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Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Mississippi All-Stars in Gateshead

I’m making a slow start today. One, it’s Sunday; two, we’re off on a bike ride later; three, we didn’t get home until about one o’clock this morning - which is a little late for us. We’d spent the afternoon at the Summertyne Americana festival, on the banks of the river in Gateshead (seen above, from the Newcastle side). It’s a weekend event at which a number of American bands perform short, free gigs in the open air (thank goodness it finally stopped raining). They play about forty minutes apiece, give you a flavour of their music, and every encouragement to attend their paying gigs at various locations along the river. We saw three of the bands, including an unlikely sounding Swiss Cajun outfit (well, they were French-speaking Swiss, so why not?) and late in the evening - ten, to be precise - went into Hall Two of the Sage to see a three-piece band, the North Mississippi All-Stars. Wow. They were simply dynamite: tight, slick, amazingly varied in their repertoire.

Damn. Ever done that? Tried to paste in a photo, and accidentally exited the document, losing 300 words in the process?  I shall start again….

The Allstars comprise brothers Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals), brother Cody (drums, washboard and occasional guitar) and Chris Chewe (bass). I’d say they play blues-rock, with a sprinkling of gospel tones; but check them out at

Today we plan a bike ride, partly to retain the level of fitness we acquired in Norway (and my six-pound weight loss), mostly to gear up for next weekend when we embark on a five- or six-day trip from the west coast (at Whitehaven) to the east (most likely Tynemouth) along the Reivers Way, just on our side of the Scottish border. We have the train tickets to take us to the start, but as yet no idea where exactly we will be camping en route. We will probably have to ‘go wild’ - but my daughter and her fellow, who are accompanying us, aren’t too keen on that. The fact is, however, that there are few registered campsites along the way.

On the publishing front, frustration. Mike has been spitting feathers - if you can do that in a text - after finding that at store after store where he’s been doing promotional work on the new book there simply isn’t enough stock to meet the (considerable) demand from the fans. So, bang goes our best chance of making an impact on the charts. It’s a complex jigsaw of components that make up a successful marketing campaign for a book. Getting them all together and pushing them the same way - well, it’s like herding cats.

As to e-publishing… we ought to have Toad’s Road-Kill CafĂ© out there within a day or two. I’m going to try to download the cover, but may not succeed.  Fingers crossed. 
Ah - easy as you like. And kinda fancy, isn't it? Ought to be: I paid for the design.   

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