Standing in the pit – one cell in the body of the crowd-beast – surrounded by people singing the same words as you and being shaken by the same bass as you.

I love going to gigs – live music is almost without fail one hundred times better than the same track on a cd or an mp3 player. For me, as well as the obvious in-the-fleshness of the music and the band, being in the depths of a like minded crowd is something you can’t beat. Of course you get the odd idiot, but I’ve been lucky and only seen them from afar.

As I write this I’ve just got in from a Frank Turner gig. Without wanting to brag I’ve been to a fair few gigs over the years, in various sizes of venue from bar to arena to festival and everything inbetween. Frank Turner’s shows are among the best. And it’s the crowd – several thousand people all linked and joining together to sing the words this one man wrote – that make it so special. He ended this gig with a massive sing-along, encouraging even the bar staff and security guards to sing because, as the man himself said, if everyone sings along right there and then, it becomes something more than five guys on stage screaming at a crowd for 90 minutes, it becomes something special, lifting us all as equals out of the mundanity of everyday life and joining us in something greater and transcendental.

That’s why I love going to gigs, and that’s why I love standing on the floor, despite the times when you can’t always see and you’re crushed between the big sweaty guy in front and the barrier behind. It’s all about being part of something and joining in to make the night something more than you can get at home with your headphones in.

Loyaulte Me Lie

I went to Bosworth Battlefield this Sunday just gone for their anniversary re-enactment weekend and had a brilliant day! There was loads to see, the displays in the main arena were great and I managed to get close enough to the ringside that during the final moments of the last battle that I felt the ground shake as Richard III made his last desperate charge to try and kill Henry Tudor.

Richard III fascinates me; the controversy that surrounds him and how even now, after centuaries of debate, no one really knows – or probably ever will know the truth about fundamental parts of his legend. The book that first piqued my interest was Freda Warrington’s fabulous – and fantastical – The Court of the Midnight King. I fell in love with her interpretation of Richard from the first read and then, upon further exploration along such lines as Paul Murray Kendall’s Richard the Third biography, and visits to Bosworth my interest was cemented. If you do visit Bosworth, a look around their heritage centre and a guided tour of the “battlefield” is essential to understand what was lost and gained in this battle where the last Plantagenet King of England led the last charge on a battlefield and became the last king to die in battle.

A couple of pics below: for the full gallery click here.

Even the catering was authentic! ;-)

Cannon smoke drifts like morning mist, muffling the shouts and amplifying the clash of weapons

The King is dead! Long live the King!


Food for the Soul…

Had a brilliant evening last night at Waterstones in Nottingham. Mark Chadbourn came to launch his latest novel in the Swords of Albion cycle – The Scar-Crow Men.

A genuinely nice guy, Mark treated all who were there to an interesting talk, a short reading from the new book and a generous Q&A session, followed by a signing. He was good enough to sign all 11 (!) books I brought with me, as well as the 2 I brought whilst there – none of which will be lent out ever again! Buy your own people!

A Swyfte drink in Pit and Pendulum, some new friends and a person to put behind the words I’ve read and enjoyed for so long – a pretty much perfect night.