with a load of fab stories about George and Paul and said that I needed to “look more moody onstage”.

During our next show I bit the head off a live bat (just like Paul used to).

Before leaving Hamburg, we also ate a currywurst as part of a ritual started when we toured the Buddy musical around Germany back in 2009. Everyone should have a sausage tradition.
During a couple of days off at home, the BBC very kindly scheduled an excellent new Buddy Holly documentary, Rave On, featuring a load of great new interviews with, amongst others, Jerry Allison, Dion, Maria Elena Holly and Brian May. If you’re in the UK, you can watch it online here. The rest of the world will have to wait for the DVD but it’s definitely worth it. That evening, the Buddy Holly Facebook page very kindly reposted our cover of That’ll Be The Day which gave us a few thousand more views and some nice comments too. We’re always very grateful for that.

Where next? (I have to scroll through the photos on my phone to check otherwise the weeks start blurring into one). Oh yes, Mykonos.

Well folks, this Greek island is a right Bobby Dazzler. Ollie headed into town first before Dan and I (Greg was holed-up fighting Grade-A lurgy) arrived to find him halfway through a Greek Coffee and a large plate of yoghurt that wouldn’t look out of place on a clown’s prop table. The town of Mykonos is made up of winding, cobbled streets and traditional Greek white-painted buildings. After breakfast, we visited the Rarity Gallery – which houses a small but excellent collection of modern art from all over the world. We were not expecting to find a place like this on Mykonos. Normally the only kind of gallery you find on Greek islands are the ones that display local artists’ oil paintings called Cat by a boat or Cat on a boat or Two cats by a boat or Two cats on a cat on a boat looking at a cat by a boat or…

Mykonos is famous for its windmills so we went and had a good old look at those. Quite nice.

Then it was back to work. Rock and Roll Revolution features a few recorded voiceover moments. As luck would have it, Ollie also works quite successfully as a voiceover artist and can do countless different accents, all of them South African. We spent the afternoon hard at work yet looking longingly/lividly out the window at the sun, sand and sea.

The next day, we found ourselves in the ancient town of Olympia – home to the original Olympic Games as long ago as 800BC.

We took a hire car (a very manly white Nissan Micra) to the site of the Games. The 3000 year old remains are absolutely incredible, particularly the Temple of Zeus (below), the running track and the sportswear megastore owned by the Goddess Nike.

After a good three hours at Olympia, we had a spot of lunch (meat-on-a-stick for Ollie and I, meat-not-on-a-stick for Dan) before burning the Micra back to do more work.

The next day we were in Albania. The less said about that, the better.

Today we're flying home but have had the morning to have breakfast in Valletta, Malta. Ollie visited the St John Cathedral (below) as he's quite cultured.

Tomorrow, Dan and Ollie are picking up a piano we're borrowing from the National Theatre and I have a mountain of admin to do for the show. We’ve also got a couple of private gigs lined up this weekend for which we've learned a few new songs this week.

We just like to make it look like we're constantly on holiday.